Granada – The Albaicin and Sacromonte

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The Alhambra from Sacromonte

We have just returned from spending a couple of nights in Granada. Here are some photos, taken by Digby, most of which are of the Albaicin and Sacromonte. The first photo is of the Alhambra from Sacromonte. It is not possible to take this view with a normal camera as it is seen through a wire fence but Digby managed to place the lens on his iPhone against a hole in the fence.

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San Gregorio

This is San Gregorio, a church near the bottom of the Albaicin.

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Below San Gregorio

Below San Gregorio is this bustling street of oriental and Arabic shops and tea rooms.

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Shop in the Albaicin

This is typical of one of these shops with its colourful lanterns and clothes.

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Calle Aguas de Albaicin

Near the top of the Albaicin is Calle Aguas de Albaicin which is typical of the narrow streets.

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Calle Aguas de Albaicin

Here is another photo of this pretty street which has many little cafes and shops

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Plaza Larga

This street opens out on to the busy little square, Plaza Larga.

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San Bartolomé

Here is the church, San Bartolomé, at the top of the Albaicin with me in the foreground.

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The Rio Darro from the Plaza Nueva

The Rio Darro runs along the bottom of the Albaicin. This photo, taken in the evening, is of the rio from the Plaza Nueva.

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From the Carretera del Darro towards the Plaza Nueva

Looking in the opposite direction along the Carretera del Darro, back towards the Plaza Nueva, this photo was taken in the morning.

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Carretera del Darro

The Carretera del Darro is lined with beautiful old buildings.

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Carretera del Darro

The trees here cast their shadows over the cobbles in the spring sunshine.

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Buildings alongside the Rio Darro

At the end of the Carretera del Darro is the Paseo Padre Manjón. This photo was taken from here looking back along the Rio Darro.

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Building above the Darro

On the opposite bank, below the Alhambra, is this beautiful old building.

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Cuesta Chapiz

At the end of the Paseo the road turns up the Cuesta Chapiz towards Sacromonte.

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The countryside from Granada

Here is the edge of the city and this view is of the mountains  and countryside above Granada.

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The Alhambra from Sacromonte

From Sacromonte there are good views of the Alhambra and quiet corners to relax in.

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In front of a cave

This is the old gypsy quarter and there are many cave dwellings here. This is a photo of the patio in front of one.

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Cave interior

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Cave interior

Digby took these two photos of the interior of a cave.

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Typical Sacromonte dwelling

A typical Sacromonte facade

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Flower pots

Flower pots adorn the walls.

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Sacromonte cat with the Alhambra behind

Cats sit on the walls in the sunshine.

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Cuesta Gomérez

Back down in the city from the Plaza Nueva you can walk up to the Alhambra along the Cuesta Gomérez.

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Puerta de las Granada

At the top of the street you can look back down to the city through the Puerta de las Granadas.

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Sacromonte cat

We hope you enjoy these photos of Granada. They were all taken with an iPhone and the file size reduced so they can be quicker to view  but the quality is not bad.

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The Bodegas of Laujar and Market in Almócita

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Laujar de Andarax through the vines

Yesterday morning we drove up to Laujar de Andarax. Here they have had more rain recently than we have in the lower valleys and the countryside was looking fresh and beautiful.

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Wild Antirrhinum

Now spring is at its best up here and the roadsides were covered with wild flowers and bushes of blazing yellow broom.

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The Sierra Nevada from Bodega Cepa Bosquet

This is the wine producing region of Almeria and we turned off up a lane through well- tended vineyards and olive groves to investigate two bodegas which we had not visited before.

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Bodega Cepa Bosquet

The first bodega we visited was Cepa Bosquet. 

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Laujar from Bodega Cepa Bosquet

This bodega is in a lovely setting below the Sierra de Gador with beautiful views of Laujar and the mountains. 

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Shop and tasting house at Bodega Cepa Bosquet

In the shop we tasted some of their wines. We bought a 15 litre box of their clarete, which is the basic young wine which all the locals drink, and a couple of bottles of their white Macabeo.

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Bodega Fuente Victoria

We then called at the Bodega Fuente Victoria which is closer to the main road.

