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Our Andalucian paradise

My husband and I had lived in Mexico City, LA, Paris, Guadalajara, Oslo, Montreal and Vancouver. On a rainy November night we moved to a small town an hour inland from Malaga. 'Our Andalusian paradise' is about the historical town of Ronda, the mountains that surrounds it, the white villages dotted amongst them, of hikes, donkey trails and excursions around Andalucía and journeys further afield.

May is for Azar
Thursday, May 6, 2021 @ 11:17 AM

Orange tree in bloom. Photo © Karethe LInaae
Orange tree in bloom. Photo © Karethe Linaae


Have you ever been struck by an odour which instantly took you back to a place that you had completely forgotten about? This happens to me quite frequently. I can turn a corner and suddenly I am there as a toddler in the land of the fjords, or as a 23-year-old living in Paris. The instigator to these sudden flashbacks can be anything, just as the memories they might bring – the old knitted Norwegian sweaters in the chest smelling of camphor in my childhood home, a taco-shack in an alley some place in Mexico, a tar-impregned fishing pier on the coast of Sweden, home-baking in my grandma’s kitchen, the two-seater privy at our summer house, or the sweet and smoggy stench of old Delhi.


Delhi. Photo © Karethe Linaae
Delhi. Photo © Karethe LInaae


Sensory impressions can take us back in time and place, and revive memories that have been in hibernation for years. Even if it doesn’t happen very often anymore, whenever I hear the Bee Gees’ ‘How deep is your love’, I instantly get teleported back to when I was a 16-year-old nervously grasping my clear as day fake ID in the line-up at a disco that is probably long-time gone. (Ok, now arrest me!) The mere look at a bottle of Matheus rosé wine makes my stomach turn, though it is decades since that drunken bout. And when I touch the keys of a piano, my modern ‘compositions’ and slamming-therapy on my parents upright piano come back to me as if it were yesterday.

In many ways, I think that our senses have a better memory than our minds.

Old pier. Photo © Karethe Linaae
Old pier. Photo © Karethe Linaae


Nine years ago this May, I went to heaven for the first time. Well, at least olfactory heaven. We were travelling around Andalucía for a month exploring where we possibly would come back to live when we left Vancouver. We had been recommended Valle Lecrín, a valley district in the Granada province. As we drove through the first orange grove, the scent was so overwhelming that we had to slow down to 20 km/h and open all the windows. As soon as we could, we stopped the car and jumped out, so that we really could indulge our noses in this heavenly sensory experience.

Ever since that day and for all eternity, orange blossom or azar as it is called in Spanish, will for me be synonymous with that day in the Lecrín Valley in May. So, before summer barges in far too fast, perhaps it is time to reflect on your most memorable sensory spring impressions?

Azar heaven.  Photo © Karethe Linaae
Azar heaven.  Photo © Karethe Linaae



Like 3


ChristineB said:
Friday, May 7, 2021 @ 3:12 AM

Memories of my life in Sevilla 49 years ago. blossoms

marelison said:
Saturday, May 8, 2021 @ 12:19 PM

Correct Karethe..Very often happen to me !
I have felt this often in any way since I moved to Spain.
Smell of a soap, food, people and shops - which bring me and my mind back to places...

Mar Elison

cwiz said:
Saturday, May 8, 2021 @ 1:30 PM

Dear Karethe, I loved this one today! It teleported me back to (and I have to go back further than you) to playing hide and seek in the cherry orchards of my grandmother's farm and pies baking in the oven. Then in an instant I was smelling flowers in our garden and then the smell of the ocean the first time I saw it. I am sure you are right. Scents are the best way to teleport us to happy places.

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