Sierra Nevada Orientation Maps
|Western part of Sierra Nevada with its highest peaks (venere.com)|
|Hoya de la Mora Ski resort with lists (spain.info)|
The Sierra Nevada extends over a range of 2000 km2 through the regions of Granada (west) and Almeria (east) and is the second largest massif in Europe after the Alps. The highest peak Mulhacen is close to 3500 meters and Pico Veleta close to 3400 meters. The highest part of Sierra Nevada is in the western part and here, on the northern side, is also the ski resort Hoya de la Mora. It is worthwhile noting that the northern / northwestern side is more affected by the Atlantic weather conditions and is therefore colder than the southern / southeastern part that is affected by the Mediterranean conditions (penibetica.com). Here you will also find most of the 50 mountain lakes in Sierra Nevada and many vivid mountain villages like Capileira, Lanjaron, Pampaneira and Trevelez. (Wikipedia).
|En route to Sierra Nevada...|
|with some distance still to make....|
|with gorgeous views for us.|
The drive to Sierra Nevada from Granada is not that difficult and would only take about 30 minutes. There are however many turnabouts and at one point we made the wrong turn ending up in Monachil. We where adviced to turn back but decided nevertheless to take a smaller and more adventurous road over the lower mountains. The road was kind of a shortcut but when asked nobody deared to say how long it would take us to reach Hoya de la Mora. Well, what we lost in time we gained in fantastic views , see above. And the everlasting KIA was still intact once we reached our goal (remember Granada!).
|We stopped at several places....|
|..to take pictures. This is Monte Ahi de Cara.|
|This is taken by a zoomlense 2000 m high at El Dornajo.|
Sierra Nevada is also a Natural Park area since 1999 and covers almost 86000 hectares. Over 2100 plant species have been registered and some of them are threatened and a smaller part endemic or unique to the area. Of the animals the Iberian Ibex thrives in Sierra Nevada but they also have wild boar, wildcats and a large number of birds including eagles, owls and other. Sierra Nevada is about skiing, hiking, paragliding, mountain climbing, cycling, horse-riding and bird-watching. It is easy to get up to Pico Veleta because a micro bus can take you up to 3100 meters the summit being at 3393 meters. (Wikipedia)
|The micro bus to Pico Veleta starts close to the coffee shop.|
|Top elevation at 3300 meters.|
|Snowmarks on the pistes.|
Sierra Nevada is Europes southernmost ski station with about 110 runs and base elevation of 2100 meters (Pradollano village) and top elevation of 3300 meters. Those who know to compare Sierra Nevada with the Alps tell that they have all the services needed. Wikipedia claim that Andalucia have a very high proportion of sunny days even in the winter and that it is possible to ski under blue skies and warm temperatures.
|Pico de Veleta. Many hike all the way up.|
|Up at roughly 3150 meters|
|"Mrs. Skywalker" waiting for a ride.|
|A few weeks to go before high season!|
|Pizza coming up!|
Trevelez, Alpujarra here we come
Having walked the skies it was time for "earthlings" to descend. We had to drive down, pass Granada at a distance in order to circumvent the Sierra Nevada on a westerly route, then turn back east and start climbing back up on the southern slopes. We passed several villages and stopped at one, Pampaneira, that displayed handicraft souvenirs. All villages where situated on steep slopes, also Trevelez where we were heading. Trevelez is the most northern of the mountain villages in the southern region so we wanted to go there. And we wanted the hotel highest up on the slope - the Fraqua II. A very nice hotel next to a very nice and cosy restaurant. The issue here was that passways are narrow and sometimes does not allow cars to pass. Our first, navigator assisted, attempt reached a cul-de-sac.....so we decided to walk to the hotel and get proper driving instructions. A nice welcome and what seemed to be proper advice for the chauffeur to bring the KIA to a proper parking was extended. The chauffeur (that's me) went for the car - easy bit this one.....he thought. The good thing was that he found the car again, and managed to turn it around without a scratch. No problem! Down the hill to the main square, passed the church and back up another steep slope to the hotel........Whatever happened, the chauffeur ended up in the same cul-de-sac.....what's this? Where did I turn the wrong way? Back again and a new try. Try that narrow sand covered passage.....through a farm......must have given special permission to the hotel! Sharp turns......is this really the way to the hotel????? Need a tractor! Better to check the throughway......yes should be OK. Need good speed to turn the bends.......rally driving up - well done! But what's this??? A construction site, but not at the hotel!!!!! Another cul-de-sac!!!! What now? Ahaa, a man with a donkey. Better ask him. Turn around the car drive rally down the hill - the car now running some risk. But the chauffeur is an experienced one. Discussion with the donkey with the man - no, the man with the donkey. The man speak only SPANISH! What! And he has BAD HEARING! GREAT! Some yelling and some waiving and I am driving back to the main square - I was supposed to have taken the proper CARRETERA up the hill - how can I be so stupid? Better ask another gentleman. Yes, he reconfirms the way. Up we go. By now I know not to move too far before asking for advice. Lovely SENORAS assist me this time. YES, I AM ON THE RIGHT TRACK. Just straight ahead for as long as it is possible, then "turn 360 degrees and you are there". Finally! Hear we go along narrow passways, have to take in the side mirrors, wait for kids and other people to pass..........WHATS THIS? A car blocking the road and nobody at sight!!!! Impossible! Some rude thoughts passes the drivers mind.....better check this out though. ALAS! There is enough space to pass! WOW! Well, there was one final stop before reaching the hotel......there was reason to check that the KIA indeed could pass a certain place.....and not roll over and end up "down there". No BIG problem! After this the 360 degree turn and up the ramp to the hotel parking. I HAD MADE IT!!!! AND IT TOOK ME ONLY SOME 50 MINUTES. Once in the reception I meet a worried Mrs. Skywalker and an ever smiling receptionist.
|Lovely Trevelez - ask me for driving instructions to Fraqua II|
|Morning sun looking over the mountain ridge|
|Souvenirs....we bought some tapas ceramics|
|The hotel was magnificent and had a good parking space. Recommend!!!|
Trevelez, and the whole visit to Sierra Nevada, was an adventurous treat that we would not have wanted to miss at any cost. The northern side with its harshness and southern with its warm and sunny slopes makes us go back sometime. There is much more than Trevelez, so better stop at other places, too. Serpentine roads and the beautiful deep valleys are magnificent. So much to photograph.
|Southern slopes at a distance on our way home.|