Spanish Architects Convert Abandoned Barn into Dream Home 1

Stable conversion Extremadura

When Carlos Alonso and his sister Camino (partners at Madrid architecture firm Ábaton) were looking for a country home for their extended family, they stumbled upon an abandoned stable in rural Extremadura, Spain and recognized it as a special place. High on a hill and far from city water or an electrical grid, the crumbling cow shed was far from the conventional image of luxury estate, but Carlos and Camino could envision a transformation. Their vision became a stunning reality, and example of what can be done with a pile of old stones and a little imagination. (In the photograph you cannot appreciate the babbling of the brook that runs through the house, nor the music of the cowbells on the hillside.)

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Wild Spain with Michael Portillo – BBC Documentary 1

lammergeier quebrantahuesos

This 48-minute BBC documentary on Spanish wildlife is presented by an unlikely commentator. Michael Portillo, son of an exiled Spaniard and Scottish mother, was a Conservative government advisor who became a Thatcherite MP and cabinet minister. He left politics in 2005 to devote himself to media projects. David Attenborough he ain’t though he does a journeyman’s job of introducing some of the most interesting wildlife of his father’s home country, including the Spanish lynx, the most endangered feline species in the world with only 120-140 examples remaining. He also includes the giant lammergeier vulture that the Spanish call “quebrantahuesos,” “bone breaker,” which drops bones from a height so as to crack them and get to the marrow. Portillo’s best comment: “Picking over the bones of carrion takes me back to the House of Commons.” More…