We had heard that there is a beautiful little mountain village called Laroya in the Sierra de los Filabres so today we went to look for it seeking inspiration for painting and photography.
We drove through the mountains until we came across marble quarries and the town of Macael which was clearly prospering from this industry.
We stopped at the quarries as the veins of marble and the stratas of rock on the exposed faces were fascinating.
At Macael, we turned off on to a narrow mountain road that wound its way through unremarkable mountain scenery for 7km, and then, when turning a corner, we suddenly arrived at Laroya, a charming, pretty village overlooking a fertile valley, an oasis in the barren mountains.
We explored its narrow streets.
Many houses are built of natural stone and retain their old doors and windows with wooden rejas.
Some houses are whitewashed but ….
…. others expose bare stone walls.
Outside one house a woman was busy operating a machine to peel the husks off almonds. She was friendly and stopped her machine to chat to us.
A little ginger cat blended in with the pile of almonds …..
…. one of the many cats we encountered in the narrow streets.
Flowers grow in pots outside the houses and ….
…. vines and fig trees provide shade.
We saw hardly anybody in the village. This old gentlemen was one of the few people we encountered.
We ended up in the little square in front of the 16th Century church and noticed several walks signposted.
We decided to explore the countryside and took a path that ran alongside fields lined with pomegranate, nispero and membrillo trees.
The path ran alongside an irrigation channel above a barranco where poplar trees were beginning to display their autumn colours and eventually reached an old mill.
It was time to make our way back to the village and we were thinking that we should return and stay for a couple of days to explore more of this beautiful countryside.