Sunday, January 6, 2008

Piggies and Pics

The man went walking in the hills with Chuck today and they saw a mere six wild boar! The largest, and first, was about twice Chuck's size, and they got smaller as they went down the line. There was a jogger in the area and he saw seven, one crossed lower down....

Chuck quite sensibly backed down the road...he knows when he can't win. Good thing too, they can be quite vicious...the man didn't have a camera so no pics, I was snoozing at the time....

Now snow is not a novelty for most of you, but we haven't seen any in five years, until a couple of days ago in the Sierra Nevadas behind Granada...Chuck had fun too....

So here are a few of the pics....well, kind of a lot, but what the heck, you don't have to look.... one of the nice thing about a blog is that I don't know if you skimmed, unlike when Great Uncle Welber gives his slide show of his trip to Sudbury, you can just skip to the end.....

These bulls are enormous, and were originally billboard advertising for some brand or other of liquor....they started to take them down, but people liked them so much they stopped. One of the interesting things for us is that the bull is also a symbol for Spain, you don't see any of these signs in Catalonia, or at least I haven't...I think maybe they would be taken down for them.


In a lot of the Andalusian towns we went through they used these straw mats over the windows, I thought they were fascinating and unusual, and in their own way beautiful...


Andalusia was incredibly varied geographically, and the man and I were particularily enchanted by a plain near where we were staying, here we are coming out of a higher hill town looking down into a very large plain (no sh*t?) I loved how the light was different every single time we came through it, and all the birds, and there were almost no people. Most of the houses are derilect, and uninhabited, I assume that the farm families have moved to the town and the farmer commutes out to the land to work.


This is in Seville in part of the lovely maze of streets and alleys that make up part of the old town...many of the houses are painted white in defense of the awesome heat, it sits well over 40 for a good part of the summer....and spring and into the fall.....

That's why we visited in the winter.

A dome in Granada....


Part of the Alhambra...


More of the Alhambra, under the Moors the women lived in seperate apartments on the upper floor, and these wooden screens were put in the window to let in air while still shielding them from view.....

This is part of the Real Alcazar in Seville, the Royal Palace, the Moorish influence remains strong....


The bath for one of the monarch's mistresses...quite a tub, and since it is below ground, would have been lovely and cool all year round....


This is in Cadiz, there is a small island off the end of the peninsula on which Cadiz rests, initially used to keep Venetian sailors with the plague seperated, they built the first chapel....


Streams of mountains running off into the distance, there are plenty of big plains in Andalusia, but a whole lot of mountains too....it was well designed, big enough to expand beyond your horizon, giving the impression of infinite space, but compactly placed so you can drive from mountains to seemingly endless plains in an hour or two...


Are we in Canada here????


This one looks like the UK, but is also part of Andalusia...

Mooo.

I didn't get a shot of the free range acorn fed pigs that go into the prosciutto style ham that is revered in Spain, you can buy some for a couple of hundred Euros a kilo if you try...

This guy was out hunting on the plains....the crops are off the fields so all the mice and birds are squashed into the culverts and waterways, it must make good hunting, there were lots of hawks...


Acores, was stunning, and very precipitous....


The Barbary Apes in Gibraltar, they will sit on your head or hands, but are still wild and can do quite a bit of damage, we had no problems...


Now there were freighters anchored outside the port waiting to refuel with duty free fuel, but it was blowing STINK, and this guy, along with several others was anchored stern on to the land only one of his own boat lengths off....if his anchor drags.....they must have the engines running and full crew on duty at all times....

Not a comfy berth....in front of him is basically the Atlantic.

The cliffs of Gibraltar...


The Mosque in Cordoba, what I found most fascinating here was how the Christians, after they expelled the Muslims, walked right in, built a cathedral in the middle of this enormous and beautiful mosque, slapped a few Jesus and Mary statues down and called the job done.

Cordoba was one of the few places that enjoyed long and peaceful relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims at that time.

