I love discovering and exploring burial sites wherever I am in the world, not because of any morbid fascination with death, but in the expectation of visually recording their beauty, history and existence. To me, cemeteries are places where art, history and world religion meet.
Of course, visiting the graves of our ancestors is a ritual dating back as long as bodies have been buried, allowing families not only to grieve but also to honour and celebrate lives that have passed.
In Spain, cemeteries still form an integral part of community life.
The only round cemetery in Spain can be found in Sayalonga, a typical whitewashed village some 40 kilometres east of the city of Málaga and 9 kilometres from the coast, deep in the heart of the Axarquía region. You might remember Sayalonga from my recent post about the narrowest street in the Axarquía.
Despite it’s name, the outer walls of Cementerio Redondo, as you can see from the photos, are actually octagonal with rows of parallel, oblong traditional graves added more recently, in the centre. The older, individual dome-shaped tombs are constructed on top of each other giving the impression of a giant, white honeycomb.
Originally, the village cemetery was in the courtyard of the local church of Santa Catalina, however, the Round Cemetery was constructed during the first half of the 19th century and, for hygiene reasons, placed just outside of the village limits.
The motive for this curious shaped cemetery isn’t known, but one explanation is that it was built in imitation of the old cemetery. I prefer the more romantic interpretation that it was so that the dead could not turn their backs on one another.
There is a small visitor centre at the entrance, which shows and explains the history of the cemetery to more than 3000 tombstone tourists each year.
About a forty minute drive east of the city of Málaga along the A7-E15 Autovía del Mediterraneo to km 277, take the exit signposted A 7206 inland towards Algarrobo (pueblo), Sayalonga and Cómpeta. Stay on the A7206 through the village of Algarrobo and drive up the winding mountain road for a further five minutes until you reach Sayalonga.
There is a mirador (viewpoint) on your left as you are leaving the village heading towards Cómpeta, which gives a good view of the Round Cemetery.
Are you a fellow taphophile? Do you enjoy visiting cemeteries when you are on vacation? Where’s the most unusual cemetery you’ve ever visited?
The wild flowers are mostly at an end now, here on southern coast of Andalucía – but there are still a few of these gorgeous poppies about.
But, they only last for a few precious, fleeting hours until the petals fall to the ground and each individual flower has gone forever.
At the end of May each year, the independent non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) awards its prestigious Blue Flags to beaches and marinas in the northern hemisphere for their water quality, safety standards, environmental education and amenities.
The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 3850 beaches and marinas in 48 countries around the world. With a total of 648 ensigns, Spain has maintained its position at the top of the list in the northern hemisphere.
Here is the list of current blue flag beaches on the eastern Costa del Sol: Algarrobo Costa in Algarrobo; Ferrara in the municipality of Torrox; Burriana and Torrecilla beaches in Nerja; Benajarafe and Torre del Mar in the municipality of Velez-Málaga and last, but not least, Cala del Moral in Rincón de la Victoria
The Blue Flag is awarded on an annual basis, and can only be only held for one season before it will be judged once again by FEE.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau
Among the Impressionist artist Claude Monet’s most notable work is a series of 25 canvases called Haystacks. The primary subjects of all of the paintings in the series are stacks of hay in a field, after the harvest season. Monet began painting the Haystacks at the end of the summer of 1890 and continued through to the following spring. The series is well known for the use of repetition to show differences in perception of light across various times of day, seasons, and types of weather.
And, we can do just the same thing with photography.
Returning to a place at a different time of day, in varying weather conditions, during another season or even many years later can result in vastly different photographic images, due to the changing conditions.
Irina Werning has captured some fascinating images at her Back to the Future project – why not take a look? I’m sure you will have a laugh at some of them!
For this month’s CBBH Photo Challenge I want you to show me at least two photos taken of the same subject (slightly different angles are allowed, but it has to be obviously the same subject matter) taken at different times.
Will it be a person, changing over time? Trees and flowers growing from newly planted to almost taking over your garden, or places you have travelled to that have changed dramatically since a previous visit? GO AHEAD, SURPRISE ME!
Want to see my interpretation?
Here is a view of the hills on one side of where I live. As you can see, in this photo it’s a bright sunny day.
This is the same view in an evening when the mist has rolled up the valley from the Mediterranean Sea. I love it when this happens as all I can see is cloud swirling below my castle in the sky!
….and here is a shot of the spectacular sunsets we are blessed with, over the same hillside.
I first visited and photographed the Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, a few days before it was destroyed by the devastating earthquake on 22nd February 2011 (photo on right). When I returned to New Zealand at the beginning of 2013, I was able to take the photo on the left, as Cathedral Square was open for a few days over the Christmas and New Year period when the workmen took their holidays.
One of my favourite cities in Andalucía is Córdoba and here it is in all it’s glory with the Mezquita taking centre stage, as viewed from the other side of the city’s Roman bridge.
And here’s the same view at night. Lovely isn’t it?
Click on any of the smaller images to view a slideshow
In this series of photos, the subject is the aircraft wing of the Ryanair flight I was on, coming into land at Dublin airport in Ireland. As you can see, even though the subject remains the same, the background has changed considerably and we were greeted by the most amazing sunrays peeping through the clouds.
