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Mis fotos

This is a very special site for me. I can express this way my perception of reality through these photo image creations and share them with you as if you were at my home.

My own recipe: Chiken breasts with mushrooms
22 September 2016

       Yesterday, I ate a dish that I really like very much: "Chicken breasts with mushrooms", and I would like to share the recipe (my own recipe) with you.

      These are the Ingredients, that I heve used: Salt, olive oil, onion, garlic, chicken breasts, mushrooms, white wine, water and vóbril.

Salt, olive oil, onion, garlic, white wine, chicken breast and mushroom

Vobril and water

       What I did was put a layer of olive oil, on the bottom of a pressure cooker. When the oil was hot, I put one onion, finely chopped; when it was a little bit browned, I put the pieces of chicken breast, until they were also almost golden-coloured.

      After that, I put the mushrooms and I stired everything for several times.Then, I poured the white wine and a handful of fine salt. And I stired everything again. I was stirring several minutes over high heat.

      Then, I put a small spoon with vóbril (Beef extract) and Istired everything, for several times, again.

      I closed the pressure cooker and, when I saw the smoke going out from the pressure cooker, I put the valve and I lower the heat of the stove –to a medium heat--. And I kept it during 15 minutes.

      After that, I put the pressure cooker under the cold water and after one minute, I opened the pressure cooker. I served the result on a plate and I could see the following:

Chiken breast with mushroom

       Well, I hope that you have liked the recipe and you want to try to cook it. If you do it, please tell me it.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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A Spanish company has developed an artificial nose against cancer
08 September 2016

      A few days ago, I listened, on the radio, an interview with Elier Paz, Executive Director of Canvax Biotech (a Spanish company working on the development of an artificial nose, that can detect cancer).

An artificial nose

        This company, with headquarters in Córdoba (southern Spain), is working on a system based on odor detection method.

      Elier says that "it is known that a trained dog can smell, breath, urine or stool, cancer with a sensitivity and specificity superior to any other method of diagnosis, existing now. So this it could be a non-invasive method to detect cancer in early stages, and obviously this could have a huge impact in certain cancers, such as lung --in the last 30 years, usually, survival in five years, lung cancer is about 15 percent. However, if these patients are detected, because come to a query, and they do some tests for other ailment that can have, and are detected incipient tumor, lung survival rises to 50 percent to 5 years-- ".

      Therefore, with this project, the team of Canvax Biotech aims to replicate the sense of smell of the dog and its ability to detect some kind of odor. Ie, duplicate the nose of a dog, in a lab environment, which allows you to have a diagnostic kit, that can be validated by the authorities, because, although they are doing experimental approaches based on dogs, it is not possible to validate a dog as a detector of cancer, at a practical level. In addition, those who work with dogs know that, for the detection of people –as, recently, it happened in Italy for the earthquake, the dog works for a while, and then rests; that is, it is not possible to have it 8 or 10 hours working--.

Note:  I take this opportunity to send a hug to the families of the victims of the earthquake, in Amatrice and other villages around.

A dog searching survivors in Amatrice

      According to Elier Paz: "What is clear is that the ability to detect substances through smells, will have an explosion, in the coming years, because it should be an extremely simple method to implement, non-invasive for patients  --this is an important thing, because the vast majority of the methods, that currently exist, are of a degree of invasiveness, that a person, who is assumed is healthy, will not do it. Let's say, for you to understand a public, in general, is how to make the ITV (Technical Inspection of Vehicles) to a car, that is, when one takes a car to the ITV, will not repair the car, will ensure that the car is in perfect condition. But, non-invasive methods would be like to make ITV oneself and therefore it should be easily applicable methods, non-invasive, low cost, but also, that they have a sufficiently high detection capability, and this is measured by sensitivity and specificity".

      As for the point of the project development, in which they are now, Elier explains that "proteins, which we have in the nose and make as "aerials”,  to capture odors, were discovered in 1991, and, so far, it had not been possible to reproduce in the laboratory. We have been the first company worldwide that has managed to reproduce these proteins in the laboratory. Then, giving an example of simile from radio, and we already have a radio, which has appropriate aerials, but now we have to tune it”.

