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Published: August 13th 2015
After a lovely relaxing, if hot, week with my parents in Calahonda on the Costa Del Sol, we hired a car and headed up to the High Alpujarras of the Sierra Nevada National Park. These seven small white towns were the last stronghold of the Moors in the 15th
century and the houses in the villages are still in Berber style. We stayed in Capileira, the highest of the three in the Poqueira George. It’s a quaint place with steep streets that head down the gorge, the old style chimneys that have ‘sombreros’ on them and the farmland is terraced down into the very steep valley. It felt high at around 1,700m, as soon as the sun went down it felt pretty chilly.
We very much enjoyed staying in the small village and did a good hike each of the three days that we were there. The first afternoon was a relatively short one looping from the town above the river, across it and back along the other side. It was a pleasant walk with a number of farmhouses around the terraced hillsides with the traditional style of buildings with their very thick walls and flat grey roofs.
day we took the park bus up another 1,000m from Capileira to 2,700m where the hike up Mulhacen begins. This is the highest peak in Spain and the Iberian Peninsula (it’s also the 3rd
highest in Europe). Sounds grand but it was not a difficult hike just a steady climb for a couple of hours. It was the first time we were cold, despite the it sun there was a fierce wind and I wore my jumper the whole time with a coat on top when we were at the summit. There were fantastic views, plus saw a number of Spanish Ibex and an eagle soaring overhead. Very enjoyable day.
The final walk was probably my favourite. Reading the guide book it was a walk through Berber style villages and alongside orchards. It was both of those things but I hadn’t taken in the fact that it was down into a gorge, along the rim of the gorge and back up the other side, so was in fact a very steep walk for most of the time. It started in the village of Pitres, a few km drive from Capileira. It then went steeply down through terraced orchards of
almonds to Mecinilla. A wander through the pretty village streets, then further steeply down the side of the gorge to Mecina Fondales. Again a wander through this tiny village all attractively painted white with flower pots everywhere. The next part was along a ravine with orchards around and a view way down to the river. Finally the climb back uphill to the car via the last village of Ferrierola. We were walking for longer on this hike that we were climbing to the peak yesterday. Each of the small villages was charming. Painted white, with flat roofs and thick walled houses often set into the hillside. All had tinaos, something between a portico and a bridge from one level of the village to the next, often covered in grape vines. Looked beautiful on this blue skyed sunny day. The variety moving through orchards, then villages, etc made it a very enjoyable walk.
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