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Ernesto Lecuona – ‘Andalucia’

Cuban-born composer Ernesto Lecuona y Casado died around 50 years ago (August 6, 1895 – November 29, 1963). He wrote this wonderful piece of music in 1932. As it says here, he was often called the Gershwin of Cuba, was friendly with him and with the composer Maurice Ravel, who once called Lecuona’s Malagueña ‘more melodic … Continue reading

Chef gives Chris Stewart tons of garlic

Anyone who knows anything about this area – Las Alpujarras, and in particular Órgiva – will know about Chris Stewart. He’s the best-selling author of Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia and its sequels. The book details…oh, here’s the biography on his own website. It seems almost every expat we meet knows him (one of … Continue reading

The weevil dead

It’s very sad to see palm trees dying, reduced to scarecrow-like figures with drooping, lifeless leaves. It’s all because of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus – the red palm weevil. Over the years, people have planted palm trees in places they want them to be seen; by swimming pools, grand entrances, ornamental gardens and so on. So the effect is … Continue reading

Órgiva – Then and Now #6

The old photograph may have been taken in the 1940s or early 1950s. It was taken from where La Alpujarra supermarket is today on the Avenida Gonzalez Robles. The shorter building at the end is where the sweet shop is. The bus is heading for Ugíjar, a town in the eastern Alpujarras. The direction it’s facing – west … Continue reading

Smoke got in our eyes

We got up early and headed for Las Barreras to the west of Órgiva, it’s where our walk to Lanjarón begins. The strong winds of yesterday had died down by this morning. It meant a thousand bonfires were lit in the valley, filling the air with smoke for as far as you could see. For a while the base … Continue reading

String ’em up – bay leaves and chilis

We use loads of bay leaves and chilis, especially as there’s a 20 metre-high bay tree here. And a decent bag of chilis costs just 80 cents from a shop at the top of town. We’ve strung up a branch of bay alongside some chillies, which include scotch bonnets. These can have you crying like … Continue reading

Fiestas and ferias: Órgiva and Lanjarón

[Feria de Órgiva 2015, here] [Old post] If you’re visiting the area it’s always fun to stumble upon a festival or celebration – and the locals certainly know how to enjoy them. If they’re not burning things, cooking gigantic paellas in the street or letting off fireworks, they’ll be parading religious effigies around town. And … Continue reading

El Camino del Rey – don’t look down

[Note: old post. The Camino del Rey is now open to the public.] It’s entirely possible to spend days watching videos – cute kittens, favourite bands, Michael Thomas’s goal against Liverpool in 1989 – and we never tire of these amazing films of El Camino del Rey – the King’s Walkway (sometimes El Caminito del Rey). … Continue reading

Sopa de castañas y chorizo – get your nuts out…

On our recent walk from Pampaneira to Bubión we collected fallen chestnuts and apples. Back home, we made delicious chestnut and chorizo soup, followed by apple crumble. The chestnuts were prepared by scoring a cross in each one (to stop them exploding), adding them to boiling water and simmering for 25 minutes. The softened shell and inner skin were removed … Continue reading

Songs about Spain – The Caves of Altamira

M grew up listening to the American group Steely Dan and always loved the song ‘The Caves of Altamira’ off their 1976 album, The Royal Scam. Only now, here in Spain, did curiosity lead us to find out where the caves are. And they couldn’t be further from where we live. It – the site … Continue reading

An autumn walk, a loom and a dog bite

The weather’s slowly turning but today was sunny. We drove up to Pampaneira, which we visited a month ago; one of the pueblos blancos of the region and a good starting point for a short walk to the next village up – Bubión. It struck us that leaves do turn brown here; that flowers disappear, rose hips appear and … Continue reading

Órgiva from the air

A while back we mentioned this short 2007 film of Órgiva taken from the air. It’s great to see familiar buildings from above, including Órgiva’s church. If you know Órgiva well, pause the film at 18 seconds. The view is looking roughly north-eastwards over the town. The Rio Chico is in the foreground and the … Continue reading

Feed your daughter with raw internal organs!

Who thinks this picture – splayed across delivery vans across Spain – contains a human internal organ? We can imagine the client/design company meeting: ‘So Ham X, we’ve come up with this great concept to make this product really enticing – pretend the slice of ham is a human kidney!’ ‘Brilliant, you’re hired.’ Related posts: … Continue reading

History of the Moors of Spain – Florian (book)

Living in Las Alpujarras we’re reminded of its Moorish past on a daily basis in the architecture, fruit trees and acequias.  We’ve read a few modern books about Spain’s past but the History of the Moors of Spain was written in the 18th century – around the time of the French revolution and the United … Continue reading

No basil? Can we take the kitten instead?

You know what it’s like, you pop to the garden centre for some herbs and come back with a kitten. A slightly ruffled cream blob with azul eyes and henna toes. Had Brigitte Bardot already popped her clogs, Kitten would be her reincarnation. Our first attempt to prise Kitten away from a life of little … Continue reading