Alicante

Weekly Photo Challenge: Roy G. Biv.

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The challenge this week is to share a photo that contains all the colours of the rainbow (or an actual rainbow).

If I am honest, I could not have asked for a better theme this week as today marks the start of the annual Hogueras (Bonfires) Festival in Alicante. The Bonfires of San Juan is a spectacularly colourful event where the people of Alicante, and its surrounding areas, take to the streets in droves in order to ring in the summer in the only way they know how – with a party.Alicante16 Alicante15

Las Hogueras is a celebration of music, colour, art, fireworks and extravagance which, to give them credit, only Spanish people can pull off with such class! So, with all that said and done, it´s time for this week´s theme: the colours of the rainbow. Here is my take on the challenge, I hope you enjoy!

So, there you have it, my colourful entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more,click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Just a quick little note before I go. I have managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

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

Giana xoxo

Alcoy: The City of Bridges.

It´s funny how things work out sometimes. We all make plans and, some of us, even go as far as making bucket lists. I´m most certainly one of those people. I make lists for everything. Lists of work goals, lists of life goals, lists of things I want to do and places I want to see. Some of these lists being easy to accomplish while others, hmm, let´s just say: debatable.

So; you may be wondering; what´s this got to do with Alcoy? Well; simple. When I first moved to mainland Spain, four years ago now, I was bright eyed, bushy tailed and eager to get to know my new country. I sat down with a pen, my much loved notebook and a map. I started making a list of places I wanted to visit within a two hour radius of where I was living. A realistic bucket list, or at least, that´s what I thought at the time.

Made the connection yet? Yes, I knew you would. One of the lovely places that was lucky enough to make it into my trusty notebook, and onto that glorious list, was Alcoy. Sadly though, I didn´t get to see it before I moved to Córdoba.

That said; once I moved back here, to Murcia, I dragged out that little list, which, by then, had started to gather a thick layer of dust. I vowed to myself there and then to start ticking these places off my list. So; I thought – why not share my experience with all of you?

Enough rambling, onto Alcoy.
Alcoy

When I first heard of Alcoy I was immediately intrigued by it. First of all, because the guidebooks I had read had referred to it as “The real Spain”, quite a bold statement if you ask me. And, secondly, because of its nickname: the City of Bridges. Having been there I can see what the guidebooks meant.

The minute you enter Alcoy you are faced with a mass of Bridges. Alcoy, being a town with many furrowed cliffs and steep drops, needs these bridges due to the natural lie of the land. Some of the bridges date back to the 17th century. Apart from their functional uses, such as providing access to both the industries which border the River Riquer and the more modern parts of the town, they are structurally stunning.

So; apart from the bridges, what has Alcoy got to offer? And, more importantly, why has it been referred to as “The real Spain”? That, I believe, is due to the evident remains of the cultures that once occupied this town. The Moors occupied Alcoy from the tenth to the thirteenth century. Their imprint has remained throughout the centuries and, quite strangely, the Moorish ruins lie beneath the modern day town. It seems that from the fifteenth century, when Alcoy came to prominence and its military might was invaluable to the Alicante region, that Alcoy began to construct a new town. I would imagine, as I haven´t read much on this, that the purpose for this was to accommodate the growth of the town. However, nowadays the town that lies below is not functional and all that remains are ruins. While it is a shame to see a mass of ruins lying below the town, it does add a touch of quirkiness.

Today, Alcoy is a lovely town. As you walk through the streets you get a sense of pride from its inhabitants. One thing that struck me as I walked around was the people. They were all dressed so well and each and every one of them was so friendly. I particularly loved Plaza España as not only was it surrounded by classic architecture but it seemed to be a meeting spot for some of its locals. It was filled with a buzz between the people congregated in the central square and the little shops which had brought their products out onto the street to make shopping a much more inviting experience.


I also loved the little parks that were dotted around this quaint town. They were filled with people and animals and, overall, were pleasant places to visit.

So; the only question that remains is: Is Alcoy worth a visit? Most certainly. Alcoy is a unique town with lots to see. It makes a refreshing change to the busier international holiday resorts in the area. This inland little hub is surrounded by mountains which serve as a backdrop to every street. The natural lie of the land itself is visually pleasing and the numerous bridges and viaduct are spectacular. Alcoy offers something a little different and its people are so welcoming and traditional that it´s a delight to spend time there. While Alcoy may not be everyone´s cup of tea, it´s most certainly a place that can be appreciated by all: especially if you´re keen on history!

I hope that you enjoyed reading about my little  trip and that you´ve all had a fantastic weekend.
Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

A little Sunday Drive: Novelda, Spain.

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, my mum and I were a little restless. The sun was glorious, little Betsy (our car) was ready for some action and my growing list of places worth visiting was burning a hole in my pocket. Everything was pointing us in the direction of a little adventure – and what an adventure it was.

