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”

The Landscape of Sherry (Photo Gallery)

“In Jerez”, a wine-maker once told me, “we live with our backs to the vineyard…” In Jerez, he went on to say, fame is attached to the urban wineries, the bodegas where the alchemy takes place. In other wine-producing regions, harvest and production take place on the same terrain, but in Jerez the sun, soil and salts of the earth which give birth to the wine are often forgot. Continue reading “The Landscape of Sherry (Photo Gallery)”

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)”

The Grape, the Olive, and the Orange: Zahara de la Sierra, Andalusia (Photo Story)

The Holy Trinity of Andalusian cuisine and culture – the grape, the olive, and the orange – has long had a home at Zahara de la Sierra, Cadiz, perched up on the northern borderline of what is probably the province’s single most important natural asset: the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. I went there to Zahara to take a walk around and up and down. Continue reading “The Grape, the Olive, and the Orange: Zahara de la Sierra, Andalusia (Photo Story)”

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