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Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Saint Teresa of Ávila was a Spanish noblewoman who chose a monastic life in the Catholic Church and was a scholar, writer and mystic with a lot of influence during and also after her life. In our latest news, we wrote about her magnificent story and this blog post is about presenting the destinations of our “St. Teresa of Ávila” program, for all who wants to wander in the footsteps of this remarkable woman.

Salamanca

St. Teresa arrived in Salamanca on 31 October 1570 one cold All Saints night, which she narrates in great detail in her book “The Foundations”. Her presence in Salamanca, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, can be seen from Plaza Mayor square to the University. In the square you can see a medallion dedicated to her. The University of Salamanca made her doctor honoris causa in 1922. It was the first title
the university awarded to a woman for the quality of her literature, spirituality and reformist values. In – nowadays called – “the house of St. Teresa” she lived for 4 years and it will go down in history as the place that inspired her poem “I live without living in me”.

Further interesting hotspots are the Cathedral of Salamanca, where one chapel in the new church is devoted to her or the Convent of San Esteban, he supported St. Teresa in her time in Salamanca.

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University of Salamanca

Alba de Tormes

Alba de Tormes is located less than 20 km from Salamanca and it was the seat of the ducal states of the powerful Álvarez de Toledo family (Duke and Duchess of Alba). In 1571 St. Teresa founded a monastery – The Carmelite Convent of the Annunciation – in this old medieval town. The monastery has Renaissance and Neoclassical elements and it is the place where Saint Teresa spent the last 15 days of her life. Travellers can visit her tomb, like thousands of pilgrims, who come every year to be able to pray in front of her incorrupt heart and arm.

The Carmelitano Camus Museum is also worth a visit, because it houses a rich artistic spiritual heritage, including Santa Teresa´s relics. Alba de Tormes offers a unique view of the town on the banks of the river Tormes and invites visitors to walk along the route of las Aceñas or Isla de Garcilaso or take a trip on the river to enjoy the countryside.

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Tomb of Saint Teresa

Ávila

Ávila is the city of Saint Teresa and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985. It is the city of Teresa’s childhood, youth and maturity, years of enthusiasm, projects, starting point and turning point of her foundations. She was born in Avila on the 28th of March in the year 1515. Nowadays travellers can visit the Church and Convent of St. Teresa, which was built on the ground where once the birth-house of Teresa stood. The large vaulted burial crypt underneath is home to the museum of St. Teresa.

Teresa spent her childhood in Ávila and as a young woman she joined the Convent of Nuestra Señora de Gracia. She spent there about 30 years of her life and prepared during this time the reform of the Carmelite community and the monasteries that she would establish in the future.

The Monastery of San José was the first convent founded by St Teresa and it is characterised by its simplicity and austerity. The convent rooms have been conserved and the spirit of St Teresa is still abound. It was designated a National Monument in 1968.

Other monuments of artistic and cultural interest regarding the history of St. Teresa are the Church of San Juan Bautista, the Convent of Our Lady of Grace, the Monastery of La Encarnación, the Royal Monastery of Santo Tomás and many more.

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Monastery of San José

Segovia

In this World Heritage City (since 1985), known for its Roman aqueduct, Saint Teresa founded her ninth convent in 1574 – the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites. The opening mass was led by Saint John of the Cross, whose remains can be found today in the convent’s church. It was originally located in a smaller nearby building and later, in 1579, it was moved to its current location. The exterior shows a masonry wall covered in mortar with two doors: one that leads to the convent, with two decorated doorjambs; and another larger door that leads to the church.

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Convent of the Discalced Carmelites.

Medina del Campo & Valladolid
St. Teresa founded the Monastery of San José in Medina del Campo, the second home of the reformed Carmelite order and meeting place with San Juan de la Cruz. From that moment, the saint’s relationship with Medina was to be constant, as shown in the thirteen times she visited the town.

In Valladolid you can find the fourth convent founded by Saint Teresa – a convent with exceptional works of art in the cloister and the choirs. In what used to be her cell you can also see the original handwritten text of her main literary work, “The Way of Perfection”, and many of her letters.

