ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent John Coe’s life can be summed up as a photographic journey with images defining milestones and bringing life to the mundane. During childhood, his father, a talented photographer in his own right, instilled a passion for telling stories through visual imagery. Over the years, John has exhibited his images in over 25 photo exhibits. We spoke to him about his love of travel, and we selected his journey to Spain as this month’s Parting Shots in our magazine. Here’s the expanded story and more of his photos.
The photo above was taken by John Coe in Ronda, Spain: Beautiful Christian iconography is a common sight on most Spanish streets.
1. Why do you love to travel around Spain?
I love packing in as many new and different experiences as possible in a trip, and even within the cozy region of southern Spain, there is amazing variety from city to city. Toledo, Seville, Granada, Córdoba — these are cities that are an hour or so apart by train or car, and yet so delightfully different.
2. How far in advance do you plan your trips?
For two- to three-week trips, I find it handy to block calendars and book flights about three months in advance. Then I spend the next couple of months reading, getting excited, and planning the itinerary one city at a time. 3. Who do you travel with?
3. Who do you travel with?
My husband, Jeff, plus a friend or two in some cases.
4. What has surprised you about travel in Spain?
I was pleasantly surprised at the modern efficiency of Spain’s international airports in Madrid and Barcelona, as well as the impressive AVE high-speed train network.
5. What do you know now that you wish you knew before your first trip to Spain?
The Spanish lifestyle is unlike anything I had experienced anywhere else in Europe. I loved it, but be prepared to shift your day to accommodate mid-afternoon closures, late dinners, and very late bar openings.
6. Favorite moment was…
I will never forget my first night in Spain. We sat outdoors and ate simple-yet-delicious tapas, washing down each dish with a cold beer. We would repeat this meal pattern nearly every evening that followed.
7. Best time to go …
I cannot imagine a better time of year to visit southern Spain than late May through early June. The days are long. The heat isn’t as oppressive as it is in high summer. And the crowds are manageable.
8. Gay Factor
Spain is perfect for the gay traveler. Vibrant colors and flamenco dancers. Shops filled with centuries-old artisan crafts. Cold beer and cocktails on every plaza. Its such an easy country to love.
Seville: The walled gardens of the Real Alcázar are lush and full of life. The air carries the sweet scent of hundreds of citrus blossoms, the pungent bite of scattered fallen oranges, and the hint of freshly watered soil.
Granada: Within the grounds of the magnificent Alhambra, the remains of a Moorish bath evoke a quiet calm.
Córdoba: Córdoba’s crown jewel is the Mezquita. Hundreds of marble columns interconnected by red and white double-arches lead your eyes onward to infinity.