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Destination Spain Granada

Arrived in La Zubia Granada from the province of Malaga only 3ks from the city center of Granada. 
I'm staying at
Camping Reina Isabel €8.65 without electric. Cash Payment only
N37°07.468'  W003°35.172'
There is a bus stop opposite campsite for Granada city center.  
I arrived here at lunch time, by 6 pm the campsite was full (it's quite small) and campers are parking outside, in a bit of a lay-by directly out the front.
It's a short walk to the town of La Zubia, up a bit of a hill to the right as you walk out of the campsite. Turn left on Calle Pablo Iglesias at the park on the corner. This street comes alive with Spanish life, there are shops selling all sorts of cheap things, tapas bars and coffee shops. Reminds me a bit of Ibague Colombia with sellers on the street, I bought some avocados on the street corner. Also, a large student population that gives the town a lot of energy. I don't think I will visit the city of Granada (everyone comes here to see Alhambra) Even though everyone who visits tells me it's an amazing place and lots of history. I will explore this town of La Zubia while I am here. As it's more of the Spain I like to see and coming from El Chorro, Granada is a bit busy place for me to visit.
All the banks are in the center of La Zubia. 
With Caja Rural giving the best deal.
La Zubia is located within the Sierra Nevada National Park.
So after a day at La Zubia, doing my washing and walking the town, I headed South 30ks to a place I know "Pinos Del Valle" so I can get up in the mountains and do a little thinking as I had a bit of a bad day yesterday. After visiting Pinos Del Valle, a coffee stop, Mini Supermarket and hike to Cerro Chinchirina. Santo Cristo Del Zapato with its beautiful views of the village and the Sierra Nevada I feel back to myself.

Santo Cristo Del Zapato

View at the top can see
Pinos Del Valle and Sierra Nevada

Where to start the hike - Pinos is on two levels, head for the upper level and turn right when you reach the T junction and a little way on the left side you will see a small football pitch and water fountain (area for washing clothes), you can park in the layby.
N36°54.548'
W003°33.496'
The fountain is for drinking. Near the church at the top level, there is a Mini Supermarket Sur, that has a great meat counter/butcher. As far as I know, there are only two bars.
I visited Bar Venecia and the other Bar Pinos
is 50 meters behind Bar Venecia. 
Coffee and Tost €1.80, beer with tapa €1.40

Wild camp Pinos del Valle near the dam, just after coming off the motorway, that overlooks the river Izbor and dam. 
N36°54.971'
W003°32.282'

1.2 ks from the dam (Rio Izbor) you can visit 3 bridges, one is Roman "Punte Tablate" an old one and a modern steel one all crossing closely, plus a chapel "Ermita de la Virgen de Las Angustias. 
Head back to the motorway, take the road A-348 signed to Lanjaron Las Alpujarras from the roundabout and then take the first road N- 323a to the right. If you miss the turn, drive over the steel bridge and take the next right turn and follow the road down.
N36°55.331'
W003°31.613'

Puente Tablate 
(on the left)

The gateway to La Alpujarra, crossing a deep gorge. Also a tiny chapel on the bridge to the right.

"Too much planning rob's an adventure of its soul"

After a good nights sleep, as it was very quiet and only one other campervan parked up for the night. Waking up to another nice view of the river and mountains.
I drove to Durcal for breakfast, a small town 8 ks towards Granada. It was Sunday, so great atmosphere of Spanish families spending time together. After a coffee I decided to take a scenic drive through La Alpujarra, I did not get far along the road, as it's such a beautiful drive so I stopped at:

Las Barreras Camping de La Alpujarra. Just west of Orgiva. (Just one night here and I moved the short distance to the otherside of Orgiva)
€20.00/night with elec and washing machine.
A fixed price for one or two people in a camper or motorhome 
N36°54.248'
W003°26.309'

"The area is divided between the eastern Alpujarra in the province of Almeria and the western Alpujarra in Granada."

There are a lot of road cyclists in this area from Durcal and along the road through Las Alpujarras. Great roads to cycle if a bit steep!

The road through Las Alpujarras is 70km-long, just below the southern flank of the Sierra Nevada. A jumble of valleys of arid hillsides split by deep ravines, with white villages set beside rapid streams surrounded by woodlands and orchards.

Jamon is the ultimate pork product, and its quality lies in the excellent conditions in the area of Alpujuarras Trevelez where it is dried, with its perfect conditions with constant temperatures for the natural ham curing process. The pigs are farmed in Mercia and transported to Alpujarra.

Great location for hiking & wwoof'ing
WWOOF means:
Willing Workers On Organic Farms or World Wide Oppertunites on Organic Farms.
For first hand experience in organic growing methods and experience life in a rural setting.
See www.wwoof.es You may need to search a host 2 months before arriving, it is a popular area. Best times to visit are Spring & Autumn.

Also, it's an off-road mountain bike mecca
For MTB holidays and short breaks

For bicycle hire and outdoor accessories in Orgiva.
Avda. Gonzalez Robles 14D
Sierra Nevada Outdoor
www.sierranevadaoutdoor.com 

Bicycle mechanic - nearest can be found in Lanjaron.

