Posts Tagged ‘culture’

There’s going to be a lot written about Asturias over the next few months. The writers on this incredible trip have our work cut out if our words are to come remotely close to painting a realistically vivid picture of this ‘secret’ region of Spain that has surprised, delighted and charmed all of us.

For the moment I’ll once again let images do my work for me.



Images from top to bottom: Niembro, Cheese maker in Picos de Europa, Cudillero, Covadonga, Llanes

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Some folks have pretty bizarre ideas about other people’s travel preferences. I recently followed, with growing amazement, an online forum thread that more or less castigated anyone who promoted the idea of getting out and about exploring the holiday destination they were visiting.

Only ‘snooty gits’ and ‘high minded snobs’ (their words) were weird enough to want to seek out some local culture apparently. Ordinary folks prefer to soak up the sun in their holiday resorts; preferably surrounded by the familiarity of British bars and restaurants (Chinese, Italian and Indian restaurants are included in this).

Lying around a beach or a pool in a holiday resort all day long is not my glass of sangria, it would bore me to the high heavens. it represents dullsville…on a cloudy day…when everything is shut. But I recognise it’s what many people want from their holidays. I have friends who fall into that group; different people like different things; simple as that. Each to their own, live and let live and…(add your own cliché here).

But a statement that really irks me is when people come out with a variation of ‘I’ve been working hard so I’ll give the culture seeking a miss this time. All I want to do is chill out by the pool and stay around the resort.’ It’s a cop-out line.

This sort of attitude winds me up for a number of reasons:

  1. It could be seen to imply that people who do go out and explore the destinations they’re visiting haven’t been working hard. It’s a ridiculous notion.
  2. It suggests that experiencing a different culture is hard work. It’s a ridiculous notion – the sequel.
  3. There’s also an inference that doing anything else other than lying a round a pool and hitting the local Brit bars is boring (hello irony).  Return of the ridiculous notion part 3.

It’s also completely dishonest; people who use this as an excuse for only hanging out by the pool avoid culture-seeking not because they’re tired after working hard in their jobs. They avoid culture-seeking because it doesn’t interest them. And if that’s the case why not just admit it instead of concocting lame excuses? I have more respect for the people who are upfront about this.

As for the silly comments about people who seek out different cultures being ‘high-minded’, those are a defence mechanism from people who feel threatened by others who enjoy travel rather than those who just enjoy a hotel pool. The language used speaks volumes and identifies the user as not having a clue about the treasures beyond gold that experiencing another country’s culture can bring; it’s not all always about churches and museums.

Andy and I are a couple of those oddballs that actively seek out ‘cultural’ activities and a typical day when we’re travelling for pleasure consists of:

Early-ish rise, hit the nearest beach, bask in the sunshine and catch up on lost sleep for a couple of hours, eat lunch, go exploring (utilising trains, planes, automobiles, tuk-tuks, elephants or whatever is to hand), enjoy a ‘post cultural experience’ beer or two, have a siesta, eat dinner (local cuisine of course), hit the liveliest local bar or fiesta (with live music preferably), get slightly merry, head home in the wee small hours, fall into bed, sleep…reboot.

The secret that the pool dwellers don’t realise is that travellers like us don’t just enjoy the cultural experience…we get the beach and bars as well as stockpiling some great memories that live on way, way, way after the suntan has faded.

Anyone who’s walked past the wonderful sculpture of the fishwife in Puerto de la Cruz is already familiar with the work of Julio Nieto. But pretty though she is, she’s only the conventional tip of the iceberg when it comes to his creations.

Some of his other sculptures are products of a vivid and fantastical imagination that clearly knows no bounds. So it was with childlike delight that we discovered a street exhibition of his work in La Orotava’s plaza when we visited between Christmas and New Year.

I can’t do them justice with mere words, so I’ll let the images speak for themselves.