Sunday, March 9, 2014

Focus on Life ~ catching up (weeks 5 to 10)

Oh, dear, I am waaaaaay behind in the Focus On Life journey! Many excuses, but that doesn't help with keeping up with life, does it?!

I'll keep it short on words and just do a quick catch-up.

February was the 'Cabin Fever' month ~ and truly a good fever :)

Week 5: Get Outside

Focus on Life: Get Outside ~ Salobreña, Mediterranean Sea, Spain :: All Pretty Things

This one is from the Spain trip, at the Mediterranean Sea, in Salobreña. You can't get more outside than this (William was running along the shore).

Week 6: Quiet Calm

Focus on Life: Quiet Calm ~ Salobreña, Spain, The Moorish Castle :: All Pretty Things

Same Salobreña, visiting the Moorish Castle. It was quite unbelievable: the combination of pure green sea on one side, the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the other, with the white city spread over the hill, the Moorish castle on top, and both farms and a seashore resort at the bottom... it was very much a clash of multiple cultures in a quiet way... and very old... Beautiful.

Week 7: Collage of Love
Focus on Life: Collage of Love ~ Spain / Gibraltar trip :: All Pretty Things

Love is many things, but this February love was family:

  • love is a preteen boy who doesn't want to be caught in pictures, but will humour his parents a couple of times (one time with the Lego Liberty Bell, in Philly, at the airport)
  • love is climbing yet another hill, visiting yet another castle, and forgetting about being tired
  • love is waiting for mom to choose a real perfume in Granada's Bazaar's street
  • love is wanting all those teas (you have no idea how well they smelled!! I don't even want to know how they tasted!) and understanding that laws are laws... sighing I left the tea market with no tea bags (I sigh right now at the memory!)
  • love is seeing a Canadian flag next to the British one inside the WWII tunnels (in Gibraltar)
  • love is watching a Macaque picking fleas off another one
Love simply is.

Week 8: Capture Color

Focus on Life: Capture Color ~ Salobrena, Spain :: All Pretty Things

I have 2 pictures: one from the streets of Salobreña, they actually coloured their street signs. It was cute.

Focus on Life: Capture Color ~ Granada, Spain, The Incense Store :: All Pretty Things

Ah... the scents and tea and soaps shop, in the centre of Granada. I must admit I didn't know what to think about the inquisitorial incense vessels, they made me cringe a little bit. The colours, though, were incredible - and I settled on the turquoise egg-shaped one (you see a small bit of it right in the picture). Choosing the incense was another issue - they were so many, and so different, and you couldn't buy the whole store!

This would conclude the month of February. For March, Sally of The Studio Sublime chose the theme 'Checking Out'.

Week 9: Macro

Focus on Life: Macro ~ Alhambra, Spain, Moorish Castle, Stone lace detail :: All Pretty Things

Not macro in the sense of using the macro lens or settings... but a true macro image: this is the detail of the incredible (and I mean absolutely amazing!) stone lacing found in the Moorish castles. Imagine a huge place all covered inside and outside, walls and ceilings too, all in this lace. Now try to imagine how long it would take for humans to complete such intricate lacing. And try to imagine it's done in stone. And abut 1,000 years old.

I could speak all day about it ~ this is a detail from the Alhambra, the Moorish Castle built in the mid of 11th century on the hills of Granada. Moorish poets described it as "a pearl set in emeralds," in allusion to the colour of its buildings and the woods around them; it is a true pearl and I will come back with more pictures and details about our tour there.

Week 10: The Big Picture

Focus on Life: Macro ~ Alhambra, Spain, Moorish Castle, Court of the Lions and the Fabulous Fountain :: All Pretty Things

Couldn't resist - this is the big picture of the Macro above. The exterior walls are covered in lace, the interior walls are covered in lace, the ceiling is covered in lace - even the columns are decorated with lace! Mouth dropping.

The image above is from the Court of the Lions and the Fabulous Fountain - a court of 35 m by 20 m, with 124 white marble columns. On each of the four sides a pavilion like the one seen here projects into the court, with filigree walls and a light domed roof. The square is paved with light grey tiles, the columns are covered with white marble, the walls are covered 5 ft up with blue and yellow tiles, and then decorated with the laced stone. The 124 columns are irregularly placed, and adorned by foliage, stucco arabesques, and over the pillars with more filigree work.

The Fountain of Lions in the middle is an alabaster basin supported by 12 lions in white marble - as a symbol of strength, power and sovereignty. At the edge of the fountain there is a poem written by Ibn Zamrak. The poem is carved in stone and praises the beauty of the fountain and the power of the lions, but it also describes their ingenious hydraulic systems and how they actually worked. The whole castle is an ode to the power of water and an example of the Arabic genius at architecture, design and engineering during that time.

In fact, William mentioned while we were touring Alhambra: "Mommy, do you think our species is regressing?!" and we had a long conversation about cultures and empires rising to amazing power, just to crumble and let other cultures take the place. However, I couldn't stop thinking pretty much the same thing: yes, it might have taken the Moorish years and years to finish the palace, but where do you see that detailed filigree today? Who's even bothering to add beauty to the practical objects (let alone to buildings!)

This is my catch-up. Hopefully now I'll take it again easy, week by week :)

Below you can catch up with everybody else, please make sure you visit and admire their Big Picture!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful impressions, Alicia :) I'm sure you could have spent a month traveling in this lovely spot and still not seen everything it has to offer!

  2. Love your travel pictures, they are really a step above!

  3. Wow! What a gorgeous set of pictures. Must have been an amazing trip.

  4. Oh my - it was like you had to cram all your FOL pics into one week. And what a great job! I am so envious of your trip to Spain. I hope we get to see more of those amazing pics throughout the year!

  5. Wow, I feel I've had a mini break to Spain - what a wonderful catch-up on the past few weeks! All the carving reminds me of the cathedral builders in UK - all the intricate stonework, all the laborious hours of work - and not living long enough to see the finished building... You and I could talk hours about it the dedication and skill, I think xx

  6. Fabulous catch up thank you for showing us

  7. It looks and sounds like an incredible trip and experience. I so enjoyed the photos and your impressions.

  8. I certainly understand when real life is more important than blog life, so don't worry about missing out here in blogland! Love your photos. I adore castles and hope to see some myself one day, until then yours are just wonderful!

  9. Looks like you had a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing such wonderful images with us.


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