Tag Archive | winter

Christmas Lights in Malaga

 

I’ve noticed that everywhere, people are posting photos of the Christmas lights where they live on their blogs. So I thought, why not do the same? When you come right down to it, the Christmas lights of Malaga are definitely worth it!

Christmas Lights Malaga

This year they had a Gothic cathedral theme.

I also took a photo from underneath the “Gothic arch”.

Christmas Lights Malaga

As you can see, the throngs of crowds admiring the Christmas lights were immense.

Of course, Christmas lights weren’t the only thing that there was to admire on the busy streets of Malaga.

There were a myriad of shows being put on by street entertainers from large groups to single artists. One very large gathering was formed of a group of about six musicians playing Christmas carols on the trumpet, clarinet and other brass instruments, plus three guys dressed up as the Three Kings of Orient to liven up the crowd. However, I couldn’t see them very well, because there was a mass of people around them, enjoying their music. Which wasn’t surprising, because their music was incredible.

Christmas Lights Malaga

But since I couldn’t photograph them because there were too many people, I went to quieter corners.

Christmas Lights Malaga

Christmas Lights Malaga

A young girl was selling these little cottages by a fountain for people to use for making their own personal “belenes”, or Nativity scenes.

Christmas Lights Malaga

What stroll would be complete without a photo of my kids? This is my son in front of the Christmas tree in la Plaza de la Constitución, Malaga’s main square.

Christmas Lights Malaga

I LOVE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT SNOW!!!

When I was a child it was the only thing I dreamt of for Christmas: a Christmas without snow. Of course, living in Canada, that was absolutely impossible.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Who Is Jack Frost?

Kings’ Day Parades

Hot, Muggy September Nights

Holy Week in Malaga

Advertisements

Grey Skies: Ces Jours Si Tristes, Si Gris, Profonds, Estos Días Tristes y Grises, Profundos, Just a Little Piece of Sky

Ces jours tristes, profonds, sans fin et sans espoir, quand les rêves deviennent gris et plus lointains que jamais et le ciel pleure incessant, grisâtre et sans repos.

Just waxing dreary and drab on a drab and dreary winter’s day in southern Spain. Even if we’re really lucky and we never get snow or ice, we do get grey skies. I love the rain. But life can seem dreary and hopeless when this is the only piece of sky you can get from the window of the tiny one-bedroom-with-a-walk-in-closet-as-the-second-bedroom in da inna big city where we live.

Grey SkiesOn a brighter note, this is the Med in January. You can see it is raining somewhere around Torremolinos (where all the grey lines are slashing down) and out at sea. But you can still appreciate the brilliant sunset.

Med In JanuaryJust daily life here in a warm country in winter. It’s great to be in a place where it never snows, but on the other hand, daily life can still drag you down, especially if the economy is bad and you have to work ten hours every day just to make ends meet and pay the bills. There’s no time to even go out for a walk to enjoy the brilliant weather that we have the privilege of, well, enjoying! This photo was snapped as I got off the bus and dashed off to trudge away yet a few more hours at one of the companies where I work. I like the company but the hours are long. Not at this particular company, in case they happen to be reading this hehe, but all together at the three companies together, the hours are long.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Andalucía Cuatro de la Tarde

…And It’s a Rainy Night in Malaga

Happy Giant Cockroach Hunting!

How Much Do YOU Value Your Friends?

Pa Amb Tomàquet

Oops, that’s not quite right, wrong Community, I think. I meant: pan con aceite!

Andalucia Flag

Next week is the Day of Andalucía, which commemorates the date when Andalucía won the status of Autonomous Community within the country of Spain.

People get patriotic and hang out flags, and in the schools they set up little plays (which unfortunately we parents won’t be privy to observing). My son’s got a role in the play his class has mounted up at his high school: he’s going to open the curtains at the start of the show and close them when it ends. (He hates acting!)

His little brother cracked up when “Hermenegildo” proudly announced his important assignment. But I explained that it’s very important that someone open the curtains too, because if no one does that, then the show can’t go on!

What the kids love most about the Day of Andalucía, however, is pan con aceite!

Pan con aceite

Yes, the schools regale them with a typical Andalusian breakfast: rustic bread dunked in pools and pools of fresh virgin olive oil.

Too bad this wonderful meal is also accompanied by homework assignments for spring break (okay, winter break, since I guess technically it’s still winter……).

Thought I’d close this post with a flash of almond blossoms. Living in da inna big city isn’t the hottest thing, but occasionally, we get a real treat from Mother Nature too.

Almond Tree

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

A General Strike? Or a Religious Procession?

