Atlantic Explorations III: The Elements of the Algarve (Photographic Essay)

Lashed by winds, cursed with salt, pummelled by wave and current, the Alentejo and Vincentine Coast is the archetype of an Atlantic environment. Marking continental Europe’s western-most extreme, this natural park in Portugal’s Algarve offers the traveller one hundred and twenty kilometres of immense beaches backed by towering dune systems, of lonely headlands receiving the brunt of the ocean’s energy Continue reading “Atlantic Explorations III: The Elements of the Algarve (Photographic Essay)”

Atlantic Island Explorations II: The Ons Oasis

At the northern extreme of the Playa As Dornas there stands a lone bagpiper. He looks out to the sea and plays a lively tune, his fingers creeping over the pipe and his arms pressing on the bladder. The wind occasionally carries his notes out of earshot, and the sound of the waves constantly crashes over his melody. He is one of the few inhabitants of this Atlantic island, the Illa de Ons. Continue reading “Atlantic Island Explorations II: The Ons Oasis”

The Resurrection of the Cob: The Millo Corvo (The Black Corn)

Brilliant black, shiny like a crows feathers, a black deep as azabache, the Millo Corvo lies locked away in a stone grain store, an horreo, drying through the wet Atlantic winter. This black corn is an ancient strain of maize, brought to Galicia countless centuries ago from the New World, and lost not so long ago to the Old World,  disappearing against the march of sterilised and genetically modified strains of corn. Continue reading “The Resurrection of the Cob: The Millo Corvo (The Black Corn)”

Galicia against the Eucalypt: Remedying an Australian Curse

In Galicia, October 2017, thousands of hectares of forest went up in blaze. Fires engulfed the hills of the provinces, even encroaching upon the industrial city of Vigo, in the region’s south-west.  The scenes were cataclysmic; a smoke-covered city, rings of fire crawling toward the suburbs visible from afar, the smell of ash ingrained into clothes for a week after the event. Continue reading “Galicia against the Eucalypt: Remedying an Australian Curse”

Atlantic Island Explorations I: The Cíes Sublime

Insulae Deorum, Islands of the Gods, that is the name Plinio the Elder gave to this island archipelago, this pearl of Galicia’s Rías Baixas. He named it well, for this island should be worshipped and adored, protected from the profane secular sciences which have so corrupted so much of this planet’s jewels. Monteagudo, Illa do Faro, and San Martiño: these are the Cíes, hallowed be their names. Continue reading “Atlantic Island Explorations I: The Cíes Sublime”

Pulling the Plug: Reflections on One Hundred Days without a Refrigerator

Today, the 2nd of February 2018, marks the one hundredth day I have gone without a refrigerator, and it has been, I can report, a non-event. In my kitchen the fruit continues to repose in its bowl, the leafy greens slowly wilt, their chlorophyll slowly fading away as the days pass by, and the pumpkin sits still, glowing bright in the sunlight. Even the butter and cheese remain fresh, tucked away in an insulated bag, absent of any mould blossom. This is the state of the kitchen, and it is good. Continue reading “Pulling the Plug: Reflections on One Hundred Days without a Refrigerator”

Death of a Whaling Industry: A Chapter in Man’s Relation with the Sea

Dependent yet abusive, enchanted yet careless, man’s relationship with the sentient and non-sentient beings and phenomena of his environment has had a long history of both beauty and violence. Exploring the peninsula of O Morrazo, a verdant corner of Galicia carved out by the mouths of the three river inlets, Lives and Times discovered one particularly bloody chapter in this history of man and the sea, that of whaling: its origins, its industrialisation, and its death. Continue reading “Death of a Whaling Industry: A Chapter in Man’s Relation with the Sea”

Meandering Menorca: The Island Biosphere

Too often the word tourism is a synonym for over-development, speculation, and cultural devaluation; a word which is associated more with cruise ships and booze trips than with journey, adventure, and learning. But there is a place where tourism has not yet spoilt the very things which make it unique, a place where both economic and intrinsic value is recognised in the natural world. Continue reading “Meandering Menorca: The Island Biosphere”

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