Photowalk: Alicante

If you read my post last Sunday, “Time to make my return to writing”, then you might recall that I mentioned a new found love for photography. During my absence from the world of blogging I sought pleasure and comfort in photography. I found that photography opened up a new world for me. It allowed me to focus on the beauty and joy that surrounded me.
That said, I started learning about editing photos and then, after humming and hawing for at least a month, I took the plunge and opened an Instagram account. I started off slowly, uploading maybe one picture a week, but as I got more involved in the community I got braver and started uploading one a day. Suddenly I was addicted, my passion for photos and photography had been ignited again.
So, on Saturday, I took this addiction to a new level, did something I had never done before and went along to a photo day in Alicante. The photo day was fantastic. There were some talks in the morning which covered everything from different techniques and editing software to how to make the most of social networks. Fascinating, especially for someone like me; ignorant to the world of social media.

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After these talks the photo walk commenced. It covered all the main tourist areas of Alicante. The idea was to apply what you had learned from the talks and, basically, snap to your hearts content. And then, to finish off the day, there was a prize giving ceremony in a winery! What more could you ask for?
To make the day even better they are holding a competition for the best photo taken on the day. So not only did I learn about photography, make some new friends, experience a fantastic day looking at the beauty of Alicante but, I get to enter a competition! Fantastic!
So, still filled with the joy of yesterday, I decided to share some of my photos with you all. Bare in mind I’m not a professional, nor do I believe I have the talent required to be a professional, but it’s something that I enjoy doing; it brings a smile to my face. Therefore, I wanted to share my joy with you. I hope you enjoy the photos!

Hope you all have had a fantastic weekend.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Summer Time at the Port!

It´s been a long time since my last post, I did try to do one sooner, but with the wrapping up of the last academic term, saying goodbye to the teachers and the commencement of a new intensive summer course; there hasn´t been a single dull moment since my last post nearly three weeks ago!

However, with things back to normal, I will be back on form with my usual two posts a week! Right, enough procrastination, time to tell you about my trip to Puerto De Santa María!

Holiday time!

By the time Friday rolled around, after what can only be described as a hectic few weeks, it was time to down tools for the weekend, escape from the intense Córdoban heat, 48 degree temperatures on a daily basis, and breath in some much-needed fresh air! My friend and I, who for the purpose of this post shall be named Pocahontas, excitedly embarked on a weekend long camping adventure, where you might ask; none other than the picturesque Puerto De Santa María or Playa de la Puntilla to be exact!

Playa de la Puntilla is a quaint little secluded beach, completely unspoilt by tourism and high-rise buildings, which is located in the province of Cadiz. It was my first trip to Cadiz, famed for it´s sunshine and beautiful beaches, and I have to say I was overwhelmed by its ruggedness. It was nothing like I had experienced before.

Playa de la Puntilla

Ever since I was a little girl I´ve loved the experience of going to the beach. When I was a child I was lucky enough to spent every summer in Ballybunion, a little seaside town in Kerry, Ireland. There has always been something about the sea breeze, the sound of the waves and the smell of seaweed that has had a relaxing effect on me. Ok there is a point to all this I promise, stay with me, I´m getting to it!

For me, even though I´ve been to countless numbers of beaches in my life, nothing has ever compared to Ballybunion! For those of you who know Ballybunion you probably think I´ve lost my mind but it has just always held a special place in my heart. I have so many good memories there and I just love how it has never changed, remained untouched by time, how the beach seems like it´s never going to end and how the waves crash off the cliffs as the tide comes in, amazing!

I wanted to show you an image of Ballybunion but I don´t have one, they are in Ireland. So I took this image from google. If you click on the photo it will bring you directly to the page I took it from! 🙂

Nothing until now that is! The moment I stepped foot on Playa de la Puntilla I was in love! Like Ballybunnion, the town is nothing special, pretty much like any other beach resort to be honest but the beach; the beach is something out of this world! Unlike every other beach I´ve been to in Spain this one has remained completely natural, not a single sun lounger or parasol in sight!

