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photo essay: río huéznar

España, Spain, Andalucía, Sevilla, Río Huéznar, Huésna, Sierra Moreno

The Huéznar River —sometimes written “Huésna,” as it can also be pronounced— begins near San Nicolás del Puerto & meanders to a reservoir before emptying into the Guadalquivir. Known for a long series of cascades, the riverbed creates a real oasis in an otherwise semi-dry area. We’ve only begun to explore trails here & will add more content as our walks progress.

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spain: guidebook research 2022

Rick Steves, Spain, Andalucía, guidebook research

After a two year break, I’m on the road again! The book department —as Rick Steves himself put it— has a herculean task ahead of themselves this year: update each & every guidebook the company publishes. We all have our work cut out for us. In fact, this is just the first part of my schedule. I’ll be updating the entire Portugal book in June & July. But let’s not jump the gun…

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my philby family history

Philby family tree, Iowa

While rewatching the entire run of Downton Abbey, Rafa brought up an interesting topic: did I ever visit the town my English ancestors came from? The closest I got was Manchester, but Oldham will wait for some time in the future. In the meantime, I couldn’t help digging out copies of genealogy research passed down to me by family members & scouring the internet for more details.

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el pedroso: arroyo de las cañas trail

  • spain
España, Spain, Andalucía, El Pedroso, Arroyo de las Cañas, trail, sendero

Rafa & I continue to explore the large number of walking trails in our area, & this is the most well-known. Its first two sections are beautiful with several opportunities to spot horses, sheep, cattle & even pigs! Although lengthy, the route is generally flat with well-maintained backroads & paths. Take a picnic lunch, & spend a fun afternoon walking through this biosphere / natural park.

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year in review: 2021

year in review, 2021
● Where was I? Spain & briefly the USA

Here we go again! As always, I write this for personal reasons but you’re welcome to revisit the past year with me. Due to the ongoing pandemic, much stayed the same as 2020 with the exception of some big personal changes. I think we’ve made the most of another odd year, but only time will tell…

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el pedroso: newest trail

  • spain
Spain, España, Andalucía, El Pedroso, hiking, trail

Even easier than the Mirador de Alonso, this walking route is so new that it doesn’t have an official name yet! Still under construction on the day after Thanksgiving, we were surprised at all the animals we saw along the way: falcons, storks, sheep, friendly dogs & curious cattle… an easy way to connect with nature if you happen to be in the area.

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found: estúdio novaes

Estúdio Novaes collection, Art Library, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Ahhhh, the new & modern Lisbon of the mid-20th century… a period tainted by the Salazar dictatorship, but construction during this era gave the capital city much of its iconic look. Fortunately two brothers made a business out of documenting this epic growth spurt that visitors flock to today.

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recipe: migas

recipe, Spain, migas

And you thought gazpacho was the only way Spaniards found another use for day-old bread! Much of Spanish cooking is waste not-want not using simple, high quality ingredients. In fact, migas (literally “breadcrumbs”) uses only five common kitchen staples to make a classic dish. This particular recipe comes from a family of saffron harvesters in Castilla-La Mancha, so they add a pinch of their local spice. For this traditional shepherd’s dish, saffron wouldn’t normally be on hand but its addition makes this version even more tasty.

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road trip: more midwest

Don’t be confused. I’ve not written about the Midwest before… but our previous adventures will appear soon! For now, just know this was my fifth trip to the US with Rafa & his third time in Iowa. Our first international travel since COVID, we had to use flight vouchers that would expire soon to see my 84-year old aunt. Mission accomplished. But we drove a bit north for some sightseeing instead of going straight across Illinois. As always, Rafa & I discovered some fascinating sights along the way…

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