If you choose to wander in the footsteps of Saint Teresa with our program, you will travel to all this destinations and a few more to learn everything about Saint Teresa as well as about the Spanish culture. Write us today for your very own blessed experience:   info@across-spain.es

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Astrotourism is on the rise. More and more travellers are searching for a special nature experience. As nowadays clear skies cannot be taken for granted anymore, destinations with less light pollution are highly popular. Spain is one of the best countries for all Star seekers, due to the climate, which guarantees many clear night skies and big areas without air and light pollution. We at Across Spain searched for the top 5 areas in Spain, where you have the possibility to “look back in time” while watching up at the luminous stars.

Canary Islands
As also mentioned in our latest news, the Canary Islands are considered as the world’s stargazing paradise because of their clear, almost transparent sky, as well as for their low rainfall rates. The clean and unpolluted, quiet atmosphere combined with the high mountains make travellers feel a little closer to the universe. Next to La Palma, which was the first destination that has been designated as a Starlight reserve by the UNESCO, the Teide in Tenerife is also a hotspot for stargazers. On the mountain, which is the third highest volcanic structure in the world, travellers can glance at the Milky Way that stretches from horizon to horizon.

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Sierra Sur district
The Sierra Sur district is the mountain range of Sierra Sur de Jaén in Andalusia, southern Spain. This is a landscape abounding in mountains and canyons, where you can find clean air and a glare-free atmosphere, isolated and distant from urban development. Perfect for observing the southern Spanish Sky.

Montsec
Low humidity and almost no clouds turns the Montsec area in Catalonia in a great location for stargazing. The area has also been recognised and certified as a Starlight Tourist Destination and Reserve by the UNESCO. These are the reasons why the Parc Astronòmic Montsec (PAM) was built here. The Park has a museum and small outdoor fields with two telescopes for stargazing. The museum offers you a permanent exhibition which allows you to “travel” through the history of the universe—from its origin to the creation of our solar system.

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Valles del Jubera, Leza, Cidacos and Alhama Biosphere Reserve.
Thinking of the beautiful countryside of La Rioja, northern part of inland Spain, several activities have been organised there in recent years, such as talks about the sounds of nature, tours to spot nocturnal birds, explanations of the links between the Celtiberian culture and the stars, bathing under the stars in thermal springs, learning about the constellations, and more. La Rioja has two stargazing parks, in Laguna de Cameros and Cervera del Río Alhama.

Extremadura
Extremadura has two territories that have been granted the Starlight Destination certificate: the Monfragüe Biosphere Reserve and the Gran Lago de Alqueva area. Monfragüe was, in early 2017, the first place in Extremadura to receive this recognition. Gran Lago del Alqueva area received the region’s second Starlight Destination certificate in April 2018.

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If you are now eager to visit one of these natural unique destinations to look up in the sky and experience its wonders, write us a message and ask about our stargazing programs.

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La Liga is men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system and is contested by 20 teams. It is the top league of Europe, due to the fact that its clubs have won the most UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup titles. Moreover, La Liga is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. Since the new season started at the 18th of August, we will clarify some questions you may have about the most famous sport in (and maybe also out of) Spain. Therefore, we have chosen the two most important match types, which can be found in the vastness of Spanish football and which will taking place during La Liga.

El Clásico

Because FC Barcelona, as well as Real Madrid are booth highly successful teams and popular around the world, there is an own designation just for matches between these two rivals. El Clásico was first used to describe competitions held in the Spanish Championship but soon it was generalized for every encounter between FC and Real.  But not only the success of booth teams can be named for the rivalry, Madrid and Barcelona are also the two biggest cities in Spain. Moreover, it can be seen that Real Madrid tends to represent the Spanish nationalism, whereas FC Barcelona stands for the Catalan nationalism since the first played against each other in 1992. The two best teams in La Liga and arguably the two best teams in the world bring out so many emotions on and off the pitch that millions of fans around the world watch El Clásico and turn it into a global match. If you also want to enjoy the next El Clasico live, do not miss Round 10 of La Liga at the 27th of October.  

