Posts Tagged 'nature'

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.

lisboa

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!).

navarra

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.

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Gredos

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.


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