7 must-dos before you are 30 (or thereafter)

1. Party for 24 hrs non-stop.

 

2. ¡Join in a wine battle!

3. Make friends for life in a festival.

4. Become an associate in a “peña”.

5. Enjoy a communal meal.

6. Dance with a “charanga”.

7. Go to a party dressed in white and with a red handkerchief.

How many have you done?

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7 Cosas que hacer antes de los 30 (o después)

1. Estar de fiesta 24 horas sin parar.

2. ¡Participar en una batalla de vino!

3. Hacer amig@s para toda la vida en un festival.

4. Ser soci@ de una peña.

5. Disfrutar de una comida popular.

6. Bailar con una charanga.

7. Ir a una fiesta vestid@ de blanco y con pañuelo.

¿Cuántas has hecho tú?

TOP SECRET – Homemade SANGRIA recipe

What’s more authentic in Spain than drinking a chilled sangría in a sunny terrace? It is the perfect drink for parties, gatherings, festivals, etc. Easy to prepare, fruity and refreshing! It has it all!

Oh yeah! Now that the warm weather is around the corner I thought it would be great to share my Top Secret SANGRIA recipe. I must admit there are as many sangrías as people making this refreshing summer drink. What’s the best about mine? Unlike most it does not contain added sugars!

THE INGREDIENTS for a 5 litres mix:

I am not willing to do advertising of any brand. I will just mention those I prefer to use in my recipe.

– RED WINE – any cheap Spanish one will do (3 bottles – 70cl – )

– SPIRITS & LIQUEURS (the quantity depends on the strengh and flavour we prefer):

  • Vodka
  • Dark Rum
  • Ponche Caballero
  • Cointreau
  • Passionfruit liqueur
  • Peach liqueur

– NATURAL ORANGE JUICE (squeezed directly from the oranges) – 70 cl –

– LEMONADE or LEMON & LIME refreshment – 2L –

– FRUITS (it depends on your preferences and the seasonal ones available):

  • Oranges (always)
  • Lemons (always)
  • Limes
  • Apples
  • Strawberries

THE MIXING:

1. Start with the spirits and liqueurs

  • Around 30 cl of Vodka
  • Around 20 cl of Dark Rum
  • Liqueurs approx 10 cl each

* You can always add more of any of the liqueurs and spirits at the end if necessary

2. Wash, slice and chop the fruits and add them

3. Add the red wine

4. Add the natural orange juice

5. Add the lemonade/lemon & lime refreshment and stir

6. Leave it to cool down (in the fridge or any place far from the sun)

HOW TO SERVE IT:

After the mix has rested for a while (1-2 hours) just serve with plenty of “ice ice baby”!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

“Salud”, cheers and drink responsibly!

TOP 10 Spanish Summer Festivals

Looking for a list of the best Spanish Festivals for summertime in Spain?  Here it is my TOP 10 with the pros and cons of each one of them!

10. SAN FERMIN (Pamplona)

Pros: Worldwide known and iconic Spanish Festival made famous by the novel “The sun also rises” from Ernest Hemingway. Distinctive events are the “txupinazo” (opening ceremony) and its bullruns.

Cons: Overcrowded and overpriced. Its popularity is also its own enemy and provokes the city to turn into chaos for a week.

9. SEMANA GRANDE / ASTE NAGUSIA (Bilbao)

Pros: Its “comparsas” / “konpartsak” are groups of citizens who get together to organise a variety of events during the week long festival. It is very “clean” (you pay a deposit for the plastic cups, that is returned to you when you give the cups back). Amazing way to experience the Basque culture: txistularis, concerts, pintxos, etc.

Cons: As any other big city’s festival it is pricy. Some may argue it is not a trully Spanish party as it takes place in the region of the “Basque Country” and sometimes (for instance during the opening ceremony) there are political arguments.

8. SAN LORENZO (Huesca)

Pros: The peñas (cultural associations) energize the popular Festivals of this city. The chupinazo (opening ceremony) means hundreds of litres of wine thrown and a firemen lorry watering down everyone present in the historical Cathedral Square. Its folkloric dancers also known as “los danzantes” are a centuries old tradition in this city located just South of the Pyrenees.

Cons: Huesca is not as well known as other festivals and most events may not be overly crowded.

7. TOMATINA (Bunyol)

Pros: Very well known celebration outside of the borders of Spain it means a lorry throwing hundreds of kilos of tomatoes in the streets of the Valencian town of Bunyol with everyone swimming on the red pulp and fighting with it.

Cons: Once again popularity has meant crowds collapsing the town and the village has started charging to enter the festival (arguably to subsidize the cleaning of the streets afterwards).

