Thursday, 1 December 2016

Day 3 of Walking in the Alpjurra in Spain

2nd November

Portugos to Trevelez
15.5 km, 750m ascent, 530m descent - 5 1/4 hours

Our notes told us to walk back up to the The Portugos church and then follow a path a short distance across country, to where it would meet the tarmac road to Busquistar. Having climbed the hill to the church the previous evening, we immediately set off along the tarmac from our hotel's doorstep. This became an excellent decision some 20 mins later, when we spotted a sign to the La Fuente Agria Waterfall. We had read about its red colour, but had been unable to establish exactly where it was. So glad we found it, even if it meant many more, steep steps down to its base.

This area is the source of natural mineral waters of high iron content, hence the red colour. We read that the waters are particularly beneficial to people with anaemia, but only if imbibed directly from the fountain.

Back on the road, it was a pleasant walk to the village of Busquistar. The road entered above the village, but at this point, we took a left turn and the day's real climbing began.

 Distance view
   Roof top view

As we hiked  uphill, passed fields of corn, fruit and olive trees, we were amused when our notes told us to find a wooden bridge over a stream. 
The stream was a wide irrigation channel, a legacy of the Moors who lived here in the 700's.

Soon after the crossing, the trail entered Holm Oak woods, carpeted with fallen autumn leaves, making it a tad difficult to spot the trail markers low to the ground.

Our ascent continued.

Several k's of open, flatter ground, brought relief for a short while, with lovely vistas both above and below to the valley.

Spot the trail marker.

Then, it was another steep drop down into another of the dry creek beds we had to cross, before entering a reforested pine area.

The forest's dry floor was softened by this lovely, bushy wildflower.

Cortijo La Rosa - a landmark in our notes. We saw no one. In fact we saw no-one all day.

Our next post of reference was a GR-7 post [1727m].
At that point, we were to leave the road, going R down a narrow, steep, zigzag track. The notes said to continue on downhill to a 4 way junction [1569m]to a makeshift bridge [tree trunks] cross it, continue on the narrow path below the landslide and be careful on the loose slippery rock. Continue up the steep hill!
Well our road was lovely and wide. The map indicated it continued to Trevelez. The steep track was barely discernible and neither of our knees felt comfortable with a steep drop. The decision was made to stay on the road and when possible get back on trail.

The view from where the decision was made.

Close up!

Well, thankfully we were able to continue on the road, but I don't know what cars do at this point.

This was the view back down to where the horse and farmer were, taken shortly after the creek scramble.

The road zigzagged higher and higher. We stopped at several trail markers, but we just couldn't relate any of them to our notes or map. We weren't disappointed to be hiking on a flat surface, as we were both suffering from tired feet.

All alone.

Well over an hour later, our destination Trevelez, hove into sight. It was to be another 3/4 hour until we could remove our boots.

Back on trail and descending.

Looking back to the high point we had descended from. The lovely autumn shades made me forget my tiredness. So refreshing to see green.

The only building in the village, not white.

Note the water channel collecting the precious H2O. Wash house also on the left.

How did they build these homes on top of one another on these steep inclines? How often are they painted? How are they painted?

Halloween is not quite over for this little one. Surprisingly to us, Halloween celebrations were numerous.

At this point we were well and truely ready for a cold refreshment at our hotel. The sign said 100m to Hotel La Fragua. Our pace quickened, but alas, believe it or not, we were caught in a traffic jam and didn't move on for 10 to 15 mins. There was much laughter each time we took a step forward, only to have to take it back.

Finally the packs were downed and we entered the hotel. It was 2pm and the locals were gathering for lunch and siesta. Such a lovely atmosphere to step into, but the bad news was, that this was the restaurant La Fragua  and we still had another 100m AND 60 steps to our room. 
The story has a happy ending. Our room was large. It had a bath to soak in, 2 large cosy lounge chairs, a jug, cups, coffee, a wide patio and a wonderful view to appreciate the scale of the mountains. 

Dinner was the earliest yet, at 7.30pm. Perfect menu for the hungry hikers.

Basket of rolls
Amazing salad - freshly grown local tomato, cucumber, kiwi fruit, walnuts, sultanas, sweet corn, onion, asparagus, carrot, beetroot, and cheese strands.
Tasty vegetable broth of finely chopped mixed vegetables.
A whole trout with assorted vegetables and the best boiled potatoes.
A creamy banana and chocolate mousse.

As you can imagine, it didn't take us long to fall into a deep, satisfied sleep on our return to our room.
I would love to read your comment.


  1. Looks like a lot of steep climbs and descents! I'd be walking on that road too. What a cute little town, and glad you had a nice place to rest and recoup.

  2. I absolutely love the villages--- and the pictures you got of them.

  3. I like the look of that village and hotel at the end of the day, a real tonic to sit on a sunny terrace and take in the views (and rest aching limbs). Look forward to the next report

  4. Some of your photos could be from Australia, but others are certainly not. The terrain is almost familiar but the villages very different.

  5. If it's anything like in France, Halloween has been adopted as a welcome diversion during the autumn about halfway between school going back at the beginning of September and Christmas.
    I would say the houses are whitewashed but I don't know how often it's done.