Date: 2004-07-26 18:45:00
Tags: travel, spain
We have been in Sort since last thursday. On friday we did some river kayaking lessons. Kayaking is hard work! One of the first things we did was practice turning over and getting used to being under water. Getting right side up again from that position is not for beginners, so we also practiced getting out of the kayak while upside down. After learning how to turn (you have to use your arms, knees, and head for balance), we did the "ferry" maneuver to get from one side of the river to the other. Then we learned how to go from the edge of the river into the middle and point downstream. We both dunked ourselves many times doing this! Our instructors for that day were Miguel (from Chile) and Hector (from here in Sort).

On saturday morning we went rafting, we drove about 15 km upstream and entered the river there. There were six of us in the raft plus Xavi our guide/helmsman, and everybody else spoke Catalan. Xavi spoke a bit of english and would give all the commands (like "forward", "stop", etc) in both Catalan and English. We went through at least 20 rapids and even over a dam (about 5 m fall at perhaps a 45 degree slope). A couple of times Xavi had everybody jump out of the boat, or deliberately get us to fall in, so we got good and wet. That was fun and not as physically demanding as kayaking.

On Saturday evening we met up with some locals and went to Llavorsí (about 20 km north), where there was a fiesta going on. Each town around here has its own day each year where they party it up. Last week was Llavorsí, next week will be Sort (but we'll be gone by then). We got back at about 5am. It was a lot of fun trying to communicate in four different languages (Catalan, Spanish, French, and English).

Our plan for sunday was to go up in a hot air balloon, but it was all booked up for that day, so we rescheduled that for monday. Sunday evening when it cooled down a bit we went for an hour of "hipica" (horseback riding) along the river.

On saturday evening the pilot for the hot air ballooning came by the hotel (no phone) and told us that the weather report was not good for monday and we would have to cancel. The other people who had scheduled for monday also cancelled so there was no possibility for us. That was unfortunate.

Today (monday), we did "hydrospeed" which is sort of like rafting but everybody goes individually and you grab on to a styrofoam float and swim with flippers. It was just Amy and me with Miguel (our kayak instructor). He went in a kayak and helped us take the right route downstream. Going down the rapids face first is exhilirating! Got very wet.

I'm out of time for now so I'm going to wrap this up. We are headed to San Sebastian by bus and train tomorrow, it's a night train so we will arrive shortly before 8am. More then!
Greg Hewgill <>