As you all already know, I love to be outdoors. I love to walk, and I love to run - especially in a place as beautiful as Ubrique. So, I've been running my usual route, along the "highway" that leads out of Ubrique and winds through the mountains. When Mom visited last year, she made it quite apparent she didn't approve of my route along the road. She noted that it was quite dangerous as there was no sidewalk, no shoulder, and quite a bit of traffic. I disagreed, but have recently come to believe it is fairly dangerous...but not for the aforementioned reasons. Within the last week, I've come across (a) two huge mice (admittedly, they were quite adorable), (b) a massive preying mantis that landed on my shoulder (but quickly departed as I spazzed out and shrieked), (c) a caterpillar about 6 inches long and as thick as your thumb, and (d) been chased by bees the size of your big toe!! So yes, I've decided it is slightly more dangerous than I previously thought. However, I'm learning to cope with all the strange creatures that continue to cross my path. ;)
I continued my dangerous outdoor escapades today on my first hike of the year (well, of the new scholastic year). It was a beautiful morning (it is still averaging about 75/80 degrees here), so I put on some shorts, a shirt, and a lightweight jacket, and took off at 7:50 am to meet my usual hiking group at the bar at 8:00 am. However, I apparently forgot about the Spanishh foliage. I have never seen so many spiky, spiny, prickly plants in my life as I have in the hills and mountains surrounding Ubrique. Needless to say, my legs by the end of the day were quite scratched up and bloody. Lesson learned: never go hiking (in Spain) in shorts.
Aside from the painful spikes, spines, and prickly leaves torturing my legs, it was a beautiful hike. We saw four deer running about and a couple wild horses. We also went to Benaluz, an incredible finca (country home/farm) run by a sweet little 80 year old man. We ate breakfast in his home - basically a country cabin/shack with nothing more than a table, a small sink, a fireplace (no electricity), a bedroom (with a mattress on the floor), and a small room dedicated solely to making cheese. I must say, after seeing the flies, spider webs, and massive spiders hanging around the cheese room...I'm not sure when I will eat cheese next. I think I will take a break from it for a while. Haha. In all honesty though, it was quite a beautiful site, and I felt as if I had stepped back into the early 19th century.
I've decided that despite the various dangers occassionally associated with running around the Sierra de Ubrique, it is without a doubt, well worth the risk.