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 booking.com 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 a storage locker there.

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.

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).

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 booking.com 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.

Wed, 20 Mar 2019

Corns on right foot mostly gone, but now blisters on right little toe. Poked with needle to let fluid out. Not sure why so much trouble with right foot this year. Right boot similar to left, no irregularities inside either, plenty of room to wiggle toes in both boots.

Nalgene 125ml HDPE bottle used to hold repair kit is cracking. Several times previously over past ten years, similar cracking of identical bottle used to hold shampoo. So it's not something in shampoo causing cracking, as I thought originally, but rather simple aging of plastic. Replace all bottles annually henceforth (3 x 125ml bottles and 2 x 30ml bottles in toiletries/repair sack, plus all water bottles).

€25 at Hostal Puerta de Andalucía in Puebla de Don Fadique.

Thu, 21 Mar 2019

Decided to take rest day to allow blisters on little right toe to heal. Drained blisters several times last night and again this morning. Soaked right boot in water before going out in morning for walk around town, to soften leather and allow it to stretch where touching toe. Though as noted yesterday, feels like plenty of room for toes in boot, but maybe not and I just can't tell.

Fri, 22 Mar 2019

Fuente working at Cañada de la Cruz. Loaded up with 2.5L. Don't need much water, since cool temps. Continued problems with right foot. Maybe changed gait somehow since October, when last hiking in Bulgaria. Last year about this time I had heel problems due to insoles. Slightest thing wrong gets amplified massively where feet and hiking are concerned.

Sat, 23 Mar 2019

Blister on little right toe dry in morning. Made effort to walk same way with right as left foot, which mostly ended problem of big and little right toes rubbing sides of boot, though existing blisters and remainder of corns still causing pain. Blisters not much worse at end than beginning of day. €20 at Pensión Nevaza in El Sabinar. Bought food for tomorrow, since stores closed then.

Sun, 24 Mar 2019

Loud electronic music from nearby rave all last night. Not too bad with windows closed. Fuente barely running at La Risca. Carry all necessary water from El Sabinar next year. Camped at usual spot just before Camping La Puerta.

Outside of right little toe, where corn occurred, feels fine after day of walking more carefully. So boots definitely big enough and problem was with walking style, which was tending towards fallen arch on right foot for some reason. Still some issues with right big toe. Also some minor blisters on middle right toe, which I drained in evening.

Noticed some small holes in tarp, not sure what from.

Mon, 25 Mar 2019

No more problems with little right toe. Blisters on middle right toe, which I drained in evening. Continued soreness on outside of big right toe. Right foot has always been weaker than left, with tendency towards pronation, fallen arch, and bunion. Camped at usual spot, in barranco about midway between Moratalla and Calasparra.

Tue, 26 Mar 2019

€400 from Sabadell ATM in Calasparra with €4.50 ATM fee, $458.42 from Schwab (Mastercard Cirrus network), about 1.3% or €5.29 from mid-market rate.

Made hotel reservation in Cieza for tomorrow. Left Calasparra with 4.6L water and 1 day food. Camped at usual spot.

Right foot much better today, almost back to normal. Clear now that problem was changed gait, not boots. Still not sure how gait got messed up.

Wed, 27 Mar 2019

€55 at Hospedería San Sebastian. Right foot similar to yesterday.

Thu, 28 Mar 2019

Started up late reading internet forums, so not enough sleep and mild headache in morning. Drank 2L with breakfast, then left town with 5.5L water and 2 kilos food. Plan to go slow, so as to reach Elda Sunday. Camped usual spot about 15km from Cieza. Skipped daily hour of Russian study for first time in months, though did manage some reading on Russian. Right foot almost back to normal.

Fri, 29 Mar 2019

Picked up water at Torre del Rico, then camped 2km further on.

Finally realizing that lifetime gear inventory accumulation project is symptom of hoarding disorder mental illness. More on this topic later...

Sat, 30 Mar 2019

Camped at usual site on side of La Safra hill.

Sun, 31 Mar 2019

Rain steady last night and all today. Decided to take zero day. Fasted and also drank no water, so as to preserve 2L in bottles for tomorrow. Break in rain in early evening, long enough to do some calisthenics.

Schwab reimbursed $5.10 of ATM fees totaling 6€ for month, or about $6.72.

Mon, 01 Apr 2019

Rain finally stopped during night. €36 for single occupancy of double room at Hostal Santa Ana in Elda. Made reservation via booking.com for Alcoy and confirmed Casas de Benalí is open next week.