Malaga’s Annual Fair and Roller Coasters

Hot Muggy September Nights

Kings’ Day Parades

The Orange Trees

I love to see orange trees. I really love the sight of these perennial greens loaded down with fruit. Growing up in Canada, we never saw oranges, of course. In fact, it was inconceivable and totally impossible, to me, that any plant could keep its leaves twelve months of the year (except conifers, of course). Oranges were this rare, exotic thing that arrived in crates from California or Florida, half-wilted already.

Oranges in a Garden

So I love to see orange trees, because they remind me that we don’t live in the Arctic anymore! I love to see them because they tell me that in some parts of the world, there is life the whole year round.

Oranges Hanging From a Tree

I stop often to take photos of them, and every once in a while, I’ll upload a few of these photos here. Not too many at a time (although I literally have dozens!), because if I beat you over the head with endless scenes of oranges, well, that’s no fun.

Oranges At Night

Oranges grow all over the place here. You can’t eat them, though. Otherwise, how would supermarkets and fruitmongers survive? The oranges that grow out on the street are bitter oranges. You could, I suppose, take a few home for free and make bitter orange jam with them. But why would you want to do that, anyways, when you can get a jar of bitter orange jam for about a euro at the supermarket, and save yourself all the fuss? Besides which, the ones on the streets must be chock full of contamination and pollution from sucking up car fumes all the time.

Table Oranges

But they sure are nice to look at!

The Orange Tree

Rainy Courtyard

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

…And It’s a Rainy Night in Malaga

Foray Into Black and White

Photographs From a Typical Day in a Life

The Blueberry Fiend

Bye Bye Birds!

Every morning as I take the kids to school I see all the birds lining up in the sky and taking off to their homes in the north. Hundreds and hundreds of migratory birds that all head northward in perfect “V” formation. I feel so sad to say good-bye to them, they were so happy here playing, eating, enjoying the great weather. I also want to tell them how lucky they are, to be able to spend every winter jumping around in the sun while their human counterparts are trembling to death in the snow in northern Europe!

I think how perfect their natural instinct is, that just tells them so naturally and wordlessly when exactly is the right moment for them to line up and return home. How do they know it will soon be spring? And how do they know how to line up so perfectly? How does each bird recognize where is its precise place in the “V” formation, and none of the birds loses the rhythm as they fly?

They have such a long ways to go now. I estimate maybe by the end of March they will be digging up worms in the parks of Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London, and enjoying the first green buds over there. They have to cross the entire Iberian peninsula from south to north, then wing out over the whole European continent before they reach their homes. They travel all that distance using the power of their own wings, no airplanes, trains or cars for them!

And I also think how we’ve lost touch with our own natural nature. The natural thing to do is to head south in the wintertime, where food continues to be plentiful and you can go to bed without waking up transformed into an ice cube. It’s we humans, in our advanced human civilization, who are going counter-nature by persisting in remaining in arctic lands and heating ourselves using artificial (and non-renewable) sources of energy.

Once upon a time we used to do what birds do. We used to be nomadic, and we followed the food supplies and the warm rays of the sun all around the globe. Oh well, but times have changed.

Local birds here, on the other hand, really know how to live it up, and these days they are busy building nests. The other day my son and I enjoyed the spectacle of a neon green parrot busily hawing away at a tree branch. It picked and pecked and wouldn’t give up until it succeeded in breaking off the thin branch. It then proceeded to take off with the enooorrrrmous branch dragging about in its beak until it arrived at its own tree nearby, where we could observe how it added the tree branch to its nest.

If I could ever take the time out during out daily morning marathon to snap a photo, I’ll add a pic here of birds flying north for the spring another day.

Green Buds

But in the meantime, here is a pic of some green buds. Although on the other hand, green buds here don’t necessarily mean spring, either, because here we have blossoms all year round!

Red Flowers

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Sierra Nevada Revisited

Kings’ Day Parades

Callejeando

CBBH Photo Challenge: Reflection

Callejeando

What do you do on a Sunday afternoon if you live in a city, you don’t have a car and a storm is threatening? Well, I know if we were in the country, we’d go out for a walk!

But since we’re not in the country, we’re in the city — we decided to go out for a walk anyways.

Now, a walk with the kids means spending the afternoon stuffing them up good and hard with all the food in the house before leaving home, because if you don’t, you will either have to blow the entire monthly budget feeding these growing stomachs out on the street, or you will immediately have to dash for home again, because the kids have become faint and weak and lethargic from lack of food. Which means…… night photography! Again.

Anyways, there’s nothing I like to do more than “callejeando”, which means just wandering about exploring without any particular aim. I still find it hard to believe that I actually LIVE in this amazing, medieval city! And I can go out every day and look at historic buildings with their balconies and curlicues whenever I want.

