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Walk below the Paso de Contadores

Sella Travel Blog

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Roman terraces built approx 1000 B.C.

Deciding that we could not return to the Netherlands without at least making the effort to see some of the mountains up close and personal, we accepted the invitation of our hosts to join them in an wake-up walk below the Paso de Contadores. It´s 06.00 am and the sun is already getting in shape for the day. That could only mean one thing: it´s gonna be a hot walk! 
Harco and Benny, the owners of the B&B Villa Pico in Sella, are into walking and know the area well. In the sitting room they have a variety of books and routes available for their guests. Including pictures and stories of the guests who followed up on their advice. Or neglected it and got totally lost in the mountains.

Yeah...I´m hungry!!
Yes, believe me, they do exist!

The walk below the Paso de Contadores is a walk of 3,5 hours in the valley of Sella with an altitude variation of 426m. And they call it an average walk? What??? Jeanette and I are drivers... which means that if we can reach it by car, we´ll take the car. One consolation though, Benny and Harco didn´t make us walk to the start of the tour, some 4km away from Villa Pico. They actually drove us to the parking lot at the climbing area. Next to the parking lot we saw some climbers. Still too early to climb, they were snoring in their sleeping bags. This area is a famous climbing spot, people are coming from all over the world to climb the long ridges. Later that day, seeing those climbers up against the mountain walls, I decided then and there that my next trip to Sella would be with my daughter.

Happy Birthday, Jeanette!
We already did some climbing together indoor, but this was the real stuff!

Getting out of the car Benny and Harco provided Jeanette and me with some Northern walking sticks. We couldn´t believe we were really doing this. We, who always made fun of people walking, in the flat country Holland is, with those funny sticks. What´s the purpose anyway? If you want to work out you can go a gym, right? A bit embarrassed because of the way we always made fun of northern walking, we took the walking sticks. Well, we soon found out, they really did have a purpose.

The scenery was just amazing and the walk indeed was relaxing and not all that difficult. Here you are walking in a remarkable region of cultivation terraces, known locally as ´bancals´. The cultivation is mostly comprising almond orchards, olive groves and plantations of lemon and orange trees.

It´s 07.00 in the morning. The happy birthday messages are getting through!
 I found myself wondering why in the world would the Romans decide 1000 BC to build terraces here. What was the idea behind that? Anyone knowing the why, please....I long to know that answer!

Going down the terraces up high in the mountains Benny warned us: `Beware of snakes! Don´t step on any!` What snakes?? You didn´t mention that upfront! No worries, he replied, just keep going with your sticks in front of you, waving through the grass. They are afraid of you. Just let them know you are coming and they´ll slitter away. Heuhg! Don´t need to tell you Jeanette and I were really grateful for our Northern Walking sticks. We frantically kept hitting the grass in front of us.

Did I mention that this was Jeanettes birthday? Halfway through our walk the messages started pouring in on her cellphone. What better way to celebrate your birthday than walking in the Aitana mountains! It was the most memorable birthday.

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Roman terraces built approx 1000 B…
Roman terraces built approx 1000 …
Yeah...I´m hungry!!
Yeah...I´m hungry!!
Happy Birthday, Jeanette!
Happy Birthday, Jeanette!
It´s 07.00 in the morning. The ha…
It´s 07.00 in the morning. The h…
Harco, Benny and Jeanette.
Harco, Benny and Jeanette.
How long??
How long??
Harco, Karin, Jeanette
Harco, Karin, Jeanette
Wonderful view
Wonderful view
It´s getting rocky!
It´s getting rocky!
Those terraces are amazing.
Those terraces are amazing.
Harco, Benny, Karin
Harco, Benny, Karin
Olive trees dancing.
Olive trees dancing.
Ghost town Bodega.
Ghost town Bodega.
Heuh?
Heuh?
Right!
Right!
The missing part
The missing part
Yes, it was hot!
Yes, it was hot!
Can you imagine these were build b…
Can you imagine these were build …
All around the area you can see th…
All around the area you can see t…
The spring, high up in the mountai…
The spring, high up in the mounta…
Are you sure it´s just 426m high?
Are you sure it´s just 426m high?
Embarrased indeed.
Embarrased indeed.
Sella
photo by: fawkes66