Gavilanes 2016

September 23, 2016 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

Gavilanes 2016On the weekend of September 10 and 11, 2016, my wife and kids and sister-in-law drove five and a half hours south to a little mountain village called Gavilanes near Ávila. If someone told you to put a pin on a map in the dead center of the Iberian peninsula, not just Spain, you would probably skewer Gavilanes. Why did we choose this place? It is the home town of the husband, Óscar, of my wife and sister’s second cousin, Lourdes. Óscar and Lourdes attended my wedding, and the second cousins recently reconnected and released how much they liked each other recently on a sisters’ road trip to Madrid, where they live. Óscar and Lourdes brought their 11-year-old son, Daniel, who was great with our kids, and we all stayed in a house that belongs to Óscar’s mother.
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My Local Machine Gun Store in Spain

December 17, 2015 By: erik Category: Scary, Spain, USA

Gun storeToday, after I dropped my daughter off at her French class, I went for a little walk. As I was strolling down the street, I walked by this shop. Perhaps, had I not been an American, I might not have stopped dead in my tracks, but I did. I evaluated the “Armament” flag in the window and began wondering if I hadn’t stumbled on the local ISIS Я Us recruitment center.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Thursday

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.
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Textbooks – Spanish Schools Are Not Free

August 19, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Parenting, Spain, USA

First grade Spanish text books.This September, my six-year-old daughter will embark upon her academic journey as a student; she’s starting first grade. When I was an elementary school student in the United States, I remember going to school on the first day, and finding each desk with a stack of books on it. Almost always, each book was old and worn, and part of the fun of the first day of school was to open the front cover to sign your name on the list of previous students who had been assigned that book. Sometimes you even knew the previous one-year-older kid who had had that book before you.
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Boating In The Bay – A Daunting Tale of a Family Marooned

May 11, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Photos, Spain, Travel

Boating Sunday - SantoñaI’ve lived here by the beautiful estuary, delta, tidal basin and beach that is the triangle of Colindres, Santoña and Laredo for a full decade. Two features dominate the landscape: the long wispy finger of a sandy peninsula that makes up Laredo’s world-class Playa Salvé, and Mount Buciero, the rocky mountain that protects all three from the brutal waves of the Cantabrian sea. In the ten years I have been here in this fishing village, I have never once been on a boat. All of that changed yesterday.
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Smoking in Bars in Spain

April 08, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Spain, Travel

Smoking ManI first set foot in Spain in January 2001, and visited off and on before becoming a permanent resident in June 2005. [Wow, that’s a decade!] Due to the structure of the human brain, my memories of that time can be easily triggered by smell. Since Spaniards primarily socialize in bars, many of those memories are linked with the pungent odor of tobacco smoke, which was thick in the atmosphere of all Spanish bars during those years.
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El Ratoncito Pérez – The Spanish Tooth Fairy

March 18, 2015 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Spain

Ratoncito PérezOn a previous post, I mentioned a list of parenting vocabulary that I had never had the occasion to learn in Spanish until becoming a parent. When my daughter, Nora, was about two, either through some cartoon or a stuffed animal, she and her Spanish grandparents began talking about el Ratoncito Pérez, and every time Nora saw anything resembling a mouse, she would exclaim that name. At the time, I had no idea what that name meant.
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