Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Pico de Veleta and Placeta Joe Strummer - Granada calling

28-06-2013 Sierra Nevada 1
Road to Pico Veleta
Hoya de la Mora
After a debate with myself as to whether to use my bike or not I made an early start from the almost empty Hoya de la Mora carpark  N37.09328 W3.38668 (2506m) and walked up. Sometimes I kept to the zigzags of the road, sometimes I took one of the short cuts that many previous walker’s feet had formed.
Below there is the ski resort of Pradollano which out of season is like a ghost town – even the cash machine was closed. 

There is a university observatory and various military installations. 

Eventually, as the air pressure notably lessened the road was blocked by snow at around 3120m high. Shortly afterwards, there is a fork in the road at N37.05466 W3.37121 (3203m) – the left branch goes up to Pico de Veleta, whereas the right branch heads slightly downhill to the Collado de Carihuela del Veneta and the road to Mulhacen.

I decided that I would bag the dramatic and eyecatching Pico de Veleta first, so I took the left branch and zigzagged my way up through patches of old snow and rough ground.  Pico de Veleta has a trigpoint N37.05600 W3.36569 (3396m) with a prominence of P307 and is therefore a Minor, not a Major. 

It also has a tremendous view – westwards towards Granada (is that the Alhambra?) and eastwards towards Mulhacen. 

Mulhacen ahead
Midsummer Sierra Nevada
The slopes between the Pico de Veleta and Mulhacen despite facing south were full of snow. It was obvious that I was not going to get to Mulhacen that day – I was sure I could get there, it was the getting back that was in doubt as there is quite a bit of re-ascent back to the collado which would not have been too bad marching on a road, but I did not fancy battling through old snow. Not at these altitudes, even though I felt reasonably acclimatised. And I had not brought a sleeping bag or extra food with me that could have meant I could use one of the two unmanned refugios/bivouacs.
Bothy for short people
Cycle track
I dropped down to the collado and the unmanned Refugio/Vivac La Carihuela N37.04962 W3.37113 (3204m). Confirmed that the road was truly blocked with snow from there and headed back down to the start – trying to vary the route as much as possible.
Distance 17.56km  1019m ascent

Pico de Veleta
Granada calling
I then headed into Granada. Most people go there to look at the Alhambra – however, I have already seen the original one in Bradford*. Once you have seen one Alhambra you have seen them all. No, what I was looking for was something quite different.
I have only ever set out once before to find a setting connected with a popular recording artist and that is when I visited Cypress Avenue in Belfast. Cypress Avenue is the subject of at least two songs on Van Morrison’s groundbreaking Astral weeks album and incidentally where the late preacher of hate, Ian Paisley, used to live. As it happened, quite unplanned it was the day of Van’s 60th birthday and the local BBC station was playing his music non-stop and as I parked up they played Madame George, one of the two songs.
Anyway, earlier this year the Granada authorities had agreed to name a square after the late Joe Strummer, singer with the Clash and the equally excellent Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. 

It took some finding as all the references I could find on the Internet gave the same information that it is ‘on the far side of the Alhambra’ which is not very useful. On the far side from where? I drove past it three times and walked past it once before I found it. For future reference for anyone else who wishes to visit it is called Placeta Joe Strummer and it is at N37.16892 W3.58771 (722m) on a junction between three narrow roads the Calle Vistillas de Los Angeles, the Cuesta Escoriaza and the Calle Paseo Palmas. About 650m south of the Alhambra.
Water fountain and view of Pico de Veleta
It is a very nice square with trees, a water fountain and seats – and with a good view of Pico de Veleta. As I have said before I like it when there is interconnectedness – after all placeta is only one letter away from being an umbilical cord (or should that be chord?).
In the immediate area around the placeta there is a lot of graffiti –  much of it being of a very high quality. The best examples looked like the work of one individual – I took photos of a lot more of them than I have included here.

*I have been to the Granada Alhambra on a previous visit many years ago.
Overnight at the back of Carrefour Planet hypermarket, Granada

NB There is a two day gap between my two attempts at Mulhacen. I did not fancy going up there on a busy weekend day.

1 comment:

  1. Paisley is still around. I had him in a dead pool almost a decade ago.....I sought out the Zappa statue in Vilnius because it seemed incongruous rather than because I enjoy listening to Zappa. I'm enjoying following your travels.

    ~Mark Nightingale