Blog: El Paraje de las Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada walks · nature · culture · events · publications · weather
blog by: El Paraje
Berchules, Granada, Spain

31 December 2010

Winter 2010-2011 cultural programme Alpujarra de la Sierra

See leaflet full size

related key words: Invierno Cultural Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

21 December 2010

Centro Temático del Vino Alpujárride in Torvizcón

Yesterday, the 20th of December, the first stone was laid for ´Alpujárride´ - Centro Temático del Vino that will be built high above Torvizcón on one of the hill tops of the Sierra de la Contraviesa. This centre will contain a winery, an interactive museum and a restaurant. It is an initiative of Ignacio Nestares who mentioned in his speech that five generations of his family have been making wine at fince Juan de Reyes. After his grandfather had died there were a number of years that he did not visit the cortijo, but one day when he went back with his father and he became fascinated with the idea to continue with the tradition of wine making. Visiting other bodegas the idea grew that he not only wanted to reinstate the seven hectares of vineyards and make good quality ecological wines, but that he also wanted to develop a centre that would be attractive for visitors in more respects. The result is this idea of an interactive museum  in which all aspects related to the history of wine making in the Sierra de la Contraviesa will be explained making use of the latest technology. People will be invited to participate in the harvest and gastronomic workshops will be organized. The aim is that people who visit ´Alpujárride´ will have a singular, unforgettable experience.
We think that its location is flabbergasting and will already leave a lasting impression on everybody visiting the centre. It is situated on the top of a hill at an altitude of 1,389 metres, four kilometres from Haza del Lino. Looking southwestwards you see Monte Salchicha with an altituted of 1,545 metres the highest mountain of the Sierra de la Contraviesa. North- and eastwards you can contemplate the majestic Sierra Nevada and southwards the enchanting Mediterranean Sea. The local linear walk Ruta Pedro de Alarcón that starts in Torvizcón passes right at its doorsteps. Arriving at a place like this after having climbed seven hundred metres through vineyards, almond, fig and olive groves will be unique. We are looking forward to it. The first phase is expected to be completed in June 2011. In the meantime we would like to wish Ignacio and his family all the best with their project.

Official start of the Alpujárride proyect with Ignacio Nestares (to the left), David Moreno the mayor of Torvizcón and José López Gallardo as Diputado de Turismo de Granada laying the first stone.

Above the GR-5204 at about km-4 you can already see the white containers on the construction site. Alpujárride will have a unique location to attract visitors to the Contraviesa part of the Alpujarras.

Related articles:
- Wineries of the Alpujarras
- Museums and private collections in the Alpujarras

Related links:
- Discurso Ignacio Nestares
- Nota de prensa

Related key words:
Museo interactivo, interactief museum, interactive museum, enoturismo, wine tourism, wijn toerisme

19 December 2010

Coast to Coast Charity Walk from April 27th to May 17th 2011

One of the guide books in which our accommodation is mentioned is Walking in Andalucía by Gunter Hunter-Watts, a walking guide that covers the Alpujarra, Los Alcornocales, Aracena, La Axarquía, Cazorla and Grazalema. Over the last few years, the writer criss-crossed the mountains of southern Spain for another reason. The fruit of many years of research is a new guide book: The Andalucían Coast to Coast Walk - From the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean by way of Inland Spain.

In general we write posts on things related to the Alpujarra and Sierra Nevada, which is not the case of this walk from Maro (close to Nerja) to Bolonia (close to Tarifa). The reason why we do like to mention Guy´s new book is his initiative for a fundraising for children in Nepal. Yesterday we received an e-mail of the author with the announcement of a Coast to Coast Charity Walk that will take place from April 27th to May 17th 2011. Guy intends to do all 21 days of the walk and there are already a few people that signed up for the whole walk of 430 kilometres. Guy invites people to join him on the walk or to support the initiative by making a donation. More information can be found on the announcement of the charity walk and a sponsorship form and Coast to Coast on facebook.

Related keywords: Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

16 December 2010

Murtas, viewpoint of the Contraviesa

Not all our guests can or like to make long walks. We therefor want to give a suggestion of a tour by car through the Contraviesa. This is a mountain range we look at from ´El Paraje´ and where most of our wines are made. From Bérchules you drive down to Cádiar from where you climb up the Contraviesa. On the top you turn left towards Murtas. While you drive on this quiet country road you have an excellent panorama of many Alpujarran villages and the summits of the Sierra Nevada to the left and the Mediterranean Sea to the right. After having passed bar-restaurant and winery Cuatro Vientos you arrive at a crossroads Venta del Chaleco with a sign of the Cerrajón the Murtas, the second highest top of the Contraviesa. Passing a cheese factory it is possible to drive up almost to the very top at 1,507 metres; you need to walk about fifteen minutes (see our map).
People that would like to stretch their legs for a little bit longer, could consider the short local walk ´La Solana´ (see our post Sendero Local La Solana in Murtas). To get to the starting point of this circular waymarked walk of four kilometres, you pass through Murtas and continue until you see a sign ´centro the población´. To your left you see a wooden bench (if it is still there) and a marker post of the Sendero Local. The changing scenery during this short stroll, of the Sierra Nevada, the Sierra de Gador, the Mediterranean Sea and the Cerrajón de Murtas is really unique. On the way back you pass through Murtas which has a bar at the back of the church that serves good food.
Continuing the tour, we pass Mecina Tedel and Cojáyar. These two villages are connected by a waymarked Sendero Local, a local walk with a considerable height difference. (see details of this linear walk on the web of the Mancomunidad de los municipios de la Alpujarra Granadina)  The next village that we pass is Jorairátar. This a picturesque village with a pleasant bar, La Maruja, right at the entrance. It has a very interesting museum, but this can only be visited on appointment. To get back to ´El Paraje´ from Jorairátar, we follow the A-4348 back to Cádiar. This Contraviesa tour of 66 kilometres is highly recommended in February and March when the almond trees are blossoming (see our post Almond blossom in February).
This tour is also a suggestion for people who like road biking.

P.S.The small white dot at the far right of the photo is our casa rural El Paraje.

Related links: map of the Alpujarras.

13 December 2010

Local walk PR-A 70 Pueblos del Poqueira

We know of our own guests that many people that decide to spend a few days in the Alpujarra like to visit the Barranco de Poqueira. Quite often people are interested in combining a stroll through the picturesque villages of this beautiful valley with a short walk. We were therefor happy to learn about a ´newly´ signposted Pequeño Recorrido developed by the Parque Natural de Sierra Nevada connecting Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira. More information on this Sendero Pueblos del Poqueira PR-A 70 can be found on the website of the Junta de Andalucía. On the map of this walk it is not made clear whether you can cross to the other side of the valley at point 6. Before arriving at Capileira (point 6 on the map) there is a sign indicating ´Puente El Molino´. It turned out to be surprisingly easy as well as beautiful to follow the indications and cross the bridge. At the other side there is a sign of the PR-A 70 indicating the way back to Pampaneira. Having two circular walks everybody can decide how to combine visiting the Poqueira villages with some hiking. The ´low loop´ is about 6 kilometres and the first part coincides with the GR-7. Both routes follow the old ´Camino a Bubión´. At the Plaza Libertad in Pampaneira a GR-7 waymark can be found. Going up Calle Estación, you pass an old wash house and climb up Calle Principe or Calle Real to get to the starting point. On the street map or ´plano´ of Pampaneira the starting point of the ´Camino a Bubión´ can be found. On the street map of Bubión we indicated where the PR-A 70 enters and leaves the village. The ´high loop´ that passes through Capileira is about four kilometres, but it is also possible to return to point 6 on the map in order to shorten the walk. On the street map of Capileira it is indicated with number 4 where you enter the village and number 3 is where the local walk leaves the village (coincides with the GR-240 or Sulayr).

