Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fiesta de Lamprea - Galicia's fish festival

Finding the right fiesta in Spain is a question of being in the right place at the right time. This weekend the options were out in numbers. From the opening of the Seville Feria to Sant Jordi in Barcelona. But Galicia was not to be left out of the action. The annual Fiesta de Lamprea (Lamprey fair) was held and the organizers this year were hoping for even more than the record 25,000 visitors from last year's event.

Held in the Rias Baixas region, the festival's star is the lamprey, a strong-flavored fish which is not the first that comes to mind when you think of Spanish seafood. Nonetheless, every year thousands gather to enjoy a wide variety of traditional dishes. The festival is held every year in the end of April.

For more information on festivals in Spain or for information on which festivals you might enjoy when you visit Spain contact The Spanish Touch.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A romantic outing in Barcelona

The Spanish Touch is pleased to announce that starting in 2010 we will be offering a unique "Romantic Barcelona" day tour. This one-day package includes a visit to the city center, and an afternoon cruise on a yacht through the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean. Your day starts with a pickup at the hotel and includes the opportunity to watch the sunset from the sea, followed by dinner reservations in one of Barcelona's most romantic restaurants!

For more information regarding this package, contact The Spanish Touch and we will be glad to arrange your personal romantic day in Barcelona.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spain's open arms helping stranded travelers

In light of the massive mess that has spread throughout Europe over the last week, Spain has risen to the occassion. As a southern country, Spain, like Portugal and Italy, has largely avoided the horrors of mass airport closings. And as such, cities like Madrid and Barcelona are offering travelers a way out. For many travelers, getting to Spain means completing the first (and often most difficult) step in getting back to their homes.

With the prospects of the chaos finally clearing, life might soon return to normal. But more than a few have taken advantage of Spain's most recent display of its famed hospitality and The Spanish Touch would like to take a momet to thank the Spanish again for once more rising to the occasion and helping thousands of people return home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sant Jordi Festivity (Saint George) in Catalonia Part II: The legend of Saint George

Once upon a time there was a dragon in the town of Montblanc (Tarragona), a very ferocious monster that could run, fly, swim and killed lots of animals and people of the town and around the area. People from Montblanc reached the following agreement: they would give, by drawing lots, a person every day to the dragon to calm down its hunger. The pact seemed to work for a long time until it reached the turn of the princess to be eaten by the terrible dragon. All the citizens of Montblanc were very sad for the young princess and some of them offered their lives to prevent the death of the beautiful and delicate lady. But the king was determined to sacrifice his daughter the same way other parents needed to sacrifice their children. The poor girl walked towards the lake where the dragon was living, and was prepared to die when a knight, dressed in armour and riding a white horse, stopped her on her way to be eaten. The knight was Sant Jordi and, getting off the horse, caught the dragon by its neck and gave it to the princess who brought it to the main square of Montblanc and the dragon was finally killed by all people of the town. The legend tells that dragon's blood turned into a beautiful red rose.

Sant Jordi Festival (Saint George) in Catalonia Part I

Sant Jordi is one of my favorite festivals of the year. It takes place on almost every street of the different cities and towns around Catalonia on the 23rd of April. Some people call it the Catalan Saint Valentine's Day, but it is very different. Usually men have to give a rose to their partners and women give a book, but in fact, men give roses to "the women of their lifes" and that can include their partner, mother, sister ... even a friend, and the same for the women. In Barcelona the streets fill with impromptu book stands and flower stalls, and everyone comes out to enjoy the festive and colorful atmosphere! Let me show you some pictures of the Sant Jordi Festivity to better understand what I am talking about.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Malaga film festival

This week marks the 13th annual "Festival de Cine en Español" (Spanish-language Film Festival) in Malaga. Designed to raise the profile of Spanish-speaking cinema, this year's festival takes place from April 17 - 24 in the capital of the Costa Del Sol, and origin of Spain's most prominent ex-pat, Antonio Banderas. The films are being shown in various cinemas and theaters around Malaga, including some wonderful settings such as the Teatro Cervantes, Museu Picasso and the University of Malaga. In the ever-popular Plaza de la Merced you can find the Zonazine. It promises to be a fun and exciting week in Malaga!

For more information about the Festival or things to do in Malaga, contact The Spanish Touch.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Feria de Abril - Seville's April Fair

Nowadays, all Spain celebrates the "Feria de Abril" (April Fair), but we can find its origins in Seville (Andalusia) and it is still the best city to go if you want to really enjoy and live what a real "Feria de Abril" is. Basically, the fair is a collection of stands and attractions that wants to celebrate the andalusian culture and traditions. Usually it always takes place in the same spot and a big gate indicates the entrance to the fair. The gate itself is one of the most popular attractions.

