Tag Archives: Spain

Facts you might not know about Spain

Every year many tourists come to Spain, both by car and plane or by ferry. Then many young people choose to study in Spain, and in recent years, many also decide to stay there to work. The lifestyle is pleasant and relaxed, the food is great and the Spanish are very welcoming. But do we know well Spain? An entire country’s rich culture and historical heritage can’t be certainly described in a few lines. This interesting and lively nation give us many to reveal and we will try to discover in this article some facts and characteristics which distinguish Spain from the other European countries.

– When we speak of the Balearic you think immediately of sun, sea and  beach. But do you know that in Mallorca there is also a mountain where may even snow in winter? We are talking of the Sierra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mountain range is spread over 100 km, parallel to the coast, and the highest peak, Puig Major, reaches 1445 meters.

– The PAELLA is one of the most popular dishes of Spanish cuisine, indeed, and it is certainly the best known. But speak only of a generic kind of paella in Spain is wrong because there are so many different types and recipes which varies from region to region. There is for example the paella Valenciana, the Catalan paella, in the coastal areas you will taste the paella marisco, etc … The most known throughout the world is the mixed paella, with chicken, vegetables and fish (of course the main ingredient is rice), but there is also the paella with beans, the paella made only with fish and seafood, with or without vegetables. In short, with many variations, however, you got the same result: paellas are all delicious!

Paella_de_marisco_01Photo  CC-BY 2.0  Manuel Martín Vicente

– Almost everyone has heard of the WAY OF SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA. It might think it is a pilgrimage like so many others, but this is not so, you don’t go on the “Camino” just out of faith and religion, but it means a lot more for the modern travellers. The time taken for the entire route can vary from person to person, but still it is not cheap. Just think, if we start from the Pyrenees and you end the journey in Finisterre, after Santiago, you need to walk more than 700 kilometers on foot! But what makes this experience unique is that it allows you to cross very beautiful areas that offer unforgettable sensations, even though the physical effort is great. You will make new friends on the way, but you can also stay in perfect solitude, and the journey becomes an experience of deep knowledge of both others and themselves. What matters in the end it is that the Camino de Santiago will give you much, much more than you might imagine.

– The CANALEJAS PARK is located in Alicante, in the south-eastern part of Spain, and it is a green park, with trees, plants, flowers, fountains and sculptures, like so many other green areas suitable for walking and relaxation. What makes it unique and a must visit is the map of Spain, which, instead of being simply printed on a board, is engraved in stone.

– One of the most ancient Spanish tradition is to eat 12 grapes during the NEW YEAR night. In almost all Spanish cities, but also in smaller countries, people pour into the streets to celebrate the arrival of the new year. When midnight comes, for each chime of the bell you must eat a grape, and therefore 12 in all. Tradition has it that it is a good omen for the new year.

– The beautiful and interesting museums to visit in Spain are numerous and you’ll be spoiled for choice. In Malaga, for example, there is also a museum dedicated entirely to FLAMENCO: This is the Museum Pena Juan Breva that bears the name of one of the greatest flamenco singers. You can understand the importance of flamenco in the life of the Spaniards, simply by visiting this museum: photographs, paintings, costumes, ancient guitars and then again discs, films and books, to state thate flamenco is a real art.

– At the end of the ’60s, the hippie movement was important and decisive for all that meant in terms of freedom and way of life. Even the fashion of that era was particularly lively and cheerful. Still it is revived continuously by stylists. In Spain, and more precisely in the Balearics, the hippies found everything they were looking for; so they settled in each of the four islands and the result is that even today the hippies Markets Balearics are an attraction for tourists.

Barcelona is surely the most beloved Spanish city by tourists, especially by young people. It can be easily reached also by ferry and offers everything that can be of interest and pleasure, from the architecture of Gaudi to the museums, not to mention all the possible fun coming from the nightlife. Instead, have a walk and reach the RAMBLAS: they are very crowded streets both during the day and at night, with lots of attractions, artists and street food. The most popular Ramblas are Canaletes, the Rambla dels Estudis and de Mar.

