The joy and splendor of travel lost on one man

Tearing through Northern Spain.

Two weeks on the road, and I’m already falling behind in my craptacular blogging. This is mainly because I’ve been in a constant, sleep-deprived fog because no one in the entire country of Spain can read a goddamn clock. They all insist on serving dinner at 10:00pm, like a bunch of procrastinating vampires. I haven’t gone to bed before midnight since…Jesus, what day is it, even?

Newsflash: I’m from Colorado. My elk tenderloin should be served at 6:00pm. And I used to be from New York City, so I’ll be gracious and give you until 8:00pm.

But ringing the dinner bell at 10:00pm? Kiss my tired American ass and put some food on the table, pronto.

After Rocallaura, we headed west to another dot on the map called Mentera. There we found a glorified B&B up in the mountains, where the hills would’ve been alive with the sound of music had they not been deafened by the sound of Walter: International Dog of Intrigue howling at terrified sheep.

Mentera, Spain. Two hundred feet from our front door.

Mentera, Spain. Two hundred feet from our front door.

The Spanish countryside here is a natural sedative.  I was still a bit wonky after our long trip across the pond, but settling down in the mountains was the perfect antidote. The picturesque villages, the sleepy cattle grazing along the sides of the road, the wispy clouds draping the mountains. They all did wonders.

And a good rest in Mentera was exactly what I needed, because our next stop was in Panes for a week’s worth of Spanish language classes and long mountain hikes.

Classes began at 9:00am, or approximately three hours after dinner ended. They ran until 1:00pm, at which point we were allowed to go eat breakfast before we began our 4-5 hour hike through the local mountains.

I will discuss later the difficulties in learning a new language when you’re 1) old, and 2) a moron, but for now let me just say that’s it’s excruciating. What made the classes somewhat easier to take were the hikes afterwards.

Panes sits just outside the Picos de Europa mountain range. Now, I come from a serious mountain town. It take more than a simple break in the horizon to get my attention. So trust me when I say the Picos de Europa are stunning. What makes them all the more impressive is that they’re probably no more than 15 miles as the crow flies from the Atlantic Ocean.

For my Colorado friends, imagine heading out of Ouray and driving into the Atlantic Ocean right around Colona.

For my New York friends, imagine driving through the Lincoln Tunnel and exiting directly into Vail. (Sorry. You’re New Yorkers. I meant “Aspen.”)

OK. It’s almost midnight now. I have to go get ready for lunch, so I’ll just leave you with a few photos.


The down the trail from Bulnes, in the Picos de Europa.



Looking back towards the Atlantic from a Picos trail.


Rae and Walter: International Dog of Intrigue in the Picos.

Rae and Walter: International Dog of Intrigue in the Picos.




11 Responses to “Tearing through Northern Spain.”

  1. Nick

    Craig and Lee, thank you for pointing out how difficult it is to find decent human beings in either state.

    For crying out loud, you even made the people from NJ look pleasant.

  2. Beth

    Nick, not that you mentioned us, but we will admit that you do have 2 friends in NJ (The Garden State).

    • craigkaminsky

      “Gee, I really wish I had friends in New Jersey.”
      – said no one ever

      And, Pams-best-friend-Beth, I’m not sure toxic waste sites count as gardens!

  3. craigkaminsky

    Lee, I would check the evidence before buying into his statement. I’m in Colorado and can vouch that no one here considers him a friend.

    • Lee

      Craig, I, as a New Yorker, can vouch for the same here. Let’s let him continue his flight of fantasy. They can at times, though very rarely, be entertaining.

  4. Lee

    What I found most intriguing about your post is that you have friends in New York and Colorado. I never would have guessed.

  5. Jill Huesgen

    Nick, It’s so great to hear that you are all in Spain. Tom, the girls and I are in Seattle now. If you ever get in the area, look us up. We will continue to follow your blog.

  6. Nick

    Bruce, siestas are for toddlers and their great-grandparents.

    Bob, all of Europe is WAY ahead of the U.S. when it comes to mountain placement. I actually haven’t tried the Old (pah) Yeller here yet. I’ve been too busy throwing octopus tentacles down my throat.

  7. Bob

    That was very creative of the Spanish to put their mountains close to the beach. We should have done that in the USA.
    We ate early when we went to Barthelohna. They catered to our every American-dollar backed whim. “More of your salty steak and pah-yeller, seenyor.”

  8. Bruce Gulde

    Afternoon siestas are for being able to eat at 10pm. Moron that later …


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