Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jaca - day 2 and 3

In my second day, as i was feeling bad of my throat, fever and headaches.. i decided to stay at the residence doing a comic and sorting out some things. I had sketched one page and a half when i heard the cleaning personal coming so i decided to take a break and went out. I walked around until i found the Camino de Santiago path that passes by Jaca. I followed it until i found a nice and calm place by the river where i decided to lay and read for a while. It was very relaxing. After that i came back home again to go on sorting things out.

At night we went to have dinner at the restaurant Rancho Grande which had a great decoration and a warming fire. We all had deer as the second plate. It was a nice place until a group of noisy Spaniards came and ruined it all...

In my third day in Jaca, I went with my friends, Steven and Angela, to see the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, one of the main touristical attractions around Jaca.

Once we got to the place a man told us to keep going up until we found a parking. Everything seemed to be very well organized. There you can buy the tickets and a bus takes you to the old monastery. Actually we did that journey on our own walking a beautiful path from which we could admire the views.

Angela, trying to get away from the paparazzis (me).

This is the main attraction of San Juan de la Peña, an old monastery embedded into the rocks of a mountain.

Some gargoilles and interesting decorative stuff in the monastery.

Then, we went to see the most modern monastery.. you can see the ruins from above through windows on the floor.

On the way back to Jaca we saw this interesting house with solar panels.

When we got to Jaca we had lunch in a restaurant and then we visited the main cathedral of Jaca which dates from the XI century. It was very nice.

A guy was praying to the virgen for quite a long time.

A traffic sign saying "in order to cross the road press the button". Somehow it reminds me about the original Japanese signs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jaca - day 1

This is probably the first post that I have done on the same day as the subject. Thanks to my University I have the chance to stay in the student's residence of Jaca for a week during Easter. So yesterday I came here to Jaca by car with my friends Angela and Steven (a lovely couple who are getting married soon and i hope they will be very happy in their marriage). The problem is that at the same time I've got bad throat, fever, headache and pain in my nose!! Now, the main problem is the bad throat cause i can't control it even with the antibiotics that the doctor gave me before coming.

So today, even if i wanted to join my friends to the natural park of Ordesa or go to some big mountains.. i had to stay in Jaca trying to get better. But the day's weather has been so great that i couldn't simply stay in my room so after breakfast (which is included) i went out to wander in the nearby countryside. I took lots of pictures, relax along the river and walk over lots of hills. I have also made the script for my new 4 pages comic that i will present to a contest.

I started walking to the west, direction Guasillo, a nearby small village from which i wanted to climb a low hill. I made a short sketch of the route here using Google Earth (yeah, in the residence we have internet connection and i brought my laptop). In the picture above you can see a very old bridge close to Jaca (Pte San Miguel) which was build for the Santiago pillgrims (I think). The other monument is a church from the century XI in guasillo (there are several churches from that century around).

So when i passed by that church i wanted to go on and reach the path to that hill i saw on Google Earth. But in my way there were like 7 dogs laying on the floor and when i stepped in, one of the dogs, the biggest, jump up and started barking... As you may know from previous posts, i have had problems with dogs before. This time i was very confident because i have borrowed a device to scare dogs through ultrasounds. So there i was pressing that button when suddenly ALL THE SATAN'S DOGS BECAME CRAZY because of the ultrasound and started chasing me FURIOUS!! I was shitting myself, they were more than 7 and they were very aggresive hunting dogs!! They were very angry with me, i kept pressing that button and it really annoyed them. I was out of their place and they kept following until i was again at the entry to the village. Meanwhile the owners said NOTHING. Im really pissed off with local people in the country side, id like to have something to kill their dogs, really. I didn't take pictures of that but as i couldnt go to the hill i had to wander and in the next village i found the same story, in a lighter version, so i took my camera out. As you see in the picture, the typical scene.. dogs waiting in the middle of your path and when u get closer... they come to you barking (sometimes i think their bark is "WHAAAAAAATT!!!"). These ones were not so scary so i just took the pictures as a way to explain (by the way, along the road there was a huge snake!! i got scared when it slipped away to the field.

After that i tried to avoid any other village and limit myself to walk on the hills even when there was no path to walk. I preffered not having a path than bumping into more dogs again. It was a nice and relaxing stroll and the weather was great to take pictures.

