It's silly really. About 18 months ago, when we went on holiday, I bought Chris Stewart's book 'Driving over Lemons' and really enjoyed reading it, though not without considerable envy even then. And that was before I knew we were going to live in Spain ourselves and that writing a book about it would have been my dream!
When I went to England for a week back in October, I bought his second book, 'A Parrot in the Pepper Tree' and enjoyed that too. And I realised a very strange thing this weekend. I had been avoiding going to the area described in these two books - even though I knew somewhere deep down that it was exactly where we were looking for - simply because I had read them. I didn't want to go there because of what I'd read in a book.
And oh, how I am kicking myself now! This weekend, we decided to go and look at a property in Orgiva (which I find very difficult to pronounce correctly...try it, with the emphasis on OR/heeba - I always want to say Or HEE ba. It's not 'Orgy' anything, so don't try that.) The journey south of Granada is always stunning - and we turned off at one of the most beautiful areas with the Lecrin Valley and Beznar to the right of us and the route across the Alpujarras to the left.
We drove along the winding mountain road, past Lanjaron, as famous here in Spain for its bottled water as Evian is in France, to Orgiva, which boast the title of 'Gateway to the Alpujarras' - and it's certainly a wonderful entrance to what is to come.
We met Eva, the agent in the centre just outside the impressive church. The town was full of people who clearly came from many places other than Spain - lot of new-age looking folks too. It had a very friendly feel and Cesar and I instinctively liked the place.
|View from the land|
The property, a couple of kilometres outside Orgiva, wasn't what we were hoping for though the land it had was absolutely stunning. We got the chance to talk to the neighbours and the children explored the various plants and wildlife (and a bit of 'dead' too as they found a sheep's skull in the grass!) and so it felt like a positive experience and we weren't too disappointed.
We decided to have our picnic in the area under pine trees, where the birds were singing their little hearts out and the views were gorgeous. Then we went back into Orgiva and drank a very good coffee in one of the bars on the main street - again, a sense of being laidback and relaxed was prevalent in the surroundings.
We had another appointment at a village called Pitres, further east along the Alpujarras and so we set off on what was one of the most wonderful journeys I've ever been on.
Leaving Orgiva, we climbed quickly and steeply up a good road, but one where there were a few scary moments - particularly when we came face-to-face with a big bus - and we were the ones at the 'drop off the edge of the cliff' side!
We didn't, of course, but Ruy will remember the moment forever as he has a strong sense of the dramatic!
We kept stopping to take in the views, smell the air - full of cherry blossom - or to buy oranges.
The road continued to wind past little villages and to climb up and up and up...
This view looks across the valley - see the little road clinging to the mountainside - we'd just travelled along there.
We drove past the picturesque town of Pampaneira, with even more colour added to the place by the sale of brightly coloured rugs - I was very tempted and we stopped off on our way back from Pitres when I discovered a most wonderful chocolate shop... but more of that later.
Eventually, we arrived at Pitres, which at 1,297m above sea level had a chilly nip in the air, but oh my, what air it was to breathe! We met a lovely lady called Imma, who had offered to show us the property that belonged to someone she knew and her husband, Pedro, joined us. Again, the house wasn't what we were looking for but we stayed chatting to this lovely couple for about half an hour - maybe more - and they told us all about the village and the community and it all sounded so perfect! We exchanged email addresses and Imma promised to see if there was anything else for sale in the village and then let me know. I would love to keep in touch with them - and we certainly want to go back to Pitres again! Who knows..
I cannot possibly do justice to this area in photographs. This is only part one because there is so much more to say and describe and I will do that in my next posts. I just have to say again that it is a most 'wow' place and one we all really want to go back to again as soon as possible....though, poor Ruy, who suffers a little from travel sickness, will need some pills to get him there and back again!