Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Indalo Man


The Indalo

indalo-manGo into any gift or souvenir shop in the city of Almería or the tourist resorts of Roquetas de Mar and Mojácar and you will find key rings, thimbles, teaspoons and even jewellery - all bearing the Indalo symbol. Furthermore, on the road to Almería airport a giant statue of the Indalo stands prominently on a roundabout towering over the 'Welcome to Almería' sign.

So what is so special about this stick figure man that the Almeriense, the people of Almería, call the Indalo? Well, in 1868, cave paintings were discovered in a cave in the north of the province of Almería. These cave paintings were about 6,000 years old and one of them, a man with his arms held out to his sides and holding a rainbow above his head, has come to be the symbol of Almería.The Indalo allegedly brings good luck, health and love to those who own one. It is customary in this region of Spain to paint the Indalo symbol on the front of houses and businesses to protect them from evil. The interesting thing to note, however, is that this practice of warding off evil spirits by having the Indalo symbol above the door has been going on for centuries, so the locals must have known about the symbol before the cave discovery.
In olden days fishermen used to pin the symbol on their doors before going out to sea as a protection against storms and as a guarantee of obtaining a good catch. Perhaps they still do!
The cave in question, la Cueva de los Letreros, was declared a National Monument in 1924. It is one of a number of caves situated in the Sierra de María in the north of the province of Almería.
Los Letreros lies between the towns of Vélez Blanco and Vélez Rubio.
Vélez Blanco is particularly worth a visit. It is a typical pueblo blanco with its whitewashed houses nestling at the foot of a rocky outcrop upon which stands a majestic castle.




Copyright of this text and more info at: Cave Painting : The Indalo Man, discovered in Almeria, Spain & Good Luck charm.. http://www.unique-almeria.com/cave-painting.html#ixzz1QNsXxKpw

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spain - a web site

A web site intended as a photographic and written celebration of places in Spain. I will share with you my impressions of Spain, its places and its people.
Robert Bovington (author of Spanish Impressions, Spanish Visions, Spanish Matters.)





Click on the following link:
SPAIN 


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cartagena - Peral Submarine


According to local tourist information, Isaac Peral invented the submarine in 1889. Whilst Señor Peral undoubtedly designed the fine specimen of a U-boat that is on display, the locals are wrong to allege that he invented the submarine - a Dutchman, Cornelis Drebbel, built the first one in 1620! Submarines were also used during the American Civil War (1861-65).

Photo of Padules, Alpujarra Almeriense


The stone paved streets of Padules are typical of the Alpujarras — the façades of the houses whitewashed and little pots of plants sit on windowsills behind wrought-iron railings.

Cherín in Las Alpujarras


Cherín is a small village with an oil mill and many orange, mandarin and olive groves as well as almond trees.

Pampaneira in the Alpujarras


Pampaneira © Robert Bovington

Pampaneira is an extremely photogenic location with narrow streets, a fine Gothic church with a wooden roof in Mudéjar style, and several cafes and shops, which though 'touristy' are nevertheless delightful. The view from the road leading down into the town is breathtaking with the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada forming an attractive backdrop.

more blogs by Robert Bovington...
"Photographs of Spain"
"postcards from Spain"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"bits and bobs"
"Spanish Expressions"
"Spanish Art"
"Books About Spain"

Mecina Bombaron in the Alpujarras


This area of the Alpujarras is particularly delightful located as it is on the wooded slopes of the Sierra Nevada. A recent census revealed that 2100 different types of plant exist in the Sierra Nevada National Park. Chestnut trees, in particular, are abundant here and the local architecture incorporates chestnut beams. The houses of Mecina-Bombarón are set amidst forests of chestnut.

Ohanes in the Alpujarra Almeriense


It is not just the flora and fauna that make the Alpujarras such a special place. The white villages, with their peculiar architecture that resembles that of northern Africa, are charming. The houses are built with stone, adobe and clay and their facades whitewashed. A typical feature of the houses is their flat roofs, many of them crammed with flowers. The stone-paved streets are often very narrow, winding and steep which add to the enchantment of the villages. Some of them appear to cling perilously to the sides of the mountainsides when viewed from a distance, but of course, most have survived for many hundreds of years since the Moorish times of Al-Andalus.

Robert Bovington's Travel Books

Robert Bovington's Storefront - Lulu.com

Just some of the books on offer:-


SPANISH IMPRESSIONS

SPANISH IMPRESSIONS (book)

Print: £13.24
Robert Bovington is an Englishman living in Spain. He is so enthralled with his adopted country that it has inspired him to write about his experiences. From Almería in sun-kissed Andalucía to Zaragoza in historic Aragón, the author takes us on a tour of Spain. We visit the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Córdoba's Mezquita and the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. We explore Spain's diverse natural landscapes – the Picos de Europa, the Sierra Nevada and the vast plains of La Mancha. During our travels, we will encounter famous Spaniards – Isaac Albéniz, Pablo Picasso and many others. Football, fiestas and flamenco are experienced whilst food and drink, Spanish style, is on the menu. We will encounter Romanesque cathedrals, Gothic churches, Moorish castles, Modernist civil buildings and beautiful plazas. Throughout the journey, the keyword is diversity. It is this diversity that has inspired Robert Bovington to provide us with his "Spanish Impressions"
SPANISH MATTERS