The PR-A 70 is quite well waymarked with signs indicating the distances to the villages and wooden posts with yellow-and-white waymarks. Where needed we placed a few extra cairns.
Nevertheless, about 200 metres of the path that steeply descends to the river before getting back to Pampaneira are seriously damaged (See our own map between 13 and 14!)!
While doing any of the walks that use the Pampaneira river crossing, like the Sendero Local La Atalaya, you need to be aware that you need to cover this difficult steep stretch with lose slates. Without clear visibility, good hiking boots and mountain walking experience this part is not to be recommended.
Take into account that the waymarking (again!) has only been done in one direction! You can get lost walking back if you did not look back every now and then. (No problem with our GPS track data of course)
We have not done the ´high loop´ yet, but we heard at the Punto de Información de Pampaneira that this walk can be done without encountering any difficulties.

9 December 2010

Sendero Monterrey Laujar de Andarax

Laujar de Andarax is a village in the Almería province that we planned to visit for a long time and today we finally came around to do it. Thanks to the new Almería-Lanjarón road the travelling time is now only forty-five minutes and the weather forecast for today mentioned twenty-four degrees, sunny and no wind. A perfect day to check out one of the walking routes starting from this village that is quite well-known for its wines. The Sendero Hidroeléctrica is famous, but we heard at the Centro de Visitantes that it is not maintained as there are some steep stretches that are not considered safe enough. We decided to do the shortest of the two ´official´ short  local walks (signposted with yellow-and-white waymarks) of which we received copies at this visitor´s centre, namely the Sendero Monterrey (pdf folleto 3,86 mb) a circular walk of nine kilometres. The first three kilometres you follow a beautiful small path through a dense pine forest. Although you do not climb much more than three hundred metres, the views are fantastic once you come in a more open lanscape with grape vines growing at 1,200 metres. The return route is for a great part on a wide dirt track with fantastic views. We could not cross the Río Andarax easily, but we think this was exceptional. The holes of the bridge were blocked, so that the water ran over it in stead of underneath. Besides, the river was probably very swollen because of the amount of rainfall last week in combination with the melting snow. The snow that covered the Almirez (2,519 metres) and the Pico del Buitre (2,465 metres) a week ago has all been gone by now. A few hundred metres after having crossed the river with some difficulties the path has disappeared - probably as a result of the heavy rains last winter - and it looks as if you might need to cross the river again. This is not the case though, you need to stick to the left bank of the river for 200 metres although there is no clear path any more. The rest of the track and the two bridges that you need to cross are no problem. We are impressed by the beauty of this valley and will definetely go back to check other routes in the area.

Our ´regulars´ know that we add new walks like this to our file with descriptions. For new readers it might be nice to know that we make our own maps, callibrate them and put our GPS data and waypoints on top of them. (click here for our GPS data of this walk). At waypoint 9 we investigated the situation of the damaged dirt track to find out that sticking to the left bank of the river does the trick. We did not edit (delete) this part of our GPS data.

Related keywords:  Alpujarras, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, berchules, B&B, hotel

3 December 2010

Fiestas de la Matanza 2010

Tomorrow Mecina Bombarón organizes a Fiesta de la Matanza with an exposition, a tasting of pork delicatessen, and all sorts of other activities (see program).

On Sunday the 5th of December there are two other villages that celebrate ´slaughter festivities´ with ´degustaciones´, namely Turón (see program) and Órgiva (see program).

Related links:
- Article from the Ideal by Rafael Vílchez: Ugíjar, Turón, El Padul, Yegen y Mecina Bombarón organizan ferias y fiestas para el puente

29 November 2010

Snowfall in the high sierra

Last Friday a period of nice autumn weather came to an end. It was overcast during the day and slowly changed to misty and wet. Saturday it rained incessantly and the forecast shows more precipitations this coming week. Luckily we had a bit of a break yesterday with blue skies and some sunshine. From our terrace we enjoyed a snow-covered Almirez after the clouds had floated away. This mountain that we can see in the distance is with an altitude of 2,519 metres, the second highest peak of the Almería province. In the valley of Trevélez we saw quite a lot of snow on the mountains while going out for a few training hours. We think that the snow level has come down to about 2,400 metres. On the other side of the Sierra Nevada the ski centre was officially opened on Saturday. In the newspaper article ´Sierra Nevada abre la temporada´ we can read that the snow thickness varies between 10 and 40 centimetres but that more snowfall is to be expected in the ´high´ sierra this coming week. People that plan to visit the area during the ´Puente de diciembre´ coming weekend will hopefully be able to enjoy some wonderful winter landscapes.

28 November 2010

Bronze symbols of Sierra Nevada of José María Moreno Rodrigo

For two more days the exhibition ´Luces de Sulayr, Cinco Siglos en la Imagen de Sierra Nevada´ can be visited in the Centro de Arte of Almería. Altough the exhibition is quite small compared to the one which was held in Granada last year, it is still interesting. We especially enjoyed the bronze sculptures of insects, birds and mammals of José María Moreno Rodrigo. His sculputures of fauna of the Sierra Nevada were earlier this year exhibited in the Parque de la Ciencias de Andalucía en Granada. On the website of the Casa Taller Miguel Moreno a list of artistic reproductions can be found, amongst which the twenty-four sculptures that form his project ´Esculturas Símbolo de Sierra Nevada´. The Alpine Accentor is an example of a true symbol, as it is a bird that inhabits the high mountains. On the summits of the Mulhacén and Veleta it can often be observed. It has become quite familiar with the presence of people and does not act shyly at all. Something we experienced ourselves and that is also mentioned on the Spanish text of Prunella collaris or Acentor alpino on Wikipedia.

