Because almost the entire world is in the grip of one single event that is beginning to dominate every day life, I am using Reflections, this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge for a spot of escapism.
These photos encapsulate memories of moments in Spain: in Alicante; on the river Guadalquivir in Córdoba and Seville, and l’Albufera near Valencia.
Even if you can’t share these particular memories, I hope they may help you reflect on similar joyous moments in your own life.
Jude’s Photo Challenge this week invites us to consider texture: Smooth.
It immediately made me think of that English folk song, Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron – I’ve included a YouTube clip at the end just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’m so un-keen on ironing there’s no chance at all I could submit a photo of a pile of neatly ironed, beautifully smooth clean and dry washing.
Back to the archives then.
I’ve ended up choosing these: click on the images to see them full size and to read the captions.
These stones at Alnmouth aren’t yet particularly smooth, though they are weathered. But their reflection, and that of the blue sky emphasise what smoothness they do have.
My goodness, that was a gnarled tree that we spotted in Vic, Catalunya. But look what the shadow has done to it- flattened and smoothed it completely.
This is at the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre. I like those strong smooth steel claws contrasting with the decomposing and disintegrating grot that it spends its life seizing and masticating.
A smoothly polished metal spherical sculpture near St. Paul’s Cathedral London provides perfect reflections, even on a rainy day.
Smooth flowing architectural lines, smoothly polished concrete, smooth mirrored reflections on smooth water: La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia.
The obvious one: a rose, but using a pinhole lens to direct attention to the only subject here: the smooth petals.
Grotty old tyres in a rather grotty farmyard. But years of use has made their surfaces smooth, as moving close in demonstrates.
This is my last post about Spain for a while, and it includes images from previous visits too. Browsing through my collection, I see that windows feature – a lot.
Views through, of, and reflected from windows; views through spaces that serve as windows; and finally, views of things outside windows (washing lines!) that have me imagining the lives lived behind them . You’ll see all of these here – mainly, but not exclusively from Barcelona.
But let’s start in Granada, at the Alhambra. This young woman was impossible to get out of shot, as she had to take a selfie from every angle. In the end, I decided to put her centre stage.
A real view from a real window: our go-to tourist attraction in Barcelona: the Modernista Hospital de Sant Pau.
I’m a sucker for reflecting windows. This high-end grocery store in Barcelona offered those reflections in bright light, as well as showing the goods on offer inside (this one’s for you, Becky)
More windows where it’s the reflections providing the views.
Patient horses and their carriages wait by a public toilet window in Plaza de España, Seville.
And now it’s time for those washing lines.
View from Casa Vicens, Barcelona.
A window, a balcony, washing: Vic.
Two contrasting views through not-a-window: in a garden in the Jewish quarter, Córdoba: and at El Clot-Aragó station, Barcelona.
Finally – this isn’t a view through a window at all. But who could resist viewing this window in Barcelona?
Do you want to come for a walk with me in Cádiz? Let’s see. We’ll want to see the Cathedral and its museum; the former Cathedral; the Roman Theatre; the Mercado Central; the Castillo de Santa Catalina; the monument to Cortes of Cádiz, promulgators of the Spanish constitution in 1812; the city walls …..
That sounds too much? You’re right. Let’s just go for a stroll instead, and see what turns up.
We’ll start out from our hotel. It was a convent once, and while it’s still a spacious and gracious place, we didn’t have to get up in the small hours to pray.
By day …
…and by night.
We’re surrounded by a warren of old streets just like this.
And just down the street is this greengrocer, with its inviting wall display that changes every day.
Breakfast first though. Let’s find a bar. We’re having a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, pan con tomate (grilled bread with grated raw tomato and a drizzle of olive oil), and a good strong coffee.
We needed to post a letter on our first day. It took us ages to find somewhere. And it’s here, in the wall of the Central Post Office. That was once a convent too.
The Central Post Office
And a letter box.
And look! These narrow streets need protection from ill-driven carriages crashing into them, Corners of buildings are kept intact by covering them with metal plates, or even using redundant canons from the Napoleonic wars.
Look hard to find the canon upended and protecting this archway.
We haven’t been to the market yet. It’s in the hub of the city, and all about the fish: stall after stall of it. It’s hard to believe there’s anything left in the sea. Fruit and veg., meat and cheese and all the rest come a poor second here.
We said no sightseeing. But we have to pop into the cathedral – mind that crane!
And climb the tower for views over the city.
You’re never more then a minute or two from the sea here. Views? Of course there are. But there are also community-driven cats’ homes, randomly furnished with boxes and cast-off carpets, and lots and lots of cats.
And while we’re walking along the seafront – look at this. It’s a ficus macrophylla – a giant kind of fig tree, allegedly brought back from India as seedlings round about 900 by two nuns. It’s too big to photograph really.
And here’s La Casa de las Cinco Torres (five houses, despite the name), built facing the sea in the 18th century, to make a fine impression on incoming visitors.
Time for a drink now? You’re in sherry country (Jerez is just down the road), so let’s go where the locals go, and ask for some advice about what to choose. Here’s Taberna Manzanilla. Malcolm was offered a 7 year old number, but mine was 14 years old, and accompanied by a local sheep-and-goat cheese. What will you choose?
We could just as well choose La Manteca. Either way, decorating the interior with bull-fighting posters seems obligatory.
Tired now? Well, mooch round a bit then – here are some entirely random images.
a canon that defended the city.
A fine window that’s seen better days.
A fine detail on this house.
This hairdresser’s took my eye …
… together with the notice outside.
Another street scene.
Then we’ll finish off the day in the fisherman’s quarter, La Viña , at la Tabernita, a family concern only open at the back end of the week, and weekends, share a few tapas, and wander back to the hotel.
A reflected image of La Tabernita
La Viña by night
An entry for Jo’s Monday Walk: Jo – I don’t think this walk will get past Quality Control, as it’s a composite. But I just couldn’t pick one!
Back home in chilly England, I’ve been going through my photos. All 485 of them. I rather want to go back to the days when you had a Kodak Box Brownie, and one, maybe two films of twelve or sixteen shots to get you through the holiday: and when you had to wait more than a week for the chemist (the chemist!) to develop them. I’ve spent all day chucking photos out, re-living special moments , and wondering which snaps may get an airing on this blog.
But this shot asked for its moment in the limelight. We were at a height, up at the top of the tower of Cádiz Cathedral. A parakeet was wheeling in the bright sky. And it spotted Jesus. Well, I think it’s Jesus. And it chose to alight. I think he deserves a spot in January Light.