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Archive for January, 2017

Spain is known for its numerous festivals and celebrations throughout the whole year, which always attract many visitors. But one of the most spectacular events is without doubts the carnival in Spain. Carnival is celebrated in every Spanish city, but there are some destinations that can be highlighted, because of their spectacular celebrations. In case you want to experience the carnival season in Spain, you should pay a visit to the Canary Islands, especially Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. On the mainland it is worth visiting the Andalusian city of Cadiz.

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carnival in Tenerife (source: Diario ABC)

The carnival of Tenerife is traditionally celebrated in February in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. During the time of carnival, Santa Cruz is not to be recognized, the streets are full of locals and visitors from all around the world. The Santa Cruz carnival is considered to be the second most internationally known carnival, after the one in Rio de Janeiro. It is known for its colourful street parades and flamboyant costumes. Moreover, there are murgas (musical theatre), comparsas (groups of musicians and dancers) and rondallas (ensembles of stringed instruments) to be seen all over the city. Next to the official program, thousands of people gather on the street to celebrate together, most of them wearing creative costumes.

In Gran Canaria, the most exciting carnival takes place in Las Palmas, the capital of the island. This year’s theme is “La eterna primavera”, the eternal spring. Popular events during the carnival celebrations are the Queen Gala and the Drag Queen Gala. The Queen Gala features amazing dresses that are displayed by the candidates for the queen of the festival. All of the dresses are designed by renowned creators. The quality of the fabrics used and the size of the outfits, their colours and the originality of their designs are amazing and definitely worth seeing. This gala is one of the most eagerly awaited nights of the festivities.

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Queen Gala (source: Carnaval de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)

The Drag Queen Gala is another high-profile carnival event. There are always so many candidates in the competition that a qualifying stage has to be held in order to decide which drag queens will participate in the final. When the final arrives, live entertainment, gender transgression, audacity and a total lack of inhibition are combined on the stage in a show that will leave its audience speechless. Another part of the celebration is a big parade with costumed musicians and dancers that crosses the city over six kilometres.

The carnival celebration on both islands is ended with the traditional entierro de la sardina, the burial of the sardine, celebrated with a big parade through the cities. At the end of this parade, a huge sardine, which symbolises the spirit of carnival, is burnt . With this event the locals say farewell to the big festival, accompanied by great fireworks.

In Cadiz, in Andalusia, the whole city participates in the carnival celebrations for more than two weeks. The carnival festivities of Cadiz are especially known for the parody, sarcastic criticism and droll puns, often connected to politics. The celebration in Cadiz clearly differs from other carnivals in Spain, as its focus is not so much on colourful costumes and glamour, but on imaginative and clever attire that expresses the criticism. In the centre of attention during the Cadiz carnival are the chirigotas, satirical groups of performers, who express their witty messages through their music and lyrics. These music groups all compete in the Official Contest that is yearly held at the Gran Teatro Falla, shortly before the carnival begins.

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Due to its amazing culture and stunning nature, Spain is the perfect destination for student trips. The country provides numerous possibilities to organize educative student trips for schools and universities, focusing on specific thematic areas. There are visits and activities available for every age group, with special attention to education or amusement.

Due to its various cultural influences throughout times, and buildings of different architectural style, Spain is a popular destination to be visited by architecture students. A special emphasize for those visits is often put on cities like Barcelona or Madrid, but also the La Rioja region is very suitable.

Barcelona’s architectural highlight is without doubt the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, a masterpiece of Catalan Modernism, designed by Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi also contributed other works to the city, like Park Güell, Casa Batlló or Casa Mila, which are well worth a visit, too.

A different kind of architecture can be visited in La Rioja. This region is becoming more and more famous for its avant-garde winery architecture. Some highlights are unique wineries, like Marques de Riscal, Ysios and Lopez Heredia, all designed by innovative, international architects: Frank Ghery, Santiago Calatrava and Zaha Hadid. What they have in common is incredible architecture, beautifully merged with the rural countryside.

A different thematic field that is interesting for student trips to Spain, is renewable energy. There are options to organize visits to internationally renowned and important sites, like solar energy facilities or wind energy plants, where students can get insight into the operation and talk to experts on these areas.

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solar power plant in Sevilla (source: Diario ABC)

Another reason for student groups to visit Spain is to participate in Spanish classes. It is always the best option to learn a language in a country where it is spoken. In this way, students can not only learn the language, but also become familiar with the respective culture and traditions. A stay in Spain enables students who study the Spanish language to apply their language skills in interactions with locals. It might also be a good option to combine the Spanish lessons with other activities, like cooking classes or gymkhanas, during the stay.

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Spanish cooking class

If a school class with younger students is visiting Spain, it is always possible to organize educational trips with a more playful approach. Many museums and theme parks offer group activities where students can learn about topics like nature, art or science, during fun activities. In addition, team building activities are a nice possibility for student trips to enhance social relations in the class, on the basis of collaborative tasks.

Send your request to info@across-spain.es and we will be pleased to send you our tailor made proposal for your student group.

 

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