In Sevilla we heard, live on stage, in a modern, airy, wood-panelled auditorium, the fabulous flamenco guitarist Paco Jarana: a wonderful masterclass that blew us both away. To see flamenco dancing, however, we went to Ronda, to the Restaurant Cinque on the Paseo Blas Infante – a small, dark stage, with three red chairs for the handclapper-singers and the guitarist and just space enough for a single flamenco dancer.
The guitarist was not the great Paco, by any stretch, but he was pretty good; the singers and hand-clappers, likewise, were not in the league of Paco’s accompanists, but what they had was the raw intensity and the enthusiasm that the performance demanded.
And the flamenco dancer – offstage, just a slight, ordinary-seeming young woman – on stage, commanded your absolute attention. Entering silently, down a darkened staircase, she stepped out into the light, and from then until the show ended had us utterly entranced – no, not just entranced, completely riveted.
I chose on this occasion to take the Leica D-Lux, not the Nikon, as the Nikon would have been too large and intrusive. I asked if it was okay to take photographs and was told yes, so long as I didn’t use flash.
Back, then, from Paternoster, and back to Spain: Ronda, to be precise. Retracing our steps for the next couple of posts, to pick up on these images from our hotel rooftop before – in an upcoming post – sitting down in a small tapas bar for some foot-stomping flamenco.
To wrap up the series on Paternoster, here is the first photograph I took, around 5.30 that morning, on my way to the beach: a row of cottages at the end of the road, the rain still glistening on the tarmac, a silver sliver of moon showing between the hurrying clouds.
I wrote in a previous post about fulfilling a long-standing wish of my mother’s, to visit the little fishing village of Paternoster, on the Cape West Coast: most of the time was family time, an extended celebration of her 87th birthday, but on the last morning I made sure I had some time for myself.
I rose early, at 05:00, and let myself out before dawn, and headed down to the beach. It had been raining, and the tide was out; the skies were cloudy and grey, and the dawn broke only weakly through. Here is a first series of images – the sweep of the beach, the distant cottages, the light almost monochromatic except where it is suffused with soft yellows and pinks.
We drove up the steep hill into Olvera, one of the ‘white towns‘ or pueblos blancosof Andalucia; parked, climbed higher, to the monumental bulk of the Iglesia de la Encarnacion from where we could look across to the Moorish Keep on a rocky outcrop opposite; looked out over the roofs into the streets below and the olive-clad hills in the distance, and then descended once more into the town, where we came across this group of men, retired one guessed, gossiping in the shade.
The Cathedral and the Keep tomorrow or Sunday; but here is my tableaux of old men, today.
We took the road via Setenil from Ronda before joining up with the A384 en route to Granada. The back roads took us through rugged, heat-seared, spectacular country, dotted with little white towns with Olvera, pictured, offering dramatic views as we approached.
Needless to say, we drove up into the town, parked, and explored. We were on holiday after all.