Monday, August 26, 2013

Capture the Colour: Photos Across the Spectrum in Morocco and Spain

Last week, I came across a lovely photo post by longtime Spain expat blogger Cassandra Gambill. But because she was entering the annual Capture the Colour photography contest (sponsored by the British website Travel Supermarket), her blog post showcased five pictures from her travels over the past few years in which the colors (spelled without a U, thank you very much!) yellow, red, green, white, and blue featured prominently. For whatever reason, I was hesitant to throw my hat in the ring until Cat Gaa of Sunshine and Siestas “tagged” me in her entry for the competition this morning. Guess I don’t have much of a choice now! Anyway, I hope y’all enjoy these photos.

Yellow: Petunias at the Patios de Córdoba festival

Patios de Córdoba, Spain
Link to Flickr
I first visited Córdoba back in dreary December and, while I did enjoy the city, every Spaniard I talked to about it insisted it was “worth the pain” (vale la pena) to go back in May for the Patios de Córdoba festival, a decades-old competition to see who can decorate their traditional Andalusian courtyard with spring flowers the best. Taking their advice, I returned with my friend Leigh and we explored three neighborhoods in town. House after house was literally overflowing with flower pots and planters, and I was amazed at the beauty and variety of flowers the homeowners had curated.

Red: Candles in the Church of Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain
Link to Flickr
The first time I visited Barcelona was in a whirlwind layover on my way to Paris for Christmas break this year. Although I missed my night train (it’s a long story), I managed to enjoy a half-hour of calm amidst a day of go-go-go sightseeing at the Church of Santa Maria del Mar. This church is an austere yet beautiful Catalan Gothic structure built in the city’s touristy old town, but when you enter inside, you enter into a true place of peace: dim lighting accentuates the spacious naves while soft violin music plays quietly through the speakers. I took this picture of votive candles lit in one of the side chapels.

Green: Moroccan mint tea

Moroccan mint tea
Link to Flickr
Green tea + freshly picked spearmint leaves + a bushel of sugar = nectar of the gods. Green tea is a decent beverage, spearmint has a delightful fragrance on its own, and sugar needs no explanation, but when you put all three of them together the way Moroccans do, the flavor combination is unbelievable. It’s kind of like the first bursts of fresh, fruity flavor in bubblegum, only it never ends. I won’t say how many times (per day) I drank this stuff while in Morocco…but it was a lot.

White: Jewish cemetery of Fez, Morocco

Fez, Morocco
Link to Flickr
Stumbling upon a vast Jewish cemetery is not something you’d expect to do in the westernmost outpost of the Arab world. But while touring northern Morocco this past March, that’s just what I did. In a quiet corner of the Fez medina you can find the old Jewish quarter—old because almost no Jews live there any longer. However, the centuries-old cemetery still reminds visitors of this part of town’s former residents with striking clarity. Thousands of these whitewashed, cylindrical humps undulate across the sunny tract of land and tell us of the diverse culture that Fez once enjoyed.

Blue: Chefchaouen, Morocco

Chefchaouen, Morocco
Link to Flickr
Probably my favorite city I visited in Morocco was Chefchaouen, a village built on the side of a hill in the rugged northern Rif Mountains. It really enchanted me because virtually all houses and buildings in the medina or old town were painted in a rich, bright blue. This color scheme made the whole town feel like it was in a science fiction world, but there was this one house that brought me back down to earth. I took a picture of this entrance because it stood out from the rest of the medina as quite dilapidated, whereas most houses are sharp and cleanly-painted. Perhaps the ladder indicates there were plans to eventually spruce up the doorway.

Tag—you’re it!

Part of this photo challenge involves calling out five other bloggers who you think should put together an entry of their own. So I’m tagging them before running away at the end of this post!

* Ashley, because France
* Christine, because her photos of rainy northern Spain are a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
* Kaley, because she writes about Spain without rose-colored glasses
* Liz, because she has already done two color-themed posts on Córdoba and Istanbul
* Mike, because he knows how colorful Andalucía is in the spring, too

Tell me which picture is your favorite! (or least favorite, if you haven’t had your coffee yet this morning!)
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