Monthly Archives: October 2013

A look at the T4 terminal in Madrid

One of the world’s largest airport terminals

Airports are very crowded and busy public spaces and I usually just rush thru them. I assumed that airports are not the place to pull out a camera and start shooting. I imagined that I would not make security too happy or at least manage to get some disapproving looks from other passengers or airport staff. A few years ago my first flight into Madrid landed at the T4 terminal and I was surprised to see a beautiful modern airport. I wanted to take photos right then and there but gave up on the idea. Earlier this year my flight into Madrid landed early in the morning while my train headed north was not leaving until late that afternoon. Faced with the long layover, I decided to hang out for a while and take a walk around the terminal.

You can read more about this award winning terminal here on Wikipedia

Luz natural por todas las esquinas

Los aeropuertos son lugares públicos abarrotados de gente corriendo para alcanzar su vuelo. Nunca se me ocurrió sacar la camara y ponerme a tomar fotos. Pensaba que seguridad o algun trabajador del aeropuerto no lo vería bien. Hace unos años cuando mi vuelo aterrizó en la T4 de Madrid, me encantó ver un aeropuerto muy moderno. Quería tomar fotos en el momento pero desistí de la idea. Esta vez me encontré con una espera larga cuando mi vuelo llegó temprano pero mi tren rumbo al norte no salía hasta mucho mas tarde. Así que decidí darme una vuelta por la T4.

Pueden leer mas acerca de este aeropuerto y la T4 aquí en Wikipedia

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Skylites provide natural illumination

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Photovoltaic panels collect the sun’s energy

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These blinds adjust for the intense sun light

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The exterior roofline of the T4

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Another look at the shades blocking the sun

Hiking in the Cazorla Natural Park

Spain´s largest nature reserve

During our visit to Cazorla, we managed to do several hikes in the Park. The Park is the largest nature preserve in Spain and the second largest in Europe. It is an enormous nature reserve and we just saw a tiny area of it. It is very difficult to capture the enormity of this place in a photo. We were expecting to see an explosion of color in the forest. Unfortunately, the warm temperatures and lack of rain delayed the onset of seasonal colors in the trees. As a matter of fact, the lack of rain this year was affecting the olive trees down in the valleys and hillsides. The olives were drying up in the trees. I would not be surprised to hear that this year’s harvest and olive oil production was low.
One of the things I learned during the hikes was that I need to minimize the weight that I carry on my back. My camera backpack weights around 9 kg or just under 20 lbs. I don’t have a lot of room for water and snacks. After several hours all this weight takes a toll on my knees and back even with the help of hiking poles. During one of the longer hikes, I undersestimated the amount of water necessary and I knew that I would not be able to finish the trail. The sun was unusually intense and the trail lacked any shade. I was lucky to find a couple of clean water fountains that tapped water right out of the mountain side. Had it not been for these two water sources, I would be in serious trouble.

El rio Borosa es el primer gran afluente del Guadalquivir

Durante la ultima visita a Cazorla, caminamos varios senderos por el Parque. El Parque es la reserva natural mas grande de España y la segunda de Europa. El area protegida es enorme y solo recorrimos un area pequeña. Es muy dificil capturar toda esta enormidad en una foto. Esperabamos ver una explosion de color en el bosque. Desafortunadamente, las temperaturas altas y la falta de lluvia retrasaron el cambio de color de los arboles. De hecho, la falta de lluvia afectaba a los olivos mas abajo en el valle y las colinas. Las aceitunas se estaban secando en los arboles. No me sorprenderia si la produccion resulta ser menor comparada con otros años.
Una de las cosas que aprendi durante las caminatas es que debo reducer el peso que cargo en mi mochila. La camara y el equipo pesan alrededor de unos 9 kg o 20 lbs. No tengo mucho espacio para llevar agau o comida. Luego de andar por un par de horas todo el peso comienza a sentirse en la espalda y las rodillas. Durante una de las caminatas mas largas, no estime adecuadamente la cantidad de agua que debia llevar. Pronto despues de salir, sabia que no seria posible terminar el sendero. Tuve la suerte de encontrar un par de fuentes de agua en la montaña. Sin ellas me hubiera encontrado en un problema mas serio.

