Driving from Valencia to Granada was a constant challenge as we attempted to interpret the unfamiliar language, road signs, using the opposite side of the road and most difficult of all, following the instructions on our Google Maps App – “at the roundabout, take the second exit onto Calle Afonso Ponce de Leon or Agenda del Rey Juan Carlos“. Such clear and precise directions should be easy to follow but street signs were not apparent nor did we recognise the streets. Trial and errors made us realise that the exit may in fact been the first or third and the easiest solution was to stay in the outside lane and drive around and around the roundabout as many times as needed in order to find the correct one. The next stage of the journey from Granada to Pitres was spectacular and scary and often my heart was in my mouth as we manoeuvred the steep, narrow, icy, winding roads. Being a passenger in a left-hand drive vehicle was an uncomfortable feeling for me and often my eyes were tightly closed especially when I became aware of the lack of safety barriers on sections of the drive up the mountain.
We passed through villages of Soportujar, Pampaneira, Bubion, Capileira where heavy snow had fallen and by the time we reached our destination in Pitres, we were 1245 feet above sea level.
During the next four weeks, “home” would be at Camping Balcon de Pitres with two young cats we would care for as part of our house/pet sitting assignment.
Walking to and from the local village was “mostly flat” or so we had been told but in reality, the last 200 metres at both ends of the walk were a steady 45 degree angle climb in altitude. We found the steps leading to the shops were somewhat easier to manage compared to the first approach past the school on the main road.
Unseasonal weather, including extremely cold temperatures and heavy rain greeted us during our stay and sometimes the cloud was low, creating the feeling that it was only raining below us.
Most days we would gather in the village square with locals and residents from the camping community, drinking coffee, chatting, buying fresh produce at the weekly markets or just soaking in the warmth of the morning sun. Hours would quickly pass, then siesta would begin and the village became silent.
Pitres is a stunning place to visit during spring and autumn when green returns to the landscape and villages are crowded with tourists who come to trek in the region. Oak, chestnuts, cherry and walnut trees grow in the higher level while in the valleys, figs, almonds and olives thrive in the soaring summer temperatures, often reaching 50 degrees Celsius.