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

30 March 2011

Margaret Drabble at Casa Ana in Ferreirola

For creative people the Alpujarras can be an inspirational and pleasant setting to work. Therefore Casa Ana in Ferreirola is sometimes used as a base for writing holidays organized by The Literary Consultancy (TLC). At the moment two Literary Adventures Writing Courses are run during which guest writers are invited. Last week visiting speakers were Chris Stewart and Michael Jacobs, an event that we personally enjoyed very much.
This coming Monday the 4th of April Dame Margaret Drabble will give a presentation at 17.30 hours.
Margaret Drabble's work includes seventeen novels amongst which ´The Sea Lady´, ´The Seven Sisters´, ´The Peppered Moth´ and ´The Needle's Eye´, and various works of non-fiction. She has won numerous prizes, including the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was made a Dame in 2008. She will be reading from a collection of Complete Short Stories, ´A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman´ that is due to come out in May 2011.
The fee to assist this literary event ´To live as a writer´ is 5 euros. For more information call 958 766 270 / 678 298 497 or email

29 March 2011

Ruta Medieval through the Alpujarras

The Ruta Medieval is a beautiful linear walk connecting the villages Pórtugos, Atalbéitar, Ferreirola and Busquístar in the Taha valley and Cástaras, Nieles and Juviles. The wooden waymarking posts guide you from west to east.

We have a description and a map of a route of 20,7 kilometres from our small country hotel ´El Paraje´ to Busquístar, following the medieval paths from east to west.

Click on the image to enlarge.

This is the description and the GPS track that includes the stretch from us to Juviles.
The idea is to come back using the Granada - Bérchules bus, click here for schedules of the ALSA bus services), or arrange a taxi transfer.
profile from El Paraje to Busquístar.

Other documentation on this route PR-A299 can be found on the Spanish website of the  Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Alpujarra Granadina.

The GPS data of the whole route (including the stretch Busquístar - Pórtugos) can be found there

stage 1 Pórtugos   - Busquístar 4,7km, details  and profile
stage 2 Busquístar - Portichuelo de Castaras 4,2 km, details and profile
stage 3 Portichuelode Cástaras - Nieles 5,6 km, details and profile
stage 4 Nieles - Juviles 6,5 km, details and profile

A nice two day round trip suggestion might be:
day 1: Pórtugos or Busquístar to Juviles (or El Paraje) following the Ruta Medieval
day 2: Juviles (or El Paraje) to Trevélez and Busquístar (or Pórtugos) following the GR7

The web Recuerdos de Castaras has a comprehensive article about the oficial spanish leaflet on the Ruta Medieval.

Click here to search accommodation per village.

Related keywords: alpujarras, hiking through the sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, wanderung, B&B in Berchules, hotel, hostal, hostel, , trektocht door bérchules, hiking, trekking through Andalusia, standplaats vakantie, wandelvakanties, holiday, urlaub, vacances, GR7 wandelpad

28 March 2011

Cistus albidus or Grey-leaved Sunrose

In the Alpujarras various types of sunroses can be found like the Cistus clusii and the Halimium atriplicifolium, amongst others. The only kind we have so far seen on our own terrain, is the Grey-leaved Sunrose or Cistus Albidus. In general this Grey-leaved Sunrose has rose-purple flowers, but a white form is found as well. The petals have this special look of crinkled paper which is distinctive of most rockroses. Last week we saw masses of this beautiful bush, native to the Mediterranean, while walking the GR7 between Montenegro and Mecina Bombarón. It was nice to see that the first flowers had come out at an altitude of about 900 metres. Our Casa Rural ´El Paraje´ is situated almost 500 metres higher than this and we think that it might still take at least a month before we will be able to see our own sunroses in flower.