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The trail around the Utrero Canyon

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Wild berries were very sweet

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The Borosa river is full of cascades and waterfalls

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More water drops in the Borosa river

Fire in the hills around the Cazorla Natural Park

Cazorla is located in the province of Jaén, Spain

The city of Cazorla is located in the province of Jaén, Spain. Cazorla is the base for visits to the Natural Park of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. The park is the largest protected area in Spain. It was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve. There are many rivers and canyons here. A few rivers are born here including the Guadalquivir. The park is also home to an large number of plant and animal species. They also produce some of the finest Olive Oil in the world around here. After learning all of this, I knew I had to visit. I always like to combine cities and nature when I travel.
After a visit to the tourist office for a general orientation and map, I decided to start with a short easy hike not far from where I was staying near Plaza Santa Maria. As I was walking across the Plaza I saw everybody looking up at the hills above town. It turned out to be a brush fire that was spreading quickly with the stiff breeze. Forest fires have become a problem with changing weather patterns recently and are a serious threat to the park. I had my camera in the backpack and started to take photos. It is hard to believe that only a few meters above all this water, a fire could start. My hike got delayed with all the excitement. Once I got under way, I could not go far as the sun went down quickly behind some mountains. I will try to do the route again in a couple of days.

El area protegida mas grande de España

La ciudad de Cazorla se encuentra en la provincia de Jaén en España. Cazorla es la base para visitas al Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas. El parque es el area protegida mas grande de España y fue declarado reserve de la biosfera por UNESCO. Muchos ríos nacen aquí incluyendo el Guadalquivir. El parque contiene muchas especies de flora y fauna. Por esta zona producen uno de los mejores aceites de Oliva en el mundo. Luego de conocer todos estos datos, yo sabia que tenia que visitar el parque. Siempre me gusta combinar visitas a ciudades con caminatas por la naturaleza.
Luego de orientarme y conseguir un mapa en la oficina de turismo, decidí comenzar con un sendero corto que salía desde el mismo pueblo cerca de la Plaza Santa María. Al caminar por la Plaza, me fijé que todo el mundo miraba hacia el monte. Resultó ser un fuego forestal no muy grande pero que parecía crecer rapidamente con un viento fuerte. Los incendios forestales se han vuelto un problema para el parque con el cambio climático. Esta vez cargaba con mi camara en la mochila y comencé a tomar fotos. Es dificil creer que a solo unos metros mas abajo de este incendio corre un río. Mi caminata se demoró un poco con todo el show. El sol se ocultaba rápidamente detrás de un monte y no pude terminar el sendero. Intentaré terminar el sendero en unos días.

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Fire retardant sprayed by plane

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The first helicopter on the scene with water bucket

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A second helicopter also sprayed water

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A small waterfall on the Cerezuelo river close to town

Symbols of El Camino in Santo Domingo de la Calzada

An important town in the middle of one of Spain’s best wine regions

The town’s founder built a bridge, hospital, and hotel here for pilgrims on the Way of St. James. The town’s cathedral is dedicated to him. Tired pilgrims will find a small town that welcomes them with plenty of services. The Cathedral is big and worth visiting. Visitors to the cathedral will be surprised to find a live rooster and hen being kept in a window in the back of the church. This is to remind us of a popular legend where the birds came back to life after being roasted.
Ever since I traveled to Santiago de Compostela a few years ago, I make it a habit to photograph symbols of El Camino. I found many different markers and symbols of the shell commonly used to indicate the Way. The town is small but interesting and it is a good base for exploring the surrounding wine region.
You can locate the town here on this Google Map.

Santo Domingo de la Calzada, donde cantó la gallina después de asada

Santo Domingo de la Calzada es un pueblo en la Comunidad Autónoma de La Rioja en España. El fundador del pueblo creó un puente, un hospital y albergue de peregrinos para facilitar el peregrinaje del Camino de Santiago a su paso por la región. Los peregrinos son muy bien recibidos y encontraran albergue y otros servicios. La Catedral es bastante grande y vale la pena visitarla. Se sorprenderan al encontrar un gallo y una gallina vivos en la iglesia. Esto es para recordarles del famoso milagro de la gallina, que cantó después de asada.
Desde mi primera visita a Santiago de Compostela, ando tomando fotos de los símbolos del Camino. Encontré muchas conchas que representan El Camino. El pueblo no es muy grande pero es una buena base para explorar La Rioja y sus vinos.
Pueden localizar el pueblo aqui en este Google Map.

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Pilgrims arriving in town will soon find food and a hostel.

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Shell symbols are everywhere. This one is a large sculpture at the town entrance.

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Shells will keep you on the right track.

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Shell on a window at one of the pilgrim hostels.