On my bookshelf at home are some old photo albums, from the days when cameras came with film and you got prints of your images. Today I took a look at one of them – It was of a two week ‘family’ holiday without the parents (so that’s me and my sister) to Andalucia in Spain. And stuck in with the photos is the postcard I sent home…

Postcard from Granada, Spain. September 2000
Postcard from Granada, Spain. September 2000

“Hi Mum and Dad,

Been in Granada a few days and have been to the Alhambra (see front) – stunning place. Went for the trek but cut it short to two days! Went up Mulhacen (3479m) though – Spain’s highest mountain. Great views from the top. Was a thunderstorm and we nearly got struck by lightning – and you were worried about us doing the walk along the gorge….!! Off to the beach now near Almeria for a relaxing few days… here’s hoping.

Hope all is well + you get this before we get back! Lots of love Helen + S-J xxx”

Postcard home - Hi Mum and Dad...
Postcard home - Hi Mum and Dad...

Oh how I pity my poor parents now! No wonder they seem so relaxed about my various adventures and exploits these days… they’ve had over a decade to get used to it. And at least now I’m not taking my younger sister with me.

The gorge I was writing about was El Chorro. We went there to walk the Caminito del Rey – a narrow walkway bolted to the gorge wall 100m above the river that runs through the bottom. It was built for workers at the hydroelectric dam to transport materials between the two waterfalls and took four years to build between 1901 and 1905, but has since fallen into disrepair.

The Caminito del Rey, El Chorro gorge, Spain
The Caminito del Rey, El Chorro gorge, Spain

I’d read about walking the Camino del Rey in a travel magazine article and thought it sounded fun… so I went.

Don't look down!!
Don't look down!!

I must admit that we didn’t walk all the way along. It was a bit windy and I was too fearful of the risk that my little sister who was only 15 at the time (or me) might be swept off the cliff-side. The thought of returning home one less didn’t bare thinking about… On the train on the way to the gorge, the conductor told us that two people had fallen off and died in the last year. We were the only ones on the walkway and I just didn’t think it was worth the risk. Sometimes turning back is the only sensible thing to do. It didn’t matter, we had a great time anyway.

Crumbling concrete and metal girders
Crumbling concrete and metal girders

So after we’d walked along a way, we turned back and then walked on solid ground, passing through tunnels up the gorge and went for a swim in the natural pools of water.

Then, after some sight-seeing round Ronda and in Granada, we packed our rucksacks and headed off into the hills. The plan was a few days walking but the weather was awful the second day and once we’d made it up Mulhacen we decided to go head back and spend the extra couple of days at the beach!

El Chorro gorge - along the tracks
El Chorro gorge - along the tracks

The great thing about short trips like this is they require no planning. Find a cheap flight through Skyscanner, book cheap accommodation through Hostelworld, pack your bag and go. Simple. Pure. Fun.

Would I do the trip again? Definitely… with some minor changes. I’d cycle instead of taking buses and most importantly, I’d put on a harness and attach myself to the cable that runs along the Camino and then you don’t have to worry about falling off!

Walk up Mulhacen
Walk up Mulhacen