Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The first time I heard of Pitres was when I went there with Ole to "Aragón", the builders’ merchant, to choose doors for La Panorámica. I must have passed the village several times before on my way to Trevélez missing even its signpost.

Pitres, as I now know, is the capital of La Taha (Arabic equivalent of county). I say capital for lack of a better word to use. Within its municipality fall the villages of Ferreirola, Atalbeitar, Mecina, Fondales, Mecinilla and Capilería. It is situated at an altitude of 1295m and has a population of about 700 inhabitants.

After finishing at "Aragón" which is at the entrance of the village, Ole suggested we went to the village itself which, he said, has one of the most beautiful squares in La Alpujarra. Indeed it was! Rather spacious for a village square, with a fountain in its midst. A mini Trafalgar Square that used to be known as “Plaza de armas” (armament square) during the Moorish rebellion of the 16c.

We sat in the sun on the terrace of Bar Taha and, over a cool "Tinto de Verano" (a long drink made of red wine and lemonade, to which you added some vermouth if you wanted to be naughty) we admired the church steeple that characterises Pitres.

Ole explained that this bell tower had the same design as the old minaret of the mosque on whose foundation the church was built. The church is now dedicated to San Roque, the patron saint of the village.

Later, once I had settled in my new home, I sometimes went on Fridays to the street market held on this same square
with Sven Borrit, a Danish friend who has a house in Capileira. Instead of sitting in Bar Taha, Sven preferred to have a drink at Bar Sierra Nevada among the most incredible mix of people, only otherwise seen in Orgiva: hippies, gypsies, locals, foreigners, old, young, they all crowded there and they all had one thing in common: they all enjoyed a good chat over a good “tapa”.

They came not only from La Taha but also from the villages of the Poqueira. Sven, as many others, came
specially for bread that was elaborated by a certain Gerónimo high up somewhere in the surrounding hills. It seems that the mountain water he used mixed with the aroma from the wood oven, gave the bread a very special flavour.

Sven spent six months of Autumn and Winter in Capileira and six of Spring and Summer in Copenhagen and was the legendary Viking. Nearing ninety years of age then, he walked tall and straight and extremely handsome. He drove himself all the way from and back to Denmark, stopping occasionally for a shower and a short nap in some conveniently situated service station.

In his garden he
had a kind of sunken water tank about five foot deep where he would dip
each morning braving all weather. For me it became a tourist attraction where I took my incredulous visitors. One such cold day, I saw hanging on a branch next to the tank what I thought was a hand or tea towel. I asked Sven if he wanted me to bring it in and to our amazement he replied: "do you expect me to walk indoors wet without drying myslef first?"

Photo 1, Pitres Church taken by myself
Photo 2, The Square at Pitres taken by myself
Photo 3, Sven at his house in Capileira taken by myself

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