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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Spring flowers

Yesterday was 21st May, and I won't be back in Jaca until the beginning of June, so we took the chance to drive up to Formigal and Le Portalet in the Tena Valley. It's where in previous years we've seen daffodils in May. This time, we did see a few, but what we did find were gentians and orchids. It was the most spectacular bank of wildflowers I've ever seen!
little gentians

big gentians These are apparently Elder-flowered orchids, which come in both colours

Also, hanging from a rock we saw these:
I think they are alpine primulas of some kind

There is still a fair amount of snow on the mountains.

The melt water is rushing down the streams

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Historical recreation

This weekend has been pretty exciting in Jaca. There have been people from all over taking part in a recreation of the Tercios, 17th century Spanish troops. The Ciudadela is an ideal frame for the costumes and demonstrations of arms.

The judas tree in Biescas

We went to Biescas on Saturday to visit the Spring Fair. There were stalls set up in the sports hall selling plants and honey. It was pretty, but the prettiest thing was the judas tree in the town square.

Monday, 2 May 2016

May holiday

May Day this year fell on Sunday, so the holiday was passed on to Monday to make a nice long weekend. Unfortunately the weather wasn't very nice most of the time and there was a cold wind which made it unpleasant to be out, so we didn't have a good outing until Monday when the wind had died down. In Somport there was bright sunshine and nice crunchy snow in the shady areas.

Although most of the ground is clear of snow everything still has a rather squashed look and the vegetation hasn't woken up for its short growing season yet in Somport. Last weekend in San Juan de la Peña was different; it's a bit lower down and spring was busting out all over.
Beech shoots


Pale Alpine narcissus

Friday, 15 April 2016

Garden City

The date on this photo is 21st February. I normally park my car in Zaragoza in an area called Ciudad Jardin, which is an old part of the outskirts (well, it used to be outskirts). There are rows of terraced houses and some trees. It can be risky parking there at times; once I found the car so covered in bird "droppings" that it took two visits to the carwash to get rid of the mess the pigeons  perching on the tree under which I had parked had left!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Spring Flowers

Spring is here! Trees are blossoming; in fact some have already finished and have leaves on them. As usual, Zaragoza, which is lower down is ahead of Jaca. Here are some photos of the flowers.

You can see white and pink flowers; I think it's grafted

Cherry tree budding

My fritillary

A Judas tree in Zaragoza

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Medieval wedding in Teruel

School holidays in Huesca (not in Zaragoza, where I work) means we could go on an outing on Friday. We drove to Teruel, which is now an easy drive on a lovely motorway. We were very lucky with the weather. There's nothing terribly spectacular on the way except for the many windmills generating aeolic energy and Teruel airport-built a few years back; they've been rather clever with this. It's a kind of aeroplane hospital and graveyard. I think they take sick and dying planes there and heal them or dispose of them. We saw about 30 planes there so it's obviously got customers. Here's a link for some information about it:
Then on to Teruel capital. It's a city which started making a noise about 20 years ago with a campaign called "Teruel Exists". The first time we went there, it all looked rather sad and closed. What a difference now in this lively, crowded place alive with the now-famous festival.

There's a story here rather like Romeo and Juliet, about the young lovers Diego and Isabel, who lived in the 13th century, died tragically and are "buried" in Teruel-in inverted commas because their mummified bodies are visible through the bars of their coffins in the mausoleum.
Well, 20 years ago in Teruel they started a festival called Isabel Segura's wedding. A few dozen people dressed up medieval style and did a reenactment. Over the years it's grown massively, and it was great fun on Friday there. Medieval stalls everywhere. People in costume. We saw the dramatization of the wedding ceremony, where Isabel reluctantly marries another man, having given up hope of Diego's return. 

My goodness what a lot of food there was there! As we left, the wedding party was having their dinner medieval style, all very picturesque.

As part of the show, there was a party of "monks and nuns" who ran a brewery "Cervesia Ambar"

reportedly from the monastery of San Arnoldo. Ambar is the brewery from Zaragoza and they did a brilliant commercial spot as part of the reenactment.