Barcellona_ramblas_2004_09

Photo CC-BY-SA Mac9

– The CHIRINGUITO is not, as it may seem from the name, a Spanish dish, but it is rather a resting spot on Spanish beaches. It can be a simple bamboo hut with rough tables or, conversely, the restaurant with various luxurious facilities and equipment. In any case, it’s good to drink a cold cerveza  or eat good well grilled fish, without having to move from the beach!

– Spain is quite advanced as regards to the NATURISM. In fact, in almost all its beaches there is an area reserved for naturists, or even you can find entire resorts, campsites or beach resorts dedicated to what is considered simply a way of living in harmony with nature.

Malaga – tips and trivia for your great trip

Did you know that there are lots of museums in Malaga? And that the last name Picasso comes from Liguria?
If your answer is “no”, you will find here in this article all the information to satisfy your own wildest questions! We can start by some useful and general information: MALAGA is located in the South of Spain, exactly in the Andalusia Region; it is an important tourist port on the Mediterranean Sea and it can also be reached by ferry.

Malaga
Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 NationalMac

Malaga obviously boasts many attractions as indeed all the cities of the Spanish coast:show off  their beautiful beaches, but also many monuments and historic buildings, which are all evidence of the past and of the cultures that have enriched this city.
But what does  Malaga offer to travelers?  The large number of museums in the city is indeed one of the greatest fascination: its art museums can be historical or very recently born, some even just in 2015!
This example show that Malaga is certainly worth visiting.
The first-ever museum created here, that we should not be missed, it is without any doubt the PICASSO MUSEUM located in the Palace of the Counts of Buenavista. The artist’s heirs donated a large number of works from their private collection to the museum to allow everyone to enjoy them. In the heart of the old city you will find the PICASSO FOUNDATION, located in the artist’s birthplace. Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born in Malaga on 25 October 1881. His father, José Ruiz y Blasco was a painter and drawing teacher. The surname Picasso was rather that of the maternal great-grandfather, Thomas Picasso, a native Italian in the Province of Genoa, who had moved to Spain.

Plaza_de_la_Merced_Málaga
Photo CC-BY 2.0 bradleypjohnson

Pablo Picasso lived his childhood in Malaga, before going to Barcelona. His father immediately understood his talent and gave him the tools to cultivate it.
In the various rooms of the Foundation you can admire his first sketches but also the result of the various techniques used by the young Picasso – like the engravings. There are many family heirlooms and photographs, then there is also the artist’s self-portrait.
Another great museum of Malaga  is the Centre Pompidou MALAGA. Fantastic also the RUSSIAN MUSEUM OF SAINT PETERSBURG, both inaugurated in 2015.
The Centre Pompidou MALAGA displays a choice of many works from the Centre Pompidou in Paris; this exhibition changes every two years; there are permanent collections of artists such as De Chirico, Magritte, Chagall, Giacometti, Miro and Picasso.
The RUSSIAN MUSEUM OF ST. PETERSBURG, located in the old tobacco factory, shows works of the XV y and XX centuries, with Byzantine icons and more recent works of the Soviet era; There are works of artists such as Repin, Kandinsky and Chagall as well as those of several lesser-known painters.
Near the Russian Museum it is located also the AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM, in Tabacalera. Opened in 2010 it occupies an area of ​​7000 square meters.In it you will find the private collection of Joao Magalhaes, the great result of years of passion that the collector itself wanted to share with visitors. There are many different areas: we start from 1898 and will continue with the machines of the Belle Époque, the English tradition, Art Deco or Dolce Vita, etc … On display Bugatti, Bentley, Mercedes, Ferrari, Jaguar, and the Rolls-Royce! Certainly you would like to get behind the wheel and drive, for once, these beautiful masterpieces of style and mechanics!
Completely changing the topic, you can visit and  enter the MUSEO DE ARTE FLAMENCO PENA JUAN BREVA. It was inaugurated in 2008 and named after the greatest singer of  Flamenco in Malaga. There are several rooms, each filled with surprises: you can start admiring the paintings and photographs representing singers, dancers and musicians in costumes of various periods, then you will move on to the guitars, some of them very ancient, without forgetting all the records, discs, movies and even books. Everything is here to retrace the history of flamenco and the artists who have made of their passion a real art. In this city of Malaga this music has had a particularly important role: the city not only gave birth to various artists but it has hosted so many coming here to study and improve.

