You know when you’re in a nice mountain village or coastal town and say, hey, I wish I could own a house here?
Well – guess what – against all odds, the writer of this blog ended up purchasing an apartment in his favourite mountain town in his local sierra.
That is, of course, Cercedilla.
This post, however, is not about the process of property hunting, or even about the choices made when renovating the house. It’s not even about my dreams of living there one day, once the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
I wonder if they ever will.
It’s about the large number of walks, runs and hikes that this project enabled: Solo, with my beautiful K., with children, with friends.
Such a huge network of trails. All leading home, as it were.
Really – I’d always seen Cercedilla as the town-to-be in the Guadarrama mountains, a bit like Chamonix in the Alps or Benasque in the Pyrenees. An overstated comparison, sure, but, honestly, ask any hiker, runner or mountain biker in the area and she’ll tell you that the trail network in Cercedilla is hard to beat.
But hey, maybe there is a tinge of nostalgia in the way we madrileños look at Cercedilla. For so many of us, the train ride to Cercedilla station was the start of so many hiking and camping adventures. When I was a boy scout, we frequently hiked from the station to Los Campamentos, where we camped overnight. Now camping is forbidden, but this is still a popular easy walk, giving access to great views of town and the Fuenfía Valley.
Not to mention the picturesque cogweheel train from Cercedilla all the way up to Puerto de Navacerrada and Cotos.
You know what? said my dad not too long ago. I’ve never been up to Puerto de la Fuenfría on the Roman Road. Please take me.
And I sure did. It was a weekday in late September, that means quiet and flies a-plenty. Still, he enjoyed the challenge and the views.
Interestingly, I realized that it had been almost 10 years since I’d parked in the carparks at the end of the valleys. Ten years without starting a hike from such a beautiful place.
Too many people, I’d told myself, last time we were there, pic-nicking with our 1 year-old. And that was that – no more hikes from La Fuenfría until September 2020. Funny how we can be so dogmatic in our decision-making.
And, guess, what, just a week after the hike with my dad I was there again with K. – that’s after starting our property hunt. There were still plenty of filies, but I promised myself it wouldn’t take another ten years to start a route from this wonderfil trailhead.
So it goes.
Unlike dry La Pedriza, in Cercedillla you’ll find lots of water year round. Fountains in the area rarely dry out, not even in late Summer. I’ve written about La Pedriza natural park as the playground of my hiking days, but Cercedilla’s valleys and trails feel more like, well…a walk in the woods.
What can I say. I look forward to many more such hikes and runs, and dream of starting them from my front door.