Mar-May 2019, Hiking in Spain

Tue, 1 Jan 2018

Tickets for Europe trip:

$17 Greyhound bus from Reno to Oakland. Stay with friend 2 nights.

$633 for open jaw flight to/from Europe. Leave San Francisco, 3 hour layover in London, arrive Madrid, late night bus to Granada. Leave Sofia in afternoon, 20 hour overnight layover in London, arrive San Francisco in afternoon. About same price for flights as last year, without hassle of arranging separate Sofia to Madrid flight plus hotel in Madrid. Purchase via Kayak through Priceline. Because afternoon departure from Sofia, can stay in Samokov or other nearby small town and take morning bus to Sofia.

$133 for Barcelona to Kyiv, lower price and afternoon flight rather than middle of night like last year.

Postpone buying Kyiv to Sofia flight until summer.

Postpone buying San Francisco to Reno bus ticket until autumn.

$35 advance reservation through for room in Barcelona in May. Barcelona fills up early, so best reserve in advance.

$26/night for 88 nights in Kyiv, arranged with landlady via Viber conversation, same apartment as last year. Paid for week in May through AirBnb, as deposit. Will pay remainder in cash upon arrival.

Tue, 15 Jan 2019

After a week in Motel6, moved to usual America's Best just down street. Looks rundown, but much more peaceful and feels more like home. Motel6 has advantage of reliable online reservation system, so make reservation there for initial night, then cancel if room available at America's Best. Occupancy at America's Best appears lower than last January. Maybe construction boom dying down or else workers have now found permanent housing.

Wed, 30 Jan 2019

Used Turbotax app on smartphone to file taxes, then used smartphone again to set up estimated tax payments for next year, part of long term plans to minimize dependence on laptop computer in support of spending several years in Europe at a time. Though, of course, if I ever do make a base in Europe, I could simply put a laptop computer in the storage locker along with spare gear and city clothes.

Created Schwab bank account, which has 1% international ATM withdrawal fees and also acts as yet another backup bank account, so 5 banks total now. During setup of account, fraud system alerted because my IP address from San Francisco rather than Reno, due to using mobile phone, so account frozen. Took several days to resolve this issue. Who knows for what other reasons they might freeze account, which shows why having multiple bank accounts highly advisable. International ATM withdrawal fees of 2% or even 3% actually not that big an issue, since interest rates on bank accounts typically 1-2% below what I get on money-market mutual fund, so better to focus on keeping tighter control over bank balances than trying to minimize ATM fees.

Tue, 5 Feb 2019

New plan to store emergency items in crown of wide-brim hat, in case robbed of everything else while traveling: expired passport card, ATM card, micro SDcard, printout of emergency numbers (including current passport number and issuance/expiration dates), perhaps some local currency. As hat becomes increasingly worn and dirty looking, should be unattractive to robbers.

Fri, 15 Feb 2019

Reworked pants pattern. Original commercial pattern from maybe 12 years ago was large in waist and tight in hip area (designed for men with pot bellies). After expanding in hip area, too roomy, so that fabric bunched up and hung down like diaper in seat area. Later patterns again somewhat tight. Later still, went back to very roomy pattern for cutting, then fine-tuned during sewing process by progressively trimming away from seams until perfect fit, but this was time-consuming, plus very demoralizing to repeat fine-tuning effort over and over versus simply fixing pattern. Also, various refinements over the years (bartack pocket reinforcement, seat seam reinforcement, anti-abrasion patches at bottoms of legs, methods to reduce puckering on sides, reduced leg length to allow wearing barefoot, side loops, internal belt versus loops for external belt, trovato versus regular ladder lock, exact length of internal elastic, etc.) Confident in current pattern, so sewed up 10 pants, with fabric cut for 5 more in storage, and uncut fabric for another 5, since need total of 20 for probable lifetime supply on hand, based on two year replacement schedule.

Redesigned insulated jacket as jacket/pullover with button rather than zipper closure for front opening, due to problems with zipper during recent bicycle tour. Zippers convenient but liable to break in field use, and not always possible to fix like I did this time (by squeezing bottom of slider with pliers then lubricating zipper with vaseline). Only other zippers in packing list are for coinpurse and shirt. Coinpurse can be easily replaced while traveling with something similar. Shirt works well enough without zipper, plus spare shirt in packing list, so shirt zipper failure not a problem. Also, shirt frequently washed, so zipper stays clean, reducing wear and thus likelihood of zipper failing before shirt replaced, which is also frequent. Whereas with jacket, zipper failure a disaster since no spare jacket in packing list and jacket would not provide much warmth without zipper. Zipper can get dirty while doing morning pushups or during sand storms, and since infrequent cleaning, abrasion a major concern, especially since plan was to replace jacket no more frequently than every five years. Button closure very unlikely to fail, other than broken or lost button, which is easily repaired. Button closure has further advantage of being easy to open/close with one hand, in case other hand injured, whereas separating zipper not easy to close with one hand. Zipper can also catch on fabric and jam, and then be impossible to unjam with one hand. New design also easier to sew. Sewed with lightweight outer shell fabric and as pullover, since plan is to wear under spare supplex shirt. Previous jacket new as of Jan 2017, or two years ago, and used regularly since then in cold weather. Zipper was YKK. Plenty of fabric and insulation in storage, so ready to sew up spares immediately after returning from field testing new design in Europe.

