CBBH Photo Challenge: Looking forward, looking back.

White rabbits!  Conejos blancos!  Yes, it’s that time of the month again ….. soon comes round, doesn’t it?

I got lots of comments about my snow photographs in the CBBH Photo Challenge for April: FULL CIRCLE – but there was the grand total of one entry, apart from mine.  Thanks Le Drake Noir  – even though something did get lost in translation!

What was it you didn’t like, I wonder?  Did the challenge involve taking too many photos – or couldn’t you find the right place to spin around?

Well …. I had fun, anyway – in fact, I enjoyed it so much, I have a similar challenge for this month, except that this time only two photos are involved.

This month’s CBBH Photo Challenge is LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK.  All you have to do is take a photograph and then turn round and take another of what is behind you.  

Not too difficult, is it?

Costa de a Luz, Spain - towards the sea

This is the gorgeous natural beach area of Playa de Los Lances, near to the town of Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz. At exactly 36 degrees latitude, this is the southernmost point of the European continent, situated even further south than both of the African capital cities of Tunis and Algiers.

If you look carefully at the first photo, you can see the mountains of Africa on the horizon – while the photo below shows the much closer Spanish mountains.

I love these kind of walkways – especially with the shadows of the rails forming such a distinct pattern.

Costa de la Luz, Spain - towards the mountains

So, now it’s YOUR turn.

Don’t forget that the CBBH Photo Challenge is a little different from some other challenges, in two ways. First, it’s only once a month – giving you lots of time to consider your entry before the end of the calendar month. Second, and most important, this is a BLOG HOP (after all, it is the CBBH – Conejo Blanco Blog Hop, conejo blanco means white rabbit in Spanish), so DON’T FORGET that in your post you need to add links to two blogs that you have visited and commented on during the past month.

That way, when we visit each other, we can HOP OVER to your links, connect with others and share a little blog love around!

Conejo Blanco BLOG HOP Photo Challenge

My Featured Blog Links for this month:

 *** Have you ever thought about walking the Camino de Santiago?   Maggie, the Trepidatious Traveller,  only lives a hop, skip and a jump from me in La Axarquía, and yesterday she flew to Lisbon in Portugal to begin the Camino Portuguese.   Last year, Maggie walked the 950 kms of Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port to Finisterre with her daughter over five week period,  so at least she knows what she’s letting herself in for.   You can follow Maggie’s daily posts (she sets off from Lisbon on May 2nd) or donate to the two charities she is raising money for (Cudeca, which is the Spanish cancer charity or Action for Animals).  Buen camino Maggie!

***  Writer, Patricia Sands, says that everyone has a story and her’s involves Antibes in the south of France.  Through her blog you can join The Bridge Club – Patricia’s acclaimed debut novel, or simply become immersed in her love of writing and escape to her beloved France.  If you love writing, you’ll find lots of information about writing  here, as well as having the chance of winning prizes that are regularly offered.

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Please HOP over and say HELLO to both of my featured links, and tell them Marianne sent you!

So that´s the CBBH Photo Challenge for May, 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]


East of Málaga: Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day in England?

summertime east of malaga

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, 
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

~ William Shakespeare ~

Most of us are familiar with at least the opening lines of Sonnet 18 by English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, in which he compares his beloved Fair Youth to that of an English summer’s day.

I’ve suffered endured experienced many cool and rainy summer days in England over the years, when the BBQ I had planned for friends has been a total washout, or no-one could sleep at night because it was too humid, despite being only 17 Celsius.

Of course, it’s not always like that in England but, here in southern Spain, the weather, whilst retaining distinct seasons, is much more reliable.  

The outdoor lifestyle was one of the main influencing factors for our move here, eight years ago.

wandering around the garden

So, what is a summer’s day in July or August like – east of Málaga?

We would typically expect the temperature to be between 30 – 35 Celcius (that’s 86 – 95 Fahrenheit) during the day, with overnight temperatures rarely dropping below 21C (70 degrees Fahrenheit).  Clear blue skies are virtually guaranteed, with little or no rainfall and low humidity.

During August, the thermometer can sometimes touch 40C in the shade, so it’s vital to adapt your lifestyle accordingly.

