While sitting in a cafe we saw children dressed in a multicolored costume that seemed to be some type of goblin chasing other children in the streets. This custom seemed to be only for the young, the older children being the goblins and the younger running from them. This is the festival of the patron saint Virgen de la Cabeza (the Madonna) during the last weekend of April. Have not yet found out why they dressed in this way.
The hiking path connecting Capileira, Bubion and Pampaneira's great for working off the hearty breakfast and getting a good view of the 3 towns cut into the mountains or the snow capped Mulhacen.
No chances of getting lost as the 3 towns form an arc in the mountain and you'd just need to follow the direction of the easily visible towns. The hiking path is a definite better choice to the tarmac road in good condition. No need to avoid and watch out for traffic and breathe in exhaust fumes. Also less human traffic.
Along the route, you'd see spooky looking dead trees, chestnuts and friendly locals with their pet dogs. From Capileira, head to the back of the tourist information centre to get to the marked trailhead.
White Village in shadow of white capped mountains
The Las Alpuharras region is dotted with white villages sitting in the shadow of the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains, the highest range in Spain. I can just imagine this village in the winter snows literally "disappearing" into the surrounding white.
The actual distances from village to village may be short, but when you look from one village to another they seem to be a vast distance.
You will find this area just to the east of the main road from Malaga to Antequera, take your time to explore.
Together with Bubion and Pampaneira, Capileira are three towns in the Las Alpujarras within close proximity of each other. Capileira was also the town where I based myself for 3 days. A little bit about the towns - the Alpujarras was where the last Caliph of Granada was "exiled" to after the fall of Granada to the Christian monarchs.
The greatest contribution of the Moors was to introduce their distinctive irrigation system to this otherwise arid mountainous region. Even now, in Capileira, you could drink clean irrigated water running out in front of the tourist information centre - no need to buy water from supermarts. Top up your water bottle here if you're hiking towards Bubion and Pampaneira.
Carved into the steep mountains, be prepared for plenty of slopes. The houses follows the gradients of the slopes and you'd find stone chimneys at eye levels as you stand at a higher level of slopes adjacent to the whitewashed houses.
The best part of the bus ride from Granada towards the Las Alpujarras was seeing the enormous Sierra Nevada opening up before the highway - the magnitude of the range dwarfs everything else.
You'd pass by numerous towns making up the Las Alpujarras whilst the bus weaves its way around mountain bends and olive groves. You could also visit weekend markets if you're in the area on specific weekends of designated towns.
On my way back to Granada, I took the pre-dawn bus and the clear moon shining on the white mountain towns had this ghostly and ancient effect. It's like in the making. As the sun awakes casting its orange predawn rays against white towns, you could almost understand about the Moor's last sigh as you leave the beauty behind.
Being at the level where rain is made, I experienced wet afternoons in late October. The fog rolling in blocking everything out of sight brings a somewhat sense of melancholy to this sleepy town. I met up with a Canadian lady who had been staying here for weeks with her pensioner uncle - who promptly told me that the locals anticipate the thrice daily bus service from Granada letting off tourists as their daily dose of excitement.
After incessant rain the entire night, the snow capped Sierra Nevada against the blue skies make a postcard background for the towns. As you hike downwards to Bubion, then Pampaneira, you would get an excellent view of the three towns limning an arc against the mountains.
The cold, rainy nights double up as a refridgerator for the juices and yoghurts I purchased from the supermart. Just place them on the chilled window sill and voila, you'd get fresh breakfast.
Capileira awaits 1436 meters high in the mountains
The village doesn't follow any organized disposition instead, it adapts hurriedly to the sinuosities of the one slanted land. The houses melt some with other, they are of white color, with wide stone walls and cement that sustain thick chestnut tree beams. They possess small windows in order to protect from the cold. The houses usually consist of two plants, being the inferior one once dedicated to hide the animals and storage.
The flat ceilings receive the name of "terraos", without tiles, sustained by the wood on which lean on slate flagstones. On top the locals expand a thick layer of crushed slate that waterproofs the construction. In the "terraos" or ceiling, accessed from the interior of the house, they are carried out several activities, as spreading clothes, to dry fruits or simply to take the sun.
The origin of Capileira is not very clear, since it is not known if it is Roman or of later time. Anyway their name comes from the term capilaris-and that it means head or higher place; or of the Latin capitellaria, derived in turn of capitellun that means summits. It formed part of the taha of Poqueira like party head.
After the expulsion of the Moorish, Felipe II repopulated the Alpujarras with Christians coming from the north of Spain. Given its almost unassailable location, in the middle of the ravine of the Poqueira, was of the last places in accepting the arrival of the Arab and later the Christians. After the expulsion of the Moorish it was uninhabited and Felipe II took colonists of other regions to repopulate the place. At the moment it is an Historical, Artistic and Natural Park together with Pampaneira and Bubión.