23 September 2008

Los Pirineos

My computer still isn´t fixed so I haven´t been online much. So here are the highlights from my trip to the Pyrenees, the mountain range that borders France:

Fall asleep before the bus leaves Placa Universitat, wake up in the middle of a small town surrounded by mountains and blue sky. Beautiful. Eat a delicious lunch of pizza, my first since leaving the states, then wander a bit through sleepy cobblestone streets.

Back on the bus. Drive further into the mountains and pass through several more villages. Arrive in Taull to sunshine and blue skies, as well as four hours of free time ahead. The hotel is a perfect little mountain building on one end of town. Walk to the old church and climb up the bell tower. Scary stairs, beautiful views. Many students immediately head to cafes to drink. We wander through the rest of town and out into the mountains, and keep going for two hours. Every time we think we should head back we go just a little bit further.

Back in time for dinner, we board the bus to a restaurant in a nearby village. Three course meal; delicious. The mountain air causes all food to be tasty. Back to the hotel and off the bus and look up. Too many stars to count, all shining brightly away from hazy light pollution. Enough to stay outside in the cold for hours, silent and overwhelmed by the beauty.

Great night for sleeping; wake up early to watch the sun slowly rise over the mountain peaks. Eat a gigantic and tasty breakfast of bread, cheese, and fruit before heading to Aiguastortes National Park. El Parque fue...increíble. No puedo explicarlo, y no hay fotos suficientes que puedan recrear la belleza perfecto de la naturaleza. Al principio de nuestra escalera, sacaba muchos fotos. Pero fue un momento cuando la experiencia se hizo más, se hizo apasionado, y se puse la cámara en mi bolsa. El resto del día solo tenía las experiencias. No es posible que recree ni el escozor en sus pulmones durante el parte de la escalera más difícil, ni el sentimiento cuando llegue a la destiación y pueda ver un gran lago en la valle entre las montañas.

I learned that there are certain situations that don´t need to be, that can´t be, captured on film. Also that I would rather have the memories of the feeling of the grass beneath my toes or that last breath before my foot hits the top of a ridge than the photos of the climb. I took a lot of photos, yes, but I am more greatful for an hour long conversation sparked by the natural world around us rather than hundreds of images that pale in comparison to the real thing.

I left the Pyrenees with a wonderful feeling in me, a feeling of peace and content. I hope to do more hiking and exploring before I leave Europe, as well as to come back someday and do more. The people that I met this weekend weren´t many, mostly I think because we were such a big group, but the ones that I did were incredible, like the woman who has lived in Taull all her life and told me about the bell towers in all of the churches in the valley, and how they use them to communicate amongst themselves. And how although her world may be small in comparison to others, she has led a rich and wonderful life, takes pride in her hard work, and wouldn´t change it for anything. When I die, I want to be able to say the same thing.

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