Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Seaside’

From Illyria to Italy, Part 3: The Riva and the Water

There is such a glorious panoply of architectural treasure to consume the mind in Split in Croatia that you would be excused for forgetting that the city lies on one of the most beautiful coastal stretches of the Adriatic sea. With an archipelago of little islands dotted all along the horizon as far as the eye can see, and a skyline of imposing mountains backing up the city, Split’s coastal views are stunning whichever way you look, no more so than from the Riva, the city´s bustling seaside promenade. The Riva stretches along the southern facade of Diocletian’s palace, and exhibits the laid back, chic French Riviera essence which no doubt remains a left over of the era of Napoleonic rule in Croatia, the time of its construction.

Today the Riva is arguably one of the centre points of the town, and although it is not a place to dip into the sea (not least because of the fairly off-putting smell of sulphur which pervades the area – apparently owing to the natural supplies of the mineral in the area, said to be one reason why Diocletian set up home here), it is certainly a place to stroll, sit on one of many flower-fringed benches, and take a coffee or a cocktail in crowded cafes squeezed into every inch of the pavement space.

DSC02586DSC02832DSC02770DSC02763DSC02856DSC02577DSC03167

Beyond the Riva, Split does have its fair share of beaches. Living in Mallorca, I am somewhat spoilt when it comes to the choice of paradise beaches, and compared with those, we found Croatia’s offerings to be all a little hard underfoot… we discovered either beaches constructed from concrete, or others made naturally from stones. Nonetheless, few could deny the beautiful cerulean waters nor the warm clean currents which finally enticed us into the sea. They may not be sandy, but these beaches are popular… I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a crowded beach in my life!

DSC03175DSC03171DSC02847DSC02838DSC02837DSC02845DSC02951DSC03174DSC02960

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 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. 

Marbella in shades of an Andalucian Autumn

It’s striking how quickly autumn has come upon us, even out here in Spain. Only a few weeks ago I posted my collection of photos with trees still clinging onto the last green leaves of the summer. A mere fortnight later, those leaves have fully caramelised and are starting to scatter to the ground. Last weekend, I took the short one hour trip from the heavenly shores of Mallorca to the equally beautiful seaside haven of Marbella to visit my parents, and to do a little work. There, the autumnal transformation was even more noticeable to me, since only 6 weeks before, I had been in the very same town basking in the heat of the summer.

DSC01694DSC01723 DSC01663DSC01711 DSC01744 DSC01668 DSC01661DSC01699

In late September, Marbella was a town transformed. In the creamy golden light of autumn, shadows were slightly elongated, and the orange tone of the sunshine intensified. Trees in Marbella had themselves undergone the inevitable transformation into caramel hues, but with the sun shining through their translucent layers, they looked glorious. But perhaps the most noticeable change of all was the beach. Now a far less hospitable place, with a more bracing wind shorting the shore, but with a low afternoon sun casting a sensational silvery light over the water. Incredible shades of colour in this amazing Andalucian Autumn.

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.

My Palma: 6 months, 157 buildings and 205 boats

I interrupt my weekly digital exhibition of gouaches in my Ocho Balcones collection to present, with a considerable degree of excitement, my newest oil painting: The Bay of Palma. Started back in April when I found a typical little postcard of this typical view of the sprawling bay of Palma de Mallorca, I couldn’t resist the temptation to paint this city I have so come to love on the largest scale possible. So starting work on an immense 152 x 101 cm canvas, I set about painting what must be one of the most complicated painting projects of my art career.

Just the cathedral alone took endless hours of laboured work and adjustments of proportion, let alone the city which surrounds it and then those dreaded boats. Ah the boats… how I agonised over painting these seemingly innocuous white forms, correcting shadows and trying to paint masts with a shaking hand. But once 205 of them were done, I stood back in pride and admiration at what I had a achieved: a landscape which is both a typical view of this most admired of cities, but which was nonetheless technically difficult to capture, both because of its size and its detail. But I am delighted with the result.

Bay of Palma Water

I am therefore proud to share this painting exclusively on The Daily Norm along with a few shots of some of the many details which fill the work. I hope you like it!

Cathedral Port2 City Port3 Port Cathedral vertical Port buildings Port1

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2015. 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. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.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.

DSC09467 DSC09379 DSC09321 DSC09418 DSC09582 DSC09460 DSC09404 DSC09619

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.

DSC09475 DSC09368 DSC09457 DSC09362 DSC09599 DSC09597 DSC09381 DSC09351

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 Honeymoon Chronicles, Part VIII: Antibes

Of all the places we visited on the French Riviera, I think Antibes was most probably my favourite. Drawn to the old coastal town by its arty reputation, and in particular by its well known connection with Picasso and the museum which now bears his name, we didn’t ultimately end up going to the Picasso museum at all, such were the alternative attractions the town had to offer. For Antibes was all about the atmosphere of its street life – its bustling covered market place, its squares full of cafes and its ancient city walls today imbedded with art galleries – and to enjoy this, one could do no better than to simply stroll. And that is precisely what we did.

