A brand new destination, a hotel full of enthusiastic guests new to the area and plentiful picturesque walks to enjoy; welcome to Canillas de Albaida, a beautiful white Spanish village in the high mountains of Andalucía.
Collett’s walk organisers, Rich Manterfield and Kelly Diggle joined Andalucia Walking expert Mick Smith who has been living and working in Andalucía for the past 13 years and has extensive knowledge about Andalucia, Canillas and the surrounding villages.
To kick start a wonderful week of walking in the mountains, Mick shares his extensive knowledge of the area as he leads the group to Competa, an equally charming community, whereby tapas and wine-tasting can be enjoyed at the local Bodega Jarel; a short walk perfect for the first day exploring a new location and an ideal setting to get to know your fellow walkers of the week.
Setting off for a quick tour around the village of Canillas, the sun was already feeling incredibly warm for this time of year. As we wandered past old buildings and quirky narrow streets Mick explained a bit about the history of the area. Everybody was thinking the same thing; the streets were incredibly quiet as only waggy-tailed dogs crossed our path. As jackets came off and trousers were shortened, we headed off up the hill to the top of the village and on our way to begin the days walk.
It wasn’t long before we hit a slightly narrower track which took us amongst the scrub and past colourful lemon, orange and olive trees, whilst flower enthusiasts amid the group pointed out favourite species.
Arriving alongside Competa we could see that it was twice the size of Canillas. With an hour to explore the village, guests dispersed to find a nice spot for lunch – the most popular offered a plate of delicious tapas and a seat in the sun. The tall, brown church steeple stood out from its white surroundings which provided the perfect meeting place and a good spot to people watch (whilst enjoying an ice-cream if you couldn’t resist).
The afternoon plan, arranged by Mick himself, was to visit the local Bodega. Maria, the current owner along with her small family, welcomed our group by explaining the wine-making process followed by a tasting session sat out in the sun. A long table laid out with fresh olives, cheeses and meats meant the selection of dry, sweet and very sweet wines went down a treat! Conversation flowed and as the sun began to sink we made our way back along the road to end the day with an easy stroll. What better way to get to know the other guests than by enjoying a glass or two of traditional, local and refreshing Spanish wine?