In the competitions organized by the Association of Photographers of the City of Antequera (AFA), the photograph that captures El Torcal has the highest chance of winning the award. Barcelona tour guides once told me that this competition is one of the most popular in the area.
Such a regularity can make only those who think that local photographers lack imagination and are lazy to look at something new smile. That El Torcal isn’t just another attraction for a local celebrity I realized for the fifth time on top of it.
Javier the photographer
Javier has been photographing El Torcal since he bought his first camera. He has been here many times, taking thousands of photographs, but modestly admits that in his own opinion, there are only about a hundred good ones. This time we went with him to El Torcal for the weekend to take a walk and admire the panoramas of the surroundings.
Guided by the photographer, we turn towards the southern slope of the mountain and meander along a narrow path between the sedimentary rock layers. Along the way we meet a swarm of wild goats, descend into a ravine, and stop after turning a few more promontories. The photographer pulls the phone out of his backpack, looks for something in it, looks around, walks, stops, looks again. After all, I say – I can’t find it …. Then we look around: Are we walking in search of something? Barcelona tour guides.
Javier shows a photo on the phone – El Elefante (elephant) – a rock formation illuminated by the rising sun that really looks like an elephant profile. It’s not very big, it should be somewhere on a cliff, but I can’t find it. The photo was taken in the glow, so everything looks different in the evening. We stop the search for elephants and return to watch the wild goats fight.
This story explains the uniqueness of El Torcal. When visiting here for the first time, it will be enough to admire the open panoramas, walk in the canyons and valleys, climb the rocky slopes. However, when he arrived, he started to discover new things, new panoramas, new paths, unprecedented compositions, and shades of shapes.
You never know what you’ll see when you turn a corner or glance at a small gorge. This place is made up of thousands of small details – stones, rocks, petrified imprints, formations reminiscent of mushrooms, animals, cathedrals, and castles. Larger structures have their own names – Shepherd’s Chimneys, Screw, Hat, Devil’s Cornice. But there are countless smaller, as yet unseen and nameless.
At different times of the year or even during the day, the same place can look completely new. At night, observers of the starry sky gather on the mountain, during the day – fans of extreme sports.
El Torcal is never the same and that is unique. Barcelona tour guides. Walking through the narrow labyrinths of trails you can find secluded places for both meditation and picnics with friends. Sheep graze here, birds abound, and wild blackberry bushes grow.
El Torcal was once the seabed, rising to the top of a mountain of 1,300 meters a million years ago. This geological reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but you can come here at any time of the day – the park does not have opening hours, you do not need to buy a ticket or hire a guide. It is only 14 km from the town of Antekera, so you can get there on foot, by bike or by car.
Antekera is a city for living
I chose the city where I would live at home sitting on the couch and flipping through the information I found online. Barcelona tour guides. I knew well what I wanted. I dreamed of settling in a small town a little further from the tourist coast, where I could speak Spanish to Spanish instead of English. I wanted to have convenient connections to major Andalusian cities, and I was at a nearby international airport. At first glance, Antekera met many requirements. Virtual traveling through its streets, I felt that the city has its own style, rhythm and is probably comfortable to live in.
I came to Andalusia again before making a final decision. On the slope of the mountain, instead of Antekera, I was greeted from afar by the peaks of the church and monasteries, the Moorish fortress blowing on the hill, and the white little Andalusian huts lined up on the hill. I already knew that Antequera was the leader in Spain in terms of the number of churches per capita. And this number is really impressive: there are 12 monasteries and 24 churches in a city.
However, I was not going to join the monastery, it was more important to understand how the townspeople live here. While walking through the city streets for lunch, I felt that Antekera was not just candy for a stranger.
Through the plane’s porthole, Majuro looked like a corner of paradise. A narrow 40-kilometer-long horseshoe emerging from the Pacific blue. It is a coral reef that has grown over many centuries as these marine animals continue to cling to the dead bodies of their ancestors and thus rise up generation after generation.
There are no arrows, road signs, or traffic lights in the Major. For whom, when there is only one road, and we are occasionally splashed by waves – like the runway of an airport. Because the whole island is only one long coast. Barcelona tour guides. It was so narrow that there was no room to build anything further into the ocean.
Maduro from the plane. Visible shallows – corals
Majuro is a real fringe of the world, unspoiled by tourists. Only 9,000 of them visit the Marshall Islands each year. Here I could still feel like a pioneer of tourism before the war. I didn’t even find travel books about the Marshall Islands in a giant US bookstore, and the only tourist information was printed on green A4 sheets at the hotel reception.
But even the curiosities described there cannot be shown by the locals. And when they went to visit the “place of interest” copra factory, the locals were very surprised that it was interesting for someone (and did not take any money for a personal tour).
View of the lagoon from the hotel gazebos in the evening
Everything is surrounded by palm trees, nature. The boat roar across the lagoon (inside the horseshoe), at one end of the island, is Laura Beach. Standing on the seabed there is extremely difficult because a powerful current constantly carries you to the north. Palm branches and debris float downstream… Barcelona tour guides.
The Marshall Islands are not an ecological paradise, not a candy for tourists. It is most likely a state in the middle of the ocean, where people would not be able to imagine life without the coast: they see it almost anywhere in their homeland.
Location: Queensland, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is a “coral jungle”, showing an endless series of islands stretching over 1,000 kilometers parallel to Australia’s east coast. Almost every village on the whole coast is a resort, from which nature lovers, who have paid a lot of money towards the reef every day, go.
We took part in a classic “day cruise”. In the morning we were sailed to a private pontoon – all the reef travel agencies have them. There offers tubing, glass-bottomed boats, lunch, and an underwater observation deck. Also excursions to the island nearest to the pontoon – for us it was Lady Musgrave. The temperature of the ocean was higher than it has ever been on the Lithuanian coast (what is +23), but it was often too cool for Australians to swim only with tight – they rented waterproof suits.
Cruise ship at the pontoon. This cruise departs from the town in 1770 (named Cook’s Disembarkation Date), but almost every seaside town in central and northern Queensland has its own cruises and ‘its’ island, stretching 50-100 km deep into the vast surrounding ocean. Barcelona tour guides.
Underwater is a whole ecosystem. Colorful corals poisoning each other with chemicals. The fish petrify, new ones grow on them, and fish and turtles breed in the gaps. The waves crash at the edges of the reef without entering a quiet lagoon – but each blow of them breaks pieces of coral somewhere.
The remains are carried to the island, where all the sand is the dust of dead corals, and the land is also bird droppings (guano) and their rotten bodies (we didn’t see them in winter, but in summer, the picture is sad). Because the birds here are killed by the trees sticking together with their wings – this is how they get more fertile land. This is the same way as in Hamilton. The famous city.
We covered the essence of the photographer’s way of doing their work and how Javier is taking his shots. Barcelona tour guides managed to explain why El Torcal is gathering so many photographers. If you are interested in meeting great people that can help you out exploring a city or even a country, check out showaround.com.