I spent two weeks in July, landing in Barcelona and heading north to stay in Taradell, Catalonia for a few days. My friends own Bar Taradell in town, please stop by and ask for Encarna if you go. I was there to go to a baptism in nearby Malla. The setting for the baptism, Iglesia de Sant Vicenç de Malla was stunning. It's a very small church on top of hill with a lovely view. We did not do much more than stuff ourselves on great tapas at the bar and did a little shopping near by at the weekend market in the square in Vic. The market in Vic ran the gamut from slightly flea marketish with sneakers, bras, underwear to farmers market with fruit, nuts, snails, but was decent enough to pick up my souvenirs, small Catalonian made clay birds that whistle.
We left Catalonia and headed toward our main destination, Yegen, in Las Alpujarras. On advisement and research from this very forum we broke our road trip up into two 5 hr legs, renting a house in Moraira for a couple of days in between. Wow Moraira is really nice. We were fortunate to be in town during the fiesta in honor of Our Lady ‘Virgen del Carmen’. There was a massive fireworks display rivaling a big city's 4th of July display in the states.
Our rental home was perfect for us. We stayed at Casa De Simon in Moraira. We had space and privacy and a pool for the kids. We went to the beach both days we were there, but also used the pool and ate most of our meals at the house, dining outside surround by candles hanging from orange trees. One day we went to El Portet. It's small, but the sand is clean and soft, the water is clear and calm and you can stand in the water far out into the sea. I really enjoyed this beach. I'm not one who likes to swim and I spend a lot of time in the water here. You just can't help it.
We headed out after a couple of days rest and straight up into the mountains to the town of Yegen. My friend grew up here and there's not much written about the place other than a famous author lived here for a while. It's one of the smaller villages in the area, no police station, a few bars, one church, one small "supermarket" and a bank that is open 3 hours a week. If you're looking for internet and lots to do this is not the place for you. If you're looking to meet farmers who live off the land, take in the most amazing view 3,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada mountains, grab bread and fish from trucks that come into the village daily, and eat some fresh olives, plums, kiwi, and almonds that were grown only a few feet away while watching the old ladies in town take evening walks, then this is the place for you.
Many have mentioned Travalez as a place to stop off the beaten path for a national culinary treasure - jamon. I never made it there. I was happy to be in a far less explored place, the only American they've seen in quite a while in the town of a few hundred. And I was fortunate enough to spend some time with a master jamon craftsman right in the town of Yegen named Pepe Munoz. He happened to grow up with my traveling companion in Yegen and gave us a tour his business. Pepe produces 40,000 jamones a year. He runs a small shop in town to sell jamon, but behind the store is where this national treasure is made. It was an quite experience to tour his place and learn about how jamon is cured. Our entire time in Yegen was a foodie dream. No fancy restaurants in site, but to pick a ripe plum off a tree or eat the most amazing watermelon I've ever had in my lifetime (truly) or have the opportunity to try some of the finest pata negra jamon made on site - nothing beats that.
We spent about a week in the village, only leaving to venture out for a 1.25 hr drive to the shore one day to give the kids a day of swimming and a couple of evenings out in nearby Mecina Bombaron for drinks and tapas at another friend's bar. One great thing about this region (Granada included) that I did not experience in Barcelona. If you order a drink, which by the way was very cheap, you get free tapas. And free tapas would be everything from plates of fresh olives, Manchego cheese, calamari, gazpacho, sardines. Yum, yum yum. We often fed the family of five on 3-4 rounds of Tinto de Verano!
The last part of our trip was spent in Granada. We stayed in an apartment that belonged to a friend for a couple of days before the flight. We hit the three A's - Alhambra, Alcaicería and
Albayzín. Albayzín was my favorite of the three places. We met a young couple who were taking in the sunset over the city and they ended up giving us a tour of the Albayzin. We were very lucky to meet them. I found the neighborhood really special.
That is pretty much it in a nutshell.