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Archive for April, 2014

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“el parque del buen retiro”, which is commonly known as “parque de retiro” is one of the best parks madrid has to offer. relaxing, beautiful and with a fair amount of monuments and sculptures, el retiro is one of madrid’s first attractions and an open air sculpture museum.

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quick historical approach…

in 1505, the time of isabella I, the royal family had this retreat built as part of the jeronimos monastery. at the times of king phillip II and king phillip IV the park is extended until in 1767 it becomes open to public.

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famous spots:

1- monument of alfonso XII: in 1902 a national contest was held to design a monument for king alfonso XII at the initiative of the queen mother maria christina of austria. the winner was the architect josé grases riera. after his death, the job was finished in 1922 by teodoro anasagasti sticking to the original design.

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2- crystal palace

built in 1887 to exhibit flora and fauna from the philippines, in the shape of a greek cross, the crystal palace is made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework on a brick base, which is decorated with ceramics. its cupola makes the structure over 22 metres high. the beautiful crystal palace, in front of which lies a small artificial lake, is now mainly used for temporary exhibitions.

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3- fountain of the fallen angel

the statue represents the moment  lucipher is expulsed from paradise to become satan and is probably the only public statue in the world dedicated to the devil.

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spend time in the park

the retiro park is full of statues, fountains and gardens to decorate it. its great extend offers the opportunity to many people to enjoy this burst of nature in the middle of the city. a sunny day is ideal to spend there!

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in front of the monument of alfonso xii lies a big artificial lake which offers the possibility of renting boats. a relaxing escape from the fast pace of the city!

next to the lake various musicians, dancers and magicians give a show for you to enjoy, while next to them people sell handmade jewelry and souvenirs.

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activities like bicycling, roller blading, having a picnic are all doable in this big park. the lively ambience, the mixed music sounds the colourful trees and flowers are a great recipe for a sunny escape, so whenever u have the opportunity to visit the park, grab it! whichever way you choose to spend your time at the retiro, it is for sure you will enjoy it!

MAPA BL

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as known worldwide, spain is a gastronomic destination that has a  rich  heritage from the past and what is more interesting – the cooking traditions and recipes vary greatly from region to region.

each part of the country has its own traits and traditional ways of cooking, dishes that you may not find in the other region.

however, any region you come, be ready to gain few kilos on degustation of  numerous delicious specialties.

everybody knows about famous “paella” and “tortilla de patatas”, but let’s discover what else is waiting for you in the destination spain:

first region we are travelling to is castilla la mancha – just in the heart of spain.  this area has plenty of high-quality vegetable plantations. worthy to taste “pisto manchego”, traditional for the region “migas” – “bread crumbs” in spanish, made of dried bread, sausages, bacon, olive oil, garlic and other ingredients.

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very typical for this area is “chorizo”(sausage spiced with paprika and garlic), “manchego” cheese (sheep´s milk cheese), famous saffron spice and sweet marzipan, made in toledo.

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galicia is considered to be sea-food capital.  sea-food stews and vegetables or beans – these dishes you will see here the most. when travelling around find a chance to try local menu sets with “pulpo” (octopus) and “empanadillas atun” (bread pies with tuna). and everywhere you go, you will see “tarta santiago” – galician sweet almond cake made of the simplest ingredients, with the cross of sant james on it (honored to saint patron of spain – sant james, whose remains are buried in galicia, sant sebastian).

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who did not hear about basque country? – small country located in the north of spain. innovative and rich cuisine of the region was developed by the mix of coastal and mountain cooking traditions. in basque country cooking is deeply connected with society issues  –  all over the region here can be found gastronomic societies maintaining local culinary traditions and developing their own special recipes. traditional dishes here are “bacalao a la vizcaina” (codfish with special sauce) and “bacalao al pil pil” (cod fish with olive oil and chili sauce) and “marmitako” (traditional fish stew). good present  for friends or family can be delicious basque apple cider, that goes especially well with fish dishes.

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the culinary culture of autonomous community of balearic islands shares many traits with the cuisine of catalonia. the climate there, does not suit for producing ham but local culinary developed its own recipe of “sobrasada” sausage, made from local breed of pigs. one of the delightful from mallorca – “caldereta de langosta” (lobster stew) has high popularity among tourists coming to the islands. talking about balearic islands, impossible to avoid mentioning “ensaimada” (typical pastry), well known among many others, such as “quartos”(small cakes) and “flao” (cheese and anisette cake).

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andalucia – hill region with numerous olive groves. one of andalusian special traits in  culinary is inherited from moors – use eastern spices. warm and sunny climate makes  nothing better to do but to enjoy refreshing “gazpacho” or “salmorejo” tomatoe cold soups and a glass of wine from jerez, montila-moriles, malaga or huelva. what is the difference between these two dishes? firstly – the only vegetable used in “salmorejo” is tomatoe, with a bit of garlic vinegar, olive oil and bread, while “gazpacho” recipe includes onion, peppers, cucumber and tomatoe; secondly – “salmorejo” is originally much thicker than “gazpacho”, and it is served with boiled eggs and iberian ham as toppings.

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que aproveche! (which means: enjoy your food!)

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