Month: September 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

This weeks photo challenge has been a tricky one for me; I had visions of photos of solitary people matched with this stupid inability to actually take them! I don´t know why; but I feel that if I take a picture of someone, even in a public place, that I´m somehow invading their space and privacy. I need to get over this, I truly do, as some of my favourite photos are of people. I love facial expressions, fine lines and wrinkles, eyes, posture, mannerisms, I love it all. To me a photo of a person is beautiful, always, as it captures so much more than just a moment; it captures a life story, especially in older people! So; basically what I´m trying to say is that this week the photo challenge really was a challenge for me, I found myself sifting through my countless albums and failed to come up with anything that truly grabbed my attention.

In the end I settled on a few different shots, five in total. I do like these shots but the quality isn´t the best! I hope you enjoy them, if I do manage to overcome my fear then I will post again during the week! So without further delay, here they are:

Theme one: People.

This was a shot taken in the Sierra Morena one cool and crisp morning last February.

Again, this shot was taken in the Sierra Morena, once the morning fog had lifted!

Theme two: Animals.

This image was taken at Córdoba Zoo.

Again, this was taken at Córdoba Zoo.

Theme three: Bikes.

Taken at the start of summer in Córdoba!

 

So that´s it, for now anyway! Hope you enjoyed my three interpretations of this weeks theme. If I manage to take some more shots, I shall post them during the week!

To see what other bloggers have come up with for this weeks challenge click here.

 What did you think of this weeks theme? Did you have fun with it?

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo

Two birds with one stone: Award time!

A special thank you to Coreen over at Picture Perfect Memories for this nomination!

A special thank you to Eva over at Healthy Glow Nutrition for this nomination!

It´s happened again, I´ve been nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” and also the “Family of Bloggers Award”. I can honestly say I´m overwhelmed with the support and encouragement from my fellow bloggers, I´m honoured to accept these awards from two bloggers that I admire, Coreen and Eva.

Coreen is a very talented photographer living in Cape Town with her husband of 17 years and her two boys. Coreen´s blog is an inspirational collection of photographs each with a story to tell. It is obvious from her work that she puts her heart and soul into each shot and I would highly recommend checking out her blog!

Eva is “a mother, holistic nutritionist, and lover of all things healthy and delicious.” Eva’s blog is a passionate blog and again, like Coreen´s, inspirational. Eva’s appreciation for life and passion for motivating people to lead healthier, happier lives is evident from her work and makes it a pleasure to read. If you are interested in finding alternatives to unhealthy foods then I recommend checking out this blog, there is also the most amazing recipe for donuts, who doesn´t love donuts?

As I have received the “One lovely Blog Award” three times now, I decided to do both of these awards together; however, I will follow the instructions for the Family of Bloggers Award instead of the “One Lovely Blog Award” just to offer some variety! I hope you enjoy! Here it goes:

For the Family of Bloggers Award:

  1.   Pay credit to the one who nominated you
  2.   Place a link to the one who nominated you on your award page
  3.   Using the anagram of the word ‘FAMILY’ tell us the attributes you bring to the family of bloggers
  4.   Nominate at least 4 other people to be in your family of bloggers and notify them of their nomination.

I tried using the anagram of the word family; however, perhaps due to my inability to do anagrams, failed to come up with any attributes from the word. I was able to come up with the following: fail, my, aim, fly, if, I´m, fay and mil. Hardly attributes that I could use so; I decided to take the letters from the word and use them to form adjectives instead. ( I actually found it rather difficult to describe my blog, I´d never really though about it in these terms before!) So; I hope you can forgive me for not using an anagram but instead inventing my own approach to the task! Enjoy:

Friendly: I would like to think that my blog is a friendly and welcoming blog. I´m passionate about Spain and my life here and love sharing what this country has to offer. I welcome all comments and readers and if I can help in any way with information then I try!

Alive: I try my best to capture the spirit and passion that is Spain, sometimes I fail, sometimes I don´t but one thing´s for sure my passion is most certainly alive whether it comes across or not!

Memoir: This blog is most certainly a memoir. I provide an account of Spain from my personal experience and share it with my readers. For me Spain, through the good and bad times, has been such a positive life changing experience. I never want to forget that and I also want to encourage others to experience it with me!

Inspiring: Not through my words, obviously I don´t think what I write is inspiring, but through my actions, Two years ago I was inspired to follow my dream and come to Spain, while it hasn´t always been a walk in the park, it has been one of the best decisions I´ve ever made. So I would hope that my experience might inspire other people to follow their dreams, life is too short not to, and anyway, what´s the worst that could happen? You end up right back where you started expect this time without regrets!

Light-hearted: I would hope that my humour comes across in my blog. I´ve yet to learn so much about writing and expressing myself through my work. However, I hope that my posts don´t come across too serious!

