Going South

After six days decompressing with family in the Barcelona area, we headed down the coast of Spain….final destination….Lanjaron, just south of Granada. The drive would take us a couple of days. We stopped in a very quiet Valencia for a night en route…and air conditioning! Yay!

After a beautiful drive through the dry crisp fields and hills of Spain, we arrived at our fabulous friend Terry’s hill-top retreat. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, south of Granada, Terry has built a gorgeous house off the grid…complete with swimming pool, acres of wild land full of almonds, figs, olives, apricots, avocados, peppercorns and much more growing wild…and views to die for. This was our second visit to El Rincon but Susan’s first.

Situated at the end of tiny lane and up a somewhat treacherous dirt track (don’t look down!), the drive up to the house is challenging but SO worthwhile. Time at El Rincon ebbs and flows at a leisurely pace, moving between swimming and eating and just enjoying each other’s company. The time here gave me the chance to work in peace and others the chance to explore the area.

We visited with friends and explored Lanjaron – a small spa town nestled in the foothills. Enjoyed shopping and took a couple of day trips. All in all, a very relaxing time!

One of the day trips we enjoyed involved a long steep drive into the Sierra Nevada Mountains in La Alpujarra region.

Archaeological remains show that human settlements in Las Alpujarras date back to prehistoric times.During the Iberian, Phoenician and Roman periods, there were occasional settlements but it wasn’t until the Muslims arrived in the 8th century that the population became permanent and reached its highest levels. The inhospitable terrain has always offered refuge for those in need of a place to retreat and hide.

The Muslims set an indelible mark on the region. Indeed they had found their heaven on earth and treated it as such, respecting their surroundings and adapting their way of life to preserve it, living in total harmony with nature. This was reflected in the urban architecture of their villages that cascaded down the hills, taking their shapes.

They devised a sophisticated and efficient irrigation system to create a flourishing arboriculture in an otherwise barren area. They also developed a prosperous silk industry that survived until they were thrown out of Spain and Las Alpujarras fell back into the dark ages.

We enjoyed a leisurely drive all the way up to the top village – Capileira. We stopped here for tapas and some shopping. Several rugs, baskets and pieces of pottery later we made our way back down the mountain laden with shopping bags! All in a good day’s work.

I loved the slower, simpler pace of life in this part of the region. Las Alpujarras are situated in one of the poorest parts of Spain and yet Brits – seeking a cheaper, simpler way of life – have reinvigorated the area in recent years. During the Summer tourists flock to the area bringing much-needed money into the area. Well worth the visit.


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