Related links:
-Catálogo de la exhibición Luces de Sulayr (pdf 19,94 mb)

Related articles:
-Luces de Sulayr, images of Sierra Nevada

9 November 2010

Fonda-Museo de Gerald Brenan in Yegen inaugurated

Before Gerald Brenan moved into his house in Yegen in 1920, he stayed in the village inn known as Pensión ´Manuel Juliana´. This boarding house on the main road (Carretera 16) continued to offer lodgings until the mid-eighties. Brenan stayed in this posada again in 1974 with Alfredo Amestoy Eguiguren who made the documentary of Brenan called ´Agua pasada´. They spent a few weeks in Yegen about which Alfredo Amestoy wrote: "Dormíamos en la misma habitación, en la posada de Yegen, un dormitorio sin cristales en la ventana, sin retrete. Yo me encargaba de llevarle y traerle el orinal al ya anciano Brenan que rezaba al acostarse." The 23rd of June 2009, the town hall of Alpujarra de la Sierra bought this former posada with the idea to turn it into a Casa Museo dedicated to the hispanist that universalized the village of Yegen through his book ´South from Granada´. Internationally Brenan is best known for his publication ´The Spanish Labyrinth´: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War, first published in 1943.
Thirteen students of the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Granada made suggestions for a ´Casa-lugar para un Nuevo Brenan´. Two weeks ago the Fonda-Museo de Gerald Brenan opened its doors with an ´encuentro universitario´ during which the students were invited to explain their proposals and models for an Espacio Brenan. The result of their projects are exhibited in the new Casa Museo which can be visited from Monday to Friday from 16.00 to 18.00 hours. Apart from the exhibition nothing can be seen yet that has any relation with the famous hispanist. But looking through one of the old windows of one of the ´dormitorios´, you can do nothing else but wonder if it was the room in which the young traveller stayed, read and mused about his life and future... Many visitors will stil need to bow their heads before entering a room as the doorposts are original, thus very low. The shutters of the windows are of wood, without glass just as the journalist Alfredo Amestoy wrote in his article for El Mundo. The cane ceilings are still there and the stables cleaned, but luckily untouched. This makes the building just right for a Fonda-Museo. With the purchase, the stripping, plastering and opening important steps have been taken. We hope that through the years the local authorities find the means and collaboration to fill the new Fonda Museo in Yegen with books, reproductions of photographs and show films and documentaries like ´Mirada de Brenan´ and ´Agua Pasada´ of Alfredo Amestoy.

Related articles:
- El municipio compra hoy la fonda donde se hospedó el hispanista Gerald Brenan, article from Granada Hoy written by R. Fernández.
- Yegen convierte en museo la antigua fonda donde se hospedó Brenan, article from the Ideal written by Rafael Vílchez.
- Don Geraldo, Uno de los Nuestros, article from El Mundo in memory of Gerald Brenan written by Alfredo Amestoy.

Related links:
- Sendero Local ´Gerald Brenan´, Yegen
- Ruta literaria por el sendero de Gerald Brenan

Related keywords: Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

1 November 2010

Jornada de la Seta Mecina Bombarón 2010

Yesterday the III Jornada de la Seta en Mecina Bombarón was organized. A group of about thirty people gathered to go up the pines to pick mushrooms. Around two o´clock the participants came back to the village with baskets and boxes with many different types of fungi, curious to hear from José Herrera which types they had collected. This expert mycologist told the names and curiosities, but regarded the ´níscalo´ or the Lactarius deliciosus as the only edible one. He agreed that a few others could be eaten, but did not have the desirable taste or aroma. The absence of poisonous effects is apparantly not the only aspect to put a mushroom on the list of ´setas comestibles´ of this micólogo experto. The couple that stayed with us and that took part in the different activities was given a beautiful violet mushroom by other participants and had told them it was a delicacy. José Herrera explained that it was a Lepista nuda. After looking for more information on the Internet, we found out that it is sometimes called Clitocybe nuda, in English known as Wood blewit. In the salón cultural the níscalos were prepared and stirfried for the participants that wanted to try their own mushrooms. Apart from this, Luis of cafe bar La Huerta in Mecina Alfahar had prepared delicious ´mico tapas´ with níscalos for a tasting. This ´degustación´ was well organized by the town hall of Alpujarra de la Sierra for which we want to congratulate all the people that contributed to make this Jornada de la Seta such a successful event.

Related links:
-Article in Granada Hoy: La Alpujarra pone el arte de la micología al alcance de todos
-Programme Otoño Cultural 2010 of Alpujarra de la Sierra

21 October 2010

Por tierras de moriscos 20 and 21 November 2010

PromoCETS 2010 is one of the promotional activities that forms part of the Plan de Acción 2009-2013 of the Carta Europea de Turismo Sostenible. During these two days, Sierra Nevada National and Natural Park will be highlighted as a destination for sustainable tourism. Different activities are organized in Bérchules, Cádiar, Mecina Bombarón and Válor, tierras de moriscos. The brochure can be downloaded (4,49 MB).
For more information call 958.026318 or e-mail: maria.villa.ext @

11 October 2010

Report of the third Alpujarran bird census

Sunday the 3rd of October the third bird census of the Alpujarra was organized by Carmen of Alquería de Morayma, a rural hotel in Cádiar. A total of 32 different species were counted and ticked off on the list that was made by Miranda and Trevor, a British couple that has been bird watching in this area for over twenty years. Apart from adding the Dutch and scientific names to the bird checklist, we have ticked off the species sighted or heard on the past three bird counts.

Carmen published a report of this day on the website of Alquería de Morayma. This is a translation of her account of the International Bird Day celebrated on the 3rd of October in Cádiar:
"This day was celebrated by Alquería de Morayma with a beautiful walk in the valley of the river Guadalfeo. The eleven participants with different nationalities, were guided by Gary, a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable naturalist and Antonio J. Ramos, guide of the Natural Park Sierra Nevada. Anita of Casa Rural El Paraje and Carmen of the Alquería also participated.
The morning started clear and pinkish but turned windy. The day was blessed by birds of prey. The first birds that were sighted was a pair of Golden Eagles while setting off.
While walking on the ridge of the Loma de Cayón through vineyards, almond and fig orchards a number of Stonechats and other passerine birds were spotted. Under the bridge of the river Guadalfeo, an igloo-shaped nest of the Red-rumped Swallow was observed. Antonio commented that this bird started colonising Andalusia not too long ago. He added that the White-rumped Swift, another bird that has expanded into southern Spain, appropriates the nests of the Golondrina daúrica, while these two species share a territory in a curious way. Further on the Red-rumped Swallow was observed. The route continued through the Rambla de Albayar covered with gorse, rosemary and tamarisk. There was still water running through this river bed, thanks to the abundant rain fall this past winter (1217 litres/m2 measured by the meteorological station in Cádiar). As the Peregrine Falcon was sighted it got the title of ´Bird of the Day´, but it did not keep this for long. While watching a family of fat partridges running and flying up, two Goshawks appeared from behind some cliffs and took over the title. At this time of the year, this raptor comes down from the pine woods in search of food. To strenghten its first place, this pair of raptors stayed around for some time and gave a fantastic flight show. More information on the bird census can be found on the blogs of Sendero Sulayr and Casa Rural El Paraje."

Related article: Peregrine Falcon holds the title of the animal kingdom's fastest flier article on Nacional Geographic

Related key words: vogels, alpujarras, sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

4 October 2010

Pelophylax perezi or Perez's frog

Perez's Frog is a type of frog that is very abundant in Spain, as evidenced by its Spanish name ´rana común´ or ´common frog´. It is a frog of the genus Pelophylax of the family Ranidae or true frogs. Apart from Spain it is found in southern France and Portugal. Altough it is sometimes referred to as the Iberian green frog (´rana verde´ ín Spanish or ´Iberische groene kikker´ in Dutch) it can also be gray or brown. We liked the one we saw in the small stream running through the Rambla de Albayar for its beautiful green colour.