You will never find anything like this in Canada. In Canada, if it’s over a hundred years old, it’s pretty much prehistoric!

It was very unusual for a week-end, since the streets were almost empty. We were even able to cross the Alameda, the main “street” (more like a highway) on the red light! Maybe the menacing skies had something to do with it…… Spaniards don’t seem to be very fond of foul weather.

Wandering along calle Beatas, a pretty jazzy district known for its bars and discos, we discovered a couple of strange things I hadn’t seen before.

Fountain With Caños

This fountain looks pretty ugly, but I think it’s just the flash from the camera making it look kinda garish. This is the same angle without flash.

Fountain With Caños no flash

I was attracted to it immediately because we first saw it from the other side, the side with the faucets.

Cinco Caños

Springing fountains with taps or pipes, “caños”, are important in Spanish folklore and many songs are dedicated to them. In these traditional songs, the fountains usually have seven taps (siete caños), I dunno why but I guess seven is always a magical number and is always supposed to bring good luck.

However, the fountain on Beatas Street only had five taps.

We had actually gone off in search of the elusive “Hammam” or Arab baths. But we found them locked up and dark with a sarcastic note on the door cackling over the “nefarious” management of the former company that had been hired to take care of these facilities. Fortunately, the owner of the premises had apparently won some kind of court case (after four years!) over this nefarious management company, and now had recovered the full use of this historic site and was in the process of renovating and reforming it.

Street Art

Street art can be so beautiful sometimes.

Anyways, I was quite interested in getting away from our usual routine of Burger King or McDonald’s for dinner with a free toy thrown into the kiddie menu. The oldest is a little big for toys now, and the kiddie menu has about as much effect on his four stomachs as the proverbial egg in the giant’s stomach. The youngest still enjoys kiddie menus and free toys, but I was thinking that they were both ready to move on to more mature fare, all the same.

So I spied around for something “castizo”, something home-grown, something typically Spanish. Now, that’s pretty hard in downtown Malaga, where the streets are always crowded with foreign tourists.

But in the end we chose a nice little venue on calle Granada which seemed to have a few people, and they mostly looked Spanish. The menu was a reasonable price too. The kids clamoured for a kiddie menu, of course, and we had a debate as I preferred that they would try out something “adult” — as in, not French fries.

As a single mamma I have a tendency to endure less than satisfactory experiences in restaurants. The waiters usually give me a funny look when I walk in with two kids and no man beside me. They usually hover about me, probably most worried that I wouldn’t have the funds to pay for the meal, or that, even worse, I would take off without paying. As soon as I get up, they’re dashing over to me asking me if I would like something else or whether I’m ready to leave. And when I pay, they always count out the money most carefully while blocking the exit — just making sure it’s all there before I disappear, I guess.

Tapas at El Piyayo

At “El Piyayo”, the waiter also had a slight confusion as well because he thought I was “waiting for my husband”, and therefore he didn’t serve me immediately. After a while, he started to become aware of the fact that there probably was no “husband”, and asked me whether I was waiting for my husband.

However, once I had made it clear to him that there was no husband, there hadn’t been one for some time but I devoutly hoped that one day in the future there would once again be a “husband”, the waiter turned into the sweetest, most educated person and started attending to us as if we were the only people in the restaurant. All our food arrived promptly, and he even threw in our drinks for free!

Taberna El Piyayo

So as you can see, we had a thoroughly great time and the meal was excellent! The atmosphere was warm, cosy and welcoming. There were photos of people singing and dancing flamenco around the walls, and the few patrons about spoke in low voices and all were clearly Spanish. No “guiris” here, apparently!

We had made a superlative choice! Which is why I am mentioning this little taberna here in this blog — but I hope tourists don’t start to descend upon it like flies now that the news is out! This is just a little secret for the few people who read this blog and happen to live in or near Malaga.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

On Christmas Day in the Morning

Malaga in Black and White

…And It’s a Rainy Night in Malaga

What We Do On Week-ends

Stories From Granada

You may have heard of Washington Irving’s “Tales of the Alhambra”, right? Well, since I wasn’t able to get any real prime, supreme photos on our trip to Granada, I thought I would instead accompany the few poor specimens I was able to take with stories and anecdotes about our life there.

The Alhambra from our rooftop.

AlhambraThis poor little, split-up thing was the only salvageable portion of a pic I took from the rooftop of our old building where we used to live, back in the day. My little baby was born there (well, not there, he was born in the hospital, but we were living there when he was born), so you could say he was literally born in the shadow of the Alhambra. From our rooftop we had a spectacular view overlooking this famed Moorish castle. You can’t see it very well in the photo though.