SPANISH MATTERS (e-book)

eBook: £6.00
Bob and Diane have made the life-changing decision to retire to sunny Andalucía. Instead of lazing on the beach they explore the countryside of their adopted country. They visit 'pueblos blancos' in the Alpujarras. They enjoy the wonderful scenery of Andalusia. On one such journey to the medieval city of Ronda they discover the spectacular Sierra de las Nieves – a biosphere reserve. This type of encounter is to be repeated throughout their expeditions. They experience the stark beauty of the Tavernas desert; the enchanting Palmeral of Elche; the grandeur of the Sierra Nevada and the fantastically diverse landscapes of the Cabo de Gata with its unique flora and fauna. On their journeys they explore the culture and customs of the Andalucian people – tapas, fiestas, music, soccer, bad driving, noisy Spaniards. In short, Bob and Diane have fallen in love with their newly adopted country and are looking forward to visiting other areas of Spain and learning the language properly because Spanish matters!
SPANISH MATTERS

SPANISH MATTERS (book)

Print: £8.99
Bob and Diane have made the life-changing decision to retire to sunny Andalucía. Instead of lazing on the beach they explore the countryside of their adopted country. They visit 'pueblos blancos' in the Alpujarras. They enjoy the wonderful scenery of Andalusia. On one such journey to the medieval city of Ronda they discover the spectacular Sierra de las Nieves – a biosphere reserve. This type of encounter is to be repeated throughout their expeditions. They experience the stark beauty of the Tavernas desert; the enchanting Palmeral of Elche; the grandeur of the Sierra Nevada and the fantastically diverse landscapes of the Cabo de Gata with its unique flora and fauna. On their journeys they explore the culture and customs of the Andalucian people – tapas, fiestas, music, soccer, bad driving, noisy Spaniards. In short, Bob and Diane have fallen in love with their newly adopted country and are looking forward to visiting other areas of Spain and learning the language properly because Spanish matters!
Roquetas y la Costa de Almería

Roquetas y la Costa de Almería (e-book)

eBook: FREE
El escritor Inglés, Robert Bovington, ofrece al lector una guía de Roquetas de Mar y sus alrededores.

Sierra Nevada near Puerta de Ragua


The Sierra Nevada teems with wildlife. Ibex share their habitat with wild boar and wildcats whilst in the air, owls, sparrow hawks and eagles soar. Further down, in the Alpujarras, squirrels, badgers, foxes, lizards and turtles are to be found and all manner of birds including robins, chaffinches, woodpeckers, wood pigeons and the hoopoe. In the rivers are trout and salmon.

Murtas in the Alpujarras


The Alpujarras is the area of pueblos blancos that dot the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. It is a nature lover's delight. Torrents cascading down from the snows of the high Sierra have cut deep ravines into the rock leaving the lower slopes a brilliant green. Olive and almond trees abound and as one travels higher into the Alpujarras, oak, chestnut and pine forests flourish. Every season in the Alpujarras is special – even winter with its orange trees heavy with fruit.

Alpujarras - almond blossom near Albondon



"It's like going to heaven," my wife commented, on our first drive into the Alpujarras. We had left Roquetas on one of the few grey days. It was in February and there was a lot of low cloud. We had only travelled a few miles up into the mountains, but it was a different world. Above the clouds, there was a bright blue sky and beautiful white and pink blossom of the almond trees.

Mijas_La Muralla


A favourite spot of mine is 'La Muralla' – a park with balconies from where one can view the coast below. It is a quiet oasis away from the bustle of tourists, yet is only a few minutes walk from the centre – just up past the Plaza de Toros.

Ronda - view from the Alameda Gardens




The views from the Alameda Gardens are breathtaking. The gardens were built at the beginning of the nineteenth century and financed, as the story goes, by fines levied on townspeople found to be behaving improperly. My wicked sense of humour makes me wonder in what way the inhabitants were behaving in an improper manner. Were they peeing into the gorge? It takes me back to my early schooldays when we would see who could aim the highest!

Ronda - Puente Nuevo


Three bridges span the Tajo Gorge but the newest, the 18th century Puente Nuevo, is the focal point of the town. It is a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. When you stand on the bridge and look into the deep of the gorge below, you will understand why its construction took 42 years! Apparently special machines had to be invented to raise the huge solid stone blocks from the bottom of the gorge.

Ronda - view from Puente Nuevo


Ronda is a photographer's dream – or a nightmare if one hasn't enough film; the battery has run down or you have a smallish memory card in your digital camera! Everywhere you look, there are delightful buildings not only the important buildings like the 'Palacio de Mondragón' and the Palacio de Salvatierra', but also the ordinary houses, churches and shops. The old town is a maze of narrow streets with whitewashed houses interspersed with grand Renaissance mansions.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Alfarería de Sorbas


The pottery making tradition of the Alfarería de Sorbas goes back to the times of the Moors. This photo shows an example of one of their ovens (el horno árabe).


el horno árabe

a pottery shop in Sorbas


more blogs by Robert Bovington...
"Photographs of Spain"
"postcards from Spain"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"bits and bobs"
"Spanish Expressions"
"Spanish Art"
"Books About Spain"

Sorbas - Plaza de la Constitución



The Town Square or 'Plaza de la Constitución' is really rather splendid. On one side is the former residence of the Duke of Alba. There are many mansions in this ancient town. In bygone days, a number of Castilian noblemen lived here. They not only owned these large houses but between them most of the surrounding land as well. Today, these houses are still privately owned. Many of them have attractive red façades.