DSC07820 DSC07726 DSC07706 DSC07849 DSC07714 DSC07800DSC07855

Beginning our visit in the more modern spread of the town, we gasped in delight as we walked along the sandy beach to see the old town in the distance, its silhouette characterised by the rising tower of the Picasso museum, by the old roof of the terracotta and yellow Church of the Immaculate Conception, and by the ancient ramparts which encircle the town. Moving inside those ancient walls under a series of arches and along various beautiful streets, we entered a centre teeming with life, colourful houses, and cafés spilling out onto the pavements.

DSC07850 DSC07839 DSC07737 DSC07827 DSC07819 DSC07822 DSC07756

Having sampled one such elegant café all decorated in soothing shades of grey, olive and white, we moved out of the town slightly to tour its amply sized marina, full of yachts and sailing craft, and then spent some time on the little beach which is perfectly nestled within the curve of the ancient walls, like a mother’s arm, scooping up sand enough for her child to play in. It was back to the cafés after that, via a multitude of art galleries, colourful shops selling local produce, and sandy squares where locals played pétanque. In the Place Nacionale, we found Antibes’ beating heart in the form of a shady square lined with cafés, bistros and brasseries, and playing host to a busy antiques market, and there, around a fountain which reminded me of the stunning street fountains we had discovered in Aix, we ended the day with a well deserved ice coffee and a glass of wine. Santé!

DSC07818 DSC07735 DSC07719DSC07821 DSC07835 DSC07788

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.

Mallorca Sketchbook: The beach at Banyalbufar

It’s got to be one of the best town names on the island: Banyalbufar, a name which perfectly recalls Mallorca’s rich historical past; the Moorish heritage which laid down the first mountain paths, sophisticated waterways and impressive palaces, and the people who masterfully tamed the inhospitable mountain slopes with agricultural terraces and dry stone walls. It was in the course of exploring and photographing those iconic coastal terraces that my partner and I recently came across Banyalbufar which, owing to its perilous coastal location, more than benefits from its fair share of Moorish terraces. But instead of exploring the town, we decided to head for its far more inaccessible beach instead, taking the countless steps and steep slopes down to the rocky water’s edge.

The terraces around Banyalbufar

DSC04814 DSC04856 DSC04853

The beach was not the most beautiful I have ever seen, but it certainly had its charms, not least in its sloping boat platform loaded with small vessels ready for their launch directly into the crystal clear waters, and it was these charms which inspired me to open up my sketchbook, and start making a little drawing of the beach in my favourite sketching medium: a staedtler liner pen. This is the result.

The beach at Banyalbufar (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

The beach at Banyalbufar (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2015. 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. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

Discovering Mallorca: Formentor and its beach

If the word “spectacular” was to be given a pictorial definition, a photo of Formentor, the North Eastern most tip of Mallorca, would be it. Having heard much of the beauty of this narrow strip of mountainous rocky land, it was only a matter of time before I braved the multiple-meandering roads to get there, and a visit by my parents provided the excuse. So firmly belted into my hire car, the four of us (earnest partner included) braced ourselves for a twisting, turning adventure rife with hair pin bends and steep sloping plummets and headed to the Cap de Formentor.

The day that followed provided so many visions of beauty that we became sick of finding new superlatives with which to describe it. The first stop, the Mirador del Mal Pas, scaled to vast heights along a snaking stone staircase up to the top of a mountainous outcrop from where the views not only stunned, but scared in equal measure – the vertical plummet straight down to the cliffs and the thrashing sea hundreds of metres below is not for the faint hearted. 

Views from the Mirador del Mal Pas

DSC02930 DSC02925 DSC02976 DSC02962 DSC02955 DSC02965 DSC02952 DSC02936

Beyond the mountains, the road led us to the beach of Formentor, a cala whose beauty could not be easily surpassed by the Caribbean, let alone other beaches in the Mediterranean. On this little strip of paradise, with the dappled light of shady pine trees on one side, and the most astonishing cerulean blue waters on the other, we laid back on the indulgent loungers of the nearby Barcelo Hotel, and celebrated Spanish Dia de la Madre in style.

Cala de Formentor

DSC03032 DSC03051 DSC02985 DSC02989 DSC03050 DSC03001 DSC03022 DSC03017 DSC03011 DSC03039

Our final stop was onwards, to the very end of Formentor – the Cap de Formentor – where a 19th century lighthouse stands proudly atop a remarkably engineered snaking road which lies, like an abandoned silk ribbon, across the sloping mountain scenery.

