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How Goat Thievery Led to a Breathtaking View

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

SPAIN | Thursday, 28 May 2015 | Views [322] | Scholarship Entry

We had been hiking for about an hour up the winding road, leaping into the shade of the lush green forest that beckoned as cars flew around sharp turns. Looking up at the Spanish sun, sweat poured off my face as an act of defiance against the crippling August heat as our legs carried us up the hill.
At this point, we were certain we had gotten off the bus in the wrong town. My friend and I were on a day trip from Bilbao to find a place called San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a secluded island in the Bay of Biscay that can only be reached by a man-made bridge. With our water supply beginning to run low and the nearest town miles behind us, we were starting to get discouraged as the sun rose higher into the sky, impervious to our needs.
As we stopped for a break on the side of the road, we heard muffled shouts of ¡Vamos! ¡Vamos! coming from the forest. We peeked through the green foliage to find a small farm a few meters away from the road, and an old Spanish man trying to get a goat to jump into the trunk of his little car. I didn’t have a high enough proficiency to understand what he was saying to the reluctant goat, but apparently neither did the animal as it stared at him blankly. My vegetarian soul watched as the frail man lifted up the goat without ease and put him in the trunk, closing it delicately while minding the animal’s head. We didn’t have time to process whether to call PETA or not but as we watched him get in the car and speed down the hill, our eyes turned to the most magnificent sight.
During our hike we hadn’t turned around to see where we’d come from, assuming that it looked the same as it did when we passed. We had a beautiful lookout point over Bakio, a small town that eased its way into the crystal clear ocean, accented with surfers braving the strong Pacific waves. I imagined what the Spanish townsfolk were doing- taking a nap as it was nearing siesta? Cooking up some tortilla de patata? I could only imagine what the people of such a picturesque town did on their spare time, but I hoped hiking up a steep hill to see their own homes from a new perspective was one of them.
Seeing the coastline gave us hope that our destination could not be much further away. Half hour later we found ourselves ascending all 241 cobblestone steps up towards the beautiful San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, speechless from the sparking blue water and melodic chimes as tourists rang the old church bell, the sound getting absorbed into the lush green forest behind us.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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