X

Spanish Family Quit Their Jobs, Sell All Possessions to Travel around the World in a Caravan

A young married couple, from Mijas, Malaga, have decided to quit their jobs, sell everything they own, and go on an adventure around the world, with their two little children, in a caravan.

Do you ever get so tired of your boring life and tedious job that you feel like leaving it all behind and going on an exciting adventure? I know I do, but I’m just too much of a coward to say goodbye to a comfortable lifestyle and venture into the unknown. Fernando Fernandez and his wife Fleur, both 29, were also a little scared to put everything they knew behind them and go on a trip around the globe, but they managed to lock their fears away and pursue their life-long dream of seeing the world. They realize it’s going to be tough living in a camper with their two small children, Aisha (5) and Noah (1), but they feel it’s a sacrifice worth making in order to truly live their lives.

Read More »

The Haro Wine Battle – A Water Fight for Grown-Ups

Every year, the small town of Haro, one of the biggest wine producers in Spain, hosts the traditional “Batalla del Vino”, the Wine Battle, where participants throw tons of red wine at each other.

Part of the Haro Wine Festival, the annual Wine Battle takes place on June 29, the day of the patron saint San Pedro, and is attended by thousand of people from La Rioja region of northern Spain. The day starts early, at 7 am, with the town mayor parading through the town, on horseback. The procession of people old and young, dressed in white clothes, wearing red scarves and carrying all kinds of wine-filled recipients, follows him on foot through the nearby Mountains of Bilibio, all the way to a small chapel of San Felices. It’s a 7 km walk from Haro, but the fun everyone has after the short mass performed there.

As soon as the mass ends, the wine battle begins. Some people pour buckets of red wine on each other, other sprinkle it from water guns, or throw bags filled with wine. It’s really up to the participants what kind of “weapons” they choose to bring to the Haro Wine Battle, as long as they don’t cause injuries and are full of wine. After a few hours of bathing in wine, the whole mountain smells like a regular bodega, and everyone’s clothes go from white to purple. It’s estimated over 50,000 liters of wine are used every year, during this unique event.

Read More »

CosquilleArte – The World’s First Tickle Spa Opens in Spain

Relaxing is probably one of the last words people use to describe tickling, but at the CosquilleArte Spa, in Madrid, Spain, they actually use delicate tickling techniques to relieve clients’ stress.

I’ve seen some pretty bizarre spas since I began writing for OC, from resorts treating guests to wine, tea and sake baths, to clinics that use crude oil as treatment, but I never imagined someone would get the outrageous idea of using tickling as a stress-relieving therapy. But what I found even more ridiculous was that the idea actually worked and CosquilleArte has become one of the most popular spa venues in the Spanish capital. It wasn’t until later, when I learned the tickling methods have nothing to do with the terrible torture we all had to face from childhood friends, that this unusual form of therapy started to make sense.

Instead of jabbing their fingers into clients’ sides and armpits, like I’m sure you and your friends/siblings used to torment each other, the massage therapists at CosquilleArte gently trace their fingertips and soft feathers down their backs and other sensible areas, and adjust their touches according to how ticklish every person is. Although most first time customers clench when they’re touched, they leave the wacky establishment a lot more relaxed than when they came in.

Photo by CosquilleArte

Read More »

Spanish Gym Offers Naked Workouts

A gym in Spain’s Basque region has begun offering naked workouts, in order to beat the economic recession.

When Merche Laseca, owner of the Easy Gym, in Arrigorriaga, noticed fewer people were attending his gym because of the crisis, he knew he had to come up with something new to keep his business afloat. He did some research and discovered the area was a popular destination for naturists. In fact, two local swimming pools were already offering popular monthly nude swimming sessions, and since he discovered there are at least 12 nudist beached in the Basque region, and a mass naked run organized yearly in the nearby town of Sopelana, he figured a naturist gym wasn’t a bad idea.

“We’re always interested in new activities” and “doing sports without clothes is natural and much more comfy” argues Maite Vicuna, president of the Basque Naturist Association, but there are skeptics who are less than thrilled with the idea of a nudist gym. They claim clothes are important when working out, as they retain most of the sweat, whereas doing it naked means the swat goes on the machines, the floor and even on the people around you. Read More »

Political Candidate Offers Voters Two Very Compelling Arguments

Sole Sánchez, a Spanish politician from Menorca, Spain, has recently been accused of sexism over a poster showing her boobs being groped from behind by a man.

Sánchez, a candidate of the Democratic Party, decided to use her best physical assets in the election for the town council of Ciutadella, so she and her colleagues opted for a poster in which she displays her breasts being groped from behind by a man, accompanied by the slogan “Dos Grandes Argumentos”, which translates as Two Big Arguments. They’re big alright, and I’m sure they would have won her the ballots of male voters, but the opposition had something to say about the matter.