Related key words:
Iberian water frog, iberische meerkikker, iberischer wasserfrosch, grenouille de pèrez, ranidae family, ránidos, echte kikkers, anura

26 September 2010

Vanessa cardui or Painted Lady

The Vanessa cardui or Painted Lady of the family Nymphalidae is one of the most widespread butterflies. Although the Vanesa de los cardos can be found on almost every continent, except Antarctica and South America, we were still very pleased to sight one on our own terrain a few weeks ago. Today we saw a few on the track of the almond orchards of Los Riscos. Apart from this ´Cosmopolitan´, as it is sometimes called in North America, we saw many other types of butterflies flying around on this sunny autumn day. The Vanessa cardui, like most other butterflies we sighted, were especially attracted by the stink aster which is still in flower. The Painted Lady is resident only in warmer areas. It migrates in spring, and sometimes again in autumn. It is able to travel large distances as it is known to migrate from North Africa to for example Great Britain or the Netherlands. The migration of birds has so far been monitored better than the migration of butterflies. In various articles different starting points are mentioned; the Atlas Mountains in Morroco, Tunesia and the Mediterranean in general.
PS On the 5th of May 2011 we saw a large number of Painted Ladies on the finca.

Related links:
- Website Butterfly Conservation: Millions of Painted Lady butterflies are now arriving in Britain, after an amazing 1000 mile migration from North Africa.

Related key words: migratory butterfly, mariposa migratoria, trekvlinder, distelvlinder, schoenlapper, aurelia, vanesse du chardon, vanesse des chardons, belle dame, distelfalter, edelfalter, ninfálidos, nymphalidés, Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

23 September 2010

Feria de Octubre Cádiar 2010

The Feria y Fiestas de Cádiar will this year be held from the 7th to the 11th of October. This annual fair is organized by ´La Asociación Cultural Fuente del Vino´ in coordination with the municipality of Cádiar. This association was set up three years ago and aims to recover and preserve the traditions that form a fundamental part of the cultural identity of Cádiar. Officialy the Feria y Fiestas were to honour the patron saint Santo Cristo de la Salud. Nowadays the fair is better known as the Fiesta del Vino since a wine fountain was inaugurated in 1967. Last year the ´Feria y Festias de Octubre´ were declared ´Fiesta de Interés Turístico´. The programme can be found on the website of the Consejería de Turismo of the Junta de Andalucía.

Related links: - Publication of the Feria y Fiestas de Otoño on the website of tourist board of Andalucía
- Article from the Ideal written by Rafael Vílchez
Cádiar abre su Fuente del Vino con la declaración de Interés Turístico

22 September 2010

III Censo de aves de la Alpujarra desde la Alquería de Morayma

On Sunday the 3rd of October 2010 the third Alpujarran bird census will be held, which starts at 08.00 hours at the Alquería de Morayma. A circular route of nine kilometres will be done. On the first two bird counts the GR-7 was followed towards Lobras and back to the Alquería. This time the idea is to follow the GR-142 and do the two loops as seen on the map. On the first autumn bird count, which was held the 3rd of October 2009, 33 different species were counted. A list of these birds can be found on our post Día mundial de las aves celebrated in the Alpujarra. More information on the III Censo de aves de la Alpujarr desde la Alqueria de Morayma can be found on the website of this hotel/appartment complex near Cádiar.

29 August 2010

Parnassia palustris or Marsh Grass-of-Parnassus

Our last flora post we dedicated to the Marsh Gentian. Close to this Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp Depressa we saw another interesting bog species with prominent white blossom, namely the Marsh Grass-of-Parnassus. Parnassia palustris is a species with a holarctic distribution according to the on-line magazine Waste. Throughout the northern continents of the world in can be found in moist areas like watersides, damp slopes, shores, wet moorland, swamps and stream banks. It can be found throughout Spain and as far south as Northern Africa (Rif Mountains). In Andalusia, the ´hepática blanca´ or ´hierba del parnaso´ occurs only in Sierra Nevada between 1,500 and 3,000 metres. In Sierra Nevada its habitat are the wet grasslands locally known as ´borreguiles´. In many countries it is on the list of endangered species. In Andalusia it is on the ´Lista Roja de la Flora Vascular de Andalucía´. It was the 18th century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus who first validly published the name ´Parnassius palustris´ in1751. On Wikipedia it is mentioned that the name is inherited from ancient Greece. “Evidently the cattle on Mount Parnassus appreciated the plant; hence it was an honorary grass.“ The Greek Mount Parnassus has an altitude of 2,475 metres. This is more or less the height where we saw our Bog-stars, namely at about 2,600 metres in the Barranco de las Albardas in the Trevélez valley. Other sites in Sierra Nevada where it flowers from June to September are for example Arroyo del Palancón or the Borreguil del Río San Juan.

Related key words: bloemen, northern grass-of-parnassus, sumpf-herzblatt, studentenröschen, paranassiaceae, parnassiafamilie, herzblattgewächse, parnassioideae, alpujarras

27 August 2010

Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp Depressa

There are plant species which are widely distributed in Europe, while it has a subspecies that is endemic to
Sierra Nevada. This holds true for Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp Depressa. This blue-flowered gentian can be found in an area that is almost twenty kilometres long, albeit interrupted due to its ecological requirements. The number of individuals capable of flowering is estimated between 5000 and 10000.
This subspecies of the Marsh Gentian grows at altitudes between 2,200 and 3,200 metres, in the oro- and crioromediterranean levels. The factors that determine its scarcity are the ecological requirements and the limited number of suitable habitats for its development. Its habitats are high mountain pastures, known as ´borreguiles´ and peat bogs. This Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp Depressa and four other gentians that inhabit the marshy meadows of Sierra Nevada are listed as ´vulnerable´ and on the list of endangerd species, the Lista Roja de la Flora Vascular de Andalucía. This is because their habitat, the ´borreguiles´ are affected by overgrazing, the changing of water courses and tourism.  Three weeks ago we saw a fairly large number of this endemic Marsh Gentian along a small stream flowing into the Barranco de las Albardas at an altitude of 2,550 metres.

Related articles:
- References on the local flora

Related links:
- Gabriel Blanca López: Flora amenazada y endémica de Sierra Nevada (pdf 18MB)

Related key words: cáliz de la aurora, genciana de turbera, klokjesgentiaan, lungen-enzian, familia gencianáceas, gentiaanfamilie,  familie der enziangewächse,  famille des Gentianacées

