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Spanish culture and history rival that of any other major European power, ex-imperial and ex-dictatorship, Spain continues to find its way in new Europe. The country is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits, particularly the Balearics and the Canaries for those who go on holiday to party and more. Many northern Europeans also come to Spain to retire in the warm climate and easy lifestyle. Spain may have had economic troubles in the early 21st century, but so long as the sun keeps shining, there will be no shortage of visitors.

I have travelled to, lived in, studied in and worked in Spain throughout much of my life, so I certainly have a connection with the country. This page started as a collection of random photos from the north of Spain, but I have expanded it to document many of the more pervasive aspects of Spanish culture, and locations from all across the country.

Osborne Bull

A classic icon of Spain, the Osborne Bull stands prone on a hillside between Cadiz and Tarifa. These were originally adverts for sherry produced by the company of the same name, but since roadside advertising was banned they have been retained as silhouettes only.

This is the Spain that many people come to see, big sandy beaches, blue water and hot, hot sun. I took this shot at the beginning of May 2003, the first day of that year that I got sunburned, stupidly. This is the town of Cullera, often regarded as the northernmost tip of the Costa Blanca, which extends down through Benidorm, Alicante, Torrevieja then on to Cartagena.


Jagged peaks on the way to Montserrat

This scenery on the road from Barcelona to the monastery of Montserrat is surprisingly striking, a great serrated edge from which the name is derived.

Tossa de Mar, as visited in February 2003. We stayed in an old Pension in the town, went to a rock concert in a tent on the beach and then swam in the sea the next morning (early February!) Lovely and refreshing, and a good hangover cure.

Tossa de Mar

Costa Brava

A view of the rugged Costa Brava with an old Spanish cannon watching out for French invaders.

Spain and ham go together like, er, peas and ham. Whilst a Museum of Ham may make you think the national obsession has been taken a step too far, these are in fact shops selling the best aged jamon serrano that you can buy. This branch is in Madrid.

Museo del Jamon

Valencia Club de Futbol

Football is another Spanish obsession, and Valencia is particularly noted for its football team, or rather its better one. We went to see Champions League games at Mestalla, this one was the wettest match I've ever witnessed, you can just see how most people are sitting under the terrace to try and avoid the rain, whereas us in the cheap seats just had to sit there getting more and more mojado.

The Spanish do fiestas like no other nation, any excuse to dress up, sing and drink sangria is pounced upon. This was during the fiesta of Semana Santa, the Easter celebrations.

Fiesta in Cadiz

Paella aplenty

Spanish food is varied, healthy and delicious. Arguably paella is the national dish, invented in Valencia and here seen cooked outdoors on an industrial scale.

La Corrida, the bullfight is another excuse for a fiesta, although its popularity is diminishing and it has been banned in a couple of regions already. I only went to see one fight, it was certainly quite one-sided but when the bull gets the better of the matador, the tables are truly turned.

Bullfight in Valencia

Typical Spanish tourist shop

A very pretty Spanish tourist shop in a small village in Andalucia. Note the little Osborne Bull hanging above the archway.

Palacio de la Magdalena, one of my earlier Spanish photos from a family holiday in Santander and northern Spain, summer 1998. It reminds me somewhat of Mar Lodge in Braemar, Scotland.

Palacio de la Magdalena, Santander

Picos de Europa

A visit to the Picos de Europa in northern Spain brought us on a cable car which shot up three thousand feet through the clouds. The mountains are geologically quite new, so steep that I could not see the sky above when I looked out the window of the tour bus.

Santillana del Mar is a small village in Cantabria near Santander. It was very picturesque, and had a museum of torture which made me feel quite ill. Amongst its exhibits were the iron maiden, rack and guillotine; remnants from the Spanish Inquisition which of course, nobody expects.

Santillana del Mar

Andalucia in January

Beautiful greenery across Andalucia in January 2013, I did not know the south of Spain could look like this.

Since joining the European Union, Spain embarked on a national construction spree, installing infrastructure way above capacity with the mantra of "if you build it, they will come". Come they have, although perhaps not in the droves anticipated, but the side effect is that driving in Spain is a joy on all those smooth, empty roads.

Spanish roads

Wind turbines

Spain has also invested heavily in renewable energy, and has one of the highest wind power generation capacities in the world. What would Don Quixote make of this?

Solar collectors are also in abundance across the country, taking full advantage of the usually lovely weather. This solar farm is near Cadiz.

Solar power

Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar in Catalunya near Barcelona, is one of the more picturesque villages I have visited in Spain, but many Spanish towns quite typically have such areas of this antiquity.

Pink sky behind the mountains of Southern Spain, looking across the reservoir at Bornos, Andalucia.

Embalse de Bornos

Atlantic sunset

The sun dips down below the Atlantic Ocean at Cadiz, burning gold across the beach.

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