Copied patterns for shirt, mittens and insulated hat to vinyl, which is easier to work with and store than paper I was using previously. Probably won't ever use shirt and mitten patterns again, but nice to have them in permanent form. Insulated hat pattern needs to be reworked, but not a difficult pattern. Jacket, pants and poncho patterns already on vinyl. Still need to rework backpack pattern.

Broke another sewing machine (feed dogs stopped moving). Bought five of these sewing machines on sale for $90 each back in 2009, but they eventually break and I have no idea how to fix them myself. Based on appearance of incompetence at service shop I once visited here in Reno, probably waste of time and money trying to get someone else to fix them. Threw broken machine in dumpster and replaced with one of two remaining spares in storage locker.

After throwing or giving away several loads of items no longer needed, became apparent that I'm not too far from finishing lifetime inventory project, and that inventory will not occupy too much space. Would have been nice to have accumulated this inventory long ago, and avoided so much redesigning and resewing, but no way to do that without field experience of what I really want from gear and what works and what doesn't.

Mon, 25 Feb 2019

Bus to San Francisco, stay with friend. Greyhound service between Reno and California cancelled last week, due to winter storms, but luckily weather milder since last Thursday, so highway clear this morning, though another big load of snow forecast for tonight and tomorrow. What to do if, in the future, I can't get to San Francisco for my flight? One more reason to minimize travel between USA and Europe by staying several years at a time in Europe. Definitely need to avoid temptation to travel same day between Reno and San Francisco as day of flight to Europe.

Wed, 27 Feb 2019

Depart San Francisco in evening. Didn't bother wrapping backpack in plastic.

Thu, 28 Feb 2019

Not much sleep during flight. €5 for metro, since already had reusable card. Otherwise, would have been additional €2.50. Discarded card upon arrival at bus station, since won't need it again until next year.

Bought SIM at Movistar kiosk inside El Corte Inglés department store next to south bus station, open until 22:00. Arrived at kiosk at 21:35, left at 21:50. €15 for 2GB for 28 days, plus €15 account balance for voice calls, €30 total. Next year, try discount service LycaMobile, which has sales kiosk inside bus station which advertises €10/month plan with 3GB of data allowance eligible for roaming, which I assume means Movistar network available.

€52 for express bus to Granada, leaving 02:15, arriving 06:45. Only 1 seat left. Expensive express bus normally has many vacancies, but full today because of Día de Andalucía festival in Granada. Another vacancy on 08:00 bus, arriving 13:00, for €19. Try buying ticket in advance next year, or arrive few days before Día de Andulucía (always 28 February). Definitely need plan for spending night in Madrid if no seats available on night buses, then next day to get to Granada, next night in Dúrcal.

Fri, 01 Mar 2019

Little or no sleep during bus ride. Big meal in park with food from supermarket. Last meal was Wednesday morning, so about 36 hours fasting, after subtracting 9 hours time difference.

€300 from Caja Rural Granada ATM, €1.50 fee, $345 from Capitalone (Visa Plus network). Same ATM rejected Schwab card because it sent savings rather than checking as account type in message to bank, even though I selected "current account" as type on ATM screen. Learned this upon calling Schwab (via Skype) to investigate problem.

€300 from ABanca ATM, €1.50 fee, $342.69 from Schwab (Mastercard Cirrus network). Schwab supposedly reimburses ATM fees. If so, then use Schwab as primary ATM card henceforth.

Note that BBVA wanted €6 ATM fee and Santander wanted €5, both for €300 from CapitalOne. Cancelled both transactions.

Bus to Niguelas for €3 (route 360). Bus stop in Granada moved around corner from where it used to be, to south side of Paseo de Violón, next to Parque de Bomberos Sur.

While still in Granada, made advance reservation at Hotel Lanjarón, €24, to avoid any nasty surprise regarding first night's stay. Arrived at hotel at 16:30.

Sat, 02 Mar 2019

Slept well, confirming previous experience that staying mostly awake and fasting during air/bus travel, then eating big breakfast first morning after final arrival, but no more food that day, helps to overcome jet lag.

Decided to stay another day in Lanjarón. Muscles feel a little sore, but mostly want to allow recovery time for feet, since yesterday first significant hiking in new pair of boots. Also need to overcome remaining jet lag. Bought food for tomorrow.