26 August 2010

Senecio nevadensis

The Senecio nevadensis or ´Suzón de Sierra Nevada´ is one of the more than sixty endemic plants of Sierra Nevada. There are other ´senecios´ to be found in the massif, like Senecio elodes, Senecio eriopus and Senecio quinqueradiatus, but this ´Nevada ragwort´ is the only one that can be found exclusively in Sierra Nevada. Its habitats are in the highest parts of the mountain range, between 2,600 metres and 3,300 metres in the ´pisos oro y crioromediterráneo´ (oromediterranean and crioromediterranean levels). This member of the daisy family can be found on steep stony slopes or ´canchales´ (´pedregales móviles´ or ´cascajales sueltos´, gravelly areas with unstable schist slabs). It caught our attention mid July because it has large stems (up to 30 cm) and it was still in bud. Many other plants in the area were tiny, colourful, with hardly any stems or leaves, peeping out of the rocks and in full flower; like the Chaenorrhinum glareosum, Iberis carnosa subsp emberger, and the Viola crassiuscula (violeta de Sierra Nevada or Nevada violet). When we went back early August, we saw this Senecios nevadensis in full bloom just below the ridge of the Loma de Piedra Ventana, a spot were the shepherds probably don´t come. We took another route back, so where we had seen a large number in bud, we did not see whether they had come into flower or not. This ´Nevada reagwort´ is listed as ´vulnerable´ and and therefore included in the ´Lista roja de la flora vascular de Andalucía´ (Red List of Vascular Flora of Andalusia). According to the information on this ´Nevada ragwort´ in Flora amenazada y endémica de Sierra Nevada there are only three populations (between 10000 and 15000 individuals). When we look at the small map in Flora amenazada y endémica de Sierra Nevada on which the known populations are located, we are to the right of them. The ones we have seen, might be a population the scientists are not yet aware of. It is a threatened due to its specific ecological requirements and extreme fluctuations of fruit production, depending on the climatic conditions. Because it flowers late, in years with a particularly early cold autumn, it barely comes to fruition. Apart from this, grazing constitutes another threat. This species was first validly published by the Swiss botanist Emond Boissier and his French companion George François Reuter in their Pugillus plantarum novarum Africae borealis Hispaniaeque australis (1852).

Related articles:
- References on the local flora
- Cerro del Gallo, the highest mountain of Bérchules

Related key words: sierra nevada kruiskruid, sierra nevada greiskraut, sierra nevada kreutzkraut, séneçon de Sierra nevada, Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

25 August 2010

Aquila chrysaetos or golden eagle

There are a number of places in the Sierra Nevada and Alpujarra that have a name that refers to an an animal, like Plaza de Lobos or Hoyo del Lobo. When we pass the Tajo del Águila between Juviles and Tímar, we actually quite often see eagles. Mostly you see birds of prey hover or circle high in the sky, too far for us to take a photograph with our camera. The other day we were lucky enough to see a golden eagle fly very low, a few metres in front of us. We had the feeling we could have shaken hands with this magnificent ´águila real´. When we had a look at the map to see where we had this special encounter, we saw the name ´Tosca del águila´. Maybe it was not such a coincidence after all.

Related links:
- On-line magazine Waste: Aguila chrysaetos
- Quercus: Situación actual del águila real en Andalucía
- Quercus: Aumenta la población de águila real en Andalucía

Related key words: águila caudal, steenarend, steinadler, aigle royal

19 August 2010

Plantago nivalis or ´snow star´

The Plantago nivalis or ´estrella de las nieves´ is one of the more than sixty endemic plants of the Sierra Nevada. This ´snow star´ can be found at altitudes higher than 2,300 metres in the ´pisos oro y crioromediterraneo´ (oromediterranean and crioromediterranean levels). This alpine species has a preference for areas where the snow remains for a long period and the borders of high mountain meadows, locally known as ´borreguiles´. The ´snow star´ is a regarded as a bioindicator of this habitat. It presents a number of climatic adaptations. Its leaves hold water and the coating of soft white hairs (pubescence) protects the plant from cold temperatures, prevents evaporation and reflects the strong solar radiation. As the ´snow star´ grows very close to the ground it is a protected from strong winds. The flowers of this plant are grouped in a small head at the end of a long stalk, so as to facilitate the dispersion of the polen by the wind to other plants nearby. According to the text on this Plantago nivalis on the on-line magazine Waste, it has - together with Edelweiss - the legend of being the flower of eternal love as the leaves of the star do no dry out. “People had the tradition to give it do their beloved ones as a token of their eternal love." Nowadays it is a protected species that can not be collected and considered one of the emblematic species of Sierra Nevada. It is the symbol of the Sulayr Long Distance Footpath and can be seen on the wooden waymarkers of this GR-240. The Swiss botanist Edmond Boissier encountered the ´snow star´ on one of his explorations in July 1837 when he went up the Barranco de Benalcázar towards the summits. As he was the first to publish the Plantago nivalis, he is regarded as the author of this botanical name. A drawing can be found in his ´Voyage Botanique dans le Midi de l’Espagne pendant l’année 1837´ (page 181). We saw many ´snow stars´ in the valley of the Río Chico of Bérchules on the first Saturday of august. It is not a threatened species, so it is a species that any visitor interested in the local flora should encounter easily. What is not easy, is to see it in bloom, as this is only for a very short period.

Related articles:
- References on the local flora

Related links:
- On-line magazine Waste: Joyas botánicas de Sierra Nevada
- On-line magazine Waste: La flora endémica del macizo de Sierra Nevada

Related key words: plantaginaceae, plantagináceas, plantain, weegbreefamilie, wegerichgewächse, famille des plantaginacées, plantago thalackeri pau, nardus grasslands

15 August 2010

The endemic flora of the Sierra Nevada

On this blog we quite regularly write posts on the local flora as we love the botanical wealth of the area. In the Sierra Nevada there are over 2,100 catalogued species and subspecies. Spain is the country with the highest number of endemics (176 national ones) and Sierra Nevada is the area with the highest concentration of endemic plant species in the whole of continental Europe (80 species according to the on-line magazine Waste). The idea that it is the only area where it can be enjoyed or photographed makes us feel priviliged when we see a plant endemic to the Sierra Nevada.  An ´endemismo nevadenses´ can sometimes only be seen in one or two locations within the mountain range. It is suggested by some people that we owe the high number of localised plants partly to the ice ages. During the last ice age, the only region with a climate favourable for plant life, was the present-day Mediterranean region. When the years became colder many plants shifted their range southwards where they took refuge on the relatively warm south-facing slopes of the mountains. The Betic Cordillera, to which the Sierra Nevada belonged, held many important refuges. As Europe warmed up again, some of these plants shifted back north, while others retreated to the high parts of the mountains and adapted to the prevailing conditions. This is why the summits of the Sierra Nevada, while appearing almost barren at first glance, in fact display the highest number of ´unique´ plants of the whole of Europe.  As many formed their own biological communities, visitors interested in the flora can easily see a number of unique species once they are at an altitude higher than 2,300 metres. Between thirty and forty percent are to be found in the marshy grasslands known as ´borreguiles´ or on the steep rocky slopes close to the summits known as ´canchales´. The uniqueness also implies a great risk. Endemic plants can easily become endangered or extinct because of their restricted habitat and their vulnerability to the actions of man or climate change. Fortunately almost all endemic plants can be found within the boundaries of the Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada and therefore monitored and protected. Most of them flower in July and August, so this is still the time to go out and enjoy the unique botanical jewels of the Sierra Nevada. We will continue to dedicate articles to them (see posts label flora-endemic), indicating where we encountered them, whether there were a large number or just a few and any pecularities we think are worth mentioning.

