Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Day On Abantos

In years when the full Madrid summer heat has already arrived by the beginning of June I more or less abandon the idea of walking the more exposed peaks of Madrid’s mountains until temperatures start to come down again. With the strange weather we have had this year I realised it was still possible to do it without frying in the process, so I spent yesterday on Abantos; the peak overlooking El Escorial. Badly burnt in a fire a few years ago, the mountain is now slowly recovering; although the route I did passes through undamaged areas. The walk is relatively steep, it’s about 800 metres ascent from the town to the peak. The sierra is stunning at the moment, thanks to all the rain we have had recently; I have rarely seen it so green. The views were very clear too, from Abantos you can see the central part of the Sierra de Guadarrama around Peñalara, as well as the Sierra de Gredos. Looking down from the top of the mountain you see one of Spain’s most famous religious monuments, the Monastery of San Lorenzo.

Holy water! The lakes are looking good so feel free to drink water this summer. In the upper left corner of this photo you can just about make out Madrid, dominated by the four ugly towers built in honour of Nuestra Señora la Reina de la Especulación Urbanistica.

Holy Shite! El Valle de los Caidos. Say what you like about Franco they certainly knew how to spoil a fine mountain landscape in those days.

That’s more like it, green hills still (more or less) untouched.

As always, a GPS track or Google Earth file of this route is available on request.

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