Current Events / Corriente

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

THE NAME IS Saltstraumen. It’s a small strait southeast of Bodø in Norway. It’s made up of two words, “Salten,” which is the name of the district, and “straumen,” which I’m told means “the stream” or “the water flow.” But if I type “straumen” in Google Translate, I get another word, which I like even better: “Maelstrom.” That’s probably useless information. But it’s where my brain went when I began to write about the strait, which has one of the strongest tidal currents in the world.

The narrow channel connects an outer fjord to a much larger fjord between the islands of Straumøya and Knaplundsøya. It’s been like that for 2 to 3 thousand years. The remains of a 10,000-year-old hunter settlement were found there, one of the oldest archaeological discoveries in Norway. (I hope you’re taking notes. This will be on the exam.)

So, what did we do? We walked. With cousins Inger, Andreas and Anette, and nearly 3-year-old Ellinor, across the bridge (and back) and then had lunch at the restaurant/visitors center.

We didn’t actually walk all the way across the bridge. That would have taken too long and we were hungry. I went the furthest (a total distance of 768 metres/2,520 ft) but everyone was waiting. San Geraldo doesn’t like bridges. He tried twice to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. One time he thought he might even make it off dry land to where the bridge was actually suspended above the water. It didn’t work out. He tried again at Salstraumen. What a trooper.

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EL NOMBRE ES Saltstraumen. Es un pequeño estrecho al sureste de Bodø en Noruega. Se compone de dos palabras, “Salten”, que es el nombre del distrito, y “traumen”, que me dicen significa “la corriente” o “el flujo de agua”. Pero si escribo ” en Google Translate, obtengo otra palabra inglés, que me gusta aún más, “Maelstrom”. En español, obtengo “remolino.” Esa es probablemente información inútil. Pero es a donde se fue mi cerebro cuando comencé a escribir sobre el estrecho, que tiene una de las corrientes de marea más fuertes del mundo.

El canal estrecho conecta un fiordo exterior con un fiordo mucho más grande entre las islas de Straumøya y Knaplundsøya. Ha sido así durante 2 a 3 mil años. Allí se encontraron los restos de un asentamiento de cazadores de 10.000 años de antigüedad, uno de los descubrimientos arqueológicos más antiguos de Noruega. (Espero que estés tomando notas. Esto estará en el examen).

¿Entonces, qué hicimos? Caminamos. Con los primos Inger, Andreas y Anette, y Ellinor (de casi 3 años), cruzando el puente (y de regreso) y luego almorzamos en el restaurante/centro de visitantes.

En realidad no cruzamos todo el puente. Eso hubiera tomado demasiado tiempo y teníamos hambre. Llegué más lejos (una distancia total de 768 metros / 2.520 pies) pero todos estaban esperando. A San Geraldo no le gustan los puentes. Intentó dos veces cruzar el puente Golden Gate en San Francisco. Una vez pensó que incluso podría llegar a tierra firme donde el puente estaba suspendido sobre el agua. Eso no sucedió. Lo intentó de nuevo en Salstraumen. Que soldado.

Just before San Geraldo turned back. Seeing parked cars below was just too much.
Justo antes de que San Geraldo se volviera. Ver autos estacionados debajo era demasiado.
Awaiting my return.
En espera de mi regreso.
After a while, Ellinor found it all a bit boring.
Después de un tiempo, a Ellinor le pareció un poco aburrido.
Looking out the window while we had lunch (a different bridge).
Mirando por la ventana mientras almorzábamos (un puente diferente).

Grandpa’s Bridge Too Far

I think I might have mentioned that when we were in Toledo last month we walked many of the same paths as San Geraldo’s famous ancestors.

Had the weather been nicer (remember the rain every day except the last?), I would have done an ancestry tour. Fortunately, as we taxied back to the train station, we passed one of the bridges I hadn’t gotten a chance to see.

Known in Spanish as Puente de Alcántara, Alcántara Bridge spans the Targus River that rings the old city. It was built by the Romans between 104 and 106 AD by order of Emperor Trajan.

