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Iberian Peninsula

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Iberian Peninsula

The far southwestern corner of Europe is the Iberian Peninsula, a large peninsula of land pointing out from Europe, toward Africa. Follow me as I explore Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar. The Iberian Peninsula section has been moved to a new section, Europa.

  Horses near Madrid, Spain   Iberian peninsula | January
Madrid to Cuenca

I can see one of the seven peaks. Most of these peaks are unreachable except by foot, and so this entire range protects an array of vultures, eagles and buzzards and Spanish lynx...

Cuenca, Spain
  Lisbon's Alfama   Iberian peninsula | March
Lisbon's Alfama

Lisbon feels tropical, connected to Africa, on a biting cold day, and in its southern sun, like a mix and match of its neighbor’s architectures. It is colored in a smudgy gray, festooned with pinks and canaries and aquas and limes. Its slight inhabitants dress urbanely like their country cousins; just in tighter weaves...

Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal
  Barbary Macaque, Gibraltar   Iberian peninsula | March | TRAVELS WITH AN IMAGINARY FROMAGER
Ernest and the Barbary Apes of Gibraltar

The apes are not exactly apes. They are monkeys - tail-less macaques, origin Morocco. Nobody knows exactly how they arrived on the peninsula, although theories abound. Many say they were brought here by Arab or Berber pirates in the fourteenth century.

  Andalucia, Spain   Iberian peninsula | March | TRAVELS WITH AN IMAGINARY FROMAGER
Andalucia and the History of Spanish Cheese

When I tell Johann I am Norwegian, he says, "we are enemies you know." I say, "Yes, I know." He says, "You Norwegians drink too much." He says this with the words slurred, and I say, "Why here?...

Andalucia, Spain
  Badajoz, Spain   Iberian peninsula | September | TRAVELS WITH AN IMAGINARY FROMAGER

We arrive in Badajoz, one of the old Moorish taifas, and it's Columbus Day, so nobody is working and most are asleep. If they're not working, they're toasting Columbus with the pitcher. It's eleven in the morning.

Extremadura, Spain
  Portugal Mountains   Iberian peninsula | September | TRAVELS WITH AN IMAGINARY FROMAGER
The Beiras

Four youngsters approach me on a bridge in Covilhã. One fellow is blonde and wears a goatee. Another is lanky. The third a dwarf, and the fourth is olive-skinned and seems the leader of the pack.

Beiras, Portugal
  Evora, Portugal   Iberian peninsula | September | TRAVELS WITH AN IMAGINARY FROMAGER
The Alentejo

Nothing in all of Iberia compares to the road that connects Covilhã to Evora, especially with one hand on the wheel and the other on a cheese that took us forty eight hours just to find. A hotel man had warned us not to take this road, because of its length. “It’ll take you all day,” he says. “Better to take the coast.” But we are in no hurry...

Alentejo, Portugal
  Frog   Iberian peninsula | September | TRAVELS WITH AN IMAGINARY FROMAGER
The Lisbon Coast

Setubal is a mazelike city, even more gnarled and twisty than Evora. It hugs the coast of the Setubal Peninsula, facing south. Immediately west of the city, the mountain road rises high above the ocean. It is a chapparal-like landscape, and at one point, we pass a whitewashed monastery clinging to the scrub.

Setubal, Portugal



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