You’ll want to visit the places you’ll be reading about in Spain Destinations. They’re every bit as charming and irresistible as the writers say! Besides, you won’t have any problems getting there; they’ll tell you how.
If you are not careful, you’ll miss spring in Spain altogether and spend most of your life wondering how you did it. It’s not hard, because the meteorological border is pretty indefinite; one day it is a dull, cold, rainy winter day and POW… suddenly it’s summer. There are ways to catch it though, and it all depends on how much attention you pay and where you are in the very changeable land of Spain.
During my thirty years as a TWA flight attendant, I spent many a layover at the Hotel Plaza. Whether coming off a new Boeing 707 in the sixties, the whale-sized 747 in the eighties or a sleek 767 in the nineties, the Plaza was my home away from home. The hotel was nestled inside the Edificio España, wrapped in a cozy cocoon of cafeterias, bars, restaurants and watering holes that catered to all tastes. There always seemed to be fruit floating in the water of the pool in the top floor from someone's sangria. And once in a while, a naked Maja was seen running across the balcony chased by a Don Juan Tenorio.
Although some passages in his book are dated, they make us realize what hardships The Original Tourist endured in roughing it on horseback across torrid plains and hostile mountains. Much has changed since Ford's day, but among the trifles of which he wrote so well remains unaltered today. "Gatherings from Spain" is more than an extraordinary eye-witness report on Spain in the early 19th century; it is more than a travelogue teeming with adventure and erudition; it is an honest record of a remarkable Englishman's reactions to a country he described as "the most romantic, racy, and peculiar of Europe, which hovers between Europe and Africa, between civilization and barbarity".
Rich with racy flavour, "Gatherings from Spain" is the earliest comprehensive account of Spanish travels that exists in English, written by Richard Ford, the master of vivid description of the country, Spain, that he loves so deeply, and the singular people who are "scarcely European living on a neutral ground between the hat and the turban". With characteristic zestful perspicacity, Ford would underscore above others the "Orientalness" of the Spaniards.
George Borrow: "How the rage for scribbling tempts people to write about lands and nations of which they know nothing! Vaya! It is not from having seen a bullfight at Seville or Madrid, or having spent a handful of ounces at a posada that you are competent to write about such a people as the Spaniards, and to tell the world how they think, how they speak, and how they act." But there was one, an erudite traveler, Englishman Richard Ford, who did justice to the endeavor. Living in southern Spain for three years and traveling across the peninsula on horseback, he wrote "Handbook on Spain" in 1845 and the even more riveting and timeless "Gatherings from Spain" published the following year and proved immensely popular.
The April Fair is one of the most internationally popular festivals in Spain. It started out as a livestock fair but over the years it became more of a festive event which gained extraordinary fame worldwide due to its unique color, splendor, pageantry, equestrian displays, horse-drawn carriages and flamenco dancing at all hours. Hundreds of casetas (colorfully decorated tents) are set up in the fairgrounds. There is music, dancing, delicious food and drink practically round the clock. And then of course there are the bullfight festejos of top matadors at the La Maestranza.
Somehow it’s comforting that on its 42nd edition, FITUR (Feria Internacional de Turismo) went ahead and held a real people-with-people trade fair instead of a disheartening virtual. This sends a clear message that tourism must not remain grounded but must instead learn to coexist with safety protocols in a world of new normal. Head-on, it has met the challenge of reinstating tourism as a key engine for economic development in the aftermath of the pandemic. For the purpose, the organizers had envisioned a robust and decisive fair, one that generates trust and optimism in the sector.
Sanlúcar was chosen by INFUR the new Spanish Capital of Gastronomy for 2022, turning the charming city of Cadiz into the leading gastronomical platform in Spain for next year. The beauty of the city and its rich delicacies were not the only reasons for its selection, as the year 2022 will mark the celebration of the Fifth Centenary of the First Circumnavigation of the Globe by Magellan and Elcano. Who can ask for more?
In the Spain of the post-Franco era, secularism has been steadily gaining ground. One might say, at an alarming rate. Then why, despite the steady waning of Catholicism, are the belenes (Nativity scenes) still profoundly popular in Spain? Read on and find out!