Men Hard At Work.

We got our things together and set off on a little road trip – destination: Novelda. Novelda is a sweet little town tucked away in the Valle del Medio Vinalopó, about 241 meters above the sea. It´s a town which is rich in modernist heritage. It boasts many magnificent squares, which are full of character, lots of beautiful parks and a lovely market place. What I liked about it though, even more than the architecture, was the people. They were all conjugated in the copious squares basking in the evening sunshine while catching up on the day´s gossip.


While the town itself is quite special, filled with charm, its biggest surprise is located roughly 3km from the town centre; St. Mary Magdalene´s sanctuary. This modernist building was designed in the 19th century by José Sala Sala, who was born in Novelda, and took his inspiration for its design from Catalonian Modernism.

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I have to say that, while the town itself was delightful, nothing could have prepared me for the beauty that awaited me at the sanctuary. I had heard a lot about this place, both from my mum and several guidebooks I have read. However, despite this, I was totally caught off guard by sheer beauty that unfolded before me. Located at the top of a steep hill, overlooking the Vinalopó Valle, the setting truly is picturesque. The upward trek is astonishing with the rich colours which spread out across the mountainous countryside serving as a backdrop to this breathtaking building decorated with modernist motifs, ceramics and bricks. I have to admit: it´s hard not to be blown away by what the area has to offer.

By the time I reached the sanctuary I felt exhilarated and quite excited to see what this enticing building was like up close. I am delighted to say that I wasn´t disappointed in the slightest! Its authenticity and originality added to its character. I found myself completely lost in the splendour that surrounded me, every minute uncovering a new beauty.

It´s easy to see why this hidden gem is the symbol for the town. While writing this post I came to a startling realisation. That realisation being: pictures fail and words let you down when it comes to sharing the beauty of this place, you need to see it in person to really appreciated it. José´s design is out of this world and it couldn´t have been built in a more complimentary area. If you haven´t yet visited Novelda, and you happen to be in the area, I suggest a visit. You won´t be disappointed.

I hope that you enjoyed reading about my little Sunday trip and that you´ve all had a fantastic weekend.
Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

If your read my post yesterday, Photowalk: Alicante, you will know that I´ve rekindled my love for photography. As I mentioned: I´m not particularly talented or anything, I just enjoy the experience of taking photos.

During the Photowalk through the streets of Alicante on Saturday I became very snap happy indeed, taking near to three hundred photos – as I said : snap happy. In yesterday´s post I  shared a mere 50 photos out of this vast quantity but, when I saw this weeks photo challenge, I was inspired to share a few more!

With that said, in keeping with the theme street life, here are a few more of the beauties I took on Saturday. I hope you have as much fun looking through them as I had while I was taking them!

So, there you have it, my humble entry into this weeks challenge. If you liked it, and would like to see some more, check out these entries:

1. http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-post-weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

2.http://chrisbreebaart.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life-oort-bridge/

3. http://shoot2blog.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

4. http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/street-life/

5. http://myincatrailchallenge.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

Hope you all are having a great day.

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

Giana xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far.

For todays photo challenge I decided to feature the area my family live in: Gran Alacant, Spain. My family is truly blessed in the fact that they live beside a lighthouse. Why you may ask, well there are several reasons really.

Firstly, their view can never be destroyed. Because they live near the lighthouse it means that they live at the top of a very steep hill. No development that is ever built can ruin their inspirational view of the beach, dunes,  rugged little village areas and the wildlife park. Now that´s something to smile about!

Secondly, the area is preserved. The area that surrounds the lighthouse is a preserved area, nothing can be built on this area, meaning that it´s beauty will always remain intact.

Thirdly, the area is amazing. Words fail to describe the beauty of this rugged, undeveloped part of Gran Alacant. It´s peacefulness and tranquility is something that´s hard to be beaten. Apart from the odd cyclist and dog walker the area is deserted. It´s the best place to go to switch off from the world, to put things into perspective. I love it there.

And Lastly, you will never have trouble finding your way home! Okay, as you can tell, this one is a joke! But all joking aside, there is something about the glow from the lighthouse that is calming and beautiful. While my family and I would never use it to find our way home, we do use it to find some calm in the storms!

Hope you enjoy the pictures. To me, they really capture the theme near and far, not only through pictures but the lighthouse itself is a great symbol of near and far, it´s purpose is to warn ships far out at sea of what is near!

Lighthouses are more helpful than churches. Benjamin Franklin.

A beautiful shot of the lighthouse taken between the windblown branches!

The inspirational views that unfold before the lighthouse!

It´s a steep drop down, just as well I didn´t loose my footing!

A final image of the lighthouse, this time a little nearer!

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

Have you ever been to Gran Alacant? What did you think?

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,

Giana

xoxo