6. SAN JUANES (Soria)

Pros: A week long celebration with plenty of shows and events taking place. An opening ceremony in the evening, a pilgrimage to the neighbouring countriside to free a pack of bulls and spend the day in the hills, a day around the bullring wearing fancy dresses, plenty of processions and parades…

Cons: It is very complicated to find accommodation in the city (booked long in advance by regular visitors and the bands working during the festivals). Also the associations in the city are overcrowded and will not allow anyone to join their ranks, meaning a less authentic experience.

5. CIPOTEGATO (Tarazona)

Pros: A tomato throwing festival that starts at noon and where everyone is meant to hit a youngster from the town who is dressed up as a harlequin. It is a very cheap festival because it is not a big town.

Cons: The location of the town is off the beaten path and the public transport connections may seem a bit of a nightmare at first, but it is definitely worth the effort.

4. LA BATALLA DEL VINO (Haro)

Pros: Throwing wine at each other in a wine battle is real fun! When the whole population of the town goes to the surroundings of an isolated chapel it is trully an experience worth trying.

Cons: Haro is also a town away from the main tourism areas of Spain and is not easy to reach it with public transport. Moreover the wine fight takes place 6 km from the town, a way that you need to do walking (first carrying your ammunition in the shape of wine containers and on the way back soaking wet).

3. SANTA ANA (Tudela)

Pros: It takes place in the second biggest town in Navarre after Pamplona. There is also a “txupinazo” (opening ceremony), plenty of bullruns and events and it is much cheaper than Pamplona with less crowds and definitely perfect to experience the local food and traditions.

Cons: It may be hard to find services provided in English such as bars, hotels, shops or transport.

2. FERIA de Málaga

Pros: Perfect combination between sun, beach, traditions and Southern Spanish culture. The casetas are small tents built up in the “Recinto Ferial” (Fair grounds) located in the outskirts of town and very well connected with the city with public transport. Shows, singing, dancing and celebrating take place on a 24 hour basis.

Cons: It may be too hot during the days it takes place in August. Also the accommodation prices rise up during the high season and August is at the very peak of it.

1. VAQUILLAS (Teruel)

Pros: The peñas (cultural associations) organise each dozens of shows including concerts, meals, free bars, snacks, itinerant street bands, etc. The opening ceremony gathers thousands of people to see the statue of a “torico” (small bull) receive the red kerchief as the symbol of the festival. There are also rope-held bulls running in the streets and the famous “recortadores” (bull dribbling) contest

Cons: I have not been able to find any cons other than the small amount of accommodation available in town during the festival, making it very exclusive to make it to Teruel on the second weekend of July.

Do you agree with this list? Any other suggestions? Let me know! I’m looking forward to learning about any othe Spanish summer festivals.

From Madrid to Tarazona

This is a mini-find-your-way-guide about how to get from Madrid to Tarazona.

When you are planning a trip it is important to know where to go but also how to get there. I will try to share my personal experience and knowledge to help you get to the most awesome festivals in towns and cities all over Spain.

ARRIVING TO MADRID – the main locations you may arrive in Madrid are:

1- The airport (Barajas-Adolfo Suarez)

2- The Central Train Station (Atocha)

3- The Bus Station  South (Estación autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro)

Depending on our budget/prefrerences/arrival times we have two possibilities when travelling to Tarazona from Madrid.

Option 1: Highspeed train to Zaragoza or Tudela & then bus to Tarazona (fast and comfortable)

Option 2: Bus to Soria & then bus to Tarazona (cheapest option)

1. From Madrid Barajas to Tarazona’s bus Station

– Take “Cercanías C-1″ (short distance train) to Train Station “Madrid Atocha”

http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias/planos/madrid.html

– Take an AVE or an ALVIA (highspeed trains) to either Tudela or Zaragoza.

http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

– OPTION 1: Take a bus from “Zaragoza-Delicias” to “Tarazona Estación”

http://www.therpasa.es/

– OPTION 2: Take a bus from “Soria Estación” to “Tarazona Estación”

http://www.therpasa.es/

2. From Madrid Atocha to Tarazona’s bus Station

– Take an AVE or an ALVIA (highspeed trains) to either Tudela or Zaragoza.

http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

– OPTION 1: Take a bus from “Zaragoza-Delicias” to “Tarazona Estación”

http://www.therpasa.es/

– OPTION 2: Take a bus from “Soria Estación” to “Tarazona Estación”

http://www.therpasa.es/

3. From Madrid “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro” to Huesca’s bus Station

– Take “Cercanías C-1″ (short distance train) to Train Station “Madrid Atocha”

http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias/planos/madrid.html

– Take an AVE or an ALVIA (highspeed trains) to either Tudela or Zaragoza.

http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

– OPTION 1: Take a bus from “Zaragoza-Delicias” to “Tarazona Estación”

http://www.therpasa.es/

– OPTION 2: Take a bus from “Soria Estación” to “Tarazona Estación”

http://www.therpasa.es/

I hope this guide is helpful and if you have any queries feel free to ask.