Related key words: jara blanca, estepa blanca, jaguarzo blanco, ardivieja, weißliche zistrose, ciste cotonneux, arbrisseau, familia cistáceas, cistaceae, rockrose family, zonneroosjesfamilie, zistrosengewächse,  alpujarras, sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, wanderung, B&B, hotel, hostal, hostel, bérchules, trektocht, hiking, trekking, standplaats vakantie, wandelvakanties, holiday, urlaub, vacances

25 March 2011

GR142 online topo guide

We have made a GR142 special with all info we have on the subject. A permanent link to this Gr142 guide post can be found in the righthand column. Writing the special, we came across the GR 142 online topo guide, Senda de la Alpujarras Granadina y Almeriense (ADR Alpujarra - isbn 84-607-3904-X) (without the maps).
We have embedded it so that you can start browsing and reading straight away:

related key words:  trekking through the sierra nevada in spain, wandelen, wandelingen, wanderung, B&B, hotel in het dorp bérchules, trektocht, hiking,  standplaats vakantie, wandelvakanties in de alpujarras, holiday, urlaub und wandern in Andalusien spanien, vacances, gr142 book

24 March 2011

Chris Stewart and Michael Jacobs at Casa Ana in Ferreirola

This coming Sunday the 27th of March at 17:30 hours Chris Stewart and Michael Jacobs will read from their work at Casa Ana in Ferreirola. Chris Stewart is best known for his book ´Driving over Lemons´ (1999) in which he tells the story of his move to the Alpujarras. ´A Parrot in the Pepper Tree´ (2002) contains more stories from Chris Stewart and his farm El Valero close to Órgiva. In our modest library we have these books in their original version as well as the ones that have been translated into Spanish: ´Entre Limones´ and ´El Loro en el Limonero´ and into Dutch: ´Een optimist in Andalusië´ and ´Een Papegaai in de Peperboom´. In his third book ´The Almond Appreciation Society´ (2006) Chris Stewart introduces his friend and travelling companion Michael Jacobs. This author and art historian has been interested in the hispanic world since childhood and his numerous books include: ´Andalucía´ (1990), ´Between Hopes and Memories: A Spanish Journey´ available in Spanish: ´ Entre esperanzas y recuerdos: un viaje español´ and ´In the Glow of the Phantom Palace: Travels between Granada and Timbuktu´ translated into Spanish: ´De la Alhambra a Tombuctú´. On Sunday Michael Jacobs will read from his book ´The Factory of Light: Life in an Andalucian Village´. This book that centres on Frailes, the Jaenese village where he resides a large part of the year, is also available in Spanish: ´La Fábrica de la Luz: Vida y Milagros en un Pueblo Andaluz´. Chris Stewart will read an extract from an unpublished work about a voyage to Peru. Entrance fee for this literary meeting is 5 euros, call 958 766 270 / 678 298 497 or email for more information.

Related links:
- Chris Stewart in ´Viajeros por Andalucía´ (Programa de Canal Sur)

23 March 2011

Aristolochia baetica or Dutchman´s Pipe

On some of the walks in the lower parts of the Alpujarras it is at the moment possible to enjoy winter and spring flowers. An example of a plant that flowers from autumn to late spring is the Aristolochoia baetica which in English is known as a Dutchman´s Pipe. In our Dutch flora guide it is mentioned that the plants of the Aristolochiaceae family are known as ´pijpbloemen´ because the shape of the flowers resemble an old German pipe. In Spanish a number of its names refer to a type of candle: candilicos (as it is known in the Alpujarra), candilejos, candiles, candilillos, candilitos or farolitos. The Aristolochia baetica is a creeper that clambers into shrubs or trees. It can be found in southern and eastern Spain, southern Portugal and North Africa, usually at low altitudes. We photographed this ´candil´ on a beautiful part of the long distance walking path GR7 close to Montenegro at an altitude of approximately 900 metres. In Montenegro we saw about twenty tall Hyacinth Orchids also called Giant Orchids, we now know why. Near the ´fuente´ of this small hamlet we saw more of these tall pink orchids as well as a number of Yellow Bee Orchids. Next year we will do this walk early March to see these magnificent wild orchids in full blossom.

Related articles:
- Orchis olbiensis or olbia orchis
- Alpujarras villages list: Montenegro is part of the municipality Alpujarra de la Sierra

Related links:
- Plantas de la Alpujarra

Related key words: aristoloquia bética, aristoloquia de andalucía, balsamina, candilillos sin torcida, enredadera, melonera, víbora, zarza, zarzaparrilla, aristoloquiáceas, aristolochiaceae, birthwort family, pijpbloemfamilie, osterluzeigewächse, pfefferartigen, piperales, alpujarras, sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, wanderung, B&B, hotel, berchules, trektocht, hiking, trekking, standplaats vakantie, wandelvakanties, holiday, urlaub, vacances

19 March 2011

Gonepteryx rhamni or Common Brimstone

The Gonepteryx rhamni is most conspicuous during the first warm days of early spring when it is one of the first butterflies on the wing following hibernation. This Common Brimstone is said to be one of the longest lived butterflies, living up to thirteen months, but most of this time is spend in hibernation. Their leafshaped wing is designed to act as camouflage while they rest. This butterfly has a striking yellow upper side, but this is not easy to photograph as they keep their wings closed when they settle. At ´El Paraje´ we saw them this morning feeding on the nectar of the Henbit Deadnettle or Greater Henbit. This Lamium amplexicaule is sometimes regarded as an invase weed but it is apparantly an important nectar plant for this beautiful ´limonera´ and for many other insects like honeybees for example.

