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 »
February 15, 2014
SILENCE is not just golden. It is a commodity they don’t make any more. Noise has become inescapable.
Climb the highest mountain and you will be buzzed by lowflying aircraft, find the loneliest beach and sound systems or speedboats will shatter the calm, plunge into Alpine wilderness and snowmobile hooligans will assault your solitude.
Spain is the perfect place to study noise because it has so much of it. In fact, the Spanish press frequently reminds readers – with a touch of pride? – that after Japan this is the world’s noisiest country. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »