En vende

En Vende © 2012 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Everywhere I go now in the Castellon province the “en vende” signs have have taken on a life of their own. Also the “se vende” and “es ven”, depending on the Spanish language used! They have a number to … Continue reading

Almond blossoms in spring

© 2012 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Now that the cold spell seems truly over, I remember why I love this time of the year so much. The light is clear and crisp, with that “born again” quality that makes images sharp and colours fresh and vibrant … Continue reading

From the pig abattoir to the plate

© 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

“This contains images that you might find disturbing” I have been learning about all the processes a pig goes through before landing on our plates. After a number of hiccups, including being thrown out of the abattoir twice, a detailed … Continue reading

Fiery bulls on dark August nights

bull fights in Spain at feista time © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

  There are an awful lot of bulls around in August during which every village dedicates one week to a nightly bull-teasing. Having experienced this traditional annual event from afar over the last four years, I finally actually started to go … Continue reading

The Bird’s Nest

© 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

I have been waiting a long time to get somewhere with the drama of my masia. On The finca diaries I am writing about it from the beginning and here I am writing about it from the present and end-ish, … Continue reading

The abattoir and pigs

Abattoir for pigs © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Pork is big business here. Hardly a meal appears without its presence in one form or other. Every week I see the trucks packed to the gills with strangely quiet pigs, perhaps intuiting that they are on their way to … Continue reading

Communion in Spain

Communion in aa spanish village © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

This is the account of the first communion I saw, but I have seen several since and add to the photos from time to time: One Sunday it was exceptionally hot, even by Spanish standards. At around 6, my son … Continue reading

The real ironman

The real ironman of Spain © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Miguel is the local ironman, but much more than that. Miguel is truly an artist and makes amazing sculptures, some so intricately woven that it is hard to believe that they were made of iron. He has strong shoulders and … Continue reading

Poppies and wildflowers in May

Poppies and wildflowers of El Maestrat, Spain © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Ever since my father sent me a postcard from Paris of Claude Monet’s Poppies at Argenteuil I have been in love with poppies. Nothing in the world looks as romantic to me and I think that it is the red … Continue reading

Dawn over Tortosa

Dawn over Tortosa © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Tortosa is a crumbling city on the River Ebro about twenty minutes inland whose renovation has been halted by the deep Spanish recession. Much of the architecture is heavy with moorish influences and sitting atop this decaying pile is an … Continue reading

Abandonment, age and the past

Abandonment and old age in Spain © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

I will not pretend that the old folk always eye me kindly. I in turn wonder about their pasts, about what they did in the Franco years. El Maestrat was heavy with his supporters, and I have been told it … Continue reading

Pebble work

Pebble work, Spain and the Moors © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

The use of pebbles in flooring, both inside and out, is very common around El Maestrat from the mountains right down to the coast. They are generally inlaid into the floor amongst large smooth stones, but sometimes you will come … Continue reading

I can’t remember how old I am

I can't remember how old I am © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

The old man was sitting in the doorway of an ancient house, much older than him. We were in Albocassor and the day was blisteringly hot. I stopped to talk, together with my 80 year old mother who felt and looked young by … Continue reading

Life at the old homestead

Life at the old homestead © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

This scene is somewhere beyond Ares with its medieval prison cell in front of the church, and before reaching the plateau on which the industrial Vilafranca sits. It struck me because it presides over the landscape, ancient, in a time … Continue reading

Xodos and the hermitage above

Xodos © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Towering over the town of Xodos (also known as Chodos in valencian) you can find this remarkable hermitage. as it 3,488 feet above sea level the views from it are amazing. Both are not far from Penygolosa. Xodos is hewn from on a … Continue reading

Eating out in El Maestrat

Eating out in El Maestrat © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

I was twelve years old before eating out for the first time and I remember it well. Our family went tothe local Italian restaurant up the road, San Carlos, and it seemed terribly posh with its pristine white tablecloths and … Continue reading

Wind farms and lots of questions

Waind farms and lots of questions © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

I am still out to lunch on wind farms. Are they good? Or are they political? Do they kill tens of thousands of birds? Do they cost more to produce than they can deliver energy-wise in their life time? According … Continue reading

A view towards Ares

A view from Ares and beyond © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

If you take the road from Atzeneta towards Albocasser and then up into the Teruel, you would be forgiven for thinking that you had stepped into another century. It is here, about ten minutes or so past Vilafranca, through Iglesuela … Continue reading

Nightlife in Valencia at the old port

© 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

The Spanish love to party, and nowhere more than in Valencia, both the city and the Comunidad in general. Its nightlife amongst the Spanish is legendary. Scattered throughout the provinces there are discos, sometimes in unlikely places. For instance, next … Continue reading

These old fincas

These old fincas © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

As I have written elsewhere, these old fincas are everywhere, crumbling into their past and waiting an uncertain future. Each tell a story, and most tell a similar one. How many times have I tramped up and down with an … Continue reading