I’m stalking these two women, Marianne and Molly. I’m stalking a bunch of guys as well, but only in the sense that I’m making plans and will get to them as soon as time and resources allow. But Marianne and Molly, one move from them and I’m there, right behind them, following their every step, camera at the ready.
I have them to thank for much of the pleasure that Andalucía has given me over the past year. They both write blogs about the area, and I rapidly learned to trust their judgement. The things they have loved, I too have loved. Where they suggest a visit, there I go. And always they have been right.
I found Marianne’s blog first. Delightfully named “East of Málaga” she covers the same patch that I do, the lesser-known inland Axarquía region of Málaga province. A brilliant photographer, her vivid illustrations cannot help but grab the attention and immediately turn any reader into a stalker. Her first recommendation was of the delightful Arab baths in the woods outside Alhama de Granada. With two friends we followed Marianne’s recommendations to the letter – and since then I was hooked. Next, her photos of Frigiliana astounded me – I hadn’t known anywhere could be so cute – and I was there two days after her post was out. http://eastofmalaga.net/2012/01/27/photographs-i-love-and-why-part-9/
And then Sayalonga! The name of this little white village had long captivated me. So when earlier this month Marianne wrote about the unique circular cemetery and the narrowest street in the Axarquía, I closed the gap on her and got there the day after publication. I could almost picture her mass of blonde curls disappearing around a corner just ahead of me!
Here’s the post that inspired me http://eastofmalaga.net/2013/06/15/death-in-the-afternoon-the-round-cemetery-of-sayalonga/
Last month she published photos of the extraordinary Buddhist Stupa, which I knew was near my home but I had never visited. The day after her blog was out, I was there. Ah! Did I catch a whiff of her scent on the breeze? Another superb recommendation. The Stupa Karachakra, up high in the mountains, is one of just four Stupas in the world and is an international focal point for Buddhists. Back down the mountain a little is the Karma Guen buddhist centre. Normally they show people around on Sundays, but the day I visited there was a weekend course, with two thousand impressively calm people camping, meditating, and listening to the Lama Ole whose presence for the weekend had drawn them there from across Europe.
Drop into Marianne’s blog and enjoy her photos and you too may be inspired to follow in her footsteps! http://eastofmalaga.net/
At the same time last year I found Molly’s blog. Based in Granada, her love for the city and its environs blazes from her words and ignites some of the same passion in the reader. She helps you navigate around the obvious popular sights, and equally sends you off into the lesser-known parts. The first blog post that had me reaching for the car keys was one about the belenes – the massive and complex nativity scenes built in churches and other buildings and squares around the city. I had no idea these things existed, and first explored the ones in Málaga. The blog post I wrote had one of my all-time favourite titles! https://tamaraessexspanishblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/37-gold-frankincense-and-wensleydale/ Then between Christmas and New Year I leapt in the car and followed her trail in Granada – here’s my post about it https://tamaraessexspanishblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/40-waitressing-in-granada/ and here’s Molly’s original that inspired me http://www.piccavey.com/nativity-scene-route-in-granada-ruta-de-belenes-2012/ Thanks to her, I have found parts of Granada I would never have found, and have come to love it almost as much as she does. My next visit there will include a pilgrimage to the newly-inaugurated Plaza Joe Strummer. Plus I need a large Moroccan wall-hanging, and thanks to Molly I know just where to look for one.
Nobody planning a trip to Granada (the city or the wider province) should do it without visiting Molly’s blog first to soak up the atmosphere and add some locations to their itinerary. Find her at http://www.piccavey.com/
I hope you’ll have a look at their blogs. They continue to inspire me to travel around this beautiful area I am lucky enough to call home.
© Tamara Essex 2013
THIS WEEK’S LANGUAGE POINT:
I have many bad habits. But the one that Juan-Mi at http://www.axalingua.com/ is currently trying to drum out of me is that I seem to avoid the reflexive verbs. I keep asking “¿Es posible andar aquí?” Is it possible to walk here? Or “¿Está permitido andar aquí?” Is it permitted to walk here? Those are both sort of OK but not what a Spanish person would say. I should be asking “¿Se puede andar aquí?” Can one walk here? Similarly I keep saying “XYZ está usado …” XYZ is used. When I should say “se usa …”. Examples – “Se usa para cocinar” and “Se usa en la cocina”. It’s used for cooking. It’s used in the kitchen. Useful phrases for the ferretería (ironmongers).