The Esquerra de Menorca party denounced Sole Sánchez to the Institut de la Dona (Institute of Women) and claimed sexist use of her body. he defended herself by saying no one is more feminist than her, but everyone has the right to use their body as they see fit, and if all the opposition can do is just sit and watch, that is their problem. She was forced to withdraw her posters, including some in which she appeared in clad underwear with her hands and feet tied in a sadomasochistic way. Read More »

Noche de Rábanos – Spanish Festival Celebrating Radishes

Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) takes place every year, on the 23rd of December, in Oaxaca,Spain and is one of the most impressive vegetable festivals around the world.

The radish was brought to the Americas in the 16th century, and back then the vendors used to carve them and use them on their market stalls to attract customers. Although the origins of the festival cannot be traced to an exact period, it is considered that it all began in the year 1897, when the mayor of Oaxaca organized the first radish-art exposition. Everever since that first celebration, every year, this humble vegetable is meticulously carved into animals, warriors, kings, dancers and pretty much any shape you can imagine. The artists sometimes make use of other vegetables, like onion or lettuce to complete their work. There’s also a prize for the most beautiful piece displayed.

The carver’s work begins about three days in advance and on the 23rd of December, the day of the festival, the results of all their hard work is presented to the public. On that same day, especially in the morning, children have the chance to learn this incredible art of radish-carving, or at least some of its secrets.

The celebrations don’t end that day. They continue on Christmas Eve and Christmas  Day with other joyful “fiestas”, parades of floats, fireworks music and dancing.

Read More »

Spanish Woman Claims She Owns the Sun and Wants to Collect Taxes

Angeles Duran, a woman from the Galician region of Spain, claims she is the rightful owner of the sun, and intends to have everyone pay taxes if they want to keep enjoying its rays and warmth.

It sounds crazy, and the notary Angeles Duran consulted in the matter thought the same thing, but her arguments had him questioning the possibility of someone actually becoming the owner of the burning star. There is an international agreement which states that no country may claim ownership of a planet or star, but it says nothing about individuals. An American was quick to pronounce himself owner of all planets and the moon, but he forgot to mention the sun, so she’s now claiming possession.

Angeles Duran is also considering asking people to pay a tax if they want to keep in enjoying the sun’s benefits. She has already consulted the Spanish Ministry of Industry and explained that her claim isn’t outrageous at all. If you can place taxes on rivers, why couldn’t she do the same with the sun, right. In her infinite generosity, the woman is prepared to give 50% to the state budget, 20% to the minimum pension budget, 10% to research, and another 10% to end world hunger. She is only considering keeping 10% for herself.

Read More »

Spain’s First National Siesta Championship Taking Place In Madrid

Taking a  nap in a public, surrounded by strangers isn’t very easy, but Spain’s first National Siesta Championship was a succes and it was aimed at reviving this tradition of afternoon sleep. With all the demands of modern life, this old Spanich custom is slowly dying and something had to be done to prevent this.

The competition was attended by hundreds of people who were connected at pulse monitors for 20 minutes, which is the optimal duration for an afternoon sleep.  The contestants were judged according to the amount of time they slept in the 20 minutes granted to each. Points were also given for unusual positions during sleep, funny and eye-catching PJs and, of course, lots of points for snoring. The winner of the inaugural round was a 47-year-old construction worker who managed to doze off for a whopping 18 minutes of the total 20. Judging by his line of work, I don’t think the noise and being outdoors bothered him much.

The nine-day competition is taking  place in a shopping center in Madrid and is set to end on October 23rd. Winners receive various gift certificates to use in the shopping center. When theNational Siesta Championship ends, the contestant with the most points will receive a certificate worth 1,000 euros.

Read More »

Castellers – The Human Towers of La Merce

Every year, towards the end of September, the Spanish town of Barcelona hosts its largest street party – the “La Merce” Festival. One of the highlights of the event is the building of impressive human towers, by acrobats known as “castellers”.

Translated as “castle builders”, castellers are the people that take part in the building of the human towers, in the middle of Placa de Jaume. Surrounded by thousands of people who come to see them at work, the teams of castellers create impressive tower formations, several meters high. As you might imagine, this kind of exercise requires quite a deal of practice and planning, but if successful, their human structure is truly a sight to behold.

Read More »

Cascamorras – The Dirty Festival of Granada

Every September 8th, the Spanish towns of Baza and Guadix host the Festival of Cascamorras, an event unique to the Granada region of Spain.