The above are some close shots of things that i have found out there today. I think some of them are interesting. Now im at my room again, complaining about my bad throat!! Let's see what will come tomorrow!!


At night we went to have dinner... and I just had a burger with a BIG glass of milk with strawberry!! hahaha


Then we watched the drumers of the Semana Santa (Easter) festivity. They were quite scaring.. i think if i was a child i would have started crying or something!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Liérganes with Nusense

Nusense came again to Santander just for one night and we went to Liérganes to walk up to a hill. It was probably kind of the worst day she has ever had!! hahaha!! When we got there the wind was so strong that we could hardly walk. Anyway we decided to go on and walk the route to the Pozos de Noja, already mentioned in previous posts.

Only a londoner could be wearing those clothes at the same time she is climbing a mountain!!I lend her my scarf and she looked like a gangster!! haha!

When it comes to cigarettes (specially Fortuna) sometimes she gets a bit greedy!! haha, anyway it's a funny picture.

I took my mum's umbrella with me. She first used it as a ninja sword and then when it started raining she let the wind break it to use it as a flag!! Those pictures are evidences!

When we were arriving to the top we decided to go back because it was raining very heavy and the ground was too moody for Nusense's crap shoes. But on the way down we meet 3 HUGE SATAN's DOGS that almost ate us!! (in the picture above you can see the house they belong too). I think they were spanish mastiff. The first time we saw them i had to go backwards because they were huge and scaring. But there was no other way to go and Nusense had to take a plane so i managed to get a stick and we faced them. We were almost passing by the house when the 3 dogs suddenly showed up on our back!! they were barking with a low spitch and we could even feel their breath on the back of our legs and ankles!! We were brave enough not to run and kept walking normally, although we were shitting on our pants!! haha! For the next time, i have to take an ultrasound device to scare them, i think they were really dangerous. I don't know what the owner is thinking about.. grrr!!

By the time we arrived at the train station we were completely soacked and wet.

Thank god we had some extra clothes to put on. In the picture above nusense is trying to dry her shoes haha!, she had her feet very cold. We tried using a newspaper (that scene was very funny when i wrap her feet with a paper) but it didnt work very well, she could hardly walk. When we got to Valle Real, she bought two pairs of socks :D

An these are the last pictures at the airport before she went back home to London. If you take a close look at my face you may notice a blue spot on my face!! She did it when we were playing pool at Valle Real and made fun of me by taking pictures without me knowing haha!

Pujayo - Santiurde de Reinosa

Here we are again with a new hiking route in Cantabria (Spain). This time my route passed by the peak obios (there is also a route for bikers here). I'll put here a link to a Google Earth file containing more or less the path i followed pujayo-santiurde.kmz. The route is taken from a book called "Hiking from the train in Cantabria" (Senderismo desde el tren por Cantabria, by Santiago Benito). I took a RENFE train from Santander at 8:20 and i got off at the station of Pujayo at 9:33 (3,30 Euros).

From Pujayo you have to go up a long and winding road until you get to the peak obios. I took the picture above while i was going up that path. The weather was a bit crazy with big clouds and lots of fog, also some light rain...

What I didn't know is that just after that path, before getting to the top there was going to be snow there!!

Once I got to the peak I followed the crest of the range to the south. You can compare the picture above with the one that Michael took when there was no snow.


The snow kept growing as i went on, which added to the fog and the clouds made me difficult to walk and not getting lost. I couldn't use the book to guide me because everything was covered by snow and i could hardly see anything that was further than some meters. Fortunately, I had my GPS which indicated me the right direction. It was a very strange feeling walking there because there was nobody, no sounds, no houses and I was there alone in the snow with lots of fog... like in a movie!! I thought a wolf would show up and eat me hahaha!

I stopped to rest in a field were there was less snow and it was amazing that i couldnt hear any sound or noise, not even cows or sheeps!! it was one of the biggest silence ive ever heard.


I spent the last hour sleeping in the hills with all my clothes on and after that i took the train back home from the station of Santiurde de Reinosa at 17:40 (3,90 Euros).

