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Posts tagged ‘Mountain’

My travel sketchbook: La Concha, Marbella

This week I’m sharing the last of my sketches completed while I was in Marbella last month. It’s funny how, with the passage of the seasons and the onset of autumn, that blissful fortnight in the middle of the summer now seems so far removed from reality. And yet when I reopen my sketchbook, the familiar smell of the cream pages wafting delicately towards my face, those balmy days of summer are never far away. And as I look at this last sketch, I remember the final rush to finish just one more drawing before our holiday came to an end.

It features La Concha, the mighty mountain which stands at 1243 metres above the town of Marbella and which has consequently become emblematic of the cityscape, and of this stretch of the Sierra Blanca mountain range in Andalucia. In all my years holidaying at my family home in Marbella, I have never stopped admiring this mighty giant, with its rippled folds and satisfying slopes. Providing the backdrop to so many of the town’s best views, Marbella would surely be half the place without it.

La Concha, Marbella (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

La Concha, Marbella (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

In this sketch I draw a mere slice, so that I could concentrate on some of those complex and fascinating undulations. It marked an appropriate end to this year’s happy reacquaintance with Marbella.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2000-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included on this website without express and written permission from Nicholas de Lacy-Brown is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Discovering Mallorca: Exquisite exclusivity in the Embarcadero of S’Estaca

I should warn readers now that the photos you are about to see may make your eyes saw from their exposure to beauty. For few readers of The Daily Norm in the last few months can doubt the breathtaking natural beauty of the island of Mallorca I call home. But even paradise has its highlights, and the little port, or Embarcadero of S’Estaca is pretty much as good as it gets.

Nestled in a tiny cluster of rocks at the foot of the steep craggy cliffs of the Tramuntana Mountains, S’Estaca is a breathtaking coastal estate first owned by the notorious Archduke Salvator and subsequently by the even more famous Hollywood star Michael Douglas together with his exwife. While the glamorous Mallorquin finca he now calls his home is strictly off limits to most but a lucky few, the tiny little landing port of the same name can be enjoyed by the wider public, or at least those adventurous enough to traverse the steep cliffside paths stretching from the Port of Valldemossa.

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Those who make it will discover what is easily one of the most stunning little ports I have ever encountered in my life. With just a few fisherman’s huts clinging to the cliff like birds nests, a semi circular landing platform on which local fishermen still sit to mend their nests, and surreal rock clusters like an illusion straight out of the mind of Salvador Dali, S’Estaca is the epitome of picturesque. And what perhaps tops it off is the water: naturally enclosed by the rock forms encircling the bay, the water is as clear, as turquoise and as stunningly beautiful as a manmade swimming pool, but with all the enticing extras that only Mother Nature can afford.

This is beauty at its most unbeatable.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Discovering Mallorca: Mountain miradores from the Monastery of Lluc

Just when I thought Mallorca’s Tramuntana mountains couldn’t get any better, I stumbled (or rather drove, extensively) across the uniquely magical village of Lluc. Built around an ancient monastery-come-school, and set at the peak of some of Mallorca’s highest mountains, Lluc feels so steeped in historical wealth and religious fervour that we could feel a kind of magical aura suspended in the thin mountain air.

Founded in the 13th century after a Moorish shepherd reputedly found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the site where the monastery was later erected, Lluc is today considered to be the most important pilgrimage site on Mallorca, not least the ancient statue herself, around whom a queue of the faithful gathers even at the quietest times of the year.

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However as beautiful as Lluc may be with its ancient grand basilica silhouetted gracefully against a stunning mountain backdrop, and a lush botanical garden full of surreal statues and flowering plants, the real highlight of my visit was the mountain scenery surrounding it. Lush multi-layered mountain strata, olive-tree lined slopes, thick green forests and brick-red rugged rocks; this was scenery to truly take the breath away, and is the focus of today’s Daily Norm latest discovery in Mallorca.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The Daily Norm Photo of the Week: Mountain Goat

Mallorca’s mountains are full of goats. Little bouncing hairy goats, roaming the mountain plains in herds and on their own, and reaching the dizzying heights of cliffs and precipices, seemingly able to balance on the most precarious of terrain. I love the goats of Mallorca. Almost everywhere we have gone in the Tramuntana mountains, they have been a feature, whether it be avoiding a near collision on a mountain road, or watching a family of little kids gently baaaahing their way around an undulating pasture.

