Travel Theme: Red

So this is a week of firsts for me; I took on the weekly photo challenge, I visited Cartagena and now I´m going to give Ailsa´s travel theme a go. This week, if you hadn´t guessed from the title, the theme is red! A perfect travel theme for Spain! So come with me as I show off Spain at its best, lets paint the country red!

Red theme one: Love.

One thing has to be said about Spanish people; they really do love their country, and who can blame them really? What´s not to love?

The only thing that they love as much as their country, if not more, is football. So you can only imagine what happens when you combine the two in lets say an event like, o I don´t know, something small like…the world cup for instance. Now that´s when you see their love for both at its finest, there is so much love it´s contagious! The following images were taken in “Las Tendillas” in Córdoba just after Spain’s world cup win! The atmosphere was just electric. I feel that these images capture their pride, their joy and their love for their country perfectly.

There was honestly no better place to be than Spain when they won the world cup, the Spanish really do know how to celebrate a victory!
Another image taken that glorious night!

Red Theme two: Passion.

Another thing the Spanish are famous for is their passion. Whether it´s the latin blood pumping through their veins that causes it or not I don´t know but to me, as long as it´s not over powering, passion is a great quality to have.

One of the best demonstrations of their passion is through the world of Flamenco. Flamenco is an emotionally intense style of Spanish guitar music which is always accompanied by either dancers or singers. They say that Flamenco means “to have the quality of fire”, in my eyes, there is not a better explanation of passion than this!

The following photos, taken at a show near Quesada, capture the emotional intensity and the passion of this dance.

Flamenco is a true art form filled with energy and passion; a good performance is priceless!
An emotionally intense preformance in Quesada

The next photo was taken in Córdoba in July 2011 at the launch of the guitar festival.

The launch of the guitar festival in Córdoba 2011.

Red theme: Powerful.

Imagery, religion and love for thyself and thy neighbour are all important parts of the Spanish culture, here is a festival that incorporates all these elements into one celebration:

Las Cruces, or Crosses, is a popular competition of crosses which is held every year in Córdoba. In this competition each barrio dedicates time and money in order to create these beautifully artistic floral crosses. Each cross is a representation of the pride and spirit in the barrio and are typically surrounded by potted plants and flowers in colours that complement the unique attributes of each zone. The crosses bring the community out in force in order to honour the work that has gone into making these elaborate and colourful crosses while also delighting in the possibility that their cross could earn them the much sought after title of Best Cross! To find out more about this years competition click here and here!

One of the elaborate crosses in this competition!
One of the many beautiful crosses on display in Córdoba this year!

Red Theme: Joy:

The last few images I have decided to share with you show the joyful, fun side of the Spanish culture, a side that is often forgotten about or ignored. Spanish people are an amazing group of people filled with love, passion, sensitivity, joy, vigor and romance. Some of the greatest most interesting people I have met are Spanish, so this last part is to share the joy.

One of the beautiful sweet stands at one of the many medieval markets held around the country!
An unusual party I attended in Alicante where the remains of one of the hogueras was hanging from the ceiling and live bands preformed around it!
The last image is to remind you to smile!

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

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

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo

My weekend according to Fhotoroom!

I must admit I was starting to feel a little left out of the instagram loop. Having a windows phone means that the application that is taking over the multimedia world was just out of my reach and this was heartbreaking to me. I´m a little on the obsessive side when it comes to taking photos, and photo technology in general, therefore you can imagine how disappointed I was when instagram was not available to me. Never one to let things get the better of me I decided to do some research and see what photo technology was available to me and my baby, my windows phone!

After sifting through the abundant information there is out there on this topic I settled on the humble application known to the world as Fhotoroom. According to my research Fotoroom is an application that is available to windows phone users, for free, for a limited period of time. According to researchers it is the next best thing to instagram containing many similar features. I have no idea what features are available on instagram, I´ve never used it, but I must say I´m quite impressed with my latest novelty download and decided to make the most of this feature this weekend! I´ll let you be the judge and let me know what you think, is the quality of the photos just as good?