** Lady of the Cakes lives in central Spain, in the beautiful city of Toledo and offers “vignettes from a multi-lingual, cake-eating freelance existence”. In a recent post, Simone shows us around some of Toledo’s Palacial Patios which are accessible once a year, and for one week only (during the Corpus Christi celebrations), when a number of private houses open their patios (inner courtyards) to the general public. Of course, this is Don Quixote country, so you might enjoy reading The Weekly Don Quixote Series. Simone always holds my interest with her posts, shares some fantastic photos and often has me in stitches at some of the antics she gets up to. I’d love you to pop along and say HOLA!
** Lynsey at La Rosilla – Lifestyle and Food like me, is a British expat who moved to the Axarquía region of southern Spain about eight years ago. A passionate home cook, and self-confessed “cook book whore”, Lyndsey celebrated World Sherry Day last Sunday with the opening day of this season’s Supper Club. This multi-talented and super-busy lady not only offers cooking classes to visitors, but also finds the time to deliver ready-prepared meals for special occasions. Check out Lynsey’s delicious delivery delights for a nearby villager on Mother’s Day, recently. Mmmm …. think I might have to book into La Rosilla for a Supper Club celebration soon!
So that´s the CBBH Photo Challenge for JUNE, everyone!
Remember, all you have to do is post your entry by the end of the month, tag your entry ‘CBBH Photo Challenge’, link back to this blog and, most importantly, don´t forget to add links to any two blogs that you´ve commented on during the past month, so that we can all HOP OVER and have a look. Make sure you FOLLOW THIS BLOG so you don´t miss next month´s exciting challenge!
For more information on how the CBBH Photo Challenge works click here.
I hope everyone taking part enjoys the exposure the CBBH Photo Challenge offers to featured blogs and, who knows, you may end up finding a new favourite! I´m looking forward to seeing your interpretations.
[CBBH logo Image credit: (cc) Mostly Dans]
With a width of only 56 cms at one end, this is officially the narrowest street in the Axarquía region.
As you might imagine, there’s not much of a traffic problem here!
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The spectacular U-shaped Zafarraya Pass (El Boquete de Zafarraya) which marks the boundary between the provinces of Málaga and Granada can be seen for miles around. Standing impressively over 900 metres above sea level, the Pass has been used for centuries as a key route through the sierras, linking lands south-west of Granada, with the towns and villages along the coast, east of Málaga.
Although I have made the journey through the Pass many times, I never fail to be impressed by this ancient route through a huge cleft in the mountain spine of the Sierra de Alhama.
The name Zafarraya may have come from the Arab Fahs al-raiyya meaning “field of shepherds”, although there are people who think it derives from Saiarraya, meaning “territory limit”, referring to the fact that at one time Zafarraya belonged to the province of Málaga.
To get there, we drove north from the A7/E15 Autovía del Mediterraneo, past the town of Vélez-Málaga and briefly alongside Lake Vinuela, before heading up the A402, a winding mountain road towards the Pass.
Along the way we stopped at the ruins of Zalía castle (castillo de Zalía) which sits on a hill opposite the white Andalucían village of Alcaucín. It is thought that the Phoenicians established the foundations of the fortress, but the castle was later built by the Moors around the 10th century to guard the ancient Nasrid Route through the Zafarraya Pass from Granada to Málaga.
Even though many of the wildflowers I have told you about over recent weeks have now started to die back near to where I live, they are still flourishing in abundance further inland, so we stopped many times to take in the natural beauty as well as many photographs.
In 1979, a cave was discovered near to the Zafarraya Pass (Cueva del Boquete de Zafarraya), with a subsequent archaeological dig unearthing the best preserved remains of Neanderthal man (radiometrically dating back 30000 years) ever found in Western Europe.
Importantly, the find was one of the first pieces of definite evidence showing that Neanderthals co-existed with modern humans for almost 10,000 years, disproving earlier theories that they had been quickly replaced by modern man.
Image from: Museo de Málaga
As we approached the gap in the mountains, the entrance to a small tunnel through the rock can be seen, which was once part of the former Periana to Zafarraya railway line, abandoned fifty years ago. The tunnel is now used by walkers who enjoy strolling along the former railway line, which is now a dirt road.
Tunnel image found here
The old railway bridge across the road as you drive through the Zafarraya Pass is a more obvious relic of the old railway line.
It is here that you can find the village of Ventas de Zafarraya, so named because in times long past, travellers would stop for food and shelter at one of the local inns (ventas), where they could also exchange and refresh their weary horses and oxen, before continuing on their long journeys.
These days, Ventas de Zafarraya is almost entirely dedicated to vegetable growing on the fertile, flat land just beyond the village, where many different vegetables including lettuces, artichokes and beans are grown up rustic canes cut from nearby river banks.
Many of them are not much bigger than my little veggie plot at home!
I often have a little chuckle to myself when I am shopping in a Spanish supermarket.
Seriously, would YOU buy some of these products?
Now, call me fussy, but I can’t bring myself to wash my clothes in Colon Vanish washing detergent!
or (possibly) even worse, Flota Spa washing powder!
But, being a northern lass (originally from Lancashire in England), I always find some consolation knowing that at least I can always find Somat f’ert dishwasher! LOL
Have you spotted any products in other countries that sound strange or amusing in your own language? You will let me know, won’t you? LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!
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