The Cabo de Gata | No Mad's Land
No Mad's Land

The Cabo de Gata

Palmier nuit

After a difficult month alone to face the climatic elements and climb one by one the mountains from north to south, this is happy and relieved that I finally arrived, after a difficult final but beautiful ascent between Lucainena de las Torres and to Nijar, in my first appointment HelpX. This support network is now as popular as Woofing, and I was surprised to discover how it was difficult to get a place at the inhabitant so such competition between the contenders is important. Many people use the network HelpX to travel abroad or within their own country, in search of exchanges and experiences, or simply to find a bed and free meals. Some people spend all their time jumping from house to house, a way of life almost free in exchange for a few hours of work a day. I expected there to met only young travelers, but I’m surprised to find people of all generations. The reasons that motivate them are multiple, and stories from all horizons.
Unfortunately, my joy is short-lived because, after only four days, I was requested to leave due to incompatibility of character and way of living and thinking …

I leave deeply disappointed to have disappointed my hosts, but the 30 kilometers that separate me from the Cabo de Gata to Nijar is a relief. The sound of the wheels on the asphalt and the wind on my face evacuate all the accumulated tension in so short time. I feel free and happy again.
Nevertheless, I arrive in Cabo de Gata bitterly, feeling sad and failure filling me. For a return to work since Australia there is a few years ago, it’s a dismal failure. I question my ability to reinstate in the society, my ability to live in community. Am I so little social than that ?

For two years now and my first visit to Spain, people doesn’t stop to sell me the Cabo de Gata like a postcard, a wonderful place at particulary not missed. I’m afraid I don’t enjoy this place at fair value because of my fleeting sadness, as much as to get there, it was necessary that I go through 30 kilometers from the “Sea of ​​Plastic”. This is the nickname given to the region of Almeria where they grow among other tomatoes under hothouse on a massive scale, the same one that you will find in all supermarkets of Europe with bland taste. From the top of the mountain, the view is appalling, the Earth seems to be transformed into a white tide. Oil here has a different aspect that when a cargo ship ran aground on the shores of our beaches. Trees have scarecrow gaits, also completely covered with plastic, the wind taking them in all directions.

To try to evacuate the pressure, I sit on the beach near the small fishing port. I then walk along a few restaurants while observing local play, Beach Tennis. Curious, I approach and follows a long discussion on mutual aid with Pablo, a young Spanish father who also occasionally travelling by bike in his country. The night approaching, he naturally show me, close from the small town, a palm grove where I could bivouac. I will install my bedroom for a week, with open roof, under the stars, in this idyllic environment giving rise to the contemplation of a different sunset every night. I feeling hope again.

The next day, after a few kilometers of cycling between salines and the beach, I come to do some repairs on the bike on the boardwalk. It was there that appear two angels, Niels and Maria, a Dutch couple of my age who invite me initially to share their bench intrigued by my bike, then a long discussion till to the end of the night in their van. This meeting is saving for me, more than to make me forget my sadness, this will fill me with joy and of happiness of the exchange on the anniversary of my car accident 3 years ago before. I am definitively better on this beach to remake the World than at work to make cement for renovating an old building …
Together we will wander casually around for a few days, sharing some meals but mostly a lot of ideas and discussions about the World in which we live. Our favorite theme, repeatedly, is this insatiable need of freedom. The family is another theme that we address in many ways.

When the urge to ride, it’s a good sign, takes me finally, I ‘m going to explore more deeply the Cabo de Gata Natural Park while until now I only stayed in the city with the same name.
A first climb to 10% slope takes me to the lighthouse who disappoints me. A worker who nibbling the mountain with an oversized jackhammer to widen the road calls me and our short exchange decides me to push further my exploration. I’m gonna over to where cars can’t venture to get from the other side of the Sierra de Gata in the village of San Jose. But before to be on the stony track overlooking the volcanic formations where the waves crashing, I must cross a final difficulty, not least, ride a hill of 22% incline on one kilometers. Go go go !!!

At the foot of the climb, while the slope isn’t yet at its peak, providence has chosen to put on my road two new angels. A car overtake me, stops, reverses, stops at my height and the driver talks to me in Spanish that I didn’t understand at the beginning, already dripping with sweat whereas the ascent is just starting. Without knowing, I had just met those who will offer to me my second night of hospitality after two full months of solitary bivouac. They gently explain me again what they have tried to say before, and offer me to take all my stuff in the trunk of their car so I ride an empty bike to climb the hill. Finally, without loading, it was not so hard.
Once up, having caught my breath, I refound them in an exchange of smiles and hugs, followed by a beer and one of the most refreshing view …
In the discussion, the appointment was made, I will find them again two days later to the west of Almeria, where again, bike empty, in the dark, I will climb a much longer and difficult ascent than I had just done where I met them. They confess me later that they thought I didn’t know what I was doing and how the road that I tried to borrow was hard … but if I knew and it’s perhaps even worse. Thank you to Dani and Caty …

Short, when I had left for the first time, I resumed my exploration of Cabo de Gata National Park and committed myself this time in a steep and tricky descent in the direction of the tourist town of San José perched between the mountain and the sea​​, without forget to enjoy the beautiful deserted beaches along the way …
The season is suitable. The village enjoy the quiet of winter and the warmth of those days. Everything here is a little greener than elsewhere, it’s nice, especially as the scenery embellishes. This put the balm to the heart and I decided to go back tell that to my Dutch friends eagerly. We will share one last evening with a farewell meal (or not) followed by a final night under the stars in my palm grove before definitively hit the road again.

The Southern Spain, more accustomed to foreigners as people told me, is more welcoming. Helping by sun, the atmosphere is more relaxed. In the North, you must break through the thick carapace of people before discovering a huge heart, one that allows them to keep the strength to continue to fight for their independence after so many years …

Finally, the Cabo de Gata Natural Park has kept all its promises, but what would it be without all these nice meetings ?

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