These are two cards I have received recently , both sort of Spanish – but not as you might picture Spain with flamenco dancers and such like!
This picture is El Faro de Maspalomas a very old lighthouse – which is actually in the centre of a busy tourist area! It is 65 metres high, and when it was first used in February 1890 it was surrounded by sand, rather than hotels and tourist shops. It took 28 years to build. Here’s a very similar shot, but in the day time:
I learnt this info from Regina at Virtual Traveller who gives lots of information about things to do in Maspalomas. The thing is – Maspalomas is on an island – in the Canary Islands, just over 200 kilometres from the African coast, but over 1200 kilometres from Europe!! It is however, a Spanish ‘Autonomous community’.
Maspalomas is on Gran Canaria, which is the third largest of the Canary Islands, but has the largest population. It seems to be mostly a tourist destination for sun, sand & lifestyle, but does also have an interesting natural environment.
It is a volcanic island and is almost a perfect circle! The geology and biology of the island are unusual in that there are many deep ravines radiating from the centre of the island – where there is an enormous deep volcanic crater, and also the highest peak – right down to the coast. These ravines provide a wide range of different micro-climates, such that some flora & fauna only live in small areas. Over 40% of the island is nature reserves of various types, and a significant portion of the island has been identified as a UN World Biosphere Reserve which demonstrates the scientific importance of its unique habitats. Apparently there are even cacti there – so that has to be a good thing!
There’s also 97 geocaches on Gran Canaria – in case anyone was interested!
The other postcard that I would like to showcase is from Irune, from the north of Spain. I had the privilege of receiving Irune’s first (and so far only) Postcrossing card that she has sent out. Irune is currently studying in Bilbao, in the Basque area of Spain. This is another Autonomous Community of Spain. The Basque people live partly in Spain and partly in France, although there is greater freedom to speak and learn the Basque language – Euskara, for those people living in Spain. This language is completely unique in the world, and is not closely related to any other languages in surrounding regions. Basque culture and language has been a constant in this area for longer than the other languages and cultures around it. There are apparently a wide range of ideas about from where the Basque people came – including that they are descendants of the mysterious city of Atlantis!!
In any case, this is a people group with a long and proud cultural heritage and language, and although currently only about 25-30% of Basque people are currently considered fluent in their language, I hope that many others are inspired to learn it and to hold on to their culture.
So ‘agur’ and ‘lasterarte’ to you all for today!! (Goodbye and see you soon)