ICE, SNOW AND WAR IN THE SIERRAS

October 31, 2015

ANY DAY NOW the first snows will blanket the summit of one of southern Spain’s highest mountains — just a short distance from the Mediterranean beaches where (hardier) folk swim all year around.

La Maroma, soaring 2,068 metres, is the highest peak in Málaga province — and probably the closest thing to a holy mountain in these parts.

In the days before refrigeration the neveros (literally, “snowmen”) would trek to the top of Maroma to seek snow and ice. This they would pack hard in straw and load it in esparto baskets on the backs of mules. Transported to the coast, the ice was used to cool drinks or make ice-cream. Read the rest of this entry »

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LAURIE LEE IN SPAIN

July 27, 2014

WANDER along the seafront of a certain lesser-known Spanish resort and you will find a phallic-looking structure bearing a small plaque.

It honours a penniless youth whose writings helped put the town, Almuñecar in Granada province, on the tourist map.

“Laurie Lee? Who he?” Spanish visitors may ask.

But in his native England Lee is a celebrity — and this year the centenary of his birth has been celebrated with special events and the publishing of new editions of his books. Read the rest of this entry »


Seeking Winter Sun — A Spanish Travel Adventure

August 4, 2013

EVERYBODY remembers the first time they stepped on to Spanish soil. Dazzling light, dramatic landscapes, colourful personalities, pungent smells…they make an impact on the most travel-jaded.

You may be exhilarated or exasperated, enthralled or appalled, but you cannot remain indifferent, for this is a land which invites extreme emotions.

However, my first visit contradicted all the stereotypes for I came away convinced that the rain in Spain fell mostly on green, misty hills inhabited by short, broad people who wore large berets and carried black umbrellas everywhere. This impression arose from a day trip from France to San Sebastian. Read the rest of this entry »


Between Two Fires wins acclaim in US

June 30, 2013

Between Two Fires — Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras, a poignant account of how a  village was trapped in a brutal conflict for years after the Civil War, has been setting sales records in the United States.

Since it became available in the Lightning Source edition, which can be ordered through Amazon online, it has been selling steadily to American readers keen to know more about this forgotten war — a war which went virtually unreported due to strict censorship.

The book has won critical praise from across the world. “As exciting as any thriller yet deeply moving, it deserves to be read by everyone concerned with the history of contemporary  Spain,”says historian Paul Preston, author of The Spanish Civil War and Franco – A Biography. Read the rest of this entry »


Did Indiana Jones exist in real life?

February 22, 2013

HIS EXPLOITS have entertained millions. And they willingly suspend belief as they enjoy the crazy escapades of Indiana Jones in the various films in which he is portrayed by Harrison Ford.

But hold on! Could Indiana Jones have ever existed in real life? Not with that name maybe. But somebody remarkably like Indiana Jones did play a dramatic role in the war against the Nazis.

His name: Carleton S. Coon and when you read of his exploits it seems quite likely that the film character was based on him. Colourful background information, lending substance to this, is detailed in David Baird’s book Between Two Fires – Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras. Read the rest of this entry »


GUERRA OLVIDADA EN LAS SIERRAS

January 22, 2012

HACE MAS DE 60 AÑOS una guerra azotó varias regiones de España. Era una guerra de que el público no fue informado, ni dentro del país ni afuera.

Cada día hay menos gente que vivío en su propria carne la lucha por grupos de guerrilleros contra el regimen de Franco. Uno por uno, los testigos se van desapareciendo.

El libro “Historia de los maquis – Entre dos fuegos deja constancia del impacto terrible de aquella guerra desconocida en las sierras de Málaga y Granada en los años 40. Recoge el testimonio — apasionante, espeluznante y emocionante — de los campesinos de la Axarquía. Y también de los guerrilleros y de la Guardia Civil. Read the rest of this entry »