Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A Few Moments of Peace

I recently had the pleasure of a holiday with my family (Fluffy daughter, Mrs Long-Suffering and I), my sister, her husband and children and my parents. We went to the Spanish Balearic Island of Minorca. There was sunshine, a swimming pool, good food and company.

Whilst I love the relaxed atmosphere, a chance to spend whole days doing nothing, I'm not one for spending much time in the sun. Searing sunlight, wilting heat and factor 97 suncream are not my bag. One good ray of sun and I'm smoke.

Exploring and taking photographs is my thing. Our holiday location, the glorious and quite lovely Vista Picas is only a few miles away from the old capital city of Ciutadella. The city, like the island has a very rich history resplendent in megalithic stone monuments, Roman, Vandals, Byzantine, Turkish, British, French and then Spanish. The capital of the island has moved to Mahon which has a far deeper port suitable for much larger ships. And gin.

The best time for taking photographs, especially in sun drenched bits of the world are the golden hours after dawn and during dusk. I wanted the place to be empty, so I arranged for a taxi to take me to the capital at 5:30 in the morning. This is me on holiday - crazy huh?

Mr Taxi driver arrived. He spoke Spanish. I speak English. His English was as good as my Spanish. I grunted and pointed at a map. He held map and rotated it several times. I pointed again. We reached an understanding. At that moment a young lady from the hotel leapt into the back of the taxi and in a flurry of Spanglish indicates she would like to share the ride and pay half.

I arrived at 6:00 in the morning. The journey was very much like the Knight Bus in Harry Potter, but with fewer shrunken heads and wheeled metal beds crashing about. He missed three road islands, which I'm sure he must have clobbered on the return journey.

From my point of arrival I took a slow walk down the narrow streets. The lights were still on giving an orange glow. I sucked in a few moments of peace before nearly getting run over by a delivery van. They belt up and down these streets like maniacs. Ancient, pretty, narrow they may be, but these are peoples homes and work places. And don't forget it!

The streets had wires across them from an earlier lighting system with what looked like large domestic light bulbs - it would have been very interested to have seen them then. Across the middle of the frontage of each of the buildings was a mass of wires and pipes. This seemed something of a shame when the rest was so very picturesque.

I wandered around fairly aimlessly - I was looking for photographic opportunities rather than landmarks and time was short. There would only be an hour before the sun came up and everything was scorching hot and photographically somewhat flat.

Walking along I saw a man sitting in a doorway in a very Monday sort of way. He looked like he was steeling himself to face the day. I asked his permission and took a photo - this is not something I've ever had the guts to do - just walk up to a stranger and take their picture. But I did just that.

From his attire, dishevelled appearance and eyes staring into the middle-distance, clearly the chap was the local computer programmer.

Having relieved the man of his soul I travelled on my way towards the edge of town where I found this unusual building.

Now it is not every day you see the combination of a nightclub, bar and windmill. They were just tidying up from the night before where the locals had obviously had a couple of flowered buns too many or maybe hit the malt loaf too hard. Binge pastries, such a problem in this part of the world.

My final port of call was, forgive the pun, the port. Rather wonderfully it was in a what must have been a deep cut in the land, so as I could stand on high ground and see the whole area. This is probably my favourite image of the whole shoot, but each to his or her own.

I took a slow walk back into the city centre, found a likely looking bus and arrived back at the hotel before anyone else had even peeked their heads out of their duvets. I fell asleep during the show that evening.


  1. Very nice photos matey! I agree about the last one, absolutely spot on. I'm more of a "point, click and hope for the best" photographer, and these show the difference. More, please.

  2. Nice pics mate. I'm going to need to do the same one of these days ;)

  3. mornings and evenings are stunning and you have quite an eye for artistic detail. i can see it but cannot capture it for others the way you can. beautiful.

    as for that heat and sun combo - ick - i'm right with you there.

  4. Are you sure you're not a vampire? I mean, what with the sun and smoke and everything.

  5. Very nice, I would have loved to have been with you but no one is getting me up that early in the morning when I am on holiday ;)

  6. Dude,

    You have just become the recipient of a dubious blogging award from Yours Truly. Come over and read the Bonus Scene I've just added to the bottom of yesterday's blog entry for details: bit.ly/1e2rnn

    Um, congratulations? Indigo


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