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Lives and Times

Writing on the world around us.

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Andalucía

Cádiz and the Sea

With the sea breeze forever sprinkling its oceanic harvest over buildings and people, Cádiz is a salted city. With salty air, salty skin, salty people, this is a siren city; half of the sea, half of the land. Continue reading “Cádiz and the Sea”

Romance of Jerez

Some cities are made for business, others by bohemians, there are some for the hip and others for the classical, many have been sold to tourism and most are all the same. But Jerez, Jerez de la Frontera, is a city for romantics, for the wide-eyed and wine-eyed lovers of all that comes from the heart and soul. Continue reading “Romance of Jerez”

Exploring Carmen’s Seville: Cigars, Conquest, and Colonialism at the Royal Tobacco Factory of Seville

Sevilla, “so affectionate, so brunette, gypsy and so beautiful”, as the song says. Sevilla, forever the heart of the south and for so long the crossroads of the Old and New worlds. Sevilla I visit to learn about the symbol of this cultural meeting point, the Royal Tobacco Factory, the same tobacco factory from which poured out Sevilla’s most beautiful cigarreras in Bizet’s opera Carmen, pursued by their admirers Continue reading “Exploring Carmen’s Seville: Cigars, Conquest, and Colonialism at the Royal Tobacco Factory of Seville”

Dancing Sevillanas Face-to-Face: The Southern Sound

Dance, a wise man once said, is a terribly inefficient way of getting from A to B. Around and about we go, not aiming for any particular point in the room we sway; in dance, we play. Once this is properly appreciated, you will more fully enjoy the dance, and life, itself. In Spain’s south, they have a wonderfully inefficient way of striding around in circles, a dance they call the sevillanas. Continue reading “Dancing Sevillanas Face-to-Face: The Southern Sound”

Horsing About at the Feria del Caballo, Jerez de la Frontera (Photo Feature)

La Feria del Caballo. La Feria. Feria is a dream, a kaleidoscope of colours and faces all flying by and blurring with the other, every day and night a dream within a dream, each a layer deeper than the other; you forget when one begins, when another ends, lose track of the chain of events which led you to be lost in this world where above you is a multi-coloured milky-way of fairy lights and below you a whirlpool wind of dust flying around your feet. Continue reading “Horsing About at the Feria del Caballo, Jerez de la Frontera (Photo Feature)”

Exploring the Mountains and Valleys of Cádiz, Andalucía (Photo Gallery)

In Spain’s south, Cádiz province offers the nature lover all that s/he could wish for. Dunes to the south, wetlands to the west, and in the interior hills, mountains, and valleys to wander, conquer, and descend. It has two national parks to explore; the Sierras de Grazalema to the east, and the Alcornocales National Park toward the south. The photos that follow are taken from some of my trips through these hills.

Continue reading “Exploring the Mountains and Valleys of Cádiz, Andalucía (Photo Gallery)”

Sensing Semana Santa: Holy Week in Southern Spain, Jerez de la Frontera (Photo Feature)

“In the south, we need to touch” – this is how the Spanish tradition of Semana Santa was explained to me by Manuel, council representative of Defensión brotherhood, a religious association which for over fifty years has participated in the Holy Week processions of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Commemorating the final days of Christ, the Semana Santa is an assault on your eyes and ears, and a jig-saw puzzle for your head. Continue reading “Sensing Semana Santa: Holy Week in Southern Spain, Jerez de la Frontera (Photo Feature)”

Coasting through Cádiz, Spain: The Vía Verde de la Sierra (Photo Story)

Thirty-six kilometres of dirt track winding around and up and down the hills of the Sierra de Grazalema, this is the Vía Verde de la Sierra, Cádiz. Continue reading “Coasting through Cádiz, Spain: The Vía Verde de la Sierra (Photo Story)”

Freewheeling through Rural Andalusia: The Via Verde of Seville (Photo Story)

Not far north of Seville, there is a track winding back through the northern slopes of Andalusia, through the Sierra Morena, a gorgeous corrugated mountain range covered in olive and oak trees under which graze pigs, sheep and goat. The track follows and old railway line built a century ago to service an iron mine at the end of the line. Mostly dead straight and mostly an easy incline, the Via Verde is the perfect way to see Andalusia by bike. I followed its twenty or so kilometres up and back to see what I could see. Continue reading “Freewheeling through Rural Andalusia: The Via Verde of Seville (Photo Story)”

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