Near the MUSEUM PENA JUAN BREVA you can keep on the visit moving to the CENTRO DE ARTE FLAMENCO KELIPE where we recommend you to spend at least one night:. In fact you will have the opportunity to attend (but maybe “to watch” is not the right word, it should be said “to participate”) to a show that will not forget so soon! Here we go with the FLAMENCO, the true, absolutely beautiful and captivating music of this land!
After visiting these interesting museums and have had a fantastic musical night, it will be great to start a new day by going to CASTILLO DE GIBRALFARO, located on top of a hill, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city.

Balearic islands: climate

The Balearic Islands are the islands in the Mediterranean Sea, between Spain and Sardinia. There are 4 main islands that form an archipelago: Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. There are also other very small islands, such as the island of Cabrera, who has a natural park.
The provincial capital is Palma de Mallorca, easily accessible by ferry as well as the other islands.

Palma-di-MaiorcaPhoto CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Оливера

All the islands enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with mild and temperate winter and hot and dry summer. The rains are not particularly abundant and are usually most intense in the fall.
In the warmer months, like July and August, it is very rare that it rains and if it happens does not last long. If the heat in these two months you obviously feel, never becomes unbearable, thanks to the breeze coming off.

The holidays in the Balearic Islands are possible in all seasons although it can be more pleasant from May to October. But we must not underestimate the fact that out of season there is usually crowded beaches and everything is for cheaper power.
To allow an informed choice on the basis of the climate of the different seasons and taking into account that there are slight differences in temperature and rainfall in the four islands, give directions to each one.

The island which lies further to the north is the island of Menorca. It is also the most flat and wilder; it is less known and crowded than the others. Having suffered in the past British rule, its countries are presented not only with the characteristics of Mediterranean white houses, but also with the houses in typical English style.
Menorca unfortunately is the rainiest of the four islands; but it must clarify that this does not happen in the summer, when the rain fails in one or maximum two days a month. The months with the highest concentration of rain are those of October and November.
In winter, in January, the average minimum temperature is 7 degrees, and the maximum average is 14 degrees. In May, the temperatures are pleasant enough, so as to enable not feel the cold to go to the beach and also to swim; in fact we have an average minimum of 15 degrees and the maximum average of 22 degrees. In August, the month hotter and consequently also the most crowded month and full of tourists, the average minimum temperatures are 22 degrees and those averages about 29 degrees maximum. In October, the temperatures are still pleasant, but as mentioned, there are the autumn rains. However the minimum temperatures are approximately 16 degrees and the maximum in the average of 23 degrees.
The water temperature passes from about 14 degrees in January to arrive at an average of 20 degrees in June and finally at about 25 degrees in the month of August.

Further south, we find the island of Mallorca. It is the largest and most populated of the Balearic Islands. The main city, Palma de Mallorca, is the capital of the autonomous province. Palma has always been loved by artists who have stayed there. They have left many traces of their passage: for example you can admire the architecture of Gaudi and the Miro Museum.
Still in summer the town is frequented by prominent figures, such as the royal family. The island presents a diversity of landscapes, from rocky coast to the white sand beaches, but also with mountain ranges such as the Sierra de Tramuntana which became a Unesco world heritage.
This geographical diversity means that the climate is different in different parts of the island. In fact in inland areas the winter is colder and has also been able to see the snow on the Sierra Tramuntana.
As for the coastal area instead, the winter is mild, with average minimum temperature of 8 degrees, and the average maximum of 15 degrees. In May, it rises to about 15 degrees to the minimum and at 22 degrees to the maximum.
In August, we arrive at the average minimum temperature of 22 degrees and maximum 29 degrees average. In October we still have pleasant temperatures ranging from 16 to 23 degrees, but the rains come we will be in November. The water temperature varies from 14 degrees in January to 25 degrees in August; in June and October is about 21 degrees.

