Madrid’s Rastro: A Feast for the Ears

My latest podcast takes you on a sound-rich tour of the Rastro. Using custom built microphones and a special setup, I recorded this in binaural audio, which is incredibly immersive and three dimensional. You’ll feel like you’re there. If you’ve never heard binaural audio recordings before, you’re in for a treat. (To get the effect, you have to wear headphones or earbuds.)

I’d love to hear your comments! Thanks for listening.


¡Felicidades Canadá!

July 1 is Canada Day and this year marks the nation’s 150th birthday. To celebrate the occasion I thought I’d post the following essay, which I wrote in 2012 for the Canadian magazine Explore, edited by James Little. It’s a story about kayaking in Canada, but also a story about Spain. Hope you enjoy it. Happy Birthday Canada!

Not in Spain anymore: The gorgeous granite of Phillip Edward Island, Georgian Bay, Canada. Photo ©Mike Randolph

A few years ago, I moved from Toronto to Zaragoza, a city in northern Spain. Not long after, my friend Graham came to visit. Hanging out one evening, drinking wine on the terrace of my neighbourhood restaurant, he said something I still think about now and then.

“Do you ever worry that if you stay here long enough, you won’t really be from Canada anymore, but you’ll never really be from here either?”

I don’t know the answer to my friend’s question, except to say that when you live somewhere for a span of years, you can grow into the rhythm of the place and eventually it starts to feel like home. I was born in Spain, but we moved to Canada before I ever spoke my first word of Spanish. My family was a typically Canadian family in that our house was a small enclave of some other country. When I didn’t spend my summers in the Canadian bush, I spent them on Spanish beaches. It was never easy to choose between them. Continue Reading →


Tales of the Levante

Photo ©Mike Randolph

My latest podcast is now online. This time, it’s not about food it’s about the wind. Not just any wind, but the infamous Levante. Be prepared to get blown away. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)


The Cocas of Camarasa

A few years ago my cousin Jaime and I were looking for a river in Aragon but one thing led to another and we ended up looking for a pizza in Catalonia.

It all started because I had two inflatable kayaks and all the other bits of gear needed to paddle down a river, as long as the water wasn’t too big. But it was early May. All the rivers flowing out of the Pyrenees were raging with meltwater from the snowfields high in the alpine. It was a warm day but the river was only a few degrees above freezing. An unplanned swim would be pretty grim.

In the town of Broto, just outside of Ordesa (one of the jewels of Spain’s national park system, you really should go if you have the chance), we walked into a store selling commercial rafting tours. The guide said we might be able to pull off the River Ara, which flows right through town. Thanks, we said, and walked down the street to the bridge across the Ara.

The river’s roar alone was discouraging. And then we saw it. The water looked the way you’d expect it to look, considering the roar. It was very fast and technical, with lots of rocks sticking out. It didn’t strike me as a very good idea. That hasn’t always stopped us in the past, but this didn’t look so much adventurous as it looked just plain dumb. (There’s often not much difference between the two.) Continue Reading →


Madrid, Through The Looking Glass

Off and on for the past year, I’ve been working on this photo essay on streets in Madrid. It’s one of those things that you’re never quite sure you’re finished, but I thought it’s been long enough now, time to show it. There is no Photoshop involved and no double exposures or anything else. Just images I found with my eyes and took with one click of the shutter. Some of them are almost abstract, with multiple layers of reflections. It takes a while to ‘see’ these image opportunities as a photographer, because everyone living in cities is so used to seeing reflections that you just tune them out and no longer really even see them. I made a video out of them, and put them to a song that I like by the very talented Andrew Bird, who plays Carnegie Hall next week. It’s really best to watch it full screen. (After hitting Play, it’s the bottom-right button.) Let me know whether you like it in the comments below. Thanks for having a look and please share it with your friends!


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