November 28, 2013

The sand painter in San Sebastian

What an idea to make this huge sandpainting at the largest beach in San Sebastian, Spain.

Impressive work on an afternoon in November.


November 26, 2013

A vineyard walk around Collioure in November

A walk in the Vineyards of Collioure in November is interesting as the harvest is over and the fields without grapes looks a little "lost".

Still the landscape is there and especially in the hilled landscape around Collioure your tour offers a great landscape to explore.

In this 2 photos stitched you will see the Alberes mountains at the left and to the right the small fortification Fort St. Elme.

Some more of collioure wines from the net:
Red Collioure is characterized by its intensely ripe, fruit aromas and elements of spice, while the white version is the richest of French white wines, full-bodied and deeply perfumed.

Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre make up 60% of any Collioure blend, with Carignan and Cinsaut forming the remaining 40% in varying proportions. Mourvedre is not part of the Banyuls wine blend, so all Mourvedre grapes grown here are intended for Collioure wines. The rose wines are made from these same principal grapes, but with an addition of up to 30% Grenache Gris. Collioure white wines – a new addition to the appellation's output, as mentioned above – are made predominantly from Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris.

The wines from this part of France are evocative of the landscapes where they are grown. The villages and vineyards of Cerbere, Collioure, Port-Vendres and Banyuls are popular tourist destinations, perched on high cliff tops overlooking the western Mediterranean below.

(Published by | Last updated 24-Feb-2013 by Wine-Searcher Staff).

November 25, 2013

Mont Canigou, alt. 2785m - in South of France

Today was a fine opportunity to have a photo of the Majestetic mountain Canigou down here in South of France. As you can see the first snow is already in place and it is reported from the ski-resort Les Angles that they are ready to open the skilifts and start the ski season. This photo is shot on the road between Elne and Thuir.

Some info from the net:
The Canigou, el. 2,784.66 m. Is a mountain located in the Pyrenees of southern France.
Due to its sharp flanks and its dramatic location close to the coast, until the 18th century the Canigou was believed to be the highest mountain in the Pyrenees.

Spectacular jeep tracks on the north side of the massif lead to the Chalet de Cortalets (at 2150 m.) which is a popular outpost for walkers.
There are two ancient monasteries at the foot of the mountain, Martin-du-Canigou and Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa.

This mountain has symbolical significance for Catalan people. On its summit there is a cross that is often decorated with the Catalan flag. Every year on 23 June, the night before St. John's day (nit de Sant Joan), there is a ceremony called Flama del Canigó (Canigou Flame), where a fire is lit at the mountaintop. People keep a vigil during the night and take torches lit on that fire in a spectacular torch relay to light bonfires somewhere else.Some estimates conclude that about 30,000 bonfires are lit in this way all over Catalonia on that night.

November 24, 2013

The Christmas market in Perpignan

On a very windy Sunday where the wind Tramontane howled around the street corners we did an afternoon visit to the Christmas market in Perpignan.

The idea of the small lumber build chalets is quite charming - still entering into a christmas mood is a bit difficult. To be true what reminded me most of a Christmas setting was this visiting dog - a distant cousin to a Greenland Husky - very Christmas "lookalike".

I am afraid I had to do some PP to have the bleached colors of the afternoon to "glow" and adding some warm setting to the motif.

..anyway very interesting to see a Christmas Market in the very south capital of Languedoc-Rousillon: Perpignan.

November 23, 2013

Roses in spain - 2 photos panorama stitch

Today a 2 photos stitch taken from outside the harbour towards the city of Roses along Costa Brava in the Catalan Spain. A great place to visit, especially in November, to have some shelter from the strong winds of the Tramontane - to be faced a bit north over the border to France.

Some history from the net:
Roses, Spanish: Rosas is a municipality in the comarca of the Alt Empordà, located on the Costa Brava, in Catalonia, Spain.

The origins of Roses (Greek: Rhode) are disputed. A popular theory holds it was founded in the 8th century BC by Greek colonists from Rhodes. It seems more probable, however, that it was founded in the 5th century BC by Greeks from Massalia (Marseilles), perhaps with an admixture of colonists from neighbouring Emporion (today's Empúries).

Remains of the Greek settlement can still be seen. Remains from the Roman period go back to the 2nd century BC and continue well into Christian times with a paleochristian church and necropolis.

After the collapse of Roman power the town seems to have been abandoned, but a fortified settlement from the Visigothic period has been excavated on the nearby Puig Rom.

The monastery of Santa Maria de Roses is mentioned for the first time in a document of the year 944. Around this monastery grew the mediaeval town of Roses, which fell under the shared jurisdiction of the abbots of Santa Maria de Roses and the counts of Empúries. In 1402 the county of Empúries was incorporated in the Crown of Aragon and Roses acquired the right to organize its own municipal governmentand the economy.

