“It is such a joy to feel this small.”
For those of you who have traveled long distances with me, you probably know that I am not the biggest fan of long bus rides and car rides. I do get motion sick, and that usually makes long drives unpleasant. So, when one of my friends in Spain asked me on a Friday afternoon to take a 3 hour bus ride through the mountains with her, I was hesitant to say the least.
But, nevertheless, there we were at 10:00am on a Saturday morning, boarding a bus to Trevélez, the highest-altitude town in all of Spain, which is nestled in the Sierra Nevadas at the base of the tallest mountain on the Peninsula, Mulhacén. I won’t go so far as to say that I enjoyed the ride there, but once we arrived, I knew it had been a good choice to come. Trevélez is beautiful: all the buildings are painted with lime, making the city glow in the heat of the sunshine. We spent the entire afternoon walking in and around the town, and talking with its people, who are so content to live where they do—people proud of their work, and their life. (Side note: Trevélez is famous for its pata negra, which is a type of Spanish ham. We ate so much that weekend, but it’s some of the best meat I’ve ever had.)
Sunday morning, we had the honor of joining the 50-person parish at their Mass, which was beautiful because it was a privilege to take part in such an intimate Mass setting. However, my favorite part of the trip was definitely our hiking trip. I don’t consider myself a hiker in any way, but I love the feeling of wandering amongst the mountains. I don’t think I could have said it better than my friend Riley, who was commenting on the largess of the mountains: it is such a joy to feel this small.
Perhaps I loved the mountains so much because the views were beautiful, and perhaps I loved them because they are unshakeable and comforting in the way their heights envelop you. But I can say that since that trip, I have fallen in love with discovering what lies at the end of the bus route. Many of my fellow students are traveling to some of Europe’s most famous cities on the weekends: Amsterdam, Paris, London, Lisbon, Rome, Berlin. I, too, will be taking one or two of those trips; however, there is something so very adventurous in taking a bus to the middle of nowhere and finding beauty in a place that you weren’t expecting. I am so blessed to be able to explore the road less travelled and see where it leads.