Túnel de Hada, Hotel and Spa

Previously, I posted about the restaurant at the Hotel and Spa known as Túnel de Hada. Now, let’s focus on the hotel. (Sadly, I did not avail myself of any spa treatments. An error I will have to correct some day.) Jerte is where this hotel is located, a small town in the middle of a green valley loaded with cherry orchards. There’s a small river running through it. More on that later. Here’s a view of the hotel from the rear. The front is on a very narrow street in town.

The building fits in the with the ancient town’s architecture. Here you see the entrance on the ground floor.

Through that glass door you go, into a reception area with a very competent desk staff. My reservation was ready and in a few moments I had the key to my room. At this point I inquired about laundry service and in another few moments, the clothing was on its way to being washed, dried, folded, and pressed, and delivered to me before the evening set in. That’s excellent, especially for a guy who needed some clean shirts. The rooms are slightly dark, but once you pull open the curtains things brighten up. Here’s the sleeping arrangement.

And opposite it was a comfortable area to sit, relax, read, or watch TV.

No, I wasn’t doing any TV watching. I was gallivanting about the town. Take a look at the view into the greenery from the room’s window.

The photo above doesn’t really do the view justice. It was a menagerie of green with the steady mumble of the river for a soundtrack. Lulls you right to sleep, especially as the cool air settles into the valley. Overall, Túnel de Hada was a comfortable and welcoming place to stay, one I would recommend to those looking for an upscale experience in both accommodations and food. Don’t forget to try the spa and let me know how it was!

Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Restaurante Túnel de Hada, Spain

Restaurante Túnel de Hada is located in the hotel and spa of the same name, in Jerte, Spain. The Jerte Valley itself is famous for its cherry trees and you’ll find that influence in the food prepared for you at the restaurant. Seating is divided into several areas which offers a bit of privacy/romance, which was much appreciated during my stay. Here’s a view into the spot where our table was situated.

Those ancient walls lend ambiance and gravitas to the setting. The meal began with a sort of palette cleanser, a sorbet of sorts that I find very difficult to describe. It was tasty and functional and here’s a look at the presentation.

Note the flat and hollow-ware. Very tasteful, understated, and always set upon the table with grace and care. Staff here are top notch. Well, the next course was a single, large ravioli-type pocket of pasta which was served in a bowl and then the waitress poured over a warm, creamy garlic soup. A truly simple, yet striking combination of flavors. Here it is in the combined state.

Then came the main courses. One was duck with a dense cherry sauce seen here.

Very vibrant that dish! The other was pork with the thinest slices of potato layered in, as seen next.

Both of these dishes were superb. The cherries are the most local ingredient and were integrated nicely without being overbearing. This is something I like very much about Spain. Each region, even within a region, you find specific foods that are native and used creatively. Thus, while traveling along you experience a great many treats as opposed to one long, homogenized theme. Back to Túnel de Hada. It was time for dessert. We opted for the cherry sorbet and apple tort.

Again, check out that presentation. These people work hard at getting everything right, every detail, only to have me mow it down. Respectfully, of course. If you find yourself traversing the Jerte Valley, you would be well served to enjoy a meal here. (Please note, these photos were from a visit conducted during April 2010. I only recently realized I had not previously posted them. In other words, the menu may have changed.)

Published in: on May 30, 2011 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Blackhawk in Town

A U.S. Navy Blackhawk visited one of my local airports the other day. Take a look.

You may have heard about these helicopters recently, and the crew they delivered to a select spot in Pakistan. Anyway, this one was decked out in a nice paint job for an official affair. The crew took special care of it, wiping it down as soon as they parked.

Small, fixed wing pilots are wise to keep well clear of such beasts. Those rotors throw a tremendous downwash that can create interesting effects near a small plane, especially taking off or landing. Plus, these guys have important work to do. I’d rather not be in the way.

Published in: on May 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Go No Farther

There are those pilots who will press on despite deteriorating weather conditions. Many tragic aviation stories start with, “I thought I’d go a litter farther and see if things got better.” Rarely do things get better. And when they get worse, they get a lot worse. Thus, when I was flying recently, this was the view ahead.

If you look just below the cowling, visibility is fairly good. However, over the nose, there’s plenty of mist and fog in those valleys and some of the mountain tops are most likely hidden. Now, the height of the mountains may be known and the altimeter will give the altitude of the aircraft. Someone might press on. Okay, what if something else goes wrong? Engine trouble or the like. Eh? What then? Put it down in the fog and hope for the best. Nah, I don’t think so. Here’s a view off the starboard side.

It looked dicey over there, too. Time to change the plan. Whenever I fly, I always have a few alternate airports pegged along the way. During this flight, only one was optimal and it was well short of my intended destination. Sad, but true. I turned for it and made it safely. Then, because I had plenty of time left until the plane needed to be returned, I swung out to York, PA. Here’s a shabby picture of that fine airport, looking back after getting on course.

The runway is that strip of asphalt above the quarry. The quarry itself helps to make this place easy to find. Landmarks like that are a blessing for pilots, especially when the weather is dodgy. All in all, this flight was a good one. The Cirrus performed beautifully, the diversion was good practice, and the traffic was light until I returned to home base, where there were two helicopters and three other planes going in or out. Looking forward to another cross country with better weather. Photos and commentary will be posted here.