The Mountain: A Stunning Milky Way Timelapse from Spain’s Highest Peak

This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg. Her views and opinions are hers alone and do not represent Hipmunk. 

We are used to seeing the Milky Way galaxy from space, like this NASA photo from the Fermi telescope:

But the video below is a whole new way to see the Milky Way, and easily the most beautiful thing you’ll watch this week. Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd set up his camera between the 4th and 11th of April atop Spain’s highest peak, El Teide mountain. At 3718m (12,198 ft) tall, it is one of the best places to photograph the stars, which is why the Teide Observatories are on its slopes. 

Though he wanted to capture the Milky Way, a sandstorm swept through the Sahara on the 9th of April, clouding the sky from the summit. Instead of ruining the scene (as Sorgjerd initialy worried it would) the sandstorm produced some of the most beautiful, haunting and shimmering scenes in his film. Watch for it at 32 seconds in:

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The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed this video, take a look through his Facebook fan page or Twitter feed for more terrific films (The Aurora is one of my faves).

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It’s Always Tapas O’Clock in Madrid’s La Latina District

This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg. Her views and opinions are hers alone and do not represent Hipmunk. 

You’ve used Hipmunk to book an awesome trip to Spain, starting in Madrid. You’re hungry, but you don’t know where to start – it all looks so good! Taking small break from my rounding up the latest travel news, here’s a few photos from where it’s always tapas o’clock in the Spanish capital: La Latina district.

Spain is known for many things – architecture, history, music and much more. But in between concerts or sightseeing, the tapas culture is not to be missed. Meant to tide you over until dinner (normally served quite late in Spain – sometimes as late as midnight), tapas can be served warm or cold and varies based on the city or province. If you’re visiting the capital, you’ll get a chance to try them all.

For starters: how good does this look? 


And not just one option, but a row of delicious treats to choose from:


One of the tastiest tapas options was filet mignon served on fresh bread, topped with melted goat cheese and onions. So good:


Madrid’s tapas scene is also known for its copious use of delicious Jamón Ibérico, a type of cured ham found in Salamanca, Seville and other parts of Spain. Until 2005, this type of ham was unavailable in the States, though the FDA has recently approved several importers. At $92 a pound (and up!) it just might be more of a cost-saver to go to Madrid and get it there – with a glass of red wine to wash it down:


I’m from Montreal, and we have what is affectionately known as “cholestorol in a bowl”, poutine. French fries, topped with cheddar cheese curds and drowned in gravy. Madrid gave this dish a run for its money with the following tapas option: French fries, Iberico ham and a fried egg. Definitely not for those on a diet!


On the streets, squid sandwiches were on offer, some with fun signs like this one:


And finally, probably the strangest looking tapas I tried: bread topped with smoked salmon, squid, a shrimp and a cherry tomato. The verdict? I’ll stick to the ham.


The streets of La Latina in Madrid:

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How to get there: Book a flight on Hipmunk to Madrid. Once you’re settled, take the subway to La Latina and make your way to Cava Baja street. The narrow street (above) is known for its great tapas and many wine bars. 

Where to eat: Zigzagging across Cava Baja and surrounding streets won’t do you wrong, but stopping in on Casa Lucas (try their “Madrid Tapas” dish, you won’t regret it! Cava Baja, 30), Taberna Txakoli (for Basque-style tapas and Iberico ham, Cava Baja, 26) and Taberna Salamanca (for great croquettes, Calle Cava Baja 31) will make for an excellent Sunday afternoon.

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