Canjayar and Ragol

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Canjayar

Yesterday Morning we visited Canjayar, one of the three large towns, together with Alhama de Almeria and Laujar de Andarax, of La Alpujarra Almeriense.

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Typical street in Canjayar

Every town, whatever its size, in this region has its own identity. The narrow, steep streets lined with old houses, though, are very typical of La Alpujarra.

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Old street with the ermita above

We have visited Canjayer briefly several times but on this occasion decided to explore its warren of narrow streets. In this photo you can see the ermita on the top of the hill above the town.

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Canjayar street with cat

Here we only passed a few elderly people and, of course, cats.

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Placeta, Canjayar

This is a pretty little placate we passed through.

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Towards the edge of town

Canjayar hangs above a ridge looking over the valley of the Rio Andarax and we walked down the lanes towards the edge of town.

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Alpujarra blue

Digby thought this blue door with the blue sky made an interesting composition and colour statement

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Looking over the olive mill, La Almazara de Canjayar

Below the town is the olive mill, La Almazara de Canjayar, which we called in to check the procedure for bringing in our olives. We will have about 2000 kilos to harvest in a month’s time. Although it is connected to mains electricity the mill has three vast banks of solar panels to lessen the impact on the environment and keep down energy costs. In this photo you can see the mill and in the distance the Sierra Alhamilla above Nijar.

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Looking towards Ohanes and the Sierra Nevada

There is a narrow lane separating the houses on the edge of town from the ridge. In this photo you can see the town of Ohanes in the hills with the Sierra Nevada behind.

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Looking towards the Sierra de Gator from the edge of town

Here is the view from the other end of this lane with the Sierra de Gador behind.

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Fuente in the Plaza Nueva

In the town centre there are a couple of small squares. In the Plaza Nueva this statue of a nymph sits in the middle of the fuente contrasts with the statue of the man collecting grapes behind.

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The church tower rom the Plaza de la Constitución

In the other square, the Plaza de la Constitución. The church dominates.

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Ragol

On the way back we stopped to visit the next village, Ragol.

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The Main Street in Ragol

Although we have passed it many times this was our first visit. A narrow main street has attractive buildings and the town hall can be identified by the flags outside.

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Houses lining the square in Ragol

At the end of the main street we walked into a small plaza with these interesting houses.

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Calle del Pueblo, Ragol

Higher up in the village the streets become narrower and the buildings less grand. This is a corner of Calle del Pueblo.

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Cat on a mechanical mule

As usual we encountered several mechanical mules. We took this photo in a rincon of the town to illustrate that cats as well as campesinos can ride them.

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Cats under jasmin, Ragol

Cats, as in all the villages, occupy the streets more than humans. At the top of the village we saw these two under a jasmine tree.

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Canjayar from Ragul

From here you can look back at Canjayar and the Sierra Nevada.

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Church tower, Ragol

This is a good view of the church tower. The church was built in the 16th Century. probably on the site of an old mosque.

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At last some rain

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The Sierra de Gador from Alhabia

Yesterday morning and during last night we had some heavy rain. Apart from a couple of days at the end of August when we had the end-of-summer storms, this is the first proper rain we have had since the end of May. In our valley this morning the sun was shining again but as you can see in this photo, taken from the road from our cortijo to Alhabia, that the cloud still lingered over the mountains.

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Our finca this morning

The rain has certainly done the land some good: our finca looked refreshed this morning. In the vegetable patch, in the foreground, you can see potatoes and onions with broad beans behind. To the right is another patch with cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli and in the centre is one of our olive trees laden with fruit. We are expecting to harvest 2000 kilos next month.

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Autumn colours from our lane

Autumn colours are now becoming evident as you can see from this photo taken from our lane just above our property.

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Alhabia this morning

We also took this photo of our town, Alhabia, when we walked in to do the morning shopping.

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Terque this afternoon

After lunch we walked along the river path to Terque. The clouds and fresh light made the village look particularly attractive.

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Clouds above the Sierra Alhamilla

Looking back along the path towards the coast we noticed heavy clouds above the Sierra Alhamilla. From press reports the weather on the coast yesterday was worse than up here.

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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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