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Posts tagged ‘Sun’

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.

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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!

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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. 

A two-hour trip to Valencia

If there was to be a definitive demonstration of the term jet-set, a 2 hour trip from Mallorca to Valencia and back again would surely be it. And today that is exactly what I did. Flying from our sunny isle, over the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean to one of Spain’s sunniest cities, just for a quick work meeting and then back again. Happily, amongst my work responsibilities, I was able to fit in a few minutes to stroll around the city. For Valencia’s old town’s is surely one of the most stunning in all of Spain and well worth a full weekend’s exploration. Nonetheless, with only 20 minutes to spare before my flight, I made the most of the time available to me, shooting these photos which I now share.

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The photos mainly focus on the picture-worthy Plaza de la Reina, and its sister plaza – de la Virgen, both sandwiching the beautifully quasi-baroque Valencia Cathedral between them. While the Plaza de la Reina is very much the bustling centre of the old town, where cafés spill over onto sunny pavements, taxi drivers meet for a chat, and residents wait for the city’s many buses, the Plaza de la Virgen is a grander affair with the Romanesque arches of the cathedral its backdrop and a magnificent fountain with a grandiose Neptune at its centre.

As my photos perhaps suggest, I couldn’t get enough of that stunning fountain which never fails to enchant me, whenever I am lucky enough to visit this marble clad urban space. But also evident from this little selection of photos is the purity and strength of the colours. Just look at those rotund oranges, and that amazing blue sky; that sun dappled yellow wall and those white and blue dazzling fountains of water. They are the colours which made Spain so utterly seductive to me, and the reason why eventually I found myself moving here permanently. Adios for now…

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: Sunday stroll to Portixol

It’s funny how quickly one becomes accustomed to routine and habit; how we as humans are drawn to certain patterns and securities. I suppose it is what makes us who we are – knowing that there is a certain structure in place around which the greater vicissitudes of life can gain some stability. And I am no exception. For despite what has been a huge move from London to Mallorca, including a complete change of career, language, society and goodness knows what else, I have still found myself falling into new structures which help to normalise this big transformation.

Chief among them has been my Sunday stroll to Portixol. A little port lying just East of Palma’s city centre, it is only a short 30 minute walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but it couldn’t be more different. With small story fishermen’s cottages, pastel coloured facades, and of course an enviable position directly next to the Mediterranean sea, Portixol has all of the charm and charisma of a typical seaside village with the most laid back of sensibilities.

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This makes Portixol the perfect place to dine, wine and recline, and with the number of cosy restaurants and bars lining the waterfront, it is no wonder that the port has become our perfect Sunday retreat. And should all the food become a little too much for the good old new year’s dieting resolutions, there is a real spirit of the great outdoors about the port, as its ample paseo maritimo is used by joggers, cyclists and rollerbladers alike.

So here in Palma, Sunday morning has a new morning: Coffee on the beach, a stroll along the seafront, a continuous view back to the glorious cathedral and ahead, the food destination of Portixol a mere half hour away. It’s another of those Mallorca Moments that makes my new life in the Balearics such a daily joy.

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.

New Year 2015: Starting as I mean to carry on

I am a great believer in starting something as I mean to carry on, and if New Year’s Day 2015 is any indication of how the 364 days to come, then I cannot wait to enjoy each and every one of them. For waking up on 1st January of any year is always an experience of great hope for me – it may just be the difference of a day or the turn of a calendar, but with each new year there is a fresh benchmark by which a new list of ambitions and objectives can be measured, and other unfinished and unfulfilled projects relegated to the past. However this year’s 1st January was even more drizzled with the sweet nectar of hope – for how else can a person feel, when waking to bright blue skies, dazzling Mediterranean sunshine, and knowing that this place is not just a holiday destination, but a home.

