Thanks to the generosity of a friend, we were able to make an overnight trip to Malaga to see the famous Christmas lights. It was both a nice change and really weird to be around so many people. But, the lights were absolutely spectacular and we enjoyed wandering the streets, taking photos. We also took the time to visit the Picasso Museum, which was fantastic.



We managed to get out of our little village, a few days ago, for more than just shopping. Sad how the current situation has robbed us of our desire to travel and sightsee. Anyway, we went to see the exhibition of sculptures, My Secret Garden, by the Belgian artist, Arne Quinze.

The sculptures are scattered around the marina of Puerto Banús, a part of Marbella where the rich like to come to shop and play. The exhibition is Quinze's vision of the harmony and unity in nature, and his goal was to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and preservation of natural areas, by displaying his works in public spaces.

The pieces were interesting and it was a beautiful day to get out and enjoy the change of scenery.



Finally, a year and a half later than planned, the 30th half-marathon in Malaga took place. Have you ever seen a few thousand runners at a starting line with their faces covered with masks? A fuc**** strange view, believe me. Fortunately, a few hundred meters after the start everybody took them off and things went back to normal. The weather was spectacular and the route interesting. A very nice day.
My time: 01h, 59m, 39s.

Running Standards By Age And Ability.



From Wiki: The City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) is a cultural and architectural complex in the city of Valencia, Spain.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela, the project began the first stages of construction in July 1996, and was inaugurated on 16 April 1998 with the opening of L'Hemisferic. The last major component of the City of Arts and Sciences, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, was inaugurated on 9 October 2005. The most recent building in the complex, L'Agora, was opened in 2009.

It is the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia and one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.



A quiet summer for me, this year, and my first experience of summer in Spain. I was expecting the worst, in terms of crowds of people and insane temperatures, but it wasn’t too bad. Without a car, I spent most of the summer at home but I found plenty of ways to keep myself busy; I worked on my photography, swam as much as possible, read a lot, and I even picked up some part-time online work. Time flew by and, while I enjoyed the solitude, I’m happy that we’re back to our normal.



Carcassonne - a small town in southern France, famous for its citadel (Cite de Carcassonne). The citadel is a medieval fortress dating back to the Gallo-Roman period and restored by the well known architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc in 1853. Cite de Carcassonne is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1997. Worth visiting if you're in the area.



Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen) is one of the most photogenic places in the Dolomites, in Italy. The area (part of Sexten Dolomites) is a very popular destination for climbers, hikers, photographers and mountain lovers alike.

Make sure you get there early in the day, because the parking lots by Rifugio Auronzo fill up very quickly.



My first run in over two years, a 22k mountain race in Jakuszyce, Poland (part of the Piast Summer Running Festival). The weather was miserable, cold (around 10C) and rainy and the very demanding trail was muddy and slippery. Not the best running experience. My time: 02h, 28m, 50s.



A few pictures from my latest hikes in Karkonosze Mountains, in Poland. The weather, like everywhere in Europe this summer, is very unstable, lots of tourists and hikers on trails, so you really have to be careful in choosing your objectives.

Too bad the summer is almost over.

More pictures in Karkonosze Mountains gallery.



Another interesting location for via ferrata enthusiasts in Czechia, is the small town of Semily, in the northern part of the country, only 35 km from the Polish border. Beautifully located, on the banks of the Jizera river, the Via Ferrata Water Gate (Via Ferrata Vodní brána) offers 3 short but intense climbing routes up to grade E in the scale of difficulties.

Scale of difficulties for via ferrata.



Meissen, a town on banks of the Elbe river in eastern Germany, is famous for the manufacture of porcelain. Meissen porcelain was the first high-quality porcelain to be produced outside of the Orient.

The first European porcelain was manufactured in Meissen in 1710, when by decree of King Augustus II the Strong the Royal-Polish and Electoral-Saxon Porcelain Factory was opened in the Albrechtsburg. In 1861, it was moved to the Triebisch river valley of Meissen, where the porcelain factory can still be found today. Along with porcelain, other ceramics are also manufactured in the town. In the old town streets, there have been set up numerous porcelain stores, often selling antique Meissen porcelain.

In Meissen and the sourrounding area, several former painters from the manufacture have set up porcelain painting workshops and galleries with their own pieces of porcelain art.



The city of Decin is a very popular tourist destination in the north-west part of Czechia. Spectacularly located, amongst the hills and sandstone towers of Saxon Switzerland National Park, on the banks of the Elbe river, Decin has a lot to offer, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the most interesting activities offered is scrambling on the via ferratas set up on Shepherd's Wall, right in the center of the city. Opened in April 2014, the climbing center offers 14 scrambling routes of various levels of difficulty and is freely accessible at no charge.



On my way back north-east I managed to visit two of the most interesting and well-preserved German towns, Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Bamberg.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is well known for its spectacular medieval old town. It is part of the popular Romantic Road through southern Germany and one of only three towns in Germany that still have completely intact city walls.

Bamberg dates back to the 9th century, when its name was derived from the nearby Babenberch castle. Cited as one of Germany's most beautiful towns, its old town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, due to its medieval layout and its well preserved historic buildings.



Another trip to the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains. A few days of serious hiking in the south-west part of the range. I managed to summit a number of three-thousanders, including Tajos de la Virgen (3228 m), Pico de Elorrieta (3206 m) and Tozal de Cartujo (3152 m). The most demanding part of the hike was the section between Veleta Pass (Collado del Veleta) and the Elorrieta Hut (Refugio Elorrieta). Interesting scrambling, not to be taken lightly (especially with a heavy backpack).

The weather was amazing and the mountains empty (except for herds of Iberian ibex). What else can you ask for?

More pictures in the gallery Sierra Nevada.



Jerez da la Frontera - the largest city in Cadiz Province. Not an obvious tourist destination in Spain, but the city has interesting architecture (spectacular Cathedral of San Salvador), is the home of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art (a riding school comparable to the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna), and has a reputation as the world capital of flamenco and sherry wine. It's definitely worth a visit, especially when the jacaranda trees are in bloom.



Punta Paloma Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches we've been to, definitely the best in Europe (in our opinion). It is located on the atlantic coast of southern Spain, near Tarifa. The area around Tarifa is hugely popular for wind sports, so if you're ever looking for lessons in kite surfing, this is a fantastic place to go. 



Finally, the first short sight-seeing trip of 2021. We went to Arcos de la Frontera, also known as the gateway to the Route of the Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) of Andalusia.

This beautiful hilltop village has been declared a National Historic Monument. Characteristic of Moorish architecture, the bright whitewashed houses are simple and cubic in form. The village's buildings are arranged in a semicircle on a hillside at the edge of a cliff above the Río Guadalete. The hillside is dominated by impressive Moorish fortress and several interesting churches.



As you all know, we are living in very strange times. For the first two months of this year, we weren't even allowed to leave our village. Fortunately for us, although lacking a little bit in character, Alcaidesa is spectacularly located. The weather, the views, the hills, the beach, the sea... to die for. Not a bad place to get stuck for a while, hahaha...