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Derby

For everybody who is not that much into football (at least not yet) the general term “derby” describes matches between teams from the same area or city. There are plenty derbies in Spain, but the most known one is the Madrid Derby. The two teams from the capital city, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, met each other also in the UEFA Champions League Final 2014 in Lisbon. It was the first time two clubs from the same city compete in the final and Real Madrid won the game with a final score of 4-1, but it should not be the last final match for these rivalries. 2018 in the UEFA Super Cup, the two teams of Madrid participate again in a final. This time Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid with 4-2 and earned therefore their third UEFA Super cup title. As part of La Liga the next Madrid derby will take place at the 29th of September.

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If we talk about derbies in Spain, we should not forget the craziest of all: The Seville derby, found in the South of Spain, in Andalucía. When Sevilla take on Real Betis, the city stops and the rest of the country watches. Of course passion has always been a part of football, especially in Spain, but Sevilla and Real Betis take the passion to a whole new level, probably because both teams are actually located in the same city and because both teams consider the other their biggest rival. There are countless examples of how that passion manifests itself when the teams meet. Open training sessions before the game are attended by thousands of fans and the local sporting paper will dedicate a number of front pages to the derby. The upcoming chance to experience this passion live is the 10th of November.

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Are you now eager to see the Spanish football matches live? Across Spain offers you the best football packages for the current LA Liga season. Come and enjoy the beauty of Spain while being part of a global Sport highlight.

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One of the best way to explore the most of the Iberian Peninsula and discover beautiful landscapes, historical cities and traditional places across Spain if you choose one of the numerous train lines which are run through the country. In the following we have collected the top 4 luxury train routes for you to explore most of the country while you are enjoy the luxury and comfort in a gorgeous 20th century decorated train.

1. Al Andalus

One of the most famous luxury train in Spain and definitely the most well – known in the southern part of the country is the Train Al Andalus which runs from Seville and after visiting such cities as Cordoba, Ubea, Granada, Ronda and Jaen arrives back to the Andalusian capital, Seville. The train runs for 7 days 6 nights and during the journey travellers will experience the traditions of the cities in Andalucía, visit unforgettable places, taste the best of the Spanish cuisine while enjoy comfort, elegance and space offered by the train. The Al Andalus were built in France in the 20th century and thank to this the train combines the chic era of the belle époque with 21st century service.

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The Al Andalus train

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The lounge of the Train Al Andalus

2. El Transcantábrico

The classic El Transcantábrico train takes all its travellers to a cultural and gastronomic journey through the North of Spain, also known as the Green Spain. The journey runs from Leon to Santiago and visit cultural cities through the northern autonomous communities of the country during 8 days and 7 nights. The El Transcantábrico is the oldest tourist train in Spain, and up until nowadays it is the synonym of elegance and comfort from its beginnings. This traditional train takes travellers back to the golden age of the great railway journeys, accompanied by all comforts and services of the 21st century. All its cabins and lounges are carefully renewed to offer the highest luxury for all its passengers. Besides it offers rich culture and cuisine of Castile and Leon, the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia to make every trip a real pleasure for the senses.

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The El Transcantábrico train

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The lounge of El Transcantábrico

3. El Expreso de la Robla

The El Expreso de la Robla offers two different routes in the northern part of Spain, through Castile and León; and the Green Paradise Route, travelling through Cantabria and Asturias Both routes same duration of 4 days and 3 nights. This train offers the same charm and comfort as all the other luxury trains. However, this route was made with the idea of offering the classic rail journey at affordable prices. This train combines the luxury with the design of the 20th century and travellers can enjoy three comfortable lounges, luxurious room carriages and outstanding cousine.

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El Expreso de la Robla

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The lounge of the El Expreso de la Robla

4. Costa Verde Express

The Costa Verde train runs from Gijon to Bilbao also in the northern part of Spain. The itinerary for this train is a bit shorter than the two above, it runs for 6 days 5 nights. This train is a perfect way to travel through gorgeous landscapes in the northern part of the country. Besides you can experience the regional cuisine, art, monuments and landscapes are presented from the comfort of a ‘train hotel’. The Costa Verde Express saloons are delights of railway heritage, some of them being original 1923 Pullman cars. All the carriages have been specifically renovated and decorated for these luxury trains.

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The Costa Verde Express

If you get interested and would like to discover Spain in a luxurious and traditional way than do not hesitate to contact us and ask for our Luxury train packages.