August days often see me wandering around the house and garden in a swim suit and loose-fitting sarong, with my hair tied up, wearing no make-up. Carefree. And, because we live in the countryside a few kilometres from the coast,  days often go by without seeing another souland that suits me just fine. my office for today Not only do many northern European tourists head down this way for their annual vacation, but the rest of the population of Spain seems to end up around these parts, too.  So, we tend to stay at home, out of the way of the crowded restaurants and the lack of parking spaces, only venturing out when we need to buy groceries or if we choose to stroll along the promenade on a Saturday evening, before visiting a local chiringuito (fish restaurant).

I’m an early riser, so the first thing I do when I get out of bed is to throw all the windows and doors open, allowing the cool morning air into the house.  Any chores that need doing are always completed well before 11am, by which time, the windows are closed to keep the warm air out. As the sun continues it’s journey around the house, various blinds are pulled down over the windows to stop the heat from penetrating. Sparkling water with fresh limequat My days are spent writing, wandering nearby taking photographs, sipping cool drinks, trying to catch up with my list of books to be read, or simply taking a dip in the pool when I get a bit overheated.

We have several cool, shady terraces where I choose to to locate my “office” for the morning.   Today’s lunch will be fillet of salmon with patatas a lo pobre, prepared earlier this morning, and made all the tastier knowing that the onions and green peppers have been grown in our vegetable patch.  I’m pretty sure that we’ll have a chilled glass of wine with lunch, too. 🙂

This afternoon, there could be a siesta, another swim or time to catch up reading blogs I enjoy.   I might even plan more of our next trip (to Portugal in October) or chat to friends around the world on the internet.

After sunset, the windows are once again thrown open, and it’s a delight to feel the cool evening air, as the delicious perfume of the night-scented jasmine pervades the surroundings.

One thing I love about hot, summer nights is the chance to have a swim after dark before hopping into bed.  I always make sure that there are no outside lights shining from the house and, because we live in the countryside, there is virtually no light pollution.  It´s quite surreal floating about in the pool on your back on an airbed watching the stars twinkling overhead. Sleep comes easily after such a carefree day, with the open window and overhead ceiling fan keeping me cool.

So, east of Málaga, shall I compare thee to a summer’s day in England?  NO, I’ll just enjoy every day spent in this beautiful country I have adopted as my home, and take English summers as, and when, I choose to find them.

You might enjoy these summer related articles, too:

Phew – what a scorcher!

Flying the Blue Flags on the beaches

Hummamole Dip – perfect for a summer’s day

The Festival of Virgen del Carmen

Crowd outside the church waiting for the doors to open

In a festival that dates back several hundred years, many coastal towns and fishing villages in Spain celebrate the Fiesta del Día de Virgen del Carmen as the protector of mariners and fishermen.

Every year around 16th July, spectacular maritime processions of decorated fishing boats known as jabegas head out to sea carrying their precious cargo – an effigy of the Virgen del Carmen, to bless their fishing grounds.

The vessels, many decorated with brightly coloured flags and bunting, each crowded with people, gather under the late dusk sky patiently waiting for the official party of sailors, fishermen, clergy and authorities to bring the Statue of the Virgin on board the boat that will lead the procession.

But before that, the Virgen del Carmen is paraded through the streets for all to see.  There is an air of excitement with people surging forward for the best views as the parade passes by, before making its way to the water´s edge.

Doors open - and there she is!

Virgen del Carmen 2012

Carrying the statue with bare feet

The line of bearers carrying the Virgen del Carmen

Solemn faces as they carry the statue through the streets

The crowds jostle for position to get the best view

Crowded boats waiting for the Virgen del Carmen to arrive at the harbourside

Caleta de Velez harbour as dusk falls

Harbour marker beacon flashes

Boats awaiting the arrival of the Virgen del Carmen

Excited people crowd onto the boats

The statue of Virgen del Carmen being loaded onto the boat

Celebrations vary slightly from town to town along the coast, east of Málaga.  In La Caleta de Vélez the parade is held each year on the feast day of the Virgen del Carmen, 16th July.   Some towns and villages celebrate the following weekend, but there will be posters displayed in local shops, announcing the day and time, if you want to join in the festivities.

My photographs show last year´s celebrations in La Caleta de Vélez, situated at the mid-coastal point of La Axarquía region.

In the video below, you can see the festivities held in 2011 in the town of Torre del Mar, just along the coast from La Caleta de Vélez.

Which is your favourite Spanish festival or fiesta?


Whilst you´re here, why not have a look at the following articles too?

The heart of Cómpeta: El Paseo de las Tradiciones

Patatas a lo pobre: Poor man´s potatoes

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour