Lessons learned and trip summary:
- The last stage – 10.5 km
- Steep ascent before reaching Capileira
- Upfront accomodation booking in Capileira recommended (lively town)
It’s near…the end. The last day of our trek. We only have 10.5 km left to Capileira – the village where we began our journey. On one hand I feel a bit sad that it’s coming to an end, on the other hand I’m naturally looking forward to some perks the civilization has to offer – shower, restaurants and a proper bed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of my inflammable pad but proper mattress is a proper mattress.
For the one last time, I‘m enjoying my favourite morning routine – with a cup of coffee in my hand, I’m watching the vibrant colours of pink and orange slowly diminish as the sun rises. While Thomas is still sleeping, I writing a diary and drawing a little. Today’s morning will most likely be our laziest one ever. Anyways, we have no where to rush…except maybe to a proper lunch. And you bet we are looking forward to it!
What a fabulous last day the trail prepared for us! We pass through a fairy-tale-like wood alongside a limpid stream. It’s an alley of high-grown trees leaning over the path with their wide spreading crowns. Many trees look almost like living creatures. Some of them even have faces on the trunks. They look like Ents. I almost expect one of them to move and start speaking. This place could be quite scary during the night but in daylight, it feels rather magical. But wait…something’s weird in here. Something doesn’t add up, I keep thinking to myself. “It’s the stream…it runs uphill! Do you see it?“ I ask Thomas. „Oh, yeah“. „What the hell? Are we delusional or what is this?“
We lose the path for multiple times. First time it’s funny, second time – slightly annoying, third time – a nightmare. Each stray costs extra time, extra steps and extra energy. Finally, our aim – the white Capileira village – appears in front of us, just across the valley. I’m thrilled. Seeing the final destination cheers me up. It seems close (but it’s not). It feels like we are already there (but we’re not). We won’t get it for free. As it turns out, we will still have to push through it. The last few kilometres across the valley are everything but easy. We descend by almost 400 m and naturally we have to gain them again.
The exhaustion is hitting me. I feel like my body is weakening, longing desperately for a break. I think the knowledge of being “almost there” plays a crucial role here. My body and mind just think they can shut down already. But no! Not yet! Still few more kilometres to go, so pull yourself together, Kristýna! We hike downhill through difficult rocky terrain. Each step is immensely exhausting. My mantra for the moment is: “if you never stop, you’ll get there eventually, if you never stop, you’ll get there eventually, if you never stop…“ We only have 2 more km to Capileira. But I swear these are the most difficult 2 km of the whole trail. I can’t walk, I can’t breath. My legs refuse to obey and my lungs seem unable to provide enough oxygen to the muscles. Reaching the midpoint of the ultimate hill, I’m forced to stop. I’m not rude to that hill this time but rather to myself. I’m starting to understand why someone would give up the Everest climb just few meters below the summit. I can also already see the first houses of Capileira but that doesn’t make it any easier. “Move it, Kristýna! If you never stop….“ and here we go again…While I toil and moil here, Thomas is probably already waiting at the finish line. The unpleasant hill gets steeper and steeper, the sweat is pouring down of me and my heart is about to jump out of my chest.
A then finally….FINALLY…I can see the final notice board. The very last yellow and green notice board placed at border of Capileira. We made it! 315 km, 16 days – the whole Sulayr trail…DONE! And it was totally worth it. Now only the pleasant stuff awaits – load up with juice and chocolate, find a restaurant with outdoor seating, load up with proper food, check in at a hostel, shower, sleep and repeat.
We chose a place called Jardín de Sabores (The garden of tastes) for the late lunch. Very nice and cozy place with awesome garden, kind service and friendly dog hanging around the tables. You can either opt for a typical Spanish dish or for Indian cousine. We ordered a 3-course menu and some wine for the total cost of €72. Well, the hunger was real (and so was the thirst). We stayed at the hostel Ruta de la Nieve (Snow Route) which we reserved one day ahead from the tent in Puente Palo campsite. After we took a shower and got some rest, we went outside and ended up in a stylish tapas bar. I didn’t plan to eat anything else for the rest of the day (after the huge late lunch we had) but things don’t always go as planned, right? And so we ended up eating the full plate of tapas with a selection of traditional local sausages and cheese accompanied with a jar of red course.
Capileira is quite a touristic town and it’s fairly lively in the evening. We arrived at the tapas bar as one of the first guests but it got crowded rather quickly and soon there were no spots left for the newcomers. Every time we are abroad, we get used to speaking openly about everything in Czech as we presume nobody around can understand us. We keep forgetting that Czechs are passionate travellers and are everywhere. Just as we’re discussing the peeing techniques in the nature, we are approached by a Czech couple sitting at the nearby table asking us to take a picture of them. Great! So this whole time someone could understand our winy bubbling. We chat for a short with the Czechs but soon start moving towards the hostel. After all we have some sleeping to catch up on…