      Elier also said that “they are working with several Universities; but, basically, with the Univerisdad of Cordoba; the Maimonides Institute for Biomedical Research, in Córdoba; with Tecnalia, in San Sebastián; and also with a powerful team consisting of clinicians, chemists, biochemists ..., all involved in a goal that is to seek diagnostic methods, that are minimally invasive and are simple and specific”.

      So, the interview finished.

      I hope that you have liked this spanish project.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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The first municipality in Spain
25 August 2016

      Do you know which is the first municipality in Spain?. Well, it is Brañosera (in the province of Palencia, in the region of the Montaña Palentina, Community of Castile and León, to the south of the Sierra de Hijar).

Brañosera

The Council of Brañosera

      The Sierra de Hijar has a tablesland named  Sierra of Peña Labra.

Sierra de Hijar with tableland Peña Labra

Peña Labra

      It is considered the first council of Spain, when they  gave the first “carta puebla” (“municipal charter”), (then still part of the Kingdom of Asturias), in 824.

The Municipal Charter

      It is one of the towns of the Camino de Santiago (Road to Santiago), in the north of Spain: Route of the Besaya (Among Santander and Carrión de los Condes –to the North of the province of Palencia--).Brañosera is 118 kilometres from Santander.

Santander to Carrion de los Condes

      Brañosera is included in the called “Montaña Palentina” (Mountain of Palencia), inside the Natural Park of Carriona Springs and Copper-Mountain of Palencia Spring, and dominated by the buttresses of the Sierra de Hijar, the Valdecebollas massif. The Rubagón river, which irrigates the municipal boundary of Brañosera, born in these mounts. It is surrounded by forests of beech, oak, holly and yew.

Valdecebollas, 2,139 mts high

         Most likely, according to studies, conducted by historians from Santander, and as noted by the Charter of Brañosera, the mythical Celtiberian city of Vadinia is located in its limits; Vadinia, that was a Cantabrian bastion, in the resistance against the Roman Empire.

      There is a place, where vast forests are covering the slopes of stunning mountains, that rise majestically.

      It is the area of Leon-Asturian mountains, a place full of myths, legends, old customs that are rooted, in the oldest thing of tradition, of villages where they seem to have stopped time, with kind and wise people, willing to chat with traveler and convey all their cultural legacy of centuries, of stunning scenery, attractive, bewitching, full of an ancient magic and beauty, that inevitably catch traveler.

      Its location, halfway between the northeast of Leon, the east of Asturias and even the western Cantabria, tells us about its past, linked to a tribe of Cantabrian origin: the Vadinienses (people from Vadinia).

A hut for people from Vadinia on the Isoba Lake

      According to historian Ptolemy, this tribe would be part of one of the 8 "civitates", in the Cantabrian nation was divided, the Vadinienses would be formed by four clans: the Arcaedunos, the Aroniaecinos, the Cantianos and Corovescos. Its specific location is a mystery, placing them, according to many authors, in the area of the current village of Buron, others in Cangas de Onis and others place them in Crémenes;  the only evidence, that we have, are the multiple steles appeared, in several villages in the area, Vadiniense indisputably origin, dating to the third Century Before Christ.

      Its distribution was on both sides of the Cantabrian mountain range; to the north, they stretched across the lands of Ponga and Sella, reaching the Cantabrian Sea; to the south of the mountain range, its territory included the lands of Leon Eastern mountain to a little bit below Cistierna; on the East, the Carrión river closed the territory and, on west, the top of the Porma, near Puebla de Lillo, and the beautiful lake Isoba.

The Isoba Lake

      Their culture was eminently based on forts, and matriarchal; its main city would be Vadinia, whose exact location is unknown, there are no many remains of forts from Vadinia preserved, or they are not excavated, as an example we have of Castitejón, near Isoba.

