Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Mexican Suitcase - Spanish Civil War photos

For anyone interested in photography, there is currently a fascinating display of Spanish Civil War photographs on display at the International Center of Photography in New york, now through January 9. The photos, taken by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David Seymour between 1936-1939 throughout Spain, represent some of the first and best images of the at-that-time New wartime photography. After the war, some 4,500 negatives were supposed to be shipped in boxes to the US, but only made it recently. When the exhibit finishes, the photographs will be sent to a museum in Barcelona.

Spain on Strike - Traveler advisory

For all those people who are in Spain today, please do no be alarmed: the General Strike in Spain is a one-day affair, and despite the congestion and store closings as a result of the striking unions protests of the new labor law, there are still plenty of things to do everywhere. However, it is worth noting that you may find getting a restaurant reservation or even a taxi more complicated, and you should plan for extra time. And once again, the strike is only one day, so tomorrow everything should return to normal.

Friday, September 24, 2010

200 years of Las Cortes

Today the King and Queen of Spain took an important trip to the island town of San Fernando in Cadiz. It's a small town that is often overlooked, but it played one of the most important parts in the history of modern Spain. 200 years ago today the first meeting of the Royal courts, las Cortes, which culminated in the constitution of 1812. The king and Queen participated in a recreation and tribute to the town and the ideas that originated 200 years ago and many of which still effect Spanish society today. The celebration was complete with recreation by theater groups and a parade.

For more information or to include a private guided visit to San Fernando on your next tour of Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Festival of the Merced - Barcelona's big party

This Friday, September 24 is the festival of the Merce, Barcelona's patron saint. The whole city will be out to celebrate, as only Barcelona can. And this year, since it falls on a Friday, the celebration goes on all weekend long! Along side the traditional festival events like live music, street performances and fireworks, there will also be a number of 100% pure Catalan elements such as the Castellers, Sardanas and Correfocs.

the celebration starts tonight at 7:45 with a parade through to the main square of Sant Jaume and continues until late on Sunday evening. This is truly a unique opportunity to get in touch with the culture and the people, and The Spanish Touch will be glad to help plan and arrange your private guided tour.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mushrooms in the Mountains

As we enter into the fall season, the leaves turn, there's a nip in the air, and the sweater's come out at night. And course, once more we find ourselves in the forest, not looking up at the leaves but looking down, searching for that staple of Fall gastronomy: the mushroom. The weekend's activities for many people in and around Barcelona involves a very early morning trip up to the mountain. It's not uncommon to arrive at 6:30 in the forest of Berga to discover that there are already a collection of these mushroom seekers, called Boletaires. And fear not, among the many varieties there are some poisonous, but you can always take an expert guide, and go to the local restaurant where they will take the mushrooms you spent all morning picking and create a meal for you!

For more information on this or to include a private guided tour during your next trip to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Monday, September 20, 2010

San Sebastian Film Festival

The 58th annual San Sebastian Film Festival  kicked off last weekend with all the glamor that accompanies one of the most important film festivals in all of Europe. The plethora of festivities and activities keep one of Spain's most beautiful cities moving all week. From now until the 25th of September catch all the flitz and glamor, and take the chance while you're at it to take in one of the truly overlooked gems of the Spanish coast!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Even on a rainy day - Modernista Barcelona

I admit that when I woke up this morning and saw the lightning flashes and heard the thunder, I got a bit apprehensive for the upcoming tour. I love Barcelona, and I love showing people the wonders of the Modernista world in Barcelona, but doing it in the rain can make things complicated sometimes. Fortunately the weather held, and even when it rained it waited until we were inside or in the car. As we started the private tour at the Sagrada Familia, the weather cleared enough to really appreciate the facades. This morning the contruction in the church was really in full swing as they prepare for the upcoming visit from the Pope. As we left we shared the observation that for some reason visitors for years overlooked wonders like the Sagrada Familia. It always makes me feel good to be able to share Spain with people. Even Park Guell was nice, they even got the chance to sit on the benches (which weren't wet, surprisingly enough!). Finally we took a walk along the Passeig de Gracia, stopped for a coffee at the Torres Vinoteca and paid a visit to the Palau de la Musica Catalana. All in all a good introduction to the world of Catalan Modernisme. And again, thanks to the Blooms for making my job so much fun.

For more information or to learn more about Modernisme on your next trip to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A walk through the vineyards

This Sunday I hope to be joining Mas Comtal, one of the local wineries of the Penedés, as we take a hike through the history-steeped hills and vineyards of the region. The approximately 4-mile walk will take us from the winery to the Monastary of San Sebastian de Gorgs, a national historical site. Along the way learn about the region, its history and its future from the people who know most about it: the winemakers.

To find out more about walking routes or to visit a winery on your next trip to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Girona's kabblalistic Jewish Heritage

About an hour north of Barcelona is the city of Girona. The city's 2000 year history includes Roman walls and ruins, a spectacular 11th century tower and a bridge built by a French firm named Eiffel. But one of the most intriguing reasons to visit is the old Jewish Quarter, the Call. Located right in the heart of Girona's old medieval city, the Jewish Quarter was once one of the most important in all of Spain, and was home to the Rabbi Moses Ben Nahman (also known as Nahmanides). Many of the most important Kabbalistic works of the middle ages were written in Girona. Nowadays the Centre Bonastruc Ça Porta hosts one of the best Jewish Heritage museums in Spain.

For more information or to include a visit to Girona on your next trip to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Day (Tour) to Remember

On Friday I had the pleasure of taking the Bellos's around Barcelona. It was a full-day private guided tour of Barcelona, and we really made the most of the day. Highlights of the day included the Picasso Museum, La Boqueria Market (with accompanying sample of Horchata!) and La Sagrada Familia. It was a treat to be able to work with them, and I want to thank them for making my job so easy! Visit The Spanish Touch soon for more pictures from the day tour.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sitges - more than a beach town

Located just south of Barcelona, Sitges has long been known as a great vacation town, with wonderful beaches, a lively, festive atmosphere and a great selection of restaurants. And all of this is, of course, true. But for the discerning visitor, Sitges is so much more. Originally a fishing village, the town earned recognition for being the birthplace of Modernisme, home to two of Modernisme's most important figures: Santiago Rusiñol and Ramon Casas. In fact, Rusiñol's house is now a museum, and definitely worth a visit. Also worth a look are the cementery and some of the spectacular Americano houses, built by Catalans who had gone to the new world to make their fortune, and then returned to Sitges to live.

The town's reputation for festivals is well deserved as well: in addition to local festivals, there are international film festivals, concerts, and a plethora of activities for people of all ages.

For more information or to include a private guided tour to Sitges on your next trip to Spain, contact The Spanish Touch