Alive and very well. We have just arrived in Toledo, Spain, which is a very unique and historic town that lies South and West of Madrid. Below is our trip thus far:
Friday was extremely miserable day. We checked out of our hostel and made our way back to the airport to retrieve the car. For a pretty reasonable price, we got this sporty little Pugeot 207, that is more than large enough for our needs. In addition, it probably weighs less than 1000lbs and is pretty zippy. The day turned sour when we became acquainted with driving in the 3rd largest city in Europe, during rush-hour. First, we spent several hours locating the Museo del Prado, which had lots of art, that you are apparently not allowed to photograph. Next, directly because of navigational errors, we spent the better part of 5 hours attempting to find "Barrabas" which is the mountaineering store in Madrid. Much to my chagrin, there are two locations and only one stocks fuel bottles. We finally obtained the fuel bottle, got the hell out of Madrid, and made our way to the mountains near Guadalix. After some more navigational fan-angling, we found a place to camp near Patones and La Pedriza, which are famous climbing locations. The campsite was about 10Eur/person/nite but had very nice amenities including laundry and showers. LONG DAY.
Here is a picture of some significant statue of the 15th century that it is illegal to photograph. I don't remember who it represents or why it is significant.
Here is a picture of our campsite near Patones and La Pedriza. Note the awesome Pugeot on the left.
Saturday was much, much better. In the morning we did some grocery shopping and found that one can be easily sustained for 5-10Eur/day in food. We bought three days worth of food and 2 bottles of wine for 25Eur and ate like kings during our 48hour stay at the campsite. We then made our way to Patones to do some climbing. The climbing was awesome and it was a bit of an adventure climbing routes with no guidebook. The first route we attempted was a well bolted face-climb, graded probably around an 11a-b, which wasn't much of a warm-up for us. The second route was a popular moderate, probably close to 5.9. In addition, we also made our first friend of the trip, Juan, who gave us his phone number so we could call him to go climbing. He had been all over the world and especially liked the climbing in Boulder, Colorado. Unfortunately our stay in Madrid was too short to employ his company.
Here is a picture of Amanda on the first route. It's kind of grainy. Sorry.
Sunday we awoke, slightly late (we don't have a clock, fail), to rain and clouds. The goal of today was to locate the very famous La Pedriza, which is a slab climber's paradise. After more navigational flailing we made our way though the national parks in the area, which were very beautiful, but never successfully found the La Pedriza area. This was no major loss due to the rain and our aversion to climbing slabs. We just arrived in Toledo and after some extremely tight driving in our already-very-small Pugeot, we found a hotel recommended by th AAA guidebook for 45Euros. Not too bad.
Here is a picture from the National Park: Alta de Manzanares
Tomorrow we are heading to Lisbon, Portugal, where we will spend the better part of 4 days climbing and exploring the town. We are hoping to avoid city driving, but I (Alex) am not overly optimistic this will happen.