Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Sabbatical summary

My ferry arrives in Santander

June 12:   I'm leaving Santander on the ferry at 9 o'clock tonight, bound for Plymouth.  After a few days in England, I'll be flying home to Florida.  

So, time to wrap things up with a sabbatical summary: 

Sabbatical/educational goals and research:   

Fun stuff in Santander/Cantabria:  

with Sombra

  • I've done lots of horse riding and hiking along the coast and in the mountains of Cantabria.
  • Corin and I have attended four concerts at Santander's concert hall, Palacio de Festivales.  We enjoyed performances by some of the best European orchestras (Italian, Spanish, and German) as well as Italian pianist Fabio Bidini and Spanish singer Ainhoa Arteta.

with my cousin Isabella
in Orta, Italy

Other Travels:  

  • UK:  Visited family and friends all over UK in December and January; celebrated Christmas and Corin's 18th birthday in London.  
  • Spain:  Visited Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Sierra Nevada, and Bilbao 
  • Italy:  Visited Florence and Milan
  • Germany: Went skiing in Garmisch

What happens to the blog now?  Since I'm no longer on sabbatical, I won't be writing any more on this blog.  However, the lesson plans and proverbs have been moved to their own separate blogs, to be continued. Links here.  Proverb blog and Lesson plan blog 

Corin and me hiking in the Picos de Europa

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Goodbye Santander: Faces and places I will miss

This post is dedicated to the people of Santander, especially the wonderful friends whose pictures are below.  After five months here, I feel like it's home.  I will miss you all so much .......

Springtime in the Bay of Santander.  My favorite place to walk,  just a few minutes from the flat.

At the other end of the promenade is Puerto Chico, and at far 
right you can see the concert hall, 'Palacio de Festivales.'

Maria, my lovely helpful and friendly landlady, and my first friend in Santander.  We've had several fun evenings going out for pinchos/tapas and talking about everything and anything!   

Mountains and sea:  Bay of Santander; April 2013

Young friends from the school where I've been volunteering;  CP José Arce Bodega.  Here we are on a field trip to Somo (across the bay).  April 2013

Fishing port as seen from the window by the 
elevator in my building, March 2013

coastal walks like this one all around Santander

Iván, expert physiotherapist and unofficial Spanish conversation partner. He's worked wonders with my hand and knee over the past few months,
 while helping me understand the complexities of 
Spanish verbs.  I will miss you!

Pinchos at Casa Lita on the bay; site of many delicious 
lunches and after-concert snacks!

The Hyde family:  American friends Eric, Pamela, Caleb, and Ezra, from Iowa, now living in Santander.  This cliff walk started out well, but we had to turn back right after this photo was taken due to thunder.

Me and Loli and the fifth grade class, CP José Arce Bodega.  Loli welcomed me into her classes as a conversation assistant and invited me to lots of outings and special events.  Thank you Loli!  

Astrid and the horses (Sombra and Vega) May 2013. Originally from Holland, Astrid now lives in Spain with her family.  She's been a wonderful friend and teacher for me, Christine, and CorinThanks Astrid for letting me ride the lovely Sombra! I'll be back!

Me riding the lovely Sombra

A windy day in the Bay of Santander!  March 2013.
Santander has many windy days, but this was one of the windiest!  
The statues represent poor children in the 19th century who used to 
dive for money on the sea floor.

Loli, English teacher, and the fourth grade class at CP José Arce Bodega.  

Santi, a friend from CP José Arce Bodega.who introduced me to the teachers' hiking group; I later introduced him to Astrid and the horses.  Here he is on the day we went to the Picos de Europa. 

Puerto Chico,  February

Unai, the friendly and helpful fish market guy.  He recommends the best 
fish of the day, always locally caught.  Then he scales and filets it for me, gives cooking instructions, and even throws in a handful of parsley!

What Santander is most famous for ... Banco Santander

My friend Juncal, Professor of English and Legal English at the University of Cantabria.  Juncal is interested in faculty exchange, and is also the first point of contact for other partnerships such as study abroad.

Sombra and David practicing for the next showjumping competition!  

My friend Pepeteacher at CP José Arce Bodega.  We've been helping each other with the finer points of English and Spanish, and we've enjoyed some fun outings together, like this one to Galizano in June (weather not very June-like!) 

Palacio de Festivales, the concert hall on the bay:  We went to four 
concerts here given by musicians from Italy, Spain, and Germany. 

The two-year olds, just after I finished reading them 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar.'
The little boy front left was the first to join in with 'he was still hungry!'

Beaches here come in all shapes and sizes, and they appear and disappear with the tide.  
There are 8 beaches in Santander and many more along the coast and across the bay.  

Christine and Corin with Santi and Pepe at Taberna Marinera Machichacho 'El Machi' bar on the bay, a 5 minute walk from our flat and another favorite spot.  

Lots of aloe on the Magdalena peninsula, May.  Another 
great spot for walking.

