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Flying Visit to Alhama by Bike
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From Loja, our idea is to take an alternative route towards the south east, crossing the Genil river and leaving the valley of the vega in order to enter the foothills of the Sierra of Alhama, Tejeda and Almihara. To do this, we will initially take the same path as we took from there to the neighbourhood of La Esperanza, where the swallows bring us, hidden beneath their wings, he songs and games of the children once educated in its ancient school and a little further on, we will search out the footsteps of Abd al- Rahman among the irrigation channels of Huetor Tajar. After this, we cross the Arroyo Milanos before entering Villanueva de Mesia. From here, now taking a different path, we cross the Genil river, looking for another, the Cacín, whose banks we will follow among cornfields, oliva and poplar groves and the odd plantation of capers. Soon we arrive at what once the boundary limit between the lands of Granada and Loja: the Campo de las Fuentes (field of fountains) or Fa al Uyun, today known as Moraleda de Zafayona.
We now travele between the agricultural land of its valley and the livesoock pasture higer up, heading towards Monte Horniceros. Then, after going up and down some hills, we take the Camino de los Llanos (path of the plains), which leads us between going groves and vegetable gardens until we pass through Buenavista, across the Alhanma river to the district of Valenzuela. Following the course of the river and passing through Santa Cruz del Comercio, we get the junction with the Torre Solana path, where we turn towards the west, to the thermal baths where we find the hot spring that gives its name to our destination on this stage. This was the city most loved and most lamented (in its lost) by the old kingdom of Granada. It was the kingdom rearguard and defended the passage to the port of Malaga and was described by the traveller Ibn Battuta as "A small town which has wonderfully place as well constructed mosque. Here there are hot springs to be found on the banks of the river, about a mile from the village and with separate bathing areas for men and women". Alhama, described in romances of the time, pined for in the stories of romantic travellers and set down by the paint brushes of several artistic schools, now takes us in, between walls and fortifications, between mall squares and old dungeons, between the Casa de la Inquisicion (Spanish inquisition building) , and a granary, between the old mosque and the blood hospital. However, we prefer to flee to the working area outside the village, where flour mills caress the river with a languid gesture and where we will seek out of the deep, long gorge which runs through the land to reassure ourselves that, in the words of Ibn Jafacha, "Hell cannot exist when one lives in heaven".
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