Sunday, 23 February 2014

Colorful blossom in Júzcar and Faraján mountain areas

Coat of Arms, Faraján

Almond trees blossom at Faraján, south of Ronda.

As spring time is approaching in Andalucia we reserved time this week-end first visiting Granada / Sierra Nevada and then on Sunday the mountain areas just south of Ronda. A newspaper article by Javier Almellones about Faraján prompted us to visit this small village with only 246 inhabitants. The name is said to mean "the place of delight". The soil is fertile as fresh water is supplied by a stream passing the village. As in Istán the local people Faraján have their own plots for vegetables and citrus trees grow in abundance. Chestnut trees and oak forest the area and add to the beautiful vegetative scenery. Right now it is time for the almond trees to blossom. Driving along the MA7306 is an adventure per se as the road is extremely narrow following the hillsides, going up and down. We assume that it is more or less following ancient mule & donkey tracks. 

Scenery along the MA7306.

A local bus making its way from village to village.

We passed the village of Cartajima with beautiful surroundings.

Before reaching Faraján we discovered another small village, Júzcar or "Pueblo Pitufo" as it is also called after the blue Smurffs. This town has 239 inhabitants and is peculiar because it is painted all in blue, see below. Júzcar is according to Wikipedia, since 1731, the number one sheet metal producer in Spain. But why is the village painted in blue? In 2011 Sony proposed that Júzcar be painted blue in order to promote the new Smurff movie. Sony paid for the paint and now all village except one building is blue. This incident turned Júzcar from a hidden village of Serrania de Ronda to a renowned Smurff-village that initially was visited by 200.000 visitors that year.

Júzcar - The Smurff Village.

All in blue except the house of "Gargamel".

In the outskirts of Júzcar - first came noises and later the explanation.

It happens from time to time that we loose our tracks and so we did once leaving Júzcar. A tiny path of a "road" connects Júzcar with Pujerra region. It is not only narrow but also steep and it seemed to us that in a few places it might, during heavy rain, become blocked due to high water or similar circumstances. The scenery was stunning and we are used to such "adventure" so the excitement added some extra flavor to our day out. Anyway, we wanted to reach Faraján and this was not the road. The road we should have taken from Júzcar is built right through the village but from the look of it, it was more like a dead-end lane. Just drive straight on but be mindful of the pedestrians in the village. Locals seem to move on foot from one place to another.

Entrance to Faraján.

Almond blossom at Faraján.

Garden gate.

We reached Faraján fairly late and first looked for the lovely blossoming almond trees before entering the local bar for a beer and some tapas. Well, no tapas available so we had queso and jamon sandwiches instead. We ordered for one large (Mrs T who deserved this after all the excitement) and one small beer for Mr. T ("Alonso-the driver"). Beers delivered seemed to be of same size but the glass for Mr. T was taller. Maybe this was a prudent suggestion from the villagers. Now, having finished our light and late lunch we started our return via Ronda and down the A-397 to Marbella, then A7 back to Fuengirola. 

Almond Blossom.

A great day out, all six hours, discovering new places with a strong local flavor. Thank you Mrs. T for your patience and photographic support!!!

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