London with Nusense's friends

I recently made a trip to London for a weekend to meet Nusense and her friends. I arrived at Stansted airport on a Saturday evening and took a National Express coach to Golders Green where i was supposed to meet Nusense. She came late of course, but I had a big sandwich and crisps to eat that made the waiting time shorter.

She had a surprise for me. She asked me to follow her without telling me that, actually, her friend Lee was waiting for us in her car! When i entered to Lee's car they put a very famous hip hop song, called "Crank that boy", which Nusense tought me to dance while we were in Paris. Then Lee drove us through the streets of London surroundings. She drove very fast and dangerous, I have to admit i was quite scared especially when Nusense used to touch the steering!! or when Lee said "no hands now!!". Thank god we arrived to that place safe.

But the night just had started, they had taken me to do ICE SKATING!!! I had only done ice skating for once in my life, in Oxford, and I swear i had completely forgotten how it worked. So while Nusense and Lee where ice skating I had to hold myself to the bars around the ice skating rink. Ok, sometimes Nusense helped me out but.. after that she pushed me!!

After the ice skating thing we went to Mysta's house, another friend of nusense. There, i met Mysta, L-Dosh, Steve and her girlfriend and we chilled out in Mysta's house until late at night. We had some food, talked, the girls danced.. it was a cool day!! Then, Nusense and I went to her house which was very nice despite she keeps saying she lives in hell!!

The day after we went to see some places in London, like a store of comics called Forbidden planet, then i had some fish and chips for the first time in my life (tasty), went to a park and ride her bike and at night we went to see a movie.

In conclusion, it was a very interesting weekend thanks to Nusense because i could get to know a lot of local people and places that otherwise i would never have seen.

Four hours drawing - Bilbao

I joined to some comic artists friends of mine for an activity which consisted of trying to draw a short comic in four hours. In the end i only did one page and sketched the other ones but it was still useful because some weeks later i reused that page to compose a new 4 pages comic that i have presented to a comic contest.

More at http://drawjam-session.blogspot.com and http://drawjam-session.blogspot.com/2008/03/las-4-horas-de-sangorrn.html

FOSDEM 2008 - Brussels

I recently attended to the annual Free and Open Source Software Development european meeting, FOSDEM, at brussels with my colleague, Miguel Tellería. It was a very interesting experience for me and I managed to have a glance about how the state of art is on the Free software movement right now (I mean, what's moving on at the moment!!).


There is VERY GOOD website for the meeting where you can see the videos of the conferences, pictures, slides, etc.. very useful if you wanted to go but you couldn't. The conferences I enjoyed the most where the ones at the Embedded Developers room. The talk about the FreeBSD project management (above) was also quite interesting.


About Brussels I walked all over the city and I think it's a nice place, a bit dull sometimes (but my opinion has no credit because I were there for a few days only). We spent the night in a Miguel's friend's house which was in a Turkish district. I tasted the Turkish youghurt and some cakes and the were very tasty! The main place in Brussels is the square at the Hotel de Ville (city hall in French).

In a restaurant near Fosdem I had a very well cooked lasagna (very typical in Brussels i think) and Beans with chile (which Miguel told me are more from Texas than from Mexico).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Paris

After Angoulême, my next trip abroad was again to France, this time to Paris. Although I went there on a work trip, I had the opportunity to stay during the weekend on holidays. I enjoyed that weekend a lot thanks to Nusense, who came from London to meet. Together we went to see the city, Notre Damme (where I asked her to "marry me" and gave her a plastic ring hahaha!), the eiffel tower, etc.. in Notre Damme Nusense started whistling at the most sacred place and all the people STARED at us!! I was so embarrased that i started walking fast directly to the exit while she kept whistling!!!

It's a shame that I didnt take my camera with me so I only have some funny pics that we took out of a video at the hotel. I liked again the French, they are very polite and nice people (I don't think people from Paris are rude as it's typically said). Also I bought a book on French grammar and a dictionary at the boulevard Saint Michelle, where there are lots of bookshops.

Oh my god, the mummy is coming!! (Ok, to be fair, this is ME with Nusense's sweater)


The hotel was in the French slums, there were two subway stations to get there, one was okay but from the other you had to take a sort of "dangerous" path hehe


Nusense and me were chilling out in the room, drawing, singing and things... For sure my memories of that day have a soundtrack in the background: the song "Poison" by Alice Cooper!!