After such an excellent day yesterday it was going to be a tough act to follow today but we both felt up for another good walk, preferably a somewhat easier one. We enjoyed a bit of a lie-in in our snug beds and I still had snuffles and poppped some more Ibuprofen (lingering signs of a cold these days but it has yet to appear). After breakfast we tried to plan another walk and figured the helpful lady at reception might be able to advise, but there was only a Spanish-speaking receptionist who did not come across as the outdoor enthusiast type, so we had to rely on our own book. We went back to our room, picked a walk, a more gentle one through the lower parts of the Alpujarras, starting at Busquista, in the next valley along. We spent a few minutes entering the waypoints in the GPS while sat on our balcony looking our over the village, valley and clouds, and Ness did a supermercado run. Then we set off for Busquista, a drive first down from Capileira and then “across” (east).
The next villages still looked picturesque because of their setting but not as “chocolate box” as Capileira, the most touristic of them all, which was quite understandable for all its scenery and setting. We pulled into Busquista, parked and pondered for a couple of minutes before both coming to the conclusion that this wasn’t quite the walk (starting point) we had in mind. Busquista looked much more “ordinary”, with shops, streets, houses. It also had a view over the valley below and the brown mountains across to the south, but nowhere as grand. As we both did feel a little more in the mood for mooching and exploring than a grand mountain adventure we decided instead to pick a walk around Trevélez, the town at the far end of the valley, and spent time putting the new set of waypoints in the GPS and then drove on to Trevélez. It all felt much more “normal” here, still a very enviable quality of life but also seeing that without the tourism life here was in essence one of rural quality. After meandering along the valley road for half an hour we reached Trevélez, which at first looked like a bigger town but that was only because it lay stretched on the side of the valley. It was definitely larger than Capileira. We parked on the central square, which was surrounded by tourist shops with rugs, plates, wicker things and especially with jamones, hams, the local speciality. It looked all set up to receive groups of tour buses but while we were there there were only a few other turistas around. We took a bit of a look around, popped into a supermercado to buy some deodorant for Ness, and sat at one of the cafés on the square where we had a cofee and ice tea (ordered by mistake).
We left Trevélez and drove back to Capileira, heading back up into the high valley. Staying in a place such as Capileira, or for that matter Darjeeling, you live high above the rest of the world, which feels so remote as to barely exist. It is only when you come down that you realise that this other world still exists. Anyway, for now we headed back up to our village in the clouds. At Trevélez we had picked another walk, a “figure of eight” route around Capileira but when we got back we just felt like a bit of relaxation and returned to our hotel room. All day it had been very cloudy again, although the clouds did lift from time to time. We had our picnic lunch sat on our balcony and then Ness went to have a kip for about an hour while I sat on the balcony and wrote my diary.
After this we went out for another walk around Capileira, just strolling through the little streets of the picturesque village. We generally headed downwards, following the steep curving narrow streets and steps, and just following wherever our noses went. The village proper, away from the touristic main streets, was incredibly picturesque, with its whitewashed buildings and abundance of plants, red geraniums, grapevines trailing down and shaped into overhanging roofs for balconies. There was no shortage of surprising angles. Around each corner there was another bend and decorative black street lamps. We carried on down to the bottom of the village, which felt a long way away from the touristic restaurants. From here it was a slow climb back up to the top of the village. I was glad we had done this. Without taking a stroll through the rest of the village you would have had a very one-sided impression of Capileira. Having said that, it did still feel like a place where people owned houses they either only occupied while visiting on vacation or rented out, and not like a totally genuine village. It did though have its own school and all the rest of it. Charmant. While we were out the sun had come out and lit up the colours of the village – the white walls, the red flowers and green plants. We ended up back at the square where bar El Tilo was, and sat on the terrace and had a costa – local drink – and briefly spoke with a trio of British women who had somehow managed to acquire a following of a pack of three rather vicious dogs who followed them when they set off to continue their hike. We crossed to the main street, on the lookout for a place to write our diaries and settled at a café on the upper level of a building on the high street, where we had coffee and excellent ice cream, and wrote for some time. We watched the comings and goings on the high street – tourists and hikers, the bus coming and going, the odd car trundling up. Finally we returned to our hotel and the clouds had now started to roll into the village.
At times the whole place was completely enveloped in the cold haze and mist of clouds. An odd sensation to realise that we were actually right inside the clouds themselves. The temperature dropped quite drastically as soon as the clouds rolled in. We headed uphill a bit to check out the places there as potential choices for dinner and went into the smart-looking Casa Paco, which had nice gardens and a feeling of being a “cut above”. Poking my head inside at first I thought we had walked into the private family part of the house but we were ushered in and shown to the small room at the back, a convivial room, overlooking the valley – well, if the clouds had not obscured all views! A bit of confusion as to whether we were staying for just a drink (we were after a place to write diaries for a while before going for dinner) or for dinner, and we settled on the latter as it was quite clear that this was what was required of us. Dinner was tasty, ok, not superb – I had migas: bread crumbs and olive oil with sausage etc. and Ness had a somewhat more successful prensa (again) with patates a lo pobre, and for desert Ness had cold custard and I had a big piece of cheesecake from “Iceland”, i.e. from a packet, yuck. Never mind, it was a nice evening. It was just a shame that we were the only ones in the restaurant for the entire time we were there. It did have the advantage of a walk downhill back to our hotel, still in the thick clouds which totally enveloped Capileira.