The beginning of the fair is two weeks after Easter and is marked by spectacular fireworks and the lighting of the gate and entrance to the fair ("El alumbrao"). This year the Fair will begin on April 20th and will end on April 25th.

During the "Feria de Abril" you can see all sort of Andalusian traditions such as the typical flamenco and sevillana outfits, carriages all around the premises, lots of music, good wine and food ...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Picasso: the artist most forged and stolen by organized crime

I was reading the newspaper today when I saw that title: "Picasso, the artist most forged and stolen by organized crime". I didn' t know that!

According to Noah Charney, a renowned expert in crime and works of art, stealing and forging "Picassos" started to become a fashion between 1960 and 1961. The interest of mafia started thanks to TV when it was reported that Picasso and Cézanne were the two most valued artists in the stock market. But Picasso is not the only Spanish artist targeted by the organized crime. Sadly, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró are very popular in these circles, too.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"La Sardana", the Catalan traditional dance

I am from Barcelona and yes, the Sardana it is part of my roots, part of my culture, part of what I am ... but I must admit that I learned once how to dance it and I don't remember. In my defence I will say that I was very young when, at school, a teacher showed us. It is one of the things I have to learn before I die. Every Sunday at 12:00, next to the Cathedral of Barcelona, you can see the "dançaires" (Sardana dancers) and you can also see Sardanes on special ocasions (Saint George Day, September 11th, etc.). People from various ages, hand-in-hand, making a circle and dancing. Sounds a bit strange, doesn't it?

The origins of Sardana are unknown. One more unknown to add to the list of great mysteries in Spain ... Lots of theories but nobody knows for sure.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A night with Picasso

The Picasso Museum in Malaga offered a special evening with live music and a guided visit of the museum, Saturday April 10. The art collection of Malaga's most famous native son - born in a house just around the corner in the Plaza de la Merced on October 25, 1881 - is hosted by the 16th century Palacio de Buenavista in the city center. The museum, opened in October 2003, has paintings and drawings from the artist from his teenage years through to the early 1970s.

For more information about The Spanish Touch, tours of Malaga including the Natal House and the Picasso Museum, contact us here.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Barcelona's MNAC opens its archives

Starting from next Friday, April 16, Barcelona's MNAC (Museu Nacional de Art de Catalunya) is opening its storerooms to the public for a limited time and only with advanced purchase. The Museum, celebrating its 75 anniverary, is offering guided tours on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings for small groups of up to 15 people. The museum is housed in a renaissance style Palace designed for the 1929 International Exposition on Montjuic. Directly in front of the palace are the Magic Fountains, also designed for the 1929 Fair.

Contact The Spanish Touch for more information on the MNAC and other sites in Montjuic (Joan Miro Museum, Olympic Stadium, Greek Theater).

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Catalan gastronomy gets a Harvard Education

Starting in September, students at the world's most prestigious university will be able to study the fascinating and complex world of Catalan cuisine. Harvard University and the Fundació Alícia have worked together to bring the "Science and Cooking" project to fruition. The course, led by 6 of Catalonia's most most innovative and respected chefs will lead the course on science and cooking. Catalan cooking, led by Ferran Adria, has been at the head of the scientific revolution in the kitchen, and now Adria, along with 6 Catalan chefs(including Carme Ruscalleda, Joan Roca and Carles Rovira) will work side by side with American chefs utilizing the scientific facilities of Harvard.

While the course is open to students of Harvard, the chefs and their creations can be found in Catalonia, and The Spanish Touch can help you organize a visit to these wonderful, innovative restaurants and see firsthand the fruits of these chefs forays into the world of science and cooking.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"Las Fallas 2010", Valencia. Some pictures

Here you have some pictures of "Las Fallas 2010" in Valencia. Enjoy them!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Garnatxa Festival

It's spring time, and maybe not the time traditionally associated with wine festivals, but for the people in the Emporda region in Catalonia it's been a time to celebrate for the last 13 years. April 2 and 3, in the town of Gairguelles the region's best winemakers and local chefs celebrate with samples of the superb red, Garnatxa, and a local delicacy known as Brunyols, which is traditionally eaten at festival times such as Semana Santa. Activities include an open wine tasting competition and Sardanas dances in the evening. The Spanish Touch will be on hand to witness the celebration, and with the springtime in full bloom it promises to be a wonderful experience.