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Spain Travel News 03/11/2011


    Two ounces of home-grown Spanish gold—what a treasure! Nothing illicit here—I’m talking about saffron. I grew the precious spice in big flower pots from bulbs brought from La Mancha (central Spain), saffron’s home ground.

    The flower is a type of crocus– crocus sativus. These crocuses appear, not in the spring, but just in time for Halloween.

    Saffron, the spice, consists of the dried stigmas of the small, mauve-colored, autumn-blooming crocus. The plant originated in the Middle East and was introduced into Spain by the Moors in the ninth century. Saffron became the flavor of status in medieval cuisine. It has been grown in Spain’s central La Mancha region ever since.

  • ETA military chief arrested in France

    The presumed military chief of Basque terrorists ETA, Alejandro Zoborán Arriola, known as ‘Xarla’ has been arrested in France in a joint operation between French and Spanish security forces.

    The operation was carried out in Beaulencourt in the north of the country and remains open, with the police trying to identify another three detainees. It seems the French security services had the group under surveillance for some days, after receiving a tip-off from a neighbour about four individuals behaving suspiciously.

  • BEYOND MADRID: A knight in Siguenza

    Last weekend, and in celebration of David's tenureship, we spent the night in the Parador at Siguenza. The hotel is a medieval castle from the 12th century and a makes a really atmospheric getaway for a wintry weekend; suits of armour and stone fireplaces aplenty. One of the best places to eat in the town also happens to be the parador where we had roast suckling pig (cochinillo) and migas

  • That’s Smokin’! Las Fallas Fire Fest in Valencia

    Burn baby burn! Where’s the best place on earth for pyromaniacs to go each March? Why Valencia, of course! There are some crazy fiestas in Spain….running with bulls, throwing tomatoes, eating BBQ onions…but none perhaps as whacky as Las Fallas, which should be on your, “10 Things to See before I Croak” list.

  • New energy-saving measures to save Spain 2.3bn euros

    A GREEN revolution has been introduced in a bid to cut back on the country’s crippling energy bill.
    A raft of 20 energy-saving measures are hoped to save the country a total of 2.3bn euros in fuel bills.
    The measures announced by the government mark the strongest response in Europe to the increase in oil prices caused by the current crisis in the Middle East.
    The most high profile measure is the reduction in the motorway speed limit from 120 to 110 kilometres per hour that came into force this week.

  • Hola Valencia’s Top Five: Day Trips

    With our impending 3-month trip to Asturias coming ever closer, we thought it’d be a good time to look back on our years here, and compile some “Best Of” lists. We’ll start with Day Trips. As is always the case when creating lists, we’ve had to leave a lot of great things out… but these are our favorites. In the next few days, we’ll be publishing more Top Fives!
    The city of Valencia offers enough diversion for any length of trip, but it’s worthwhile to get out and see some of the other incredible spots which are nearby. We took a lot of day trips during our time here, but these are the five which we enjoyed the most, in no particular order.

  • Traveling Off-Season to the Algarve, Portugal

    With last weekend being a 3-day weekend in Andalucía, Spain thanks to “Andalucía Day” I made my winter escape across the border to the Algarve region in Portugal. I made the same trip last year and loved the area so much, I couldn’t wait to return. What’s so enchanting about the Algarve? For me, it’s the white-washed buildings, the jagged red cliffs characteristic on the beaches, the hospitable people and the relatively cheap costs compared to the rest of Western Europe.

  • 5 fascinating facts about Nerja

    Nerja is a seaside town on the eastern part of the Costa del Sol, the stretch between Malaga and Granada province's Costa Tropical. This part of the coast is less developed than the Marbella area, and Nerja itself is still relatively unspoiled. It has a famous viewing platform, the tree-lined Balcon de Europa, looking out over the Mediterranean, and some renowned fiestas.

  • Flamenco in Madrid

    This is a wonderful place to see/hear flamenco. We went on a Monday night and saw a really dynamic bunch of performers. Great musicians, passionate singers, and crazy fast dancing!
    A 32 Euro entry fee will reserve you a seat at a tiny table, and includes a drink. There is a very traditional Spanish menu of tapas/raciones, and drinks are reasonably priced.
    The seating is cramped and small, so if you are heavily pregnant, it might not be the most comfortable couple of hours.

  • Sitges Carnaval Barcelona 2011 – photos from SuiteLife

    Last week was the Sitges Carnaval, and I had a great time during the Carnival there! The Sitges Carnaval took place in a small town called Sitges, right next to Barcelona. Sitges Carnaval started on March 3rd and finished on March 9th, 2011. To join the Sitges Carnaval, it was totally free. SuiteLife published an article about the Sitges Carvanal several days ago: Sitges Carnal Barcelona – “The wildest fiestas in all of Spain”. I was so excited after reading it, so I decided to join the Sitges Carnaval 2011.
    All the following photos from Sitges Carnaval are taken by Charlotte from SuiteLife. If you are interested in Barcelona photos, there’s another blog about photography in Sitges: Photos of Barcelona, Spain.