Cap de Formentor

DSC03065 DSC03069 DSC03119 DSC03080 DSC03108 DSC03115 DSC03077 DSC03126 DSC03107 DSC03071

Somehow, with legs shaking a little and our nails bitten down to their roots, we arrived back in Palma de Mallorca in one piece, the car unscratched, but our minds permanently etched with the visions of stunning beauty the day had provided.

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.

Reflections on Ibiza in bloom

My January weekend on the infamous island of Ibiza feels like an age ago, and while my recent return to the island to open a new restaurant for work was only around 8 weeks after my first visit, the island was transformed. True, it was not the boom-beat party-rammed hedonistic madhouse into which the island metamorphoses in the height of the summer (thank god!), but with the onset of the Spring, it was an island transformed. In the streets on the foothills of the Dalt Vila (old town) where I was based, restaurants had reopened after a long winter break, squares were once again filled with life, and an atmosphere of allegria seemed to waft through the air.

DSC00123 DSC00139 DSC00129 DSC00070 DSC00119

Now being as project managing the opening of a restaurant is a fairly hefty role, it will not surprise you to know that I did not have all that much time to enjoy what are otherwise the beautiful surroundings of the island around me. However, when the odd opportunity afforded it, I took out my camera to snap Ibiza, and this post is the culmination of those odd moments – my reflections on an Island in bloom, whether it be the yacht filled marinas, or the squares newly dappled with sunlight through fresh spring leaves.

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: The beach at Deia

Recent readers of The Daily Norm will know that I have fallen head over heels in love with the little Mallorquin gem of Deia. With its mountainous location in the shadow of the mighty Teix mountain, Deia is characterised by a breathtaking setting which cannot help but inspire its visitors to near ecstasies of superlative-loaded expletives and/or jaw-dropping silences such are required to contemplate the beauty of the town. For myself, I have reacted to the setting through painting, and through returning, and my first visit to the paradisal town has now benefited from a prompt sequel; a second dip which did nothing to dispel the town’s capacity to inspire.

In fact, on my recent trip to Deia, I was to discover that further treats lay in store. For incredibly, the beauty of Deia is not limited to its mountainous town. Down a steep craggy winding path extending down the mountainous valley towards the sea, the town benefits from its own little stoney beach which is every bit as stunning as the town up above.

The beach at Deia

DSC01652 DSC01649 DSC01626 DSC01636 DSC01633 DSC01676 DSC01666 DSC01613 DSC01610

Crystal clear water, steep rocky cliffs, and two little cafes overlooking the most incredible view of the mediterranean and this seductive little cove, the beach or cala at Deia is a true delight. No wonder it has made its way onto postcards aplenty, and tempted countless visitors to make the somewhat challenging walk down the mountain to bear witness to this picture-perfect slice of heaven. With its little fishing boats stacked up on the shore, and hostile rocks jutting out to sea without a single sign of urbanised development, this is a port which retains the ultimate in Mallorquin authenticity, even if it must be shared with the other tourists who have been tempted by its almost legendary status.

The stunning mountainous surroundings

DSC01556 DSC01578 DSC01595 DSC01700 DSC01609 DSC01690 DSC01692 DSC01591

Our little trip to the port was every bit an awe-inspiring experience as our first and second encounter with the town in the mountains up above. The pure waters licking the stoney shore; the cerulean blue waves bouncing light across the russet-coloured rocks; the magnificent journey down the mountain through a ravishing spectacle of glorious lush landscapes; and to top it all, an excellent little restaurant whose grilled squid and ice cold albariño made for the perfect accompaniment to this new elysium… even if it did make the return journey up the mountain something of a struggle.

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.

Mallorca Moments: Late afternoon along the Bay of Pollensa

It has to be one of the most sensational spots on the island of Mallorca if not in the Mediterranean: a perfectly tranquil walk along a seaside path; the almost completely still waters of a natural bay gently caressing the shore, and over its surface, pine trees which lean ever closer as though staring narcissistically into their reflection upon the sea.  This is the idyll which is the bay of Pollensa (or Pollença in Mallorquin); a naturally protected beautiful harbour on the Northern coast of Mallorca. It is a bay which benefits from the very best of geography’s creative magic: cerulean blue crystal clear water; a backdrop of mountains making the sea appear more like a lake; and a happily coinciding seaside walk which allows visitors to enjoy the tranquility of the spot directly next to the sensuously shore-lapping sea.

DSC09345 DSC09356 DSC09352 DSC09315 DSC09264

These photos were taken one tranquil afternoon, when the sun broke free of the clouds up ahead as it began its gentle plummet to the horizon and beyond. The still conditions and the golden light were just perfect for photography, and the result is a set of photos befitting the utmost beauty of the place.

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.