“Toruel” – truth and legend

Who is not surprised by the stories around the name of their hometowns. Personally, I have always been amazed by how places names are chosen or by chance given. Who would say that Amsterdam was named after a dam built on the river Amstel? Or what would most people think if they realised that Edinburgh meant “smelly city”? My hometown “Calamocha” was in origin “Qalat-Musa” or Castle of Musa (a wealthy arab who held a fortress here in the Middle Ages).

But today I want to tell you the story about another place: TERUEL, or as it was known after its foundation: Toruel. “Toro” translates for bull in Spanish and shows the direct connection of this city with these animals.

In ancient times

When the phoenicians arrived to the region they named the river they went up “Tur-riar” and the peoples that inhabited the valley “Turboletas” due to the abundance of bulls in the area. Being an ancient settlement, Teruel’s foundations are surrounded by legends and there are multiple versions of its origins, but all of them share two elements: a bull and a star.

History tells us that to found a new city the King Alfonso II of Aragon appointed the nobles and priests who had helped him reconquer the region to seek for a favourable omen so that he could build an outpost in the borders of his kingdom in order to secure its frontiers.

The most popular legend tells us that on top of a hill there was a bull roaring to a very bright star and they founded the city in that place. Another version tells us that one of the nobles had dreamt about the bull and the star and that it was an angel who was holding the star on top of the bull.

Etymology

According to one of the theories, Teruel comes from “Toro” (bull) and “Actuel” (the name of the star the bull was roaring at) and evolved from: “Toroel” to “Toruel” to modern day “Teruel”.

The same place where the bull was found is today’s “El Torico” Square, the main one and most historical in town. Atop of a column there is a figure of a little bull (torico), that symbolises the foundations of the city.

Teruel has used the bull and the star as its main symbol ever since and appears in the city’s emblems, associations logos and sport clubs.

Teruel is a charming medieval city that even after being bombed to the ground during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is Unesco Heritage for its unique “Mudejar” art, done by muslims that stayed in the Christian Kingdom after the reconquest. Very special because of its use of brickwork and ceramic in churches, belfries and convents.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/378

Teruel honours its origins during its most important festivals: “Vaquillas” or “Las Fiestas del Ángel” that take place every year during the second weekend of July.

http://authenticspain.jimdo.com/the-fiestas/vaquillas/

If you want to know more about Teruel:

http://www.turismo.teruel.es/?lang=en_US

If you want to experience how is Teruel’s major Festival:

http://www.authenticspain.es/

I hope you enjoyed the reading! Feel free to share!

From Madrid to Huesca

This is a mini-find-your-way-guide about how to get from Madrid to Huesca.

When you are planning a trip it is important to know where to go but also how to get there. I will try to share my personal experience and knowledge to help you get to the most awesome festivals in towns and cities all over Spain.

ARRIVING TO MADRID – the main locations you may arrive in Madrid are:

1. The airport (Barajas-Adolfo Suarez)

2. The Central Train Station (Atocha)

3. The Bus Station  South (Estación autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro)

1. From Madrid Barajas to Huesca’s bus Station

– Go to the Bus Station from the airport in the Terminal 4.

– Take a bus to “Zaragoza-Delicias” Station (journey lasts 3:30 hr approximately)

http://www.alsa.es/

– Take a bus from “Zaragoza-Delicias” to Huesca  (journey lasts 1 hr approximately)

http://alosa.avanzabus.com/index.jsp

2. From Madrid Atocha to Huesca’s bus Station

– Take “Cercanías C-1″ (short distance train) to “Aeropuerto Madrid Barajas”

– Go to the Bus Station from the airport in the Terminal 4.

– Take a bus to “Zaragoza-Delicias” Station (journey lasts 3:30 hr approximately)

http://www.alsa.es/

– Take a bus from “Zaragoza-Delicias” to Huesca  (journey lasts 1 hr approx)

http://alosa.avanzabus.com/index.jsp

3. From Madrid “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro” to Huesca’s bus Station

– Take “Cercanías C-1″ (short distance train) to “Aeropuerto Madrid Barajas”

– Go to the Bus Station from the airport in the Terminal 4.

