As promised in a previous blog, first thing on Friday morning, Maureen and I set off on the just-under-3-hour journey to Capileira, the most northerly of the 3 villages in the gorge of the Poqueira river in the Las Alpujaras district of the province of Granada.
The whole journey is interesting as, once you get past Granada you go through Lanjaron and other villages each with their own unique character and then start up the steep incline up the mountains to Capileira. Note in the map it LOOKS like Orgiva is on-route but actually you have to take a turnoff so that’ll have to wait for another day.
With temperatures rapidly approaching 40 degrees C we only briefly stopped off on the way at a restaurant in Calle de Eras Del Seleco in Lanjaron – you’ll see it in the new built-in street view in Google maps – simply says “restaurant” which we dubbed the “cafe for noisy people” as we couldn’t hear ourselves thing for most of the otherwise excellent lunch.
Once you get past Lanjaron you spend far more time going up and down mountains than travelling in a straight line so that part of the journey takes longer than it might at first seem. We encountered a road-slide where the entire right side of the road had simply dropped off into the valley – fortunately the road-crews had sorted out the mess before we got there.
Heading off it took us the best part of an hour to get up the mountains. Capileira is around 5000ft up but our hotel was even higher and about 1 km above Capileira.
As we were in no rush we kept on going as I wanted to see just how high up we could go – but in the end, we gave up as the road went from superb to, well, something you might find on the moon perhaps – used only by logging trucks and insane cyclists but even then by the time Maureen finally insisted we turn around (the road at many points is on the edge of the mountain with very little between you and death) we were well in excess of 6,500ft above sea level – and it LOOKED that high. You have to do it once but take good tires with you.
The town is just superb and at multiple levels (as it’s up a mountain!) with lots of shops and restaurants to keep one busy and the whole feel of the place is very clean and of high quality (which is more than can be said of construction you might see elsewhere). One shop we went into had a very old wooden weaving loom in the back room and drink is cheap enough as you can see from the photo on the right. Maureen bought lots of bits and bobs and I bought a new t-shirt… well, you have to, don’t you.
The thing I can’t figure out is the snow on the mountains – we had temperatures of around 40 degrees C and going up to 6,000ft had no effect on that whatsoever – and yet – here’s the photographic evidence – snow – I just don’t see that peak being more than 8,000ft and yet…. there it is. I DID think it was just some kind of calcium but winter shots of the area show that peak being completely white. If anyone knows the answer to this please do let us know.
The hotel – well, I’ll not say much here as we’ve already displayed our displeasure on the relevant travel website but when we got there after travelling up the only access path which was an assault course, all looked perfect – the pool overlooks the valley, it was wonderfully cool, scenery was great but the pool could have been cleaner and better maintained. A Spanish gentleman guy showed us to our room without giving any other information away.
We headed off back down to the town and found in a small square a nice pizzeria simply called “La Pizzeria” and had a very pleasant pepperoni pizza – the Spanish aren’t that good generally at making pizza bases so this was most welcome. We spent the evening simply taking in the mountain air and enjoying a nice bottle of rose.
Back at the hotel after an enjoyable evening we got off to a bad start as one of the guests had far too much to drink and kept trying to sing – like us he probably had a room that was too hot and so with his door open we could hear him loud and clear. After a very unsatisfactory sleeping night which included listening to presumably the same person throwing up in the morning… we got up at 8.30am only to see the very modern, efficient looking dining room empty and devoid of staff with last night’s dinner plates still scattered around, We simply left, vowing next time to go elsewhere – which given the potential is a great shame – maybe they’ll change in the future. We’ve been in touch to pay the bill but they’ve yet to come back to us.
The reason we came here on a Friday night was so we could travel back up through Guadix market which is held on a Saturday and that we did, arriving at Guadix around 11am. Great market and large but a little short on food options (fried chicken or nothing) – as we’d had no breakfast this was important so we only stayed for an hour before heading off home, but not before Maureen bought a new quilt for the bed.
Note the spelling of “Lennon”….. just because someone CAN print on t-shirts doesn’t mean they SHOULD 🙂