Galicia : Pozas & palitos
Those that can, escape the most brutal part of the Andalucia summer in Spain and head north - as far north as they can. The sun scorches the life out of anything but the trees down south from June onwards, with the landscape dried to a single shade of yellow. Galicia, nine hours drive further north is several degrees cooler and the mountainsides and valley floors so rich with greens, that you can almost smell them.
Most, if not every village or hamlet house here has its own vegetable garden or "huerto". Each kind of vegetable growing in neat lines with not a weed between them. Some of these huertos are vast - borderline farms, feeding families for generations. It's a sport here. The region of Galicia borders Portugal and so we visit the country on several occasions during our time here. Bread, pasteles and bacalao are three reasons to cross the frontera and of course to enjoy the underside of their cool forest canopies, mountainsides and villages.
A spread of hiking trails crawl over the mountains in Galicia. These trails meet river systems, waterfalls and "pozas". The poza is a rock pool and a welcome relief for the hot hiker. Some of them too deep to touch the bottom with toes and ideal for wild swimming, others perfect for simply bathing and no more than a metre or so in depth.
Picking up my plalitos (or walking poles), I take off each evening from Lovios, for a two hour hike followed by a swim in one of several pozas. Arriving late, as the sun falls behind the mountain across the valley, I have the poza to myself and so leave all of my clothes on the rocks. I don't think anyone can see...
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