Sun, 03 Mar 2019

Stayed up late last night reading frightening article about how global warming might be much worse than even worst previous predictions, because models haven't factored in possible loss of cloud cover. New prediction for 12°C global average warming, implying most of planet barren desert. Perhaps small number of humans will survive in Antarctica and high mountains. Melting permafrost and consequent release of methane will accelerate warming in near future. Should see crop failures, mega storms and mass human migrations as soon as 2030. Probably will take death of billions of people in tropics and/or nuclear war somewhere before militaries react by taking over governments and then undertaking massive worldwide climate engineering projects. Maybe won't need my lifetime gear inventory after all, or rather maybe my lifetime will be shorter than anticipated. Maybe should add some painless means of committing suicide to packing list, to escape slow death by starvation.

Skipped morning yoga, other than pushups, due to lack of sleep, but didn't feel tired while hiking. Some cold symptoms however: runny nose, scratchy throat, occasional sneezing. Beautiful weather.

€29 for single room at Hostal Las Terrazas de la Alpujarra in Bubión.

Mon, 04 Mar 2019

Headache most of night from illness of some sort, diminished towards morning. Maybe reaction to dark chocolate, which I are too much of these past few days after eating very little during recent months in USA. Runny nose and scratchy throat continue, but neither severe.

Dirt road route to Trevélez, shortest and easiest route, coinciding with GR240 at start and end but near 1700m contour otherwise. €20 at Hostal Fernandez.

Tue, 05 Mar 2019

Cold symptoms continue, but at least headache much diminished. €20 at Pensión Cadí in Cádiar.

Wed, 06 Mar 2019

Slept long and well. Cold symptoms much diminished. €25 at Pensión El Tinao in Yegen.

Thu, 07 Mar 2019

Slept well again and cold symptoms almost entirely gone. Camped at usual spot 2km north of Bayárcal, on trail itself.

Fri, 08 Mar 2019

30€ at Hostal LaBella in La Calahorra.

Sat, 09 Mar 2019

Store in La Calahorra under new ownership and much better stocked than previous years. Bought 3 days food there rather than going to Alcudia de Guadix for supplies like last year. Beautiful weather: blue sky, no wind, warm. Camped in pine grove about 10km from La Calahorra, so very short day.

Sun, 10 Mar 2019

Bought fruit at outdoor market in Charches. Picked up 2L water at Fuente de la Fraguara then camped at usual spot about 15km past Charches, so another short day. Weather continues beautiful.

Mon, 11 Mar 2019

Picked up 2L in morning at Fuente de Don Diego and 2.5L at Fuente del Olvido, just before Centro Narváez, in afternoon. Very little snow left at high elevations and fuentes running slow, so evidently not much snow this year. Last year, deep snow at pass on this date. Camped in pines 2km past Centro Narváez.

Tue, 12 Mar 2019

€50 for 2 nights at Hostal Casa Grande in Baza.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019

Camped at usual spot amid pines, about 10km before Benamaurel.

Fri, 15 Mar 2019

Warm sunny day. Painful corn on outsides of right big and small toes. Whole body feels tired for some reason, even though packweight and distance hiked each day both consistently low since starting trip. Maybe just getting old. €25 at Hostal Montecarlo in Cúllar.

Sat, 16 Mar 2019

Slept poorly, maybe from hard pillow initially which I replaced in middle of night with softer pillow from closet, or maybe another mild illness. Skipped morning yoga. Tired all day. Camped in pine forest 2km before Orce. Sounds of boar sniffing around after sunset.

Sun, 17 Mar 2019

Slept long and well. Decided to remain in forest another day. Need more recovery time for corn on foot and for mild illness that caused headache yesterday. Plus weather too nice to be cooped up in hotel room. Walked to Orce and back for water.

Mon, 18 Mar 2019

Woke up in middle of night, then difficulty getting back to sleep, perhaps because of too much dark chocolate eaten earlier. Nevertheless, felt refreshed and strong in morning. Took risky step yesterday of slicing away some of corn on right little toe using pocket knife, in addition to continuing with safer method of smoothing down both little and big toes using rocks, as I've been doing for several days now. Corns less painful today. Should have broken in boots better back in Reno. €25 at Hostal Ruta del Sur in Huéscar.

Tue, 19 Mar 2019

Camped 8km north of town in pine forest.

To be continued...

Mon, 27 May 2019

Bus to Barcelona.

Tue, 28 May 2019

Flight to Kyiv.

Comments and Statistics


Not counting initial night on bus, total of 88 nights in Spain, of which tbc% or tbc nights wild camping, and tbc% or tbc nights in hotels. tbc€ total hotel expenses, or average of tbc€/night for nights in hotels.

tbc€ on hand upon arrival, tbc€ from ATMs (not counting ATM and currency conversion fees), tbc€ on hand upon departure, so tbc€ total expenses, about tbc€/day for 88 days.