Spain is a geographically heterogeneous country with large contrasts between regions. It has mountains that rise up to 3400 meters above the sea level in the Pyrenees and Granada, such as the Mulhacén that is the highest mountain in continental Spain. Teide, which is located in the Canary Island, is the highest mountain in all the country. Spain also has beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean sea, forests in the north and deserts in Andalucia and in some regions in the center.

Spain also has rivers that contribute to its geographical diversity and shape its landscapes. Duero is a river that I love. Its source is near Soria, my favorite city in Spain. The longest river on the peninsula is the Tajo, which its source is in Albarracín, a beautiful village in Teruel, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon. But, because Tajo flows in Portugal, the Ebre river is the longest in Spain. It is born in Cantabria, in the north, between Asturias and Basque Country, and flows to Catalonia crossing the northeastern part of the peninsula.

I have a great appreciation for geography and enjoy traveling. In particular, I like exploring how the landscapes reshaped themselves giving rise to physical heterogeneity and colorful scenes. A great way to explore how a landscape is progressively transformed is to travel along a river. With that purpose in mind, during one of my trips, a few friends and I wanted to go up the Ebre river. Our initial plan was to start at the Mediterranean sea, and navigate the river into the country. Looking at the map we realized that there is a dam between Catalonia and Aragon. So, we decided to start our travel adventure in Mequinenza instead, where the dam is located. Our plan was to arrive to Logroño, a great city really close to the Basque country, where the most famous Spanish wines (La Rioja) are made. Other friends also joined us by car and were waiting for us at Logroño.

For our aquatic adventure we rented a Zodiac inflatable boat, and started navigating early in the morning. It was a fantastic day! It was not too warm, the water was not cold, and it was not a windy day. The boat was not very confortable, but we stopped occasionally to take a bath and enjoy the natural scenery. 

We carefully calculated the amount of gas we needed to arrive, but as we were loading our belongings into the Zodiac we forgot two fuel jerrycans in the car. In the middle of our trip our engine stopped suddenly. To our surprise, we realized that we didn’t have any gas left, so we had to stop and try to look for a gas station. Two of us were waiting at the river, while two other friends and I went to the closest road to hitchhike.

By then it was around 1 pm. The sun had risen and it was really warm. We found a secondary road, which had only a few drivers passing by sporadically. A car appeared perhaps every five to ten minutes, but nobody stopped by to help us. It was disgusting and sad. We spent around an hour walking and trying to get someone to help us.

Finally, we realized that people didn’t stop because of a simple reason: we stopped in Los Monegros, which is a desert between Zaragoza and Lleida. If you were one of such drivers, would you stop for three boys wearing a neoprene suit in the middle of the desert and a jerrycan in their hands?