After cooking lunch I cycled my way down to Orgiva, the view of the lay of the mountains remind me a lot of Los Andes Tolima in Colombia. I did not stop for a beer in town, I see a bar at the top of the hill just after setting off that looked inviting. I cycled back after a quick tour of the town. (feels like you have earned a beer) The bar had character with locals and tourist's, was called La Taberna de Paco. Bottle of beer and a large tapa only €2.00.

Cycling past a few bars and you can smell very strong weed..........

Orgiva is a small town in the western Alpujarras, a bit scruffy in places, but adds to its character. There are many hippies's with a new age element, that fit in well and always a good sign there is more to discover and time to stay for longer. There are also local hand-made ceramics for sale in many places.
Elev: 345 m

People are attracted to this area for its natural beauty and great weather.
That attracts people looking to buy houses and why not!
The TV documentary and book Driving over Lemons - Anoptimist In Andalucia By Chris Stewart ex - Genesis drummer has helped to push house prices up. So the local Spanish people tell me.

La Taberna de Paco  Las Barreras
Beer & tapa "Paella"
At bar La Taberna de Paco
Las Barreras

Next morning I drove the short distance though Orgiva and 1.2ks on A-348 east to a better campsite:
Camping Orgiva
€12.90/night without elec 
free WIFI (up/down loading) 
Do not feed the cats!
N36°53.251'
W003°25.001'

I went for a short cycle ride, these hills go on and on. You don't realise how far you have cycled up them until you return. I need a lower gear and to lose some weight!!!
Also a lot of use of the brakes, so if you come here to cycle, bring spare brake pads.
I passed Puente Siete Ojos (over Rio Guadalfeo) up to Los Tablones for a great view of Orgiva. Then cycled over to Orgiva to buy supplies before shops shut for lunch at 2 pm.
I'm now lying in my hammock drinking a freshly squeezed orange juice.
I returned to the bridge later in the day, as it is a very relaxing place. This time a sheppard crossed under the bridge with his herd of goats.
Being at the bridge gave me a lot of peace, reminds me when I was a child playing in the river Misbourne at Little Missenden spending hours there with my friends.

Puente Siete Ojos
Puente Siete Ojos

Video - Short time laps of Puente Siete Ojos

Cycled into town this morning, to the butcher and stopped at Bar Ruta De La Plata on the way back. They have a notice board with campervans, houses for sale and someone offering to teach Spanish in return for learning English. It's a good place to meet travelers/expats.

Cycling near Orgiva

I am still here in Orgiva. I cycled to town this morning taking the back road/path to buy some fruit, ginger, lemons and local honey (to make tea) along with other items. I cycled back without stopping at any bars.
After lunch I cycled to town, this time taking the track from Puente Siete Ojos, following the signs Ruta Olives going along the river Guadalfeo to my left and crossed the dried river Chico and continued through small farms and houses (from ruins to some grand looking places with great views) until I reached a trail called Camino de la Estrella (near horse riding center) and just on from there towards Orgiva is a park with an open-air bar. But I did not stop, I cycled into town and back down the trail. It was nice to see olive trees with grass around them and not been sprayed!
*note do not follow camino de la Estrella all the way down it's a dead end!

Why not learn Spanish while in Orgiva.
With Eduardo

Today Thursday, October 12th is a national holiday
Fiesta Nacional de Espana or Hispanic Day
It's the exact day Christoper Columbus
(Cristobal Colon)
first set foot in the Americas

Finally left Orgiva and headed up to Trevelez on a very scenic road. If this is your first time driving mountain roads, it can feel a bit hairy! But breath-taking. 

Staying at Camping Trevelez
Elev: 1548m
€12.20 without elec and pay upfront.
Bathrooms not kept clean could be due to a full campsite/bank holiday weekend!

Temp can still reach high 20's in the afternoon here in October and drop off quickly from 5 pm. Need a jumper and a good sleeping bag.

I arrived at noon and with the bank holiday, I took the last space available.
Its the first time here it feels like autumn, with the change of colour of the leaf's that have started to fall.
There is a narrow path along a small stream that takes you down to the town from the campsite. Takes 15/20 minutes with great views of the mountains and town.

Plaza de la Iglesia
Bar - Plaza de la Iglesia

On my way down at the top of the town near the church San Antonio "Plaza de la Iglesia" I stopped for a beer and tapa "morcilla" very quiet and relaxed. I then continued walking through the narrow streets and houses to the main plaza. Where the first thing you notice is the busloads of tourists.
There is a Cajero cash machine "Caja Rural" in the plaza. You can also find a mini supermarket, panaderias, and places selling fruit.
The town is set in a valley, the old houses are Berber style similar to those in Morrocco's Atlas mountains. (See more below Buying a house/land in La Alpujarra)

At the campsite reception, there is information on hicking. There is a 6-hour return hike up to Siete Lagunas that is well signposted.
Like any hike go prepared: Tell someone where you intend on going, were the correct clothing (weather can change quickly, possible there is snow from autumn until June) take food, water and wear something bright to be seen.

