I love the Guájares; it’s like visiting the Alpujarras without having to travel all the way up there – rubbish you say! I’ll explain.
Take one look at that name and you realise that it’s 100% Moorish. Furthermore, it was heavily involved in the Moorish uprising in the Alpujarras with the Marquis de Mondéjar moving up the Toba River putting any Moors in his path to the sword.
No, it doesn’t have houses with slate roofs, typical of the Alpujarras but at least you won’t get ripped off ordering a un Plato Alpujarreño; i.e., chorizo, morcilla and a pork chop instead of good-old Jamón Serrano done in a frying pan.
But back to the plot! The three villages are Guájar Faragüit, Guájar Fondón and Guájar Alto and it is the latter that we’re going to talk about.
Guájar Alto used to be the summer haunt of Motrileños and Granadinos without a bewildered Guiri in site, but although foreigners have bought properties there, they have made the effort to fit in, as is the case with Otívar.
The summer’s a great time to visit because the town has it’s swimming pond (yes, pond) in use, which is very popular.
We could talk about how pretty and unspoilt Guájar Alto is, but let’s move on to grub and Bar Carmen!
This village bar, Casa Carmen, is straight out of the 70s, right down to the wall-mounted boar’s head, complete with straw hat and sunglasses. It’s family run and churns out good, honest fayre at surprisingly cheap prices. As you sit there eating gargantuan portions of papas a lo pobre and everything else, you can watch the locals stumble in, just as you would in an English pub, somewhere in the rural backwoods.
They might see a guiri and cross themselves but they are very friendly people and don’t bite… not before the 4th glass of terreno, that is.
So, how do you get there? Well there is one route, which is for weaklings and two are for real men… or trailblazing women.
The ‘limp’ route is taking the N-323 Granada road into the Azud de Vélez Canyon and following the Guájares signs. Careful! in Guájar Faragüit it’s easy to get lost: when you get to the centre, turn left; not right, otherwise you’ll end up in downtown Damascus during a fire fight.
That’s the easy route. The more determined route requiring cojones and a 4×4 is from Otívar, going over the top and passing alongside the Picacho de Bodíjar before dropping down along a series of hairpin bends on a dirt track. You’ll die on the way but you can take comfort from the fact that your bleached bones will indicate, stubbornly, the way to those that follow.
Now, there is an intermediate route requiring merely cojones that fit comfortably in Y-fronts but still dissuades those who would queue to watch Mama Mia II clutching a box of Kleenex, and that is the Camino Forestal de Abuñelas. Very important: a normal family car is sufficient; you don’t need a 4×4, sherpas or oxygen-breathing equipment.
This 3rd route leads off the Carretera de Cabra Montés, not far above Mesón Los Prados. The only things to remember are that A) turn right at the goat farm junction and B) If you take the wrong turning, your wife is edible at a crunch, after the 8th day without food.
And that’s it! Why tell you more? Go there and enjoy!
(News: Guajar Alto, Granada, Andalucia)