Now we come to Ibiza, perhaps the most famous and transgressive of the Balearic Islands. This characteristic is due to the fact that Ibiza, already in the 60s, was proclaimed island of fun and transgression because it became at that time favourite goal of the hippie movement. Today it is still frequented by many young people, even though the families who love places full of entertainment will be happy to stay in a very beautiful island that still has a lot to offer, not just the clubs.
As for the climate, it is not much different from the other Balearic islands; the rains here are more abundant in autumn, namely in October. Morning temperatures in January are on average of 8 degrees and 15 degrees maximum. In June, they are already on average 18 degrees to the minimum and 26 degrees maximum. In August, it climbs up to 22 degrees minimum to 30 degrees maximum. In autumn temperatures are still pleasant, but the rains, especially in the month of October; it must be said, however, that are less intense than in the other islands.
The water temperature is about 14 degrees in January, 21 degrees in June and October, and 25 degrees in August.

IbizaPhoto CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Forbfruit

The Formentera Island that is located further south. It is also the smallest of the four main islands. It is a very quiet island and is also very popular with Italians who have opened in many of the activities on site.
The island’s climate is temperate; the summer heat is absolutely bearable thanks to the sea breeze.
The temperatures in winter, in January and February, are minimum average of 7 degrees and maximum 15 degrees average. In May we already have the minimum of 14 degrees and the maximum of about 22 degrees.
In warmer months, ie in August, we arrive at 22 degrees to the minimum and to 29-30 degrees for maximum. In October, the minimum is about 15 degrees and the maximum of 23 degrees; it is also the month when the autumn rains begin.
But you can still take a bath, with water of about 20 degrees.

Summer in Barcelona

 

416PX-1Photo CC BY by Saperaud

A clever mix of Mediterranean and Nordic charm is waiting for you in Barcelona. A holiday in this city is always a happy holiday because it combines everything that the most fascinating among the cities in the Mediterranean  can offer: a relaxed pace, months of endless sunshine, excellent food  with the cultural influence and the design of almost all the cities of the north.
The weather is wet and not as hot as in other Spanish cities. Between late July and early September you can enjoy this city peacefully and quietly, without any traffic or chaos.

The real pleasure of Barcelona is the wandering without a well-defined aim: it is needless to plan a trip in advance and in detail! Better to be guided by the spur of the moment: a last-minute concert , the Museum of Picasso or the MACBA.
Let’s see what it is on offer in this fascinating city.

Montserrat

The famous cradle of the independent spirit of Catalonia, this revered monastery is located atop a mountain with the same name. A famous choir sings around one o’clock every day, and although the monastery itself is not one of the most attractive of Spain, around it you can enjoy amazing walks. Reached by cable car (from the station to Montserrat – Aeri) or by train (from Monistrol de Montserrat station) . For further infos, see www.abadiamontserrat.cat

barcelona-63819_640 Photo CC BY by Schreib-Engel

Sitges

Just take a train and in 40 minutes you are by the coast from the Estacio de Franca in Barcelona.  Sitges is known as a party city of Catalonia and certainly sees hordes of tourists in the summer, but despite this fact it still manages to preserve its beautiful appearence. Its many beaches (some of them naturist ones) are very clean. Or you can get off the train a stop earlier in Garraf, a charming and peaceful bay lined with striped booths. A picnic is generally the best way to spend a day here, although there other alternatives to eat out.

Festivals and events

Calendar of festivals and events in 2014

Holy Week
April 13 to 21
Easter is not celebrated in Catalonia with the same pomp as in the south of Spain, but there are a number of interesting Good Friday processions. The previous Sunday (Palm Sunday, or Diumenge de rams), is the day when most of the Catalans join in, holding palm branches, and go to the cathedral, to bless them as a sign of protection.

