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Archive for February, 2014

easter –  “semana santa”, is the most significant, authentic and emotive  celebration in spain, that always means  big festivals and parades all over the country. easter annually boasts of rich heritage, culture and merriment.

the historical routes of celebrating easter in spain began from the death of jesus.  with the centuries the traditions remain the same but developed also. the evolutionary results of this we can see nowadays in every corner of the country within the holy week.

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during the holy week catholics all over spain celebrate this event with processions and ceremonies. especially big and rich parades are organized in sevilla,  málaga,  madrid,  salamanca, logroño… video filmed in logroño:

the celebrations start at the palm sunday and continues during the whole week. the dates of the holy week vary every year according to the calendar changes.

every day on the streets there are parades  and processions. in every procession the main roles are given to nazarenos and costaleros. they wear special costumes – long mono-colored coats with face-covering cone-shaped hoods.  though it immediately reminds to many foreigners about american ku klux klan, these costumes have nothing common with sinister meaning.

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these special kind of hoods, aimed to symbolize the people´s rise towards the heaven. though faces are covered – sign of shame of all their sins. sometimes participants can wear chains on their legs that aimed to remind how jesus has suffered. the hoods are removed on the eastern sunday, the day of jesus resurrection.

costaleros in their hands carry platforms, richly decorated with ornaments, paintings or sculptures with the scenes from bible, or scenesof suffering jesus and virgin maria.

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nazarenos are walking along with the procession,  often having candles or long wooden sticks. also sometimes nazarenos can be seen barefoot, though procession can last up to 4 hours.

travelling in andalucía during the holy week you can hear there “saeta” – acapella throaty song, full of passion and feeling. It is a serenade sung by some talented singers from the balconies to the image of the virgin Maria, that comes with the procession. during this singing the whole procession stops, until the song is over.

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easter food is another way to join the celebration.

“hornazo” – more tradition for the castilla or leon area, is a huge pie filled in with eggs, ham and meat. however sometimes there can be cooked sweet varieties of this dish – with eggs, sugar and almonds.

“torrijas” – eastern snack, similar to french toasts – bread slices soaked in milk, egg and fried in olive oil. after slices can be  dipped in or wine, honey and sprinkled with some sugar, cinnamon.

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“huesos de santo” and “buñuelos” –  are very typical fried pastries with different fillings, that are more common for madrid.

“la mona de pascua” – traditional eastern cake, often highly decorated. this sweet is very common for catalunia and valencia cost. these cakes are chocolate and have a toy on the top of it, what is especially loved by children.

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during the holy week meat is usually not eaten. instead there are varieties of vegetable or fish dishes and soups.

taste the unique and exquisite delights of the most important holidays in spain!

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have you ever visited the south of spain? even betterhave you ever thought of travelling through the south by car? andalucia is perfect for road trips! this post will introduce you an interesting route through southern spain, even though when travelling by car, plans can change at any minute!
south of spain is amazingsea, sun, history and cultural combination where you will also feel the african influence.

station 1: sevilla
must-see / must-do: plaza españa . real alcazar . tapas tour, go around the city trying the various tapas bars. try patatas bravas, gazpacho (cold tomato soup) and espinacas con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas) and a lot more..

if you visit sevilla in easter week you will witness the universally famous celebration, that is being held since the 16th century, about 50,000 people parade on traditional robes, easter week is a real experience in sevilla. two weeks later comes the “feria de abril de sevilla” (seville april fair).

for the duration of the fair, the fairgrounds and a vast area on the far bank of the guadalquivir river are totally covered in rows of casetas (individual decorated marquee tents which are temporarily built on the fairground). from around nine at night until six or seven the following morning, at first in the streets and later only within each caseta, you will find crowds partying and dancing “sevillanas”, drinking jerez sherry, or manzanilla wine, and eating tapas

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station 2: cádiz
driving distance: 120 km/ 1h 20min

now you´ve reached the sea. cádiz is the oldest city in western europe. the different people who settled here left an important cultural imprint, whose influence still remains in the character of the city’s people. visit “la victoria”, an immense beach with stretches to the end of the town offering all the services and facilities (bars restaurants etc..)

