Andalucian Adventures – Part six

High and dry in Trevelez

The Alpujarra is famous for the quality of its Jamon Serrano – Serrano Ham. And, at least according to its inhabitants, there is no finer jamon to be had than in Trevelez. This pueblo is at 1476 metres (4853 feet), the second highest in mainland Spain, and it is the crisp, dry mountain air which makes it so suitable for curing the ham.

It’s another twisty mountain road to Trevelez. You do sometimes wonder how they managed to carve out a route along the steep, sometimes near vertical, hillsides. And tour buses regularly ply this road having first visited Llanjaron and Pampaneira. Thankfully we chose a day when there didn’t seem to be any tours happening. In fact, when we eventually arrived at Trevelez, there were only a handful of people about, and I suspect that most of those were locals.

Medio Trevelez

Trevelez is, like many mountain villages, split into three parts – alto (upper), medio (middle) and bajo (lower). We parked in medio and walked uphill to alto. The houses here looked really old and the cobbled streets narrow. It reminded us of some of the villages we had seen in Nepal many decades ago.

Looking down on Trevelez

From the restored ‘Era de El Fuerte’ we got a great overview of the village. In Spanish an ‘era’ is a threshing floor. Generally, a round flat surface, they would have been used in the past for threshing and winnowing cereal crops. These days there is no use for such structures but many have been restored to provide miradors for visitors such as us.

There was not only a great view of the village from this particular ‘era’ but if you turned around you could see ‘false’ Mulhacen (or Mulhacen II). At 3,842 metres (11,424 ft) Mulhacen is the highest peak in mainland Spain. But, like many a mountain, it has a false summit and it is this you can see from Trevelez.

False Mulhacen

You can, however, trek to the real thing from the very mirador on which we were standing which itself was at 1,700 metres (5,577 ft). It only takes two days but unfortunately we were leaving the next day so just didn’t have the time!

Just to prove that Mulhacen is the tallest

And, in any case, we had some jamon to find, which in Trevelez isn’t exactly a difficult task given that virtually every establishment in el bajo is festooned with massive haunches of the stuff. Of course, this did require us to descend from our lofty height of 1,700 mtrs and those of you who have been following this blog with any degree of attention will know that I have been suffering unmercifully with ‘hikers knee’ when walking down even the slightest incline. But, folks, let me introduce you to Judith Perez Molina.

Judith is a Fisioterapa and I booked an appointment with her in Orgiva. For an hour she massaged my knee joint and muscles, stuck some pads on the upper thigh muscles which made them twitch like I had St Vitus’ Dance and then treated my knee with INDIBA radiofrequency stimulation. And, believe me, I came out of that session positively skipping – to the toilet, as it happened, because I was dying for a pee! (My knee isn’t the only thing which is giving up on me.)

So, I was able to walk down (still with two sticks – I’m not completely cured), and follow the rather kitsch plaster pigs and ham joints to an emporium selling the jamon for which Trevelez is justly famed.

About as tacky as it gets

The hind legs of white-hoofed pigs are salted for two weeks or so and air dried for up to 36 months before being ready for sale. It’s perhaps no surprise to see a veritable forest of hams hanging in a production unit like we visited. But you can go into many a deli, bodega and even a tapas bar and you will find dozens of the things hung up. But one thing you never see are the pigs themselves – just where do they rear them?

This should really be a hard hat area

6 thoughts on “Andalucian Adventures – Part six

  1. hi to you both,hope your knee is improving,i just know what you are going through.keep blogs comming you must be having a great time what amazing places you have been to.enjoy rest holiday xx

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    1. Hi Irene and Murray. Lovely to hear from you. Yes, the knee is improving but Jane has picked up a nasty cold. We have moved to a lovely villa out in the countryside so she can recuperate in comfort here and then we can go exploring. Love to you both. Rob and Jane xx

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  2. I cannot believe that you actually wrote ‘I’m not completely cured’ near a picture of all those hams ! 😂

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  3. Am really enjoying this blog. In fact, I think its my favourite of all your travels, even though, like you, I’m well used to more exotic climes… The pecuniary value of all those hams must be incredible.

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    1. Thanks Andi. Everywhere you go, in restaurants, bars and just a cafe you see the hams hanging up and you do just wonder how long they last given that they slice it so thinly. I guess I should have asked someone.

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