Return to Cabárceno Zoo

April 09, 2017 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Cabárceno - April 2017The last (and only other) time we went to Cabárceno Zoo, Nora was not quite three years old. She just turned eight, and her brother, Ian, is about to turn four. It was time to return. It is amusing to compare the prices as I blogged them back then. The adult price went up from 21€ to 30€, the kid price went down from 18€ to 17€, and the family year membership went up from 100€ to 135€. This time we decided to buy the year-long pass, which becomes cheaper if you go more than once.
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Nora and Ian’s first time in the snow

January 22, 2017 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Travel, Videos

Nora and Ian's first snowIn the twelve years I have lived in this town, it has snowed once such that it stuck for a few hours. It very rarely gets down to zero degrees Celsius here at sea level. Unlike their cousin, Xander, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who needs a snow shovel to even leave his house for 5 months of the year, our kids have never really experienced snow.

In past years, we have seen photos of Nora’s classmates playing in the snow. Because we live right next to the mountains, it’s possible to drive a bit into the mountains and find snow, but we never have. Mainly because the kids never had any appropriate clothing for rolling around in frozen water. This year, we were determined to do it, so we bought the kids snow clothes. This weekend was the first weekend after a week of cold precipitation (rain here, snow in the mountains), so we decided to do it. Unfortunately we still didn’t have appropriate shoes, so on Saturday we went to the mall to buy the remaining shoes and gloves, and on Sunday morning we left for the hills.
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La Vijanera – Cantabria’s Pagan Nature Festival

January 08, 2017 By: erik Category: Partying, Spain, Travel

La Vijanera - SilióSeveral years ago, I became aware of this truly bizarre festival celebrated in Cantabria, my region of Spain, on the first Sunday of every year. Since learning of its existence, we have always been busy doing some other family thing winding down Christmas when it is held, but this year we finally made it! The festival is called La Vijanera, and it is the most pagan thing I’ve seen since I took down our Christmas tree yesterday.
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Hiking in Cantabria – Balconada del Cerreo

August 22, 2016 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

Balconada del Cerreo, RasinesThis past Sunday, with the kids summering with their grandparents down south, my wife and I signed up for a hike organized by the local tourism board. It was advertised as: Subida a la balconada del Cerreo, 4:30 hours, 600 meter change (Medium Difficulty). We thought, “600 meters! That’s nothing!” Of course the 600 meters is really only measuring the difference from the lowest to the highest point. While it was quite as high as the Pico de las Nieves, which you can drive almost all the way up to, we did end up with a very nice view from which we could have hit our house with a laser.
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Pico de las Nieves with Kids

November 08, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Spain, Travel

Nora on top of the worldOne of our favorite local hikes is the Pico de las Nieves, a mountain that we can see from our house that is only about as hard to climb as ten flights of stairs. On November 8th, we decided that it was time to take the kids there. It was a beautiful day with plenty of visibility, which made it a perfect choice. We packed a picnic lunch and hopped in the car and headed up.

Ian, unfortunately, has gotten quite sensitive to motion sickness, so we had to stop and get out of the car for 5 minutes about four times during what would normally be a 25 minute ride. Poor guy.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Solar Eclipse 2015

March 20, 2015 By: erik Category: Geeky, Photos, Videos

Eclipse 2015This morning, from roughly 9am to 11am, Spanish time, there was solar eclipse. Here in northern Spain, it was expected to reach a peak of 80% eclipsage (should be a word). While jadedly pessimistic, I left all my cameras charging the night before, and got up a little earlier than usual to make sure they were going to be set up properly. What greeted me upon raising the blinds in the morning was a thick fog. I couldn’t see to the end of my street, let alone to the sun or moon. “Dammit, Cantabria!”, I shouted as I shook my fists…and tweeted.
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Saturday at Parque de la Magdalena

March 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

SantanderThis past weekend, we spent Saturday afternoon in Santander, specifically on the peninsula that makes up the Parque de la Magdalena, which I consider the item at the very top of the “must see” list for Santander tourism. It was the first sunny day in a long time, and everybody was out there enjoying it. If you like high cliff-side views of the sea – and who doesn’t? – then you’ll love the Parque de la Magdalena; it is simply breathtaking.
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