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

25 June 2010

Microbus service from Capileira to the Alto del Chorillo

Like every summer, the Junta de Andalucía offers an environmental interpretation service to access the highest peaks of the Parque Nacional y Parque Natural de Sierra Nevada. Tomorrow is the first time this  microbus will go up again and it will be running as long as the weather is good. On the southern slopes, this ´Servicio de Interpretación de Altas Cumbres (S.I.A.C)´ consists of a guided tour by minibus from Capileira (1,432 m) up to the Alto del Chorrillo or Mirador de Trevélez (2,700 m). This can be the starting point for different hikes, like going up the Mulhacén (3,482 m) the highest mountain of the Spanish mainland.
A timetable and prices can be found on the website of the Parque Nacional y Natural de Sierra Nevada of de Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. There will be several buses during the weekends and for groups on reservation from Mondays to Fridays.  For reservations or more information you can contact the Capileira Information Point. The telephone number as found on the brochure and on the website is no longer used; the new number is 958-763090. The mobile number 671-564406 is of Paco, one of the guides.

related links
- map of the high mountains area: hoya del portillo, trevelez, alto del chorillo, mulhacen

18 June 2010

La Alpujarra, la Andalucía secreta by Spahni revised and reprinted

We have come across a number of different designations of Jean-Christian Spahni: archaeologist, anthropologist, paleontologist, ethnologist and sociologist. Whatever his official profession, this Swiss traveler arrived in Granada in 1954 and spent some time in the Alpujarras. He was familiar with the work of Richard Ford who travelled as far as Ugíjar at the beginning of the XIX Century, with La Alpujarra of Pedro Antonio Alarcón, Sierra Nevada written by Fidel Fernández, a narration of José Guglieri published in 1953 and South from Granada of Gerald Brenan which was published in 1958.  Spahni enjoyed reading Al Sur de Granada, but accused Gerald Brenan of a lamentable ignorance of the region and its people as he did not take part in the different tasks and activities of daily life. Despite the number of publications, Spahni had the idea that there was still not one book that gave a complete and accurate picture of the Alpujarra. This is what challenged and encouraged him to write down his experiences. Editiones de la Baconnière, en Boudry (Switzerland) published Spahni´s writings in 1959: L´Alpujarra, Secrète Andalousie. Very few copies of this original version reached Granada. The brothers Horacio and Javier Roldán Barbero got hold of one fortuitously. After they had read this book, they had an interest in translating it into Spanish. They invited Spahni to revisit the area and consulted him on a few things. Thanks to their initiative, La Alpujarra, la Andalucía secreta was published in 1983. This first edition was out of print for many years. We personally got an idea of its importance by the number of quotations we read in other publications. Apart from this, we had come across texts and photographs from the book, as they can be found on different websites.

Thanks to an article in the Ideal we learned that fifty years after its first publication, Editiorial Comares revised and reprinted Spahni´s study of the Alpujarra. This second edition of La Alpujarra, la Andalucía secreta was presented at the Casa de los Tiros in Granada on Wednesday the 16th of June. We could not assist this presentation, but were able to get hold of a copy from the Librería Gallego in Órgiva.
In the epilogue the translators recall and compare the Alpujarra as it is now with the period that Jean-Christian Spahni lived in this region, more than fifty years go. They mention for example that in half a century the number of inhabitants diminished by more than fifty percent. The translators justify a reprint in the following way:  "Spahni provided us with a multitude of reasons to admire the region, to feel part of a project to retrieve a language. This was his legacy then, and it must remain so to this day."

14 June 2010

Open Studio Jack Rutherford in Cástaras

The Californian artist Jack Rutherford who lives and works in Cástaras holds an Open Studio on Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th of June from 12:00 to 19:00 hours:

"Numbers of artists choose to live in the Alpujarra for its unspoiled beauty and off the beaten track qualities. Perfect for creative work but a challenge for sales and dialog amongst fellow artists and art lovers. I just visited Mexico and San Francisco where I discovered what they term 'Open Studio' events: very popular with the public as well as artists. I thought it a great idea for up here as artists in all field are scattered all over Las Alpujarras doing their work. I thought it would be a good idea to set a precedent for this type of event here. Hence I'm holding an Open Studio on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th in my home studio exhibiting over 50 oils and acrylics and numerous graphics as well as offering a glass of 'vino de costa' to viewers.
My studio is located in the beautiful Barrio Alto above the village of Cástaras. That´s roughly 20 minutes below Trevélez and about the same time from the Torvizcón route. Its a left turn 150 meters before entering Cástaras village and is posted 'Barrio Alto' and up an exciting paved road to a plazeta where one may park and where studio will be signposted. Welcome!
For more info: and"

13 June 2010

Dianthus lusitanus

The Dianthus lusitanus is a pink carnation which we have seen a number of times growing between rocks and slates in differents parts of the Sierra Nevada. This explains why one of its names in Spanish is ´clavellina de roca´ or ´rock carnation´. Last week we saw a small number of this wild carnation in flower on our own finca along the path going up to the high threshing floor. This Dianthus lusitanus has a pleasant smell and grows in different parts of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. On the internet we have not found any information on this Lusitanian pink in English, only general information of this flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae. According to a text on wikipedia, the name Dianthus is from the Greek words dios ("god") and anthos ("flower"), and was cited by the Greek botanist Theophrastus. The Portuguese botanist Félix Avellar Brotero (1744–1828) is the authority of the botanical name Dianthus lusitanus, which at the same time might explain the term ´lusitanus´ that refers to Portugal.

