So now that we’ve finally arrived in the Alpujarras, lets stay and look around a little. Yesterdays blog brought us to the first of 3 most picturesque and popular of the numerous villages in the region, 3 towns which have been known to conserve the “morisca” traditional architecture of this historical region.
The towns are interconnected by ancient “caminos” or “camino reals” – way or public right of way which used to be the only measns of travelling between the towns prior to the introduction of modern roads. I’ve read somewhere that these were also the routes that donkeys were used to transport goods along. Its difficult to imagine, because in some areas the caminos are pretty steep. Some of these caminos are actually part of the GR7 hiking route that almost traverses from one end of Europe to another.
Pampaneira is quite a small village -Altitude 1152m, population 324, yep! no typo 324! ok! maybe its increased a bit by now, but its pretty significant either way if you consider terrain and the effort it takes to get infrastructure to and from here. With a town that size you can imagine finding your way around is pretty easy, and with the next village Bubion visible on the upper slopes, it goes without saying that one tends to just wander in that direction after having had a good look around. The route goes past the church and then climbs up to the higher part of town, past the public laundry. If you’re having visions of a whole bunch of speed queen coin operated machines, think again :-). This is the traditional public laundry with back to back washing troughs under an enclosure, open 24/7 :-). (see image on yesterdays blog) With only 324 people the wait can’t be too long. The route continues past the last houses and soon becomes the old dirt road which ascends steeply between fruit trees, chestnust, walnut, almond and other tree laden fields staggered on embankments along the slope. The human intervention on these natural slopes is very obvious. The fields were interconnected by a complex network of drains, most of which are still operational to this day. Not even 45 minutes of ascending and the lower houses of Bubion come into sight. As you move further into Bubion, the fringes of the next village Capileira become visible.
Bubion altitude 1300, population 350. The Architectural language of the region was pretty much evident in all these villages that were literally, within walking distance of one another. So Bubion is comfortably positioned between the two. So, it was a perfectly logical place to put down the backpack for a few days, and make it a base for exploring the area. Finding accomodation turned out to be quite simple, with almost everybody in town knowing where the vacancies were :-). Chose a nice elevated traditional building, recently renovated, with a balcony overlooking the incredible valley, with daily views of the flaming sunsets. Somehow, despite the presence of cars, roads, tv aerials and even a little supermarket, you just felt like you were in a bygone era, when life was just so simple and the world was not so crowded…………… The journey continues……………………………………