Alboloduy

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The lane to Alboloduy

This morning we walked from Santa Cruz de Marchena to Albolduy along the lane that follows the Rio Nacimiento. It is almost traffic-free but you are likely to come across a campesino going to his finca on a mechanical mule.

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Looking west from the lane

Digby cycled this route earlier this week and posted some photos, so this time he looked for some different views along the way. This was an interesting aspect, with the grasses in the foreground.

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Ripening oranges

Oranges are beginning to ripen. In our own cortijo, where we have 25 orange trees, we have started to pick up some windfalls which are fine for juicing.

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Reaching the town

The lane along the river reaches the town which you can enter along this street but we took the narrow lanes to the high part of the old town.

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Rincon de Alboloduy

There are many attractive little corners up here which are typical of la Alpujarra Almeriense.

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Looking over Alboloduy

From the top there are impressive views looking east over the rooftops of the town at the mountain opposite …

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Looking north

… and from the same location looking north.

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Old cottages, Alboloduy

There are some very quaint corners at the top of the town. We liked this composition.

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Orange groves in front of Alboloduy

Back down at the bottom, orange groves separate the old town from the main road.

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The communal lavadero, Alboloduy

As usual, there is a fuente and communal lavadora. In some villages the lavadoras are just a mark of tradition and not used but today we saw two women from the village doing there washing here.

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First cabbage

We walked back along the lane to Santa Cruz de Mondujar where our car was parked and had some refreshment there before going home. When we arrived home Digby cut our first cabbage. We planted seedlings of various green vegetables in August and this was the first to be harvested.

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Ohanes and Beires

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Ohanes

Yesterday morning we re-visited Ohanes. This time we approached the town from the main road through La Alpujarra linking Alhama, Canjayar and Laujar. Ohanes is only 9km from the latter, but the road winds up through the mountains and it takes about 15 minutes to negotiate the bends on the way.

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Looking up a narrow lane in Ohanes

We looked for little streets and corners we missed on our previous visit; the lanes of Ohanes are narrow and steep. They are often cobbled or scored to give pedestrians and vehicles a better grip as, when it rains, the water must come cascading down them.

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Looking down a lane in Ohanes

Looking down through some the lanes you can catch glimpses of the mountains.

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Fuente del Camino de la Sierra

Water in the high villages of La Alpujarra is plentiful and it is common to find fuentes in the streets.

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Typical old cottage in Ohanes

Many of the smaller houses have changed little and retain their original charm.

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Goats in Ohanes

This goatherd had his corral and stables at the edge of Ohanes.

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Beires

From Ohanes we took the mountain road to Beires, a smaller village at an altitude of about 900 metres.

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Street in Beires

Once again we walked through pretty, narrow streets …

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Fuente in Beires

… and once again passed by a fuente. We thought this one, with its overhanging pomegranate tree, particularly attractive.

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Mechanical mule and winter firewood, Beires

The winters at this altitude are cold and the villagers are starting to prepare for it and we found this mechanical mule which clearly had been recently used to collect the piles of logs beside it .

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Mina del Rosario

Beires has a legacy of iron ore mining. Deposits of rock where hewn from the mountains above during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The ore was brought down from the mines by cable car, the system being steam driven. Large posters in the village describe its mining years. We were fascinated by this little corner.

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Miners and cats

Sillhuettes of miners fashioned out of metal are found as a tribute in various corners of the village. We also found this charming poem painted on a wall –
A las minas de Beires
La brisa del norte trae susurros a sudor y lagrimas, a cantos de tarantos y aromas a tomillos y romeros. ¡ Ay minero de Beires! Tu que al saiiz de la mina envuelto en un traje de polvo color gris, ves al patron, te mira de arriba abajo, nunca le vista una sonrisa, sus dedos brillan como la luna llena, aprietas los puños y te marchas por un senda cantando una canción llena de esperanza y libertad.
Arcadia

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The Valley of the River Nacimiento

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Alhabia from the West Bank of the Rio Nacimiento

The River Nacimiento meets the River Andarax just below our cortijo and from here you can follow its valley upstream to Alboloduy about 8km away. A paved lane follows the river alongside each bank so this makes a good, short return cycle ride or a long walk. You can start this route at our town Alhabia. The photo above is taken from the lane on the west bank of the river. At this time of year there is no water flowing at this stage of the river.

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Cortijo with donkeys

To the left of the lane the valley floor is lined with cortijos mainly producing olives and oranges. In this cortijo there were also a couple of donkeys in a corral.

