Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Andalucia hiking day 2: Trevelez -> Mecina

After heading back into Trevelez to find breakfast (the campground restaurant wasn't going to open until 9:00 or something ridiculous like that), we spent longer than planned finding a place to pick up lunch stuff.

We left town at 9:30 and headed up to the ridge (~1800m) along a path that was mainly through pine and grass. Quite green, not so Coe anymore. We did a nice little -200m/+200m thing across a canyon that wasn't indicated on the official height profile for the hike. This wasn't particularly strenuous, and it was clear on the topo map, but it is kind of irritating to be expecting a level hike and get a height change that large. Along the way we spent some time on a dirt road where we encountered a group of younger cows who were clearly not particularly used to hikers. We ended up "chasing" them along the road for a while until the path forked off to the side.

After about 4 hours (including a break for lunch) we hit the first white village of the day: Busquistar (1156m). We wander around town for a bit and then head off along the GR-142 to Ferreirola. The terrain is now completely different: exposed rock, steep drops, etc. We round a corner and see five new white villages all at once. Five! (Ferreirola, Fondales, Mecinilla, Mecina, Pitres). We continue along to Ferreirola (1005m) and then to Mecina (~1000m, 4:00). After dropping our bags off at the hostal/restaurant L'Atelier, we wander around until 5:30 then head back to our very nice flat where we cleanup and rest a bit before dinner.

Dinner is excellent. Greg was a bit worried after seeing the number of ersatz meat dishes on the list of starters when we checked in ("oh no, it's one of those vegetarian restaurants"); but the full menu, particularly the daily specials, aren't so self conscious. Just nicely done vegetarian food. After all the meat of the previous days, it's really nice to eat a good quantity of vegetables.

Looking back to Busquistar

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Andalucia hiking day 1: Near Cadiar -> Trevelez

Got a late start (9:30) thanks to breakfast starting at 8:30 -- not our fault for once. Following directions from some horseback riders at the hotel, we skipped heading back into Cadiar to pick up the GR-7 directly and took the direct route of just heading downhill to the river (~800m). After wandering around for a bit searching for where the GR-7 crosses the river, we gave up and crossed the river on a log (Greg's favorite activity). Immediately thereafter we found the trail.

After going uphill for a bit we hit our first white village of the trip: Lobras (939m). After a short break and drink at the fountain (pretty much every town has a fountain, so we don't have to carry a huge amount of water with us, which is a tremendous boon), we head through town, down a bit, then up to the the next village: Timar (1070m). Another break at another fountain, then up again and over a really nice crest with cool rock formations until Juviles sneaks up on us (1255m, 1:00).

Juviles is a bit bigger than either Lobras and Timar and is distinguished by its huge new ham-drying facility. We wander around town for a bit trying to find the supermarket to pick up some stuff for lunch, but eventually give up and have lunch at a cafe/bar/restaurant run by a Dutch expat. After a leisurely lunch break we start our at 2:30 for the day's endpoint: Trevelez.

We head up, up, up from Juviles through some scrub to the ridge (~1800m) and then down through a pine and oak forest to town. Trevelez (1476m) was visible for a while and kept getting closer through the afternoon. We walk through town past more ham-drying places than I thought could ever exist in one place, then out of town along the road for about a km to the place we're staying for the night (6:10). Rather than head back into town (and then return) along the dark and fairly busy road, we opt to have dinner in the campground restaurant. The meal is nothing to write home about.

Some themes from our not particularly strenous day:
  • Smells: this was the best smelling hike. We were heading through rosemary and thyme and pine and lavender and flowers of every description. There were scrub flowers that had a light cinnamon scent and some flowering bushes with a cocoa butter smell. Amazing.
  • Flowers of many shapes and sizes. Not as many colors: the majority were yellow but we did see some purples, reds, and blues. Even some green.
  • Aside from being a bit hazy the weather was quite nice. It was warm but not too hot, with low humidity and frequent cooling breezes.
  • The parts of the day where we were climbing through scrub really reminded both of us of Henry Coe.
  • Wow was it great to be out hiking again and to know that there are more days to come.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tourists in Granada

After a "taxi-airplane-bus-bus-bus" journey (~ 7h) we arrived in Granada Sat. afternoon.

We spent the rest of Saturday walking through the down-town area, being amazed by the touristy crowds, visiting La Capilla Real (the final resting place of the Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabella),eating at various places at various times, walking up and up and down the Albaicin, enjoying the views and the crowds on the terrace of San Nicolás,...

Sunday was Alhambra-day.

Monday morning took us on a long walk outside of the center, halfway up the Sacromonte, more wanderings of Albaicin. We took the bus to Cadiar in the Alpujarras in the afternoon.

Alhambra: Patio de los Leones

Visiting and Hiking in Andalucia

We took advantage of the Ascension holiday to spend a week down in southern Spain, some days in Granada and then hiking the GR7 along the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada . Once again we kept a bit of a log of the hiking along the way.
  1. Saturday->Monday: Being tourists in Granada
  2. Tuesday: Cadiar -> Trevelez
  3. Wednesday: Trevelez -> Mecina
  4. Thursday: Mecina -> Capileira
  5. Friday: Capileira -> Lanjaron
  6. Saturday: Malaga

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Walking through the Bärlauch: Grellingen -> Meltingen

The goal for today was to do a relatively short (the forecast wasn't particularly good) hike that included some Bärlauch gathering. Andrea proposed a that we pick up from the end of an earlier hike and go from Grellingen to Meltingen. This turned out to be a Wandern mit dem U-Abo hike that includes the comment "in the Spring the entire valley is a giant Bärlauch carpet". That sounded good!

The hike was really, really nice. The valley (canyon, really) is at times quite tight, at times very broad. The path runs along a nice stream, the woods are nice, the weather wasn't too bad (no rain, sometimes sun). And the whole thing was completely covered in Bärlauch. Bärlauch as far as the eye could see. I filled my collecting bag pretty quickly and decided to show a bit of restraint. We can always get more next weekend if we run out. :-)
Total walking time 2.5 hours. About 300 vertical meters.