Related articles:
- References on the local flora
- Sempervivum minutum
- Boissier, discoverer of many Sierra Nevada plant species

Related links:
- On-line magazine Waste: La flora endémica del macizo de Sierra Nevada
- Gabriel Blanca López: Flora amenazada y endémica de Sierra Nevada (pdf 18MB)

14 August 2010

Boissier, discoverer of many Sierra Nevada plant species

The Swiss botanist Edmond Boissier (1810-1885) is regarded as the discoverer of the Andalusian flora. He started his botanic explorations of Andalusia in the year 1836 and his first findings were published in a pamphlet in which he described about two hundred plants. More exploration trips followed between 1837 and 1845. After seven years of preparations, his work devoted to the botanical wealth of southern Spain, ´Voyage Botanique dans le Midi de l’Espagne pendant l’année 1837` was published. This work has a set of 208 magnificent botanical drawings and a catalogue of 1900 species that constitutes ´an extensive botanical geography of the kingdom of Granada´. As Boissier also described his experiences, it is also seen as an interesting travel guide. On the website of the on-line exhibition ´Luces de Sulayr´ (entrar-descubrir-galería de personajes) we can find a summary of his botanical explorations in the Sierra Nevada. “He was offered a room in cortijo de San Jerónimo, which became his base. At first he concentrated on the areas around el Dornajo and the Trevenque, and he was immediately struck by the number of species unknown to the scientific world at that moment. After his first excursion he decided to stay higher up at the Prados de las Yeguas and later in the Cueva del Panderón, close to the Veleta.” In 1849 he returned with George-Francois Reuter (1805-1872), who became his travelling companion, collaborateur, curator of collections and librarian. Bossier who was financially independent, healthy and strong, a born traveller and mountaineer, visited Spain nine times. It is said of him that he was gifted with unusual mnemonic powers and a consistent worker. He travelled to many countries all over the world and described more than six thousand new species. In ´Boissier´s diagnosis´ by Frans A. Stafleu we can read: “Much of the secret of Boissier´s productivity certainly lies in his close association with his equally enthousiastic and dedicated companion George-Francois Reuter.” They travelled to northern Africa together and made significant contributions to knowledge of the relationship between Andalusian and North African flowers. They published their findings in ´Pugillus plantarum novarum Africae borealis hispaniaeque australis´ in 1852. Boissier validly published a large number of botanical names of plants he encountered in the Sierra Nevada, many of which are now classified as ´endemic´, as they have so far not been seen anywhere else. Because of Boissier´s close co-operation with Reuter, we sometimes see both their names as authors of botanical names of species inhabiting the mountain range. After their publications, many botanists followed in their footsteps and expanded the knowledge of the flora of the Sierra Nevada.

Related articles:
- Erodium cheilanthifolium

Related links:
- Digital version of the ´Voyage Botanique dans le Midi de l’Espagne pendant l’année 1837` (tomo de láminas) from the website Luces de Sulayr
- List of plant names described by Edmond Boissier

12 August 2010

Santo Cristo 2010 celebration in Alcutar

This weekend, the 13th, 14th and 15th of August 2010, Alcútar honours its patron saint Santo Cristo de la Misericordia. Note that the relegious celebrations are put seperately at the right bottom of the program!
The procession will take place Saturday the 14th at 21.00 hours.
Sunday the 15th at 21.00 hours la subida (putting back the statue in the church) is also  impressive to experience.

(Alcútar is part of the ayuntamiento of Bérchules)

11 August 2010

Walking through a snow tunnel in August

Although it is mid August, there are still quite a number of snow fields in the high parts of Sierra Nevada. A couple of days ago, we followed the Río Chico of Bérchules upstream. Before we reached the actual source of this river, we decided to follow a small stream northwestward as we were curious to see which flowers we would see along the edges. We saw a couple of really pretty endemic plants, like Veronica turbicula, and many ´estrellas de las nieves´ or snow stars (Plantago nivalis). But the most impressive thing we encountered was a snow tunnel formed by the melt water. It had a length of about thirty metres and we could actually walk through it. This was really refreshing because of the lower temperature inside and the water that was dripping down. We had actually crossed this same snow field three weeks earlier, without realising how we missed out on the sheer beauty of the carved walls underneath.

9 August 2010

Borreguiles de Sierra Nevada

One of the habitats of the highest vegetation zones of the Sierra Nevada is locally known as ´borreguiles´.  These are wet pastures that can be found above 2,000 metres in the oro- and crioromediterranean levels. These grassy areas can be found near rivers, gullies or tarns and have the ability to accumulate agua. Some areas have a more or less constant humidity, and in others it might vary. Peat bogs, where the ground is permanently waterlogged by still water are scarce, but do exist. The ´borreguiles´ hold a large biodiversity of plants and about thirty-five percent of them are endemic species. This explains why these areas have always attracted botanists and nature lovers. Visitors of the high mountains that are interested in flora, will be suprised when they start exploring the green oases in a seemingly barren, dry landscape. ´Borrego´ means lamb in Spanish and explains the name given to the soft, grassy areas. Unfortunately the delicate balance of the ´borreguiles´ is seriously threatened by overgrazing, the change of water courses and tourism. On the on-line magazine Waste an excellent article ´Borreguiles de Sierra Nevada´ can be found with a list of fifty plants that inhabit these sites.

8 August 2010

Acequia de Bérchules

There are many irrigation channels in and around our village, but there is only one that carries the name ´Acequia de Bérchules´. This is an irrigation channel that runs for a large part at an altitude of about 2,500 metres. It takes most of its water from the Barranco de las Albardas in the Trevélez valley. It was built more than ten centuries ago by the Arabs. Water transported by this acequia has always been used to supply fountains and for irrigation of the land. After many people left the area in the fifties of the last century, this acequia fell in disrepair as it was no longer maintained. When the Sierra Nevada was declared Parque Nacional in 1999, the restoration of the ´acequias de careo´ in the high parts of the massif was one of its priorities. In the summer of 2006 a group of nine men from our village went up the Plaza de Lobos each day to work on its restauration. Everything was done in the original way, in other words manually. From the mountain slopes great blocks of stone were extracted which were made into thin slates. These slates were then used to restore the irrigation channel. They did a marvelous job. Since a few years water is running through this channel again, and it is fantastic to walk along it. Between the Plaza de Lobos and the Barranco de las Albardas there is little height difference and the views are breathtaking. Our next target is to check out the part from this Barranco de las Albardas to the Río de Puerto de Jérez. If it is possible to continue walking alongside the channel, it could be a new walking connection between Bérchules and Trevélez.

