Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Grand Day Out. Part One: Foz de Lumbier

Last Friday we had a grand day out with some Scottish friends, and while we didn't quite make it to the moon, like Wallace and Gromit, we did have a day that was packed with adventures.  There are loads of photos to share, so I'm going to divide this up into two or three parts, because I know people can only take so many of other people's travel photos before falling asleep out of sheer boredom.

We hit the Foz de Lumbier (Lumbier Gorge) first, on what was probably the coldest day we've had all winter.

I'd never been there in the middle of winter, and now I know why.

I knew it would be cold, but not this cold.  I did bundle up, but I wasn't expecting to come back as a popsicle.  Yet that's what ended up happening.  Here you can see me frozen stiff, thinking nice thoughts, about stuff like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles (filled with hot water to make tea), and warm woolen mittens, or better yet, some some nice Cuba holidays...hey, if I were on one of those I wouldn't need those mittens.  As you can see, Bob and Rob, good Scotsmen that they are, aren't wearing gloves at all.  Meanwhile, the Professor catches sight of a menacing shadow, swiftly approaching in the sky.

Rob, take the hat off already!
And, as if freezing our butts off wasn't enough, we were very nearly eaten by a kettle of griffon vultures (because, yeah, that's what a group of vultures is called when they're circling around in the air, waiting for you to get distracted so they can swoop in and devour you).  We told Rob to take off his red hat, since these birds go on sight, not smell, and they might just think that it was blood.   I mean, just as you wouldn't have a walk around the docks at night wearing a sign saying, "Get it here", you probably shouldn't give a hungry vulture the idea that you're suffering from a serious head injury either. Just common sense really.

But the cold won out, and the hat stayed on.  More and more vultures circled over our heads.

Feeling a bit like we had been dropped into the middle of a very well-known Hitchcock film, we kept our cool long enough to get in a few shots of the magnificent, albeit slightly unnerving birds, and the lovely surroundings.

I don't know guys, he's still moving.  Let's wait it out and see what happens...

The vultures are coming!  The vultures are coming!  Everybody hide in here!

Okay, it's pretty here, but....

Here's looking at you, kid.

Okay, now they're just getting a little too close...

These remind me of the vultures from Snow White.

Those three birds looked decidedly hungry, so we gave up on taking more photos, and we slowly backed away....very slowly....and then we made break for it... fast as our frozen legs would go.

If you enjoyed those photos, and would like to see more, or if you can't get to sleep, and counting sheep is just not working for you, come take a look at even more photos of our trip on Facebook.  Who knows?  Maybe counting vultures will do the trick.


  1. Wow! They were very close those birds of prey. But as a guid Scotswoman I´d expect your Scottish pals to scare them off as if they were the English themselves!

    1. Nah, we decided we were better off leaving them alone and going in search of a hot cup of coffee and a pincho de tortilla. :)

  2. Very cool! There are lots of turkey vultures around here and I often see kettles of them on my way home from work (they roost in the trees about a block away from my house). When the Santa Ana winds were blowing they were playing in the wind with the crows!

    I'm sorry you didn't get all the way to the moon but I hope you at least had some good cheese (a nice Wensleydale, perhaps?).

    1. Nope, we didn't get Wensleydale, but we did get a nice bit of Spanish omelette (the kind with potatoes in it), so it was cool. :)

  3. Wow .. I had no idea that vultures would actually attack something as large and potentially dangerous - and alive! - as a group of people!!

    Must say, your scenery looks gorgeous, if a little toxic. The water in that river looks as if it contains arsenic or something. Or is it snowmelt?

    1. I think they don't usually attack people, but there have been more cases of them attacking livestock lately. And the water, I'm not really sure why it looked that way, we didn't climb down to check. Up here the water's usually clean, though, so it might be snowmelt, or it could just be the light that makes it look like that.