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Spain is world famous for its history, cuisine and traditional fiestas and festivals! Every village, town and city has their own, unique celebrations which are worth a visit at least once in a lifetime. Below we have compiled the 5 best fiestas around the country, so that you can celebrate the Spanish way this summer!

1.Bonfires of San Juan – 23rd – 24th June

The Bonfires of San Juan is a traditional and popular festival celebrated around Spain on the night of 23rd – 24th of June. However, the most important celebrations take place in Alicante in the community of Valencia. The celebrations are to signify the arrival of the summer, usually involving huge firework displays, festive dinners, dancing around bonfires, and the bravest people might even go for a swim in the sea. This fiesta has been held for hundreds of years, but was constituted formally in the year of 1928. Since then, the city of Alicante celebrates this night with different traditions, the most famous being the enormous cardboard and wooden figures which go up in flames on the night of San Juan and the spectacular fireworks at midnight.

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Firowork in Alicante during the festival

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Bonfire of a cardboard figure

2. Wine Battle in Haro – 29th June

Every year on the 29th of June,  locals and visitors alike come together in the famous wine region of La Rioja, specifically the Haro vineyard, to celebrate Saint Peter’s Day (El dia de San Pedro) with this crazy festivity. During the celebrations people thow wine all over each other, eating, drinking and singing together. The roots of the festival go back to the 13th century, when the first battles were held between the regions. Since then it has become an annual tradition to have a wine battle followed by a huge dinner, dancing and partying in the city of Haro.

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Celebrations of the Wine Festival

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Celebrations of the Wine Festival

3. Sanfermines 6th14th July

Every year on the second week of July, the city of Pamplona in the region of Navarra becomes a bull running path and the most exciting city in Spain. This year on the 6th of July, like every year, a chupianzo (a type of rocket) will launched from the Town Hall of Pamplona, marking the start of the celebrations. The festival lasts for a week (until the 14th July this year), where visitors can enjoy exciting bull runnings, parades, bull fights and much more. The first run of the year is held on the second day of the fiesta at 8am, when hundreds of people run in front of the bulls from the old town, up until the bullfighting ring of Pamplona. Everyone – both locals and visitors – can join in on the runs, just make sure to wear your running shoes! Moreover, every day parades of “giants and big-heads” are held in the streets accompanied with music, tapas and tradition.

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Bull running during the Sanfermines

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Parade of Giants and Big-Heads

4. Canoe festival and international descent of the Sella river – 3rd August

The canoe festival in Parres (in the region of Asturias) has truly become one of the most important international canoe races. Every year, on the first Saturday of August, canoeists from all over the world come to participate in the Sella River Race. This exciting sporting event begin in 1930 and has been held every year since then. The race course runs for 20 km on the Sella River from the village of Arriondas, to the finish line in Ribadasella. In order to participate, you need a valid competition licence. However, thousands of spectators enjoy the race by shouting and encouraging the participants. The race starts at 12pm and lasts until the last competitor reaches the finish line. Afterwards, trophies are awarded to winners in each category and a huge picnic is organised with delicious food, drinks music and dancing. The festival doesn’t just stop after the picnic though, it continues in the streets, bars and terraces of Ribadesella.

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Canoeists at the start line

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The race in the Sella River

5. La Tomatina – 28th August

La Tomatina is one of the most famous festivals in Spain and is held on the last Wednesday of August every year in Buñol, in the community of Valencia. Masses of people from all over the world come together to throw thousands of tomatoes at each other, enjoy the great party and, most importantly, have the time of their lives! The origins of this mass tomato battle date back to a fight amongst children in 1945 and has been celebrated every year since then. Each year the celebration starts at 9am in the town square of Buñol, where the Town Hall provides breakfast for every visitor. The start of the battle is 11am when a shot is fired to announce the start of the fight. Afterwards, tomato-loaded trucks enter the city and everyone starts to throw tomato at each other. After only a few seconds, the whole city and everyone who is in the streets will be soaked in red tomato juice. The battle usually lasts for a few hours until a second shot is fired to signal the end of the battle.

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The world famous tomato fight

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The streets of Buñol during the Tomatina festival

If you would like to experience one of Spain’s world famous festivals this summer, then don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Map marking the different cities where you can find the best festivals during this summer

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