We were staring down a steep drop off the side of this mountain. It was then I suddenly appreciated that perhaps Spain could actually be one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. Some claim it to be the most mountainous after Switzerland. We were two thirds into our hike. Regardless of which claim is right, right now we had a choice. We turn back. Or, we tackle this challenge that lay immediately below us. But as in most cases, as this proved, the fear was greater than the actual challenge.
It was my third hike in Spain. We could see the distant location of our first trek a few weeks back. No doubt inspired by Hollywood. Emblazoned on the side of this distant mountain we previously climbed, was “Cullera”. I was always amazed no one had ever heard of this place when I told them where we went. It’s a very popular beach side holiday destination. It’s not that it didn’t exist. It’s just no one had ever heard of the way I pronounced it! That simple little place name reflects so much of what is “fascinating” about Spanish. Pronounced “Cull-ee-rah”. Wrong. Try “Koo-yeh-daaah” with a soft “d”.
That was three weeks ago. On that basis, I’m currently tracking about three weeks behind before people can understand where I’ve been! Cullera means spoon. I don’t know about a spoon, but that blobbed shaped rock sort of reminds me of Uluru. Not many people here know the name Uluru. I noticed in the local science museum, they still refer to it as Ayers Rock. I have a suggestion. I understand name changes can take a while to get through. So why not do the same as the folk at Cullera did with their rock. On the side of our rock, we paint the words “Uluru”. There’d be no question about the name then. Plus you’d see it for miles.
I like walking. But I never realised thirty years ago, just five words could have such a life long impact. We used to do lots of walks as a family. In reflection, maybe my parental judgement skills were questionable about our young children’s physical ability at the time. Turns out my encouraging words, “just around the next corner” has left a lifelong scarred distaste for walking by them.
Shame really. Because they could possibly miss out some day meeting the likes of these crazy but fun bunch of Brits and other nationalities, as I did again last night. They call themselves Hash House Harriers. They’re all over the world. But here they describe themselves as a drinking club who also happen to like running! Most un-Spanish. But then again, going for an 8km run after a couple beers is another challenge I never thought of. And not to mention the ritual round of drinks after!