Tue, 02 Apr 2019

Slept poorly with mild headache upon awakening. Almost certain cause was bar of chocolate eaten yesterday afternoon. First chocolate in about a week, since I'd previously suspected I'm becoming hypersensitive to caffeine, so that even the slightest amount upsets my sleep, and so decided to give it up entirely. But then yesterday had a sudden craving and couldn't resist...

Camped on abandoned forest road on way to Castalla. Rain during night, heavy at times.

Wed, 03 Apr 2019

Camped on abandoned terrace on way to Santuario de la Font Roja.

GPS keeps hanging so that I have to power down and restart smartphone to fix. Swiched from high-accuracy (satellites plus telecom network) to satellites only, but that didn't fix problem, nor did reinstalling Locus app. Starting Locus app each time I use it, then stopping app before putting phone in sleep mode, does seem to help, though maybe just an illusion. Problem does not occur with spare phone, though didn't test extensively with spare.

Thu, 04 Apr 2019

€40 at Hostal Savoy in Alcoy. Replacing chocolate with cookies, especially chocolate chip cookies, during town stops. My addiction is more to sugar than chocolate.

Fri, 05 Apr 2019

Cold rain in afternoon, so put on pullover and poncho and continued walking. Poncho now field tested as fully waterproof, in addition to test in shower at motel after sewing and seam sealing. Of course legs still got wet. Camped at usual spot, taking advantage of lull in rain to set up tarp without getting gear soaked. Sleet during night.

Font Mariola running very slow, but able to collect 1.5L, so 2.5L upon arrival at camp for use tomorrow. Had fuente been completely dry, still could have made it to Bocairent, just without full breakfast. Carried 2.5L out of Alcoy, after drinking 2L with breakfast, in anticipation of dry fuente. Very dry this year in Spain, at least until this last week.

Sat, 06 Apr 2019

One of vents on side of right boot came off. Inner piece of vent inside boot this morning, so must have come loose yesterday while hiking.

Rained stopped during night. Cool and windy in morning. Broke camp late to allow sun to get over trees and dry tarp and warm things up, then skipped exercises. Bought supplies in Bocairent. Drank 1.5L water with lunch and left town with 4.5L, to allow going slow to Vallada. More rain on way out of town, later dry and cool, cloudy sky. Camped right on muddy trail because unsure as to conditions ahead for camping. 10km further on is usual camp on trail itself, but that too far today because of late start and slow going due to mud. Very windy in evening, with occasional rain or hail. As luck would have it, trail runner passed about 8pm, or about half hour before sunset, heading towards Bocairent. Hopefully no visit from Guardia Civil tonight. Definitely need to get moving early tomorrow. [Next day: much better campsites 5km further on, both on trail itself or just off trail and possibly stealth sites as well.]

Blister on big toe of left foot, first problems with left foot for this trip. Drained blister in evening. Maybe changed gait of right foot somehow screwed up gait on left foot? Speaking of which, right foot now pain-free other than occasional bumps of sore spot on big toe. Occurred to me that sore spot might be gout.

Sun, 07 Apr 2019

Furious winds during night, diminishing by morning, but still breezy. Cool temps, with partly cloudy sky. Skipped morning exercises again. Wind dried up mud some, so easier walking than yesterday. Right foot relapsed into bad gait while going steeply uphill, and both big and small toes starting hurting. After steep section, everything okay again. Camped about 5km from Vallada. Nice campsite, stealthy, sheltered from wind by pines.

Mon, 08 Apr 2019

Bought supplies in Vallada. Confirmed Casas de Benalí open. Left Vallada with 4.5L water and 2.5 days food, after drinking 2L with lunch. Groups of boar snorting about several times during night.

Tue, 09 Apr 2019

Plastic cracked on lower external cam lock of hiking stick. Since lower pole segment is fully inserted into middle segment, lower cam does not bear weight but rather merely prevents lower segment from falling out. Able to fix by using duct tape to hold lower pole segment in place.

€51 at Casas de Benalí, including dinner and breakfast (reduced rate for hikers, worth at least twice this price). Strong winds and rain during night.

Wed, 10 Apr 2019

Dog followed me from Casas de Benalí, despite me giving him no encouragement. Tried to chase him away several times. Thought I lost him when we passed some goats protected by goatherd and one dog, and again thought I lost him several times when he ran ahead and took a wrong turn. But easy for him to backtrack and follow my scent. Finally lost him at Collado Caroche. What a relief!

