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downundergal Pampaneira - A travel report by Kerrie
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Pampaneira,  Spain - flag Spain
8718 readers

downundergal's travel reports

Driving over Lemons in La Alpujarra

  12 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Spectacular mountain ridges falling away to steep valleys with small whitewashed villages scattered along the ridges like a broken necklace of white pearls. This is a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world.

Typical view
Typical view
On closer inspection the white villages offer some tiny meandering alleyways bordered by whimsical flat roofed houses boasting prominent chimney pots. Vivid splashes of blushing crimson, delicate shell pink and brilliant tangerine peep from the ubiquitous window boxes. The villages are just a joy to wander through stopping off for a spell, a coffee or to browse in some of the many handicraft shops selling handmade woven rugs, throws and local knick knacks.

Many of the alleyways finish suddenly and in doing so offer some great views further down the valley or up to the snow topped Sierra Nevada.

The Alpujarras are on the tourist trail mainly due to the best selling books by Chris Stewart which incidentally are a great read and will give you some background to the area if you read them before visiting. The area hasn’t totally sold its soul to tourism and is a lovely spot to relax for a few days.

Favourite spots:
View of the villages
View of the villages
The sights are the picturesque villages and the steep sided mountains tumbling down into the gorge where the faraway Río Poqueira meanders. The area is a walking mecca. For the less energetic like me many of the walks start in the villages before branching out through to the fields and along the mountain ridges and valleys. We walked the start of one but when I ran into a herd of Spanish cows including a larger than normal size bovine that I took to be a bull I quickly back peddled. Maybe it was the fact that I come from a country that doesn’t have the “right of way” rule. I just wasn’t comfortable setting out on some of the walks through the open fields sans a good map and good walking shoes so we chose to stay on the main routes.

What's really great:
One of the first towns you pass through is Orgiva. A bustling place located at a lower altitude than the other smaller villages. It has lovely wide tree shaded avenues and is a great place to stock up on supplies like freshly grown local fruit and vegetables especially if you happen to be here on a Thursday morning for the large market.

We opted to stay higher up on towards the charming trio of closely grouped villages of Capileira, Bubion and Pampaneira. These three villages are still a little different from each other but each are as a pretty as a postcard. They have been designated a region of artistic and historical inportance.

Continue further on and the drive up to Trevelez offers some truly dramatic scenery and is particularly hair raising in places with the road and the drop off side by side. It is one of the most amazing drives you will come across.

Trevelez Hams
Trevelez Hams
Trevelez is famous for being the highest village in Spain and the place that offers the best Jamón Ibérico in Spain. It caters to quite a number of buses of tourists so is a little more soulless than the villages further down. We partook in some of the famous ham and while it is not cheap the wafer thin ham had a complex buttery flavour that just melted in your mouth. Served up with just some bread and olive oil it was just heavenly.

Room at papa's place
Room at papa's place
We literally drove into Hostal Pampaneira located in the pretty village of the same name. The fact that there was easy access parking made our choice of where to stay fairly straightforward.

Our room was really comfortable with traditional wooden shutters opening out to a beautiful view of the village with a shared balcony. Rustic timber furniture topped with a locally woven bedspreads and newly renovated bathrooms with marble tiles. It cost 36 euros without breakfast.

You sleep so well as the nights were still quite chilly even at the end of May.

Operated by a chap we secretly called Papa who initially seemed quite grumpy he mellowed considerably when he realized that we could communicate in Spanish. He then explained that his English speaking employee has recently returned to Brisbane – which happens to be one hour driving from where we live so from then we were OK.

Flat roofed house with chimney pot
Flat roofed house with chimney pot
We found one internet café that was never open the whole time we were in the area, so don’t count on being connected to the 21st century while in this part of the world.

Jamón Ibérico
Jamón Ibérico
We enjoyed some great meals while we were in this area. Many of these are the rustic local specialties and are delicious.

Some of these were:
Patatas o lo Pobre or “Poor man’s potatoes” – sliced potatoes baked with green peppers, Spanish onions & garlic
Albóndigas – Spanish meatballs made of a mix of beef, pork and ham (of course) and served in a red wine and tomato sauce
Sopa Alpujarreña - this soup varies accordingly to what is on hand but the version that I had contained boiled egg, bacon, shredded chicken, almonds and bread.

We also had some beautiful local trout cooked with garlic and olive oil and of course the king of hams.

For dessert it was the Spanish equivalent of Crème Caramel and when I picked the “Seasonal Fruit” one night it arrived on a plate, a banana – unpeeled! My partner was in stitches.

Casa Julio was the pick of the restaurants we found; especially with the Menu del día it offered great value. The menu Del día were around the 9 – 12 euro.

Other recommendations:
Whimsical walkway
Whimsical walkway
Within the small villages the only option is to walk as many of the walkways are too small to drive.

We had a hire car so access for us was quite easy. I would imagine that there would be a bus service however infrequent.

We drove up from Granada in the afternoon after visiting the Alhambra. If we had of found the way easily it would have been straight forward however the main highway kept taking us up to the Sierra Nevada before we realized that we had to return to town and ask directions as it was quite complicated finding the right way.

If you need to just relax and unwind and just enjoy the rhythm of daily life that seems unchanged in hundreds of years then the Alpujarras is the place to do so.

Published on Tuesday December 12th, 2006

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Sun, Dec 17 2006 - 01:11 PM rating by davidx

Splendid report, Kerrie. We've bought the third of the books and I look forward to reading it. That Poqueira gorge is a real devil for walking though!

Tue, Dec 12 2006 - 03:05 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Gracias por escribir otro magnifico report sobre mi pais!
Oh, cuanto echo de menos ese jamon aqui en la fria Rusia!!!

Tue, Dec 12 2006 - 01:24 PM rating by mistybleu

Kerrie another enjoyable report. I loved the picture of the Laneway, it just looks perfect.


Tue, Dec 12 2006 - 10:56 AM rating by marianne

An excellent report. I especially like 'villages scattered along the ridges like a broken necklace of white pearls', such a beautiful image. The Trevelez Ham picture is very funny, what is the meaning of all these tiny upturned parasols?

Tue, Dec 12 2006 - 08:27 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

well such a nice report,but what i liked most is the color ful pictures in it ,great work

Tue, Dec 12 2006 - 06:27 AM rating by frenchfrog

Kerrie, it is a really nice report, this area looks really a stunning beauty. I would have loved tasting the ham, it looks really tasty!

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