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Published: April 27th 2018
Today we learned the hard way being on Spanish time + early flights = not a great combination. After a late dinner last night, we had to turn around and get up at 4:30 am (as people were still out on the streets partying!), to catch our flight to Granada. We had a 7:20 am flight to Granada, which landed around 9:00 am. Barcelona is in northeast Spain, while Granada is in south east Spain at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The Barcelona airport was a little tricky to check our bags, as it is all self check-in with a lot of people who don't know what they're doing / how to check their own things in, but, we made it! We both napped on the way to Granada, and then navigated our way to rent our car.
Instead of going into Granada in the morning, we looked up day trips from Granada at the airport to figure out where we wanted to go. We decided on Alpujarras, a series of towns in the Southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, specifically starting at Pampeneira, and making our way to Bubion and Capileira. The drive itself was to take
Sierra Nevada - White Villages
You can see all three white villages from this view!
about 1:20 from the Granada airport. About 25 minutes into our drive, we left the highway and started our mountain route. As our DD for this excursion, I basically felt like I was playing an arcade driving video game veering left, then right, again and again. It was quite the windy narrow road (the road fit 1.5 cars total even though it was a two way street), and had a lot of hairpin turns. We also were going up in elevation on our way there, about 500 meters from the airport to Pampeneira in total. Pampeneira, Bubion, and Capileira are all three white villages in the Sierra Nevada. Pampeneira itself only has about 350 inhabitants in the town, the other two slightly larger in size. What is really neat is they are close enough where you are able to hike from one to the next.
We started our journey in Pampeneira with a lunch. With our cerveza and vino we were provided two free tapas, and then we ordered ham, cheese, and bread as well. This is the first part of Spain where we've noticed the waitstaff do not speak any English, so luckily both of us are able
to get by in Spanish. We next started on the approximate 6 kilometer journey to the top. On the way there, we took the main road. It was about 5 kilometers (3 miles) to get to Bubion, and we increased elevation about 300 meters from Pampeneira. We next trekked to Capileira, which is just over a kilometer from Bubion and increased another 100 meters. Capileira is 1,436 meters above sea level, or about 4,700 feet elevation. It is the highest inhabited part of the Alpujarras region in the Sierra Nevada. While we were wandering Capileira, we ran into a family who we wanted to ask if they took a path to the town versus the main road as we had. Cody initially started talking Spanish to them, but it turns out they spoke no Spanish and were French! Luckily they were fluent in English as well, and we were able to figure out our way back to Pampeneira on the path.
The path down was gorgeous! Most of it was dirt or stone and luckily the way back was mostly downhill. We took some great photos on our hike through the Sierra Nevada, and stopped at another cafe in
Pampeneira to enjoy some (more) free tapas as well as cerveza and vino. 😊
It took us about an hour to make it to Granada, and we were able to navigate to our Airbnb pretty easily. We took a self-guided walking tour through the Albayzin District (the old Moorish district) before making our way to dinner. The best part about Granada are the free tapas. With every drink order, you receive more food on the house! Two glasses of red sangria and four beers later (for a total of 12 euros), we enjoyed potato salad with red peppers, chorizo, jamon on bread with lima beans, artichoke with tomato, and Cody enjoyed anchovies on potato chips. I tried one chip, and that was plenty anchovy tastes to last a lifetime for me. After a stop for some gelato, we made it back to our Airbnb.
Tomorrow we are headed to the Alhambra, an old Moorish palace. We have yet to figure out our afternoon, but it should be another great day in Spain.
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