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davidx Cazorla - A travel report by David
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Cazorla,  Spain - flag Spain
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davidx's travel reports

Cazorla, Alpujarras and Granada - funny threesome?

  14 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
What an odd threesome! Not at all. Plenty of people go to Granada and wonder where to go next. I find Jaen only interesting for its parador and Ubeda overrated – which leads to Cazorla. The Alpujarras is an alternative, so let’s go!


La Alhambra, Granada
La Alhambra, Granada
You may think Granada deserves to be on its own. I disagree. I rate the Alhambra as one of Europe’s great sights – so great that, once I have been there, I want to leave Granada and go somewhere completely different. Some say you should spend a whole day at the Alhambra. That’s not in line with my character but I have been three times and would gladly go many more. If you are going, book your time in advance; best of all arrive in Granada late afternoon, having booked for the next morning. How to describe the Alhambra? It’s indescribably beautiful, from the magnificence of the fort, through the delicate tracery of the palace to the Generalife and the gardens – with the baths as an extra. The fact that it was not constructed for longevity and has encountered considerable maltreatment doesn’t detract one iota from its appeal. Even the pretty revolting palace of Carlos V has not ruined it. Just ignore it. The area around the Plaza Real should serve all your needs and is very pleasant. You can leave out the Cathedral area by my book. Having decided to go, take the local bus 11 [circular] clockwise to the bus station. There are direct buses for the Alpujarras but for Cazorla you may have to change at Jaen or Ubeda. If you are too late for a bus into the Alpujarras proper, you may like to stop in Lanjarón for the night. Buses that far go later. Having been a bit dismissive of Jaen and Ubeda in the introduction, I’ll relent a bit. There might be something to be said for a night in Jaen just to go for a drink at the Parador, an ex-castle above the city with superb views. Ubeda is very highly rated for its baroque architecture but my feeling was of having finished my visit just as I was getting into it! I read a book while waiting for the bus to Cazorla.

Favourite spots:
Lake at end of Rio Boroso walk
Lake at end of Rio Boroso walk
Cazorla is certainly a favourite but don’t expect it to enjoy the warmth in winter which is associated with the coastal areas. It’s freezing – and sparkles in the sun with powder snow higher up and it’s terrific. If you want to get into the Natural Park of the Sierra de Cazorla, you will need to be up at a ridiculously early hour for the bus – but it’s worth every early second of it and you won’t have any difficulty getting breakfast, with brandy if that’s your scene. Get off at the Torre del Vinagre and try to do better than me and avoid Monday so that you can visit the arboretum. Then take the walk by the Rio Boroso, leaving the road to follow the river closely by footpath through its lovely gorges. Deer kept coming into sight when I was there. In places you have walkways over the river itself – the only way it’s wide enough for you. When your path rejoins the road, follow it until it ends at a turbine. [continued in last section]

What's really great:
Patio de Leones', Alhambra
Patio de Leones', Alhambra
The Alpujarras is an area of delightful villages, horrendously steep-sided gorges and stark mountains. If you stop at Lanjarón, stay two nights if you can and take the delightful walk [hard work but no climbing] up the stream as far as a bridge which screams to be used for your picnic and then down the other side – or follow the leat to your left and work out your own way down later. I have only been up one of the great gorges to stay at Capilería at the end – [except that there’s a mountain road, closed in winter, over the Sierra Nevada towards Granada. If you start up this, or better, if you take a series of paths between its bends, you can get up onto a small mountain [everything is relative – it’s hard work but no expertise is needed] with great views of the south side of the Sierra Nevada. It’s a fine stroll up river to the Poqueira Gorge to a turbine and road end. You can walk back above the village and drop to it. [concluded below under Accommodation.]

Sights:
Alhambra, detail of stone tracery.
Alhambra, detail of stone tracery.
I’m not sorry I went to Siles. The ride gives a fine idea of the Province of Jaen, the world’s most densely covered olive tree area. When you get there, check the time of the bus back. The timetable said 06.20. The driver may leave the s off the end of his words – but when he says ‘sayee’, he means 06.00 on the dot!

So, what’s it like? Nowhere I’ve ever been, for certain. In the few roads there were dogs tied up and barking their heads off. I love dogs but - - these were monsters, looking set to kill. On the edge of the village there’s a sort of wooded square area, quite large and possibly communally owned. I had meant to walk through onto the rough grazing hill beyond – but I was intimidated by the dung, which I thought could well signify bulls rather than cows.

After dark it’s COLD – but don’t try to get near the brazier in a pub. You won’t want to be unpopular here!

Accommodations:
Monasterio de Monte Zion
Monasterio de Monte Zion
In Granada I have always stayed in the first place on the right in the road going from the Plaza Real to the Alhambra. Cheap and convenient – shared facilities but I don’t want to be there more than a night.

Cazorla – In 1990 the Pension Taxi had no heating in the rooms – the Rough Guide says it does now, in which case it’s OK, very friendly. However you may prefer to pat a bit more for the en-suite rooms at the Hostal Guadalquivir.

In Capileira we stayed at the place to the right of the bus stop

Poqueira Gorge – concluded: The sides of the gorge are even steeper than they look; brutally steep. If you expect to find a path up to Bubión – think again; if you want to come up there, you are going to labour.
Finally, watch out for a very friendly dog at Capileira and lose it if you can. Otherwise it will follow you all day – and you try explaining to an irate farmer with no English –but with a gun- that the dog has nothing to do with you but you’d prefer it not to be shot!

Other recommendations:
Cazorla, Jaen Province
Cazorla, Jaen Province
[Cazorla continued from favourites] So you’ve reached the turbine. You will see a path going UP STEEPLY beyond a small gate. Stagger up, unless the icicle are melting, huge lethal pointed things. You will come to where the water going down a pipe to the turbine has come through a tunnel on the other side of the icicle covered rock face. If you’ve not brought a torch, keep your head down but I’m quite tall and there’s no problem. On the other side is a sort of plateau area with a path past a reservoir to a natural lake. Remember your bus and return. Mine was 40 minutes late [panic!] but don’t bank on it.

Another great walk from Cazorla itself gives you a sight of its two castles and then leads to a point where you can view the high Monasterio de Monte Zion before reaching the peak of Gilillio – just guess what the views are like.

I’ve concentrated on the walks but the town itself is really scenic and it’s a delight to stay there.

Published on Monday January 24th, 2005


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Tue, Jan 25 2005 - 05:17 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report aagain david.
keep it up

Tue, Jan 25 2005 - 04:30 AM rating by gloriajames

a good threesome! 5*

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