Overcast, breezy and cool all day, with occasional light drizzle. Camped in usual spot. Long day, about 39km (about 24 miles) according to Locus app. Recall that I routinely walked 20+ miles per day on both Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails, both more difficult than today's hike: more elevation change, heavier pack. Used same model and size boots as now, without all the problems I'm having now with right foot, which is acting up again. Maybe just getting old. AT and PCT hikes were eight to ten years ago. Pyrenees hikes (using different footwear) also more difficult than what I do now. Those were maybe fifteen years ago.

No longer having GPS problems with smartphone now that I always close Locus app before switching phone to sleep mode.

Thu, 11 Apr 2019

Hostal Chema in Cortes de Pallás full from construction workers replacing sewerage lines under road. €18 for room with shared bath at Hostal Fortunato. Planned to stay 2 nights, so as to get to Requena Monday, but both hostals full tomorrow, so just go slow next three days.

Sent email to owner of Casas de Benalí about dog. He reported that dog returned home that evening and thanked me for taking him on a nice long walk.

Fri, 12 Apr 2019

Made booking.com reservation for Monday for Requena. Ate 1 day food, drank 2.5L water, left town with 2L water and 2 days food. Drank most of water I was carrying because of heat. Camped on trail itself about 4km before Venta Gaeta. Group of people came by to inspect recent trail improvements shortly after I set up camp. Talked briefly to them.

Sat, 13 Apr 2019

Parts of trail before and after Venta Gaeta still overgrown when I passed through last April, but trail crew evidently finished clearing job since then, since trail now completely clear for first time since I initially came through in 2010. This was always among the most overgrown sections of the GR7. Section south of Casas de Benalí was also very overgrown in 2010 and 2014 but clear in 2016 and still clear now.

Ate day's worth of bread and cheese and drank 3L water at Venta Gaeta. Carried 4.5L water out of town. Camped at usual spot in field one km before Mijares.

Right foot finally almost back to normal, after month of continual problems. I think what happened is that somehow gait got messed up this past winter and that caused initial injury. Gait then became messed up in a different way to protect initially injured area, which caused injury to another part of foot, and so on. Because I was constantly hiking, all these injuries were slow to heal because they kept being reinjured.

Sun, 14 Apr 2019

Picked up water and some food at store at El Rebollar rest stop. Camped on way to Requena.

Mon, 15 Apr 2019

€33 at Hotel Avenida in Requena.

€400 from CajaMar ATM in Requena with €4 ATM fee, $457.61 from Schwab (Mastercard Cirrus network), about 1.1% or €4.55 from mid-market rate.

Tue, 16 Apr 2019

Loaded up with 4.5L water at Villar de Olmos, after drinking 2L there with lunch and 2L earlier with breakfast. Mild sunny weather, so water consumption at least 4L per day. Camped at usual spot, halfway to Chelva.

Wed, 17 Apr 2019

Met another guy hiking GR7 north, going to Benegéber tonight. Not too talkative but sounded British from what he did say. Semana Santa this week, so called hotel while still 2km from Chelva to check for vacancy. Was prepared to camp if not. Verified store open tomorrow and then bought two days food anyway, just in case someone comes in and buys everything up before then. Always be cautious during Semana Santa. €30 at La Posada de Chelva.

Thu, 18 Apr 2019

Splitting headache in morning after eating big chocolate bar yesterday evening. Clearly I have developed some sort of allergy to chocolate. I've also mostly lost my appetite for chocolate and only ate that bar yesterday because I wanted to add some fat and sugar to my diet. Should have eaten some olives and fruit instead. Skipped morning exercises. Felt better a few hours later. Light drizzle in afternoon, hard rain and hail in evening. Left Chelva with 2.5L water and 2 days food, after drinking 2L with food. Camped at usual spot 1km before fuente of Alcotas.

Backpack fabric disintegrating where it rubs against back. Will try to patch with duct tape once everything dry again. Should make it through Spain, not sure about Bulgaria. Should have replaced in January.

