My 7 Super Shots are not all superb photos; instead, they reflect a super moment, one that took my breath away or brought me to tears or causes me endless nostalgia to this day. Here goes …
1. A photo that … takes my breath away.
This photo was taken in Consuegra, Spain, in the spring of 2008. I was studying abroad in Toledo, Spain. My parents had flown over to visit me. I was so excited, because I wanted them to see Spain and to experience it just like I was doing. These windmills, straight out of Don Quixote, was the just the vessel for that.
2. A photo that … makes me laugh or smile.
Back in the fall of 2010, I took a day trip with Mario’s family to Puebla de Sanabria, a quaint little village just a stone’s throw from Portugal. We went with his cousin, his cousin’s wife, and their children. Here’s little María, who kept us constantly entertained with her stories. Here she is, telling one I can no longer recall, but looking at this photo still causes me to smile.
3. A photo that … makes me dream.
This photo was also taken on that trip to Sanabria. The rain had just started to fall when we settled in for a nice café. After a short while, the rain let up, and the sun came out from behind the clouds. Naturally, a rainbow (un arco iris) soon emerged, leaving us in awe of its magnitude. I honestly have never seen a rainbow almost touch the ground like this one.
4. A photo that … makes me think.
This photo was taken in April 2011, during Zamora’s Semana Santa (Holy Week). The ones down in Andalucía get all the press, but Zamoranos take pride in theirs and think—naturally—that theirs is worth visiting as well. It is. Even Italians know about it. It makes me think about tradition, and family, and pride in one’s home, something I don’t always see a lot of in Spain. I love seeing the Zamoranos excited about their town, proud of its beauty and heritage, eager to show the world.
5. A photo that … makes my mouth water.
This photo, taken during Zamora’s Renaissance Fair in 2010, literally does make my mouth water. I love bread, especially Spanish bread. These round panes de pueblo, literally meaning “village bread,” are the best kind of breads for toast and to mop off that tasty olive oil left over on your plate.
6. A photo that … tells a story.
Toledo is a place I’ll always remember and love. It was my first home in Spain, the place I first got to hear the castellano accent of which I’ve grown so fond, the place I felt desperately homesick, the place I remember as where I learned not only about the outside world but about myself, the place I cried and laughed and was sad to leave.
This photo was taken during my first few days in Toledo. It was warm and sunny and I was enchanted—the typical honeymoon phase, but I didn’t care. We stopped in every shop, browsed through every shelf, talked to strangers easily and willing (if in halting Spanish). This man’s shop was found on a small Toledano side street (and aren’t they all side streets in Toledo?). He explained to us what he was doing, known as damascene (in Spanish: damasquino), the art of “interlacing gold on iron or steel to produce beautiful decorative designs.” (Source) He asked us—time and again—”¿Entendéis?”, hoping that we did understand and could fully appreciate his work.
7. A photo that … I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot).
I shared this photo in my post about Castilla y León, but I love it. It was taken during my parents’ visit to Spain in April 2011. This is in Segovia, atop the castle, looking out onto the road below. Here I see ancient meeting modern—if you look hard enough, you’ll see a small car winding its way around the hills. To Spaniards (and many Europeans in general), this juxtaposition is nothing new; to me, however, it’s fascinating, beautiful. I love the ancient feel of Spain, the way I can walk the cobblestone roads just like Cervantes, the way the buildings still cast cool shadows onto the hot streets in summertime, the Plaza Mayor of every city teeming with people to this day, the feeling that you are connected with the past and that, someday, the future will be connected to you.