Chameleons in Andalucia

Chameleon on our gate

Chameleon on our gate

There are about 180 species of chameleon, most of which are in Africa and Madagascar, but in Europe we only have the common chameleon which can be found in the coastal provinces of Andalucia – Almeria, Malaga, Cadiz and Huelva. The most likely time of year to spot one is summer when they tend to wander in search of mates or a place to nest. Last summer we found one in the road outside our house and yesterday we saw one clinging on to the gate of our house. In both cases the chameleons crossed over from the scrubby, unpopulated hillside across the road from us.

Taking the chameleon to safety

Taking the chameleon to safety

We coaxed the chameleon off our gate and released it at the end of our road into the Parque Natural. Many of these beautiful lizards are killed on the roads in Andalucia in summer so please keep an eye out for them. They do not move very quickly.

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Agave (Pitas) En Flor

Agave en flor

Agave en flor

I do not take many landscape photos in high summer. It is too hot to walk around the campo and on most days in July and August the light loses its clarity because of the heat haze. This year, though, there is one phenomenon that I had to record: the spectacular flowering of the agaves.

Agave and Las Hortichuelas

Agave and Las Hortichuelas

We think that, because of the extra rain we had in early spring, far more agaves than usual were persuaded to flower. They do this by sending up tall shoots, resembling spears of giant asparagus, from their centres. These gradually unfold, sprouting branches at the tips of which are dense clusters of buds.The buds open to reveal their bright cushions of yellow flowers. After flowering, the main plant dies and, after some time, the stem collapses to the ground. Before this happens, though, the plant shoots off hundreds of seeds which root themselves in the soil. Traditionally, the dried, woody, main stems (called pitacas) were collected and used for roofing timbers in the simple country cortijos.

From the roas into Las Hortichuelas

From the roas into Las Hortichuelas

These photos were taken at Las Hortichuelas this morning. Typical colours of the landscape of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata in July.

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Granada in June and Arches

Alhambra from the Generlife gardens

Alhambra from the Generlife gardens

Yesterday we visited Granada. We parked above the Alhambra and walked down through the Generalife gardens to the city, strolled around the Albaicin and then back up the Alhambra hill.

Hotel America and the Palace of Carlos V

Hotel America and the Palace of Carlos V

We think these photos capture the essence of the city in June. This is of the iconic little Hotel America and the Palacio de Carlos V which one passes going from the Generalife to the Alhambra.

Looking at the Albaicin from the Generalife Palace

Looking at the Albaicin from the Generalife Palace

Granada is a city of arches. They feature in the architecture of the beautiful Moorish palace and in the gates of the city walls. This one in the Generalife Palace looks out over the Albaicin.

Moorish arch at the entrance to the Alhambra

Moorish arch at the entrance to the Alhambra

This is the first gate at the entrance to the Alhambra and …

Puerta de las Granadas

Puerta de las Granadas

… you have to pass through this arch, the Puertas de las Granadas, when you reach the city and the street Cuesta Gomerez.

Arch in the Albaicin

Arch in the Albaicin

There are arches too in the Albaicin. This one is at the junction of Calle San Juan de los Reyes and the Carretera Chapiz.

San Gregorio

San Gregorio

We love the streets on the old quarter, the Albaicin. This is San Gregorio.

Passing through the gardens from the Alhambra to the Generalife

Passing through the gardens from the Alhambra to the Generalife

Back up to the Generalife. Water features throughout the gardens in acequias, ponds and fountains. We think this lovely building is part of the Parador.

Looking back towards old Granada

Looking back towards old Granada

Finally here is an interesting view looking through the gardens to the Albaicin on the opposite hill.

If you click on the photos they will enlarge.

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Landscapes, Flora and San Pedro in June

looking inland from the path to San Pedro

Looking inland from the path to San Pedro

The exceptional, long, green grasses which covered the countryside and mountains around the Parque Natural this spring have now dried and the landscape has taken on hues of orange and yellow as we enter summer. The photo above taken from the track between Las Negras and San Pedro yesterday illustrates this well.

