Climbing Rocks and Conquering Rapids in Spain!

I never thought I would go rock climbing or rafting in Spain, but this past weekend I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do both. The University of Almeria's recreation center puts together outdoor activities for students such as kayaking, scuba diving, caving and many more adventures. During a tour of the university, my roommate and I discovered these activities and signed up for “Rafting and Via Ferrata”  trip with our German friends.

We took a bus Saturday morning to Camping Benameji, about halfway between Granada and Seville (3 hours). Our guide for the trip was an employee of Cayesport Almeria that partners with Alua, a company that focuses on outdoor tourism. This company housed all of the activities we partook in and owned the camping site we stayed at. The guides were really friendly and accommodating and all the food and lodging was a great value. All together the trip only cost 60 euros that included: rafting, rock climbing, lodging, four meals and transportation.

Most of the Group: Germans and Americans
Saturday afternoon we began our outdoor adventure with rock climbing or “Via Ferrata”. It was not exactly rock climbing because there was a predetermined way of going up the mountain along with protruding iron rungs to grab. This made climbing a lot easier, but due to my fear of heights it was still a giant thrill. The whole time we were secured with a harness and attached to a cable that ran up the mountain with two carabiners. Every time we arrived at a new level we had to switch over the carabiner so if we did by chance fall, it would not be a far distance. There were certain points you had to wait for people to continue climbing and switch levels, which lead to a lot of time just hanging on the rungs on the edge. At some points my legs were shaking extremely bad due to my fear of heights, which it made it a little hard to climb. And if that thrill was not enough, we arrived to the end of the course where we had to cross a cable bridge to finish the trail. Of course extreme aniexty and fear set it, but after letting out one tear I manned up and crossed the bridge as quick as I could. I was shaking so badly and thought that I was for sure going to fall (even if I fell my ropes would support me) but I did it and felt extremely accomplished once I was on solid ground.

The start of our trail!
I did it!
Crossing the cable bridge.

Playing in the pool
Once we completed the course and unattched ourselves from the cable, we headed to our campsite for the night. We stayed in a 12 person cabin equipped with a kitchen and mini family room. It was a lot nicer than I was expecting and was almost better than some hostels I have stayed in. After setting our stuff down, we headed to the pool, the first pool I have swam in, in Spain. It was nice to relax and swim some laps in something other than the ocean. Later than evening we enjoyed a barbecue put on by Alua. The barbecue was interesting because the only thing served was meat: hot dogs, blood sausage, porkchops, chicken, kebabs and hamburgers. It was a bad night for any vegetarian on the trip.

The next morning we got ready to go rafting by putting on wetsuits. I had never put a wetsuit on before, and I  hope to never do it again. It was so tiring and uncomfortable, but I am glad we had them because the river was extremely cold. We rafted in the Benameji river which had class 3 rapids (the highest class of rapids is 5). These were smaller than the ones I have been on in the states, but it was just fun to be with good people and rafting in Spain. Our guide was extremely helpful and spoke clearly so his boat full of non-native Spanish speakers could understand his orders. There were three basic commands 1. Adelante – row forward 2. Atras – row backwards and 3. Alto – stop. We managed to conquer the river without anyone falling out, got to take a swim in the freezing water and had a really good time with some great people.

Most of the group that went rafting.

Once we returned to the campsite and enjoyed some paella, we hopped in the pool one more time and then headed back to Almeria. This trip was a perfect little weekend adventure and was at an extremely reasonable price. I would recommend any student at Univeristy of Almeria to sign up for these excursions and really take advantage of the rec center. 


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