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.
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Karpin Abentura – Basque Mountain Zoo and Dinosaur Park

December 06, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Dinosaur FootEver since my daughter’s preschool class took a field trip there two years ago, Karpin Abentura has been on our list of places to take the kids for a day. A couple Sundays ago we finally pulled the trigger and went there. It was a lot closer than we thought, only a thirty minute drive away, straight up into the mountains. It’s just across the border in the Vizcaya, in the Basque Country.
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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.
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La Sagrada Família – Barcelona’s Iconic Basilica

November 10, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

After seeing an impressive 3D animation recently, which I will include below, I found myself reading, with interest, the Wikipedia page about this interminable building in Barcelona. Ever since reading The Pillars of the Earth and Sarum, I’ve been fascinated by cathedral building and the knowledge that most cathedrals in Europe were built, not just over many years, but over generations, always adds to my appreciation of them as human accomplishments. There are, however, very few modern projects that fit this traditional mold. The Sagrada Família is one.
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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.
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Toledo at Night

October 07, 2014 By: erik Category: Photography, Photos, Spain, Travel

Toledo At NightThere is something really romantically charming, especially for Americans, about ancient medieval (or older) cobblestone streets in European city centers. The American cultural psyche is nurtured from childhood with tales loosely based on European history. After living in Europe for over a decade now, I’ve built up a tolerance to cobblestones and cathedrals, but every now and then a place is so thick with history that I can lose myself in it. Toledo was one of those places, with an endless labyrinth of stone passageways inside the city walls. The streets of Toledo were extremely photogenic during the daytime, but at night, the way the lights and shadows played off the stones was just spectacular. With a proper tripod and free time, I could fill a thousand blog posts with images, but I’m afraid I was only able to capture these somewhat blurry images. You’ll have to focus them with your imagination.
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The Fourth Mask: Parenting Airline Travel Tip

September 28, 2014 By: erik Category: Funny, Musings, Parenting, Travel

Airline Family SelfieThis weekend my family and I took a one hour flight to the other side of the peninsula. It served as sort of a dry run for next weekend when we will fly ten times further. My 17-month-old son is still allowed to ride on a parent’s lap, and doesn’t yet require his own seat, which is great, especially for our transatlantic hop, where the prices are non-trivial.

For those of you that have never had the pleasure of flying with another human on top of you, the airline provides a little baby belt that has a loop in it to put the adult’s seatbelt through so your offspring isn’t offsprung during extreme turbulence.
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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.
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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.
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Comillas – Día del Indiano

August 30, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

Mojito and PostcardOn our final weekend before our children come home from summer vacation with their grandparents, my wife and I decided we should take full advantage of our kidlessness and do some traveling tourism around Cantabria. We discovered this excellent website that details upcoming events in the region, and we decided to drive an hour to the west to a town called Comillas to see their annual Día del Indiano festival. We visited Comillas eight long years ago to scout out potential wedding venues, but we have not been back.
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