Blue Delphiniums and a little spider

Blue Delphiniums and a little spider

There are still some wild flowers. Blue delphiniums grow alongside the path ….

Almerian dianthus

Almerian dianthus

…. as well as the delicate little Almerian dianthus.

Cat's claws

Cat’s claws

Along the cliff path the yellow-flowered cats’ claws form clumps of bright colour.

Daisy on the cliff path

Daisy on the cliff path

There are always some dramatic photos to be taken on the final part of the walk along the cliffs down to Cala de San Pedro.

Daisy at the Castillo de San Pedro

Daisy at the Castillo de San Pedro

Daisy looking down on the beach

Daisy looking down on the beach

Daisy managed to feature in most of them.

Daisy on the beach at San Pedro

Daisy on the beach at San Pedro

The beach was uncrowded and a delight. The different tones of blue of the Mediterranean here are beautiful.

Looking down at the south end of the beach. El Playazo in the distance

Looking down at the south end of the beach. El Playazo de Rodalquilar in the distance

This last photo was taken looking down on the south end of the beach on our way back to Las Negras.

End of Las Negras beach

End of Las Negras beach

We had a Levante wind most of last week. South-facing San Pedro is sheltered but in Las Negras the sea off the beach has been quite rough, as this photo taken from the end of the beach last Thursday shows.

Holiday apartments in Las Negras http://holidaysinlasnegras.wordpress.com

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Belly Dancing at El Brindi

Hiedra dancing at El Brindi

Hiedra dancing at El Brindi

El Brindi Negro in Las Negras are now offering live entertainment every Saturday afternoon and yesterday we were treated to a belly-dancing show by Hiedra, accompanied by her partner Dani.

The first dance

The first dance

Hiedra performed three long dances in different outfits. First, she danced in this stunning blue costume.

Hiedra and Danni

Hiedra and Dani

For her second turn she wore a more traditional outfit with a wide belt and bra encrusted with sequins and glitter.

Finale

Finale

For her finale she wore this silver blue full-length Beledi dress. There was a good turn-out at the bar and Hiedra and Dani were able to meet old friends. Although they live in Orgiva, they spent several months in Las Negras a few years ago when Hiedra gave weekly belly-dancing classes at El Brindi.

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San Isidro

The beach at Las Negras this morning

The beach at Las Negras this morning

This weekend we have had an extra day’s holiday (Friday) in honour of San Isidro, who is the patron saint of the two little nearby towns of Campohermoso and San Isidro. It has also been a holiday in Madrid.

By the beach

By the beach

We were expecting more visitors to Las Negras as the weather has been perfect but those who came enjoyed the beach and the monthly craft market.

Old bikes and antiques

Old bikes and antiques

A market stall of marionettes

A market stall of marionettes

Hand made head gear

Hand made head gear

Aboveare photos of some of the market stalls.

Music in the street

Music in the street

There was also street music.

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Flowers in the Ramblas

Rambla de las Agüillas

Rambla de las Agüillas

Although most days have been sunny this spring, we have had more rainfall than usual in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata.

Green hills

Green hills

The botanists from Kew Gardens and our son, Jason, who returned to England last week, remarked that they had never seen the countryside here so green and colourful.

Swathes of poppies

Swathes of poppies

In the ramblas there are swathes of red poppies. We think that this may be the result of the seeds of the first crop germinating in the damp earth. Normally they would be dormant until next year.

Convolvulos and fig tree

Convolvulos and fig tree

Adding to the colours are the brilliant yellow and purple flowers of the thistles and

Old olive and thistles

Old olive and thistles

convolvulus.

The rambla with ruin above

The rambla with ruin above

These photos were taken on Sunday morning along the Rambla de las Agüillas in Las Negras. The ruins of old cortijos along this walk add interest to the photos and testify how this land was once farmed by many families.

Broomrape

Broomrape

We were interested by the different varieties and colours of Orobanche (broomrape) growing along the rambla.

White broomrape

White broomrape

There are over 200 species of this parasitic plan so they are very difficult to identify precisely.

Blue broomrape

Blue broomrape

More broomrape

More broomrape

We took these photos of several examples.

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