114 – Vete a Dormir (Go To Sleep)

Twenty-five years ago I crawled out of a tent in the Sinai Desert at midnight, hoicked my rucksack onto my back, 114-1-MySinaiPicand followed our camels in the age-old pilgrimage from St Catherine’s Monastery to the summit of Mount Sinai.  You climb it at night as it’s too hot during the day.  Plus the main point of the pilgrimage is to be on the summit as dawn breaks, and the extraordinary colours appear to rush towards you as the sun rises and picks out the layers of mountain-ranges spread out before you. Continue reading

86 – Two Faces of December

Oh yes!  It’s that time of year again.  And Spain does Christmas so well.  The lights are up, and in every corner a little nativity scene is built.

Oh no!  It’s that time of year again.  And Spain does fiestas so well.  The chorizo is sliced and the mosto decanted, and Colmenar prepares for its Fiesta de Mosto y Chacina – officially a Ruta de Tapas, unofficially the bar-crawl round every bar in the village. Continue reading

62 – Pagan Night


Magic was most definitely in the air as the fates conspired in the best possible way, and not only put La Noche de San Juan on a Sunday but also ensured it coincided with a super-moon – the biggest and brightest full moon of the year, closer than usual, and causing lower low-tides and higher high-tides.  Coming so close on the heels of the solstice just two days before meant it was lower down than usual, creating a huge orangey-red orb on the sea’s horizon. Continue reading

36 – So Many Bars ……

I’ve always been a “completer”.  When I start something I like to finish it.  So it didn’t take much psycho-analysis to work out that when presented with a card with a box for each of fourteen participating tapas bars to visit, I wasn’t going to leave a single box unstamped.  And we had just Sunday to do it. Continue reading