– Take a bus to “Zaragoza-Delicias” Station (journey lasts 3:30 hr approximately)

http://www.alsa.es/

– Take a bus from “Zaragoza-Delicias” to Huesca  (journey lasts 1 hr approximately)

http://alosa.avanzabus.com/index.jsp

I hope this guide is helpful and if you have any queries feel free to ask.

From Madrid to Tudela

This is a mini-find-your-way-guide about how to get from Madrid to Tudela.

When you are planning a trip it is important to know where to go but also how to get there. I will try to share my personal experience and knowledge to help you get to the most awesome festivals in towns and cities all over Spain.

ARRIVING TO MADRID – the main locations you may arrive in Madrid are:

1. The airport (Barajas-Adolfo Suarez)

2. The Central Train Station (Atocha)

3. The Bus Station  South (Estación autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro)

1. From Madrid Barajas to Tudela’s bus Station

– Take a bus to the Terminal 4 and follow the signs towards the BUS Station.

– You may buy the tickets in advance at:

http://www.alsa.es/

2. From Madrid Atocha to Tudela’s bus Station

– Take “Cercanías C-1″ (short distance train) to “Aeropuerto Madrid Barajas”

http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias/planos/madrid.html

– Take a bus to the Terminal 4 and follow the signs towards the BUS Station.

– You may buy the tickets in advance at:

http://www.alsa.es/

3. From Madrid “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro” to Tudela’s bus Station

– Take “Cercanías C-1″ (short distance train) to “Aeropuerto Madrid Barajas”

http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias/planos/madrid.html

– Take a bus to the Terminal 4 and follow the signs towards the BUS Station.

– You may buy the tickets in advance at:

http://www.alsa.es/

I hope this guide is helpful and if you have any queries feel free to ask.

“Charanga”? What’s that?

What’s a Charanga? If you thought street bands were just buskers or formal local bands playing and marching in parades, you have not seen a Charanga yet. It is something like this:

In many Spanish Festivals (mostly in the Northern regions) we created our own Festival street bands! Yeah! Small musical bands playing wind and percussion instruments (including: drums, trumpets, saxophones, trombones, etc.).

But music is meant to be listented to. Have a look at how do they sound in action:

Most of the time charangas play popular songs, but also versions of recent hits, usually with simple rhythms and including provocative lyrics. They play while they are moving around the streets of the town and usually interact with their public making them sing along, sit down, jump and much more.

This is a great example entertaining the crowds in a bullring:

In many cases, charangas are the very best animation while going from one event to another in a different location. For instance, they usually go on route from the peñas (cultural associations) to the main square for the chupinazo (opening ceremony), the bullring, etc.

See this parade in my hometown. Can’t you feel the happiness?

Historical box:

Did you know that the charangas as we know them have not been around for longer than 70 years.

Prior to the current charangas there were “dulzaineros”, “gaiteros”, “txistularis” (meaning pipers or bagpipers) that played popular songs accompanied by a drummer. In many areas of Spain you can still find them (especially in the regions of Cantabria, Asturias, Basque country and Navarre).

Expo2000-03

I hope you liked this post!

If so, please feel free to share!

From Madrid to Teruel

This is a mini-find-your-way-guide about how to get from Madrid to Teruel.

When you are planning a trip it is important to know where to go but also how to get there. I will try to share my personal experience and knowledge to help you get to the most awesome festivals in towns and cities all over Spain.

ARRIVING TO MADRID – the main locations you may arrive in Madrid are:

1. The airport (Barajas-Adolfo Suarez)

2. The Central Train Station (Atocha)

3. The Bus Station  South (Estación autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro)

1. From Madrid Barajas to Teruel’s bus Station

– Take “Cercanías C-1” (short distance train) to “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro”

http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias/planos/madrid.html

– Then you will need to take a bus from “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro” to Teruel (there are services three times a day) It takes between 4-5 hours.

http://samar.es/

2. From Madrid Atocha to Teruel’s bus Station

– Take a “Cercanías” (short distance train), either C-5 towards Fuenlabrada-Humanes or C-7/C-10 towards Príncipe Pío. It is just one stop and you will arrive to the “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro”

http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias/planos/madrid.html

– Then you will need to take a bus from “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro” to Teruel (there are services three times a day) It takes between 4-5 hours.

http://samar.es/

3. From Madrid “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro” to Teruel’s bus Station

– You just need to take a bus from “Estación de Autobuses Sur-Mendez Alvaro” to Teruel (there are services three times a day) It takes between 4-5 hours.

http://samar.es/

I hope this guide is helpful and if you have any queries feel free to ask.