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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Via Verde, Alhabia – Terque

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Alhabia from the Via Verde

There is a short, circular walk from Alhabia to Terque which we take regularly. From our cortijo we walk down to and across the Rio Nacimiento to the end of the bridge taking the main Alhabia – Terque road. Just after the bridge there is a path tom the right with a sign “Via Verde”. The photo above is taken from the bottom of the path looking across the valley of the Nacimiento towards Alhabia,

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Sierra de Gador and the valley of the Andarax from the Via Verde

A short, but steep, walk up the Via Verde takes you towards the next village, Terque. From the highest point from where this photo is taken there are impressive views across the valley of the Andarax towards the Sierra de Gador. You can see the outskirts of Terque in the middle right of the photo. Some cloud, particularly over the mountains, this morning made the scenes more dramatic.

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Old aqueduct

The Via Verde descends into the village of Terque but instead we take a path to the right which goes under an old aqueduct through which there are views of the Sierra de Filabres.

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Alhabia with old cortijo in the foreground

Walking back down this path, Alhabia comes into view. The old cortijo in ruins in the foreground was once a grand house which had a good view of the village across the Rio Nacimiento.

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Old cortijo

Here is a view from above the old cortijo looking back towards Terque with the Sierra de Gador behind.

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Cave house

Not all the old cortijos were as grand. This one, like many in the area, was formed out of a cave in the hillside.

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Ermita above Terque

Looking back up you can see the ermita above Terque.

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Back to Alhabia

The path soon arrives at a crossing of the Rio Nacimiento slightly upstream from where we set out and directly in front of Alhabia. This walk takes a little under an hour. There are variations. When you arrive at the top of the Via Verde, instead of taking the country route back you can descend into Terque, explore the village and return to Alhabia via the main road or by taking a path alongside the Rio Andarax to its confluence with the Rio Nacimiento and then along the river bed back to Alhabia.

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Notes from Alhabia

 

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The entrance to our house with Rubi

We have been living here over a month now and, with the passing of high summer, our cortijo is becoming more colourful with the addition of more flowers in pots and the flowering of trees and shrubs. This is what the front of the house looks like now .Old Rubi, now in her fourteenth year, is sitting on the path to the front door.

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Bottlebrush tree

Trees are in flower too. We have three bottlebrush trees which have deep red flowers.

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Pink Climber

We do not know the name of this climber dripping with pink flowers, but it is quite common here. Ours has spread itself over the roof of the annexe terrace.

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Peacock feathers and old watering can

This little group tells a story. The watering can, which I still use daily, belonged to my grandfather. It is probably about 80 years old and has 3/4 gallon stamped on the top. Our peacock moulted last month and we collected the feathers and displayed them in an amphora bought from the pottery around the corner. The pot plant is a vinca. We bought some of these to add colour at the front of the house.

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Our olives

On the land our olives are doing well. It should be a good crop in a couple of months time but we shall need help to harvest them.

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Carriage in the square

On Sunday, we had a visit from Jeroen and Daphne, friends from Belgium who were on holiday on the coast at Las Negras. We took them for a tour around the area and when  we arrived for a tapa lunch in the village square we saw this old carriage.

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Margaret and Jeroen in the carriage

One of the drivers asked if we would like to pose in the carriage. Here is a photo of me and Jeroen. Digby had to take the photo.

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We have a Peachic

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Our peahen with chic

When we bought this cortijo at the end of July we inherited 5 hens, a cockerel and a pair of peacocks. Shortly after we moved in the peahen laid two eggs which she decided to brood over. As we have no idea about eating peahen eggs we decided to leave her to it. Yesterday one of the eggs hatched. Here is a photo of mother and chic.

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Almeria – Feria y Fiestas

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Dressed up for the feria

The annual Feria y Fiestas of Almeria City started last Friday night and will continue until next Sunday.

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Dressing up is not just for the young

This is one of the most famous fiestas in Andalucia and the days and nights are filled with events, parties and concerts mostly based in the historic quarter and Paseo de Almeria or the Recinto Ferial.

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A band in the paseo

We visited the city yesterday to experience La Feria del Mediodia along the Paseo de Almeria. The city was in party mood and the crowds enjoyed the street entertainment provided by bands, singers and dancers.

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The Sevillana

These dancers were performing the Sevillana.

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Entertainment for children

There was also entertainment for children.

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Villa Carmen

An interesting feature was a mock-up of a old Almerian home, Villa Carmen.

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In the kitchen

Women posing in the house wore traditional dress.

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Mimbre

Outside the house an old man demonstrated the craft of mimbre and was surrounded by articles made from esparto grass.

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Mini Coopers

At the bottom of the paseo were parked two lines of vintage cars. On one side was a row of Mini Coopers.

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Seat 600s

On the other side lined up were old Seat 600s. These were the only vehicles permitted here and the entrances to the Paseo were blocked by lorries as a security precaution after the Barcelona terrorist attack.

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Girl at the feria

We enjoyed our day out and returned home late afternoon but to take in more of the fiesta events, including the late night concerts, you need to live in the city or book into a hotel if you can find a room.

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Casas Monumentales – Terque

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Terque

The little towns and villages in the valleys of the rios Nacimiento and Andarax boast some beautiful old houses. These were mostly built during the 19th Century when the area became wealthy from the production of table grapes and oranges. I remember, 55 years ago, when my father had a greengrocer’s shop in Falmouth, his customers would eagerly await the arrival of grapes from Almeria in September. I had little idea at the time where Almeria was and never thought that I would one day live where these grapes were actually grown. Sadly, production has virtually died off with agriculture being concentrated in the massive and profitable greenhouses on the coastal plains.
The village of Terque in particular has some fine old buildings.

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Terque from the Rio Andarax

Terque is only a 20 minute walk along the banks of the Andarax from our cortijo which is just above the confluence of the Nacimiento and Andarax. Both rivers at this point carry no water so they are easy to cross and make good walking routes. This morning, we strolled up to Terque and Digby took some photos of the beautiful buildings there.

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Plaza de Constitución, Terque

In the Plaza de Constitución, where a few locals were taking an early coffee under the magificent old old elm tree, there are some attractive buildings.

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Casas Monumentales

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Up a narrow street

From the Plaza, narrow streets lead past some fine houses.

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Elaborate ironwork

Most of these houses are well-maintained which must be expensive as the ironwork and masonry is elaborate.

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Bougainvillea and jasmine

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Rincon with jasmine

Bougainvillea and jasmine are frequently found in corners and growing up walls, adding to the colour and fragrance of the village.

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Se Vende

Not all houses are in good repair. This old building in the Plaza Adelfas is waiting for a new owner but, as the telephone number on the for sale sign has faded, the wait has already been long.

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Old door

This is a typical, old wooden door which Digby thought made an interesting study of colour and texture.

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Casa monumental

This is one of the largest and finest of the old houses. Intricate iron and plaster work surround the doors and windows. The white shutter alone must be expensive and time -consuming to maintain.

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The house overlooking its walled garden

Looking back at this house you can see a beautiful large window overlooking the garden and griffons at the railings along the roof.

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Houses in a small plaza, Terque

There is a lot more to see and write about around here so keep reading.

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