Young: My blog is still very young, growing, developing and changing. This is something that it has to offer, the fact that it´s not perfect, never will be, but constantly changing and trying to be the best it can be!

Blogs I have chosen to nominate: This is in no particular order, I have limited my choice to eight so I have left out some of my other favourites, I´m sorry! I have also left out blogs who I know would rather not get involved in awards. So without further delay here is my very narrowed down list of the blogs I have nominated, congratulations and if you choose not to accept I will not be offended!

The Island Traveler.

Another day in Paradise.

East of Málaga. 

Thirdeyemom.

Picture Perfect Memories.

Focused Moments.

My Sardinian Life/ La Mia Vita Sarda.

Miramiandmog. 

Have you ever received a blog award? What do you think of them?

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo

One Day At A Time: Callosa, Part 1.

From a beautiful, melancholic City to an impressive waterfall; our next stop on our adventure brought us to the quaint little village of Callosa de’n Sarria. The Costa Blanca is famed for its long, sandy beaches and high summer temperatures, and so it should be: they´re fantastic; however, they pale in comparison to the cool, crisp waters of this mountain village. If you are looking for something a little different from what the standard sun, sea and sand holiday has to offer then look no further than Callosa de´n Sarria and its beautiful Fuentes del Algar!

Last Monday morning P,J and I set off on an adventure. We had wanted to visit Callosa and Guadalest, a town located some ten minutes from Callosa, for a number of years now but, between everything, never got the chance to. So; we decided that Monday was going to be the day to change all that! As they are both mountain villages we decided to give Betsy, our car, a break and take a tour bus!

I must say it was a fantastic idea, Betsy  would have really struggled on the steep mountain roads and the service that Coach Trips Costa Blanca provided was just fantastic. The tour guide, a lovely bubbly girl from Venezuela, was great; not only did she offer a fantastic run down of each area we passed but also was great to P. She arranged for him to have the front seats to himself, got him a private area in the restaurant and made sure that he got the most out of the trip that he could! It was a completely stress free day and extremely enjoyable. It´s amazing how kind people made such a huge difference to any journey!

The first stop of the morning was Las Fuentes del Algar! We arrived there at about 10.30 in the morning and were told that we had an hour and a half to explore this beautiful area; however, if I´m honest, this wasn´t enough time for me. First we went to the restaurant located at the foot of the waterfalls. We had been told by our guide to go there first as the tickets are half price there and, more importantly, they do the best muffins in the area. Never one to turn down a good muffin I jumped at the chance to try one; they really are worth the hype, fantastic!

Nonetheless, this took a good twenty minutes of our time which meant we only had an hour to enjoy the area, such a shame! This wouldn´t be the only problem we would encounter. After a two-man horsepower journey up a steep hill with the wheelchair we reached the entrance of the waterfalls only to discover that, not only was the whole area on a steep hill but the only access was by stairs, slight problem when you are in a wheelchair. I have to say we were slightly disappointed as we had asked when booking the tour if it was suitable for wheelchairs and we were told that it was, such a pity. Anyway, due to the stairs, P didn´t get to see much of the waterfalls. We were able to rest him at the foot of one of the more beautiful ones but for him, as you can imagine, it wasn´t the same as getting to see the whole experience. So; that is my one bit of advice, if you are not very mobile, even if your are not in a wheelchair but have difficulties with stairs, then I would avoid this area. You´ll only be disappointed otherwise.

Despite our little set back P insisted that J and I saw what was to be seen in this little bit of paradise but on one condition: that I took as many photos as possible so we could share the experience with him afterwards! What a great condition, I do love taking photographs. So off we went to see what awaited us behind the waterfall. Wow, that´s all I can say: wow. It was such a tranquil oasis, while it was full of people everywhere you turned; it didn´t seem to make a difference. Everyone was so relaxed and overwhelmed by what lay before them that no one dared ruin it.

Not only are there impressive waterfalls but also ice cool streams, beautiful flora, striking trees and craggy banks all of which are set against the austere backdrop of the local mountain range; awe-inspiring. The only noise to be heard is the wind rustling through the trees, the calming sound of the water flowing through the rocks, the birds in the trees and the splash of people jumping into the cool water followed by the odd scream or giggle due to the immense chill of the water!

It´s the first place I´ve visited in a long time where everyone was smiling. The young people were giddy from the enticing cool waters, the older people mesmerised by the beauty of what lay before them. It´s a great escape from the realities of life, so peaceful, so relaxing, so enjoyable. It was horrible that we only had an hour to enjoy it!