This week’s Daily Norm photo focus is one such Mallorquin mountain resident who posed so elegantly in this photo, with his two chocolatey dark eyes staring straight into the lens of my camera, that I could not help but make him a feature. Wild and timid by nature, there was something deeply satifying about photographing this marvellous animal at such close quarters – a rare and intimate moment captured in the most stunning of Mallorca’s landscapes.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

A weekend in Fornalutx (Part 3): The Embalse de Cúber

If there is one thing that living these past 5 months on the stunning Mediterranean island of Mallorca has taught me, it is that mother nature is truly the best creator of beauty. With pristine white beaches flanked by momentous mountains, sweeping orange and lemon groves and vast surreal rock forms of every shape and size, Mallorca is truly nature at her best. However, as the final experience of my recent weekend in the mountain village of Fornalutx demonstrated, man too can do his level best at creating beauty within the confines already set by nature, and this has been no better evidenced than through the creation of the Embalse de Cúber located on the other side of Mallorca’s highest mountain. DSC02243 DSC02138 DSC02213 DSC02244 DSC02042 The embalse, or reservoir, looks to anyone passing by like a perfectly appointed mountain lake. Set within the shallow basin formed when some of the island’s most magnificent mountains come together, this lake fits perfectly into these momentous surroundings. And yet this reservoir, constructed to supply water to the bustling capital city of Palma de Mallorca, was made by man. And what a job he did. Gasps escaped our mouths when we first saw the sight of this stunning lake. Expansive, perfectly still and forming a wonderful reflection of the mountains surrounding it, the lake is a visual delight in this most incredible of landscapes. With paths lining the full length of the lake, we were able to appreciate the lake from up close, and there appreciate a multifaceted landscape which changed from one stretch of the lake to another. DSC02062 DSC02071 DSC02197 DSC02186 DSC02240 DSC02231 DSC02223 DSC02194 DSC02033 DSC02168 In one section, small prickly donught shaped plants interspersed with large craggy rocks looked like a landscape from out of space. A little further along, pine trees stood so perfectly erect and symmetrical that they appeared to be almost plastic in their lego-land perfection. And round on the other side of the lake, imposing cliffs of huge rocky forms rounded off a series of landscapes which thrilled along every inch of this incredible waterside walk. And just in case we became bored of the landscape, nature’s habitats were there to thrill us as well, including many number of colourful little birds, a snake, and even a big hairy bull… DSC02093 DSC02105 DSC02228 DSC02137 Now that was one encounter we were not expecting as we rounded off an incredible weekend in the mountain scenery of Fornalutx. All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Discovering Mallorca: Mountaineering in the Cala Sant Vicenç

The Cala Sant Vicenç (or San Vincente as castilian would have it) on the North Western coast of Mallorca has to be one of the most emblematic of cove beaches on the island. With a mountainous backdrop so jagged and geographically awesome that it looks like sharp razors jutting up from the sea, it is no wonder that this beach has inspired countless artists over the years, amongst them one Sorolla, whose iconic paintings of the coastal spot perfectly captures the cerulean blue sea in front of the purple jagged mountain.

When we recently headed along to the cove with our visiting friend Cassandra, the weather was not quite as ideal as it may have been when Sorolla paused to apply the view to canvas. Nonetheless, even in slightly gloomier conditions, it was surprising how beautifully turquoise the crystal clear waters shone, and how dramatic the mountain scenery looked behind it.DSC09047 DSC09069 DSC09057 DSC09092 DSC09075 DSC09073 DSC09054

But not content with merely admiring the view from the beach, we decided to go one step further. Ok, it’s perhaps extreme to call this activity mountaineering, but as we scaled the nearby mound of jagged rocks sitting on the opposite side of the cove, in order to see the view from an even more unusual vantage point, it surely felt as though we were climbing mountains. But what views were to be seen from this height. Not only could the mountains of Sant Vicenç be perfectly captured, but all around us was an utterly wild inhospitable expanse of rugged rock forms, grasses and rough vegetation over which only the odd mountain goat appeared to have previously ventured. With its vast rocky terrain coupled with the occasional sea mist, this landscape looked more like I would imagine the Scottish Highlands than Mallorca, but it was every bit as impressive.

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Sadly such views were not to be gained without their compensation, and days later, my aching legs still bemoan the day I took them mountaineering at the Cala Sant Vicenç. But surely that’s reason enough to at least enjoy these photos I captured in the process…

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.