….. en el quinto pino*

That’s where we were today. Miles away. A morning at the seaside at Almuñécar, just enjoying listening to the sea gently dragging and pushing at the pebbled beach. Just enjoying the sun, the bluest of skies, while Javi did a few bits of business.

Javi’s next job was to introduce us to the Alpujarras, the southern mountains flanking the Sierra Nevada. Its deep flanked rivers and gorges are fertile, terraced by man, but irrigated by meltwater from winter snows. These days it houses holidaying walkers more than workers of the land. Its few white villages were once the last bastion of the Moorish population. As their traditional Berber building style – white boxy houses with flat rooves – still demonstrates. We explored Pampaneira, which houses farmers, workers in the tourist industry, and second-homers. Here are its homes, its ancient wash-house, and its views.

*Estar en el quinto pino: to be at the 5th pine tree – a long way from home

The foothills of the Sierra Nevada

Today we went to a poor man’s Alhambra. We sought jaw-dropping beauty, tumbling cascading water, refreshing cool…. and peace. Javi delivered us a day in which, only some 12 km from Granada, we experienced soul-soothing quiet, dramatic views – and just a touch of adventure. And not a tourist in sight.

We started our day climbing from Monachil, a village set among arid yellow and red tinted slopes. As we went on, dramatic rock formations scrambled high above us.

Our path narrowed. We were obliged to hang onto nearly sheer rock and manoeuvre ourselves along a route whose path followed a stream. Swaying bridges too.

As our gorge widened, there were different views, and a grassy plain for a mid-morning rest. We watched choughs wheeling high above us, preparing to nest high on the mountainside.

There were Mediterranean herbs, gorse, butterflies. And suddenly, over there in the distance, Granada.

Our circuit was almost complete. We’re refreshed, invigorated and renewed. Especially after our tapas, eaten sitting in a sunny riverside bar in Monachil. Don’t choose. Get what you’re given. Perfect.

Here we are. One of Jo’s Monday Walks on a Tuesday…https://restlessjo.me/jos-monday-walk/