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Archive for November, 2013

it is very general that people choose to visit large famous cities of spain, such as madrid and barcelona.

but there are also a lot of other wonderful cities which are not that big but very cute, friendly, and romantic. one which includes all these characteristics would be – segovia. it is located only 92km from madrid, 1 hour driving distance.

here we will show you how to spend a wonderful, enjoyable day in segovia. after this virtual tour, we are sure you will reschedule your trip so that you can have at least a glance at the beautiful segovia!

let’s get the trip started!

Image

1. go left from the station and suddenly the glamorous, breath taking view of unesco world heritage “roman aqueduct of segovia” will appear in front of you. but, we kindly ask you, please do not forget to breath! height 30m, length 728m, made by piled huge stones – exactly like a lego game! but  in a giant size…

Image

2. try the typical “cochinillo” (segovian grilled pork) for lunch. the chef will surprise you in the way he will cut and serve this specialty. the yellow circle at the map shows the main shopping street with a lot of restaurants.

Suckling Pig2

3. for a dessert or a cup of café con leche, we recommend to you the perfect place – “granier”. you can find pans, cakes, donuts and so many other homemade baked products which are incredibly tasty and amazingly cheap! 3 big donuts for 2,50€, 5 sweet pan sticks for 1€!

granier

4. if the escape from the cafeteria was successful, you should continue to see “the cathedral of segovia”. the entrance is very cheap, so we suggest to take a look inside too. then, you will noticed something very interesting inside. there is a pig standing just next to the saint anton statue. the pork was the pet of the saint and it is interesting the coincidence with the traditional recipe of the city. 

cathidral

5. the next point is the “km 0” monument. it is not mentioned often neither on the internet nor in guidebooks. like the more famous one in madrid, all streets have been made from this point called “km 0”.

km 0

6. the last, but perhaps one of the most famous place you will see in the very end of the city is, the “alcázar de segovia”. the exterior of the fortress makes quite an impact on the visitors, especially when they admire the panoramic view of the landscape from its marvelous vantage point. enjoy the views as if you were the main character of a fairy tale… does the sight look familiar? that is because this fortress is the real model of the famous disney movie of “snow white”

alcazar

alcazar2

we know you “like” segovia at the moment, but after visiting, everybody will fall in “love” with it.

just one small tip, because of its location, segovia is colder and windier than madrid in the autumn-winter, so be sure to wear suitable clothes.

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‘i want to write a love letter to barcelona and from barcelona to the world’       woody allen

 

there is, perhaps, no better way of presenting a city full of art than through the eyes and voice of an artist. love him or hate him, woody allen has the talent of bringing a city’s best to light, making it a veritable character in his films. after new york and london, in 2007 it was barcelona’s turn to shine in vicky cristina barcelona.

watching the film before visiting the city is like a travel guide. it is full of references to barcelona, all its attractions bathed in a wonderful golden summer light, places that remind you of some photos you have seen somewhere, music that you have heard before but never knew who plays it. it is an open invitation to visit a fascinating city.

the film locations carry the plot and the actions of the characters, indeed barcelona becomes a character in itself, the third lady in the title. when you visit the city, you recognize the colourful flower stands on las ramblas, you recognize the weird eccentric rooftop of la pedrera, the national museum and its terrace, the sagrada familia, the miro foundation, the views from parc guell. woody allen has ticked all the must-see places and used them smartly in his film. but these places, you have to seem them to understand why they are so attractive and fascinating for millions of visitors. 

 

pedrera

rooftop of la pedrera

 

guell

park guell

 

lizzard

the park guell lizard 

 

mnac

the mnac – national museum of catalonian art

 

ramblas

las ramblas

 

tibidabo

tibidabo attractions park – ´antique and charming, and overlooking all of barcelona´

 

joan miro

joan miró foundation

 

the city and the movie embody the ´european, tragic, romantic and free-thinking view on life´ (woody allen through the voice of cristina). poets, painters, photographers, golden lights, summer romances, bicycle rides in the nature, love, flamenco, wine tastings, cafes, sweet shops, picnics, these are the bits and pieces that fill the movie with a magical barcelonese air, but of which you don’t become aware until you have seen them with your own eyes. in the film they pass by like postcards in a window, in real life they are tangible images and experiences that become memories.

 

and the music, the music! classics from spanish must-knows, which make up a delightful and well thought soundtrack. 

entre dos aguas (played about three times)

asturias

and of course, barcelona (with video from the movie)

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have you ever thought of bringing your laptop or study materials somewhere outside of home and sitting on comfortable sofas with a relaxing atmosphere, drinking a cup of tea or café con leche and working on projects or studying?

i am sure that the answer is…
“yes!…but where?”

let us suggest a few places in madrid which are perfect for working so that you won’t waste your time searching. whether you are coming on a business trip or as a tourist, these places are sure to offer you a relaxing break or even inspiration for work.

