Posts Tagged 'winter'

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.

A walk in the woods

Having a day off of work on Monday is a joy. It’s two-fold if it’s also your birthday. And if it’s not a national holiday, triple that happiness.

A friend and I took advantage of a day when most people were working or at school to venture up to the sierra on the train and have an adventure. We were greeted by rapidly descending snowflakes, wind, and fog at Puerto de Navacerrada and, after a bit of consultation, decided that a walk would be our best option. We took the Camino Schmidt through the frozen pines in blissful snowy solitude and carefully descended a sometimes icy path to Cercedilla, where we caught the train back to Madrid.

Snow day

It snowed yesterday evening through the wee hours this morning and, though there can’t be more than 3 inches on the ground, it wreaked havoc on life as we know it in Madrid. Result? Esperanza Aguirre, beloved president of the Comunidad de Madrid, canceled school.

When I went to bed last night and the snow was still falling and sticking I guessed something like this would have to happen. The Monday before winter break was also a snowy mess, but I had a second period substitution and slogged my way into school only to spend the morning entertaining the kids with games and a movie before they sent everyone (well, the few of us there) home. It hadn’t seemed like much snow that time, and was actually quite a slushy mess because it started to rain, but Madrid is completely unprepared for situations like this. I didn’t see a single plow or salt truck that day.

This time I was prepared for Madrid’s utter un-preparedness and, since I normally go in a bit later on Mondays, texted a coworker upon waking up. She said she’d gotten into school without a problem, so, disappointed but carrying on with my routine, I laced up my running shoes and went for a run in relative snowy solitude in the Retiro (gorgeous in white).

By chance I glanced at my email before hopping into the shower and saw a friend had mentioned that school was canceled in much of Madrid. I checked my school email and, indeed, class had been canceled today, though the facility was open to take care of the kids that did make it. I called my direct boss who told me that there were plenty of teachers there and they would all go home at lunch time anyway—no need for me to go in.

So I joined the hordes of camera-armed, hiking boot-clad unusually smiley madrileños and headed to the Retiro.

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