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Alsodux

The next town is Alsodux. With a population of little over 100 it is the second smallest municipality in Almeria but has its own town hall, an attractive church and a good bar. To the right of the church you can just make out the white speck of the observatory of Cala Alto on the Sierra de Los Filabres.

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Santa Crux de Marchena

A further 2km on and you come to Santa Cruz de Marchena. Another pretty town again with its own town hall, church and bar.

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Cortijos by the rio approaching Alboloduy

The lane continues to Alboloduy. In this photo you can see the Ermita de Alboloduy on the hilltop above the cortijos.

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Alboloduy

Turning a corner Alboloduy comes into view. This is a larger town with, like Alhabia, a population of over 800. The river lane ends here and the main road leaves the valley to wind up through the vineyards in the mountains to join the Almeria – Granada motorway.

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Back along the lane with the Sierra de Gador in the distance

To return you have to take the same lane back as far as Santa Cruz. In the photo you can see the lane with the Sierra de Gador in the background.

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Alsodux from the east bank

At Santa Cruz you can cross the river and return to Alhabia along a similar lane beside the east bank of the river. Passing Alsodux you get a different view of the town. This blog is just a brief description of the route with photos that Digby took when he cycled to Alboloduy and back yesterday morning. You can take as long as you like for this walk/cycle as you can stop off to explore each little town and we will describe them in detail later.

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JORNADA DE RECUPERACION DE OFICIOS ANTIGUAS – TERQUE

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Torque this morning.

Today, in our neighbouring village of Terque, was held the annual crafts and produce fair to celebrate the old way of life in La Alpujarra Almeriense. People from all over the Province of Almeria came to the village today and it was a very special event.

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This old couple were creating baskets by weaving esparto grass

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Donkeys and mules were used to transport the grapes in barrels

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Spinning wool

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Before the grapes were packed the women would clean the bunches with fine scissors

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This display of hand made cots looked distinctive against the backdrop of mountains

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The tailor

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Products made from marble

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Greengrocer

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Husking maize

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Embutidos de La Alpujarra

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The bakers

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`Preparing chorizo

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Traditional music

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The knife sharpener with whistle to attract clients

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Barrel making

Here are some photos Digby took this morning. To save space and time we have given all of them a descriptive caption.

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A glimpse of La Alpujarra Almeriense

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Fondon

Now that we have settled in to our new home and the intense heat of summer has abated we have begun to explore more of the Alpujarra Almeriense. Over the next few months we will be taking a longer look at individual villages and locations but this morning we just went for a leisurely drive past Canjayar towards Granada Province. Fondon is one of the pretty little towns along the Rio Andarax.

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The Main Street in Laujar de Andarax

A little further on is the major town and centre of the wine producing area of Almeria, Laujar de Andarax. It is an attractive town which does attract visitors and in its centre are many craft and local produce shops, excellent tapas bars and attractive buildings. We intend to visit the vineyards and wine bodegas in the future but we did buy some eco wine from the shop of vineyards of Cortijo de Cura.

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Paterna del Rio

We drove on up the mountains to Paterna del Rio. This village is famous for its chestnut trees and we will return soon to walk one of the mountain trails and collect chestnuts. At this altitude the autumn colours are beginning to appear as you can see from the photo.

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Sierra de Gador

On the way back we stopped to enjoy some superb views of the mountains. This photo was taken of the Sierra de Gador from the road between London and Padules.

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Looking down to the coast from Ohanes

We turned off at Beires to take the mountain road to Ohanes. From this spot looking back down towards the coast we could just make out the Sierra de Cabo de Gata. On a clearer day it would be quite distinct.

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Ohanes

Ohanes is an isolated little town clinging to the mountainside.

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Narrow street, Ohanes

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Window, Ohanes

We spent a while walking around Ohanes. It is a maze of narrow streets, quaint houses and little corners.

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Cats, Ohanes

As usual there were cats on doorsteps. More of them than humans in the streets.

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Rooftops, Ohanes

We will return to spend more time here. There is so much to inspire the artist and photographer.

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Alhabia – Huécija – Alicun – Alhabia

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Huécija

We can see the two villages of Huécija and Alicun on the mountainside across the valley from our cortijo. To reach them by car there is a turning off the Alhama de Almeria – Canjayar main road.

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Alicun

We thought there must be a lane  by which we could walk to them and studying Google earth we deduced that we could make a circular walk to them from our home. So we set out yesterday morning.

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Terque from the start of the lane to Huécija

Across the Rio Andarax, just before Terque, there is a prominent lane on the left of the river path. We took this.

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Looking back down the lane

The lane led up the hillside through various cortijos. There were good views in all directions of the mountains and valleys of the Rios Andarax and Nacimiento.