While it´s not a particularly large area; you do need more than an hour to make the most of it! While I loved every minute I was there I felt like I didn´t get the full experience as I was rushing through it, trying to see it all before it was time to get back to the bus. It seemed such a shame, I would have loved to have joined the numerous people who bathed in the inviting waters or spread out on one of the many rocks which were perfectly situated under the shade of the trees and listened to the water flowing around me. In saying that, rushed and all as it was, I loved it! It was a memorable experience and most certainly a place I will be returning to; however, next time I will go in Betsy that way my time there is my own!

So all that´s left to do now is show you the photos! I always say this, but this time I really mean it, if you want to really see what this place has to offer make sure to check out the photos! They are numerous but worth it, I have failed to capture how special this place is through my words so; please don´t miss out on the opportunity to see just how special this place is for yourself! So here it is, if you wish to see larger photos just click on the first one and it will bring you to a large slideshow, enjoy!

Have you ever been to Callosa? What did you think?

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo

One Day At A Time: Orihuela.

Our next stop on our journey was a bit of an unexpected one and, like most things that are unexpected in life, a beautiful one. We woke last Saturday morning and got ready to go to our local fruit and veg market, both to pass the time and stock up on supplies for the week. Once we had stocked up and were ready to return home P suggested that we go somewhere for the day. Having been stuck indoors all week he was fed up of staring at the walls and eager to get out and see some life! Undecided on a destination, we headed down the road until we met our first sign: Orihuela. So off we went. I love trips like this, spontaneous and exciting, not knowing if the town that awaits you is fantastic or tragic ( very unlikely here in Spain!).

A glimpse of the beautiful backdrop that surrounds this town; mountains, a palace and several churches, through the leafs!

Orihuela is a far cry from being tragic. It´s a fantastic City located at the foot of the Sierra de Orihuela, between Elche and Murcia. I sense a trend starting. I´ve a feeling I might just have a thing for mountains, every mountain area I visit; I instantly fall in love with! Anyway; back to Orihuela. Orihuela is an ideal location with the perfect blend of culture, history and beauty. The streets are filled with ambience, the walls oozing with stories from the past and the old derelict buildings exude such wistfulness that it pulls on your heart-strings, they just seem so melancholic.

As you can see, these old dilapidated buildings are oozing in charm, they exude opulent nostalgia with a modern twist making the city unique and unforgettable!

What I loved about the city was not only how they have manage to preserve the olden world feel through the textures, style and colours of the buildings, but also how they have given each building a touch of modernity. It´s a city that, instead of clinging onto the past, has moved with the times and incorporated an architectonic mix of each society that has graced this city with its presence. The city centre itself is a modern hub of commerce, providing Orihuela with everyday amenities such as banks, restaurants, shops and businesses. While the surrounding area is filled with ancient buildings contrasted against the austere backdrop of the sierra.

Three fantastically preserved buildings contrasted against the rugged backdrop of the sierra.

P, J and I turned into little children as we nonchalantly made our way from the city centre, through the labyrinth of narrow streets, to the old quarter of the city. Each corner we turned unfolding even more beauty than the last. We were filled with wonderment, how could such beauty exist just twenty minutes from our doorstep without our knowledge?

P was taken by the area, he was so engaged as we wandered through the streets, he even said: ” Cartagena has nothing on this place, while it had the beauty, it didn´t have the charm”. Out of all the places we have visited Orihuela seems to be the one that P liked the most. Unlike the other cities Orihuela is wheelchair friendly, meaning that P didn´t miss out on any part of the city. He got to explore everything. The only disappoint was: there was no ice-cream, all the parlours were closed for the afternoon!

A peek at one of the few spacious streets in the old quarter, fantastic!

Unlike Cartagena, which seemed to have it all, Orihuela really does have it all; character, beauty, mountains and sea. Orihuela is the capital city in the area known as the “Vega Baja del Segura” which includes eleven municipalities: Benejúzar, Benferri, Beniel, Bigastro, Callosa de Segura, Cox, Jacarilla, Rafal, Redován and Santomera. Each of these are unique in their own right offering either mountain, sea or in some cases both. Each of these areas are located within close proximity of each other and, it´s recommended, to take in all eleven municipalities on the same route. We didn´t, we were so taken by Orihuela that we didn´t have time, but we did drive through them and they seem just as breathtaking as Orihuela itself.

For me, Orihuela offered something that Cartagena couldn´t; a traditional lifestyle. I think that´s what was missing for me in Cartagena, it had all the physical attributes I love about a place but lacked tradition. Orihuela was seeping in tradition, it was Spanish through and through, not a hint of tourism; even through it´s a popular tourist destination. The streets were filled with children playing, elderly people chatting on doorsteps, locals gathered in the parks watching the world go by, business people carrying on with their daily routines and cafés emitting the most powerful aroma of coffee beans. It was full of life, full of community, full of pride and custom.

I showed this photo already in the weekly photo challenge this week but I love it, it really captures the “life” I´m refering to.

