Ronda GBU

May. 1st, 2011 09:48 pm
cat_cetera: (Don't Panic)
Exceeded Expectations
- the town as a whole - beautiful views out over the landscape below the town, and pretty unique geography with the town sitting literally right on top of the gorge

Afraid of Heights?

- just when I thought I had seen everything Ronda had to offer (it is pretty small) we discovered a craft fair with local artisans showing their wares or offering demonstrations of how they made their products (like the geometric patterned tiles), where I got a CD by a local baroque/flamenco trio and an incense burner made of local tiles.

- nice if rainy walk around the old town to see the gorge and the bridges from various angles
- great meals with fantastic views over the gorge and the landscape below

- rainy
- left my new water bottle behind on the bus

- was not able to escape the hype of the royal wedding

- the church of Santa Maria Mayor was not just ABC - it had some modern frescoes (painted in 1983) and a modern bronze choir screen along with the usual gold-encrusted baroque altarpieces; there was also an unusually high concentration of the life-sized Marys, many shown with a crescent moon (a symbol of many pagan goddesses like Isis, Artemis etc.)

The Cult of Mary

- the duelling museum at the Plaza de Toros had an exhibit showing a duel between two ladies over the love of a certain captain
- at dinner on the last night, I had a chair with my back to the gorge. As I was eating, I felt a thing like someone putting their hand on my shoulder - there was no-one there, but I looked around just in time to see a huge flock of crows wheeling around below us in the gorge.

- one of the exhibits at the local trade fair was a sort of promotion of Andalucian/North African cross-cultural connections. There were a whole bunch of musical instruments, including a sort of drum with a stick in it that you played by wetting your hand and then rubbing it rapidly up and down the stick (hur hur). After I played that, I saw there was also a doumbek which the lady encouraged me to play. I sat down with it, listened to the music a bit, and started to drum along (no, not the Standard Avacal Rhythm) and the next thing I knew, the lady from the exhibit was playing some other drum, a little girl was playing the castanets, and we had attracted a crowd of picture-taking tourists, who will no doubt go home and show all their friends their pictures of local musicians from Ronda.
cat_cetera: (Default)
Walking home from work, I passed an enormous ENORMOUS murder of crows, all, to borrow a phrase, flocking and a-flapping. The noise was tremendous. At first I thought I'd like to take a picture, or maybe even some video - the sound was really unbelievable, cries of crows literally filling the air - but then I wondered if I'd accidentally wandered onto a Hitchcock set and thought I'd better keep moving. A passing SUV seemed to have set them off. I have literally never seen or heard this many crows in one place before in my life. As I drew closer, I thought I saw a piece of carrion in the road that they were fighting over, but on still closer a view it turned out to be an apparently newly-dead crow in the road*. Maybe the crows were lamenting their fallen friend - I will never know, but it was an interesting spectacle nonetheless.

*Sad, of course, but crows all must, like chimney-sweepers and jellicle cats, come to dust. I wish it well in the next stage of its journey, whatever that may be.

In other bird-related news, Project Raven continues apace.

Stone Bugs

Aug. 13th, 2007 09:55 am
cat_cetera: (Default)
On Saturday I was privileged to be able to join one of the hikes put on by the Burgess Shale Foundation up to the Mount Stephen trilobite beds. This important deposit of fossil trilobites is included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is part of the Burgess Shale formation, which is perhaps more famous for the Walcott Quarry creatures, a collection of very strange looking prehistoric organisms on display at about 20 times life size in a memorable exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta. I got a few good pictures, which you can check out on my Flickr profile here.


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May 2011

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