Related key words: clavel, clavelera, clavelera de risco, claveles de las peñas, claveles silvestres, clavelillo, clavelina, clavelina lusitana, clavellina, clavellina de rocas, clavel silvestre, wilde anjer, lusitaanse anjer, anjerfamilie, nelken, nelkengewächse, Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

9 June 2010

Fiesta Intercultural los Antonios Cádiar 2010

In the summer of 2005 a group of people in Cádiar came up with the idea to organize a fiesta to unite different cultures and to share traditions and gastronomy. It was the moment that many people from different countries moved to the Alpujarras. The fiesta was a success and the organizers decided to organize it again the next year. They founded an association to enrich the event, as we can read on the website of the Asociación Intercultural Los Antonios.
This is the programme of the fifth fiesta Intercultural los Antonios that will be celebrated this weekend, Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th of June, in Calle San Isidro in Cádiar.

7 June 2010

Mellicta Deione or Provençal Fritillary

For a few months we have been walking around on our own finca quite often, to get a better idea of the biodiversity of El Paraje and to take photographs for our own books on the local flora. Since we have had a couple of weeks with relatively high temperatures, our mountain is no longer as green as a month ago, but there are still many interesting wild flowers. When we went up yesterday we were surprised by the large number of butterflies that were around. On a Dutch website we read that June is not a good month for butterfly watching. Maby this holds true for the Netherlands, but here it certainly is a good moment of the year to see a great variety of butterflies in large numbers. Yesterday we saw a few regular visitors, like swallowtails and cardinals, and were able to take a photographs of the Mellicta Deione or Melitaea Deionea. This Provençal Fritallary is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. The one we photographed is probably a male because the females usually show a contrast between orange and yellow bands on upperside. Another characteristic is the orange palpi viewed from below. While searching for information on the internet we came across the wild life page of Simon Coombes with some excellent pictures of this butterfly with the comment that there was a field full of these fritillaries near Juviles. For our Dutch and Flemish readers we would like to mention that this fritillary is known as the ´Spaanse parelmoervlinder´. Although we can read on the Wikipedia that this Mellicta Deione is not only found in Spain, but also in south-western Europe (probably including the Provence) and in North Africa. On the website of Waste Magazine we can read that in Spanish the Mellicta Deione has the pretty name of ´Doncella ibérica´, although it is sometimes simply called ´Deione´.  PS In April 2011 we saw this Provençal Fritalary on our terrain quite often.

Related key words: familia ninfálidos, famille nymphalidés, nymphaliden familie, aurelia´s, mariposa, vlinder, schmetterling, papillon, mellicta dejone, alpujarras, sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, bérchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

1 June 2010

A Peace Pole inaugurated in the Alpujarras

When we received an invitation to assist an inauguration of a ´peace pole´, it was the first time that we heard of this concept. We consulted Wikipedia and read: ”A Peace Pole is a monument that displays the message ´May Peace Prevail on Earth´, usually in a different language on each side. The message is referred to as a peace prayer. Peace poles remind us to think, speak and act in the spirit of peace and harmony.” We learned that there exists a ´Peace Pole Proyect´ and on this website we read: "it is estimated that there are more than 200,000 Peace Poles that have been dedicated in nearly every country on earth."
Joost van Vlijmen decided to place one in the Alpujarras. Unfortunately we could not assist the inauguration on Tuesday the 25th of May, but Joost sent us his speech with a few photos of the event. Yesterdag morning we decided to walk to his place to visit the monument. The peace message on his pole is in Spanish, Dutch, English and Chinese. This peace memorial, as far as we know the first one in the Alpujarras, can be found along one of the yellow-and-white local waymarked walking routes of Válor, called the ´Sendero de Launa´. It is only a small detour for the people who walk the GR-7 between Yegen and Válor to visit the ´poste de paz´ placed in the middle of the beautiful tranquil Alpujarran country side. We think it quite a special and inspirational setting as the Alpujarras is a region where many people find peace of mind. As we believe in the strength of each individual to strive for a better world, we admire this personal initiative.

The Peace Pole inauguration speech of Joost van Vlijmen:

Queridos amigos:

Ya hace dos años que durante un congreso en las islas Azores, vi a lo largo del camino, un poste blanco con una inscripción de una expresión de deseo de paz en unas cuatro lenguas. Lo encontraba un gesto simpático allí en plena naturaleza en los Azores. Y cuál fue mi sorpresa el año pasado cuando vi un poste blanco semejante en Tanzania en el jardín de nuestro hotel. Y ¿qué se hace actualmente cuando no se sabe todo de una materia? Uno va a buscar en internet (googlen): Encontré que en el año 1955 en Japón alguien quería predicar el mensaje de la paz universal, en respuesta a los bombardeos sobre Hirosjima y Nagasaki. La idea es que la paz universal empieza con cada individuo y que es sensato recordar esto cada día. Una fundación vio la luz y a través de conferencias y proyectos culturales difundieron su mensaje. Una de estas iniciativas es el “Peace Pole Project”: colocar un poste con el mensaje de la paz universal en diversas lenguas. Entretanto hay en más de doscientos países más de doscientos mil postes.
En la hermosa naturaleza de las Alpujarras, con el camino GR siete aquí muy cerca, viene mucha gente a andar, así también por este sitio. Y a mí me pareció buena idea colocar un “Peace Pole” aquí de modo que muchos senderistas, paseantes, puedan verlo y llevarse consigo el mensaje en el corazón.
Ambos mis padres experimentaron la Segunda Guerra Mundial, mi madre en el campo de prisioneros de guerra en Indonesia y mi padre de joven escondido , pasando a la clandestinidad en Holanda.
Me gustaría pedirles ( a mis padres) descubrir el poste por medio de quitar el paño y después os invito a todos a tomar una bebida en el jardín de Chautari.

Related key words: vredespaal, pôle de paix, friedenspfahl, que la paz prevalezca en la tierra, moge vrede heersen op aarde, que la paix règne sur terre,  möge friede auf erden herrschen