Fort of Castitejón

      After the Cantabrian Wars, there was no record of activity, in the area, until the repopulation, in the ninth century. It is then that it was necessary to colonize the lands of the Plateau, to supply the emerging number of Christians, who lived in the mountains of northern Hispania. The borders, on the Duero (river), were set and kings, bishops, followed by settlers and serfs, moved to these lands, to establish the boundaries of a civilization, rise and expansion. These places lacked natural defenses, so it was necessary to create, on hills and mountains, castles with a mainly defensive role. The counties were dominated by a 'Come "(Count), who got this title for his victories against the Muslims. It is believed that the founder of Castile, having conquered the lands of the Arabs, was Rodrigo of Castile, and later became Fernan Gonzalez, who according to tradition, he got the independence of the County of Castile.

      That was how the foramontanos (people from the north of the Iberian Peninsula, with which, in the ninth century, repopulated El Bierzo and lands to the north of the plateau of the Duero, which were empty because of the wars between the Muslims and the Kingdom of Asturias) of Malacoria came from inside Cantabria. Following the birth of the Ebro, they penetrate in territory of "high brañas (braña is an area of the Cantabrian mountain range, where cattle can graze) and bears", that give the name to the place. These formed the council of Brañosera, covered by the Municipal Charter, granted by the Count, Munio Núñez, and his wife, Argilo.

      In 824, Alfonso II of Asturias reigned. In those days,  Munio Núñez was the Count of Brañosera lands.

      For a century, the Peninsula lived the Arab invasion. This had caused the flight of Christians, to the north, and many of them, those who did not perish along the way, they came to take refuge in asturian lands, lands which immediately began to suffer overcrowding. Famine began to vent its rage on these "exiled" and they began the flight, in search of a better life. And they arrived Brañosera, until Brannia-Ossaria, brañas and bears lands.

      Precisely, to organize the repopulation, Munio Núñez granted the Municipal Charter, to his subjects, endowing them with rights. He granted the free use of all, in the valley, with only two conditions: to give a part of that use, whom would come to populate the valley; and pay to the Count half the pay, that should be collected to the nearby villages, that had grazed their cattle in these areas. In return, the inhabitants of Braña-Osaria would be exempt from military surveillance and service in the nearby castles.

      Thus it was born the Charter of Brañosera, the first Municipal Charter, dated October 13, 824, formally it constitutes the first local admistrative organization, the germ of current councils.

      Well, I hope that you have liked this post.

      Until my next article, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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The last megagliding on a Spanish island
19 August 2016

       Today, I would like to share with you an interesting article, about an island in the southern Spain.

      The last of the 20 megagliding, that have been documented, in the geological past of the Canary Islands, which opened 80,000 years ago the valley of El Golfo, on El Hierro, has moved double rocks and materials, than which was estimated so far: 318 km3, almost 6% of the total volume of the island.

El Hierro island with the Valley of El Golfo

        The megagliding of volcanic islands happen to be one of the most impressive phenomena of nature, or, at least, that is deducted by scientists for the "scars", left in Hawaii, in Cabo Verde and in the Canary Islands, because none of them has occurred in a recent past.

      The scientific consensus believes these gigantic collapses of land occur because the volcanic islands grow so fast and so vertical, the base does not withstand the weight and its slopes can collapse suddenly, if they are destabilized by other natural phenomenon, like an earthquake, a rash or millennia of internal erosion by groundwater aquifers.

Slopes over the Valley of the Gulf

      The latest studies on the gliding of El Golfo, published in 2011, date in a period between 39,000 and 97,000 years ago, and they estimated that it caused an avalanche of 150-180 cubic kilometres of land.

Rocks on the Valley of the Gulf

      This spectacular gliding, occurred after collapsing the northern slope of the volcano of El Golfo (the volcano Tiñor), which had grown over 400,000 years, on the plain left by another megacollapse,  600,000 years ago.

Gully Tiñor

Megagliding of land

 

       The authors review thoroughly the final collapse of the youngest of the islands of the Canary Islands, using seismic data, provided by the National Geographic Institute, the bathymetry and echo sounders, carried off its coast, by the Navy and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and a detailed study of the geology of the walls of the Gulf, forming an amphitheater of 15 kilometres amplitude, and all its water wells and galleries.

      Their first conclusion is that the megagliding of the Gulf was, in fact, the succession of two collapses, separated only by "a few thousand years", that left, as a mark, on the north of the island, two overlapping natural amphitheaters: the first cast, on the Atlantic, about 243 km3 of rocks and, the second, about 84 km3.

