Scribbler in Seville

7 Super Shots

Fellow Sevillana blogger Sunshine and Siestas was kind enough to tag me for Seven Super Shots, as organised by hostelbookers, a while ago. As I’ve had no internet connection for nearly a week, with an unreliable dongle, blogging has become an unnecessary luxury, second to paid work. How I’ve missed it!

Not to mention the challenge of choosing seven photos from nine years of digital shots (eight and a half of those here in Spain) and 33 of analogue. Many photos from my previous life, in London, where I used to take several foreign holidays a year (those cushy globetrotting days are gone now), as well as photo shoots abroad for the magazine I edited, are stored in my parents’ house, so I only have access to photographic records of less than half my travels.

Added, to which, the hard copy photos which I do have here in Spain are not fantastically well organised – there are some albums, lots of envelopes, quite a few loose prints, so I’ve been unearthing boxes and sorting through them…

In short, some of these are photos of prints, as digital cameras weren’t yet around for most of my trips. Let’s just say some of them are more about subject matter than quality.

Apologies and excuses out of the way, here goes:

A shot that makes me think – Potosi, Bolivia

When I was travelling in South America with a group which included Travelwithamate’s Debz Preston, we went down Cerro Rico copper mine in Potosi. Some people opted out of the tour, and while I am claustrophic, I decided to go anyway, partly out of masochism (“I will make myself suffer in order to conquer my fear” etc), and partly out of curiosity – we had heard conditions hadn’t changed much since the Spanish first built the mine to extract silver in the 16th century. We set off suited and booted, with headlamps and helmets, chewing coca leaves for stamina and energy, carrying our water bottles.

Inside, it was extremely hot and dusty, full of asbestos and arsenic, and the conditions were primitive – those Chileans work in luxury by comparison. We’d been asked to take soft drinks for the miners, and it was obvious why. They crouched in tiny caverns, with their explosives, cheeks bulging, half naked because of the heat. Potosi is full of widows – life expectancy for these men is 45 years. It was one of the most terrifying and memorable experiences of my life, but not one I would ever want to repeat. (And no, it didn’t conquer my fear.)

A shot that makes me smile – Laguna Cuicocha, Ecuador

I lived in Ecuador for a year, working in Quito, where met a group of Ecuadorian girls who adopted me and took me along on their weekends away, delighting in showing me their country with its beautiful Andean scenery – this is Cuicocha Lake, next to Cotacachi Volcano. We went horse-riding from haciendas, hiked in the bosque nublado (cloud forests), and danced in salsa clubs. These ecuadorianas were kindness itself, putting up with my lack of Spanish with constant good humour and rescuing me from sticky situations.

A shot that makes me dream – Dubrovnik, Croatia

This is the view from the balcony of the last hotel where we stayed on our island-hopping honeymoon in Croatia. It was just outside the old walled city of Dubrovnik. This view, with the flowers and their resident hummingbird, who used to come and visit us while we had our breakfast, reminds me of carefree times – one of our last pre-pregnancy, child-free holidays

A shot that tells a story – Thar Desert, India

This was my first proper travelling experience, by which I mean outside Europe. I spent six months in India, first of all teaching and then backpacking around the north. This shot is of camel trekking near Jaisalmer in the north-western region of Rajasthan. The guides used to joke they would sell me and my friend to the rebels across the border in Pakistan for two camels each. I was a naïve 18-year-old, and India opened my eyes to the world, toughened me up, turned me into a vegetarian, and gave me a taste for travelling.

A shot that makes my mouth water – Casa Flores Watson, Spain

I love vegetables, I love fish, and I’m not massively keen on cooking, especially in the heat of summer – so barbeques are a winner in my book, as you can have a bit of everything. The fresh fish you can get here in southern Spain includes delicious, dirt-cheap sardines and mackerel (right of photo), and more expensive dorada (gilt-head bream) and prawns, and of course fabulous vegetables. We barbeque about three times a week in summer, in the cool of the evening. (Well, my husband does, while I sit and drink my tinto con blanca.)

A shot that takes my breath away – up a mountain in darkest Peru

Walking the Inca trail to Macchu Picchu, this was one of our camps. We were up in the mountains, it was cold, and we had to walk through a bog to get to the loo. But when you wake up to a scene like this outside your tent, you forget about all that.

A shot that makes me proud – Galapagos Islands

In the Galapagos you’re constantly surrounded by wildlife, and if you can’t get a half-decent shot, you should just go home. In my case, I managed to *whisper* forget my camera (blame an all-nighter) and had to buy a disposable. But hey – at least I got the essential blue-footed booby shot.

My nominated Seven Super Shots-ers are:

Bibsey Mama


Julie Dawn Fox

12 thoughts on “7 Super Shots

    1. Fiona Flores Watson

      They’re coca leaves, Nancy – the miners chew them for strenth and stamina, as their work is entirely manual and therefore incredibly physically demanding, and also to suppress their appetite – like the powdered version (so I’m told). We tried them too. They’ve been using them for centuries, and their Spanish colonial rulers encouraged them (as indentured labour, ie slaves) to chew them too, as it meant they worked longer hours (ie worked longer before dying) and ate less.

    1. Fiona Flores Watson

      Thanks, Reg – I ummed and aahed about using technically better photos taken with my flashy new camera, but those only cover Spain and Portugal, so thought these would be more interesting, albeit mostly rubbish quality!! I have loads more from trips to Asia and Central America at my mum’s house!

  1. Alison Broom

    I love your choices and the stories behind them Fiona, very personal and interesting across the time span – especially like the young Fiona setting off on life’s adventures on a camel!

  2. Michi

    Thank you for the nomination! I really love your Seven Supershots, yours might just be one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the stories that went with each photo – the one in Potosi, Bolivia is deeply touching. My favorite is the one of your two Ecuadorian friends, and the view outside your tent in the mountains of Peru absolutely breathtaking.

    1. Fiona Flores Watson

      You’re very welcome Michi. Glad you like the shots, it was soooooo hard to choose. the miner hadn’t even occurred to me till I started going through my albums – it was 10 years ago! Those Ecuadorian girls were a real lifeline – noone can survive without girlfriends, wherever they are. The Inca Trail is one of life’s must-dos (even though I was always last in my group – not a very fast walker!!)

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  4. restlessjo

    A great collection! I’ve just been tagged (by Julie Dawn Fox) and am tracking back to see where people have been. Seems I have a lot to live up to!

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