Las Alpujarras

Sierra Nevada


31/05/2013 - 07/06/2013

67 miles and 18,135 feet total ascent


Las Alpujarras is an area, on the southern flanks of the Sierra Nevada, of ridges and valleys, criss-crossed with a network of mule paths, irrigation channels, hiking routes and brilliant white villages. The  unique hamlets have retained their traditional Berber architecture - terraced clusters of grey-white box-shaped houses with flat clay roofs. Perhaps the most picturesque villages are the famous trio which cling, one close above the other, to the slopes of the Poqueira Valley. Pampaneira, at the bottom, bustles with crafts shops and restaurants, as does Bubión, half way up the slope, with its massive square church tower standing on a plaza of rough paving stones. But to savour the authentic Alpujarra, go to Capileira at the top of the valley and walk down from the road into the lower streets of the village, where the rocky streets, overhanging passageways and sagging, stone houses have still not been remodelled and prettified for contemporary living.
Traditionally the roofing is made of a magnesium clay that is impermeable to rain and above that is a layer of stone. On the inside, an exposed layer of flat stones forms the ceiling, kept in place by beams of timber. Sitting on top of the flat roof are the cute little chimneys, (see photos of Capileira below) all different, and seeming to dance around the rooftops, talking to each other.

Another 'Al & Jane Adventure' (my 5th so far) but the added bonus this time was the fantastic group of walkers that also chose this holiday. However, don't let the Ramblers Worldwide Holidays description 'Exploring the Southern Valleys of the Sierra Nevada' fool you - these valleys are very steep sided and the D+/C level walks varied mainly between 3,100 feet and 3,450 feet of ascent each day. The varied views and terrain were a delight, as was the profusion of wild flowers. A holiday I would definitely recommend to anyone thinking about visiting this area.


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