Image thanks to google, click on it to take you to the original page!

Enough technical jargon, time to talk about my weekend! As I had mentioned in my previous post life has been a little on the busy side with work and I was starting to feel a little on the drained side. I was so excited for the weekend to roll around to catch up on my sleep and to spend some much-needed quality time with one of the most important people in my life: me!

Friday started off like a dream, not waking up until well after one o´clock was a welcome change to my now habitual six o´clock mornings. I awoke refreshed and relaxed and decided to make to most of my relaxed mood and stay in for the day and catch up with my reading, both of blogs I enjoy and a book I´ve been trying to read for a while now, perfect day I thought…O how wrong was I?!

I was gradually getting lost in my book and feeling myself unwind for the first time in ages, felt like the day was such a welcome break from my daily routine when disaster stuck! O how do I even break this to you…right time to be brave Giana, you can do this, deep breath…O.K I´m ready. Here I go…brace yourselves this is a biggy..I went into the bathroom, as you do after drinking several litters of water earlier that day, and sat myself down on the toilet, I looked up and there, hanging from the wire of my light fitting, all bold and proud was….wait for it…a mouse! I quickly pulled up my shorts, while screaming my lungs out, and ran from my apartment! Now I realise that mice are small, that mice are harmless, that mice are probably more afraid of humans than we are of them but…quite frankly… this means absolutely nothing to me. Ever since I was little mice and rats have been one of my biggest fears, snakes fine, lizards bring them on but mice: no, no keep them away from me!

I had been saying to my friends and family for ages that I was convinced that there were mice in the hollow space between my bathroom ceiling and the roof of the building as I had been hearing noises at night-time but after a while I convinced myself that I was just being paranoid because of my fear…o how I wish it had only been paranoia! Anyway, to cut a long story short, I rang one of my friends, for this post he shall be called my knight in shining armor, and he came to my rescue! He opened my apartment up checked it throughly and it appears as though my ever so feminine screaming did the trick and scared the mouse enough to send it back to where it came from, well, for now anyway! So after searching the place and then blocking the hole which exists where my light fitting is, to ensure that no more mice would be paying me a visit, my knight in shining armor and I met up with some of his family and had a much-needed beer to relax ourselves!

So much for a relaxing Friday! So as you can imagine, my fear of mice being as big as it is, sleeping with the light on was my only option on Friday night! Something I haven´t done in years, not since my last experience with a mouse in the house in university, I´d forgotten just how hard it is to sleep with the light on but thankfully, due to sheer exhaustion, I eventually drifted off! Touch wood since then there hasn´t been a peep from the ceiling, I think I terrified the nasty creature with the power of my vocal chords haha Nonetheless I´m ringing my landlady first chance I get tomorrow to get someone to come check it out!

Anyway enough about my new furry visitor and on to the good parts of my weekend! I woke up Saturday morning feeling a little more relaxing than the previous evening but flashbacks of the mouse incident prevented me from being able to stay indoors for the day so I ventured out for a spot of breakfast with a friend followed by a lovely trip to the pool with my lovely book! Perfect!

Pool Time
Pool Time

The evening was followed by a little nap, some take away, a quick tidy up of the apartment (I feel after the mouse’s visit the apartment can never be too clean now haha) and some cheesy dvds, such a drama free evening, just how I like them!

Today was equally as relaxing, I woke up late, caught up on some blogs and emails then went on a lazy walk through the streets of Córdoba via work, as I had to do some planning for tomorrow. On my walk home I decided to go through this little park that´s close to where I live, it´s a beautiful park filled with graffiti and lots of personality! So I paused for a moment to soak it in and take some photos to share with you all!

Park Time
Graffiti
Graffiti Time
Graffiti Time

So that´s pretty much it for my weekend. I had planned an uneventful relaxing weekend and, apart from the mouse episode, that´s exactly what I got! Now time to go get my dinner and get ready for work tomorrow! Hope you´ve had a fantastic weekend, wherever you are!

Through the streets

As always, thank you for reading, until the next time

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