Okay, enough of my blathering, time for the pictures. It´s funny; my blog originally started off centred around my writing now that focus has shifted. I´ve come to realise that nothing I could ever say, no matter how much my writing ability might improve with time, could capture the beauty I´m trying to convey better than photographs. So; as you´ve probably noticed, I´ve begun to allow the pictures do the talking for me; I hope you don´t mind! So without further dawdling here is Orihuela through the eyes of my camera; I do hope the opulent nostalgia and beauty of this city comes across. Enjoy!

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Have you ever been to Orihuela? What did you think?

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo

 

Weekly Challenge: Everyday life.

You may recall from my post yesterday that I failed to meet my grand visions for this weeks photo challenge! Well fail is too strong a word, I do love the photos I posted yesterday, I just had a picture in my mind of what I wanted and didn´t get an opportunity to capture it in real life! Well I´m delighted to inform you that I have a few more humble offerings for you today. One, the first one, meeting the high expectations I had for myself! I hope you enjoy my everyday life: take two!

Street Life:

When I first saw this challenge on Friday I instantly wanted an image of a typical elderly Spanish person. I don´t know what it is about the Spanish; but they age spectacularly. They have the most amazing faces, filled with character. When you look at them, you know they have lived life to the full and have some amazing tales to tell. Already on a high from the excitement of the day, if you can´t tell – beauty turns me into a little child, you can imagine how I reacted when I saw this handsome man resting his eyes while taking shelter from the midday sun. I would have done a dance but then I would have missed this great photo opportunity!

A beautiful image of a man enjoying his daily swim under a highly appealing waterfall, now that´s what I call a good life!

Lovers Lane: A beautiful display on affection, love is everywhere, sometimes you just need to open your eyes that little bit wider!

What a way to spend a sunny afternoon: perched on a rock at the side of a waterfall. This is my vision of heaven!

 

This photo is very bad quality, I do apologise, but I loved it! We were driving past a car park on a bus when I saw these three kids hanging about, I loved it! But a moving bus and limited time after turning on my camera meant I had to sacrifice quality for this beauty of everyday life!

I´m happy now, mission accomplished: one photo of an elderly Spanish person, fantastic! I hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

To see what other bloggers have come up with for this weeks challenge click here.

 What did you think of this weeks theme? Did you have fun with it?

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo

Weekly Photo challenge: Everyday Life

This weeks photo challenge is a great one: everyday life. So many ideas, yet again, came rushing to my mind for this challenge, some of which I have managed to complete, some of which I have failed. However, I shall post my favourites out of the photos I have managed to take / find from my stash, but if I manage to take more before Friday then I shall post again! Ideally I would have loved to capture some more street life ones, I had fabulous visions in my head of the photos I would take, sadly I was unable to reach my goal, but the week is young yet! So sit back and relax as I share with you my finds! Enjoy!

Theme one: Street life:

This is a photo I took on my phone back in April, I was on my morning power walk when these two nuns appeared in front of me and there was just something about the combination of early morning light, their dark clothes and the street that I loved, I couldn´t resist taking a photo!

This image is a recent one, one I took yesterday. I was captivated by the narrow little street with it´s old world atmosphere and beautiful mountain view. The children playing on the ground in the background just adds to the character of the photo! I love it!

The three stooges. This is another shot taken yesterday in the beautiful town of Orihuela. It´s a little blurry, sorry, but I just loved the relationship between these three boys and needed to snap it quickly before the car beside me ruined my opportunity!

Theme two: Market life.

Markets are a huge part of the everyday life here in Spain. Everyone and anyone can been seen at them and I just love the buzz you feel once there!

One of the proud stall owners hard at work. The colours are just fantastic aren´t they?

Theme three: Nature.

A beautiful image of a wild horse that I took on an early morning walk through the sierra. You can´t get more everyday than wild horses, there were also some wild bulls but I decided that it might be a little bit too risky to try take a photo of them!

So that´s it, for now anyway! Hope you enjoyed my three interpretations of this weeks theme. If I manage to take some more shots, some of the ones I had dreamt up in my head, I shall post them during the week!

To see what other bloggers have come up with for this weeks challenge click here.

 What did you think of this weeks theme? Did you have fun with it?

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo

Travel Theme: Texture.

I search for the realness, the real feeling of a subject, all the texture around it… I always want to see the third dimension of something… I want to come alive with the object. Andrew Wyeth.

So it´s that time of the week again, Ailsa´s travel theme time and what a great theme this week: texture. This week I´ve taken my inspiration from both the area my family lives in and nature. For me, the best examples of texture can be found in nature. So I hope you enjoy what I have found!

 Theme one: By the seashore.

Theme two: Plant life.

Theme three: La Cadena, The Chain.

To see other bloggers interpretations of the theme check out Ailsa´s blog here.

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo