I am a photographer of many things, currently based in Ericeira, Portugal. But also occasionally found in Cape Town, South Africa. Also the co-owner of Piteira Photography, a husband and wife wedding & lifestyle photography team.
This is pretty much my summer in a nutshell… there was lots of beach and delicious sunsets, quite a bit of sangria, an enormous amount of figs, Lisbon festivals in June, quite a bit of camping, seafood, more figs, more beach, Serra da Estrela, Algarve, Alentejo, more sangria and lots and lots of dogwalking. In between all of this there were 21 weddings and countless other shoots and things… and the fact that the rain in Spain does NOT stay mainly on the plain, but you already heard about that… It was a good summer, but now it´s almost over. But that´s ok, because autumn is pretty great too, although if the good weather wants to hang around a bit longer, I´m not going to complain one bit!
All of these photos were taken on an iPhone and edited with the vscocam app… for those of you who insist that photography is all about the camera, yeah… not so much. If you follow me on Instagram you would probably have seen these already.
Every time we come into Lisbon, for whatever reason, I always end up finding something new, discovering a side I hadn´t seen before or stumbling across a neigbourhood that we´d walked past a thousand times without ever really SEEING it. I love this city and I hope that I never stop being blown away by her changing faces, the subtle nuances, the play of light and shadow, old and new, silence and chaos. Lisboa, you have my heart.
August is the month is which literally the whole country goes on holiday. And because we live in a seaside town which also happens to be one of the most fabulous place in the country, it means that everybody comes here for the holidays… August in Ericeira is to be avoided, as much as possible. So when the crowds descend upon our beaches with screaming children and pressure cookers full of garlicky bean stew for lunch, stinking up everything in a 30 meter radius, we head inland to the mountains and the rivers… less pressure cookers, more relaxation.
We camped in Coja and explored the Serra da Estrela, the tallest mountains in Portugal and the location of the only ski resort in the country. We unfortunately decided to drive through the mountains during a cross country bicycle race and couldn´t go as far as we wanted due to road closures but we´ll get there next time…
So it seems everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is getting ready for autumn, my Instagram and Pinterest feeds are suddenly full of various pumpkin related recipes and warm woolly jerseys… but summer hasn´t yet left our part of the world and I, for one, am not in a rush for boots and jackets. So what if the days are getting shorter? It´s still warm enough to swim in the ocean and I´m quite happy being in denial, thank you very much. Here´s to summer, may you last at least another month… or two…
This was the last day of our rainy Spanish adventure and we didn´t really explore much since we had loads of ground to cover and not much time for anything except driving. We stopped briefly in Salamanca, which is packed with tourists in spite of the fact that it´s pretty much in the middle of nowhere… and also a tiny little town called Palenzuela where it appears they have more sheep than people… like New Zealand then, only much hotter.
And so the story ends… we had a great time on this trip and made a few mental note for the next time, like: actually pay attention to weather reports and have an alternative itinerary in case of crap weather… also, camping chairs are a worthwhile investment, on the list of things to buy for next time, because sitting on the ground isn´t as comfortable as it was 10 years ago. But otherwise? We had a blast, and it was great travelling with our dog, even if it does restrict you a little bit, it was worth it to have his cute face along for the ride.
Click HERE for Day 6: Mundaka to Zarautz
San Sebastian! Known within the Basque country as Donostia, this city was the reason for our trip and it was great to finally be here and see that it was all worth the effort. This is definitely a place to spend a few days exploring… it´s quite a bit more expensive than the cities we visited on the previous 6 days but there´s loads to see and amazing food at every turn. This is without a doubt a foodie´s paradise.
