Sunday 30 August 2015

Fête de la Saint Louis - Aigues Mortes

When planning our stay in Langudoc-Rousslain I decided this year (being our third holiday in the beautiful region) I would research local events and festivals taking place across the area during our stay. During my research I discovered that the Fête de la Saint Louis was taking place and celebrations were being held in Aigues Mortes and Sete. Setes celebrations included Water jousting events (an incredible sight to behold!), Markets and Fireworks displays. Aigues Mortes pays hommage to Saint Louis, the founder of the Medieval fortress town, with a weekend long Medieval Festival, harking back to the ancient traditions of the town and Frances rich history, featuring; jousting, processions, theatre, music and feasting (to name but a few activities). Needless to say I was sold, we were off to Aigues Mortes to feast like it was 1272.
We had visited Aigues Mortes previously in 2012, and taken in a relaxing warm day in the sleepy town, visited its museums, salt flats and taken a walk around its ancient streets taking in its profound beauty. But that was October, and this was August, and the largest annual event in Aigues Mortes calendar. The contrast in atmosphere was immense. The entire town was buzzing with life and excitement. The locals and those with genuine Medieval skills, knowledge and craftsmanship were easily identifiable. Clad in an array of very convincing, highly detailed Medieval costumes which identified the role of their character for the weekend, each was clearly filled with lots of personality and care. My favourite, a delightful old lady who was one of the lepers, clearly having the time of her life.

The Medieval alter-egos of these townsfolk began the festival with a huge procession into the town, when after a vast silence, the gates are flung open and in marches everyone from fire breathers, belly dancers, merchants, lepers and musicians to soldiers, knights, bishops, the mayor and of course the King. This huge ceremonial event climaxes in the square with the King being presented the key to the town.

Throughout the day there were various events taking place across the town; theatre, music and dancing, feasting, jousting, demonstrations by people skilled in ancient techniques; such as Iron mongery, herbal medicine, carving, calligraphy and a huge Medieval market, selling everything from animal skulls to pies to jewelry.

There was so much to be discovered and enjoyed across the town, with everyones beaming happiness and enjoyment a delight to behold.
I had a wonderful day absorbing the sights, sounds and scents of Medieval Aigues Mortes. A truly wonderful experience in an incredible place. Put it on your 100 things to do before you die list, there's no chance you'll regret it.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Castillo Monumento Colomares

While researching for our stay in Spain I stumbled across one place which immediately went to the top of the 'Must See' list. Castillo Monumento Colomares in Benalmádena came highly recommended and with great reviews on trip advisor, and a quick glance at a few photos and I was sold.
Finding the Castillo was an interesting challenge to say the least. With an out of date map on the Sat Nav, and what appeared to be several changes of street name it took us a few attempts spread across 2 days to eventually find it, which in the end was a stroke of luck when I spotted part of a tower jutting out from behind some trees.

The Castillo Monumento Colomares was certainly worth seeking out in the end. A breathtaking building designed as a monument to Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America. The designer of the building Dr. Martin considered the Monument to be Columbus' Mausoleum, as the whereabouts of Columbus' physical remains are unknown. He described this incredible building as '(Columbus') fifth trip to Eternity.', his final voyage following his four to the New World.

The Castillo itself is full of imagery and symbolism relating to Columbus' life, from the ships he sailed, the people he met and the Andalucíans with whom he shared his voyages. Through his use of stone, brick and cement, Dr. Martin and his two stonemasons created a fitting, fantastical narration of the discovery of the New World. The otherworldly creation took seven years to build, but it stands proudly as a testament to creativity, architectural history and Christopher Columbus. Dr. Martin, who sadly passed away after the Monument's completion, is also immortalized through his daring, truly beautiful creation.

Raven Haven

Recently I began the preliminary work for a new in depth, detailed series of artworks, but while I develop my ideas in more depth I have been taking the opportunity to realise a few neglected design ideas, which have come in many different shapes and sizes. As well as finally painting a haloed Raven, Ive also been able to unleash some previously unreleased artwork as cards, as well as restock on some previously released owl cards which have been long sold out.

So check out the webstore for the largest range of cards to date! The return of some feathered fiends, the appearance of the previously unreleased 'Wise Crow' and the brand new beautifully bold 'Corvus Corax: Tertius Oculus' (Raven: Third Eye).