December 2011

What an amazing month December has been; a road-trip through Spain, a visit to and an enforced stay in the UK, two birthdays and of course the very silly season-to-be-merry!

En-route to the UK, the intention was to spend a bit of time around the Asturias region of Spain as there are many beautiful beaches, mountains and villages to behold. The drive up through Spain was amazing; snow-capped mountains overlooking still-lakes, small sleepy villages nestled between the mountains, sometimes looking like they are clinging onto the hill-side for dear life. Unfortunately the desire to reach our destination took priority over stopping to take photographs.

After the grueling 12 / 14 hour drive from San José our first resting place for the night was the small town (pueblo) of Pravia in the Asturias region. Pravia is a bustling town full of very friendly and welcoming people. The region is known for many things but people kept telling us of it’s cider (sidra) and bean stew (fabada) of varying recipes so of course we had to try them and how nice they were!

Playa del Silencio

The following day we were off to a beach I’d heard so much about, Playa del Silencio and what an experience that was.

Playa del Silencio (AKA The Gavieru) was anything but silent at the time we visited, the sea that is normally safe for diving and snorkelling was anything but safe. Even during my short walk along the beach, I felt like I was risking my life.

After visiting Playa del Silencio, we made our way east for our next stop, the town of San Vicente de la Barquera via a few beauty spots along-the-way. One such place was the stunning Playa de Vega in La Vega, between the towns of Berbes and Barredo.

Playa de Vega

Playa de Vega is a golden-sand paradise which is (apparently) known for it’s windsurfing and therefore (I guess) can get fairly busy. At the time of our visit, there were only a handful of dog-walkers and customers for what looked to be a very nice busy restaurant overlooking the beach. I took this opportunity to take some long exposure photographs using a neutral density filter and open shutter.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to try and replicate some of the slow shutter speed effects that I’ve achieved during my moonlight photography sessions. After a small amount of research and a bit of practice I’ve succeeded and found it to be relatively easy… well, certainly easier than moonlight photography – watch this space for tutorials!

Playa de Gulpiyuri

Following a night in a remotely situated hotel just outside San Vicente de la Barquera, we went in search of the curious inland beach of Playa de Gulpiyuri. North of the village of Naves and halfway between Ribadesella and Llanes, the unusually located Playa de Gulpiyuri is declared a natural monument. The sea has carved it’s way via a series of collapsed caves and sinkholes into this phenomenon from behind the cliffs not too far from this beach.

Having then attempted to visit another of the region’s beauty spots which had to be aborted due to the time it would’ve taken to wade through muddy fields, we set off for the ferry from Santander to Portsmouth.

Lake at Alice Holt Forest

So now we’re in the UK and with all birthday celebrations, festivities, etc out of the way, I’m ready to begin my return journey but hey wait, what is this? My ferry from Portsmouth to Santander has been cancelled and replaced with a ferry the next day to Bilbao… oh and then the replacement ferry to Bilbao was cancelled and I was left stranded in the UK until the next one.

Eventually I arrived home on 22 December, one week later than I should’ve done; cold, hungry, very tired and almost seeing double after the long 12 hour drive from the frozen north 🙂 Whilst it was nice taking the car and being able to do this road trip, the moral of this tale is not to book ferries in the winter! Still, I managed to squeeze in a nice little photography trip to the Alice Holt Forest near Farnham, Surrey and a few extra family visits and so made the most of my time… though I was concerned at the rate things were going, Dale & Heather would arrive in Spain before me!

So… home at last but hardly anytime to prepare for the imminent arrival of said Dale & Heather, aaargh!! Fortunately it all worked out OK and there was even time to visit one of my favourite beaches on xmas day AND climb what is known as “the petrified wave”!

Xmas day 2011, Playa de Monsúl

…and now that the silly season is done and dusted for another year we can all relax and get on with our business.

All that’s left to say now is happy new year, or felíz año nuevo as they say in my town. Don’t forget to visit my website for the latest and greatest photography experiences the world has to offer. Hopefully you are inspired to visit my most beautiful part of the world and let me show you around.


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