Fri, 19 Apr 2019

Rained all last night, continued raining hard all morning, finally slowing to light drizzle in late afternoon. During lull, walked to nearby Alcotas fuente for 2L water, then did rowing and pushups calisthenics. Many years ago on the Appalachian trail, I routinely packed up and proceeded forwards in much worse conditions than this (colder, heavier rain) but now I've become lazy. Decided to return to Chelva tomorrow, buy 3 days food, then camp at same spot again or maybe 5km back. Should have simply carried 4 days food out of Chelva originally, to be prepared for rain, since rain was forecast.

Sat, 20 Apr 2019

Wind sounded furious in pine trees above last night, but tarp sheltered by same trees, so slept well. Dry in morning then some rain around midday, then dry again, with wind gradually diminishing. Walked to Chelva and back for 3 days supplies, plus food for today. Town crowded with visitors.

Sun, 21 Apr 2019

Easter Sunday. Camped 1km north of Andilla, just off trail. Site not at all stealthy, but probably not important, since weather likely to deter day hikers. Advantage was shelter from strong north wind, whereas sites higher up would be exposed.

Finished "Азазель" (English title "The Winter Queen") by Boris Akunin, my first modern Russian novel.

Mon, 22 Apr 2019

Wind much diminished in morning, almost gone by evening. Occasional drizzle all day, but never enough to require poncho. No rooms at Fonda in Bejís, so loaded up with 2L water, proceeded another 10km, camped in pine forest. I was carrying extra food, precisely in anticipation of arriving at Bejís with hotel full and stores closed for midday break or perhaps closed all day because Easter Monday. Because May 1 falls on Wednesday this year, many people probably taking longer than usual Easter holiday but doing nothing for May 1, hence big crowd back in Chelva and full fonda in Bejís.

Tue, 23 Apr 2019

Cloudy all day, with occasional very light drizzle. 30€ single occupancy at Hostal Pilar in Montán. Patched up backpack using duct tape to cover tears, then stitched duct tape in place.

Wed, 24 Apr 2019

Hostal very quiet, probably because no other guests now that Semana Santa crowd has gone home. Gorged on food from grocery to make up for not eating enough yesterday, then camped at usual spot about 2km from fuente where GR7 leaves road to Montán.

Thu, 25 Apr 2019

Rained last night but clear all day until after setting up tarp in evening, when light rain resumed. Another short day, campsite on trail itself, a few km past Montanejos.

Fri, 26 Apr 2019

Found adult tick bitten in on stomach in morning. Did inspection but found no other ticks. Ticks on me before after sitting in this area for rest break, so probably should avoid camping here in future. Bought some more food in San Vicente, to supplement what was in pack. While setting up camp, about 1km from town, old man walking his dog asked what I was up to. Told him I was going to Villahermosa tomorrow, since too late for today. Rave nearby during night with loud and bad music, so slept poorly. Felt something crawling on me while lying awake. Seized it, turned on smartphone to inspect: another adult tick. Got up and carried tick ten meters from tarp to get rid of it, since no rocks nearby to crush it with.

Sat, 27 Apr 2019

30€ at Hostal Ruta de Aragón in Villahermosa del Río. Arrived about 13:00, so able to buy food for tomorrow at store, wash up, eat lunch at hostal restaurant. Did another tick inspection after shower: found nothing.

Sun, 28 Apr 2019

Camped amid pines a few km past Sant Joan de Penyagolosa.

Mon, 29 Apr 2019

Bought food in Vistabella and camped on way to Culla. Made booking.com reservation in Benasal for tomorrow, because holiday Wednesday, though I doubt hotel will be full.

Tue, 30 Apr 2019

33€ at Hotel La Piqueta in Benasal. Bought food in advance for next two days since stores closed tomorrow.

Schwab reimbursed $4.53 of ATM fees totaling 4€ for month, or about $4.47.

Wed, 01 May 2019

Finally finished adding new cards for Anki Russian Spoonfed deck, after eight months of an hour per day effort. Daily Anki effort will reduce significantly starting tomorrow and then further reduce over next few weeks, as remaining young cards become mature, meaning less frequent reviewing.

Left Ares del Maestre with 4.5L water. Camped at usual spot, on terraces a few km further north. Rained during the night.

Thu, 02 May 2019

30€ at Hostal Muralla in Morella. While lying on bed, noticed adult tick bitten in on my buttock.

Fri, 03 May 2019

Camped amid pines, several km before Boixar. Light rain during night.

Sat, 04 May 2019

Found tick bitten in on ankle in morning. Not blood engorged yet, so maybe picked it up while stepping out of tarp to piss few hours earlier. From near Refugi de Font Ferrara, took shorter forest road route to Beceite, west of Coscollosa. rather than GR8.

