I did not expect to write such a long post about my trip to Alpujarras with my little dog, but the result was longer than I had imagined. In case you are reading directly this second part, maybe it is better to start with the previous post.
After visiting the famous Poqueira Valley, I though it could be a good idea to visit a town off the beaten path. Those days I was also reading Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici, so everything in relation with witches took my attention. Soportújar is called the town of the witches (in Spanish: Soportújar, pueblo de brujas) and there are many sculptures and statues of witches all around. I also liked a lot the views of the mountains from the different lookouts.
The last picture of this gallery is the entrance to the Eye of the Witch. In years gone by, any child who wandered outside of the village unaccompanied would be snatched by the local witch’s coven and taken to the cave of The Eye of the Witch. There they would meet their grisly end, and the witches would sell their fat to the local dairyman the next morning, to be turned into milk, cream and cheese.
Federici situates the institutionalization of the heretic and witch-hunt trials, burnings, and torture at the center of a methodical subjugation of women and appropriation of their labor. In Caliban and the Witch Federici focus on Center and Northern Europe where the obsession with the witch hunting was very important. The Spanish Inquisition did not persecuted witches like the rest of Europe did, but in Andalusia there were 309 trials against them. As Federici says, there was also a direct relation between the persecution against women and the persecution against minority religions (Judaism and Islam). It is not a coincidence that the famous parties witches celebrated with the Devil on Saturday evenings are called witches Sabbath.
If the Alpujarras was the area where many Moorish people lived before their expulsion, could the persecution against them be the origin of the legends that talks about witches in Soportujar?
The town of Lanjaron also has legends about witches and it is said that a close hermitage to the village was built to chase away the witches that went there during witches’ Sabbath. We visited this town the day after Soportújar and I must confess it was my favourite one in all Alpujarras. In the ancient village there are traditional houses and beautiful squares decorated with lot of flowers. St. Ana square is one of the most famous places because of the big amount of flowers and plants under the care of their neighbors. There I talked a little bit with one of them: an old woman who fell in love with Pilu. And this is also something that I liked a lot, because in the ancient village there were visitors but also locals all around. I could also see bars and shops for locals (bakeries, fruit shops and butcher’s) and that means the area was not extremely touristic.
The peculiarity in Lanjaron is the fountains of water all around as the water of Lanjaron is very well known. These fountains are decorated with poems composed by different poets from Granada, like Lorca. We were walking from the ancient village until the other side of the town where there is a Spa and a health resort. In our way we were stopping in the different fountains we found and also crossed the central square and City Hall. We were noticing that the closer you are to the Spa, the more souvenirs shops you can see and suddenly you can hear music in the main avenue. I thought it was just music from a bar or the terrace of a hotel, but it was not. I do not know why there are loudspeakers all along the avenue and they play music. It broke the atmosphere a little bit.
That day was a very warm day so we did not visit the castle, which is known as the Castle of the Moors. It was built probably between the 13th and 14th century, during the kingdom of the Nasrid king Yusuf the First or his son Mohammad the Fifth. Once we finished our walk all along the town we decided to stop and drink something fresh, so I could discover one of the best brew I have ever tasted: Lanchar. The waiter offered me Lanchar Veleta Ale, and one of its ingredients is honey from the Alpujarra. It was delicious! Once at home I bought through internet Lanchar Serrana Saison, that contains marjoram, and I do not know which of those two varieties I prefer. Both are amazing because it is like having the tastes of Alpujarras in your mouth.
In our way back to our site in Orgiva, we stopped the car in a point declared Historical Memory Place. In the Cliff of the Reedbed (Barranco del Carrizal) between 3000 and 400 people could have been buried, making this grave the biggest one in the province of Granada. They were victims of the fascist bloc of the Civil War, many of them from the Malaga-Almeria road massacre. A week before our stay in the Alpujarras, there was a homage in the place, that is the reason why there were flowers. For me it was very emotive to stop here: the saddest recent history was before my eyes.
Last day before leaving the Alpujarras we decided to go to the beach. The beaches of Granada are hidden jewels because they are part of the tropical coast of Andalusia but not so overcrowded. The water in Rijana beach is extremely transparent and the area is not urbanized. There are no buildings or constructions apart from a small bar where it is possible to drink something with a view to the Mediterranean sea. It is a small paradise where Pilu enjoyed a lot. Luckily, that year dogs were still allowed in the beaches, but a year ago the Andalusian Government forbid them during Holly Week and the entire summer. ¬¬
Our day in the beach was amazing but also a little bit sad as it was our last day. We did not want to leave so soon! So when we packed our luggage and took the car to go back to Seville, on the way we also stopped in the city of Granada for a very short visit. Granada deserves another complete post, so for now I will just upload some pictures. The first one is in front of the Cathedral, the second one is my husband with Pilu at Bib Rambla square, the third picture is in the gate of the coal and finally a beautiful selfie of Pilu in front of one of the towers of the Alhambra.
Are you visiting Andalusia? Maybe I can help you to organize your trip or I can be your guide. Penelope