Related article:
- water distribution at cima del tejar

Related links:
- Mecina Bombarón news 25-2-2011: Homenaje a los acequieros
- Taha news 24-2-2011: Homenaje a los acequieros
- Article from La Opinión de Granada, 28th of August 2006: Sierra Nevada recupera 600 kilómetros de acequias
- Google satelite position, where the Acequia the Bérchules takes water from the Barranco de Albardas (the photo is taken just a few meters walking south from the sharp bent.)
-Dina-mar: Galería fotográfica de los Careos de las Alpujarras

6 August 2010

Eumigus rubioi, an endemic wingless grasshopper

The same as with the flora, it may seem upon visiting Sierra Nevada that the fauna inhabiting the area is scarce, particularly in the highest parts. However, as occurs with the plants, a multitude of tiny organisms have adapted to the prevailing climatic conditions. There are a large number of different species of invertebrates of which about two hundred are endemic. Eumigus rubioi is one of the insects that can only be observed in Sierra Nevada, above 2,500 metres. This insect, like other orthopterans, avoid being seen and caught by blending in with their natural surroundings with their colour and their shape. Camouflage (´camuflaje´) or mimicry (´mimetismo´) is one of the survival tecniques for the invertebrates inhabiting the massif. Another adaptation is the ´winglessness´ (´apterismo´) or absence of wings (´ausencias de alas´). The biological explanation is based on the fact that wings represent no advantage because the high mountain ecosystem covers a relatively small area and so there´s no need to cover large distances. Enemies are scarce and grasshoppers can defend themselves by hiding behind rocks or in the thorny vegetation. This Eumigus rubioi caught our eye probably because we were looking at the endemic ´cuernecillos´ (Lotus corniculatus subsp. glacialis). So although some areas appear bare, they apparently boast a large number of unique species. Sometimes one just needs to develop an eye for it.

Related links:
- On-line magazine Waste: Fauna de Sierra Nevada - Insectos

Related key words: caelifera, vleugelloze sprinkhaan, kortsprietigen

5 August 2010

ExpoCádiar 2010

This year the XI Edición of Expo Cádiar, Feria agroalimentaria de artesanía y turismo, will take place from the 13th to the 15th of August. All sorts of local products, handicrafts and services will be demonstrated. Posters of this fair are pinned up on many trees, so anybody passing through the area can not miss the notificación. Next to every poster of the Expo, another poster announces the free concerts on Saturday the 14th of August of Alpujarra Libre, Sajr Tambaj and Laberintho B. This same evening San Roque will be celebrated in Narila. The program can be found on the website

4 August 2010

Mercado de las tres culturas, Lanjarón 2010

A market of three cultures can be visited in Lanjarón on the 14th, 15th and 16h of August 2010. More information on this ´Mercado de las 3 culturas´ - Jewish, Arab and Christian - can be found on the website of the Ayuntamiento de Lanjarón. The ´azocaque´ medieval will be inaugurated on Saturday the 14th of August in Calle Real (Monumento de Sor Joaquina) . The market that will dedicated to the three cultures that settled in the area, will offer numerous articles and traditional products such as pottery, silk, plants, honey and sweets. In addition, there will be activities and workshops for children, music and dance performances.

3 August 2010

Jornadas culturales de Cástaras y Nieles 2010

During the 13th, 14th and 15th of August, the VI Jornadas Culturales of Cástaras and Nieles will take place. This year the VI Cuaderno cultural will be presented: Imágenes para el recuerdo (Images to remember the past). Old photographs will be displayed that will bring back memories of Cástaras and Nieles. José Antonio Martín Almendros and Angel Bañuelos Arroyo will give a speech on the Minas de El Conjuro. From Nieles a walk is organized to the fuente Solís, following the camino del Cerro that passes the alberca del Cerro. On Saturday evening there will be traditional alpujarran music, a ´concierto de pulso y púa´, by Los Primos de Nieles. The programa de Jornadas culturales de Cástaras y Nieles 2010 can be found on the website of Nieles. On this same website a number of Imágenes para el recuerdo can be found and also the collection of Cuadernos that have been published so far. The programme can also be found on the website of the Asociación Cultural de Cástaras y Nieles.

Related article:
- slide show of the history of cadiar

Related links:
- Recuerdos de Cástaras, website of Jorge García García
- Asociación Cultural de Cástaras y Nieles

2 August 2010

Chaenorrhinum glareosum or Sierra Nevada dwarf snapdragon

The Chaenorrhinum glareosum or ´Nevada dwarf snapdragon´ is one of the more than sixty endemic plants of Sierra Nevada. There are other snapdragon-like flowers in the massif, like the Chaenorrhinum villosum subsp granatense (´little dragons´) and Chaenorrhinum macropodum subsp macropodum, but this is the only one that can be found exclusively in Sierra Nevada. Its habitats are in the highest parts of the massive, above 2,500 metres in the ´pisos oro y crioromediterráneo´ (oromediterranean and crioromediterranean levels). The ´espuelilla´ or ´dragoncillo´ can be found on steep stony slopes or ´canchales´ (´pedregales móviles´ or ´cascajales sueltos´, gravelly areas with unstable schist slabs). Like the Viola crassiuscula, this perennial herb is able to sprout again after the stem has broken. This member of the figwort family also grows in psychro-xerophilous (cold and dry) pastures that are dominated by perennial grasses and small shrubs. It can also form part of the communities formed by species adapted to live in the cracks of rocks. These communities are very diverse and their composition is influenced by various factors such as orientation, steepness of the slope, level of sunlight and insolation, humidity, depth of the soil and the accessibility of the terrain for herbivorous mammals. This makes that each plant of such a community is linked to a characteristic microhabitat. As there are few insects in the highest parts of the massif, flowers need to compete to be pollinated. The flower needs to attract the insect by well developed petals with attractive colours. According to Gabriel García Guardia, the author of Flores silvestres de Andalucía, the Chaenorrhinum glareosum with its tiny purple flowers with yellow throats, is one of the most beautiful plants of the Sierra Nevada. Maybe that´s why it has been able to withstand to competition so far and is at the moment not considered rare or vulnerable. We have seen this mountain jewel a number of times, close to the top of the Mulhacén and close to the top of the Cerro del Gallo, amongst others.

Related articles:
- Guía de visita Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada
- References on the local flora

Related key words:
scrophulariaceae, escrofulariáceas, figwort family, helmkruidfamilie, braunwurzgewächse, famille de plantes dicotylédones

30 July 2010

Festival de Música Tradicional de la Alpujarra, Almócita 2010

The Festival de Música Tradicional de la Alpujarra is the most important manifestation of traditional Alpujarran music. This Festival of Traditional Music of the Alpujarra is held every year since 1982, on the second Sunday of August. The locality where it takes place varies each year. This year it is on the 8th of August and it will be hosted by Almócita. About twenty-five groups will participate in this town in de Almería province. According to an article in the Ideal, Celia Garcia-Ruiz won the contest of the design of the poster of the 29th edition of the festival. The first years it was designed by Martín Morales, and over the years it has become a type of collector´s item for some people. On a personal blog of somebody from Cádiar, we can find all the ´carteles del festival´ and a ´historia del festival´.
The twenty-ninth edition of the festival will be dedicated to Alejandro Buendía Muñoz for his research work on the local customs and traditions. The ethnologist Alejandro Buendía Muñoz is the director of the Museo Histórico Etnográfico de Terque and Museo de la Uva del Barco.
The ´orden the actuación´ , the order of performances or program can be found on the blog of Rafael Gan, one of the ´presentadores´. The first group will perform at 10.00 hours.