      Only the smallest, of those collapses, suddenly moved such volume of material as it is estimated that, in the worst case, the Vesuvius expelled, in eruption that buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, in the first century or what is the same as 55 times the capacity of Mequinenza swamp, the largest reservoir of the Ebro Valley.

Panoramic views of the Valley El Golfo

       The three scientific institutions, involved in this study, have also revised underground galleries, in which several marine deposits following that collapse are appreciated, that were covered by other eruptions, in El Hierro, later. In them, they have found areas of erosion that allow them to calculate that the collapse of El Golfo happened between 23,500 and 82,500 years ago.

      The characteristics of the remains, buried by lava, lead them to think of a time with the same sea level than today, among the last two ice ages, so they consider that the most likely is that all happened about 80,000 years ago.

      As for the remains found under the sea, the proportions which those reveal, on this megagliding, they are not minor: the northern slope of the volcano of El Golfo generated an avalanche of boulders up to 1.5 kilometres long and 300 metres high .

      Finally, the article announces that possible remains of more recent undocumented landslides have been found, in that area of El Hierro, so the landslide of El Golfo would not be the last one.

      That would explain the datings, offered by the registration of undersea deposits, caused by ancient tsunamis, that exists in Madeira funds, to the north of the Spanish archipelago, suggesting that other megagliding, occurred in the Canary Islands, about 17,000 years ago.

      Well, I hope that you have considered this post as interesting as I do.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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A very rich spanish production
11 August 2016

       Today I would like to talk to you about a very important Spanish production, for our economy and for our own consumption. It is the production of various vegetables, by a spanish company, located in the East: the company ALVALLE.

      I bring you a video, in which is very well explained the process of production.If you want to watch this video, please click on the link below:

http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/agrosfera/agrosfera-mucho-gusto-alvalle/3672894/

      Below the image, you can read: Alvalle. Spain Food Award.

Voice in off: “This is the origin of all industrial process of Alvalle ...: tomatoes grown in these gardens, mostly in Murcia, all in East, at a maximum distance of 200 km from the factory; so that both tomatoes and cucumbers, peppers, onions, garlic ..., all vegetables are harvested and can begin processing, within a maximum of three hours. The company has agreed, with farmers, the right time of collection”

Rosario Sáez (Responsible shopping for fruits and vegetables): “We buy it ripe, ripe, directly from the field; thus, it comes here, with this red coloration to the plant; and so is the quality and taste of the product ... that is the secret”

Voice in off: “And together with vegetables, aromatic herbs and other basic ingredient ....”

Rosario Sáez: “The oil, that we buy, is an Extra Virgin olive oil, with designation of origin ... ,it comes from Jaén and has a very special flavour profile, for our gazpacho”

Voice in off: “In high season, every week, here comes more than half a million of fresh vegetables; the first step is to wash them .... It comes time to cook; It is an industrial process, but the essence is the same as the traditional making, so that the ingredients are ground and mixed, following the recipe chosen for each product”

Gerardo García (Planning Manager): “After a year, we are manufacturing twenty-seven thousand litres of gazpacho .... As of today, the 50 percent of our products is intended for export to countries like France, UK, Portugal and Belgium”

Voice in off: “In this factory, seventy people work, who are involved in an exclusive tastings system”

Isabel del Cerro (Quality manager): “People from different areas of the company, come and look at the product, like it should be looked by the person, who should buy it on a surface (shop). We taste the gazpacho, to see which is how we like quality, as consumers would like”

Voice in off: “The whole process is based on the Principle of circular economy: reuse to save”

Andres Mora (Responsible Safety and Environment): “In the last ten years, we have reduced specific water consumption, ie litres of water per litre of gazpacho produced, by 60 percent, and the same on energy”

Voice in off: “97 percent of the residues is reused; for example, leftovers, scraps, they also have a destination”

Andres Mora: “The residue, that you just saw, vegetable residue, for example going to feed cattle”

Voice in off: “Innovation in a company about to turn forty years”

