What’s the best thing my husband could have bought me for my 40th? Diamonds? Sports car? No, a heavenly week riding in the Alpujarras! From the moment I was greeted by friendly Ali at Malaga, I fell straight into horsey holiday mode. He gave me plenty of info on the journey to my accommodation on everything from the horses, my lovely guide Laura, and the surrounding areas.
I was taken to Casa del Viento above the town of Lanjaron for my first evening. Ann, my host, was fab and showed me to my rustic farmhouse style cottage. The view across the valley and into Lanjaron is wonderful. Time for a snooze on my private terrace, dip in the pool, then dinner prepared and served by Ann in her own home! You eat with whoever else happens to be on holiday there at the same time, and it’s a great way to socialise. I was alone, but was made to feel part of Ann’s extended family from the first day.
It was an early start the next day and off into the mountains to meet my horse and begin the adventure. We rode by Capileira- one of the highest towns in Spain and across the Poqueria valley, plenty of canters and some hair-raising descents! The horses behaved impeccably but were also forward going and exciting to ride. Laura is a fun and informative guide and her love of horses shines out of her. We enjoyed a picnic lunch high in the mountains before the ride back down to Chris and Dave’s mountain cottages for our night’s stay and a delicious dinner in their home.
In the morning, our saddlebags were packed, ready for the long ride back over to the ranch, stopping en route for a refreshing beer or coffee at a traditional Spanish roadside bar. We passed through an exciting passage in Orgiva, where the three day Feria is in full swing with a carnival atmosphere. Lunch was in the olive groves and we enjoyed a fast gallop before arriving back at the ranch. Lovely to spend some time with your horse and watching them get their well deserved dinner.
The following days were spent riding out from the ranch each day on a different route. The scenery is stunning and the smell of wild herbs as the horses crush them underfoot will stay in my memory forever. We picked figs from the trees and shared them with our horses. I rode three horses during my weeks stay- fell in love with each one! Every day is so different, one day a ride through the Hippie settlement in Beneficio- avert your eyes if you’re shy- naked men in yoga poses!! Another ride to the waterfalls and an encounter with wild horses- not too close thankfully, but exciting. A lucky sighting of the shy Ibex deer, and an eagle soaring above, all make this holiday so special.
In the evenings, a hearty dinner prepared by Ann and plenty of wine to wash it down, maybe a trip into Lanjaron to the Tapas bars where you struggle to spend your money- so cheap! There are also spa baths in the town, but I didn’t find the time to visit- next time!
I cried when I had to leave and can’t wait to return- would recommend this to anyone with a love of horses and a sense of adventure. Don’t expect British Riding School style hacking out, where every move is controlled in a nose to tail line, this is Spain!! Not for people looking for 5 star luxury or lively nightlife either, but perfect all in it’s own way.