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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tarkarí – The Best Restaurant in Colindres

December 08, 2014 By: erik Category: Colindres, Food, Photos, Spain, Travel

TarKaríDue to a lucky bit of childlessness this weekend, my wife and I were finally able to try the best restaurant in town, which opened less than a year ago, I think. It’s a place called Tarkarí. The name comes from an Indian curry, the chef is Venezuelan, but the food is Italian, although perhaps the chef might prefer the word “fusion”. The logo proclaims “gastroart”, and the logo looks like it was drawn by my one year old son; how delightfully pretentious! The chef explained to me that the vegetable curry called tarkari was introduced to the Caribbean during British occupation, eventually made its way from the islands to Venezuela, and somewhere along the way baby goat was added to make the, now typical, Venezuelan dish called tarkarí de chivo. Perhaps it’s this cultural culinary fusion that lead the chef to name his restaurant after it. Plus, it’s a pretty cool word.

Donkey Sunday

December 03, 2014 By: erik Category: Parenting, Photos, Spain, Travel

Cantabrian CowOne Sunday in early November, at around 2am (so colloquially still “Saturday night”), I mentioned, over the loud thump-thump of the salsa music, to our friend Agustín that my family and I would like to come up to his mountain garden with him some time to see his newborn donkey…perhaps tomorrow? He gave me the reasonable response of, “Dude, you’ve gotta give me more notice,” which I accepted humbly. But then, the following morning, I get a text message from him saying that he is up on the mountain and if we’d like to head out there, we’re welcome. It takes us just shy of an hour (possibly a record!) to muster the troops, and soon we’re in the car.

Cueva del Valle – Rasines, Cantabria

October 27, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Dad! Can I keep it?After an exhausting Saturday caring for the kids and doing housework, we decided we really needed to get out of the house on the unusually warm, sunny late October Sunday. Searching through some Cantabrian tourism websites, my wife found Cueva del Valle, in nearby Rasines (which I’ve decided to pronounce “raisins” because it’s funny). The place is called a Paleolithic Park, because evidence of human cave occupants has been dated to over 9,000 years ago. To help you grok that number, that’s temporally as far away from Ancient Egypt as Ancient Egypt is from us. Grok, incidentally, was one of the cave’s more notorious occupants back then.

Ampuero 2014

September 10, 2014 By: erik Category: Bulls, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

Ampuero 2014This past weekend we went to the annual festival in Ampuero. The best way to describe it is that it’s a mini-San-Fermín, the enormous annual festival in Pamplona known worldwide for its encierro (running of the bulls). San Fermín is seven days long, and the festival in Ampuero is only three days, but they do have a running of the bulls and they do party for all 72 hours for those three days. There is also a well respected dress code of wearing all white with a red scarf and optional other red accessories. The Ampuero festival is perhaps slightly more kid-friendly than the one in Pamplona. It’s also not as overrun by foreign tourists, which might make it closer to the San Fermín that Hemingway fell in love with. It might make a good destination for some cheap holidays in Spain. We had a great time, going out until the wee hours on Friday and Saturday night, and then going to the bull run on Sunday.

Condado de la Mota – Mogro

August 31, 2014 By: erik Category: Food, Spain, Travel

Condado de la Mota, MogroOn Sunday morning, our last weekend day before our children return from summer vacation, my wife and I realized we had total freedom to do whatever we wished. As we were contemplating our options, my stomach rumbled, so I picked up an iPad and went to Mule Carajonero, far and away the best food blog in Cantabria, to check out potential restaurants we could experience. When I marveled aloud at how many “We’ve eaten at” posts there – roughly 750, 610 of them in Cantabria – my wife came over to look. One of them immediately popped out because she’d read an article recently – probably this one – and had stored the name “Condado de la Mota” on a mental restaurant todo list. We liked what we saw, so I called them up to make a reservation.