Travelog

FROM The man in the front seat / June 14, 2018

Mijas, Costa del Sol

Population:     78,000 Located on the Costa de Sol in the south-east of Spain, Mijas is the typical white-washed Andalusian village. Sitting at an altitude of 430m (1476ft) above sea level, which offer incredible views over the Mediterranean and its coastline, Mijas has quickly become one of the most visited places on the Costa de Sol. History Although evidence of man existence in the area dates back several thousand years, the story of Mijas really begins with the arrival of the Greek and Phoenician (present day Lebanon) merchants who were attracted […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 11, 2016

Saint-Jean-de-Luz

General Located at the mouth of the river Nivelle, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is one of the most visited place in the French Basque Country with it hugging one side of a sheltered bay. Throughout its history its beauty has attracted Kings and nobles with the highlight being the marriage of Louis XIV of France to Maria-Theresa in 1660. History Saint-Jean has been documented since the 11th century with its sailors hunting Whales off the coast of Labrador in Newfoundland. By the 15 century they had taken control of the cod fisheries which […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 11, 2016

Rias Baixas (Santiago de Compostela)

General The Rias Baixas (Lower Inlets) is a series of four estuaries located in the south-western corner of Galicia and are the grandest and most spectacular of all the inlets that indent the Galician coast. Well known for their spectacular views, beautiful beaches and some wonderful low-key resorts the Rias Baixas is slowly becoming one of the most visited regions in Galicia . The area is also known for providing some of Spain’s most fertile fishing grounds and as a result producing some of the finest seafood in the country. […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 8, 2016

Plaza de América (Seville)

General Plaza America is located in the Parque Maria Luisa (Maria Luis Park) and is flanked by three wonderful buildings; the Museum of Popular Arts, the Archaeological Museum and the Royal Pavillion, which together form Plaza America. History The three buildings, along with the square at the centre, were contructed by Anibel Gonzalez and all built between 1913-1916 for the Ibero-American Fair of 1929. Each building was constructed in a different architectural style that have appeared throughout Spanish history. Highlights Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (Museum of Popular Arts) […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 8, 2016

The Royal Chapel (Granada)

General Granada’s most outstanding Christian building is not the cathedral, like in many other Spanish cities, it the Capilla Real (The Royal Chapel). Built in an elaborate Gothic style by the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Ferdinand, who wanted to buried on the sight of their greatest victory…The Battle of Granada. History The Nasid dynasty of Granada was the last Mulism domination of Spain to fall to the Reconquista (Reconquest) and it did so in 1492 at the Battle of Granada. In 1504, the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel & Ferdinand, decided that […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 6, 2016

The Albaicin (Granada)

General A must for any visit to Granada, the district is also known as the Albayzin and is the old Muslim district located facing in the Alhambra across the river Darro. Muslim fortifications, houses and fountain still remain as well as many of the Albayzin’s churches and cármenes (large walled villas with gardens) incorporate Islamic remains. The district still maintains its narrow streets and intricate network and as a consequence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 along with the Alhambra Palace. History The name is derived […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 6, 2016

Royal Alcázar (Seville)

General Officially known as the Reales Alcázar de Sevilla (Royal Alcazar of Seville) it was originally built by the Muslim kings but today is the royal palace in Seville and still used by the Royal Family when visiting the city as their official residence. The result has been that for more than 1000 years the ruling Kings of Spain have used the Alcázar as their home whilst in Seville. The building is known as being one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain and the oldest palace still in use […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 5, 2016

Toledo

Pop.: 85,000 General Known as la Cuidad Imperial (The Imperial City), Toledo stands out dramatically against the blue Castillian sky: a golden city encircled by a steep ravine in which flows the Tajo (Tagus). Also referred to as la cuidad de las tres culturas (The City of the Three Cultures), Toldeo has survived as a unique centre where Romans and Visigoths once ruled, and for a time where Jews, Muslims and Christians lived in compartitive harmony. Within its walls the city shelters beautiful sights amid old winding alleys which come […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 10, 2014

Cibeles Fountain (Madrid)

The Cibeles Fountain is one of the most photographed sights in Madrid, sitting on square named Plaza de Cibeles in of area of Madrid called Paseo de Recoletos. The fountain is named after  Cybele, a goddess who was greatly worshipped in Anatolia, present day Eastern Turkey and was also highly regarded in Rome where she was known as the “Great Mother”. The fountain in Madrid that is dedicated to her has Cibeles sitting in a carriage pulled by two lions. The lions represent the mythological characters Hippomenes and Atalanta, two […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 1, 2014

Plaza de España (Seville)

Many Spanish cities compete with each other in claiming the most beautiful plaza (square) in Spain. Most people however agree that the winner is Seville with its incredible Plaza de España. Translating literally to “Spanish Square” it forms part of the Parque de María Luisa, and was laid out in 1928 in preparation for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. The exhibition was an attempt to improve relations between Spain, its former colonies and the United States of America. Preparations took 19 years with exhibition buildings being constructed in the Maria […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / May 1, 2014