The day that followed this happy awakening has been one of colours to cradle, flavours to savour, and sounds to nurture. For the sounds, the Vienna New Year’s Concert provided the perfect melodious backdrop to my morning’s cooking, a few hours hard labour which produced a mouthwateringly tender roast chicken with a rich cava-infused gravy and sweetly caramelised apples. So that was the flavour, and as for the colour – a sun-drenched barely-Wintery Palma de Mallorca was waiting just outside the window, and with lunch barely digested, Dominik and I rushed out into the streets to savour all of the splendid vistas which this city so unceasingly affords.

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And of course the record of all these New Year’s treats is in the photos I’m posting, or at least the sights of our day are recorded this way. For the flavour of the food, I’m afraid you’ll need to get yourself an invite… And if you weren’t listening to the New Year’s concert in Vienna, I suggest you find yourself a clip on TV catch-up while you still can. But for the sights of my day at least, I come with gifts aplenty – a post full of photos freshly uploaded from a New Year’s day full of hope for the 12 months ahead.

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.

Barcelona | Photography Focus: Café Reial

When a winter’s city trip is graced by a little sunshine, it feels almost as though you are tricking the seasons. To feel the sun on your skin after months of deep freeze and half-hearted daylight is like the first bite of deliciously indulgent food after a period of health food austerity. So when the sun graced our recent trip to Barcelona, there was frankly no keeping us out of it, something to which my now rather ruddy face is testament. While the charm of Barcelona’s old gothic quarter streets is undoubtedly the fact that they are so narrow and built-up, this also means that the sun rarely reaches down to street level. Consequently, in order to enjoy a moment’s sun-basking without the inconvenience of shadow, nor the interruptions caused by wind, we had to get out of the squeeze of the gothic streets, and head for one of Barcelona’s hip and happening café-lined squares. And where better than to the King of them all? The Plaça Reial.

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The Plaça Reial is, like so many of the similarly enclosed quadrants which make up the Plaza Majores of so many Spanish cities, the beating heart of Barcelona. Just off the equally bustling Las Ramblas, and providing welcome public space after the narrow maze of the gothic streets behind it, the square is a place where all of Barcelona gather, to have coffee and drinks with friends, to hear the music provided by buskers, to seek out the many bargains which are to be found in the square’s Sunday market, or merely to amble around with a dog or a date, or just enjoy the sunshine like we did over a coffee on each of our three mornings in the city. In fact taking our coffee in the square became something of a daily ritual without which the day would have started prematurely. It also enabled us to take up a prime position for a spot of people watching, something which this series of photos surely demonstrates we did well.

Whether it be those sunbathing in their windows, or the little dogs sunbathing on the pavement below – the Plaça Reial truly was a place where all of Barcelona came to enjoy the first sunshine of Spring – and we were only too happy to join them.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 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 Twenty-Thirteen | Life’s a Beach

My second selection of photographs from my two week rendezvous in Spain’s Marbella is, for a town named after the beautiful sea which laps up along its sandy shores, rather appropriately collected around a beach theme. For without long days languishing along the plentiful sandy stretches, dipping in and out of the warm Mediterranean sea, and breathing in the mixed smells of sun tan cream, the salty sea breeze, and the acrid fishy smoke from barbequed sardines roasting upon one of the many beach chiringitos, a holiday in Marbella would lose its soul.

I didn’t take my camera to the beach nearly as much as we took ourselves along – after all, those pesky grains of sand tend to get everywhere, and a rogue sandy particle imbedding itself within the internal mechanisms of my camera is one holiday souvenir I can easily do without. However, those few occasions when my camera remained at my side were pretty active in the photography stakes. One feature of the beach which never failed to inspire me was the kaleidoscope of colours on offer.

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Under the bluest of blue skies, the sea took on a welcoming turquoise creaminess, while the sand glowed yellow and beige. Against that backdrop the hundreds of beach umbrellas brought along by the daily beach masses provided the finishing touches to what were an entire rainbow of vivid tones. One of my favourite photos just has to be the beach viewed from the paseo above, tanned crowds packing onto the sands and the swathe of multi-coloured umbrellas extending for as far as the eye can see – a vast snaking swirl of beach activity, and the very epitome of the Spanish summer season.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2013 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.