Click HERE for Day 5: Bilbao to Mundaka
Day 6. Almost a week of being on the road and just as many days of rain. This was the day that we finally cracked. Up until this point we had been cheerful and optimistic… “tomorrow will be better” “there´s nothing we can do about it so we might as well just embrace the rain” and all manner of positive phrases that we bounced about between the 2 of us. But then, when trying to visit San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (which is supposed to look like THIS) we encountered mist and rain so thick that we couldn´t even see 5 meters in front of us while driving. Combined with tiny windy roads and crazy Spanish drivers coming at us from the opposite direction, it was a pretty stressful experience and one that pushed us and our fake rain-happiness right over the edge.
There was yelling, quite a bit of bad language and then once we´d gotten it out of our system there was furious searching on the internet for some place, ANY PLACE in f*#%ing Spain that there wasn´t any rain. We didn´t care where, we just wanted at least one night in a dry tent. But after a while and once we´d calmed ourselves down a bit we remembered that they whole point of this trip was to see San Sebastian, which was now less than 40km away and here we were considering turning back. Clearly, that wasn´t going to happen, so we kept heading east telling ourselves that the food at least, would make it all worth it… bring on the pintxos.
Click HERE for day 4: Perlora to Bilbao
The main reason for this road trip had been to spend some time exploring the Basque Country, as I have long been intrigued by this completely different culture tucked away on the mountains of north-eastern Spain and western France. The Basques are an ancient race of people, with a language completely unlike any other found in Europe. Their strong sense of cultural identity combined, perhaps, with their geographical isolation in the mountains means that since the Neolithic Era (Stone Age) this culture and language has evolved along it´s own path, with minimal influence from the various Empires who ruled Europe throughout history. This is not to say that this is a Stone Age culture! Far from it, it´s just a culture that somehow managed to avoid the majority of the European invasions throughout the ages… the Roman and Arab centuries of rule, along with so many other waves of external cultures and civilisations that came and went over thousands of years. I find it incredibly fascinating and AMAZING that this small group of people managed to hang on to their identity and language and not get absorbed and lost like so may other European “tribes” must have done, through the ages.
Our first stop after leaving Bilbao was the town of Gernika (Guernica)… made famous by Picasso´s painting depicting the bombing of the town by the German Airforce during the Spanish Civil War. I had studied this painting quite extensively at Art school so it was also a place I´ve been curious to visit for a while. We happened to be there on market day, which ironically, was the day of the week chosen for the bombing, because it meant the town would be full of people from the surrounding areas. I´m a bit of a closet history nerd, so I´m not going to bore you with the details but Guernica has long been considered the “heart” of Basque culture and it´s definitely worth a visit if you´re exploring the area. Continue reading
Click here for day 3: Valdoviño to Perlora.
Day 4 found us in the Asturias region, the rainy Asturias region as I have it on good authority that the Asturias just wouldn´t be the same without the rain. *sigh. Are you getting sick of hearing me complain about the rain? You must be, because I am too… but you need to know that we tried really hard to be positive about it. We were all “embrace the rain” “it´s still beautiful…” yada yada… We had our game faces on, I promise.
Our plan had been to follow the coast as much as possible as we crossed from west to east, but decided that since it was still so rainy that we´d just push through all the way to the Basque Country and hopefully have some good weather while we were there. We took a detour into the mountains near the Picos da Europa and found a tiny village just off the main tourist track but seemingly completely isolated in the mountains. I´m annoyed at myself for not making a note of where this town is, because now I have absolutely no idea… somewhere there in the mountains…? Next time I will be more organised…
We arrived in Bilbao just before sunset and after getting lost in the industrial area and then having the Google maps send us repeatedly to the red light district (Spanish hookers, anyone?) we eventually found a dog friendly hostel that wasn´t too dodgy and settled in for a night not in the tent, yay! We wandered the streets of the old town and ate pinxtos (the Basque country version of tapas, bigger… and better) and drank Kalimotxo, a mix (equal parts) of Coca cola and red wine… sounds horrible, but it´s surprisingly good, I couldn´t get enough. When in Rome…
Click HERE for Day 5: Bilbao to Mundaka