18 August 2008
After an intense week of work, my wife’s suggestion on Friday to head off to the Alpujarras for the weekend was music to my ears. We did some quick Googling, found a nice apartment for rent in Bubión, loaded up the Jeep and hit the road.
The Alpujarras is a beautiful region on the east side of the mountains made famous by the Sierra Nevada ski resort, near Granada. On this trip, we stayed in the valley known as the “Barranco de Poqueira”, containing the mountain towns of Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira.
Leaving Marbella around 6:30 pm, we pulled into Bubión, after a leisurely drive, around 9:00 pm. A quick “Plato Alpujarreño” (potatoes, eggs, peppers, and sausage) at a local restaurant, and it was off to bed.
Saturday morning, after some scrumptious “Buñuelos con Chocoloate” for breafast in Capileira, we drove the long dirt road up the valley, leaving the jeep at the “Hoya de Portillo”, and started the walk towards our day’s destination, the “Refugio de Poqueira”. The 8.5 km walk is quite easy with a gentle incline, and it took us about three hours to arrive to the refugio, at 2,485 meters altitude.
At the hut, we had a delicious (although surprisingly expensive!) lunch, including pasta, some kind of hamburger patties (which they said were their specialty), flan and an ice cold beer (for daddy!). For being mid-August, we were very surprised by the relatively small number of people at the hut. In total, we saw about 10 other hikers, most of whom were overnighting, planning to hike up to the nearby peaks of Mulhacén and Veleta the next day.
After lunch, we began the hike back down, which (going down hill) only took us about two hours. I was amazed that the kids did so well. (I think I finished the day much more tired than them!) In the afternoon, we strolled around Bubión, discovering the various grapevine covered terraces, cafes, nooks and crannies of the little mountain pueblo.
On Sunday, we spent a bit of time in the morning exploring the lower parts of the valley, around the abandoned town close to the hydro plant, where the two mountain rivers come together to form the Poqueira river.
Finally, heading home mid-day, we stopped in Pampaneira for one last superb Plato Alpujarrénos at the always good, “Casa Julio”.