Primavera Sound Festival
May 29 to 31
Catching up very fast with the popularity of its “sister” festival, Sonar, the Primavera Sound is the celebration of pop, rock and – most importantly –  indie. This five-day event, held at the Forum area north of the city, will include Arcade Fire, The National, Pixies, St Vincent, Disclosure, Caetano Veloso and a large selection of other bands of the past and the present in 2014.
Prices: one-day ticket are on sale at € 80 until May 6 , full passes to € 195 .
Contact: primaverasound.es

The egg dance
mid-June
“L’ Ou com Balla” is one of the most fascinating annual events in Barcelona, ​​and it is held for a few days close the Corpus Christi date (June 19, 2014 ). Several courtyards and cloisters of the church of some buildings particularly valuable to see and they are open to the public for the occasion. Everything is garlanded with flowers.
Contact: bcn.cat

Sónar Festival
June 12 to 14
The legendary International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art is held for three days over two main sites: the fair at Plaça Espanya in Barcelona and a number of spaces, out in L’ Hospitalet quarter, on the outskirts of the city. The festival in 2014 features Massive Attack, Skrillex, Four Tet, Caribou, Richie Hawtin and Bonobo, along with a number of small bands and DJs less known on the electronic scene.
Contact: sonar.es

Barcellona_ramblas_2004_09Photo CC BY by Mac9

Sant Joan
June 23 to 24
The feast of St. John is the big party night of the year, when huge bonfires in the streets and on the beach take place, and when the fireworks fill the sky at night until dawn. 24 June is a public holiday and, generally, it is the quietest day of the year.

The Diada
September 11
The National Day of Catalonia provides marches, demos and free concerts in the streets. Plaça Catalunya and Via Laietana are often scenes of scuffles with the police.

Barcelona is beautiful by day and by night. Its nightlife makes it the perfect city for those who are not in couple, such as groups of friends who like to have fun, or for those who want to listen to good music, or for those who loves discos or either for those who want to enjoy a drink while listening to music jazz. In short, nothing is missing in this wonderful city. You can spend the night in Barcelona in one of the many bars.

Dry Martini

A beautifully stylish cocktail bar that is located in Barcelona with wood paneling, leather sofas and bartenders in white uniforms with nautical finishes.
Address: Carrer Aribau 162-166, Eixample .
Contact : 00 34 93 217 50 72
Opening Hours: 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 Mon.-Thu.; 1:00 to 3:00 Fri.; 18:30 to 03:00 Sat.; 18:30 to 2:30

Harlem Jazz Club

One of the favourites bar when it comes to nightlife, Harlem offers a wide range of musicians and genres.

Address: Carrer de Sobradiel Comtessa 8 , Barri Gotic .
Contact : 00 34 93 310 07 55 ; harlemjazzclub.es
Opening Hours: (July-September) from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 Tue. to Thu. , 8:00 to 5:00 a.m. Fri., Sat. (October to June) from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 Tue. through Thu., Sun.; 20:00 to 05:00 Fri., Sat.
Admission: € 6 (including a drink) Tue. -Thu., Sun. € 6 to Fri., Sat.

barcelona-56893_640

Photo CC BY by 8300

Marula Café

The Marula specialty is soul, funk and latin, with live music in the evening and then with some of the best DJs in the city playing until the wee hours of the morning .

Address: 49 Carrer Escudellers, Barrio Gothic .
Contact : 00 34 93 318 76 90; marulacafe.com
Opening Hours: 10:00 p.m. to 05:00 Mon.-Thu., Sun.; 10:00 to 06:00 Fri.; Sat. 10:00 to 06:00.

City Hall

A relaxed nightclub where the music varies depending on the night#; it could be techno, minimal or more (see the website for the programs of the evening) .

Address: Rambla de Catalunya 2-4 , Eixample .
Contact : 00 34 93 233 33 33; cityhallbarcelona.com
Opening hours : Midnight – 06:00 every day.

Along the main shopping streets of Barcelona you can read many well-known names: Benetton, Diesel, Accessorize, Miss Sixty and so on, together with the Spanish chains such as Zara, Mango and more. Being a quite compact city, shopping in Barcelona is simpler than buy the goods online. Walking the beautiful Passeig de Gràcia you can all the main fashion-chains. For small boutiques you have to take the side streets.

Its patchwork of architectural styles shows dark Gothic facades next to harlequin, colourfoul buildings and also astonishing modern architectural creations by  Jean Nouvel, Herzog and de Meuron. A day can be well spent admiring these buildings, while shopping and ending up dining either in any one of the Michelin-starred gastronomic temples or in one of the tasty family-run small restaurants.