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station 3: tarifa

driving distance: 105km/ 1h 16min

this paradise is situated in the southest part of cádiz, the southernmost point of the european continent. it is also a great deal for windsurfers and kite surfers. visit “valdevaqueros” and “los lances” beaches, which are ideal for windsurfing.

this small town has a beautiful center with small shops, bars and nightclubs! enjoy exotic cocktails in a hippie ambience.

dont forget to look carefully at the waters horizon where you can see africa !

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the journey is the destination! you will witness amazing views while travelling in the south by car.

make stops at random places and enjoy whatever draws your interest. you will cross numerous beaches and small towns where you can have a break from driving.
benalmádena, estapona and marbella are three good choises

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station 4: malaga

driving distance: 160km/ 1h 45min

one of the oldest cities in the world and birth city of pablo picasso

walk up to the castillo de gibralfaro and get an amazing panoramic view of the city.

during the fair of málaga, in august, the streets of the city center are adorned with paper lanterns and floral displays. booths are set up, there are performances for children and adults, music and dance (especially verdiales, the most characteristic local variant of flamenco), and decked out horses and carriages attempting to make their way through it all. the sounds of flamenco and copla are everywhere, along with less traditional music.

there is bullfighting each afternoon at la malagueta bullring, and after sunset the fair continues at the real.

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station 5: granada

driving distance: 125km/ 1h 25min

although you leave the coast, granada is worth seeing,

visit la alhambra and the caves of sacromonte.
sacromonte offers not only a geographical variety, but also an ethnic one as you can meet arabs, jews but also gypsies that live in a new type of housing, the caves! there are caves in various categories. best known for the visitor are the ones dedicated to zambras: spacious, white and adorned with shiny copper pots. it is essential to approach at least one night to attend a zambra del sacromonte (flamenco dance) in a cave.

nightlife is vibrant thanks to the amount of university population. tapas, exotic cocktails and dancing are a good way of spending time in granada.

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having a car and being free to easily make plan changes on the way gives a completely different air to travelling. a road trip is a special experience. a road trip in the south of spain is an amazing experience!

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the nightlife of barcelona is full of opportunities – you may be sleeping well in your hotel or you can take a chance to discover the night streets of this amazing city, which are so different in the night lights.

choosing the place to spend the night, you should first properly think what kind of experience you are going to get from this night. from another hand, why not just open your mind and became a “yes-man” in order to follow new adventures?Imagen

what can you meet while walking in the night along la rambla for example? tourists – maybe.. but definitely you will meet a crowd of promoters that seeks to catch you and bring to the popular restaurant/club/bar. very often this choice is combined with some “copa gratis” (free drink) or free trip on any public transport.

 talking about places you can be brought in – clubs, pubs, night cafes and live shows – plenty of entertainments for every taste, budget and imagination!

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not forgetting about casinos – for those who are not afraid to take a risk and want to try their luck: casino barcelona, l’alianca del poble nou, Antonio ochando casino, gonzalo casino rubio and other places.Imagen

for travellers who are fond of sightseeing – it is a “must” to check the night-view of the main streets and most famous architectural sights of the city. in the night all surroundings mysteriously change and show their nocturne outfit.

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other alternatives can include enjoying the night performance of flamenco in exclusive places with professional and passionate dancers in like in “tablao de carmen”, “tarantos flamenco show”, “palacio del flamenco”.

nevertheless, if walking further from the main streets, there is a chance to find troubles on your way.

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therefore at this point better not to go alone and follow some essential safety guidelines:

*keep valuables and expensive cameras out of sight unless you need to use it;

*pay attention to your bag, on the street, in the places of interest and even in the restaurants;

*watch out for distraction – often pickpockets work in group, do not let them take your attention by some trick and steal your belongings;

*do not stop to check the map or do something next to suspiciously-looking people.

 

dress suitable and comfortable according to your choice and enjoy

 the night of barcelona!

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