02.09.2009 32 °C
The hottest part of the summer is over. It's September and that means perfect weather to go to the mountains. At the moment my favourite spot to go to is Cercedilla. From Madrid Atocha you can buy a cheap ticket to go to Cercedilla by Cercanias (the local Commuter trains.) For around 8 euros you have a return ticket. Trains go on a regular bases to this town that is quite popular. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Madrid-Atocha to arrive to Cercedilla.
There is one slight catch to going to Cercedilla, and that is that you have to walk a bit to get to the starting points of the routes leading in the the Fuenfria Valley. Halfway the town, and the entrance of the Valley, there is a good information kiosk, where you can get a map, with the routes in the area. There are a couple of routes, all signposted with different colours on the trees along the paths.
The most well-known route is the white route, which is the old Roman Road, which leads to Segovia. If you know Italian roads, just imagine them in 2000 years, and that is indeed the state the Roman Road is in. There are only a couple of pieces where the stones are still more or less on their spot, but on most spots it is just a collection of bigger and smaller stones going up the mountain for a distance of 4 kilometres. The start is steep, the middle is pretty ok, and the last kilometres is really steep again. To walk comfortable it's not the best route to take, but with some imagination you can imagine the old Romans heading from Toledo (Madrid was not founded yet in those days) and Segovia.
Another beautiful but also busy route takes you to the Miradores. From where you have a great view towards the town, and over the region surrounding it. For me hiking is a great way to get away from the city, and to get some fresh air. For travellers who like to deviate from the beaten track it can be a good daytrip, provided that you have some good shoes with you. (which I think that you need to have as a traveller anyhow.) The only thing for me is, that my right knee always start to give me pains, when going downhill. I guess that all these years of playing volleyball where not that good after all.