The beach is surrounded not only by a protected nature reserve but also a beautiful port. While you may not find sun loungers or parasols here you most definitely will find palm trees, a woodland area and a beautiful bay sounded by rocks. It is not the longest beach in the world, in fact it is actually quite short but it is definitely the widest beach I´ve ever seen, it seems to take forever to get from the entrance all the way down to the shore but it´s definately worth the walk!

Playa de la Puntilla

Unlike other resorts, there are no temporary huts selling drinks and ice cream, at extortionate prices may I add, to been found along this beach. There is however the cutest little restaurant right on the beach conveniently located under the shade of an enormous tree, magical!

“El Castillito” nicely tucked away under the shade of a tree!

“El Castillito”, the restaurant, is famed for its fried fish and having tried it myself I can see why! The tuna salad was tasty and fresh, the squid was the perfect texture and the pomfret soaked in vinegar was mouth-watering! What a way to spend the weekend!

Our abode for the weekend was the beautiful campsite: el Camping Playa Las Dunas. I say campsite but in reality it was like a luxury resort. I´m new to camping, the outdoors lifestyle was something I was never a fan of, but after a weekend stay here I can honestly say I´m a convert! The pool was better than any I have experienced in any hotel I´ve been to, so clean and inviting. We had a lovely little spot amongst the trees overlooking the rest of the campsite which can only be described as a woodland area with tents and amenities carefully dotted around it! It´s peacefulness was astonishing, it felt like we were the only ones there when in reality there were hundreds of people or so it seemed when it came to checking out! The queue was never-ending!

El Camping Playa Las Dunas; dotted amongst the trees!

I have to admit the trip couldn´t have come at a better time for me. It was just what I needed to catch my breath after a hectic few weeks! Although I enjoyed every minute of it there was a bad part and that was that it came to an end!

Come Sunday evening it was time to leave and it was horrible! That´s the thing with me and beaches, I never want to leave them! I suppose that can be said about everything you love in life, leaving it behind is heartbreaking! But it had to be done so; I sucked it up, put on a brave face and sang my heart out on the car journey home with Pocahontas!

But I vow here and now; I will be back, just watch this space!!

Hope you have enjoyed my post and much as I enjoyed my mini vacation! Seeing as, as usual, my words do not do Playa de la Puntilla the justice it deserves I´ll leave you with a Slideshow; enjoy!

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Have you ever been to Playa de la Puntilla? What did you think of it?

As always, thank you for reading!

Giana xoxo

There´s no place like home: Alicante!

Acting like a child on one of the many beautiful beaches that Alicante has to offer!

As I prepare myself for my eight and a half hour bus journey back to Córdoba tonight, I can´t help but feel sad. I love Córdoba, don´t for a second think I don´t, and I´m looking forward to going back but; there is just something about Alicante that makes me want to stay here forever! It most likely is because I have family here, who I miss terribly while I´m in Córdoba, or perhaps it´s just because, to me, Alicante is home! It´s an incredible city with so much to offer, as is Córdoba, but they couldn´t be more different from each other even if they tried! Perhaps that is why it was so easy for me to fall in love with both of them!

While Córdoba is a traditional city where the people are proud of their culture and traditions and of course proud to be Spanish, Alicante is much more cosmopolitan. Alicante, while proud of its roots and traditions, is very much influenced by other cultures and nationalities. It is not as old-fashioned or as quaint as other cities in Spain but it definitely has character.

Even though thousands of tourists flock to the beaches of Alicante every summer it has failed, unlike other beach resorts in this area for example Benidorm, to let tourism ruin its beauty! It has something to offer everybody, whether you enjoy basking in the glorious sunshine, visiting museums, castles, the old quarter or if shopping or a glamorous nightlife is what you´re after then Alicante is the place for you! The only downside, well for me anyway, and probably the main reason as to why I chose to live in Córdoba is that it´s virtually impossible to speak Spanish here! Strange as it may sound, seeing as it´s a Spanish city in all, but everyone here speaks english! No matter how hard you try to speak Spanish here the people always respond in english!

Anyway, seeing as I have limited time and also because I don´t want to bore you to death with my love for everything Spanish, I´m going to leave you now with some snapshots from one of my favourite places in Spain; Alicante! Enjoy, I hope the photos bring you as much joy as the city brings me!

