The weather’s slowly turning but today was sunny. We drove up to Pampaneira, which we visited a month ago; one of the pueblos blancos of the region and a good starting point for a short walk to the next village up – Bubión.
It struck us that leaves do turn brown here; that flowers disappear, rose hips appear and chestnuts, huddled together like green hedgehogs, litter the paths. As hard as the mid-November sun tries to persuade you otherwise, it isn’t summer all year round.
Before setting off we dropped in on a traditional taller textil (textile workshop) where we met Epi. She ran us through how she wove cotton, silk and wool on a beautiful loom. It takes a year to master.
The workshop was like a technicolour dreamcoat – ablaze with red and gold blankets; striped bags and wall-hangings depicting the landscape with tufts of green-dyed wool for trees and blue for a woven Andalucian sky.
A bowl of something you’d half expect as a snack at a 70s dinner party caught our eye. They were silkworm cocoons. Epi told us that to stop the moth (which feeds on mulberry) leaving the cocoon and unravelling the silk, the worm is killed by steaming, leaving it rattling inside its own pristine coffin. Apparently children like collecting them.
We left and headed up a rough cobbled street out of the village where we were greeted by a flash mob of cats. The route was easy to follow and we collected chestnuts and muddy apples, washed in a stream to the side of the path.
It was thrilling to see the first snow of the year on the Sierra Nevada, like a dusting of icing sugar.
A quick drink in Bubión and we were heading back. Passing geese, chickens and a giant snorting pig, we arrived back in Pampaneira just 20 minutes later. The air had a slight chill but the sun kept us warm. At a bar in town, we gave a dog a chorizo sausage as a treat. A gentle pat ended with a bite on the hand – a bit like offering a sandwich to a homeless person and getting punched in the face afterwards.
Our ‘first aid’ kit – two plasters, a safety pin, old peanuts, wasp-sting spray and a tube of iodine gel – came to hand. Feeding the village’s ugliest dog had resulted in a hand smeared in, what looked like, treacle.
On the drive back we stopped to enjoy the view near Soportújar. In the distance, looking towards North Africa, the Alboran Sea shone like silver. Even from this spot, seven kilometres from Órgiva in the valley below smoke from bonfires we’d left behind a few hours earlier could still be seen. It signalled time to go back to apple pie. If only our mums were here to cook one for us. With love.
© con jamón spain