Sun, 05 May 2019

Windy all night. Tarp protected by pines and shrubs, but lots of noise in treetops. Woke up feeling very tired, combination of lack of sleep and carb depletion from not eating enough. 22€ for bunk in 6 person dorm, empty other than me, at Albergue Casa de l'Aigua in Beceite.

Framed quote on wall of albergue (in Spanish, my translation follows): "All our discontent at what we lack results from lack of gratitude for what we have"—Daniel Defoe.

Mon, 06 May 2019

€400 from IberCaja ATM in Beceite, $448.32 from Schwab (Mastercard Cirrus network), about .21% or €.84 from mid-market rate.

Camped on terraced pasture after Fuentespalda. Smartphone GPS working much better now that temperatures are warmer. Maybe cold causes problems with GPS electronics.

Tue, 07 May 2019

Camped at usual spot 3km before Monroyo.

Wed, 08 May 2019

Pulled back muscle doing morning exercises. Camped on partly overgrown terraces on way to Aguaviva.

Thu, 09 May 2019

Skipped most of morning exercises, other than pushups and squats, due to hurt back. 25€ at Hotel Altabella in Aguaviva. Bought food for next three days.

Fri, 10 May 2019

Back pain continues, but able to perform most morning exercises, though skipped rowing and only partial back bridge. Camped at usual spot on old terrace shaded by pines after Casas de Alconzal, which has fuente, though carried 2L from Las Planas as precaution.

Sat, 11 May 2019

Back pain mostly gone. Camped 1km before Puente del Vado. After setting up tarp, spotted adult tick crawling on backpack. Crushed with rock. Lots of cow patties nearby. Area probably resting spot for cows in summer, thus tick-infested.

Sun, 12 May 2019

Bee attacked and stung my arm, then more bees attacked later because of scent left behind by first bee, but thankfully no more stings. Didn't notice any bee hives nearby. 20€ at Fonda Villarluengo.

Mon, 13 May 2019

Slept poorly, so decided to stay another night at Fonda.

Tue, 14 May 2019

Camped on plateau after ascending from Río Pitarque. Going slow so as to reach Teruel Monday.

Wed, 15 May 2019

Lunch at multiservicio in Cañada de Benatanduz. Camped on way to Fortanete.

Thu, 16 May 2019

Camped on way to Valdelinares.

Fri, 17 May 2019

Rain then wet snow in early morning, with wind from northwest and much colder temperatures. Remained under tarp until past noon, to delay arrival in Valdelinares. 25€ at Hostal Damian.

Sat, 18 May 2019

Bought several days food in Alcalá de la Selva. Camped on terraces on way to Cedrillas. Hail in evening.

Sun, 19 May 2019

Camped near Escriche. Bad location on open terrace, hence direct sun in early morning, so will be forced to get up sooner than normal tomorrow. Light rain in evening.

Mon, 20 May 2019

154€ (22€/day) at Hostal Aragon in Teruel, single room with shared bath.

Tue, 21 May 2019

Bought bus ticket to Barcelona.

Wed, 22 May 2019

Landlady on Kyiv not sure as to whether city shoes I left behind last year still in apartment, so bought another pair here in Teruel for 40€ (on sale) Also bought another dress shirt for 40€.

Thu, 23 May 2019

Sunk another 15€ into Movistar, which expires tomorrow. Definitely use another carrier next year with 30 day service intervals instead of this bullshit 28 days.

Mon, 27 May 2019

32€ for bus to Barcelona. 30€ (paid previously through booking.com) for room in Cal Ganxet lodging house. Fasting both today and tomorrow, so 60 hours in fasting state, since last meal yesterday at noon, maybe 10 hours to digest meal, won't eat again until about 10am Wednesday.

Tue, 28 May 2019

Flight to Kyiv.

Comments and Statistics

Very enjoyable trip overall. Problem areas:

Not counting initial night on bus, total of 88 nights in Spain, of which 58% or 51 nights wild camping, and 42% or 37 nights in hotels. 947€ total hotel expenses, or average of 26€/night for nights in hotels.

€175 on hand upon arrival, 1800€ from ATMs (not counting ATM and currency conversion fees), 135€ on hand upon departure, so 1840€ total expenses, about 21€/day for 88 days. Hard to spend money anymore.