We left Córdoba in a better mood than we arrived only a day before. It was sunny and warm as we travelled the 164 miles to the Alpujarras, specifically to Órgiva the capital of the region.
Since visiting Granada 4 years ago, I’ve spent many a happy hour on the internet discovering more about Granada province. From my searches I discovered information about the Lecrin valley and from reading Driving over Lemons, the Alpujarras.
The Alpujarras are located on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the area is watered from the mountain snows and catches the mild southern winds making it green and fertile. Whilst we are not visiting the area known as the Lecrin Valley this time, we were keen to see the nearby Alpujarras.
We had a smooth journey to Órgiva, in spite of the pesky engine warning light switching on about 20 minutes from our destination. The campsite is small and neat, with fabulous mountain views from our pitch.
We pitched up and had a cup of tea sitting outside in the warm sun when we heard the gentle clanging and jangle of bells followed by a herd of sheep and goats that had come to graze in the meadow opposite us.
Later that day we were also the focus of some attention from some local cats who hung around until it dawned on them that we really weren’t going to feed them…..
In spite of not feeding them, they have visited us every day just in case….
The campsite is on a route called the Ruta Olivas Centenarios (route of ancient olive trees). One day we walked the route and saw some magnificent trees…
On another day after about 18 hours of rain 😐 when the sun finally broke out once more, we walked down to the river which was about 250 metres downhill from the campsite. It is a beautiful wild feeling place, with tall reeds and canes alongside the river bed…
The river was swollen and running fast. As we were looking at it, we noticed a canoeist getting ready to ‘shoot the rapids’. I’m not saying these were huge or particularly dangerous looking, but clearly a great place to practice.
We also walked through this grove of Eucalyptus trees. Introduced into Spain for the paper pulp industry because they grow quickly, they have taken over the countryside and have caused controversy amongst small scale farmers and shepherds as more land is taken over to grow these bullish trees, threatening their livelihood and way of life. All so that a few people can make a lot of money and bugger the rest. I took these pictures as I felt it portrayed their menacing and relentless march….
On a completely different note (forgive the pun), as we walked along imagine our surprise on hearing someone playing the trumpet amongst the reeds. Rude of me I know, but had to take a picture. See if you can spot him….
Right, Ógiva town itself. A tad disappointing. It is not a pretty town in any way, shape or form. It has a thriving alternative community which in itself is a great thing as in this case, it is a centre for of off-grid living, utilising interesting ways of lessening our impact on the environment and uses sustainable ways of growing food, producing energy and reducing waste. All good stuff.
It also has attracted a good number of people who seem to live on the streets giving the town an air of scruffy decay exacerbated by rubbish and dog poo liberally spread on the streets. Suffice it to say, it’s not a tourist Mecca, but then that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The town is an excellent starting point for mountain walks and hikes and as I hope you can see, some beautiful countryside.
By way of contrast we also visited the small town of Lanjarón, literally just up the road from Órgiva. Read all about it in my next blog….