Saturday, September 3, 2011


I am on the road for a bit to the French Pyrenees. I haven't had a proper vacation for a bit, and Hilary's folks were doing this trip. Hilary and the B aren't on this one: Hilary has to work, and the B isn't quite ready for a trans-Atlantic voyage just yet. Charming though she is, I think us grownups will have a bit more fun on our own. 

It is, primarily, a trip for hiking. There is some serious topology here, and Mark especially wants to partake before he gets too old and craggy. But, as they say, getting there is half the fun. 

After leaving work early on Thursday, I traveled down to Logan. After some confusion about which terminal I was supposed to be at (international flights from Delta don't originate at the international terminal, who knew?), I and 300 others packed ourselves into a 757 for the ocean hop. I had a nice aerial view of Cape Cod before we crossed the terminator and entered early night near Nova Scotia. Try though I might, I have no luck sleeping on airplanes. I dozed and managed perhaps an hour before touchdown in Paris.

After more confusion about which terminal I was supposed to be at, I took a hop from Paris to Barcelona.  I managed perhaps another hour on that flight.  By this point it was nearing 6:00 am Friday EST, but was a bright sunshiny day in Spain.  I met up with Mark, Holly, and Paul. Susan and I were on the same flight. 

We packed our bags and the 5 of us into what is, for Europe, and enormous vehicle, but us Americans call a station wagon, and headed inland. The road from Zaragosa to Jaca took is up through the foothills, past much road construction, and over a pass from which we could see the mountains. What an inviting profile on the horizon: jagged, bulbous, high, and bare, there will be great walking to be done there!

Our destination for the night was Jaca, a town of ~15k. About a thousand years ago it was established as the capital of the small kingdom of Jacetania (no, seriously). They have aspirations of hosting the winter Olympics someday. Porque no?  This place is abuzz in the winter with skiers; right now it is just pleasant under clear skies and warm breeze. 

We wandered and found dinner at an excellent tapas place. Three bottles of wine later it was getting to be late, but out bodies were so out of it that us guys pressed on for a coffee afterwards. When we finally got to sleep, it was near midnight local time - Friday dinner on the East Coast, and I had managed about three broken hours of sleep since Thursday morning.  Small price to pay!

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