Every year, in May, the pretty medieval city of Girona organizes the Temps de Flors Festival, a unique festival of flowers. For about a week the old catalan city’s narrow and steep cobbled alleyways, stone-walled courtyards, monuments and squares are converted magically into an ornamental and original urban garden. Spectacular garden inspired art installations adorn dozens of monuments while a colorful carpet of flowers cascade down the cathedral steps. The streets of the old city center become a labyrinth of vibrant colors and pleasant aromas that I could not miss to shoot something different with my camera.
Ordesa National Park is a world made of verdant valleys blanketed by beech and pine lush forests and towered by impressive limestone mountains turning into warm orange tones at sunset which remind me of my Dolomites. Two full exhausting days spent by hiking and shooting photos in Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, one of the best of Spain’s natural wonders, gave back to me again the joy of living outdoors intensely and refreshed all those old hike memories in my Italian Alps. A sort of heaven on earth with emerald streams only interrupted by thundering waterfalls, colorful carpets of blooming primroses and irises among the melting snow, golden eagles circling in the blue sky over me and steep walls of rock falling from the severe peaks. I enjoyed all these things along with deers and marmots crossing my path and the high mountain cool breeze blowing in my face.
If you really wish to enjoy Barcelona and experience both “love in the air” and spring atmosphere, come during La Diada de Sant Jordi. It is a Catalan holiday held on 23 April and is known also as El dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book). The main event is the exchange of gifts between sweethearts, loved ones and colleagues. Historically, men gave women roses, and women gave men a book to celebrate the occasion “a rose for love and a book forever.”
Roses have been associated with this day since medieval times, but the giving of books is a more recent tradition originating in 1923, when a Barcelona’s bookseller started to promote the holiday in 1923 as a way to honor the simultaneous deaths of two among the greatest men of literature worldwide: Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, both deceased on April 23, 1616.
Along the Ramblas, Barcelona’s main street, but also all over the city, you will see hundreds of colorful flower stands selling roses while makeshift bookstalls are hastily set up for the special event. Despite the economical crisis, by the end of the day, several million roses and about half million books are purchased in the name of love, registering half of the total yearly book sales of Catalonia on this day alone! Wandering around in Barcelona you might find it difficult to see a woman without a rose in her hand, or a man walking by without a book.
Definitely, this is a special day for shooting original photos in Barcelona!
Last April 15, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Photography has been awarded to Javier Manzano, a free-lance photographer, for his extraordinary picture, distributed by Agence France-Presse.
The picture taken by Javier Manzano on October 18, 2012 shows two rebel soldiers in Syria guarding their sniper’s nest in the Karmel Jabl neighborhood of Aleppo as light streams through more than a dozen holes made by bullets and shrapnel in the tin wall behind them.
Pulitzer Prizes for best breaking-news and feature photographs are awarded every year by Columbia University in New York.
The heart of Spain is a true heaven for a travel photographer. The solitude of its vast landscape swept by wind is interrupted by some of the greatest Spanish cities where several cultures found home across the centuries such as Moorish, Visigothic, Christian, Jewish. This time, during my short trip, I have chosen to explore the picturesque cities of Avila with its impregnable medieval walls and Toledo with its labyrinth of narrow streets, inner patios hidden like a secret, synagogues and the incredibly beautiful Alcázar. Just add the picturesque white windmills described in Cervantes’s Don Quixote that populate the Castilla’s landscape and the silent Easter processions at night with dozens of hooded pilgrims holding candles in an almost scary atmosphere, then, you got a perfect photographic journey to experience!