November 22, 2013

Hiking in (not on) Roses in Spain

Right outside the marina we did the coast hike passing the old lighthouse and The Castell de la Trinitat (see photo)

Roses have become a typical tourist town in the North East Spain, Catalunia.
Walking the coast hike in November - passing lots of empty apartment houses in the hilled landscape is almost like passing some ghost houses empty of people. This coast hike was originally made by smugglers bringing their goods between Spain and France.

Roses have a most interesting story being thrown between Spainish and French "ownership" throughout the years (here some more from the net):

In the first decades of the 16th century Roses suffered repeatedly from attacks by privateers from North Africa. To counter this threat, Charles V ordered the construction of extensive fortifications in 1543.

In spite of these precautions, a naval squadron led by the Turkish admiral Barbarossa attacked and plundered the town some months later.

After substantial revisions, the fortifications were completed in 1553, under Charles's son Philip II. The entire medieval town was now enclosed by a bastioned pentagonal wall.

The defensive system was supplemented by the Castell de la Trinitat, some 2.5 km to the east. The town received a permanent military garrison, which changed its character profoundly. To minimise friction between the citizenry and the soldiers, barracks were constructed, but this did not prevent a gradual movement of part of the population outside the walls, where the modern town of Roses now is.

In the following centuries the fortifications were severely tested. In 1645, during the Catalan Revolt, French troops besieged Roses and captured it. The Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659) restored the town to Spain.
In 1693, during the War of the Grand Alliance the French captured the town again. This time the French occupation lasted until the Peace of Ryswick in 1697. In 1712, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Austrian troops tried to take the city, but were driven off.

In 1719, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance, the French again attacked, and but failed to take Roses.
After a long period of relative calm the Wars of the French Revolution ushered in a new round of hostilities. In 1793 the French revolutionary government declared war on Spain. At first, the Spanish armies won a foothold in France, but in 1794 the revolutionary armies invaded Catalonia. The Siege of Roses lasted from 28 November 1794 until 3 February 1795, when the garrison was safely evacuated by a Spanish naval squadron, except for 300 unlucky soldiers. The town was surrendered to France, but the war between France and Spain ended at the Peace of Basle signed in July 1795. The city quickly returned to Spanish control.

In 1808, Emperor Napoleon I of France forced King Charles IV of Spain and his son Ferdinand to abdicate and installed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. When the Spanish people revolted against this high-handed behavior, French armies invaded the country again in the Peninsular War. The fourth and last Siege of Roses occurred in 1808. During this operation, the famed Scottish captain of the Royal Navy Thomas Cochrane assisted the Spanish by putting his men into Castell de la Trinitat to help defend the town. The Scot stayed until the citadel and the town surrendered, before finally evacuating himself and his men.

In 1814, when the defeated French withdrew from Spain, they blew up the town's fortifications along with the Castell de la Trinitat. At this time, the ancient town, called the Ciutadella, was completely ruined. Meanwhile, to the east the modern town slowly continued to grow.

November 19, 2013

Port-Vendres in November

After many days of strong wind the waves outside the small harbour of Port-Vendres in South of France is filled with whitetopped waves. While the waters inside the wavebreaker still is more calm.

It is interesting to see those changes of Cote Vermeille through different seasons.

From the net:
Even before it became an important harbour of the Kingdom of Majorca during the 13th century, Port-Vendres had already been known since the 6th century BC by Greek navigators as « Portus veneris » (the port of Venus). There has always been an important shipping activity in this natural shelter.

From 1838 on, when France got involved in economical exchanges with North Africa, the port was enlarged and improved. It enabled Port-Vendres to become an important commercial port (“the shortest crossing and the most sheltered waters”). Goods and passengers traffic flourished and increased until 1962.

November 18, 2013

Face painted at the Christmas market

On a rainy day it was tempting to visit the first (indoor) Christmas market this season in Pyrenees Orientales in South of France.

Amongst all the activities going on we found this little girl very serious about her face painting that made her appear this way.

The event took place in the small village Vinca - by the foot of the high mountain Canigou (alt. 2800m) - also said to be the holy mountain of the Catalans.

