Sunday, April 06, 2008

Fresh air

This time we took a different sort of train

to a different sort of place.

We didn't realise, when said train stopped beside a fence, that this was in fact Cercedilla Pueblo (two minutes up an olden-gauge track from Cercedilla - it's younger, and bigger, sister). I shot along the carriage to ask the driver's friend/brother/cousin if this was the station - just as the train started moving. It was. So they stopped the train and let us off, merely suggesting we be a bit quicker off the mark next time ...................... Coo!

So there we were in the middle of gorgeous nowhere - the foothills of the Guadarrama mountains, actually - in search of mountains, woods, and a complete absence of bright lights, noisy city.

Well, a cafetería and panedería, first - no breakfast, no coffee, and no bread for our picnic! Having sorted that bit, we consulted a roadside tourist map, and picked a road to walk up.

After a bite to eat overlooking a cow field, we turned off the road (too many cars), and up a wide sandy path into the woods.

We passed some handsome gardens on one side, and meadows with cattle and horses on the other. All the cows in Cercedilla have bells around their necks, which bongle constantly as they graze: it could drive you nuts because the sound carries, but it's so mellow and comfortable, that it seems to blend with all the other country noises. I liked it.

We had a stream for company at first.

Then the path started winding up, and up, in long shallow sweeps.

There was shade overhead, birdsong all around, and the ultimate luxury carpet of pine needles and cones underfoot. Nice and easy for the townies!

There were plenty of signs of last Autumn and Winter

and plenty more of the new Spring

Though the most spectacular sights had to do with long decay and slow, steady regeneration.

I heard a cuckoo, a real one, for the first time in my life. It really did sing 'Cuckoo'

out there somewhere.

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