Pampaneira

Spain is a paradise for the independent traveler who likes adventure. 
Visiting El Chorro has been my main highlight, along with Hervas in Northan Extremadura and the area of Sierra de Aracena so far............

Oven baked cakes From finca Joya

The road was closed though Trevelez till 1:30 pm as there was a run going on. 
I am now on my way to Finca Joya in Juviles about 1/2 hours drive.

Juviles Elev: 1257m
Overlooking the Sierra de la Contraviesa

Day 1 Woofing collecting almonds.
That evening we went for a walk down into the Trevelez gorge near the old mining area and we see ibexes running on the edge of the very steep gorge.

Almond tree
Almond tree

Collecting almonds by knocking the branches with long sticks to the floor.

Las Alpujarras wwoof Spain
Working on another farm

By wwoof'ing gives you the chance not only to know the area but to meet interesting locals.
Using my skill's as a mechanic to help get Miguel's tractor started and running. (Bad battery cable connections and air in the fuel system)

Food revolution. Concerned about the safety of the food you eat? - In Las Alpujarras "treasured by the Moors as a 'paradise" there is a network of like-minded people growing food without using pesticides and using traditional ways that have been proven to work in harmony with nature to give long-term growth and not for short-term finance. Organic farming and food exchange groups.

The legacy of the Moors is the extensive irrigation system, the 'acequias', that divert water out of the deep valleys and onto the broad terraces. This ancient system of watering has been responsible for the characteristic look of the area and for the fact that forests of broad leafed trees such as the emblematic Chestnut can survive as the water is spread and filtered across the landscape.

There are walks from Juviles to villages of Timar, Lobras and the town of Cadiar. The walk to Lobras from Timar "Aceqia de los Castanos" was chestnut walk and now a irrigation channel. Also populer for cycling holidays. Part of the long distnce footpath GR-7 "White/Red" and the Medieval Route "White/Yellow" Close to Juviles is the old Arab fortress ruines "Fortaleza del Fuerete" for great panoramic views and the old mercury factory near to Timar. View MAP 

For mountain biking holidays, at the near by town of Bérchules. See Pure Mountains

view of Mulhacen
Acequia de Berchules Walk with view of Mulhacen

"It's amazing to be up in the mountains, but what made it double amazing was to be hicking with a local (Miguel) whose family have lived and worked the land around here"

 Fortaleza del Fuerete
Top of Fortaleza del Fuerete

Flour Mill "El Molino de Enmedio" Cádiar
Flour Mill "El Molino de Enmedio" Cádiar

An old flour mill El Molino de Enmedio was constructed in the 16th century and has been extremely well looked-after over the years.
The visit was to learn and to know how the grindstone is removed and re-sharpened, as this is the only working mill in Las Alpujarras. A small group wish to keep the mill running and mill their own flour. 

Buying a house/land in La Alpujarra. 
There are houses "Cortijos" and Land "Fincas" with great views and many houses as ruins. The most important thing is water (Natural spring can dry up if you are looking at growing anything) and access to it, visiting in the summer when there is no rain to see if there is a water supply. 
Acequia - irrigation channel
Water is also being sent to the south of Almeria from the eastern Alpujarra for the produce of avocados grown in polytunnels that cover large dry areas. 
Houses tend to have small windows to help keep cool during hot months and there are rules that might not let you change. 
Also, the house needs to be functional.

Slate launa slate
Slate layed over beams, to form a layer to cover with launa

Slate roof edging with Launa
Slate roof edging, with sand/cement joints, stone edging above with Launa

Berber style: Many houses are built using materials that are found local and traditional as before the 16th century.
Launa - is a magnesium clay with a slate structure and bluish gray color. 5 - 6" off launa is placed on the roof. Moden builds put a layer of plastic or waterproof cover before covering with launa
Slate - local slate 
Beams - Traditionally from slow-growing chestnut, now eucalyptus are used
When winters had more snow, it was  necessary to clear the snow from the roofs as the extra weight could cause the roof to collapse.

Fuente
Fuente

Agua No Portable "Red" Means dreaking water no chlorine added and what I was drinking and the locals. "Blue" means chlorine added The amount of chlorine added varies significantly by location and time of the year as well as the water source, temperature and other factors‎.

Hicking Mulhacen
Acequia de Berchules Walk with view of Mulhacen (Highest mountain in Spain's mainland)

Great engineering - The acequia (canal) is up to 15ks long from the sauce to Berchules and possibly 1000 years old. The people of Berchules keep the acequia clean and maintained. 
There were over 3000 people living here when wheat was the main crop, now less than 200 people living full time, many have moved to Granada, leaving mostly retired living here. 

Castril Northern Granada
Castril is one of the six villages which make up the Huescar region in the Province of Northan Granada and is about 150 kilometers from Granada City. The village is situated on the edge of the Province of Jaen, bordering on the stunning natural park of Cazorla

View MAP for all my camping & food stops in France & Spain

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