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Olives and Oranges

Most of the fincas were planted with olive and orange trees. There were a few vineyards but some of these have been abandoned or replanted with olives or oranges which is a shame as the Alpujarra Almeriense is historically famous for its grapes.

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Approaching Huécija

Eventually Huécija came into view and we went up to explore the village.

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Old houses in Huécija

We discovered a charming village with pretty streets and squares with attractive old buildings.

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Narrow street with the Sierra de Gador behind

We could see the Sierra de Gador behind as we looked up some of the narrow lanes of the village.

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View from the vineyard

We walked up a lane above Huécija and reached a vineyard from which there is a lovely view of the village and church looking back down.

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Bunches of pink grapes

The vineyard was bursting with bunches of pink grapes. We have seen similar on sale in the shops and markets around here. They are a sweet table variety.

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Yellow grapes

In the same vineyard there were also some vines with yellow grapes.

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Huécija from the paseo to Alicun

After refreshing ourselves in the village bar we took the road out of Huécija towards Alicun alongside which was a wide paseo which made a pleasant walk. From a mirador along the way we took this photo of Huécija through the trees.

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Alicun

Here is a view of Alicun as you arrive from Huécija looking over vineyards.

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Water reservoir by the main square in Alicun

Alicun is smaller than its neighbour but has a pretty square with a water reservoir beside it.

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The village bar

Here is the village bar in the square. In both villages the bar is right next to the church so easy to find.

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Fountain in the centre of Alicun

This fountain in front of the town hall reminded us of those in the Generlife Gardens of the Alhambra, Granada.

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Cats of Alicun

Also in both villages cats, which seemed to be quite tame and friendly, were sitting in the narrow streets.

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Blanquita in the acequia

We found a leafy lane which led above the village. There was an acequia water rushing down it beside the lane. At this spot old Blanquita was able to have a quick dip and refresh herself. Our two young dogs do not like running water. We presume the acequia feeds the reservoir in the town centre.

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Starting our descent

After some more refreshment sitting outside the bar at Alicun we headed back. Shortly after leaving the village towards the main Alhama de Almeria – Canjayar road we turned off down a lane to the left to make our descent to our valley below.

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Riding a mechanical mule

We met no-one en route except for this campesino on his mechanical mule. These machines are a popular form of transport for owners of cortijos as they are useful for carrying produce in their trailers and for tilling the land.

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Looking down on Terque and Alhabia

The final photo shows the two valleys converging were the Rio Nacimiento joins the Rio Andarax. The village on the left is Terque and the one on the right Alhabia, The ascent to Huécija took about an hour. We spent two hours exploring the villages, walking between them and stopping for refreshment. The descent back down from Alicun to Alhabia took another hour.

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Alhabia – Bentarique

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The path down with the Sierra de Gador in the distance

Last Sunday morning we started the walk we took on Saturday (see previous blog) but the other way around, crossing the Rio Nacimiento further up and, at the large ruin across the river, took a promising – looking wide track off to the right. Unfortunately, this just led to a water deposit at the top of the hill. However, we saw a narrow path leading down towards Terque from which there were impressive views across to the Sierra de Gador.

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Barren hills and orange groves

Looking back from the same spot the hills behind reminded us of the desert of Tabernas but the orange groves below add some greenery.

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Blanquita in the lavadero

We soon arrived at the top of Terque and walked down through the village. It was hot and old Blanquita decided to freshen up in the village lavadero.

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The lavadero was built in the Neo Moorish style

These communal washing places are a regular feature in the towns and villages of La Alpujarra Almeriense. This one is built in the Moorish style but we do not think dates back to their age.

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Entrance to Terque

We left Terque via the main entrance to the town. We have recently featured a blog on the lovely old houses in the village but here is a photo of the entrance to Terque.

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Fincas with orange groves beside the Rio Andarax

We crossed the road and the Rio Andarax and walked along a path beside the river towards Bentarique. To our left were fincas of orange groves with the Sierra de Gador above.

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Bentarique from the Rio Andarax

The path alongside the river ends before Bentarique but we continued our walk along the river bed. There are good views of the village from the river.

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Looking back along the Andarax. The Sierra de Alhamilla is in the far distance

Looking back the views were also impressive. We could see as far as the Sierra de Alhamilla above Nijar near our previous home.

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A corner of the square in Bentarique

Bentarique is a charming little village. We took some photos of the pretty streets.

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A narrow street in Bentarique

We returned the way we came as far as Terque but then followed the road back home to our cortijo near Alhabia. It was a very enjoyable walk of about 10km.

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