Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

More Spanish castles

April 24, 2008

Perhaps I should start a new blog giving photos of picturesque Spanish castles at night. We recently spent a week in Peñiscola, a couple of hours up the coast from Valencia. It was a great week, and has a beautful old castle, which looks great lit up at night. Here’s the photo!

The castle in Peñiscola at night

Science and Faith

May 9, 2007

When I was in Spain, the people in the church we were visiting discovered that I was both a Christian and a scientist. They seemed surprised at this, and I seemed a bit of a celebrity as a result! They asked me to ‘star’ in a couple of discussion evenings where we discussed all manner of topics related to science and faith, genetic engineering, counsciousness and ‘the soul’ etc.

In fact various people I’ve met seem to think that science and any sort of faith seem somewhat incompatible. I guess Richard Dawkins has promoted this sort of perspective. But actually it’s not true. In my time studying and researching science I met a very large number of Christians who were also scientists. In fact the ‘prestigious’ institutions where I studied, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, seemed to have more Christians than the less ‘prestigious’ universities. And a large proportion of these were scientists. Scientists, I think, tend to have more polarised views about religion, but they’re certainly not less likely to be Christians, instead the opposite seems to be true (in Britain at least, maybe not in other countries).

I think this topic is of considerable interest to lots of other people too. So I’m starting up a new section of lloydaboutlife on Science and Christianity. I’ve started it off with a few thoughts and articles, and links on these pages. However, I’d like this section to be really interactive. After all this is what blogging is in part meant to be about – an interactive online community sharing thoughts and ideas. So please make comments, and ask questions. I want to expand the section, but I’d like to write on topics which are of general interest, not just to me. To do this I need some feedback. And pleae do vote on my science and faith poll on the right hand side!

Mooschrooms

March 8, 2007

Here’s another photo from our time in Spain. This is another of my favourites, but for different reasons. It was taken outside a cafe in the square by the cathedral in Valencia.

English spelling is difficult, and not only do I admire the bar’s owners for providing a full English breakfast, but they almost get the spelling entirely right.

Mushrooms

Migration

March 1, 2007

Just before leaving for Spain I watched an article on the BBC news describing the perilous 1000 mile sea journey that many Senegalese people were making, aiming to reach the Canary islands with the hope of a new life in Spain. The article made quite an impact on me. On one hand, you couldn’t help be angry at the exploitation of desperate people, with gangs demanding exhorbitant fees for smuggling them across the ocean in a way that would mean the death of many at sea. But also I was quite moved by the testimony of some who had taken, or were about to take, such a journey. They did not want to leave their country or family members but felt that they had ‘no other choice’.

When we were in Spain, we were in reality immigrants ourselves for 6 weeks, and this experience gave me an even greater sense of admiration for these ‘illegal immigrants’. Despite the fact that both the UK and Spain are developed European countries, and hence fairly similar, and even though I spoke a reasonable level of Spanish I was quite culture shocked for the first week there. Everything was just a bit different and all the familiarity of knowing how to do every little thing in your own country is suddenly stripped away. And I found it really frustrating just not quite being able to communicate what I wanted to, or understand enough of what people were saying to me. This shock must be far greater if you speak nothing of the language, come from a far more distinct culture and are not about to go home again in 6 weeks. It just made me realise how desperate the poverty of people must be that they are willing to face potential death, family separation, and all this for just the hope of something better somewhere else in a strange land.

The whole issue of migration is a difficult one. No a country cannot practically open its borders to everybody who may wish to enter it. So while there is more concern for those refugees who are fleeing for their lives, there is often little sympathy for the economic migrants. While this is understandable, I don’t think it’s right. It doesn’t seem likely to me that the decision to move to a new country in search of work is one that will made lightly, easily or at little personal cost for anyone. While we do need to find solutions to the problems of migration I think we’d be better off looking at ways of solving the dreadful poverty that pushes people to leave their own, friendly lands, rather than just trying to find ways of stopping them coming in, or getting rid of them once they’ve arrived.

Onda

February 24, 2007

Well I’m back from my six weeks college placement in Onda, Spain. We had a great time and I’ve got lots to say. But for now I’ll just post a portion of one of my favourite photos of Onda. Onda is a thriving and growing industrial town, but it has plenty of history and a lovely old castle up the hill overlooking Onda. This is lit up at night, and is well worth seeing – below. It’s a bit hard to get a view without street lights, other buildings etc in the way, but this is the best I could manage. It also goes to show that if you don’t have a tripod, a baby pushchair can serve the job, if not quite as well, at least satisfactorily!

The caste at Onda, Spain, lit up at night.


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