Monday, 14 February 2011
WbtA - part 2. Orgiva and Pitres
We stopped for a picnic near Orgiva and some little birds were singing so joyfully but so elusively that we had to scan around quite a while to find them. To my northern ears, they sounded like skylarks - which sing on the wing - so I'd spent a long time looking to the skies to try and find them- but then I finally spotted them in a tree. Any ideas what they are?
We love picnics. This time, we had one of my tortillas de patata, chorizo, cheese, yogurts and lots of lovely fresh bread, all of which went down pretty well.
Then, the children went exploring.
Mateo started pretty near to base having turned over a stone and found a wealth of living creatures to investigate.
And then later I noticed all three of them deeply engrossed in some other fine detail of ant hill, millipede or insecty thing.
We love pine forests!
However the call of a coffee after lunch was too strong for us to stay too long and so we pottered back into Orgiva.
Recently made more popular by Chris Stewart's book, 'Driving over Lemons' - which I enjoyed reading - Orgiva nestles in the lower hills of the Alpujarras, though by the time you arrive there, you feel as though you've already trekked up and round some pretty impressive mountains - and if you have no idea as to what else there is out there, it's a real find in itself.
Some describe it as 'scruffy' or 'quirky'; 'alternative' and 'new-age' comes up time and again too. We did see quite a lot of young folk in dreadlocks and/or dungarees - familiar to us and most of them English. (I don't mean I actually knew any of them but they looked familiar and I could understand what they were saying). And there was a wide range of other people about too - old and young Spaniards; people in cars with licence plates from Germany, France, Holland, the UK and Italy; old folks chatting in the street; friends sitting in the bars; women unloading bags from cars - the usual bustling Saturday street life in a village that felt to be alive and full of good will.
The streets are narrow and the buildings quite tall - difficult to photograph from any angle but the church, with its two towers stands out as a landmark. I thought it was untypical of Spanish churches until I looked again at the church here in Alcala and I can see the same spire with its blue slate tiles and white dotted trim - this could be typically Andalucian then. I will investigate further!
And then round a corner in one of the side streets, we found a little mosaic fountain - not pushing up much water, but rather sweet nonetheless. And yes, I know, it's a pretty bad picture, carelessly snapped, doesn't quite capture the scene at all. I apologise.
And these two just wanted to be captured anyhow before they tumbled off their perches.
The coffee was absolutely delicious. If you look carefully at the trees outside the church, you can see they are full of oranges.
I like that.
We liked Orgiva.
And from there, we headed into the Alpujarras for real - with some of the images shown in part 1 of being wowed. What a drive, what views, what wonderful scents of almond and cherry blossom, what amazing villages built on sheer mountainsides, what sky, what perfect blue sky!
And then, well over 1000 meters up into that sky, we came to Pitres to see a house there.
This is the main square and a market is held here every Friday. Pitres is the 'central' point for a number of Alpujarra villages collectively known as 'La Taha' and it has schools at primary and secondary level - a crucial selling point! Although the house we saw was not what we were looking for, the couple who showed it to us (not the owners) were absolutely charming and full of information about the place. It has a strong musical tradition and an active choir, a music school and is often visited by orchestras who perform 'music in the mountains' in the open air. It also has a few more conveniences such as shops and a local town hall as well in comparison with some of the other villages around.
It was all rather lovely.
Yes, we were wowed by the Alpujarras. And keeping eyes and ears open to find out more about it.
(There's a part three to follow!)