I took the off-road route out of Orgiva to Pampaneira, in keeping with the ethos of my trip. Unfortunately the first thing this route did was to drop down into the valley, so I lost 100m of height which I knew I’d have too make up later. But is was worth it: again it was a very quiet road, travelling first through orchards and then as it gained height I was once more into pine trees – Scots pine and Aleppo pine mostly with the occasional stand of holm oak. But this area is not densely forested like the Sierra de Tejeda. It has been farmed for generations. This is the famous Alpujarra region, somewhere I’d been wanting to visit since I read Chris Stewart’s inspirational book Driving over Lemons. Chris used to be the drummer in Genesis, but left to take over an old Cortijo in the Alpujarras.
I had intended to just use Pampaneira as a place to stay overnight, but now I’m here I am pleasantly surprised. It is a tiny but really lovely little pueblo – more attractive than Orgiva. It’s attractiveness is evidently well known as it is chocca with little shops selling artisan type products, and if the locals want to eat they either have to go to a restaurant or pull food from the fields, but is hasn’t been much despoiled by the tourism. It even has a museum of ham.