(I might add that it was even taken in those olden days when digital cameras were only the possessions of the rich and the famous (or technology-obsessed computer geeks), which we obviously were not. In other words, we took it with an analogue camera and scanned it into a computer, hence its crooked lopsidedness.)

You might be wondering, with such a privileged location even someone richer and more famous than us would have died for to possess, with our complete and unobstructed view of the Alhambra day and night, why we left. Well, my husband (now ex) packed up his bags and moved to Venice with an Italian girl. I got tired of sitting all alone with the baby on the rooftop and gazing at the Alhambra and decided that I preferred to gaze at the sea instead. So we left, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

(I might add, he returned a few weeks later with his head hanging, something about the Italian girl not willing to support him and demanding that he get a job……)

Plaza Nueva

Ah, the famous Plaza Nueva which is most emblematic of Granada. I think every tourist knows where it is and has passed through it sometime. I have so many tales to tell about this place, I could probably fill up a whole book.

It’s a mecca to every hippy, saltimbanco, juggler and rasta on the planet, I believe. Okay, so in this photo it looks kinda forlorn. I guess maybe it gets a bit livelier when the weather lightens up.

Reyes Catolicos

This is the famous statue of the Catholic Monarchs (Isabel and Fernando) which probably every visitor to Granada has seen (and posed in front of). My kids weren’t going to be outdone and had to pose in front of it too.

Science Museum

The Science Museum.

This was the actual object of our visit to Granada. Our luck is fantastic and on the one day that we had chosen to visit the city, it was closed! Normally it is closed on Mondays, so we went on Tuesday – and it was closed! Something about a bank holiday……

Fuente de las Batallas

La Fuente de las Batallas (the Fount of Battles).

Well, actually, La Fuente de las Batallas is the one beside this one. I couldn’t take a photo of the actual fountain, because there was some sort of protest march around it. But this one is right next to it, and it’s quite similar, so I figured, it can sort of substitute. Right?

I used to love going there on lazy summer afternoons with my newborn and have an Italian gelatto. It’s what I remember about this fountain, and I associate it with Italian ice cream now. Of course, I’m sure we did other things there too. But that is what I remember.

Garden

Balloon Man

This is the long passage that leads from the centre of Granada and Bib-Rambla to the back streets behind the cathedral. A friend used to live there, and my son spent many afternoons bawling away in her home. (When he was born he was always bawling.)

Cuesta de San Gregorio

This is perhaps the most frequented little lane in Granada, the Cuesta de San Gregorio, the entranceway to the Albayzín, the old Moorish neighbourhood. It’s lined with teterías (tea shops) all the way up, and it’s very typical to go there in the afternoons and sip hot mint tea while nibbling at Arab pastries and sweetmeats and observing the crowds go by.

My favourite shop, an ecological, health food store, El Panadero Loco, is on this street, but when we passed by it was closed because, apparently, it was a bank holiday……

I asked the locals and I was pleased to discover that after all these years, business was still booming there. (Taking into account that my son, who was born in the shadow of the Alhambra, is now twelve……)

Cuesta de San Gregorio

Kinda reminds you of a Moroccan zoco, doesn’t it?

San Juan de los Reyes

You can see by this church (it’s actually a cloistered monastery, I’ve been told) that there is a street that leads upwards on the left-hand side. The street on the right (not visible in this photo) is San Juan de los Reyes, and that is where we used to live. It’s a very long, winding and quite renowned street as it runs up the length of the Albayzín.

In the background you can see the bar with the green awning. We used to call it “El Veintiuno” (Twenty-One). Here you can see it up closer.

El Veintiuno

If you pay close attention you might notice that the sign actually says “22”. Why, you might wonder? Shouldn’t it read “21”?

Well, the girl who owned the place was twenty-one years old. When she turned twenty-two, she changed the name to “Twenty-Two”. We can see that she decided to remain twenty-two forever.

They used to serve some truly incredible tapas there. (Well, they probably still do, but it didn’t occur to us to go there this time.) The hippies used to lounge around in there half-stoned, and it was impossible to have a coherent conversation with them.

“What are you up to these days?” you might address one of your acquaintances.

“Ah, just sitting around here, doing nothing,” they would reply with a vague wave of their hands.

“Well, we’re going home now. Where do you live?”

“Over there,” would be the response, with another nebulous waving towards the sky.

Well, I’ve saved up for another day the tales of our “Anecdotes from the Albayzín”, so be on the look-out!

Souvenirs

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Sierra Nevada Revisited

The Barcelona That Tourists Never See

Costa del Sol – Torremolinos

Malaga in Black and White