Gerardo García: “Alvalle was founded, in 1987, by a group of local Engineers from Murcia. A famous phrase, that the founder of Alvalle said, is that "Actually, in this plant, we manufacture time, which is the time saved, at home, to make the best gazpacho"”

Voice in off: “The effort to innovate in such a traditional product, the use of local raw materials and dissemination of the values of the Mediterranean Diet have made them worthy of the prize "Food of Spain 2015 to the foodstuff  Industry"”

      Well, I hope that you have liked this video and want to taste the “Gazpacho Alvalle”. But, in case you have just tasted it, please tell me your experience.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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My own recipe of Spanish beef stew
05 August 2016

       The day before yesterday, I cooked a beef stew and I thought that maybe you would be interested to know how I did it. So, I took a picture of it, when I finished, and I thought to give you the recipe and put the picture here.

      The recipe is very simple. These are my Ingredients (for 4 persons):  ½ kilogram of beef (a calf). 2 onions.  3 cloves of garlic. 1 large potato and 3 small. 2 large carrots. A little bit of white wine. 1 tablespoon with olive oil. 2 small tablespoon with Bovril (a salted beef extract) –I like Bovril, because it gives the stew a brown colour, with a meat flavour--.

      Then, I did the following:  I peeled the potatoes and put them under water, to remove the starch; I cut the potatoes into rather small cubes. After that, I peeled the carrots and cut them into slices. I also peeled the onions and chopped not elongated but very very small cubes. Then, I peeled and chopped 3 cloves garlic. Then, I put the onion and garlic, to sautée, in a pressure cooker. After one minute, stiring the onion and the garlic, I put the meat --which I had already cut into rather small cubes--.

      When the meat was braised, I put the potatoes --and I stired everything--. I poured  the carrots --I also stired everything--. Then, I poured a handful of fine salt and a little bit of white wine. I stired everything, several times, over a high heat, in order that the alcohol was evaporated .After 5 minutes, more or less, I poured the Bovril and a glass and a half of water. Always stiring everything.

      After 2 minutes, I closed the pressure cooker and I left it with a low heat during 12 minutes.

      Then, I opened the pressure cooked and I found this one:

       Well, I hope that you have liked the recipe and hope that you want to try to cook it. If you do that, please tell me it.

      Until my next post, thank you for reading my blog and kind regards.

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyeres.

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The Botillo: a typical product from the Northwest of Spain
04 August 2016

       Talking about León again, I should like to recommend you to ask for Botillo –a very typical product, made in León, Galicia and Asturias--.

      The Botillo is a meat product, made with chopped pieces, obtained from cutting pork, seasoned and stuffed into the blind (Ciego) pig, which is then smoked and semi-cured.

The Blind (Ciego), almost to the right side and below

The Botillo

       The word “Botillo” comes from the Latin Botellus  --diminutive of "botulus", which means "Cold meat" --.

      This is a very old product, because in certain Roman culinary treaties they talk about it --although, of course, without adding paprika, since it was first discovered, in America, after adding pepper and being grown in the Bierzo--.

      The oldest medieval written references, that remain (in original documents) date from the XI-XII century, in which we talk about the obligation was to deliver a certain amount of "botellus", to the Monastery of San Pedro de Montes, by that they lived in its domains.—

      The only name, that is under the protected geographical indication and which is marketed as El Bierzo, is "botillo", but it is also popularly known, in some places, along with the name of "Pastor" --in certain areas of the Bierzo, La Cabrera and Valdeorras /Zamora), it is told the story about a well-known character (the Losada watchmaker), who was a shepherd, at La Cabrera, and one day, in his youth, after returning with sheeps, at bedtime, he heard how his masters said that, the next day, they were going to eat the shepherd and, believing that they referred to him, instead of to botillo  --since he did not know the name of "Pastor"--, then he escaped, what led him to cross multiple countries, where he subsequently made a fortune.

      The Botillo of El Bierzo is a meat product made from different pieces, obtained from cutting pork (rib, tail and little fleshless bones), chopped, seasoned with salt, paprika and garlic and other natural spices, stuffed into the blind of pig, smoked and halfcured. We can also add language palette, cheek and spine, whenever not exceed 20% . It is usually consumed cooked, wrapped in a cloth mesh or with nothing, but carefully avoiding breakage and getting water. It has a denomination of own origin.

