So we did this!! The birthday present for my dear kitchen colleague Tamzin aka chocho was a paragliding flight! And of course she couldn't go on her own! So Mary (who refused to hold the stick during the flight and has no photos/videos), Somesh and I joined her - and it was fabulous!!
Each of us flew a different route with our guide which was really cool. We started in the nearby village El Bosque, a perfect spot for hanglider and paraglider. We saw quite a lot of them over the cliffs (their advantage was that they had been flying without the motor so they got real close to the huge vultures up there. These birds get up to 2 m so that must have been so impressive! It was so cool to see the birds getting real close to the paragliders and checking out these weird plastic "birds").
But we had chosen to fly with a motor which was great too!
My flight went from El Bosque all the way to Prado del Rey which was fabulous! I could see my house :) Then we continued and flew all the way to Suryalila - how much fun was that. It was spectacular seeing Suryalila from above, those well-known buildings I work in every day. We got so low that I could spot our center manager Harry on the lawn and we were waving at each other.
This was really such a good idea, and I definitely wanna do it again!
So after the Travesia I went to the community class with Richard in the morning, being absolutely knackered. Afterwards I went home and rested a bit, but i had promised my dad to meet him later in Prado. I felt great, got me an ice cream (eating without guilt after a 17 hour hike!) and hopped on my scooter to get to town. Together with my dad we went in his rental car to Zahara de la Sierra. Just alone walking up the stairs to the restaurant felt like torture. I felt sooo tired, so we just ate an ice cream and I wanted to head back home.
On my scooter driving along the dirt road to the yoga center, I might have been a tad bit too fast.Add to that my exhaustion. Well, suddenly there appeared this hole on the road, and I couldn't stop in time. I fell hard on the ground, my scooter into the ditch.
I first just felt embarrassed, and hoped the scooter was ok. I tried to get up quickly before somebody would see me - but I couldn't. I was laying on the ground hopeless like a bug on the back, and couldn't manage to get myself up, not even in a sitting position. My arm hurt like crazy and I think I even hurt some cracking noises when I tried to move it.
I was laying there, no soul in sight. I grabbed my phone and called Richard. He came immediately on his motorbike and found me still on my back.
Another woman stopped by and checked in on us. She took a look at my arm and said it might be broken. She called an ambulance.
I felt so stupid and scared. A broken arm!? I was a chef!!! I could not work with a broken arm!
The ambulance came and very sloooowly they drove me to the hospital, Richard joined.
At the emergency room my wounds got cleaned (pretty deep and dirty ones on my left knee and left elbows - ooooooooouch). Then they x-rayed my elbow. I was crying in pain when they pulled my arm under the x-ray machine. In general they treated me pretty shitty, especially since back then I didn't have my social security card yet (I was insured though! But still we had to pay 80 Euro for the transport of the ambulance). They told me the elbow was not broken and kind of looked at me like "What's your problem really?", and then sent me home.
I was happy that nothing was broken, and hoped I could be back at work in a few days. Although my arm really really hurt. THat night I couldn't sleep at all.
The next day my dad came and had to spend his last holiday in Spain on his own. Still we believed I would be good again in a few days so in the evening we had a little party at the porch with lots of white wine and dancing.
The next day though my arm was still super painful, and my shoulder was swollen double the side.
Harry asked if they had taken a x ray of the shoulder. So we went back to the hospital, this time with our Spanish office manager for translation. Turned out they hadn't x-rayed my shoulder.
This time they did, and the doctor looked at me very apologetically when he told me my shoulder was indeed broken. In three places at the humerus bone. Oh, and so were two ribs. He was surprised that I was not in more pain (but I have a general high pain threshold).
They took an MRI to get a clearer picture of the shoulder fracture and afterwards he said I might need surgery. OH.
He wanted to talk with colleagues about my case and then call us back.
Indeed, after a few days they still suggested surgery to fix the bone with a metal plate.
I didn't know what to do. We asked a second doctor too and he said, it might heal well on it's own, but a plate might be helpful for full recovery of range of motion.
So I did go to the hospital and got surgery.
THis was my first big surgery of my life. I think I only had one minor as a child before that.
The hospital was not too bad, I shared the room with another girl. IN Spain, when you are in hospital, you are not visited by your family - your family moves in with you! This girl had her mother being with her all the time, and later her husband, also staying over night and sleeping in a chair. They pitied me for being all without family, and took care of me. The mother brought me with my drip to the toilet, and wouldn't even leave until I had finished peeing. LOvely.
I had lots of visitors from staff and volunteers, so that was nice.
But I felt so sorry I couldn't work for at least 6 weeks now. And no yoga too of course. I had just become a yoga teacher. I had become so good at yoga, and I loved it! MEH!!
