Out of the Sierras into Utah

Thursday we made our way…..very slowly….narrow scary roads….over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and are now on the other side of the biggest mountain in Spain. As we descended into a huge plain, we thought, ” Holy Cow! looks like Utah!” Very desert like and red and ochre rock formations. We are staying in a “cave house” and it is beautiful. Only problem…..WIFI only outside, so this will be brief. Saturday we are going to Sabiote to another mountain range and will NOT have WIFI in the apartment. So, unless there is a bar with WIFI, there will be no posts for a few days…..and this one will be brief.
Our Cave House….

20140516-194101.jpgThe first town we came to has a HUGE 15th Century castle towering over the town of Lacalahora.

20140516-194415.jpgFrom Lacalahorra looking back at the Sierras.

20140516-194553.jpgStill eating well….

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20140516-194656.jpgLots of interesting places visited today; details when we have convenient WIFI.

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Alpujarra – Flowers, Fabrics & Food

Our last day in the Alpujarra mountains is today; final reflections on what makes it different and special. There is a big influence of the Moors and Berbers. Roses grow like weeds, instead of screen doors they use beautifully woven fabrics, they still weave colorful and heavy rugs, and potted flowers dot the walls of their flat roofed white washed homes. All this is set against a backdrop of gorgeous mountains. Oh, and of course, the food has been wonderful!

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20140514-181425.jpgI was walking back up the hill this morning when I heard a horn honking like crazy…usually means the bread or the vegetable truck is in the neighborhood. As I turned the corner to a “street” a blue van came roaring down the street, did a fast maneuver to turn around and park, just missing running over a woman with a cane. At the corner I saw quite a few people, but thought they were visiting…nope, waiting on the Fish truck to arrive. I guess noon on Wednesday is his time here in Bunión. After he got out and opened the back door, it was a rush to see what he had.

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Thursday we leave the mountains for a different experience…..we will be staying in a cave house and the scenery will be completely different. Should be quite an adventure!

Trevélez – Part 2 – Jamón Heaven & Transportation

So, now to the hams…..there is one company after another here curing a zillion hams. The aroma is wonderful and the ham is similar to Italian prosciutto. Trevélez hams have a bit of sweetness to us and what we have had of them is very good. This is where we had café this morning. See any hams?

20140513-181620.jpgEvery bar and restaurant looks like this! Our small place for lunch must have had 20 of them. We ate on the terrace….lovely!

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20140513-182216.jpgSeems some people have found the best mode of transportation from one part of town to the other.

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Trevélez – Part 1

The highest (4,800 ft) of the 3 villages is famous for its jamón and is the largest of the villages with 800+ residents. It is one of the highest villages in Europe and 2nd to a ski resort in Spain) It is composed of 3 areas: Barrios Alto, Medio, and Bajo. The oldest is the Alto (in the other two villages the oldest is at the bottom). We parked at this level near the bridge and walked up to the Alto in the morning…..quite a climb. Unfortunately we walked back to this level for lunch and everything was packed with groups, so we walked back up to the Medio area to a tiny place.

20140513-174300.jpgHere are 2 photos of the Barrio Alto; the first as we approached and the other looking down from above it to see what could be seen of the rest of town.

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20140513-175151.jpgThe streets in all these places are very narrow.

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Capileira

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A short 25 minute walk uphill from our Bubión apartment and we were in Capileira, the highest of the three villages. We walked from the bottom of this villages to the top. Easy going down, but a bit slower going back up. As one person put it, climbing around these places is not bad if you “go at the rate of a turtle…..on crutches.” The big mountain in the background is the highest in the Iberian peninsula, 11,427 feet. This is the flat part….about the only flat part of town!

20140512-193836.jpgThere were some really cute dogs in town….one appears to be in jail….

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20140512-194117.jpgNow for lunch…..I was reading the menu outside and the aroma was wonderful….We started with Salmorejos again…..they all look the same so no photo. We both had the plate of typical foods from this area, Alpujarra. Then shared a chocolate torte that was wonderful.

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20140512-195018.jpgThis is one of the “streets” in the lower and oldest part of Capileira.

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Bubión

We had a very short (17 miles) drive to our next stop; we left Lanjarón, altitude 2100 ft, went over a pass and dropped to 1400 feet at Órgiva, then zig and zagged for 11 miles up to Bubión, altitude 4400 feet. The driving time for these 17 miles…..50 minutes. 3000 feet in 11 miles, wow.
There are 3 villages in this valley and they cling to or spill down the mountain side, whichever way you want to describe them. This is Pampaneira, the village below Bubión.

20140512-163515.jpgWe had Sunday lunch at this tiny (16 seats) restaurant; the kitchen was upstairs in the kitchen of their home???? We think so. Food was wonderful.

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The third village is Capileira; a 25 minute walk uphill from Bubión.

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20140512-165126.jpgThis is the view from outside Capileira. Walked there today and spent the day…..details tomorrow.

Into the Alpujarra Mountains

A last look at Alhama de Granada as we left; we had no idea there was a big mountain behind the town.

20140510-162543.jpgSaturday we drove 1 1/2 hours into the Alpujarra mountains south of Granada and in a hotel for the first second time this trip. Two of the highest mountains in Spain are in the adjacent Sierra Nevada Mountains adjacent to the Alpujarras. One of the famous products is their jamón from the high town of Trevélvez and it is the best jamón we have had yet. When we had our summer wine Saturday evening, we were served this tapas….bread, jamón, toast with pâté and morcilla (blood sausage). It is the first time we have been served blood sausage this trip and the first time ever we have had it cold…..not bad at all. This was a real bargain…..2 drinks, 2 tapas €4.40 or $6.20.

20140510-204817.jpgFor lunch we had the speciality of the house at the bodega where we were told by hotel host to go.

20140510-204954.jpgOf course we started with Salmorejas again and finished with melon and jamón.

20140510-205352.jpgThis is the view from our hotel room. We walked up to the castle and to the faaaaar side of town for sketching. Very long walk!

20140511-164856.jpgThis is café with a view…..lovely little bar.

20140511-165216.jpgAnd a look at Lanjarón as we left Sunday morning with the snow still on the Sierra Nevadas.

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