A Trip to Spain

You may have noticed that I was absent over last weekend and if you didn’t clearly you weren’t paying attention. But yes, I flew out to Spain to visit my girlfriend who is over there doing an Erasmus year (follow her baking exploits whilst there at A Slice of Spain).

We spent a lot of the time walking down by the River Tormes overlooking the cathedral, which really is a beautiful building. Excitingly it is also the home to White Storks and Peregrine Falcons, though whilst we saw plenty of the former, we didn’t catch a glimpse of the latter this time around.

Told you it was pretty...

Suffice it to say we don’t get many exciting birds here in Leicester, and by birds I mean the winged creatures rather than some rather sexist slang for women. Pigeons are about as exciting as it gets. But Salamanca tops even the humble pigeon by having its own of many colours:

Yeah, we thought we'd gone mad too!

But multicoloured pigeons were not even that exciting. I’d never seen a White Stork (or a stork of any kind) before I went to Spain, so they’re really fascinating to me. One of the few words I now know in Spanish is cigüeña, which means “stork”. I’ve been trying to get a decent photo of one of these creatures for a while now, and managed it thanks to the balcony of the Universidad de Salamanca:

No baby in sight though. Phew!

Aside from wandering the now familiar streets of Salamanca and a flurry of taking off and putting on of coats and jumpers as the weather decided to pretend to be sunny only to go cold only to go sunny etc etc. we also took a bus trip out to Ciudad Rodrigo. I particularly wanted to go because of it’s involvement in the Peninsular War (and therefore the Bernard Cornwell Sharpe novels), but it also looked to be nice. It was Carnaval del Toro, so we thought it might be a nice day out. Turned out to be a little disappointing – the weather was lovely, but the city was dirty from the festivities that were still on going. We did wait for a bull run, but couldn’t see much from where we were, and turned out we were at the end of the course. The city itself took only an hour to walk around the outside of, shading an hour an a half. It’s really tiny. I think, in its defence, on any other sunbaked weekend it would be pretty, but it didn’t capture our imagination that day. We ended up down by the river:

It was serene...

Even that, however, was not all that great. My top part of the day was being able to spend some time watching Red Kites flying through the blue sky. We’d been seeing them since we had left Madrid on the train and they’re somewhat of a rarity in Britain. Unlike the stork which likes to build its nest near humans (Spanish churches in the region all seem to have stork nests on them), kites shy away from humans, preferring wide spaces to hunt in. In Ciudad Rodrigo, the small size of the city meant we could watch them through binoculars for a long time. They are utterly gorgeous.

It's Latin name is Milvus milvus, which just sounds weird.

Needing to return to the airport to get home, we returned to Madrid and spent a little time looking around the city. We didn’t get to see much, since we had limited time, but we passed through the Plaza Mayor and saw the Palacio Real de Madrid, so the important things really. We also had time for mucking about with statues:

Yes, I'm a complete fool.

And yes, I drag others into my foolishness.

Overall, it was a lovely weekend, with lots of exciting sightings of birds for me, and also good times spent with the love of my life. It was good to get away for a few days and sad to return to the daily grind. Until the next time, Spain!

Comments
4 Responses to “A Trip to Spain”
    • Nick says:

      Thanks, James. It’s my lesser hobby after writing really. Nice to know it’s appreciated =)

  1. Jack palmer says:

    You make one a little jealous…

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