Picture of the Week

1 February 2022

Week 02: Lars visits

Filed under: — Administrator @ 20:52

My daughter and I came home from Puerto Rico in the afternoon of Saturday, January 8th. My wife was staying in Puerto Rico with her parents and other family for a few more days. On Sunday evening my friend Lars arrived from Denmark–he has visited me every January in the past many years, except for January 2021, when travelling internationally was impossible. But now we are returning to normality, and I had a week of work, cycling with Lars and generally settling back in to normal life.

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I start with two images that were taken in late 2021, but I only received the developed film and scanned the negatives during this week. These are both taken with my Rolleiflex camera on Fomapan 400 film. A bit on the grainy side, but I still like them–and I love using the Rolleiflex. The first image is a portrait of my colleague Justyna on her last day (she has moved to Brussels for a job with the European Commission):
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The second Rolleiflex photo is a portrait of lovely Eri in front of her paintings on the evening in November when we were setting up our art exhibition at the office:
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I enjoyed my trip to New Jersey and Puerto Rico very much, but one thing I missed was cycling. During the week in New Jersey, I would go to the hotel gym every morning, but I had not been on any kind of bike since December 31st. So on Sunday morning I took my mountain bike and headed out on the Vía Verde:
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I took a break and looked at the fallen leaves:
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And the naked vines:
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After my ride, Monica and I went for lunch at a nearby African restaurant, Baobab, which we both like very much. The service is great and so is the food. We started with some appetizers, like the fried plantains here:
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Another excellent appetizer, the cesta vegana (vegan basket) with samosas, yukka and plantains:
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And my main dish, Congolese saka saka:
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Lars arrived Sunday night. I took a couple of days off during his visit, and on Tuesday morning we did our first ride together, just up to Aigües. Lars had not cycled in serious hills for 2 years, so he needed to get used to it. Aigües is at about 350 meters above sea level, which is twice as high as the highest point in Denmark where Lars lives:
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Later in the week, we drove to the town of Alcoy, about 50-60 km from Alicante. On the way, we stopped at the Carrasqueta mountain pass (altitude 1020 meters) where we planned to cycle later in the week. At the pass there is a parking lot and an observation area where someone has left these flowers. I am not sure about the context, since this is not a spot where a fatal accident would have happened:
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Lars had brought his drone, and we had a bit of fun with it:
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Take-off:
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In Alcoy, we had a nice lunch, visited an arts exhibition, and also some Civil War bomb shelters. Alcoy was an important industrial town, and the fascist forces bombed it heavily in 1938 (the bombing was done by the Italian air force, just like at Guernica). When the alarm sounded, this is where people would shelter:
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Civil War era posters:
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It warmed my Danish heart to see Scandinavian (Swedish and Norwegian) posters collecting money for Spanish hospitals and other humanitarian causes:
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On Wednesday my wife came back from Puerto Rico, and being the good husband, I drove the 420 km to Madrid’s Barajas Airport to pick her up. While waiting for her, I photographed this bench in the arrivals hall:
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On the way back to Alicante, we stopped to refuel, pee and munch something in this small sandwich shop in Castilla La Mancha:
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Back home, Lars gave us the usual treat of homemade pizza, better than any pizzeria in town:
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Pizza for the carnivores:
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Pizza for the vegetarians:
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Lars and Monica enjoying the pizza:
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On Saturday, Lars and I set out for the Carrasqueta on our bikes. After considerable huffing and puffing, we arrived at the pass:
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On the way back, I stopped to look at the artichokes on a field by the side of the road. They looked great. Artichokes is one of the best crops around here, along with various vegetables and almonds:
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On Sunday morning, the last day of Lars’s visit, we took a short and relaxed ride, stopping by the harbour in El Campello:
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The final picture is from the parking lot of my local supermarket:
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