Las Alpujarras

Hola a todos!

Last Sunday, we took a fabulous Sol excursion to the Alpujarras! The bus ride from Granada to the first town we visited in the Alpujarras- Capileira was about 2 hours. If you intend to go to the Alpujarras and suffer from motion sickness, I would recommend some medicine- the narrow roads wind quite a bit. On the way, we saw a beautiful rainbow!

In the Alpujarras, we visited 3 towns: Capileira, Bubión y Pampaneira. The homes there are quite different from those of the city and lower elevations. Due to the difficulty of transporting materials like brick up the mountain, houses and other structures besides the churches are built with easily accessible materials, one of which is slate. The slate is crushed up and spread over roofs- it serves as natural insulation. Most of the houses are also painted white and built into the mountainside. A screen made of strips of fabric, beads, etc. is spread across the entrances to houses to keep bugs out but allow fresh air to cool the houses during hot weather. To prevent water from flooding the streets, little trenches are built into the streets.

beautiful terrace garden
water trench
little hole constructed for house cats

Terraced fields

 As we hiked down the trails, we passed a waterfall- how do you say waterfall in Spanish??? Our group came up with some creative words, like aqua que cae = water that falls… After a bit of teasing, German taught us the correct word- una cascada 💧

Picture credit- Edu 🙂

In the second town we stopped at, Bubión, we learned about rug making techniques from a weaver who demonstrated on a large loom. On the loom she was using, which was about 150 years old, it was only possible to create items with straight lines- not fancy designs. She explained to us that the most time consuming part of the process is actually cutting up the fibers used to make the rugs and winding them onto the large wooden spools. The fibers are usually from towel fragments that are sent to the weavers in bulk.

For the more intricate designs, like the one pictured below, one of the weavers explained to me that they create them by hand or use special computer software. It was fascinating to learn about the weaving techniques and the rugs were gorgeous!

After the demonstration, we had a short break to eat lunch. During the break, a kind woman stopped to talk with Alison and I. We had a wonderful conversation and she related how she is from Oregon but has lived in Spain for quite some time- her grandparents immigrated from Spain to San Francisco!

Right before Pampaneira, we stopped to learn about this structure utilized to extract seeds and fruits from crops like corn, wheat, oats, etc. Miguel and German explained that in this flat, circular area with stones arranged in various places, crops were laid out to dry. Then, horses, mules, or workers would walk along the dry stalks, crushing them and releasing the seeds and fruits. 

Following lunch, we continued down the trail to Pampaneira. In Pampaneira, there is a chocolate fabrication business that offers free samples, some cute shops, and lots of cute streets to wander down. Interestingly, there is a fountain in Pampaneira with a legend surrounding it that those who drink from it will be married in the following year- Miguel joked that it hasn’t worked for him yet XD

The legendary fountain
Old washing basins for laundry

Here are some lovely pictures of our group that Edu took- all the credit to her!

Look at the white houses and the low structure!

 Overall, the trails were beautiful and it was quite nice to reconnect with nature for a bit! If you plan to travel to the Alpujarras, I would recommend wearing sunscreen, good shoes, a hat, and layers. The weather can change drastically and the sun is quite strong. Enjoy your next adventure!


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