 
1.  la bicicleta café

la bicicleta logo map

plaza san ildefonso, 9, 28004 madrid

located in the fashionable, young area of madrid called “malasaña” where you can find a lot of bars and cafes, on the upper side of gran via, the largest street in downtown madrid. whether you are passionate about bicycles or not really a fan, you will enjoy the vintage old school, casual style of this cafe. books, art pieces, bicycles here and there, all make up a warm and cozy environment that makes you feel at home.

a good selection on the menu for snacks, cakes and drinks. also you can get water for free from the jars you will find on the tables! enjoy it while working or come back during one of the special evening events, such as language exchanges, if you wish to improve on your spanish!

location: ★★★★★
atmosphere: ★★★★☆
comfort: ★★★☆☆
menu: ★★★☆☆
quietness: ★★★☆☆
customers: about 20 – 35 years old

atmosphere
 

 2. la ciudad invisible

 ciudad logo map

costanilla de los ángeles, 7, 28013 madrid

a little bit hidden but located in the very centre of madrid, close to opera and santo domingo metro stations. compared to “la bicicleta”, the atmosphere here is more spacious and clean-looking, resembling a mini-library, spread on two floors. there are comfortable sofas where you can unwind and enjoy your working time with a delightful pot of tea.

don’t forget to try the very tasty, homemade cakes here! it would be a good work incentive or a reward for a productive day!

location: ★★★★★
atmosphere: ★★★★☆
comfortable seats: ★★★★☆
menu: ★★★★☆
quietness: ★★★☆☆
clients: about 20 – 50 years old

la ciudad atmosphere2

la ciudad atmosphere

cake

 

3. la infinito

infinitos mapcalle tres peces, 22, 28012 madrid

situated in the city centre, between the metro stations Lavapies and Anton martin. this area of the city is very cultural (close to the reina sofia museum) and also famous for gourmet experiences. enjoy your working time in a very artistic place surrounded by books, art pieces and cakes. the ambient in the café is a combination of new and old, a source of inspiration and great motivation for work and study.

they are specialized in herb teas, but of course you can find a great cup of coffee or alcohols as well. food for breakfast, lunch, tapas, sweets…you can spend an entire day here without noticing the time!

location: ★★★★☆
atmosphere: ★★★★☆
comfortable seats: ★★★★☆
menu: ★★★★☆
quietness: ★★★★☆
clients: about 20 – 50 years old

la infinito atmosphere

visiting madrid you cannot fail to notice the liveliness of this city, with plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants open till late at night. especially designed for those who like to mix work and pleasure, there are little gems all over the capital, library-cafes like cozy living-rooms where one can relax or work.

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christmas lights are starting to appear in shops and city centres all across the country, the temperatures are dropping, and the talks about the christmas national lottery are already in full swing. this can only mean that the winter and the holidays are coming, and with them all the wonderful  and magical traditions cherished by spaniards and travellers to spain alike.


1. all over the country during december, you will find winter and christmas markets, where you can buy or just admire plenty of christmas-related must-have´s:  christmas trees, crafts and candles, home-made items, fruits and sweets.  the most famous markets are the ones in madrid and barcelona, but cities and town all over the country get adorned for the holidays: bilbao, zaragoza, valencia, granada are just a few.

BeFunky_market_better - by rod casro

2. another nationwide, centuries-old tradition is the spanish christmas lottery ´el gordo.´ one of the oldest in the world, it also has one of the biggest prizes each year. this comes at a cost though: the price is around 20€, friends and family often share the ticket price to participate, and if they are lucky, split the winnings! the ´big day´ is on the 22nd of december, when it is common for families and friends to get together to watch the draw.

BeFunky_loteria by álvaro ibáñez


3. food in spain is nearly sacred all year long, but during the winter period the streets and houses of spain are filled with a wonderful show involving all senses, made of various dishes and flavours. perhaps the most unique and eye-catching for the holidays are the sweets: turron is the ´king´ of spanish christmas sweets, a variety of nougat that is prepared in different ways, that has been documented since the 15th century.  mazapán (marzipan) and rosquillos de vino (ring-shaped cookies flavoured with wine and anise or cinnamon) are also very popular treats. yet another special smell and taste that spanish people associate with the cold season and christmas: delicious castañas asadas (roasted chestnuts), which fill the streets of spain from autumn.

befunky_food


4. representative of longheld religious traditions in spain, during christmas many cities and villages organise belenes vivientes, which are live large-scale performances about biblical scenes. the best known representations take place in buitrago de lozoya located in northern madrid, a charming village which offers the best setting between its walls and towers and the lozoya river.befunky_ cabalgata by Antonio J. de la Cerda 2


5. on the 28th of december, the spanish people celebrate the day of the innocent saints, a day when it is custom to make jokes and pranks, including for the national media, which publishes ridiculous and comical news. when the joker, or the pranker, is discovered, they are ´blamed´ in a friendly way by singing ´inocente, inocente!´ (innocent, innocent!).BeFunky_Inocentes


6. if the new year catches you in madrid, you will be able to enjoy a typical tradition happening every year at midnight in puerta del sol, the very centre of spain:  following the rhythm of the 12 strokes, spanish people eat 12 grapes, in celebration of the new year to come. the midnight countdown is followed by fiestas that last the whole night and a reinvigorating portion of churros con chocolate in the morning.

befunky_food


7. after new years´ you can celebrate the magical three wise men parade on the 5th of january, which precedes the day of the three wise men. in spain, it is traditional to give christmas gifts on this day, the 6th of january, rather than on the 25th of december. nevertheless, this tradition does not stop people from giving gifts on both days!befunky_ cabalgata by Ayuntamiento E.L.M. Real Cortijo de San Isidro


8. from the end of november, visitors can also enjoy the wonderful show of christmas lights in major cities across spain. every year in madrid, some of the best-known designers, architects and artists leave their marks on the city, creating light installations placed along the streets to surprise the locals and visitors.lights.jpg


sweets, gifts, songs, holidays and a magical aura that surrounds the streets and people of spain during winter time, these ingredients raise spain above the reputation of a sun-sand-and-summer destination to a culturally interesting country all year long.

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