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Bodega Fuente Victoria

This is a smaller bodega but they also produce an excellent white wine which is a blend of Macabeo and Jaen Blanco. We bought a couple of bottles of this and a bottle of their red Tempranillo.

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Street in Almócita

On the way back we called in at one of our favourite villages of La Alpujarra, Almócita.

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Rincon in Almócita

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Door in Almócita

Here are some photos of streets and rincones of this pretty little village.

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Mural in Almócita

We have mentioned before the graffiti art and poems which have been painted and inscribed on many of the walls and houses. Here is the latest addition which is in support of the campaign against violence to women.

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Street market

We were surprised to find a bustling street market set around the square and the attractive old church.

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Serving customers

This reminded us of the rastrillos in the villages of the Cabo de Gata as it was mainly devoted to arts, crafts and produce.

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Selling goat’s cheese ….

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…. local beer

Stalls were selling local goats’ cheese and beer.

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Live entertainment

There was also live entertainment.

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The village bar, Almócita

There is a good little bar in the village which serves excellent tapas and wine from Laujar.

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Music by the lovely old church

We had a very enjoyable morning but did not take the camera so these photos were taken with an iPhone.

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Our Garden In April

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A view of the house and garden

Here are some photos taken of my garden yesterday.

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Pots in front of the house

When we moved here last summer the house already had a lovely garden but it had been a little neglected. Over the last few months we have been trimming the shrubs and roses, making new arrangements and sowing seeds in the greenhouse to transplant into pots for summer colour.

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This rose is heavily scented

We have an abundance of rose bushes. We severely pruned these in the winter and now they are full of bud. Next month they will all be in flower and will make a spectacular show but even now we have a few blooms. This is my favourite.

DSC04417aW.jpgHere is an arrangement of weathered bricks, collected from the riverbed, and terracotta pots which I assembled to display my cacti and succulents.

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Cacti and geraniums

I like this display of geraniums, cacti and miniature roses.

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Cement mixer

This is a old cement mixer bucket which I have planted with a climbing snail vine and trailing flowers. It should make a nice feature when the plants are in flower.

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In front of the house

Climbing roses and wistaria decorate the pergola leading into the house. We have collection of pots containing lavender, cosmos daisies, calendulas, geraniums and many others in front.

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Dappled sunlight

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Shade under the trees

Trees provide shade and the dappled sunlight shining through the leaves creates some lovely shadows. The trees attract nesting birds and there is always birdsong to enjoy, including the nightingales along the river below the house.

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Another aspect

Next month we will post some more photos of our garden which will be a blaze of colour then.

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Swimming pool

We have also cleaned the swimming pool this week. It looks tempting but the water is still a little cold for swimming.

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Habas, olive trees and the Sierra de Gador

On the land the vegetable patches are going well.  This is the optimum time of year for habas (broad beans) and we also have cauliflower, broccoli, chard, spinach, onions, garlic, radishes, beetroot and lettuce. We have planted tomatoes, peppers and aubergines for the summer.

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Orange and blossom

The orange trees are full of blossom but still have some fruit left. We have been enjoying our own freshly squeezed orange juice for five months now and have enough fruit to keep us going until the end of May.

 

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Shiba and Bobby

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Shiba with Bobby

The puppy we found abandoned in the River Andarax last week is doing well.

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A helping hand

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She is now eating special puppy food as well as taking her milk formula which she is now able to lap. Her eyes are beginning to open so she must be two weeks old now which means she was barely a week old when she was dumped in the river. We have called her Shiba.

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Shiba and Bobby

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Having her face cleaned

Bobby loves her and is very good at topping and tailing so she is always clean. He keeps dropping his toys into her basket and does not understand that she is too young to play.

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Together in the basket

According to our vet, Mari Carmen, she is a Mastín Español. This is a very large, ancient breed of dog originally used as a herding dog and for protecting flocks from predators such as wolves. We have come across several on cortijos where they are kept as guard dogs although they seem quite soft by nature and are good family dogs. Their size is intimidating though.

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Mastín Español

Here are some photos of Shiba and Bobby taken this morning and above a photo from the internet of an adult of her breed.

