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Travel

Memories of Chacas

Memories of Chacas was written in 2014, reflecting on my earlier trip through the Peruvian Andes. There I visited my great-uncle, Padre Ugo de Censi, a ninety-three year old Salesian priest who in the 1970s visited the village of Chacas and fell in love with its landscape; a mountainous, verdant land which reminded him of the countryside from which he came, the Italian Valtellina. Continue reading “Memories of Chacas”

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”

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)”

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)”

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)”

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)”

The Fishermen of Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Feature)

The Río Guadalquivir in Spain’s south is the artery that flows through the corazón heart of Andalucía, ebbing through Córdoba and Sevilla before spilling out into the lungs of the Doñana wetlands. At the river’s mouth lies Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a town famed for its manzanilla wining and its seafood dining. Wanting to experience these two essential ingredients of Sanlúcar, I went to the source of it all: the marinero district of Bonanza, home of men who spend more time at sea than at land.  Continue reading “The Fishermen of Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Feature)”

Festival of the…Sea Urchin! – Photo Report on Cadiz’s ‘Erizada’

Of all countries on earth, Spain, perhaps, is that which has the most festivals and fiestas per capita. An exhaustive list of its festivals would run into the hundreds,  possibly thousands, though there always seems to pop up another one which you hadn’t yet heard of. Springing forth from the community itself, with few rules and regulations, little respect for traffic flow, and a socially diverse crowd of old and young, these parties are truly organic, civic celebrations. Continue reading “Festival of the…Sea Urchin! – Photo Report on Cadiz’s ‘Erizada’”

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