Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Weekend in Cantabria - Part 3. Lunch with Erik, Marga and Nora

When we decided to take a trip to Cantabria, I realized we would be near Colindres, where my blogger friend Erik lives, so I decided to send him an e-mail to see if he and his wife, Marga, would be free on Sunday.  He said yes, and that maybe we could have lunch or coffee together,  and so we arranged to meet for the second time.  We had met once before, when they came to Pamplona during San Fermin, but that was before they had Nora.  And after having followed her life by way of Erik's blog, I was really quite curious to meet her.

Erik sent me some very detailed instructions on how to get to his house, along with a map, and an invitation to come over for lunch.  I felt a little guilty for giving them all the work of cooking for five extra people, but how could we possibly resist such a warm invitation.

We had planned to arrive by 12, but we took a bit longer than we'd thought, mostly because we took the route along the coast, and the road isn't as good as the highway.  And we were also distracted by this beach, which was just one of the beautiful places we passed, so we stopped to have a look at it.  It was raining, but that didn't stop these guys from playing a little soccer.

Luckily, Erik's instructions were infinitely better than the ones we'd gotten from Google to get to the hotel, and we had no trouble at all finding his house.  But we really must not be very observant, because he told us we would need to pass over a bridge with red cables, which we must have passed over the day before, on our way to Santander, but neither The Professor nor I remembered having seen it.  And, trust me, it's not a bridge that  you can easily miss.  But, we did find the bridge and Erik's house, and we met for the second time.

Now, it's funny, but the first time we met Erik and Marga, Marga was just barely pregnant with Nora, and this time around she was again pregnant, with what will be their second child.  So, we joked around about how we really have to stop meeting like this.

And then we met Nora.  She suddenly found that her home had been invaded by five perfect strangers, who wouldn't stop looking at her and saying how adorable she is.  Because, folks, she is seriously adorable.  She's a real doll.  And she did what any near two-year-old would do; she tried to hide behind her parents and at the same time keep a wary eye on the rest of  us.

Erik suggested that we have a walk before lunch, which was probably a relief for Nora, since that way all the attention wouldn't be on her.  She promptly fell asleep in her stroller, probably as a result of all the stress of meeting so many new people at once, but not before letting The Professor hold her hand.

Colindres turned out to be a lovely town that lies on the banks of the Asón River, and seems like a perfect place to live.  It has all the advantages of being near the beach without actually being on the coast itself, so it doesn't fill up with as many tourists as nearby Laredo does.  And, according to Erik, it's the perfect size, so everyone more or less knows you, but they're not all up in your business.  Although it doesn't have a beach, it does have a fishing port, which we saw on our walk.  I especially liked the small lighthouse:

The famous red cabled bridge as seen from the port.
View from the port.
We saw several of these boat skeletons.

The lighthouse gang.  Nora isn't in the photo because she was asleep in her stroller.
I didn't take many photos while on our walk, because we were too busy talking, and I kept forgetting about the camera.  The truth is that there was never a lull in the conversation, unlike what often happens with people that you don't know too well.  And it was fun being able to flip back and forth between English and Spanish, which is something that we usually can't do with our friends.  When English or American friends come to visit, we have to stick to English, and when we're with our Spanish friends, it's all Spanish.  So, this was a real treat, although the kids were not too keen to speak in English.  They'll usually only do so with people that they know don't speak any Spanish.  That's why it was delightful to see how Nora switched from one to the other without giving a it a thought...ours once did that too, until they became self conscious about it.

After seeing the port, we walked into the center of town and stopped at a couple of bars for a drink before lunch.  One was called El Limite (The Limit) and I can't remember the name of the other one (again, so much for observation).  But I do remember it having some interesting drawings of The Lord of the Rings (at least I think it was Lord of the Rings) along one of it's walls. And I'm absolutely certain that the wine I had was very good, so I guess my observational skills only apply to the important obviously qualifies as important.

After finishing our drinks, it was time for lunch.  Nora ate first, and then rest of us sat down to eat.  We had lunch at the same table where Erik took this terrific photo of 5 Eriks drinking wine really should check it out, it's very well done.  Anyway, back to lunch.  Erik had prepared a sort of shepherd's pie for us, and I can say it was truly delicious.  So much so, that I plan on adding it to our cooking repertoire, which can always do with a new dish.  Especially one as good as this was.  And for desert we had strawberries with whipped cream, which just happens to be one of my all-time favorite desserts.  Afterward, we had coffee and enjoyed a bit more conversation, and all too soon it was time to go home.  But before we left we had a short photo session to commemorate our second, but hopefully not our last, meeting.  Here we all are.  Don't we make a handsome group?

We said our goodbyes, and Nora waved and blew kisses at us, probably thankful that all these strange people were finally leaving.  But, at the last moment, she gave me a good bye kiss on the cheek.  That's quite something, considering that I'm a near stranger to her, so I feel very lucky indeed.

In parting, I just want to say thank you to Erik and Marga for such a delightful day.  It really is a pity that we live so far apart, because we really enjoy your company.   But I do hope that in spite of the distance, we'll meet again.  And in the meantime, see you on the internet.


  1. Looks like a nice trip. We're thinking of heading over to see the Rasmussen clan at some point so it was good to see them from a visitor's point of view, as it were. And thanks for the hotel tip.

  2. Qué guapa estás ;)

    Oye, y ese Simón? es su verdadera cara? jejeje

  3. Nora was sooooooo cute!!! She held my hand and she played ball with me! :) XD
    Why don't they visit us sometime? Porfiplis!!!

  4. I will have to add "Porfiplis" to my Spanglish vocabulary.

    We'll do our best to visit you some weekend this year, Catgirl. Perhaps in July, since we already know Nora looks good in red and white.

  5. Simon: They are wonderful people, and I'm sure you'll have a great time if you pay them a visit. And if make it down to Pamplona, I'd be happy to show you around.

    giozi: Gracias! Y tendrás que preguntarselo a él. ;)

    Catgirl: She is a cutie, isn't she? I hope they visit us too.

    Erik: Yeah, these kids are great at making up new vocab. :D And it would be great if you come to see us...we'd love to see you again. And Nora sure does look good in red and white.

  6. Nice to see photos of you and your families. Funny howrarely weappear in our own blogs.