Karst en Yesos 2


It is hard to believe that this area was once under water as part of the Mediterranean. Of course, this was 6 million years ago. Now it is potholing country. The erosion of layers of limestone has formed caves and galleries.

Panoramio - Photo of Karst en Yesos nr Sorbas Caves

Karst en Yesos de Sorbas


The 'Paraje Natural Karst en Yesos de Sorbas' is an area peppered with caves.

Calar Alto Observatory



The Calar Alto Observatory is located in the Sierra de los Filabres just north of the city of Almería. It was apparently installed here because this area possesses the cleanest atmosphere in Europe.




Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nacimiento nr Laujar de Andarax

a lovely place for a picnic








Cabo de Gata - Las Salinas


The Cabo de Gata natural park is really rather splendid. It is one of my favourite areas in the province of Almería. High temperatures and the lowest rainfall in the Iberian Peninsula have created a large semi-desert area but, despite its aridity, it is a nature lover's delight. There are thousands of different species there including the pink flamingo and the rare Italian wall lizard. There are storks, cormorants and kestrels, puffins, oystercatchers and eagles. The extraordinary wealth of wildlife is unbelievable. There are many native species that are unique to the park including the pink snapdragon (antirrhinum charidemi), known locally as the dragoncillo del Cabo, which flowers all year round. Dwarf fan palms are to be found here. They are Europe's only native palms. In the sea, there are grouper, bream, squid and prawn. There are also 260 species of seaweed, which are home to many varieties of crustacean, mollusc and fish.



see more photos of the Cabo de Gata by clicking on the link below:




Almería - Bishop's Palace



Opposite the Cathedral is the 'Palacio Episcopal' or Archbishop's Palace. It was built in the nineteenth century when the upper classes started erecting grand stately homes and palaces outside the old walled city of Muslim Almería.



see more photos of Almería by clicking on the link below:

http://www.panoramio.com/user/2391258/tags/Almer%C3%ADa



Almería - Sol de Portocarrero


The east facing façade of Almería Cathedral has a relief of the Portocarro sun, the symbol of the city.








Almería Cathedral



The 'Cathedral' is the other principal monument in Almería. It was designed as a place of prayer and of war, when it was built in the sixteenth century. This was because the shores of Almería were continually under attack from Turks and Berbers and so it was designed as a place of refuge as well as worship. It was built in a Gothic style with a Renaissance façade.








Almería Alcazaba


The undoubted jewel in the crown is the 'Alcazaba'. This enormous fortress dominates the city, standing as it does on a hill overlooking the town and the sea. It was built in the tenth century but, over the centuries, it had further enhancements added such as a Moorish palace and, in the time of the Catholic Kings, a Christian palace.

Almería - mimosa trees


I do admire the colourful houses with their intricate wrought-iron window grilles, the old-fashioned lampposts and the mimosa trees. These trees provide welcome relief from the fierce Almerian sun, especially in Calle Trajano where one can sit in the shade with a drink outside one of the little cafes.

Almería - Rambla (Avenida Garcia Lorca)


Almería is a mix of old and new. It is essentially a Spanish city with a North African flavour. It is one of the most ancient cities of Andalucía. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks and Romans have all left their mark, but it was the Moors that really put Almería on the map! The Romans called it 'Portus Magnus', but later it was called al-Mariyah, meaning 'Mirror of the Sea'.

Almería - Murallas de Jayrán


'Muralla de Jayrán' — the walls were built to enlarge the city's defences in the 11th century. They run all the way to the 'Cerro de San Cristóbal' — the hill of Saint Christopher.

Alcazaba Almería - 'Torre de la Pólvora'



In the 'Torre de la Pólvora' — the tower of gunpowder — there are cannon. One of them points seaward. Pirates do not invade Almería anymore but the province does get its fair share of illegal immigrants especially from Morocco!


Almería - view from Alcazaba


The view southwest - the 'Castillo de San Telmo', Almería's lighthouse standing proudly on a rocky outcrop

Almería Alcazaba - Torre de Homenaje


One of the towers of the Alcazaba is the 'Torre de Homenaje'. It has the coat of arms of the 'Catholic Monarchs' above the doorway. It was Ferdinand and Isabella who ordered the construction of this, the castle part of the 'Alcazaba'.
 

Almería - Iglesia Santiago


The magnificently sculptured façade includes a depiction of St. James, Slayer of the Moors. This church is one of the oldest in the town. It was built in the times of Bishop Fray Diego Fernández de Villalán.

Almería - 'Convento de las Puras'


Almería - 'Convento de las Puras'. This 17th century church was formerly a convent.