Aerial Armada

Tarifa sits at the very southern tip of Spain, and of continental Europe. Kitesurfers from around the world come here to ride the warm, strong Levante winds, which are accelerated by the Straits of Gibraltar. Africa, seen in the background, is only 14 kilometers away. (Click on image for larger view.) Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Vultures on the Rise

vultureA Griffon Vulture soars over a valley in the Pyrenees foothills of Huesca, Spain. Rare in the rest of Europe, the Griffon Vulture has made a comeback in Spain, where the population is estimated in the tens of thousands. Like all vultures,  Continue Reading →

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White Gold

sheep gallocantaHow to make a village out of living lumps of wool: Sheep graze their way up a small rise outside the village of Gallocanta, in Aragón. The town of Gallocanta may be more famous for its cranes, but sheep  Continue Reading →

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The Places In Between

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I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around Spain over the years, usually to take pictures of a specific destination. But what about the places along the way? Here’s a random selection of eight images taken Continue Reading →

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Following Suit

playing cardsIn the hamlet of Mondrón, Málaga, abuelos gather after lunch in the only bar in town to play Mus, the most popular card game in Spain. It’s played with a Spanish deck, which has 40 cards without eights, nines, tens or jokers (or no aces, it’s hard to say)–plus the cards themselves look like Continue Reading →

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Looking Smoking

cristianosIn Alcoy, in the province of Alicante, Spain, the most important day of the year is the festival of the Moros y Cristianos. Everyone wants to be a moro because the costumes are more outrageous but there has to be some Christians, too, since after all what they’re celebrating is the Reconquist of moorish Spain. So, for those who have to parade as Christians, some artistic license is allowed (as in the ones in the above photo). Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Chapeau

truffle-sarrion-teruel-spainAt 600 euros per kilo, the biggest black truffles at the annual truffle fair in Sarrión earn the respect of hungry onlookers. While tasting them is expensive, smelling them is free, and if you ask me, the best thing about truffles. The tiny town of Sarrión, in Teruel, Aragón, has been known for its truffles for decades, though mostly to the French, who, say locals, Continue Reading →

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Vine Country

rioja vinesA lone scrub oak stands among of sea of vines near Haro, La Rioja. Just below this vineyard, where the vines curve down the hillside, runs the Oja River–in Spanish, Rio Oja–which gives the region, and the wine, its name.  Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Sweet Medicine with a Kick

malaga-wineMalaga wines are sweet, fortified dessert wines. In the old days, some of them also contained quinine. Jesuit missionaries brought the bark of the so-called fever tree to Spain in the 16th Century and it was used to treat a variety of illnesses for centuries. Medicinal wines with quinine were still widely consumed in Spain until the 1970′s. This barrel is from my favorite bar in Malaga, the Casa Guardia. I’ve been visiting it off and on for 20 years, and it hasn’t changed much either. As for whether quinine wines are still being drunk in Spain, I can’t say. Does anybody know? Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Lighting the Way

jaime-king-of-aragonOrnate iron street lamps glow in the backlight of a late winter afternoon on the Carrer Jaume I in Barcelona. Jaime I, King of Aragon, is an important figure in Catalan history, promoting language and culture while ousting the French and expanding the Crown of Aragon across Catalonia and the Mediterranean. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Modern Transformation

mercado-de-motoresIn the Retiro neighborhood of Madrid, the Nave de Motores hosts a mercadillo the first weekend of every month. Inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII, the Nave’s transformers and massive diesel motors provided electricity to Madrid’s Metro from 1923 until Continue Reading →

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Free Rein

wildhorsesWild horses stampede down a dusty mountainside near A Estrada, Galicia. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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A Sip of Summer

lavender-butterflyA Cleopatra butterfly has a drink of nectar from a lavender flower in Castille-La Mancha. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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City in the Sky

avilaWildlfowers bloom in springtime outside the medieval walled city of Ávila. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Still Rolling Along UPDATE: (Now needs a new title)

talgo[Everything I said about slow train travel in Spain is true. Except for the part about the Talgo III still being in service. It's last run, sadly, was in 2010.] Taking a trip on the AVE, Spain’s network of modern high-speed trains, is fast and efficient. But what’s your rush? There are plenty of older trains still in operation across the country and taking a trip on one is like slipping back in time. Above, the bar car of a Talgo III, which started service almost 50 years ago and is still going strongPhoto ©Mike Randolph

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