      Seasoned with chorizo, ear and nose of pork, with a very tender cabbage, it results in a tasty and wholesome stew.

An stew with Botillo, chorizo and berza

      Also, sometimes, it being less common, they are added chickpeas as garnish.

      Botillo of El Bierzo has an organism, that regulates its quality and authenticates its origin, called Regulatory Council of the Protected Geographical Indication Botillo of the Bierzo. The  Androlla or androya is also typical of the Bierzo.

Androlla

      In the municipality of Bembibre (in the Bierzo), since 1972, it is celebrated the National Festival of Exaltation of Botillo, during the month of February. It is a great meal, where more than 1,000 botillos, among the more than 1,200 attendees diners, are consumed. A flock of celebrities of arts, letters and politics go there, from all Spain. The Fiesta, which is declared of Regional Tourist Interest and interest in Castilla y Leon, becomes magnet for people, both inside and outside the province.

The famous spanish singer, Shaila Durcal, eating on the top of this table, in Bembibre.

      There are other festivals, celebrations and awards of the botillo, in which the Botillo is the protagonist, in several villages of El Bierzo, between which are the “Festival of the botillo” in Fabero, in Folgoso de Ribera, in Torre del Bierzo, in Boeza and the tastings organised by the Gastronomic Brotherhood Real Botillo del Bierzo, even outside of Spain.

Fabero

      The last February, it was celebrated the 19th Festival del botillo, in Fabero.

 

       Well, I hope that you have liked to know about “the Botillo” and hope that you can go to El Bierzo, the next year or as soon as possible.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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In search of silence in Spain
28 July 2016

      Maybe you need a few days for rest, to forget the stress of your work. Well, if this is so, I recommend you going to the "Valley of Silence", located in the province of Leon, northwest of Spain. There, you will find a very nice village, called Peñalba de Santiago. This village is to the southeast of Ponferrada.

Peñalba de Santiago in the Valley of Silence

Peñalba de Santiago

Peñalba is below on the right side. Las Médulas: in the middle and left side.

      To reach Peñalba, you have to go through the valley of the River “Oza”, a nice road next to the river, running through the forest valley.

The river Oza

      On reaching the village, we will have to leave the car in the large parking lot gratis, at the entrance, because here the road ends. In this way, we can enjoy even more of the village, as there are no cars or engine noises.

The parking

      The village is very nice, although we note that it has been renovated, from top to bottom, as it is a tourist destination, in the mountains of the area.

Some renovated houses

      From here, you enter the Valley of Silence, to the cave of San Genadio, on a route 30 min going and another 30 return, and above all, we will enjoy some beautiful views of the valley and mountains –mountains named “Montes Aquilanos”--.

"Montes Aquilanos"

      Peñalba  attract our attention by the framework of its streets, its rustic houses and the Mozarabic church.

"The church "Santiago de Peñalba"

      Noted for its exotic Moorish touch, especially remarkable in one of its doors.

The entrance of the church

      Inside the church, there is only a small altar for offerings; but outside is very interesting the pleasant walk up to the cave.

 

Inside the church

      The village was founded in the 10th century, by St. Gennadius, being a small monastery of Moorish influence the first construction. The Monastery was built among 909 and 937.Near the village, about 30 minutes walking, you can still visit the “Cave of San Genadio”, where the saint apparently retired to meditate himself. It is said that, in his search for silence, he even called for silence to the waters of the Oza (river). It is not surprising that this valley, today, is known with the name of Valley of Silence.     

      The Cave is a simple cavity, open all year, which is accessed from the village, after a short walk.

The Cave of San Genadio

        Currently the village has only 20 inhabitants, but it has a restaurant, a bar and several rural lodgings.

      By this time, you have deduced that you go to Peñalba in search of tranquility and nature. In fact, the access to the village is quite tortuous. The last 10km of the road, which goes from Ponferrada (the only one), are very narrow and wriggle route, between mountains with vertiginous cliffs. Fortunately, this favors one can still find there that famous silence that haunted San Genadio. And the views are priceless.

