Archive for the ‘Travel’

Salamanca 2015 – Part 3 of 3

October 14, 2015 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel

SalamancaWhen we awoke on October 11th, after a full ten hours of slumber, we realized how exhausted we had been, not just from the many kilometers of tourism walking we’d done the day before, but from all the stress in our lives that made this two day vacation such a necessity. Having seen and done most of the main things on our todo list the day before, we were free to walk leisurely around the city. We did stop in at the tourism office to see about getting a guided tour, but all the guided tours were booked, except for the ones starting at 5pm, and the weather forecast was for rain at 5pm.

The Flowers and Faces of Convento de las Dueñas – Salamanca 2015 – Part 2 of 3

October 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

On the morning of October 11th, we visited several places around Salamanca, but one we had not planned on entering, but just happened upon was the Convento de las Dueñas, a Dominican convent that dates back to 1419, when Doña Juana Rodríquez Maldonado – ironically, as her second surname means “badly donated” – donated her palatial Moorish-style house to the Dominican Order.

There are certain circumstances, based on weather, mood, lighting and other intangibles, when everything seems photogenic. With the ground wet from a night of rainfall, I found myself in one of these states that morning, and I could have spent hours upon hours taking photographs in the beautiful courtyard of the Convento de las Dueñas. Alas, I exercised constraint, but here are only some of my photos.

Salamanca 2015 – Part 1 of 3

October 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

SalamancaFor years now, my wife and I have been wanting to go to Salamanca. Everyone that has been there or lived there touts it as one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Frustratingly, we drive right by it twice (or more) every year heading down to Extremadura for the summer. With Monday, October 12, being a national holiday in Spain (something about a guy named Columbus), meaning no work for my wife or school for my kids, we decided to drop the kids off at their Spanish grandparents’ house and drive the 3.5 hours south to the city that predates the Roman Empire, and has a university that has been in continuous operation since the year 1134.

Visiting Spain in September

September 28, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Photos, Spain, Travel

The following is a document written by my father, Paul Rasmussen, about his trip to visit us in Spain in September 2015.


Paul and Erik in their preferred habitatWe said goodbye to our Springer Spaniel and left for the Charlotte airport at 5:30. Two hours later, when we arrived at our departure gate, we heard an announcement requesting volunteers to be bumped from the flight. Betsy and I had a quick meeting and considered their offer – $700 flight credit per person, a flight to New York tonight, a night at the JFK airport Raddison, and first class seats Friday to Spain. Sadly, it wasn’t the $1400 flight credit that swayed us, it was the temptation of first class seats to Europe. With mixed feelings, we watched USAirways flight 728 take off with our suitcases, but without us.

Hiking Mount Buciero

August 24, 2015 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Spain, Travel

Hiking Mount BucieroBy far the most predominant geography where I live is the mountain that protects my town of Colindres, and the neighboring tourism beach town of Laredo, from the open Cantabrian Sea: Mount Buciero. Today I have yet another harrowing tale, not unlike the one from a few months ago, involving this salient landscape feature. Go have a glance at the introduction to that post to get a feel for the size and layout of this big green peninsular mountain.

Tenerife – All year round destination

July 09, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

TenerifeTenerife is the largest island of the seven that form the Canary Islands, and it’s one of the most important tourist destinations in Spain. While I have yet to visit, this Spanish volcanic isle off the western coast of Africa is high on my list of travel destinations. Sometimes, during the dark rainy winters up here in northern Spain, I long for a winter home in Spain’s tropical archipelago.

Paella in the Woods – Parque Natural de Saja-Besaya

June 11, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

Picnic in RuenteLast Sunday we were invited out for a paella picnic with @bnanno. She and her husband know many more places around Cantabria to visit, and they took us to a special place just past Cabezón de la Sal, near a town called Ruente. We met up at a place that was easy to get to – she actually sent me GPS coordinates – and then we followed them in our car to the park. Several times we wondered how much further it could be, as we wound through small villages and around mountains. We ended up in an enchanting green forest wonderland.

Barcelona – If you’re going to see only one Spanish city…

June 08, 2015 By: erik Category: Spain, Travel

BarcelonaWhen people ask me what city they should visit in Spain, the first answer is always the same. Madrid is great and all, and has it’s charm – however, name me another important city on the globe with no bodies of water, not even a river! – Barcelona really should be prioritized over its political and fútbol rival.

Potes – Bridges and Mountains

June 06, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

PotesLiterally for years my wife has been saying, “Hey, maybe this weekend we can go to Potes!” It’s almost become a running household joke, like an unobtainable holy grail of family activity. Potes is a little mountain village in western Cantabria in the mountain range known as the Picos de Europa (European Peaks). At almost 300 meters of elevation, it regularly gets snowfall that we don’t get down here at 1 meter of elevation. For reasons explained above, it’s been one of the towns loaded into my phone’s weather app for years because I’m always asked what the weather’s like there this weekend. Normally it’s a handful of degrees colder than where we live, and often rainier.

Porto Branco – White Port

May 26, 2015 By: erik Category: Travel, Wine

White PortFor some years my wife has, often as a Christmas present from her employer, received wooden boxes or cylindrical containers with port wine in them. We have never been very keen on this type of wine; on the rare occasions that we have opened a bottle it has been forgotten, and then used for special recipes that call for port, usually to make rich red sauces.

Port, as you may know is a kind of sweet, fortified wine from Portugal. Much like how alcohol snobs will tell you that you can only call a sparkling white wine “champagne” if it came from the Champagne region of France – and the same for whiskey from Bourbon County, Kentucky – a fortified wine can only be “port” if it was produced in the Douro Valley in Portugal.