The 14th Annual Laredo Beach Golf Tournament

April 28, 2014 By: erik Category: Beach, Golf

Beach Golf Laredo - Golf PlayaSeven long years ago, I participated in this event and won a trophy. In the years since I have been unable to attend either with travel or childrearing conflicts, but this year, with the kids at their abuelos’, I was able to participate again. There was a constant drizzle throughout the whole event; one of the organizers said that it was the second worst weather they’ve had over the fourteen years, which is pretty amazing considering the Cantabrian spring. Like Easter, the lunar cycle plays a big role in determining the date of the tournament every year, as it has to be in the early morning, finishing before 11am, before many beach goers flock to the beach, and it has to be at low tide.
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Maidens of Laredo

March 19, 2013 By: erik Category: Art, Photos, Spain, Travel

Maidens of Laredo (cropped)I’m a big fan of clever street art, such as this mural, in nearby Santoña, that spans three buildings. The medieval Old Town section of nearby Laredo is both the most happening social zone of the town, and also the most derelict crumbling part, full of abandoned, disintegrating buildings. Just last month one of them blew over. So there are plenty of abandoned houses with boarded up windows. A year or two ago, some interesting paintings began appearing on some of the doors and windows of the Old Town, depicting women inside the houses looking out. More than once, I’ve done a double-take when walking by, because they seem so real.
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Gender Pop Quiz – Sunflowers, Daisies and Toilets

January 09, 2013 By: erik Category: Musings, Photos, Spanish

DaisyThe other day I went out to a restaurant owned by a friend of mine. They’d recently renovated the place and all the colors and designs were changed. About halfway through my meal, I received a call from Nature and got up to answer it. Once through the door marked “Aseos” (Restrooms), there is a sink, and two more doors. One with a photo of a sunflower and the other with a daisy. Which door should I use?
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Semana del Pincho 4 – Laredo

December 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Partying, Photos, Reviews, Spain, Travel

Semana del Pincho 4It’s pincho time again! Every year just before Christmas, bars and restaurants in the local town of Laredo hold a competition to create the best tapas (called pinchos). It’s one of my favorite events of the year for reasons I described here. Unfortunately, this year the weather has been absolutely terrible. Last weekend, when it started, we had steady downpours with heavy winds that kept us at home all weekend. Of the eighteen pinchos competing, I was only able to sample six this year. For that, I apologize, dear readers. I’ll try to do better next year.
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Synchronized Kites in Laredo

September 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Spain, Stuff I Found, Travel, Videos, Weird

Synchronized Kite Flying ThumbnailWhen I was sitting on the beach yesterday, I noticed something off in the distance out of the corner of my eye. In a split second, my unconscious pattern recognition neurons decided I’d seen a flock of birds. After several seconds of gazing at the phenomenon a kilometer down the beach, I’d determined that they were too big to be birds, and the flying was too orderly. They must be kites, my brain suggested, but…but…how?? They were flying in perfect formation, up, down, swooping, soaring, diving… What they really reminded me of was Boids, the artificial intelligence algorithm – one of my favorites! – that demonstrates how lifelike natural flocking behavior can be mimicked with very, very few lines of code.
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September Beach

September 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Offspring, Photos, Spanish, Videos

At the beach in SeptemberToday the weather was better than it’s been pretty much all year long. The key was the noticeable lack of wind, which normally makes our beach a little chillier than one would like. That the weather is so out of season made it all the more special, since we know there won’t be days like this until 2012. We decided to go to Laredo to walk around, but Nora caught wind that we’d be near the beach and insisted on taking her backpack full of buckets and shovels and things. We ended up sitting on the beach for about two hours playing in the sand, with Marga and myself in street clothes, not beach clothes. We had a grand old time.
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Batalla de Flores 2011 – Laredo, Spain

August 28, 2011 By: erik Category: Partying, Spain, Travel, Videos

Batalla de FloresOn the last Friday of August every year, the nearby tourist town of Laredo hosts their annual Batalla de Flores (Flower Battle). It consists of a parade of floats, decorated entirely with real flowers. The floats range from fairly simple – but more complex than I could construct – numbers with a cartoon character or two, to huge elaborate contraptions with various animals or other themes. Each float is decorated with some sort of Homo sapiens specimens deemed to be cute, usually small children or young maidens in elaborate costumes. The floats are judged on a variety of categories:

  • Presentation: relative to the size of the float, the combination of diverse pieces and parts, and complexity of the float
  • Art: the general beauty, composition, design, originality and “wow factor”
  • Flowers: how well the flowers are nailed to the float, and the general quality of the floral craftsmanship
  • Quantity of flowers: the percentage of the float covered in flowers

There is also a separate prize for the best dressed human ornaments. During the video you’re about to see, the announcer mentions that this year, there were floats that had more than 100,000 flowers on them. Wow!
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First Beach Visit 2011

June 09, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Offspring, Photos

Nora on the beach in LaredoWe had some really nice weather last weekend. On Sunday we were able to take Nora to the beautiful nearby Laredo beach for the first time this year. I’m pretty certain that she didn’t remember her visits to the beach last year. Walking barefoot in the pristine white sand was an immediate delight for her. There were a few times, however, when she got into a region with a little shell and stick debris where she froze up and insisted on being carried rather than risking a stick to the sole.
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Semana del Pincho 3

December 24, 2010 By: erik Category: Beach, Experiments, Internet, Media

Semana del Pincho 2010It’s that time of year again. Time to walk through the chilly air from bar to bar in Laredo, Spain, eating elaborate tapas, called pinchos, and imbibing fine wine. This is the third year, and it seems to be getting better every year. The Semana del Pincho is one Christmas tradition I could definitely get used to. Before we get to the mouthwatering photos, I’d like to quote myself from last year about why I like this event so much:
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Batalla de Flores 2010

August 30, 2010 By: erik Category: Art, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Batalla de Flores 2010Parking in nearby beach tourist town, Laredo, is really a nightmare in July and August, especially for those of us that go there year round. But never is the parking problem worse than on the last Friday of August, when Laredo hosts their famous Batalla de Flores (Flower Battle), a parade of floats with 100% real flowers. So this year we came up with a parking strategy.

I’ve been walking a lot lately, so we decided that I would drive the car to Laredo in the morning, park it as close to the downtown parade site as possible, and then walk back home. I took Nora with me since she isn’t any extra work on walks (when bribed with cookies), but she is a handful to care for around the house. Then, at 17:00, we set out walking to Laredo. Immediately the sky began to look ominous, and about halfway there, it began to rain. We managed to find a little shelter and soon the rain slowed and then stopped. We got there late for the initial lap (for the judges to see the floats), but we caught the entire second lap (for the awards to be given) and a little of the third lap (for the awards to be paraded, literally, around the town).
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