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Posts Tagged ‘spain’

The Countless Legends of Girona

Once upon a time, in the days of the Egyptian god Osiris, there lived somewhere to the south a giant monster with three heads, called Gerió. Seeking to enlarge his empire he headed north where he built a castle and founded a city that would one day bear his name: Geriona, today’s Girona. Or not. Perhaps Girona…

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Catalonia’s Castellers: A Peek Behind the Scenes

Imagine an agile six-year-old clambering up the face of a five-story building, waving from the top, then slithering back down. Leaves your throat dry, doesn’t it? Yet several times a week, that’s exactly what happens when the Castellers de la Vila de Gràcia rehearse their castells, or human towers. “It’s not as dangerous as it looks,” said Helena…

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Which of These Two is the Best Food Market in Madrid?

Choosing the best food market in Madrid shouldn’t be too difficult. Madrid is, after all, a city to be eaten through, a city of interminable tapas, taverns, restaurants and bars with as much solid as liquid sustenance. And now it is also a city of markets, revitalized after years of decay. When I was a child growing up here, we…

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Guernica or Gernika: What’s in a Name?

Everything, it seems. Guernica is the Spanish name of a small Basque village leveled by the Nazis in 1937. And Gernika is how the Basques themselves spell it. The two reflect radically different realities and how you spell the town says a lot about how you view its history. Today the Basques of northern Spain…

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Blown Away by Bilbao, Spain

Not many years ago Bilbao, Spain was the heartland of the Basque independence movement, a no-go zone where few outsiders dared to venture. ETA, the independence movement, killed hundreds of people in its fight for a Basque homeland and was particularly active under the authoritarian Franco regime. But when Franco died the Basque country was…

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Girona. Barcelona. David. Goliath?

Girona vs Barcelona

How a smaller, more provincial town not only survives but thrives next to a much larger urban neighbor is a bit of a mystery. It’s common for people to visit Barcelona on weekend city breaks from around Europe, and the Catalonian capital’s name is the upstart darling of the travel set. How then can little…

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Barcelona Highlights, Unconventionally

El Born Barcelona

It’s not my first time in Barcelona but it’s definitely my most offbeat – and slightly adventurous: I arrived by train after a 13-hour journey from Santiago de Compostela, stayed in a luxurious flat, shopped for food at the upmarket La Boquería and was whipped around the city in a motorcycle sidecar. This came about because I applied –…

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