THE air is cool and scented with spring. Last week’s snow lies in folds on the high peaks. Cowbells clunk in the valley bottom and hay meadows ripple. This could be a quiet corner in the Alps, this steep-cut vale with its clinging villages. But this is the Poqueira gorge in the Sierra Nevada, many leagues to the south and within sight of Africa . . .
I read somewhere that Capileira is the second-highest village in Andalucia (altitude 1,436m), its neighbour, Trevelez, being the highest in Spain. Pleasant place is Capileira. I could wander its alleys and drink in its views until the sun sinks behind dark shoulders.
Today I watch a man tilling his vegetable patch, gaze at the gleaming snowfields on Mulhacen – mainland Spain’s highest mountain – and make mental sketches of the walkers’ paths and dusty tracks winding to high unseen farmsteads and flowery meadows.