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The Messi Effect

by John Bascombe on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spanish as a Second Language British students are increasingly choosing to study Spanish as a second language… read more »

Dolce & Gabbana Go Spanish

by John Bascombe on Monday, October 20, 2014

Spanish Influence Spain has a long history of influence in Europe , all we have to do is remember that Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, was also the same Spanish King Carlos I. As ruler of Spain (and its American empire) he was also the ruler of most of central Europe and Italy. Today this influence is still seen in many parts of Europe, in fact there is an annual festival in Brussels called the Ommegang. In the town square, thousands of Brusseleers participate in this parade that recreates the welcoming of Charles V into the city that would be his principal home during his reign. Another part of Europe that pertained to the Spanish crown was Sicily. This Italian island was first part of the Kingdom of Aragón beginning in 1409 and later as part of the Spanish Empire . This territory would remain under Spanish control until 1860 with Garibaldi leading the charge for Italian unification. So after over 400 years of relations, something must have stuck as far as influencing the culture and life, right?… read more »

10 Spanish Film Festivals

by John Bascombe on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Top 10 Film Festivals in Spain You could say that Spain is a country you’d see in movie and a country in which you’d see a movie: its scenic landscapes have not only been captured in an impressive number of famous films, but they also capture a big variety of film festivals . You can find film fests here on just about any genre imaginable, from documentary, feminist, environmental, short film, gay/lesbian, fantasy, horror, advertising, international film… Spain holds more than 80 film festivals every year. That’s almost 2 per week… read more »

How October 12 Is Celebrated Around the World

by John Bascombe on Sunday, October 12, 2014

Christopher Columbus arrived to the Americas for the first time on October 12, 1492 . The historic event marks an important change in the course of the history of the Western world, as it lead to permanent contact between Europe and the Americas. The day is officially observed in a variety of ways and called a variety of names in much of Latin America, the US and Spain. … read more »

Justo Gallego Martinez' Cathedral

by John Bascombe on Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Cathedral of Mejorada del Campo Justo Gallego Martínez has spent over 50 years absorbed in an intriguing one-man mission: to single-handedly build a cathedral from scratch. It’s all part of a seemingly impossible dream that materialized after his period as a young trappist monk . A deeply devout Don Justo had spent 8 years with a trappist monastery when he contracted tuberculosis in 1961. For the safety of the community, he was forced to leave. Devastated, the former monk returned to his home town of Mejorada, Spain and promptly went about building what he calls “an offering to God”… read more »

Alberto Garcia Alix

by John Bascombe on Thursday, October 02, 2014

La Movida Madrileña in Pictures La Movida Madrileña was the movement that took place in post dictatorship Spain during the late 70's and early 80's. This social movement was like a cork popping from a bottle of cava —years of pent up angst and repression suddenly exploded onto the streets. Taboo subjects like sex, sexuality and alternative living were now free to be expressed in public without fear of reprisal. Freedom of expression was now something real. Madrid wasn't the only city to experience this kind of Movida ; almost all large cities experienced it in one form or another like Barcelona, Vigo and Bilbao. But Madrid was the maximum exponent of this new trend with people like Almodovar, Alaska, Vicente Molina Foix and Loquillo giving it a face and voice… read more »

Fiesta de Santa Tecla - Tarragona

by John Bascombe on Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Spectacular Festival in Spain Of the numerous festivals and celebrations for which Spain is famous, the Santa Tecla Festival , which floods the streets of Tarragona , in Catalonia, with music and dance towards the end of September, is perhaps among the best. Taking place just an hour away from the cosmopolitan and cultural hub of Barcelona, and often considered a slightly smaller scale version of the main Fiesta Mayor , the Fiesta de Santa Tecla lines Tarragona's streets with 'human towers', music, and dances by mythical characters in procession, with Devils, Giants, Dragons and a Bull for folkloric allusion. The peak of the festivities involves an impressive fireworks display along the beach at nightfall. Last year's festival saw over 80,000 visitors each day descend upon the streets of Tarragona… read more »

Top 10 Caves in Spain

by John Bascombe on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spectacular Caves in Spain Intense summer heat often lingers on as summer draws to a close, inspiring us to seek a little cool break from the sun. Scenic caves and grottos offer an unexpectedly refreshing itinerary option. Here’s a quick round up of Spain’s ten most attractive caves; intriguing places that have quietly awaited our presence since pre-historic times:… read more »

2014 Cycling World Championships

by John Bascombe on Monday, September 15, 2014

Ponferrada 2014 Zurich, Copenhagen, Montreal, Barcelona, Lisbon, Budapest, Rome and now, Ponferrada. Ponferrada? Yes, that Little town with a gentle microclimate tucked within the harsh hills of León, Spain. September of 2014 will mark its entry into the pantheon of cities that have hosted cycling's UCI Road World Championships… read more »

Romantic Poetry in Spain

by John Bascombe on Thursday, September 11, 2014

Romantic Poets From Juan Arolas to Jose Espronceda , the Spanish literary canon is littered with romantic genius to rival even that of the prolific and widespread Romantic Movement in the United Kingdom with John Keats , William Wordsworth and William Blake. Although the lifespan of the Spanish romantic period was perhaps shorter than elsewhere, it was arguably more intense. The Movement, which took place at the beginning of the 19 th Century, was characterized by a focus on emotion, yet the romantic poets also celebrated the beauty and divinity of the natural universe , the vastness of the imagination, and the liberation of the individual. Art itself became freer, with symbols and myths often used, and value was placed on the marginalized within society. Poetry often dealt with the notion of ‘passionate love’, with its extremes of emotion, introspectiveness and the search for the ‘self’… read more »

Flamenco Festival in Seville

by John Bascombe on Thursday, September 04, 2014

The 2014 Biennial Flamenco Festival If you’ve been in Seville over the last few weeks you’ve probably seen the larger than life images of flamenco performers frozen in striking poses as they roll down city streets on the sides of lightrail trains. You can almost hear the intense rhythms, high passion hand clapping, foot stomping, dramatic deep song, and inspired guitar voicings on the verge of erupting here in a full-fledged international celebration of this unique art form. Seville, the unwavering heart of the flamenco world, is gearing up for her highly anticipated Biannual Flamenco Festival set to take place from Sept. 12 to Oct. 5. … read more »

2014 Basketball World Cup in Spain

by John Bascombe on Thursday, August 28, 2014

From August 30 to September 14, 2014, the 17th FIBA Basketball World Cup will be held in Spain. Over the course of 15 days, 24 teams that have qualified to represent their country will try to win the Naismith Cup (named in honor of the inventor of the sport, James Naismith ) in one of the most important global sporting events… read more »

Interview With Reza Emilio Juma

by John Bascombe on Monday, August 25, 2014

Reza Emilio Juma is a talented young author that has recently released his first book Mil Besos   (A Thousand Kisses). Born in Toronto and raised in countries around the world, he attended and graduated from the University of British Columbia. Upon graduating he came to Spain and fell in love with the country and culture, especially the diverse cultural mix that Andalusia offers. Presently living and working in Mexico as a university professor, we caught up with him on his tour of Spain promoting his work—the story of a young boy's journey from adolescence to manhood all the while following his dreams… read more »

Top Ten Spanish Festivals in August

by John Bascombe on Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spain in August August may be a little more than half over, but here’s a list of some of Spain’s coolest fiestas in the hottest month, so you know what’s going on this summer, or next summer… always en español … read more »

Why should we remember Frida?

by John Bascombe on Thursday, August 14, 2014

“I paint myself because I am so often alone, and because I am the subject I know best.” … read more »

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