Picture of the Week

14 March 2019

Week 10: Aigues, Torremanzanas, Brussels

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:33

The highlight of the week was my second trip to Brussels in 2019. In addition, there was a lot of cycling in the mountains, including a ride to Torremanzanas, a place I do not visit very often because the climb to get there is the toughest of the climbs around here, with sections of 16-17% grade.

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I started the week with a walk to the bakery on Sunday morning. The old cinema, now just apartments:
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The local tobacco shop, with Jesus:
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One of our neighbours likes the Beatles:
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Later on Sunday morning, I set out for my bike ride to Torremanzanas. On the way to Aigües, I have recently noticed this curious painted board in the middle of nowhere:
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The same symbol is painted on the tarmac just before entering the village a couple of km later:
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Colourful electricity box, Aigües:
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After Aigües, the road continues to the town of Relleu, another 15 km inland. It is a very pretty road, with a lot of up and down:
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About halfway between Aigües and Relleu there is a beautiful country house set among almond trees. It is one of the visual highlights of that particular route:
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Approaching Relleu; the last km to get into the town involves a significant climb:
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Relleu is the start of a 9 km climb to a mountain pass. What makes it challenging is that while there are sections with a mild grade or even flat, there are other sections with double-digit grades, up to 17%:
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After reaching the pass, there is another couple of km to the town of Torremanzanas, a relatively flat stretch, to my great relief. And the almond blooms still looked pretty:
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In the town, the Sunday market was taking place:
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People and pets enjoying the sunshine:
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From Torremanzanas it is about 30 km, mostly downhill, to get home via Jijona:
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On Sunday afternoon, we were invited for a BBQ lunch at our friends Eliot and Assumpta. I very much liked the look and smell of these sausages:
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Having burned almost 2000 calories during my bicycle ride, I was more focused on eating than on photography. But I did take a few portraits of our friends. A conversation:
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An informal portrait of Christian:
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And one of Mati:
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On Monday afternoon I flew to Brussels.

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I travelled with a couple of colleagues, and we went straight from the airport to a meeting at the Commission. After that we went to our hotel and checked in, and I then made my way to my cousin’s apartment to have dinner there. The Brussels weather that evening was, well, Brussels weather:
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My cousin Nicole:
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After the visit with Nicole, I took the metro back to my hotel, next to Maelbeek metro station where 14 people were killed by an islamic terrorist in 2016 (in a coordinated attack, about 20 people were killed at Brussels airport the same day). I have always found the wall art at this station wonderful (it is from the late 1990s and thus has nothing to do with remembering the attack):
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The next day, Tuesday, I was in meetings the entire day, but around 7 p.m. I was finally done, and walking along Rue de la Loi at dusk, looking up at all the modern architecture around me (which I actually like):
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From the top of Rue de la Loi there is a nice view looking towards the centre of Brussels. I photographed the scene from this spot with various focal lengths, starting with a 23mm lens:
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And finishing with my 50-230mm zoom at the long end:
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I then took the metro to the centre to walk around a bit, starting on Boulevard Anspach:
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I walked towards the Mannekin Pis and photographed some young people hanging out along the way:
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At the Mannekin Pis there was the usual throng of tourists taking snaps and selfies, thus providing me with a bit of entertainment:
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But the main reason I come to this area is not the little statue but rather the bar Poechenellekelder across the street, which has great beer and interesting decor, making it one of my favourites in Brussels:
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Having thus fortified myself with quality Belgian beer, I walked to the magnificent Grand’ Place, a place I visit every time I am in Brussels but I never grow tired of it:
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Close to Grand’ Place is this beautiful shopping arcade called Galerie de la Reine; I popped in there to buy some of the world’s best chocolate, in the Pierre Marcolini shop:
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I then walked to the Gare Centrale to take the metro back to my hotel. Along the way, I captured this shadow-and-light scene near the cathedral:
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Just before reaching the Central Station, I passed through this walkway. The Belgians take their comics seriously:
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Inside the station. This year is the 450th anniversary of the death of Breughel the Elder, and there are many exhibitions and other events around Belgium:
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On Wednesday morning, I was back in the familiar surroundings of Brussels airport. I always photograph the Tintin rocket in the departure hall:
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Like many other places these days, Brussels airport has a piano for travellers to use, and sometimes someone will give a performance:
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Finally, what is probably my favourite image from the trip (and also the last one)–two boys looking out at the planes, expressing a child’s excitement before a trip:
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More images from my two trips to Brussels so far this year can be found here.

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On Friday morning I had to go to a municipal office in the centre of El Campello to take care of some bureaucracy. While walking back to my car, I looked for the little details on the buildings I passed. This is Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (“our lady of the forsaken”):
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Some graffiti on a building for sale, embellishing the typical “for sale” messages. This one says, “the bank always wins”:
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And here some witty person has added the word “cocaine” to the “for sale”:
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On Saturday I was out on my bicycle as usual. The central square in Aigües was unusually lively–there was a fiesta going on, called Mig Any (“middle of the year”, presumably referring to the approaching spring equinox):
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Busot was its usual quiet self:
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Even in small, conservative inland towns the International Women’s Day is acknowledged these days:
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Finally, at the end of Saturday I went down to our beach to photograph the sunset, or rather, the features of the landscape illuminated by the sun setting over the mountains. This is El Campello seen from the beach:
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A couple on the beach:
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