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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

Jonquils

Pale Alpine narcissus

Friday, 15 April 2016

Garden City

Mimosa
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: http://www.airportspotting.com/spotting-at-teruel-airport/
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.


Monday, 16 November 2015

Music Festival

For music-lovers last weekend in Jaca was rather exciting. We had Pyrenaeum, the first Contemporary Music Festival, with master-classes given by the internationally renowned composer and conductor Javier Busto.
Singers and conductors from various choirs (at least three nationalities) practised three songs under the meticulous directions of the genial composer in three sessions beginning at ten in the morning in the little church presided by the Benidictine nuns.
It was both a challenge and a pleasure to work with dedicated and focussed people in such and intensive way. 


Very expressive and communicative


The whole group
In the evening we sang our three rehearsed songs in the cathedral, after which we were presented with attendance diplomas. The icing on the cake was the performance of Aqua Lauda, conducted by Javier Busto. They were so goood that some experienced choir singers felt like giving up!

Aqua Lauda, conducted by Javier Busto, singing Ave Maria, the conductor's own work and God be in my Head by David Basden.

I've just checked "genial" in the dictionary- friendly and cheerful, nothing to do with "genius", but you can use both genial and genius for Javier Busto.

  

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Not quite autumn

Update: Two weeks later. The autumn colours are now truly spectacular.
























This is the last of the photos from 10th October.

Actually it is autumn but the trees haven't changed colour yet. We went for a walk in the ski resort of Candanchu yesterday, just as far as the beechwood. There were a few yellow or red patches, but not many.

horses



beech trees