The Royal Palace (Madrid)

This version of the Royal Palace was a result of a fire that engulfed its predecessor, the Hapsburg Alcazar, to the ground in 1744. Luckily the Royal family was staying in the Parque Buen Retiro, so Phillip V decided to replace it with a new palace to be designed by the Italian Felipe Juvarra. The construction lasted only 26 years and spanned two more architects as well as two more monarchs, Charles III and Charles IV. The palace was occupied by the Royal family until 1931 with the abdication of […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / April 7, 2014

St. Stephens Monastery (Salamanca)

St. Stephens is a Dominican monastery, they arrived around 1255,  located in the university city of Salamanca. It is believed that Columbus stayed in the original monastery when he came to Salamanca to defend his idea of reaching the Indies by going west, a direct conflict with the geographers of the university at the time. The original buildings were destroyed in 1524 to make way for a new parish church which began construction in the same year lasting up until 1610. The building is quite unique due to the several […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / March 31, 2014

Montserrat & the black madonna (Barcelona)

Located north-west of Barcelona is the incredible Montserrat (serrated mountain), a 1236m (4055ft) mountain, a truly unique rock formation that for centuries has shaped by wind, rain and frost. Situated at 725m (2390ft) is the spectacular Abadia de Monserrat (Abbey of Monserrat), the most important shrine in Catalunya with nearly all Catalans making the journey there at least once in their lives . The natural beauty of the area is breathtaking, accessed by an incredible journey up the mountain to where on a clear day you can see as far […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / March 30, 2014

City of Arts and Sciences (Valencia)

Situated in the old Turia riverbed, which was drained and re-routed when it flooded in 1957, is the massive 350,000m² City of Arts and Sciences. More than 4 million people pass through each, a figure that in Spain is only surpassed by the Prado Museum in Madrid. Designed by architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candala, the project was begun in July 1991 and the last component, The Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts (El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia), opened on October 8 2005. The Buildings L’Hemisferic Was the […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / March 7, 2014

Parc Güell (Barcelona)

Located about 4km from the city centre, Park Guell is one of a series of creations by the Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi. History The project started in 1900 when Count Eusebi Güell bought a tree covered hillside in the Gracia District and hired Gaudi to create a miniature garden city of houses for the wealthy. The site was called Muntanya Pelada (Bare Mountain) due to the fact that it had little vegetation with a few trees and was extremely rocky. The site however did already have a large country house […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 16, 2014

Senyera – 300 years and counting

With the release of FC Barcelona’s kit for 2013-2014, the away shirt has created the most headlines with its “Catalan Flag”. Catalunya lost its independence on the 11 Sept 1714 and for almost 300 years have been fighting to get it back. The “flag” has been the symbol for this struggle so it worth having a closer look at it. The four red strips on a yellow background is known as “Senyera”, and shows up not only on the Catalan flag but also the Autonomous Communities of Aragon, the Balearic Islands […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 13, 2014

Zenet – from Malaga with the blues

Toni Zenet is a man who is one of a group who are leading a revival of jazz vocalist music in Spain. Born in Malaga, Spain in 1967, Zenet started his career in the early 90’s as an actor appearing firstly in cinema then later in TV. His first foray into music started in 2008 with the release of his first solo album Los Mares de China (The China Seas) which featured the single Soñar contigo (Dream with You). Zenet created a style where he combined the styles of American […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 11, 2014

Wines of Spain – Petalos (Bierzo)

In 1998 Alvaro Palacios and his nephew Ricardo Perez began an adventure in wine making in the Bierzo region of north-western Spain. After searching numerous location the pair finally settle on the town of Corullón, located on Bierzo’s western border. The hillside reminded the pair of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or and the soil, although not of great quality had incredible diversity. The principle grape chosen to use was the Mencia grape, which grows well in difficult terrains and produces a light, pale but also relatively fragranced wines. The vines used are […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 10, 2014

Wines of Spain – Viña Ardanza (La Rioja)

The search for the best red wine in Spain moves the Rioja region, probably the most famous in Spain, to try Viña Ardanza – Special Reserve. Rioja Alta, one of three sub divisions, is located around the town of Haro on the south of the Ebro river. Based on the Tempranillo with Garnacha grapes it is labelled “reserva especial” in good vintages, and till now only 3 (1964,1973 & 2001). Dark & fruity, great with meats and only €20-€23 a bottle, well worth a try.

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FROM The man in the front seat / July 14, 2013

Las Meninas – Diego Velásquez

All museums have a showpiece a work that stands out from the rest, for the Prado Museum in Madrid that is Diego Velásquez’s – Las Meninas (the Maids of Honour). During the 1640’s Velásquez was promoted to Royal painter and curator of the then King’s, Phillip IV, expanding art collection. In 1656, after working for the royal house for 33 years, he painted, what is considered one of the most analysed paintings in Western art, Las Meninas. The young princess, Margaret Theresa, is surrounded by her maids of honour, a […]

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