Have you ever been to Alicante? What did you think of it?

Hope you´ve had a fantastic Sunday and, as always, thank you for reading!

Giana xoxo

Las Hogueras- Lets set the world on fire!

Las Hogueras 2012

I´ve been blessed this week with the chance to visit some of my family here in Alicante. Not only have I got to spend some much-needed quality time with my loved ones before I start into working on a three-month long intensive course but I´ve also been lucky enough to be here, in one of my favourite cities in Spain, to celebrate the arrival of summer with the Bonfires of San Juan.

 Alicante is one part of Spain which will always have a special place in my heart. I´ve been coming to Alicante for the best part of thirteen years now and have always felt that it´s my home away from home and now, seeing as I have family here, it is my home! And honestly I couldn´t have picked a better time to come home than now!

The Bonfire on the Explanada

Every year Alicante celebrates the arrival of the summer with the Bonfires of San Juan. The Bonfires of San Juan is a truly spectacular event in which the people from Alicante and it´s surrounding areas take to the streets of Alicante in there droves in order to ring in the summer in the only way they know how – with a party. Las Hogueras are a celebration of music, colour, art, fireworks and extravagance in which, in my experience anyway, only Spanish people can pull off with such class! 

You have to hand it to Spanish people they really know what life is about! They enjoy life to the full and appreciate even the little things in life, such as the subtle move from spring to summer, and pay tribute to them in the most joyous of fashions.

a closer view of some of the figures which were part of the bonfire on the Explanada

The Bonfires of San Juan were traditionally celebrated in the countryside with a festive dinner and bonfires which people danced around in order to celebrate the start of summer. Now however, due to the influence of Las Fallas in Valencia, they are so much more than mere bonfires! Now Alicante celebrates this event in style with incredibly expensive and artistic figures replacing the once ugly-looking traditional wooden bonfires. You can easily spend hours walking from one figure to the next in awe of the artistic talent that has gone into each one and laughing at the wit and good humor that seems to surround each one! I don´t know about you but I know if I was involved in creating such masterpieces I´d cry at the thought of my work going up in flames! But in true Spanish style it´s all in the name of fun!

Las Hogueras

Other things that you can expect to find here, apart from the enormous figures, are barracas or large tents which are located beside each figure. In these tents you can expect to find hundreds of Spaniards dressed in traditional clothes dancing, singing, drinking and eating the night away! Typical food you will find are figs and pastries filled with tuna, onions and pine nuts! Yummy! 

Typical food that you´ll find in the barracas

As I mentioned in the barracas you will find hundreds of Spaniards dressed up in traditional costume, why you may ask? Well the answer is simple! Throughout the festival there are several parades such as the international folkloric dance parade in which hundreds of proud spanish people show off their extravagant costumes and walk for miles in the greatest of spirits showing the world how it should be done!

Traditional Costumes

Fireworks are another important part of this celebration. Not only are there firework displays every day, from the 20 to the 24 June, at two o clock but also they are key to the high point of the festival: the burning of the Bonfires. Before the bonfires all set alight, at midnight, you can witness the beautiful palm tree fireworks along the Explanada. While the bonfires blaze away the atmosphere is electric. Filled with merriment, singing and dancing while the fire-fighters try their hardest to get the right balance between putting out the fires and also showering the crowds with water which is traditionally known as the banyá. Such fun!

The firefighters at their best last year
After the banyás last year!

Obviously, seeing as this part of the festival is not until tomorrow, I won´t get to witness the burning of the bonfires this year, which is such a pity! I have been apart of it in previous years and I have to say you get so caught up in the atmosphere and the merriment that it makes you feel like a child again! I would really recommend it to anyone of any age! You´re never to old to be a child and, if you ask me, we all need a little bit of child-like fun in our lives every once in a while, it´s what life is all about!

I hope you´ve enjoyed reading about Las Hogueras. Sadly, as usual, my words do not do the festival the justice it deserves; thankfully I have some photos that I took on my phone to show just how amazing this event is! So sit back and enjoy!

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I hope you´re having a great weekend wherever you are and as always thank you for reading!

Giana xoxo