One of the many perks of living in Madrid is that, being as it is, smack-dab in the centre of Spain, it is the perfect springboard to explore some of the most highly-coveted travel destinations in both Castile-La Mancha and Castile-León. Cities like Toledo and Segovia, to name a few, are just a short, affordable train or bus ride away. Another such destination is Ávila, not just the city, but the province as well.
Last Sunday, my family and I decided to get up at the crack of dawn and drive out to Sierra de Gredos (Gredos mountain range), in neighboring Ávila, just to have our morning coffee in a “slightly different” setting. I don’t know if it was the cool morning breeze, the greenness of the mountains or the all-around positiveness of the moment, but coffee did taste good that morning. After coffee, we drove around the area and stopped to visit a few of the many must-sees, such as Parador de Gredos, which is actually a must-spend-at-least-a-weekend-there-once-in-your-life. We also went to the Church of Our Lady of the Hawthorn (Santuario Mariano de la Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Espino). Even if you’re not particularly religious, it is well worth the visit as it’s a great vantage point to take in the views of the mountain range, which we continued enjoying at a nearby restaurant over lunch.
After a fun meal and a brief landscape photo shoot, we strolled back to the car and headed towards the city of Ávila, to see the walled old town. We spent the rest of the afternoon sightseeing, especially up on the walls, which made the rest of our day go by between continuous oohs and aahs of astonishment. To top it all off, on our way back to Madrid, we stopped at The Four Posts to drink in the stunning vistas a little longer and take a few panoramic shots of the old city. As a matter of fact, the whole outing was also a great opportunity to use my DSLR to take photos that I could later stitch together into panoramic images on my computer. The results of this process can be seen in the gallery above. I recommend checking out the full-size images to enjoy all the detail that is captured in a panorama.
Now, when it comes to panoramic photography, I’m aware that some of you might be thinking “why go to all this trouble when you can simply take out your i-device, or the likes of it, and do the same trick in ten seconds?” My answer to such a question would be: because otherwise you would be missing out on what I like to call the craftsmanship of digital photography. As great as all the digital technology that has become available to us lately is, I still like to choose how much of it I want to use at any given moment. In the case at hand, I choose to be the “artisan” at the centre of the creative process, the human being who looks forward to giving the finishing touches, and the one who hopefully revels in the results; which is why there is no “i” in (my) panoramas.
Oh! And I hope the travel bug in you has added Ávila to its list… if it wasn’t there already.