In 1085, San Geraldo’s 27-greats grandfather, Alfonso VI, crossed the bridge after taking Toledo, the first major city in the Christian Reconquista.

I’m glad San Geraldo is more enlightened — if no less regal — than many of his ancestors.

(Click the images. You know why.)

WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE IN 1899.
(CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO INFORMATION.)
117 YEARS LATER, ON A SIMILAR APPROACH TO THE PREVIOUS PHOTO.
THAT’S ALFONSO VI’S GRANDSON’S ARM HANGING OUT THE TAXI WINDOW.
CARS BEHIND US. NO CHANCE TO STOP.
CASTILLO SAN SERVANDO, TOP RIGHT. ORIGINALLY A MONASTERY BUILT
AROUND THE 7TH CENTURY. NOW A YOUTH HOSTEL. 
THE GATE (AT LEFT IN TOP PHOTO).
LEAVING THE CITY BY WAY OF A SLIGHTLY MORE MODERN BRIDGE.
NEXT TIME, I’LL GET SAN GERALDO TO REENACT GRANDPA’S ENTRY INTO THE CITY.
(JUST THE HORSEBACK RIDE… OK, AND THE CLOTHES. DEFINITELY THE CLOTHES.)

Cádiz: Feeding Time

During our Sunday in Cádiz, we stopped for ‘treats’ once or twice (three times if you count the ice cream).

Having met Elena and her mother at 9 a.m., I hadn’t had time for my two cups of cafe con leche. So, by noon, I was in need of coffee and my mid-day snack.

Our first stop was at the Parador (these are high-end state-run hotels throughout Spain). The olives that arrived with out drinks were out of this world. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the group who ordered beer, I had coffee. Olives and coffee? Not so good together. Then came a pork dish that was out of this world. We also had an excellent potato salad before moving on.

(Click the images to enlarge.)

EXCEPTIONAL OLIVES!
(EXCEPT WITH CAFE CON LECHE.)
CHICHARRONES DE CHICLANA? (EXCEPT I THINK I’VE GOT THIS WRONG!)
(ELENA WILL CORRECT ME AND I’LL FIX THIS.)
PICOS (IT MEANS “BEAKS”). AS COMMON AS BAR PRETZELS.
LIKE LITTLE BREADSTICKS (ONLY BETTER).

After walking some more, we stopped for lunch at the beach.

GOLI, FINDING SOME SHADE. 
PLAYING PARCHÍS ON THE BEACH BELOW. (PARCHEESI IN THE USA.)
TABLE GAMES ARE A COMMON SIGHT ON CÁDIZ BEACHES. 
SOME SUGGESTIONS… WE HAD THAT SPECIFIC SQUID. (SEE NEXT PHOTO.)
TORTILLITAS DE CAMARONES.
DELICIOUS PIMIENTOS.
THE VERY TALENTED CARMEN WITH A PEPPER.
SARDINES! WITH TAILS, HEADS, AND EYES.
I DIDN’T TOUCH THEM (BUT, THANKS JUST THE SAME).
First Carmen and then Elena demonstrate the proper (or improper) way to eat a pepper.

Cádiz: Cross Over The Bridge

Sunday, I drove to Cádiz (two hours away) with the Goddess Elena and Mother-of-the-Goddess-Elena to spend the day visiting with good friends of theirs, wandering the city, eating, walking, eating, walking, eating. You’ll get to see it all. So much to share!

Meanwhile, here’s a view of the bridge we didn’t cross because it’s not yet finished. The bridge is called La Pepa (also known as “the Second Bridge”). It crosses the Bay of Cádiz from the town of Puerto Real. The “First Bridge” of Cádiz, also known as Carranza Bridge, was built in 1969.

I look forward to crossing Puente La Pepa.

But, as San Geraldo once said, “I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.”*

(Click any image to bridge the gap.)

PUENTE LA PEPA.
IT WILL BE THE LONGEST BRIDGE IN SPAIN.
THE PYLONS OF CÁDIZ (ELECTRICAL POWER).
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Brother, cross over the bridge…

*For my non-native-English speaking readers (like San Geraldo?), the expressions are:
1.  I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
2.  Don’t burn your bridges.