05/09/2010 - 06/09/2010 -27 °C
Granada sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada (670m above sea level), a range of 14 peaks more than 3000m high only 40km from the Mediterranean. We were fortunate to have these beautiful mountains as the backdrop for our stay in Hotel Cerra del Sol. It felt as though we could reach out and touch them, they were so close. We could not miss this opportunity to experience their rugged beauty.
With directions from our trusty Tom Tom we set off to enjoy the Vereda de la Estrella in the Sierra Nevada range following the Rio Genil (Genil River), approx. 1300m high.
We had only travelled a short distance before we had to leave the motorway and face the challenges of navigating the local roads. A missed turn on one occasion took us through extremely narrow, windy alleyways of one of the villages which caused some consternation. Eventually, through Aaron's determination, and a little luck, we finally found our way and were again on our journey. Whew!!!
However, our relief was short lived as we then realised that the road on which we were travelling into the mountains was not only windy and narrow, but also suited to single vehicle traffic, with only occasional lay-bys for passing traffic, and .... several tunnels!!! With bated breath we continued on, thankfully arriving at our destination without major incident. While one could assume this was due to limited traffic, in fact when we reach the end of the road where the walk commenced there were no spaces in the car park!! We passed many many people who were also walking this beautiful country ..... we even saw a mountain biker!!
I might add we had the same situation on the return trip, but this time we were forewarned... The road on the right of this first pic is the access road to the carpark.
The path was well formed, in parts zigzaging steeply uphill and others gently sloping. We passed over a couple of small streams as the water found its way down the slopes to the river. Through the dense trees we could imagine the Genil river flowing in the deep canyon below.
What a wonderful day we had. Fine weather, warm but not too hot, the enjoyment of being physically active, taking time to enjoy our lunch in the shade beside the path, and a sense of satisfaction of having experienced this rugged country - simple but rewarding pleasures. Aaron's only disappointment was that he did not see any mouflon (wild sheep).
The next day we ventured to the highest point we could reach, this time by vehicle, over 2100m. What a sight.