For hiking info, kindly scroll down
Warning: this is going to be a long stream of unconsciousness and is not going to make any sense, least of all to me. Apologies for that. Someone once wrote that love is giving someone the ability to destroy you and trusting them not to. Google search attributes the quote to Paolo Coelho, which frankly horrifies me, but then they also say that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Well, I suffer from a deadly combination of trust issues and terrible judgement that makes me forget all about them in a heartbeat, so there you go: love’s a bitch. An evil one.
Note to self: the situation is not desperate. Yet. I am just freaking out. For no real reason. And there are two possible scenarios of what might happen in two weeks time when I re-read this post. I could either regret writing it or laugh about it. But right now I need to get it out of my system. You are free to think I am bat-shit insane, I won’t argue. Remember when I was ranting last summer about how I actually don’t want all that much from them? That was my rage and exasperation talking. And do you remember when I was bragging about how all my ghosts have been dealt with during long soul-searching sessions in the lockdown, and how I was ready for new adventures? That was me not knowing what I was wishing for. Technically I do not ask for much (I think), as in I don’t care about a diamond ring, or a promise of eternal love (that had been most likely already given to another woman and – in the best case – broken), and I do not know what would need to happen to me to want to live with someone, but I would like to have an emotionally – and possibly physically – available man in my life who is sure of himself, comfortable with his feelings (and mine), one that does not want to control, manipulate, tame or mould me. One that does not see me as a trophy (we’ve had those, too) or a cure for his low self-esteem. And most importantly, one that I actually like, which may be all, any or none of the things above. Because when it comes to actually liking someone my rationality sadly legs it.
OK, long story short. Maybe it’s the spring in the air, or the persistent hormonal storm caused by Covid vaccine messing up my menstrual cycle. (May all the menstruating pro-vax people know that they are not alone. Most of us have been experiencing horrible periods since the inoculation. Have you ever had a three months long PMS? Not fun, mostly for the unfortunate individuals who have to interact with me.) Whatever the reason, I am suffering from an acute case of butterflies in my stomach. (To whom this may concern: you know who you are, and when it comes to you, what I experience on daily basis are not butterflies anymore. They are fully grown vultures, like those in the photos above, and they will nest in my stomach, heart and brain forever. I should start charging them rent.)
So butterflies. I know some of you will go like: “awwww, she has a heart”. No, I don’t, I have control issues. As in, I hate to emotionally depend on something that is I out of my control. Let it be clear that I have no desire to control other people. Let’s talk about the insects a little more. There are two species of butterflies: the exciting ones and those that make you anxious. Mine are of the annoying kind. I would love nothing more than to feel excited and restless with anticipation, waiting for the moment the special someone walks through the door, but this is not the case. Not being able to distinguish between hunger and nausea, because I laid all my cards on the table and am now impatiently awaiting the sentence, is something I whole-heartedly loathe. You may object, and rightly so, that I should keep my card hidden, but you see, I am unable to do that either. Because I’d rather regret something that I have done than something I haven’t because I was too afraid. That’s why I am a terrible chess player: I refuse to meditate upon the consequences of my actions; I act and then deal with the mess. And again – I pray my readers have patience with me, I am trying to order my thoughts here – I have been through enough heartache in my life to know that whatever happens will not be dramatic, that every sorrow will eventually pass, and that the day will come when I don’t let it bother me anymore. I am aware of all this. And chances are that on every new occasion, I will let them get to me a little less, I will protect myself a little better, and the disappointment will last a little less. Hopefully. Or unfortunately, I’m still undecided on that issue. I mean, you an I are all aware that I am force-feeding you an acute episode of self pity. Because in my mind right now all men are idiots and the 1% I ever fall for are confused idiots with baggage and complications. And even if I committed and error of judgement and mistaken being nice for being interested, I know that it is no one else’s problem but mine, than no one owes me anything, that just because I happened to lose my head over someone does not mean they must lose theirs. It would just be nice if, for once, things were smooth and easy. Just once. And returning to the initial note to self, it is not set in stone that something unpleasant will happen. It’s just my natural talent to give in to anxiety (when it comes to infatuation and love – I am quite cold blooded and resolute in all other aspects of life), instead of being a rational human being and dealing with things patiently, or not dealing with them at all. But rather than wait and see what happens, I succumb to my butterflies and let them devour me. I tried to drown them in wine, have no doubt, but the little bitches can drink. I trained them too well.
Spilling the beans publicly is not chic, and I promise it will not become a recurring event. Last thing I want this blog to become is some unglamorous version of Sex and the City. I doubt my readers are interested in how I feel about love, or even how I feel at all. I should probably say something uplifting and positive, like that it’s the butterflies that make me feel alive, that it’s better to feel something rather than never feeling anything at all, and blah blah blah And on any other day I may even agree with all this, but right now, I just wish the insects left me alone and let me return to my cynical self. Then when my hormonal high wears off, I can meditate on how great it is that regardless all the disillusion there are still men who can make me feel this way. Enough of this nonsense, let’s proceed to what I do when I cannot stand myself: I go hiking.
Puerto de Navacerrada – Alto de Guaramillas (2.265 m) – La Maliciosa (2.227 m) – Manzanares el Real
Starting point: Puerto de Navacerrada mountain pass
How to get there: Bus no 691 from Madrid Moncloa station, every 15 minutes between 8 and 10 am on weekend mornings.
Length and climb: cca 20 km, 670 m climb / 1600 m descend
Difficulty: easy to intermediate (mostly because the descend is long and tiring). I hiked in January on a beautiful sunny day, but with a different weather crampons and hiking poles may be necessary. You can also hike it in the opposite direction, which is more physically demanding (and more rewarding), but I decided against it, as it was safer this way. Had I miscalculated the time necessary for the climb, I could have arrived to Puerto de Navacerrada after all the buses were already gone, while there is public transport until late at night from Manzanares, so I wasn’t risking getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Description: an absolute stunner of a hike. Everything is very straightforward. Get off the bus at puerto de Navacerrada and take either the paved concrete road or the adjacent path that leads to Bola del Mundo weather station (aka Alto de Guaramillas). From here follow the crowds to La Maliciosa. This where the climbing ends for the day, and also the point where most people turn around, because they’ll have left the car in Puerto de Navacerrada. Take the yellow-marked path and stay on it until Canto Cochino. It descends to Maliciosa Baja, and follows the Corral de los Porrones ridge, before it descends to Collado de Quebrantaherraduras and to Canto Cochino parking lot. From here follow the river Manzanares for further 3 or 4 km to the village. Easy, straightforward, well-marked. Enjoy the views. I was extremely lucky with the weather. WIkiloc more or less here.
Return: bus 724 to Madrid Plaza Castilla station
La Cabrera: I have already done hiked the same circuit on another occasion. The only difference was that instead of walking back to La Cabrera village, I took the wide gravel path from Valdemanco and continued to Bustarviejo to pay a visit to the local craft brewery and then took the bus number 725 back to Madrid from there.