Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

 
 

Madrid – one of the best-looking cities in Europe!

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

Madrid is an explosion of sights and sounds, glorious experiences and food on a par with the best in the world. This beautiful city is so chock-full of things to see and do I hope you have at least a week up your sleeve!

Start your journey in a late night flamenco bar; listen to the castanets, watch the swirling silk and drink in the rhythms of the guitars – you’ll be hooked! It’s much better live and Madrid abounds in Flamenco Bars. Some are better quality than most and the one to watch out for is Casa Patas (C/Cañizares 10, Lavapiés). Every night is party night in Madrid and flamenco will start you off as you should continue – stamp and clap like a local, consume vast quantities of sangria and enjoy yourself!

Enjoy some local vermouth (not as you know it) alongside tapas on a Sunday afternoon. The Madrid version of vermouth is made from sweet white wine blended with herbs, flowers, fruit peel, seeds and plants, with ice and a slice and is drunk as an aperitif.

Are you a shoe fanatic? Blessed be the gods – Madrid is a world-class manufacturer of women’s shoes. Search out the best of the seconds shops in Augusto Figueroa, in the heart of Chueca and spend up large for more things your wardrobe doesn’t need.

The museums of Madrid are in every guidebook but for our money you simply can’t miss Guernica, in the Museo Reina Sofía. It’s one of Picasso’s finest works and is stunning on a visual sense, a context sense and a historical sense. It is a ‘must see’ in Madrid.

 

If it’s the magic of Europe you’re after…

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

…then Madrid is your town. Many visitors to Europe do the big 3 – Rome, Paris and London, but in our humble opinion, Spain offers a vastly exciting experience that covers not only history, but culture and food.

Just an afternoon’s walk in front of the Royal Palace (in the equally beautiful Plaza de Oriente square) will convince you that European history is alive and well (as it were). It’s the largest palace in Western Europe and was designed to accommodate more than 3000 courtiers in the court of Filipe V in 1737. The palace itself contains furniture, tapestries, paintings and ceramics as well as other important works of art and frescos by Tiépolo. Velázquez, Goya, Giordano and more and is open almost year round except for official ceremony days.

You must see the Madrid Cathedral (started in 1883 and only completed in 1993) and conveniently, it’s close to the Royal Palace. And after a day of history, we recommend a bit culture, Madrid style! Flamenco rules here and you’ll find it in street bars and restaurants. Normally you would go for an evening meal to one of these places, and listen to the music afterwards.

The best flamenco in Madrid can be seen at the Corral de la Moreria “tablao” flamenco restaurant. The food is great as well and you’ll see Madrid at its best. If that’s not your style, look out for tapas – a Spanish staple and found almost everywhere. After a day’s walk, a cold beer and selection of tapas is one of life’s great pleasures!
Madrid is cool, Madrid is fun, Madrid is magic!

 

Barcelona home of the Olympic games, city of food and culture!

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

The home of the 1992 Olympics and a rich canvas for the architectural treasures of Gaudi (now UNESCO world heritage sites) and the 15th ‘most liveable city’ in the world, Barcelona is a tourist mecca; a bright harbour city, a night life to rival NYC and a variety of city-based tours to entertain all.
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers. Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is an enclave of mediaeval and Roman buildings.
The real treasures of Barcelona, however, are the buildings of Antoni Gaudí, which can be seen throughout the city. His best known work is the immense but still unfinished church of the Sagrada Família, which has been under construction since 1882, and is still financed by private donations. It’s slated for completion in 2026.
Other things to do? Food! Spanish food is exquisite, and because it’s close to the sea, the seafood in Barcelona is fresh and beautiful. Tapas is particularly good around Barceloneta, this was originally a fishing village and there are still many quaint little local places where you can get fresh seafood tapas for good prices.