More of my young friends at CP José Arce Bodega school during 
the day of the solidarity (charity) market.  In these times of economic 
crisis, the wonderful teachers at the school are teaching 
the children about helping those less fortunate.

My sometimes slightly crazy Sombra.  Here she's putting on her 'serious' face.    
Who could not love that face?

'La Concha' beach, with view of the Magdalena peninsula.  May 2013.

Corin, Santi, Maria, Christine, and Pepe at our neighbors vegetarian 
tapas party. Maria, Santi, and Pepe all live on our block.  I will miss 
having such wonderful friends literally 'round the corner.'

One of my favorite places to visit; the penguins and seals on the 
Magdalena peninsula.  It's about a one hour walk from the flat, 
or a ten minute bus ride.  February 2013.

With the teachers' hiking group, summit of Pico Jano 
in the Picos de Europa, May 2013

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Out and about in Cantabria part 3

Here's the final episode in the 'Out and about in Cantabria' series where I share the best pictures taken on our adventures along the coast and in the mountains.  These pictures are from the end of May and beginning of June, 2013.  They were taken in the Pas Valley, Santoña, Picos de Europa, and Galizano.

Valles Pasiegos:  On May 31, my friend Pepe took me to see his mountain cabin in the Valles Pasiegos (Pas Valley), about 40 km from Santander.

Background:  The Pas valley is an area of northern Spain that includes parts of Cantabria and neighboring Burgos.  In February, I watched a documentary film at the library called Pasiegos: Los Valles del Silencio.  Ever since then, I've been intrigued by the Pasiegos, the inhabitants of the Pas valley and mountains. 

The filmmakers, twin brothers Carlos and Higinio Sáinz Crespo, used oral testimony from the older generation to preserve a record of this traditional way of life. They describe it as a 'heritage of generations, an identity, and a lifestyle with its own special customs and traditions, but with an uncertain future'.  For more information, click on this link:  film trailer

First, we stopped in Selaya, and visited the shop where the famous quesadas and sobaos are made.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned quesadas and sobaos 
before in this blog, but just in case you missed it, quesadas are a typical Cantabrian cheesecake, and sobaos are a typical Cantabrian sponge cake.  Both are specialties of the Pas valley -- and are especially delicious because of the high quality of the milk and butter produced from the local cows. The links above will take you to pictures and recipes.

Pepe's cabin

next door neighbors

across the street neighbors

fields full of wildflowers

Santoña:  On June 1, Corin and I took a bus to the beautiful town of Santoña, southeast of Santander, and famous for it's anchovies and bonito.  We walked up and around Monte Buciero.  Having reached the top, we then went down 766 steps to a lighthouse.  And back up.  The steps were steep and scary, and getting back up was exhausting.  However, as you can see in the pictures, it was worth it!

Church in Santoña

scariest steps ever ...

Corin leads the way down the scary steps...

Faro de caballo

Picos de Europa:  On June 8, I went back to the Picos de Europa with my friend Santi and the teachers' hiking group.  This time,  Corin was able to come too!  The route was 'from the lakes of Covadonga to Poncebas' in the heart of the Picos, on the Asturias side (Asturias the province to the west of Cantabria).  Despite on and off rain all day, it was a great success.  Over 9 hours of breathtaking views and strenuous climbs and descents made for a day to remember!  Here is the itinerary:

ITINERARIO:   Aparcamiento de Buferrera → Mirador del Principe →  Campu la Tiese →  Majada la LLomba → Majada Belbín → Los Reguerones → Parres → Arnaedu → Collau Xerra Buena → Vega Maor → Ostón → Posadoriu → Culiembru → Los Callaos → Poncebos.

And here are some of the best pictures from the day.

Corin and me on the way up

“ ¡Picos de Europa, claros, dorados troncos vivos,                                                                  
en pie sobre su altura, más arriba del aire,
luchando en pie y venciendo; clamando en pie; soñando;                                           
quizás amando en pie… igual que los arcángeles!
Duros caminos, sendas que conquistan a pulso
los cielos de caliza donde el rebeco pace.
Roca sobre la roca, gargantas en silencio,
mortales jous, argayos, azulados glaciares.”

the little buildings are cabins/sheds for the cows

the group, at the top

fun in the snow at the top!

Santi and Charo

Corin is about to start The Great Descent

The Great Descent begins .....

Galizano:  Time is just about up ...... for my final 'Out and about in Cantabria' entry, here are some pictures of my coastal walk with Pepe in Galizano.  Galizano is a small town in the area of Ribamontan del Mar, along the coast to the east of Santander.  I walked along the coast from Somo to Galizano in March, and you can see those pictures in Out and about in Cantabria part one.  Today's walk was a loop that starts at Galizano beach and goes up around the coast and through a forest.  It wasn't the best day weather-wise, but we had lots of fun.  Here are a couple of pictures:  

Playa La Canal, Galizano

out on the cliffs

My friend Pepe

oops, cut off by the tide and hat about to get blown away ...

That's it for now ... Goodbye Cantabria!  I'll miss you ....