Travels in Andalusia

I know you've been waiting for a while to hear about my trip and see these photos so here it is!

It's taken a while but I've finally finished editing the holiday pictures from my little break in Spain.

I went out there to see my old mentor, Nick. Now if you've had the chance to read my Bio you'll know this already, but for the ones that are yet to do so, Nick was my mentor. In 2010 I was shown an article in the newspaper about a Photographer from Essex that had an exhibition on at The Horsebridge (my local Art Gallery) and was hoping to open up a Photographic Studio in Whitstable very soon! Now I jumped at the opportunity to get my foot in the door, and, as he and I now joke, wrote a very grovelling email using words like 'honour' and 'caliber' to describe how much it would mean to me to just meet up, have a chat with him, get some pointers, and so blatantly see if he needed an assistant for the studio he would be opening. It's pretty safe to say we got on like a house on fire and I ended up going in everyday for the rest of the exhibition, working with him at The Horsebridge, selling some of his prints and generally getting to better know each other.

A few months down the line, Nick opened up his studio. He and I went back and forth to Essex moving the equipment and furniture from his old studio to the new one he'd just got. I worked there as an assistant and a second photographer for about 4 years before he and his wife Maz took the decision to pack up, leave England and move to Spain. That's when I took the decision to start working for myself and registered the JPeilow Photography business.

He's been living in Spain for around 3 years now and it was only until January of this year did I manage to get out there and visit! 

My journey began with an early flight, meaning I left mine at around 4am, not ideal but not bad, I function pretty well on little sleep and the little sleep I did have, was enough to keep me going throughout the day. Not to mention a nice cup of coffee and a Cheese and Ham croissant at Gatwick Airport!

I much prefer travelling alone if I'm honest. It's relaxing, liberating and not having to rely on another human to also get whichever food and drink they desire and go to the toilet when they need it, is an absolute bonus. So I hung out in the departure lounge. I had my food, did some light shopping, got to the gate with ages to spare and watched the rain fall on the window, waiting patiently to board the plane and properly begin my holiday.

My flight was quick! 25 minutes early quick! So much so that when I arrived, I walked around the 'Drop-Off' and 'Pick-Up' points about twice before I spotted Nick who had only just arrived and was waiting in the lobby of the exit. Now, Nick and Maz live in the real Andalusia, no sea, no beach, a good 2 hours drive inland, in a house a bit big for the both of them surround by thousands of olive trees. The drive to the house was stunning, if you follow me on Instagram (@JPeilow), you would have seen how beautiful with some photos I took on my phone. Great mountains with such depth and texture, rolling olive groves that stretched farther than I could see and little houses every now and then sitting atop hills.

We arrived at the house that sat in the middle of a grove, an old villa that originally belonged to the people that owned all of the surrounding olive trees. Immediately after opening the huge gate that stood as the only entrance to the walled premises came 2 large dogs bounding over, circling the car to greet us. They were very excited to investigate who I was and what I smelled like. I could finally sound a sigh of relief, I was here, I was safe, I could now start to relax and enjoy my stay.

The first few days were spent chilling out. Catching up with Nick on everything, eating some great food and occasionally going on little excursions to take photos in the groves, the distant mountains and some abandoned farms. It didn't take long for me to fall back into old patterns and referring to the things we did as an 'us' or a 'we' and referring to the house as 'ours'. It was nice to relax and spend some time with Nick and Maz, especially after a while apart from the person you spent 4 years sat working beside in an office everyday. 

Nick and Maz were unfortunately plagued with the flu the week before I arrived which limited us slightly, plus a poorly Maz (who is a former teacher) was doing some emergency cover at their friends language school. However, with a spare day, Nick and I went to Cordoba, the nearest city which had a beautiful old city quarters that housed some stunning and subtle architecture, one of the less subtle building was a beautiful old Cathedral that was formally a Mosque. Early that day we had taken the smallest of the 3 dogs they own (Leonidas the Chihuahua) to the vets to get the remainder of his puppy jabs and his first ever dose of Flea Treatment. Poor Leo had a bad reaction to one of them, either the meds or the flea treatment but that day he walked everywhere very slowly, unlike his normally bounding, jumpy, I-want-to-lick-your-face demeanour and cried a cry of sheer pain whenever you touched him. This meant that while we were going to Cordoba, we had to literally carry him with us instead of leaving him at home. It was the right thing to do as the little one felt so shoddy. It did, however, mean that Nick was unable to join me in the Cathedral because he obviously had a dog. Nevertheless, I had the opportunity to look around inside by myself and took in every detail of the Cathedral's architecture with an air of solitude. If heaven was a building this was it!

The next day was spent relaxing and enjoying the comfort that is - having nothing to do. We took the dogs for a walk around the groves and checked out some more abandoned buildings, like an old house and an old chicken shed. The light in Andalusia is quite something, even in direct sunlight it appears almost dappled and the sunsets are just beautiful! 

I had quite a treat in store for me the next day as it was the annual carnival in the City of Ecija. I think I can safely say, that unless I am to go to Brazil in carnival season, that that was hands down the best Carnival I've ever seen. Nothing like British Carnivals at all! Everyone got involved, people from all ages and despite the Carnival being made up by a lot of kids, went on until the early hours! To the point that late on in the evening when we had decided to get some food the Square was still buzzing with folk and their children. It was incredibly refreshing to see so many people so dedicated! 

On my final day  we decided to do something different and had planned to go to Seville, a stunning City that thrived immensely on every corner and down every street. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Seville because my cousin previously lived there as a teacher for a couple years and absolutely raved about how great it was and I had also been advised to see one of Spain's most treasured beauty's; Real Alcazar, an old Royal Palace, first developed by Moorish Muslim Kings and is regarded as the most beautiful of all the Spanish Royal Palaces. The site has been used for films from time to time for example 2005's Kingdom of Heaven, 1962's Lawrence of Arabia and more recently appears as part of Dorne in the popular TV Show Game of Thrones. The place was a spectacle! I genuinely could have spent the entire day sitting in the gardens, relaxing with a book or just taking in the history and watch people be as amazed as I was. 

Seville was a beautiful city that shone with life. It gave me a chance to capture some great street shots. I will definitely be returning there for a longer stay!

My Holiday ended and I had to return home. It was a bit sad and I really felt like I wasn't there long enough. Nevertheless, I had an amazing time and it gave me a chance to chill out during my quieter weeks and spend some time with Nick.

Luckily, I'm going back out in April. Which I am incredibly looking forward to! 

If you read all of that, I congratulate you Sir's and Madame's, it was by far the longest post I've done yet!

As always, comments are welcomed with open arms, let me know which picture you liked the best or if you yourself are visiting Andalusia any time soon.

JP