Archive for the 'photos' Category


A sampler of Spanish coast and mountains from this fall’s trips:

couldn't get enough of that with the mar de nubes behind it

September in the Picos de Europa, with a stunning view of el Naranjo de Bulnes.


October on the Asturian coast after another good hike in Picos


and a week later further east to Cantabria, also gorgeous.

doble salto

November brought an autumnal hike in the Sierra de la Demanda, with a stop at the cascadas de Altuzarra.

Winter shots

Lest you think I’ve abandoned ship, I’m coming back to you with a photographic representation of 2013 so far on the Iberian peninsula. The crisis is deepening, but life goes on.

Winter holidays were in Portugal. We ate incredibly well, thanks in no small part to places like Cervejaria Ramiro and the generally amazing seafood and sweets the country has to offer.

cervejaria ramiro

Lisboa continues to enchant me.


And there are so many other parts of the country to explore. We spent time in the hills and villages of the Serra da Estrela before heading back to España.

serra da estrela

This winter was cold and snowy, to my complete delight. There’s nothing like being in the Parador de Gredos during a good snowfall

parador de gredos

and exploring the surrounding area without even getting in the car.

gredos snow

Hiking trips in Madrid were frequently foiled by bad weather (not for lack of snow!), but trips elsewhere proved successful. The Sierra de Aralar was in full splendor before the rains of March set in (and we escaped the continent!).


A nearby Navarran village provided an unexpected lesson in cheese-making at the hands of an artisan.

cheese-making in navarra

We were also rewarded with a spectacular weekend in the Montaña Palentina, where we could see over the whole expanse of the Picos de Europa from the top of Peña Prieta

desde la cima de peña prieta

and even got a bit of culture with an excellent guided tour at the ruins of a Roman villa in Saldaña.

villa romana la olmeda

Here’s to spring.

Why I don’t tire of Asturias

Mountains: The central massif and the Naranjo de Bulnes from the Puerto de Pandébano in Picos de Europa.

Food: Fabada asturiana. And that’s not to fill this post with pictures of everything we ate.

Coast: Playa de Torimbia, west of Llanes.

These photos are from a four-day trip we took to Asturias at the beginning of the month.

The last of the beach days

This is Bolonia, a small town with a stunning beach and a fantastic view of Morocco on the Costa de la Luz. It was formerly a Roman settlement called Baelo Claudia, and has the ruins to prove it. We swam, explored the dunes, and ate fish there this month during a long weekend in Cádiz. We spent the rest of the time in Cádiz capital, where we were happy sleeping at Pensión España, breakfasting with churros and the locals at La Marina, and tapeando in the Barrio de la Viña, especially at El Faro.

Madrid mornings

This weekend I had a strong hankering to hang around Madrid, get stuff done, and do some madrileño things. Above you can see nine images from the two mornings I spent out and about in the barrio. (I mean morning in the Spanish sense, that is from when you get up [pretty late] until when you have lunch [earliest 2 p.m.]).

A number of those are taken in the Mercado de San Fernando, where we enjoyed cañas and tapas and window shopping Saturday morning before heading, via the gone but not forgotten Centro Social Okupado Casablanca to Bar Benteveo for their delicious lomito.

Sunday morning included an errand at the Rastro, where I spotted a banner citing the current fight over public education, and a walk through nearby streets before some tapas at one of Madrid’s oldest tabernas.


End of summer, return to Madrid and a strong desire to get out into the hills. Where to go? Somewhere a little less populated and a little more rugged than Madrid’s sierra, yet not far enough to have to spend a whole weekend there. Gredos fits the bill perfectly time and time again. Just over two hours from Madrid with enough mountains and pueblos to keep you busy for quite a while. I’ve been going for five years and still haven’t tired of it.

Lately we’ve done long day hikes (10+ hours) by leaving Madrid Friday afternoon, camping for the night, hiking all Saturday, and returning late Saturday night. Here’s the start of the last one, a traverse from Bohoyo to the Plataforma via an ascent of La Galana.

I love those ferns. Sometimes central Spain lacks in vegetation, but those rock. Lakes also rock, and Gredos has some pretty nice looking ones, like Cinco Lagunas.

Rocks are everywhere and, once you get up high enough, there are views that don’t disappoint,

like a different angle on a peak you know well.

It’s always satisfying to admire the peak you’ve just climbed, more so if you’ve done it without any other people around.

As the sun sinks lower you get a close-up view of the local wildlife, clearly not bothered by the presence of the two-legged species.

El Midi

Rarely have I spent as much time admiring a peak as I have the Midi d’Ossau. I’ve walked past it, all the way around it, and gazed upon it from virtually all of the points on a compass. Though it’s just over 100 meters shy of the Pyrenean standard 3000-meter mark, it’s an iconic peak because its distinctive rocky mass is visible from so many places and doesn’t have to compete with any other giants in the vicinity. The Midi stands alone.

Last weekend some friends and I finally set out to conquer it. After my experiences with Almanzor, I wasn’t sure we’d make the summit on the first go, but I figured we’d give it a try.

September is a lovely month for mountain climbing. In fact, last September we finally did climb Almanzor (no issues there without snow), and the Midi also proved to be no problem at all, apart from the crowds of people we were climbing with. It is advisable to rappel down the three chimneys you find at the start of the ascent (and some people roped up them), and you have to wear a helmet because there are some serious rocks that fall from time to time, but it is nowhere near as vertiginous as the Gran Facha, for example.

Here are some different views of the peak from my wanderings in the Pyrenees. This one’s from the Col de Peyreget, directly south of the peak and so close it’s nearly unrecognizable.

You might have to strain a bit to see this one, but it’s the highest peak here among these May snow-covered mountains, and looks a bit like a camel’s hump

Here’s the first view we had of the Pic du Midi on the HRP in 2010, from the Col des Moines, which is just beyond Astun.

Later that day we climbed up the Pic d’Ayous to get a better view of the Midi through the drifting cloud.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the view we had from our campsite on Lac Gentau, near the Refuge d’Ayous, the next morning.

Then we continued east on the HRP and looked back on a new view of the peak.

Last summer I got yet another perspective on the Midi from the Ibones de Anayet.

We spent a long day finally climbing it, and the sun had gone as we hiked out to the van last weekend, but we kept looking back at it.

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