30 July 2009

Illustration Friday - Idle

I've not been idle this week so didn't manage to find the time to create something new for this week's theme. However, I picked up an old sketchbook this afternoon and came across these drawings I made years ago of our little Omani cat, Tigger (yes, I know, very original!). He looks very relaxed - cats are such experts idlers!

26 July 2009

Fiesta in Frigiliana

Who doesn't love a good fiesta? The Spaniards in Frigiliana certainly do! A pilgrimage is held in this pretty white village (situated about 6 kms inland from the coastal resort of Nerja) each year in June. Every man, woman, child, horse, mule and donkey dons their most decorative attire and turns out to accompany the image of Saint Antonio, which is transported in an oxcart, to Pozo Viejo, a place next to the River HiguerĂ³n, where the pilgrims gather in the shade of the pines for a rural outing.

Beautiful to behold - elegant, prancing horses. What's that you say? Never mind the horses, check out their riders?! Yes, some of them are worth a second look too!

Frivolous frills.

The town was packed - here's a bird's eye view of the spectators lining the route. Click for a close up.

The whole family enjoys an outing with the pony and trap. Love the little guy with his braces and cap just like Papa and there's Mama with a beautiful red flower tucked behind her ear.

Holding on tight!

With necklaces, earings, fans, bags and hair ornaments to match, these three flamboyant Senoras are strutting their stuff in flirty flamenco frocks!

The tinkling of little brass bells accompanies these mules trotting through the town .

We wandered around the narrow streets after the parade. It's a pretty town. I loved these decorative plates and pots hanging on the walls and perched on balconies. Don't they make a super display?

No room for a garden, but fresh herbs right on the doorstep .

And no matter where you are, there's always some elderly chap to be spotted clambering up a steep hill getting his daily exercise!

And some woman posing! It's quite a view out across the rooftops to the valley and the sea beyond though!

See you next in Granada!

25 July 2009

Road to Ronda and more

We travelled the scenic route from San Martin de Tesorillio to Ronda. A wonderful windy, twisty road into the mountains with beautiful vistas at every turn.

If you click on this one, you'll be able to see the route we took.

The wildflowers en route were simply gorgeous!

I couldn't resist gathering a bag full of enormous pine cones too, but sadly my suitcase wasn't big enough to transport them all and I had to leave most behind :( Only one actually made it back here to Malaysia where it now enjoys pride of place in my workroom with a lovely etching of the Al Hambra.

This is the beautiful town of Ronda. It's located on a rocky shelf of the Serrania (mountainous area) of Malaga. Breathtaking!

What a lovely way to display a colourful collection of plates.

More fabulous Moroccan ceramics and lanterns in this shop in Ronda - a veritable Aladdin's cave. Tempting, but again, no chance of buying anything as we are travelling with budget airlines which means we have next to no weight allowance :(

Note to self - must come back by car one day to buy a few of these beauties!!

Speaking of Morocco - it's not far on the ferry from Tarifa. We did the trip one day and experienced a whirlwind tour of the Medina at Tangiers. Unfortunately, there was no time to stop and take many good photos , as our guide was a man on a mission, intent on showing us the whole place in 2 hours flat and stopping only at favourite tourist traps .....
Carpet, silver and spice sellers all plied their wares, but years of living in the Middle East have honed our souk shopping skills and we fended them off!
I snapped these as we raced around!

Still to come: FIESTA in Frigiliana and glimpses of the Al Hambra Palace.

22 July 2009

Hanging out to dry

In keeping with my butterfly theme this week I thought I'd share this with you! This gorgeous little, well, not so little guy landed on a window yesterday after a terrific downpour and hung out here to dry all day. Now, these are B I G TALL windows and this is one B I G butterfly (or moth?) with a wing span going on for a good 5 or 6 inches!! Unfortunately, the top of the window is so high up that getting a good photo is nigh on impossible without a really supadoopa lens - well, not so impossible that you can't see how dirty the window is, but then look, it's just completely out of reach, OK?!

What is it? Some sort of Swallowtail perhaps - does anyone know ?

21 July 2009

Illustration Friday - Tango

Well, it's a bit of a stretch, but here's my version of Tango! I made lots of butterflies from Japanese paper for a project this weekend and these two fluttered over to my sketchbook and began a Tango around the watercolour roses!

15 July 2009

Spain - A little Gem

We found a little paradise in Andalucia! Perched on a small hill in San Martin del Tesorillo, near Sotogrande, is Cortijo El Papudo. We stayed a few days in this charming old Andalucian farmhouse B & B run by Michael and Vivien Harvey.

The gardens here are stunning! Tended by Michael, who is a landscape gardener, they are planted with an amazing array of sub tropical plants bursting with colour.

There are archways clothed in sweet smelling honeysuckle..

and wreathed with vivid bougainvillea.

Breathtaking views at every turn,

And did I mention colour and perfume? A kaleidoscope of colour and pot pourri of fragrance on the breeze attracts a myriad of bees and butterflies.

We breakfasted in the courtyard every morning on delicious fresh produce from the gardens and local area. We were treated to freshly squeezed oranges and sweet, blushing grapefruits - served by Vivien, our charming hostess who was ably assisted by the resident kitty! We were there at just the right time of year to enjoy a bowl of these juicy cherries - available only for a few short weeks of the year. How delicious! Don't you agree that food always tastes so much better when eaten al fresco?

With Cortijo El Papudo as our base we headed out each day to explore the region. Coming up next: the route to Ronda - a truly magnificent drive to one of the oldest towns in Spain.


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