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Left to die in the river

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The puppy needs feeding about every three hours

Friday afternoon, while we were walking with our two dogs, Bobby and Blanquita, alongside the Rio Andarax from our home, we heard the plaintive cry of an animal. We thought it was a cat in distress but we could see nothing so we sent Bobby to investigate the sound. He found a small bundle of sodden brown fur lying on its back in the river shallows crying loudly and shivering with cold. It was a puppy, not much more than a week old, that had clearly been abandoned there to die.

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The Rio Andarax where the puppy was found

Normally there is very little water flowing in this stretch of the Rio Andarax but in spring the melt snow from the Sierra Nevada creates fast flowing streams of freezing cold water. There are no roads or houses beside the river here so we think the puppy may have been dumped from one of the surrounding fincas. Perhaps a farmer’s dog had a litter and she was excess to requirements, possibly because she is a bitch.

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Keeping warm by the fire

We took her home, dried and warmed her, and then to the vet in Alhama de Almeria when the surgery opened at 1730. Mari Carmen, the vet, gave the little bitch some specially formulated milk for puppies. She said the puppy had to be kept warm so we lit a fire last night. We have to feed her every three to four hours and wipe her bottom regularly. The vet commented that the puppy was very strong to survive the river and had suffered no ill effects. She will be a large dog and will win no beauty contests. Judging from images we have looked at on google, we think she is a Rottweiler cross. We will attempt to raise her until a suitable home can be found. 

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Santa Cruz de Marchena – Flora and Geology

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Santa Cruz de Marchena

Yesterday, on a beautiful spring morning, we took a circular walk around the hills behind the village of Santa Cruz de Marchena.

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Looking down on the rambla where the walk begins

We started the walk along the rambla at the far edge of the village and followed the track that leads up into the hills.

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Towards the Sierra Nevada

From here there are spectacular views looking north over the valley to the Sierra Nevada ….

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The Valley of the Nacimiento and Sierra de Gador

…. and also across to the Sierra de Gador to the west.

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Wild flowers and lichen

Compared to the Sierra de Gador opposite, these hills are quite barren but there was a profusion of wild flowers. Clumps of this yellow flower were commonplace. Lichen covered the rocks.

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Rock

The geology was also fascinating and we saw gypsum and thick bands of red iron oxide.

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Flora and geology

This photo describes an interesting combination of flora and rocks…

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The narrow path

The narrow path hugs the hillsides and is winding and undulating. It is quite steep in places so care has to be taken.

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Abandoned terraces

We found evidence of former agriculture like these abandoned terraces. Poor irrigation and access plus their small size make it no longer viable to farm these terraces.

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Blanquita, Margaret and eucalyptus tree

The landscape here is virtually without trees but we did walk by this lone eucalyptus. You can see old Blanquita in the photo above. She is now 13 but can manage a long walk at her own pace.

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Bobby found plenty to interest him

Young Bobby is far more active and loved this walk because he could run off searching for rabbits, looking for partridge to put up and chase lizards into bushes.

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Descending back down into the valley

The path descends to the old road to Santa Cruz and you can follow this back to the village and enjoy some refreshment at the friendly bar there. This walk took us about 2 hours but we walked slowly taking our time.

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El Pequeño Gabriel

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Poppies at Las Hortichuelas

Both Las Negras, where we used to live, and the nearby, tiny village of Las Hortichuelas, which we know well, are in a state of shock and dismay following the discovery of the body of Gabriel, aged just eight, in the car boot of the woman who allegedly murdered him. He disappeared after leaving his grandparents’ house in Las Hortichuelas to go to his cousins’ house just a short distance away. For nearly two weeks, hundreds of people had been involved in combing the area for clues as to his whereabouts and there was a manifestation of 18000 people in the city of Almeria to show solidarity on behalf of the distraught parents. The entire country is in official mourning for the little chap and in our village, Alhabia, at 11am, we had a two minutes’ silence for him, officiated by the Mayor.
Our thoughts are with all those who have been personally affected by this tragedy and, in memory, here is a watercolour of Gabriel’s village, Las Hortichuelas, which I painted a few years ago.

Here is a link from todays El Pais with the full story – https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/03/12/inenglish/1520840910_348403.html

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