Here is what had been the niche facing Mecca, a vital ingredient in every mosque, and I just read was adapted from the Zoroastrian tradition of having a fire at the front of the temple in front of which prayers are altered. Forgive me if I have my facts wrong here, I read it in Catalan. There is no fire now of course, and the niche, among many purposes of which I am sure I do not know, serves to direct everyone's gaze towards Mecca the direction in which prayers are offered.


More of the Mosque in Cordoba...


The plains again, on a sunnier day,


A hawk in flight....


Chuck, was it his first encounter with snow? We don't know, he was pretty calm, then again he was doped on Dramamine and miserable in the car...he was pretty happy here though...except when the kids through snow in his face, but who can blame him.


View from the Sierra Nevadas...and of them too I guess....we went up almost 2000 meters, which is about 6000 feet by my crude mental math, I suspect it might be slightly more, but what the hey....


More mountains in Andalusia...this part is very dry, you can see the snow blowing off the top of that mountain/mesa there...a lot of westerns were actually filmed in Spain, in Andalusia, and as we drove through them you could certainly see why...those spaghetti westerns? They were actually paella westerns....


More mountains, you know what? I like mountains, a lot.


Here was our local three kings festival...the local kids give their letters asking for what they want, and the kings bring it overnight....


*Whew*

You made it, or not.

There ya have it....I may post more, or not....

10 comments:

Trish said...

Beautiful pictures and commentary!

Beth said...

Wonderful photos. My favourites? The straw mat over the window, the street in Acores and - OF COURSE - the one of that fabulous bath tub! If that one is for the mistress, wonder what the Queen's tub is like!?

sirdar said...

WOW!! Loved the photos of your trip. The scenery and buildings are so different than here in Canada. I like the picture of a Canadian lake you threw in there to throw us off :-)

Hope you post more...

coloursofdawn said...

What an awesome trip. Great photos. I am trying to remain unenvious, but it is a struggle. I do love looking at the places you have been and although not a painter, think "How would I paint that". Thanks for sharing your trip.

Anonymous said...

I didn't RTFM until the last trip part in Toledo, but it finally got through to me that Mudejar architecture is moorish, but done while they were under Christian rulers, so in Toledo we saw a synagogue which was built while the Christians were in charge and was decorated fully in Moorish style.
If only wed could get along like that now.
Sea Dog

traveller one said...

Wooo hooo! When it rains- it pours!! I am SOOOOO glad you got that digital camera! These are lovely and make me want to be there.

oreneta said...

Trish, glad you liked it...

Beth, seems the mistress was favoured, sorry, it was the era or arranged politically expedient marriages, the mistress got the better bathroom, he even set her up in the same house, granted a flipping great castle, but nonetheless. The possibility of the Queen having a boytoy on the side is also there as well...

Sirdar, yeah, that was a surreal moment, 'we're not in Spain anymore Toto...'

Dawn, it was an incredibly painterly bit of countryside, I agree with you, and you do some painting too, though the Alhambra maybe isn't the style you usually do....

Hey Sea Dog, how did you like Toledo, my esteemed sister said she thought it was creepy, but never gave me any more details....we have our moments of getting along too, look at fusion culture and fusion cuisine, I will grant it is a mite more transitory but still....

Kim, I love my camera....come on over, it's a lovely place down there.I've been enjoying all your posting lately, I was missing your voice out here in blog land.

kate said...

Great trip photos, and sounds like a great trip. I had a Barbary ape moment several years ago (um, 1992). I had unwrapped a roll of those cookies that are like Maria cookies with a layer of chocolate in the middle, and was holding one out to one of the apes. The bugger came right up to me and ignoring the cookie, grabbed the whole roll out of my other hand and made off with it!

oreneta said...

Kate, the audatious bugger indeed!!! Good lord. There are intimidating aren't they. There is now a big fat fine for feeding them, but I am not sure it is enforced at all. They are apparently now starting to go down into the town. And we thought racoons were bad.

Nomad said...

THanks for sharing, Love the photos!!!

I too LOOOVE mountains!!

Cheers!!
:-p