Spain

Weekly Photo Challenge: Roy G. Biv.

Alicante25

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh.

The challenge this week is to : “share a photo that expresses something fresh.”

Freshness is such a powerful concept, not only is it powerful but it is also something which holds a different meaning for each individual.  Freshness to you maybe about trying to fix something that´s broken, starting over or creating something better. To someone else it could be about the beauty of the morning air, the way the light dances through the trees at midday or the refreshing quality of nature in general. There´s no doubt that whatever your take on the theme may be, it will be beautiful and inspiring.

For me, freshness at its best is that first breath of morning air, the sound of the birds tweeting and the beauty that surrounds that moment. The Photo, or should I say photos, that I have chosen to convey this challenge are a mixture of the beauty of nature and a fresh look at the world around me.

I´m lucky to live in a country area where every morning brings with it a different breath of freshness, usually involving sunshine. This weekend, however, the weather was most certainly not conducive to the beautiful images of light and grace that I had envisaged when I first read this challenge.  In saying that, the stormy weather brought with it a new kind of light, an endearing one, one which sparked my creativity and forced me to re-evaluate my idea of freshness.

So, here are the end results of stepping outside my ideal of light and grace and challenging myself to take a fresh look at the area around me. I hope you like the results as much as I do!

So, there you have it, my humble 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.

Bringing freshness to its source

Bringing freshness to its source

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thresholds

The weekly challenge this week is an interesting one, depending on the interpretation you choose to take on it, and it is also one that I can easily relate to.

This year, for me, was one in which I experienced a few of life´s major thresholds. All of which were natural transitions of live, waves (or in some cases tidal waves) of change that we all have to ride on at some point. These waves of change bring up so many emotions that you never knew you could have. Emotions such as hope, anticipation, fear, uncertainty and apprehension.

However, whatever emotions these changes stir up, one thing is for sure: change is necessary. It alters our paths and, while sometimes we may begrudge it at first, the sooner we learn to roll with it, the better.

As I stand at a pivotal threshold in my life; one in which I learn to accept and embrace the changes that have occurred, I can´t help but smile. That´s the great thing about thresholds – as you learn to put your best foot forward, learn to take the plunge in the right direction – you slowly begin to leave your loss, your fear and the past behind you. The unknown awaits you, whether it´s good or bad, and that´s exciting.

So, here´s to stepping over that threshold. Here´s to the change that awaits us. Here´s to the thresholds that lead us to discovery, awareness and awakening. And here´s to having the courage to walk through that door.

So, with that said, here are my offerings for the weekly photo challenge. I hope you like them and my interpretation of the theme. Enjoy.


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

1. http://ubecute.com/2014/04/05/thresholds/

2. http://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

3. http://mhdriver.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

4. http://sued51too.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold-ii/

5. http://shoot2blog.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/weekly-photo-challenge-threshold/

Or click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Hope you all are having a great day.

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.

image

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

Travel theme: Statues

So, it´s that time of the week again: time for Ailsa´s travel theme. This week the theme, if you hadn´t already guessed from the title, is statues. I have to admit that I found this weeks challenge a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I spent hours going through the copious amounts of photos I have accumulated over the last few years and, to my amazement, very few of them were of statues.

The vast majority of my photos are of street life or fashion. I seem to just love capturing moments as they unfold before me. I just get caught up in the beauty of life, flaws and all, and, I have to admit, I love aging beauty: the older the better. To me age is beauty; whether it´s a dilapidated old building which is bursting at the seams with history or an older person who, through the wrinkles on their face, you can tell has a story to share. I guess what I´m trying to say is that I find everyday life more intriguing than still life.

That said, I did manage to dig up some statues for this week´s theme. Each one of them coming from Cartagena in Spain. It´s funny, if you read my post on Cartagena, you may recall that I found Cartagena to be a bit of a let down. While I enjoyed my trip there; I found it lacked the usual charm that Spanish cities are filled with. However, I must have loved the statues there as I took quite a few photos of them during my trip.

So, all that remains now is to share them with you. I hope you enjoy my humble offerings to this week´s theme.

If you would like to get involved in Ailsa´s travel theme challenges then here is all the information you need:

If you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:
•Create your own post and title it Travel theme: statues
•Include a link to Ailsa´s page in your post so others can find it too
•Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
•Don’t forget to subscribe to her page to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.

If you would like to see some more of this week´s offerings then check out the links below.
http://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/palacio-de-mateusportugal
http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/travel-theme-statues/
http://browsingtheatlas.com/2014/03/28/wave-to-the-mermaid/

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