      One of the important features of Peñalba is its ideal location for practising hiking. From Peñalba there are two signposted routes: the Way of Herrerias (Peñalba - El Acebo, 18km) and the “Camino del Silencio” (“Road of Silence”) (Peñalba - Las Médulas, 30km). You can also choose to make a circular route, the "path of Tebaida Berciana" of 14km.

The Way of Herrerías

The Way of Herrerias

The Road of Silence

Las Médulas

      The photos give you an idea of how is the village, with its houses with slate roofs and cobbled streets. A real delight, although the nostalgic people will miss the times when everything was waiting for being restored.

       Well, I hope that you have liked this post and hope that you can visit the area of El Bierzo and concretely this nice Village: Peñalba de Santiago.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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First sustainable flats building in Spain and Europe
22 July 2016

        Perhaps you do not know that in Spain there is already the First Flats Building, based on geothermal energy and other techniques for saving of energy. And it is also the first building with those features, in Europe.

      Yes, this building is situated in Tres Cantos (a very new and small town 22 kilometres to the north of Madrid).

A view of Tres Cantos

Tres Cantos

      It all started when, in 2003, a group of Cooperative (Cooperative "Arroyo Bodonal"), in Tres Cantos, devised a project very revolutionary, against the rules of construction at that time, but very exciting. At the front of the project they were: Francisco Martin (Chairman), Carlos Nieto (Architect), Jose Luis Yañez (Vice Chairman) and Antonio Martinez (Secretary and Director).

From left to right: Antonio Martinez, Carlos Nieto and Francisco Martín


Geothermal installation

        The promoters of this project say they had many difficulties, to secure funding to develop the project. They visited 28 banks and only 4 of them said they would study the case. And, finally, only one (the Triodos Bank) decided to finance the project.

      These members of the Cooperative "Arroyo Bodonal" stood firm on the idea of carrying out the project, in full "housing bubble", in Spain, and during the worst economic crisis, which is remembered in many years. But it was worth the effort, because now their homes will stop release between 120 and 130 metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, per year, (73% less than a conventional house).

      They say that energy savings in these homes is very high. And Antonio Martin gives the example of the heat we had in Spain last summer; he says:  "Last summer, with the tougher wave of heat, over the last 30 years, the geothermal system, exclusively, faced air-conditioning, by underfloor heating, obtaining a result with excellent comfort, because the building lacks gas or air conditioners”. In the cooperative, they calculate that the savings produced by the geothermal system (which provides heating, air conditioning and hot water, ACS) exceeds 100,000 euros per year, a savings ranging from  75, 64%, if you stick to the criteria established by the Technical Building Code, and 48%, if the criterion is the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design from the United States Green Building Council, which is the body that has just distinguished Arroyo Bodonal with its label's Top: the Platinum label.

Underfloor heating

      The cooperative Arroyo Bodonal has already made a first economic balance "The medium expense,  per household electricity in heating, climate control and domestic hot water, between May and December 2015, was 37.02 euros per month". They explain this ratio has been calculated from the actual amount of electricity billing, that has fueled the geothermal system, in these eight months: "they are excluded the savings, in electricity supply of LED lighting, inside and outside" . The savings will evolve and depending on the price of electricity. Yes, they say:  "It is important to note that, last summer,  the climate control and cooling system has faced, alone, to the heat wave stronger (40-42 ° C) over the past 30 years, maintaining an average temperature in housing, around 22-23 ° C) ".

      Arroyo Bodonal has been endowed with gardens with plants of very low water consumption (thyme, rosemary, broom, lavender, rockrose, oleander, durillo, etc.). Also, there is provided a system for the collection and reuse of rainwater for irrigation, by water tank, and a purification plant gray water from sinks, tubs and showers, for reuse in flushing toilets and cleaning of garages.

      And this is the result of the building:

       Well, I hope that you have liked this news and hope that you can visit Tres Cantos.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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A very sweet Spanish expression
29 June 2016

      Some days ago, I listened a radio program, in which a collaborator took some doughnuts, typical from Galicia, in northwestern Spain, called "Melindres", as a present for his colleagues. Then I remembered this expression, that I heard, in my home, several times, when I was a child: "Being melindre" (a person). Then, immediately, I searched the meaning of Melindre and its relationship with doughnuts from Galicia; but I did not find any result, on the relationship between the two.

