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Lives and Times

Writing on the world around us.

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)”

Shakespeare in Love (with Sherry)

Jerez de la Frontera is a city for romantics, its drink a drop for lovers of the vine. And the greatest lover of them all – Shakespeare – was madly in love with Sherry. Continue reading “Shakespeare in Love (with Sherry)”

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)”

A Fowl Society: On Human Behaviour in Chickens (and Vice-Versa)

The Venus of Willendorf. Shoes. Omar Khayyam. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Sewage. The feats and fames of humankind are many and diverse – but we remain, as ever, animals; and as animals we forever behave. Continue reading “A Fowl Society: On Human Behaviour in Chickens (and Vice-Versa)”

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)”

Exploring La Sauceda, Spain: A Town Wiped off the Map by Fascism

It is July 1936, Spain, and a long-planned military conspiracy aims to dislodge from power a democratically elected government. Aircraft fly in mercenaries from abroad, troops are mobilised across the country, and a war begins. Continue reading “Exploring La Sauceda, Spain: A Town Wiped off the Map by Fascism”

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)”

Sunset Sherry: An Afternoon Drive through the Vineyards of Jerez

Sherry is a unique wine, and like anything that is original it will have both its fervent lovers and its disregarding detractors. Its followers find a world of diversity within the sherry spectrum, and the newly initiated will ask of their more acquainted friends a million questions. For both audiences, the connoisseurs and the amateurs, such questions may be answered in a tour around the vineyards of the ‘sherry triangle’, where they will learn that the originality of this wine lies in the originality of the land. Continue reading “Sunset Sherry: An Afternoon Drive through the Vineyards of Jerez”

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