November 15, 2013

The beautiful blue colors of Collioure

Reference statements from the net:
"Collioure, a town only about 15 miles from the Spanish border and 18 miles from Perpignan, has an art history that goes back to when French artist Henri Matisse started painting in the small town over a century ago. The art scene in Collioure is constantly evolving, with some artists coming to the commune to work simply because of its reputation as an artists’ colony.
And then a quotation from artist Henri Matisse:
“There isn’t anywhere in France where the sky is bluer than the sky of Collioure. I just have to open the shutters of my room and I have all of the colors of the Mediterranean at my place.”
So there I am in this fine November afternoon. Standing in Port Avall with my small Canon G1X and my tripod - on my way back to our apartment. Of course I stop just there in the beginning of the blue hour and make this photo souvernir right at the beach looking towards the church Notre-Dame-des-Anges to the right of the high walls of Château Royal de Collioure while some small waves wisper silently at the shore.
Look at the bell tower at the church - which originally was not a church but a lighthouse - I think that I even red sometimes that it had been used as a prison. What a story for such a delight for the eye - as it was this afternoon.
When I fold together my tripod and pack the camera in my bag I know this work must be presented as: "The beautiful blue colors of Collioure"

November 13, 2013

Cote Vermeille in the South of France - a panorama

This is a stitch of 3 photos made in the port leading in to the deep sea harbour of the small Catalan village Port-Vendres in the very South of France along Cote Vermeille.

In November there is often wind blowing from NorthWest (in the very back you can see the line of mountains raising beyond the Rousillon landscape from where the wind come howling.)

More of Port-Vendres from the net:
Port-Vendres (Catalan: Portvendres) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.

A typical Mediterranean fishing port, situated near the Spanish border on the Côte Vermeille in south west France, Port-Vendres is renowned for its numerous fish and sea food restaurants.

Port-Vendres is one of the few deep-water ports in this part of the French Mediterranean coast. It takes freighters and cruise ships, as well as large and small fishing boats which may be seen arriving with their daily catch.

The geomorphology of Port-Vendres meant that it developed in a different way from the nearby port of Collioure. Whereas Collioure has two beaches which slowly descend into a relatively shallow sandy-bottomed harbour, Port-Vendres is deeper and rockier.

Collioure and Port-Vendres have therefore been used for different purposes - Collioure for small commercial ship and Port-Vendres for larger vessels and military transports. During the 20th century, this made it a main point of embarkation for French troops going to serve in Algeria.

November 11, 2013

The Tramontane in Southern France

While the Provence has it's Mistral wind the Southern France in Languedoc-Rousillon has it's Tramontane coming in from the North - also bringing in some colder weather. Usually it blows the clouds away. This is from a November day in the first of the usually 5-10 days cycles.

From the net:
The Tramontane
The dominant wind of the Languedoc region is the Tramontane. The Tramontane is powerful, dry and cold, and blows from the north or the northwest. It gathers its speed and power in the same way as the Mistral does, passing through the narrow corridor between the Pyrénéan Mountains and the Massif Central, and being created by the meeting of the high pressure from the Atlantic with the low pressure of the Mediterranean in the Golfe de Lion.

The areas of France most affected by the Tramontane are the Languedoc Littoral, that is, the coastal areas of the Languedoc all the way along the west to Spain, and the inland areas of the Hérault , the Pyrénées-Orientales and the southern Aude. In certain areas, notably the eastern Languedoc and the western regions of Provence, the Tramontane can merge with the Mistral.

November 10, 2013

November in South of France

Late Saturday afternoon in the small and very popular village Collioure not far from the border to Spain.

Some info from the net:
The gem of the Catalonian coast, Collioure is encased in a small rock bay, with the Alberes Mountains practically pushing her into the sea.

Collioure has managed to escape any of the real estate development that has devoured the coast of Roussillon down to Argeles-sur-Mer, six miles away. The town has kept much of its unique medieval character.

The Royal Castle separates the bay and is surrounded on one side with cafes, shops and art galleries. Caught between the bay and the sea stands the church, adjacent to the ancient lighthouse that now serves as a bell tower. The rose dome atop the tower is the trademark of romantic Collioure.

November 7, 2013

Migrating to the South of France

In our country Norway the days arebeing shorter with less daylight until the end of December. The days are colder an already it is snow in our Central Mountains.
All this motivates us to go South to our place in the small village Collioure right by the border to Spain. If not for the whole winter - still for an extended period now in the diversion between autumn and winter.

The photo above from the port to the deep sea harbour in Port-Vendres on a fine day of August

November 6, 2013

The first snow in our mountain valley

It is that time of the year and yesterday we had a report of the first snow for the season from our mountain valley in the Central mountains of Norway.

It gave us a fine excuse to pick out this photo of a neighbor cottage from Dec. last year.

November 3, 2013

Autumn tranquility by a mountain lake

From a mountain lake near our place up in the Central Mountains in Norway. The small lake is situated along the Panorame Road in Tisleidalen, Valdres in Norway.

November 1, 2013

What does the fox says

"Big brown eyes
Pointy nose
Chasing mice
and digging holes
Tiny paws
Up the hill
Suddenly youre standing still
Your fur is red
So beautiful
Like an angel in disguise..."
Read more: Ylvis - The Fox Lyrics | MetroLyrics
We have had this fox around our mountain house from time to time over a period of 2.-3 years. Until a Lynx was passing through. The fox survived the first attack from the Lynx. We even had his "saying" after the attack at video. Unfortunately this was the last time we saw him...