After a few weeks rehab started. In the beginning I wasn't able to lift my arm at all. In many tiny steps did I get more movement back, but I never fully recovered. My shoulder stayed quite stiff.
I love hiking in nature. A good long hike always elevates my mood and makes me feel great. My dear friend and colleague Richard told me about the Travesia in Prado. This is an annual marathon hike through the Sierra de Cadiz, 66 km. In 2014 it was the 20th Travesia, and he signed up to join. I loved the idea, and not really knowing what I signed up for, I asked him to join me in.
I think we both underestimated it a bit, thinking it would simply be a day of lovely hiking in nature :) We did a few longer treks together to train (one was especially fun with us ending up in our favorite bar and drinking 4 Gin Tonic on an empty stomach after a 6 hour hike), and thought we were quite ready for this.
Two of our friends, the couple Paddy and Lidiya, would join us that day. That week my dad was over for a visit, so the poor guy had to spend the Travesia day alone.
The night before, Richard and I stayed over at Paddy's apartment in Prado (we were still livign at the yoga center 5 km from town) since the race would start at 4 am. We went to bed early and got up at 3 am, making our way to the starting line. A lot of people had gathered already, I think about 400 people joined the walk.
Then we started. We had to wait for Richard who had to run back to the apartment since he had forgotten the card where they stamp every station (to make sure you did the whole thing!), so we ended up leaving with the last bunch of people. With little torches we made our way through the night. The first part went to the neighbor village El Bosque, and we almost got lost along the way. I was surprised how fast the people went, some even jogged. And it dawned to us that people took this seriously, and this wasn't just a simple hike in nature chatting along with friends.
There was breakfast at the next station in Benamahoma, the next village. The moment we arrived, the people got told to move on (since we had left Prado so late we were at the tail of the group). There was no more coffee - panic!!! - and we just a few minutes to sit down and wolf down some of our food (of course I had to carry my own food since I didn't expect gluten and dairy free along the stations). A dear friend of ours who helped organizing the Travesia, gave us walking sticks for the next part, and dear lord, we needed them!
By then almost every meter went uphill, and I was pretty close to giving this whole thing up. But Richard and I kept walking together, chatting along, and telling each other, we would not leave each other behind (oh, we were wrong about this!).
The route was incredibly beautiful, through the Pinsapar in the Sierra de Grazalema. Only problem was we couldn't quite enjoy the view since we had to watch our every step and rush rush rush.
At lunch time we reached Grazalema for a longer stop. Richard by then had complained about his ankle which he had hurt a few nights before, dancing to reggae music on concrete (as he does). He got checked by a doctor who recommended he should not continue. So here we were. I had gotten quite in the mood now, and my competitive mind wanted to finish this whole thing!
So I left Richard behind :(
I continued walking, either on my own or with Paddy and Lidiya for some parts. After a while you get into a real meditative state, and just keep walking. The hardest part was the one after the lunch at GRazalema. We went even higher into the mountains, steep uphill. It was the longest part without a stop, and I ran out of water, and it was the hottest part of the day.
At the next stop they offered cheese (no, thanks), and Richard was there!! He was driving with the other organizers from station to station.
We continued walking through fields and hills, and along rivers and through little towns. Towards the end I even did some jogging.
At the last station I met Paddy again who told me LIdiya had to give up due to pain in her foot. We went the last bit together.
After 17 hours and 66 km we arrived Prado, the last kilometers up a steep hill to town. I was knackered but I got goose bumps seeing the people along the road cheering us on, and then we arrived, and the band was playing and there were people everywhere offering cake and hot chocolate, and I had goosebumps. My dad was waiting with Richard and Lidiya, and I felt AMAZING! Seriously, one of the best feelings in the world.
I guess even more because I hadn't really known what I had signed up for :)
We had a lovely dinner together at our favorite bar, and then stumbled into bed.
The next day Richard had to teach the community yoga class in Prado (yeah, right!?), and I was stupid enough to think I could join and stretch a bit my muscles (yeah, right!?!!!?). Needless to say, I spent most of the class in child's pose :)
As a big Thank You for our great volunteers Warren, Jenny and Nigel they got a free canyoning tour in the Garganta Verde with Fran, and I could join them!
Somebody dropped this cutie at our door. OMG.
What to do. Adopt her obviously. We named her Lola, the showgirl, and she stole all our hearts. But yes, obviously she would grow. A lot. So we needed to find her a new home. Which we did. But in the meantime she brightened up our days :)
When I first walked up to Suryalila from the staff house and they had started with the building of the OM Dome, I had goose bumps. Seeing this massive structure on top of the hill was awesome!
My friend Nigel helped quite a bit in building this dome which would become the biggest yoga hall of Europe.
Hadn't painted in a while....so last time I was in Jerez de la Frontera I got me some basic acrylic paints. Blue, red, yellow, white and black. And a good black coffee. What else do you need.