Spain and Portugal

A week ago today, we returned from our wonderful trip to Spain and Portugal. The hike and wildlife survey of the Picos de Europa was the highlight of our trip followed by three nights in Madrid, a couple in Seville and a couple in Lisbon.

In my Flickr Sets, you will find a set entitled Spain and Portugal 2013. You will notice some might be entitled TBD or only have only a filename. I didn’t take good notes in the field. The voice memo feature is only available on my 1D Mk IV (more later) and I forgot to turn the tracking on. My Garmin GPS 62s is a wonderful, dependable and durable machine though it doesn’t lay a track down unless you tell it to. Fortunately, Dan Logen had his GPS working on one of his bodies so I now have an idea where and when we were.

This post unfortunately still stands incomplete. I am happy to note however, that Teresa Farino and Jeff Clarke have published the Review of this trip. I will provide the link as soon as it is published. It is quite well done I might add.

I have nothing but the best to say about these two. They provided a great balance of expert biology and humor for the sometimes bleak and unseasonably cold weather we endured. Thanks to them for a wonderful adventure!

If you current images, check out my Flickr photostream. This seems to be the place where the travel magazines find my images so I get them posted there as soon as possible.

Back to equipment. Let me talk about my kit (new term for me learned from Jeff Clark, one of our excellent guides):

I bought a new bag for the trip as I wanted something that:

  • Didn’t look like a camera bag
  • Was small enough to go on board the plane but large enough to have all the valuable components of gear
  • Could also serve as the backpack for our 2-4k hikes in the Picos.

After buying a Lowepro RoverPro 45L and deciding that it was a fine bag with many features though borderline on size for carry-on,  I ended up with the ClikElite Klettern. Kenmore Camera was a jewel about giving me a full two weeks to check out a bag. They have a great selection there and I understand they are soon to have a much larger store in the adjacent mall.

My only complaint about the Klettern bag was the mechanism for closing the top flap. This part is actually the cool part of the bag as the flap is a camera compartment into which I would fit my Canon 1D MkIV pro body.

ClikElite Klettern
Clik Elite Klettern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a photo of me in the field trying to shoot an orchid.

Shooting orchids the Picos de Europo - photo Judy Bishop
Shooting orchids the Picos de Europo – photo Judy Bishop

Notice the flap hitting me in the back of my head.

I have since modified the mechanism slightly using a field repair buckle from SeaToSummit. I also called ClikElite on the phone and they were most willing to understand my issue and work with me to make the bag exactly the way I want it. That was cool and appreciated. We eventually decided that replacing the buckle mechanism which had gotten sprung when loaded for air travel, would be a good thing to try. This is in the mail as I type this. I will also ask them for some more of the 3/4 webbing. It is hard to find such with this thickness and a nice grey color locally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of my kit included:

  • Leica M9
  • Leica 50mm f2 Summicron
  • Leica 28mm f2.8 Summarit
  • Canon 580 flash and remote cable
  • Canon 100mm f2.8L
  • Canon 70-200mm f2.8L
  • Gitzo GT1542T Traveler tripod

 The Picos de Europa

We left Mount Vernon on Friday the 10th of May, 2013. Susie was intrigued by an optional leg of the tour which meant a ferry from Plymouth, England aaaallll the way over to Santander, Spain. I did want to deal with sea sickness so we parted ways in Amsterdam. I flew to Madrid and she to London.

After Madrid, I caught a small jet to Santander and then spent two nights waiting for Susie to experience the whales and the waves.

After arriving at the Santander airport, there was a city bus waiting to take the passengers into town. I arrived at the Santander bus station in 20 mins or so. The cab driver next in line gave me directions to walk to my hotel. I wasn’t sure if it was to save me the fare or if he couldn’t be bothered.

I enjoyed the hotel and walked around a bit. I found the city inviting. The next day was Sunday when many people walked. I walked for miles.

10/30/13 – Still plugin away …
2/25/14 – updated some links and announced the tour review by Jeff Clarke and Teresa Farino.

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