The sun sets late in Spain

June 24, 2014 By: erik Category: Musings, Spain, Travel, Weird

Crepuscular!If you’ve ever been to Spain in the summer, you’ll know that the sun sets very late, which suits Spaniards, who like to have dinner as late as 10 or 11 at night, very well. It’s not just because of the tilt of the Earth at the summer solstice, or the fact that all our days are getting longer. Tonight, for example, in late June, the sun will set at 9:58 PM, one minute later than it will set as far north as Copenhagen! What sense does that make?

I blame the Nazis.
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Garlic and Water, Blog Name Idea

June 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Musings, Photos

10.365Where I work, whenever we start a new project, we often don’t yet know what the final product (usually a website) will be called, but we need a name to refer to the project. The way we generate internal code names is through a word association exercise. For example, one of the projects we’re working on now involves golf. Thinking of golf makes me think of Jack Nicklaus, whose nickname was The Golden Bear, so we named the project Ursa, which is short, nice and pronounceable and quick to type…and means “bear” in Latin.
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Visiting El Greco – Toledo 2014

April 08, 2014 By: erik Category: Art, Photos, Spain, Travel

Gentleman with hand on breastFor many years now, my wife has expressed interest in visiting the Spanish city of Toledo. Although she’s not much of an art aficionado, if you ever ask her who her favorite painter is, she’ll reliably respond “El Greco”. So when we saw on the news that there was a big exhibition to celebrate the quadricentenary of El Greco’s death in 1614 (yesterday, April 7, was the actual date), in which his greatest works would be shipped from museums around the world to Toledo, it was not a matter of if, but when we would go. When we got an opportunity to leave the kids with my in-laws, we took it!
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International Travel With Kids

December 06, 2013 By: erik Category: Complaining, Reviews, Spain, Travel

FlightsWe just got back from our first transatlantic pond hop as a fully formed family of four. The offspring were very well behaved, considering the adventure we went through. I’ll be using this post to vent some of my frustration with our voyage.

It began when my mother dropped us off at the curb of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Just like she was for the first fifteen minutes of our car ride to the airport after saying adiós to her grandfather, Nora was wracked with inconsolable grief for the first fifteen minutes. She’s not good with goodbyes.
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Golf in Pedre̱a РHome of Seve Ballesteros

November 22, 2013 By: erik Category: Golf, Spain, Travel

Pedreña Putting GreenMy token answer for the often asked question is that, what I miss most about the United States, apart from my family, is the relatively easy access to golf. In Spain, I’m lucky if I get to play once or twice a year, and with the burdens joys of fatherhood, even less. As if to taunt me, one of the closest golf courses to my house is the super private Real Golf de Pedreña, probably the most famous course in northern Spain, and the home stomping grounds of Spain’s golf legend, Severiano Ballesteros.
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Colindres in October

October 22, 2013 By: erik Category: Colindres, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

The following is a document written by my father, Paul Rasmussen, about his trip to visit us in Spain in October 2013.

Ian and GrandpaOctober is my favorite month for visiting my son and his family in northern Spain. The weather is always comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold. Daylight begins around 8:00 am, and lasts until almost 8:00 pm. It is a convenient time to be away from home.

And then there are the birthdays. My son’s birthday is on the 12th, and my wife’s birthday is on the 16th. In Spain it is customary to take your friends and extended family out to eat on your birthday, often at a restaurant a bit classier than the norm. Some of my most memorable restaurant meals have been in Spain. To make the week even more worthy of celebration, October 13th is Erik and Marga’s wedding anniversary, and not coincidentally the anniversary of the best party I ever attended. So we flew away from America on October 8th, and flew back on the 18th.
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Conversations with a bilingual preschooler: Overtranslation

October 08, 2013 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Parenting, Spain, Spanish

Bottle CapThe other day I was out walking with my bilingual four-year-old daughter, and we passed a pair of elderly women. One of them was carrying a plastic bag full of plastic bottle caps to recycle, probably for charity. Out of the blue, my daughter begins this conversation:

“Do you know what Grandpa likes to do?”

“No, what?”

“He likes to go to bars and get tops.”

“Tops?”

“Like bottle tops.”

[huge burst of laughter!]
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Spanish Lesson for New Parents

September 27, 2013 By: erik Category: Parenting, Spain, Spanish

Small CollarWhen you learn a second language, apart from the grammar rules, you obtain a very thinly spread vocabulary of a variety of subjects. But when you’re living in a country that speaks that foreign language, and you delve into a hobby, like camping or sailing or carpentry, you realize that there is a whole new fractal universe of domain-specific vocabulary, words for all the nouns and verbs associated with a specific activity. One such example of a new domain that they don’t teach very deeply in textbooks is all the vocabulary that goes with having and caring for a baby. I have two fellow Americans In Spain that are pregnant, so I thought I’d write a post outlining some vocabulary every parent in Spain needs.
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Bar Culture in Spain

July 30, 2013 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Spain, Travel

Which way to the nearest bar?After living in Spain for so long, I have internalized so much of the culture, that I forget what is quirky about it and what seems weird to outsiders. One aspect of Spanish culture that visitors often misunderstand is just how central bars are to Spanish society. When you first visit Spain, you will notice that there are a lot of people in the bars every midday and evening (and even for breakfast), and you might think, “Wait, where’s the economic crisis?” There is one simple fact that you need to know to understand almost anything about Spanish social culture:
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Return to Restaurante Solana – Michelin Star Dining in Cantabria

June 22, 2013 By: erik Category: Food, Partying, Photos, Spain, Wine

Coconut and pineapple ravioli with passionfruitWhen our friends Simon and Paola were visiting last week from Brussels, we wanted to show off our local cuisine. As you can see from Simon’s blog, they are fine dining hobbyists, taking advantage of their location in Brussels to try as many Michelin Star restaurants as they can. After I visited them and they took me out to one of Brussels’ finest establishments, the fine dining bug bit me as well. It really is a fun experience.

After I visited them in October, I took my wife out to our local Michelin Star establishment, Restaurante Solana, and we were wowed, especially my wife, who had been dubious about the whole thing. So naturally we wanted to take Simon and Paola to Restaurante Solana to show off what Cantabria has to offer.
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