Friday, May 2, 2008

Ermita del Moral

Just one week after the festival of comics in Barcelona, my friend Nusense came to my region, Cantabria, for a new adventure (man, I see you more than my family!!:D). Her ryanair flight from London Stansted landed at 17:50 at Santander's airport and then we went to a nearby shopping centre called Valle Real to buy our... erm.. "tools" for next day: a tent, a pair of boots for her, barbecue fire liquid and some junk food as well. After that, we went to her hotel room to try to build the tent for once, listen to some music and hang out at the streets of Santander.

Next morning, we woke up very early and took a Renfe train with destination Pujayo where our hiking route was going to start. Initially, my idea was to cross the Saja natural park until Cabezón de la Sal where we could take a FEVE train back to Santander (sleeping over one night in the middle). But in the end we run out of time and decided to spend the night at the church Ermita del Moral, where there is also an attached mountain refuge.

The sun was shinning and we had a very pleasant walk with great views of the mountains. While I was walking I noticed something strange in the landscape, can you see how the mountains are overlapped in the blue picture?

We got to see different animals, especially lots of horses. We also surprised a group of deers while we were walking. I had never seen so many deers together!

Finally, we got to the church Ermita del Moral. The refuge, attached to it, was open and had a fireplace. In front of the church there were horses grazing on a beautiful flat field. I wanted to camp out there but Nusense preferred to put the tent near some trees so we could get the wood for the bonfire from there.

When the sun faded away, Nusense started the bonfire and I was a bit scared of that. She was also scared about wolves comming from the woods, so after an argument we moved out to the refuge. And after that, the funniest bit of the day happened: I went out to get some wood for a bonfire at the refuge but outside it was very dark and foggy so I ended up getting lost. Thankfully, I had taken by chance my phone with me (I forgot my GPS in my rucksack!) and Nusense helped me out by calling me and shouting my name. After 50 minutes, running in the woods I managed to get back to the church, sweating and a bit scared.

We couldn't sleep all night because the refuge was very cold and the floor was uncomfortable (we should have bought a mattress and a sleeping bag). I lend some of my clothes and my hat to Nusense and also a special survivance blanket aimed at preserving the natural heat of the body.

Next morning, as soon as the sun had rosen, we set out for Pujayo station again. Although we didnt have too much time, we managed to make it for the train that we had to take in order to be at Nusense's room before the check out time. Próxima parada?? :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Barcelona - Cómic festival 2008

At the end of 2007, I made a post saying that i was feeling like starting new things in my life, especially drawing comics again and making some music. Since then, although I gave up the music thing, I have drawed three short comic stories, visited the famous festival of comics in Angoulême and made several meetings with other artist friends (you can keep track of our meetings at our shared blog). I presented those three comics to different contests and fortunately, one of them won an accesit in the contest "Creacomic", supported by a Spanish bank called Caja Mediterránea. You can see the pages of that comic in the following links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8

The award consisted of 500 Euros (15% for the treasury) and also (as a nice surprise) a trip to the 2008 Festival of Comics in Barcelona to attend the awards ceremony. My comic story happens in a region called chelyabinsky, in the south of the Urals mountains (Russia), just after the second world war. It shows my concern about nuclear polution through facts and accidents that have happened in the past which I got to know by surfing the internet.

I arrived to Barcelona very early on Saturday and I spent the morning in the festival looking at the different stands, expositions, manga outfits, etc. Most of the artist friends I mentioned before came to the festival as well. One of them, Alberto Muriel had also won the same award as me.

After the awards ceremony, I went to meet my friend Nusense who was coming from London by Ryanair through Girona's airport. She said she had already eaten so instead of going with my friends to a restaurant as planned, I had a sandwich at the coach station and we went down to the beach. On our way to the beach we passed by lots of "alternative" stands near the "Arco del triunfo". There were people selling their own producs, giving exotic massages with their feet, tarot, ecologists, rights fighters, etc. When we get to the beach it was a bit chilly but we decided to lie there for a while.

After that, we went to Salou by train where we had booked a very nice hotel near the Port Aventura resort. The reason for that was that I couldn't find a hotel in Barcelona, they were all fully booked. Also, even though this hotel was very good (four stars, swimming pool, buffet breakfast, ..) it was really cheap!!. Although at this time of the year Salou was dead we had a good time wandering around the town, listening to music (see the the pic in the hotel when another guest hit the door because we were doing too much noise haha) and playing pool.

The following day I had to take the way back to Barcelona's airport and I was about to miss my flight because the trains didnt work properly that day. I made it in the last minute after making three changes and running to the appropiate terminal!! The woman at the check-in desk first told me the check-in for my flight was already closed but in the end she gave me the ticket. Nusense stood one day more at Salou because the flight was cheaper the next day and she had a day off because of a Jewish holiday. She was worried about that because she was a bit sunburnt and in that Jewish holiday you are not supposed to travel abroad (nor eat any bread).