On the Plains of Spain: Castilla y León (Photo Essay)

Though the plains are wide and open, they tend to divide. They divide us into those who feel free with a far horizon, and those who feel the unconfined space uncomfortable, preferring instead the texture of the mountains or the energy of the sea. Castilla y León is a land of plains, and from its ochre earth have grown kingdoms of old and cities of architectural awe. Continue reading “On the Plains of Spain: Castilla y León (Photo Essay)”

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”

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”

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)”

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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