According to legend, the origin of “La Fiesta del Cascamorras” can be traced back to 1490, when Don Luis de Acuña Herrera decided to built the Church of Mercy in the town of Baza, where a Moazarabic mosque had previously been erected. While chiseling a block of plaster, Juan Pedernal, a worker from the nearby town of Guadix, heard a soft, soothing voice coming from inside a cavern, which said “Have mercy!”. Upon examining the cavity he stumbled upon a statue of the Virgin Mary, that came to be known as “Our Lady of Mercy”.

Read More »

Toro Jubilo Festival Makes Bullfighting Look Like Child’s Play

If you thought bullfighting was cruel and barbaric, you’ll soon learn there are far worse ways to kill an innocent animal in the name of primitive entertainment.

Every year, on the second weekend of November, a horrific show takes place in the streets of Medinacelli, an otherwise picturesque Spanish town. As soon as the sun sets, bulls are brought into the town square, surrounded and restrained by the “bravest” of participants. Big balls of pitch are attached to the bull’s horns and the animal is set loose through the town.

This savage bull run is known as Toro Jubilo, and the bull is called Toro de Fuego, which translates as “bull of Fire”. As the pitch burns like a bonfire on the horns, it scorches his eyes and face causing it unspeakable pain. Disoriented and in agony, the bull often runs into walls and hurts himself even more, while the crowd run around him and cheers.

After hours of immense pain and eventually being blinded by the flames, the bull dies in agony. If this wasn’t cruel enough, the animal’s carcass is cut up and split among the participants to the event. Toro Jubilo is viewed simply as a form of entertainment by the people of Medinacelli, but this kind of animal cruelty doen’t qualify as such.

If you feel this is an old tradition that should continue, in the name of cultural diversity, just read this post, look at the photos and get back to what you were doing, but if you want to put a stop to it, make sure you sign this petition (I did) and share it with your friends.

Read More »

Spain’s Electronically Animated Giant Baby

Miguelin, is a 6.5 meters tall animated baby that Spain has created for its pavilion, at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

And if you thing this toddler’s just a big old doll, you’re sadly mistaken. Miguelin breaths, blinks and dreams of the cities we leave to our future generations, while smiling to visitors that walk by. The baby’s “mother” is Spanish film director, Isabel Coixet, who picked this theme both because of “the passion China and Spain share for children”, and as a way of showing that our actions have consequences on our children.

Miguelin, who was constructed in the US, dreams of the future,and his dreams will be animated, for all visitors to see. I’m sure this big baby will become a star when the Shanghai Expo opens, on May 1st.

Read More »

Whiteout at the Xinzo Festival Flour Battle

One of the many Ourense festivals, the Spanish village of Xinzo de Limia host one of the most unique food fights in the world, the “flour battle”.

Every year, Galicians from  Xinzo de Limia celebrate their very own Ourense festival. The entire festivities are centered around a number of mythical characters (peliqueiros) whose significance and stories have been forgotten in time. Still the are part of local tradition, so the people dress in colorful clothes, put-on intricate masks and run through the streets of the city, making as much noise as possible.

People all over Galicia come to see the “peliqueiros”, but also to take part in the Flour Battle, where people through tons of flour at each other. Glasses are recommended as the fine ingredient can get pretty much anywhere.

Take a look at some photos taken at this year’s edition of the Flour Battle, Xinzo de Limia.

Flour-Battle-Xinzo

Read More »

Masatrigo Hill – Nature’s Perfect Cone

Ok, so maybe it’s not exactly perfect, but Masatrigo Hill, or Cerro Masatrigo is as close as you can get to finding a natural cone-shaped landmark.

Located in Badajoz province, Spain, Masatrigo Hill has always been considered an extinct volcano, by the locals, because of its cone-like shape. Scientists haven’t yet been able to determine how Cerro Masatrigo was formed, and the mystery behind it allowed people to come up with all sorts of legends and stories, and earned it the nickname “magic mountain”.

The name “Masatrigo” means “wheat dough”. It reminds me of the Chocolate Hills of the Philippines

via WOW!Travel

Cerro-Masatrigo

Read More »

The Grape Fight of Binissalem

One of the most fun events of September took place in the village of Benissalem, on the island of Majorca, during Fiesta of La Vermada.

Over one thousand people, both locals and tourists, gathered in Binissalem, a village known for the quality of its wines, for what may have been the biggest grape fight in the world. Every year, at the end of September, the people of Binissalem organize a fiesta, to  celebrate a successful grape harvest. The highlight of Fiesta of La Vermada is the  grape fight that attracts people from all over the world, just like La Tomatina festival, held in Bunol, Spain.

The grape fighters gather in Plaza de l’Esglesia, in the center of the village and wait for a rocket to be fired. Once that happens everyone stampedes into a field outside Binissalem and a human circle is formed around a huge pile of grapes. When the whistle blows, the madness begins and grapes start flying.

Photos by Reuters, via Chinadaily

fruit-fight2

Read More »