So my days in Valencia came to an end. Thursday, which was very much my Friday, came about and I had gone drinking. I did as I had the previous Thursday, I met with Jon and found the students next to the beach. We danced at the beachside club Akuarela and stumbled home. This time however, with it being my last day, I had got a little more drunk. I’m not sure what time I got back to Marcella’s flat and passed out on my sofa-bed but I woke up in the morning with a message from a BlaBla car I had booked the day before: “where are you?” I had booked the ride for 9:00, I woke up at 9:05, with no BlaBla car. Hung-over and still a little drunk my mind didn’t tell me to relax, book another one in an hour or so and chill-out. Instead it said: QUICK, LEAVE, WE NEED TO GO TO MADRID. Whilst nursing my dizzy head on the coach after rushing to the bus station and booking the earliest Westward coach, I wondered why.
For a few days I had been pondering over how to spend my free week. It was Friday 29th of August. I had a flight booked from Madrid to Bristol on Wednesday September 10th, the day before my Graduation. Between them dates, I was free. I had very little money; my bank account had gone from -600 to -1200 in the 3 months I’d spent in Valencia. Considering I’d had free accommodation that entire time and had earned 160 euros, it my lifestyle had hardly been modest.
My mind asked two things: first, could I stay in Madrid with Atlas? That was dismissed by her as soon as it was suggested. Secondly, should I go home? It seemed pretty logical; save money, relax, see family. As logical as it seemed, another voice encouraged me to explore. Not for the first time, Atlas egged me on to do something more than just sit on my ass. So instead of going home, I decided I would go walking. My diet hadn’t been great in Valencia but my almost daily runs in the Mediterranean heat had made me fitter than I had felt in years. Use the strength, I thought to myself, go on a 7 day hike.
My first plan was to walk from Bilbao to Gijon along the north coast. I’d heard many good things about the beauty of the North so I wanted to see it for myself. My second idea was to hike through the Pyrenees. I’d missed the mountains, I loved mountain landscapes and I hadn’t been in so long. After careful consideration, Huesca to San Sebastian might have been too much to chew. Finally, I settled on Bilbao to San Sebastian. This way I had the best of all worlds: mountains, sea and cities. I jotted down the names of some campsites along the coast, booked a BlaBla car from Madrid to Bilbao for the Sunday and an Air BnB in San Sebastian exactly 7 days later. It was set, adventure booked.