It’s not a secret, we always get lost. No matter if we’re hiking, wandering around a city, going to a mall. Somehow we always manage to lost our way home. The story is always the same: my boyfriend claims to know the route, then we accidentally get lost, we try using GPS but the iPhone gets dead the minute after. It always take us longer than expected to finally get home. But this time, it was more serious. We were about to spend a night in a ghost town.
We were supposed to spend a nice day hiking on the coast of Cartagena (Murcia). It sounded so simple, climb up to Collado del Roldan hill from one side and get down to the beach by the other side, and go back to Cartagena. I was so excited! Especially because of the second part. I love walking on the beach in winter. The sea is usually stormy and smells so fresh. Before taking off for the hike we checked Google Maps and everything seemed normal; meaning, we should have been able to complete our hike without any problem. Damn Google Maps, you tricked us!
The first part was pretty awesome. We climbed up the hill under the hot winter sun. The sky was clear and crystal blue and the sunny weather was making us feel as it was a summer day.
On the top of the hill we stumbled upon an old military fortification. I had no idea that Cartagena was an important military city back then.
After a photo shooting and military story telling (read: my boyfriend explaining me the Spanish military stuff) we started going down the hill and making our way to the beach. In the meantime it started getting dark and the sun went down. We still had about 1 hour to make it back to our hotel before the night would come. As usual my boyfriend a.k.a the walking GPS was sure we were heading in the right direction.
Well, apparently we weren’t as a huge barb wire fence bobbed up out of the blue (which wasn’t marked in Google Maps).
We tried to find a way round but the steel fence was spreading to the beach and then into the sea. The fence killed our lovely hike. There was no other way to get back to the city than walk back the same route. Unfortunately it was very unlikely. First, because it was dark as hell and we could hardly see one each other. And secondly, because we sort of hadn’t paid attention to the rout. There were too many distractions, sea, waves, a military ghost city with old edifices , jokes, stories…
At that very moment I saw myself sleeping in one of the haunted derelict military buildings.
Before sitting on the ground and crying we gave ourselves one last chance and follow the fence one more time to see if there were any gates. And we found it! We found a gate with a huge message written on it Do not get close. Territory of Spanish Navy (it scared the crap out of me even more) and a telephone number.
We called it immediately asking for help. The colonel who took the call made us wait like for hours for his final decision (whether or not he was going to go get us). Thank God my boyfriend is pretty eloquent and can persuade people. Eventually the colonel was going to get us.
After 20 or 30 minutes of waiting in a dark cold wood two military jeeps came. First, two armed soldiers came from the first car and asked for our IDs. It took them 5 minutes to check them (or whatever they were doing with them inside of the car). Once we were approved, the colonel came out from the second car (he was the one we were talking to on the phone) and opened the gate. According to what he said, we got pretty lucky as they NEVER go get lost tourists. I think I have never been so grateful in my entire life. The idea of sleeping on a floor in an old stinky building, surrounded by woods and probably wolfs and bears had made my sick inside.
I was so physically and mentally exhausted after the jeopardy that I needed two portions of my favorite deep fried egg plant with honey sauce. Food always makes me feel better and calm down my shattered nerves.