Related articles:
All ´butterflies´related posts on this blog (see column at the right for all labels).

Related key words: citroenvlinder, zitronenfalter, le citron, dagvlinder, tagfalter, luzernevlinder, witjes, schmetterling, familie der weißlinge, pieridae family, familie pieridae, famille des piéridés, alpujarras, sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, wanderung, B&B, hotel, bérchules, trektocht, hiking, trekking, standplaats vakantie, wandelvakanties, holiday, urlaub, vacances

15 March 2011

Muscari neglectum or Grape Hyacinth

With only a few days to go before the March Equinox, there are a number of spring flowers in full bloom, especially lower down in the valley. One of our favourites is the Grape Hyacinth. This Muscari neglectum grows in the wild along the Rambla del Repenil between Cádiar and Jorairátar. The GR-142 Long Distance Footpath passes through this beautiful river bed.

Related aticle:
- Flores de marzo, artículo de Jorge Garzón de la página web al-Natural

Related key words: agüelicos, ajo de perro, azulete, cebolla de lagarto, cebollica de milano, cebollita de milano, chapín de reina, clavos de Dios, espartillo, frailes, gatos, guitarrillos, hierba del querer, hierbas de los amores, jacinto, jacinto racimosa, jacinto racimoso, jacintos, jacinto silvestre, jacintos silvestres, lloricas, macandil, matacandiles, mata del azulete, mayos, moras, moreta, moro, nazareno, nazarenos, nazarones, pajarillos, penitentes, piececillo de nuestro señor, starch grape hyacinth, common grape hyacinth, weinbergs-traubenhyazinthe, muscari racemosum, traubenhyazinthe verkannte, botryanthus, baby's-breath, muscari à grappe, vergeten druifhyacinth, alpujarras, sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, wanderung, B&B, hotel, bérchules, trektocht, hiking, trekking, standplaatsvakantie, wandelvakanties

7 March 2011

Ruta los tres barrios de Trevélez

In the booklet ´Rutas por Trevélez´ information can be found on a village stroll that takes you through the three neigbourhoods of Trevélez.This route is called ´Los tres Barrios´ as it takes you through the Barrio Bajo, Barrio Medio and Barrio Alto. In the booklet this map can be found with 19 points of interest. These are explained in a text of which we made a copy (Click on this copy from the booklet to read the Spanish text).

Related key words:  alpujarras, sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, wanderung, B&B, hotel, bérchules, trektocht, hiking, trekking, standplaatsvakantie, wandelvakanties

2 March 2011

Viola odorata or Common violet

Lower down in the valleys the first spring flowers can be enjoyed. Yesterday we did the small walk of 2 kilometres of the Alquería de Morayma, a rural hotel close to Cádiar. While walking their waymarked Sendero Local ´Las Acequias de la Alquería´ we marvelled at the number of white narcissuses (or narcissi), known as Narcisus cantabriun, close to the patches of holm oak wood. Returning along the acequia or irrigation channel we saw many dark violets, the Viola odorata. Closer to the Alquería we also saw the first Cynoglossum cheirifolium subsp heterocarpum in blossom. To see such a large number of flowering plants on a sunny first of March is quite special.
PS On the third of March we saw this sweet violet also along the Ruta Medieval between Juviles and the cementary of Tímar which must have been if flower mid February.

Related key words: sweet violet, english violet, common violet, garden violet, violeta común, violeta de jardín, maarts viooltje, duftveilchen, märzveilchen, wohlriechendes veilchen, violette odorante, viola odorata violaceae, viooltjesfamilie,veilchengewächse, alpujarras, sierra nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, wanderung, B&B, hotel, bérchules, trektocht, hiking, trekking, standplaatsvakantie