Related articles:
- Music of the day archive

Related links:
- Article from the Ideal Almócita se convierte en sede del consolidado día de la Alpujarra

29 July 2010

Iberis carnosa embergeri, carraspique de Sierra Nevada

The Iberis carnosa subsp embergeri is one of the more than sixty endemic plants of Sierra Nevada. It is a small type of candytuft with lovely white or pinkish flowers. Its habitat are pastures with little vegetation on steep rocky slopes and ´cascajares´ (steep slopes of relatively unstable mica-schist slabs). It grows in windy areas with a high insolation between 2,900 and 3,200 metres (criomediterranean level), often accompanied by Linaria glaciales, Viola crassiuscula and Artemisia. It starts flowering in June, whereas most other plants in this bioclimatic zone start flowering in July. It can also be found at the highest parts of the oromediterranean level, accompanied by Sideritis glacialis, Arenaria tetraquetra subsp. amabilis, Thymus serpylloides, Hormathophylla spinosa, Arenaria pungens and Erodium cheilanthifolium. It passed from the list of ´vulnerable´ to ´endangered´. One of the risks is overgrazing by herbivorous mammals. Tourism constitutes another threat. According to the information on this ´carraspique de Sierra Nevada´ in Flora amenazada y endémica de Sierra Nevada there are only two populations (between 12000 and 15000 plants). These are close to classical hiking routes (Loma Pelada), and this is one of the reasons why it passed to the list of endangered species. This situation implies a great risk, if something happens to one of the populations, the situation becomes very alarming. We (think we) saw this endangered iberis close to the top of the Cerro del Gallo. If this is correct there must be another population. When we look at the small map in Flora amenazada y endémica de Sierra Nevada on which the two known populations are located, we are to the right of them. We will try to find out whether this is true. If so this would be good news, as ´our´ iberis is relatively far from any classical walking route.

Related articles:
- Cerro del Gallo, the highest mountain of Bérchules
- References on the local flora

Related key words: brassicaceae, brasicáceas, brassicacées, cruciferae, crucifers, crucíferas, kruisbloemenfamilie, kreuzblütengewächse, crucifères, sierra nevada candytuft, sierra nevada scheefbloem, sierra nevada schleifenblume, sierra nevada ibéride

References on the local flora

We enjoy writing about the local wildlife as we are ourselves enchanted by how much the area with its unique biodiversity has to offer. Quite a number of texts on the local flora are written by Gabriel Blanca. This botanist and leading Spanish taxonomist is a professor at the University of Granada. He has dedicated part of his academic and scientific career to the study of the flora of eastern Andalusia and the study and conservation of endemic and threatened flora. An important publication that we often consult is Flora amenazada y endémica de Sierra Nevada (pdf 18MB), published by the Universidad de Granada in 2001. Many guidebooks like Guía de visita Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada count on his contributions. We hope that our posts on the local flora and fauna are appreciated by those interested in the natural heritage of the Sierra Nevada, but that do not know Spanish. We use the texts of Gabriel Blanca and his collaborators as a source of information for our ´flora posts´. An important reference to which we quite regularly make direct links are the texts Merche S. Calle and Juan Enrique Gómez, authors of the Guía de Plantas of the online magazine Waste. Another important source of information is the publication Flores Silvestres de Andalucía de Gabriel García Guardia, published by Editorial Rueda in 1988.

Semana Cultural Juviles 2010

The VII Semana Cultural de Juviles will this year be held from the 30th of July to the 4th of August. This is the programme of this cultural week, that can also be found on the website of the Ayuntamiento de Juviles.

28 July 2010

Música en las Montañas, La Taha 2010

The VII Festival ´Música en las Montañas´, a series of summer concerts of classical music, will take place from July to September. The concerts are on old threshing circles, village squares or in churches of differrent villages in the Taha valley. The first concert will be given by the Coral Ciudad de Granada on Friday the 30th of July in Pitres. The festival ´Music in the Mountains´ is organized by the Alexander Music School in Ferreirola and the Ayuntamiento de La Taha.

25 July 2010

Viola crassiuscula or Sierra Nevada violet

The Viola crassiuscula is one of the more than sixty endemic plants of Sierra Nevada. There are other violas in the massif, like Viola palustris and Viola riviniana, but this Nevada violet is the only one that can be found exclusively in Sierra Nevada above 2,500 metres. It is a perennial and multi-stemmed species (caespitose) with flowers that range from violet to pinkish to white. After flowering, small fruit capsules are produced that split open by way of three valves to release tiny seeds. As there are few insects in the high peak area, flowers need to compete to be pollinated. The flower needs to seduce the insect with attractive colours and well developed petals. The flower is relatively large compared to the size of the plant itself. In Sierra Nevada the precious viola can be found between cracks in the rock faces. It is small and it has a minimum of foliage in order to minimize the loss of water by transpiration. Having little folliage makes them also less interesting for the mountain goats. It finds shelter by the rocks so that the negative effect of the strong solar radiation, typical at this height, is minimal. The rocks also protect them from being eaten or trampled. These are a few examples of the adaptations through thousands of years to survive the harsh climatic circumstances of the ´pisos oro y crioromediterráneo´ (oromediterranean and crioromediterranean levels). The most striking adaptation is its ability to sprout from the root collar that goes as deep as the ´stable´ ground. Because of this adaptation, the Nevada violet can survive on steep stony slopes or ´canchales´. This are ´pedregales móviles´ or ´cascajales sueltos´, gravelly areas with unstable schist slabs. When the slates or stones move and the stems break, the plant is able to sprout again. Viola crassiuscula was scientifically catagolized by the French naturalist Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent (1778-1846), who published in 1820 his Florule de Sierra Nevada. Viola crassiuscula is listed as rare and vulnerable, and therefor included in the Lista roja de la flora vascular de Andalucía (Red List of Vascular Flora of Andalusia). It is said that it is more common where the human presence is more limited. Personally we did see the Viola crassiuscula at one of the busier areas, namely very close to the top of the Mulhacén. We also saw a number of these botanical jewels where we think very few people go, namely near the source of the Río Chico de Bérchules, not too far from the top of the Cerro del Gallo. We were really pleased to see a few white ones, which are said to be less common.

Related article:
-Guía de visita Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada
-References on the local flora

Related key words: violeta de sierra nevada, sierra nevada viooltje, sierra nevada veilchen, sierra nevada violette, violaceae, violet family, viooltjesfamilie, familie der veilchengewächse, famille des violacées

24 July 2010

Guía de visita Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada

There are a number of publications available on the Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada, but there is one that we think that deserves special attention. This is the Guía de Visita del Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada, published in 2004. In its introduction we can read that the National Park of Sierra Nevada wants to offer visitors a handy guide that gives a complete and realistic picture of its natural, cultural and environmental values. "In this guide, visitors will find a detailed description of its infrastructures, visitor´s service points, suggestions for activities and itineraries that allows them to plan their visit and get the most out of it." We personally think that this guide offers a lot more than you expect after reading this introduction. The vital adaptations of the different species through their evolutional process over thousands of years are described for example. Natural and ecological features are explained in detail which gives visitors a very good idea of the complex interrelationships. Last week we wondered why we find the most exclusive botanical jewels in the peak areas where you would think that nothing could surive. We found the answer to this question in this guide. In fact there are many answers as each species has its special story to tell. As we will dedicate posts to the botanical jewels and the endemic fauna, we will certainly refer to this excellent visitor´s guide of the Sierra Nevada.

Related article:
- References on the local flora

Related links.
-website Parque Sierra Nevada