Excursion to Sierra de BéjarSalamanca, Spring 2012

A few weeks ago I went on a hiking excursion with a group from the University of Salamanca called Collectivo Bellotero. This is a group of students who are interested in the protection & conservation of nature and organize various events and activities related to this. We rose early on Saturday morning to meet and take a bus to the historic town of Bejar, about an hour’s drive south of Salamanca. After dropping our stuff off at the Albergue de Llano Alto, our lodging for the night, we began our hike for the day. We passed through gorgeous landscapes of oak, chestnut, and pine forests and crossed a dam in the area that provided a stunning view of the mountains. We then continued our ascent up to Peña Negra, a peak with an altitude of 1635 m. A refreshing rain cooled us off as we climbed up the last few boulders, but as we finally sat down to admire the view the sun came out followed by a shimmering rainbow.

We stayed at the top of the peak for quite a while and soaked in the tranquility and beauty of our surroundings. One of the students played a small wooden flute in the background while we talked, rested, and took photographs. Despite all the energy it took to get to the top, it was one of the most refreshing days I had had in a long time! Afterwards we hiked back down to Llano Alto and shared dinner together there, along with conversation,  games, and much laughter.

The following morning we set out on another hike towards Candelario, a picturesque Spanish mountain village that still conserves its traditional architecture. On the sides of the narrow & winding cobblestone streets were many small canals, which carry water down from the mountains as the snow melts in spring. We explored a few hiking trails around Candelario, had a picnic lunch in the town, and later returned to Llano Alto to collect our things. Upon returning to Salamanca I was pretty exhausted, but was very thankful for the opportunity I had to see such a beautiful place and to meet a great group of people!

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