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Game of Thrones - Boosting Andalusia's Tourism

by John Bascombe on Thursday, May 21, 2015

It seems like Game of Thrones fever has even gripped Spain's political world. During his first trip to the European Union since his succession to the throne the Spanish king, Felipe VI, was presented with a box set of the GoT series by the Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. In October 2014, GoT started filming in Spain using Andalusia as the setting for parts of its fifth series. In a previous blog post we talked about the locations used and about how the filming in Spain will put Spanish cities such as Seville on the world map. In this article I want to talk in more detail about this second point looking at how Spain's tourist industry and society have benefited from the arrival of this fantasy series to their towns and cities… read more »

Death Road - El Camino de la Muerte

by John Bascombe on Thursday, May 14, 2015

The World's Most Dangerous Road Several websites have released lists of the roads that they consider to be the most dangerous in the world. Routes in many different countries including China's Guoliang Tunnel Road and the Trans-Siberian Highway in Russia are often mentioned. However, among all of the roads around the world, one stands out as particularly treacherous. It constantly features on the aforementioned countdowns and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank christened it as the “world's most dangerous road.” Its name is the North Yungas Road but it is commonly known by its nickname Death Road (el Camino de la Muerte). In this article we will answer the following questions: Who built it? Why is it so dangerous? Do people still use it? And finally, is there an alternative if you do not want to put your life on the line?… read more »

Curious Non-traditional Sports in Spain

by John Bascombe on Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spain is famous for its strong soccer traditions, particularly after its national team clinched the coveted world cup title in 2010. But fútbol isn’t the country’s only sport; Pau Gasol has slam dunked his way to Spanish basketball greatness, Rafa Nadal has brought great attention to Spain via the tennis court, Ogruu is the father of jugger in Spain, and the Barcelona Eagles competed in the 2013 European Quidditch tournament the “Brussels Muscles Invitational”. Indeed, the European Quidditch tournament. Spain’s also got athletes passionately competing in many decidedly off beat and obscure sports , some of which we’ll take a candid look at below… read more »

Talent Shows in Spain

by John Bascombe on Thursday, April 16, 2015

When discussing the topic of talent shows in Spain, perhaps our thoughts turn to international franchises such as Masterchef or La Voz . However, this article will aim to go back to the beginning of this television genre in Spain looking at its origins, its development and its success nowadays… read more »

Role Models in the Spanish-Speaking World

by John Bascombe on Thursday, April 09, 2015

Nowadays there are many admirable, famous figures in the world who as well as leading successful careers have helped and are helping to make a real difference in our everyday society whether it be by campaigning for the protection of the environment orby fighting against poverty, homelessness or other social injustices. Perhaps when we think about great role models our thoughts turn to people such as the late Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, or even Richard Branson,the founder of Virgin Group, for his charity Virgin Unite. However, what about in the Spanish-speaking world ? Are there any Hispanic figures whose examples we should seek to emulate? This article will aim to look at just a handful of the Hispanics who are trying to change the world for the better, examining the initiatives they have carried out and are carrying out to help people less fortunate than themselves and to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems… read more »

Spain's Peace Efforts

by John Bascombe on Thursday, March 26, 2015

National and International Peace Efforts In March 2015 the Royal Mint of Spain announced the release of a series of collector’s coins to celebrate “70 years of peace in Europe” with the obverse showing a bust of the new king Don Felipe VI.  However it is the reverse of the coin showing a dove with an olive branch which we want to focus on. To what extent has Spain made an effort to embrace, spread and work towards the concept represented by this universal symbol? This article aims to answer this question by looking at some of the different Spanish initiatives, institutions and paintings which are and were dedicated to promoting and spreading both national and international peace… read more »

Cork Production in Spain

by John Bascombe on Thursday, March 19, 2015

Versión española abajo … read more »

Jazz in Spain: From the Golden Age to Nowadays

by John Bascombe on Thursday, March 12, 2015

Versión española abajo … read more »

What's Wrong With Spanish Cinema?

by John Bascombe on Thursday, March 05, 2015

Spanish cinema has just had its best year ever with record attendance and box office earnings. So what can go wrong? With films like Spanish Affair and El Niño generating millions at the box office and delighting Spanish filmgoers, it is hard to believe that anything can be wrong. But to some people in the film world, all of this success hasn't translated into recognition or invitations and nominations to the most important film festivals or major film awards. (The last Spanish film to be nominated for an Oscar was The Sea Inside , which also won the award in 2004) According to some, it appears that in the industry's attempt to raise flagging attendance, they have sacrificed some of the elements that captures the attention of serious film lovers and critics… read more »

The Teacher and the Beatle

by John Bascombe on Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Beatles was a band that swept over the world with startling speed, even a country like Spain couldn't avoid this English steamroller thanks in part to Radio Luxembourg and its shortwave transmissions of rock n roll into Spain. One person, in particular, who was an admirer of the group, also used the lyrics from these transmitted Beatles songs to help teach English to his students. Juan Carrión, now 90 years old, was an English teacher at the University of Cartagena and his story was the inspiration behind the movie Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed by David Trueba which was selected as Spain's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 2015 Academy Awards… read more »

Update: The Search for Cervantes

by John Bascombe on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Versión española abajo … read more »

Downtown Madrid - El Madrid de los Austrias

by John Bascombe on Monday, February 16, 2015

Versión española abajo … read more »

Visit Spanish Landmarks Virtually

by John Bascombe on Thursday, February 12, 2015

Internet giant Google is always up to something. Sometimes it takes the form of something not very useful or, possibly, ahead of its time (think Google Glass) but there are other things that are infinitely helpful, like Google Maps and its associated Street View. Back in the day, we had to use Thomas Guides (if you lived on the west coast of the U.S.) at home and Michelin maps when traveling abroad—two costly, but necessary tools for finding your way in strange places. But Google changed all of that, with street maps for just about anywhere and point to point driving directions that you could print out in the pre-smartphone days. Later, Google took things further with Street View. With this add-on to Maps, you could now SEE the address and visualize your destination.  With all of Western Europe, most of North America, and almost all of South America and Australia uploaded and ready for yo to use, you can travel virtually to just about any place in the world. But in Spain, Google has gone a step further—with Street View, you can now "walk" through some of Spain's most emblematic landmarks such as the Alhambra and Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona … read more »

The Thyssen Goes for Gamers

by John Bascombe on Thursday, February 05, 2015

I had no idea how popular video games were until I heard about gamers becoming celebrities by posting videos of themselves on youtube talking about the games they play. Personalities like El Rubius have inexplicably amassed millions of fans around the world. The number of viewers anxiously tuning in everyday to watch Minecraft players talking about Minecraft is mind blowing… read more »

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