      According to the Spanish dictionary, the word “Melindre” has two definitions; first: Fritter honey; and second: Delicacy affected. Therefore, I thought that maybe that small cake is named so, because it is a "delicacy", in pastry-making.

      But, the origin of this word, in Latin, was Mellitulus, which is the diminutive of “Mellitus”, which means "sweet as honey".

      And it has three definitions; first: Fruit of pan, made with honey and flour; second: Sweet of marzipan paste, covered with white sugar; and third: Delicacy affected in words, gestures and actions.

      Now, I want to show you a version of the recipe, just in case you want to try to cook it. The Ingredients, that you need, are: 200 grams of cake flour. 20 grams of butter. 20 millilitres of anisette (optional). 4 egg yolks. For glaze: 200 grams of sugar and 100 millilitres of water.

      Each village has its own recipe. And this one, which I am going to show you, is from the town of Melide.

Two views of Melide (A Coruña. North eastern Galici)

      To prepare these ingredients, you have to do the following: In a bowl, mix the melted butter, the egg yolks and the anisette. You incorporate the flour, gradually, and you get to integrating it, with the other ingredients.

      Pour out the dough, onto a work surface, and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough does not stick to the hands or the worktop.

      Let the dough to rest for one hour, and you begin to form the melindres. With small portions of dough, you have to form some thin cylinders, which you have to roll up on themselves, to form hoops.

      Put the Melindres, on a baking dish, and preheat the oven to 220 ° C, bake for 10 minutes. Move the Melindres away from the oven and let them cool on an oven rack, until completely cool, before proceeding to cover it with the glazed.

      When they are cold, you have two options, or sprinkle with powdered sugar or with regular white sugar; anyway, put sugar on a plate and cover the melindres into sugar to adhere; and  from here to a platter.

      In the village of Melide (La Coruña. Northern Galicia), they do as following, with the glazed: they put a small saucepan on fire and add the sugar and water. Then, they let the syrup cook for 5 minutes, let reduce and turn off the burner.

      Pass all the melindres on the syrup. Put all the cold melindres, in a bowl, and irrigate with the syrup. With a fork, stir the melindres, in the syrup, so that they are all well impregnated and placed, on a rack. Expect the dry syrup, before eating.

      It is important to be agile, in the time when you irrigate the melindres, with syrup, because, in a few seconds, the syrup shall be solidified and you have to get all the melindres covered.

      And the result must be like this one:

Melindres from Melide

      Each year, the second Sunday, in May, from 25 years ago, in Melide, is celebrated “the Feast of melindre and traditional pastries Terra de Melide”. In this party, it is valued the typical local pastries, in the shape of three of its flagship products, trying to honor the traditional ways of work of local pastries, the melindre, the rich and the almond.

      Next May 7 and 8 –2017, you may go to Melide, to enjoy this party. In addition, you can enjoy the acts ludic-festive. And this is a Tourist Interest Party, in Galicia.

      But, in Galicia, there are another villages, where you can enjoy their famous melindres. One of those villages is Ponteareas (Pontevedra. Southern Galicia).There, they add a little bit of grain of almond to the melindres.

A view of Ponteareas

Melindres from Ponteareas

      Another village is Silleda (Pontevedra).

A view of Silleda.

      Every Sunday of Easter, from 25 years ago, Silleda cellabrates the named “Festa da Rosquilla”, in which you can enjoy doughnuts and Melindres. These are emblematic products, since 100 years ago. The Melindres were already known in the Nineteenth Century --In 1880 and 1909, they celebrated competitions and exhibitions, with this sweet--.

      In Silleda, they add anisette or honey to the melindres.

Melindres from Silleda

      And the other village, that I recommend you to visit and enjoy the melindres, is Allariz.

A view of Allariz (Orense. South of Pontevedra)

      In Allariz you can use milled almond, or mixed with flour, instead of wheat flour, and they can be covered with chocolate.

      And these are Melindres from Allariz:

      Well, I hope that you have liked this post and hope that you can go to Galicia soon.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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