Spain is just waiting to be explored. Photo: Rvdo. Kaskajales / Flickr
The Local brings you the ultimate Spanish bucket list.
Visit the Alhambra
The Moorish fortress in Granada is Spain’s most-visited tourist attraction for a reason; the stunning building has some of the best-preserved examples of Islamic architecture in the world and is, along with the nearby Generalife gardens, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Marvel at Guernica
If you had to see only one painting in Spain make it Picasso´s masterpiece in Madrid´s Reina Sofia Museum. The Spanish artist was inspired to paint the black and white depiction of the bombings of the Basque city of Guernica after reading a graphic description of the carnage that followed by British journalist George Steer.
The undisputed national food of Spain, you have to try some authentic jamón iberico from acorn-fed pigs who have been lovingly raised to make the very finest hams. Marvel as the expert ham-cutters slice wafer thin slices of the melt-in-the-mouth meat.
Visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
The Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum is a modern architectural masterpiece. Sitting on the banks of the Nervion River, the museum helped garner the former industrial powerhouse of Bilbao with a new reputation as a centre of art and culture.
Hike the Camino de Santiago
The pilgrimage route leading to the shrine of St. James in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain has been popular with walkers for centuries. Nowadays the route is popular with both the faithful and non-religious, attracting over 200,000 walkers in 2014 alone. Look out for the St. James´shells – the symbol of the route – which are located along the way.
Kill the night in Madrid
Photo: Jose Maria Cuellar/Flickr
"Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night," Ernest Hemingway famously said of the Spanish capital, renowned for its hedonistic nightlife. Madrid has some of the most bars per capita of any country in Europe, so you’ll be spoilt for choice as you explore what the city has to offer.
Eat at Spain's best restaurant
A dish from El Celler de Can Roca. Photo: Robert Young/Flickr
If you are lucky enough to get a table then tick off a visit to Spain's best restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. The three Michelin star Catalan restaurant, owned by three brothers, is number three on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards, but held the top spot in 2015.
Winter sports in the Sierra Nevada
Photo: Álvaro Salas Ordóñez / Flickr Creative Commons.
Spain might be famous for its sun. sea and sangria but you could soon be adding snow to that list. Hit the powder at Europe’s most southerly ski resort, the Sierra Nevada, near Granada. The resort is the highest in Spain and the ski season can last from late November until early May.
Eat pintxos in San Sebastián
San Sebastián in the Basque Country is the home of pintxos – tiny morsels of delicious food usually on top of a slice of baguette. The city is world-famous as the culinary capital of Spain and is not to be missed. From hearty traditional pintxos on bar tops to some of the most exciting modern cuisine – you’ll find it all in San Sebastián.
Wine tasting in La Rioja
Spanish wine is among the most underrated in the world and there’s no better way to learn more about it than to go wine tasting in Spain’s most famous wine-making region: La Rioja. The Ebro valley is scattered with vineyards and is a perfect destination for gourmets and wine buffs.
Throw tomatoes at La Tomatina
One of Spain’s most iconic and messiest festivals, La Tomatina attracts thousands of participants every year to the town of Buñol for nothing more than a giant food fight exclusively featuring tomatoes. Make sure you come prepared – goggles are a must!
Watch an Easter Parade
Spaniards love Easter and every town and city has at least one major Easter Parade, often several throughout Holy Week. Members of religious brotherhoods march through the streets in the traditional robes and conical hoods carrying huge statues of Jesus. Some of the most elaborate and exciting parades to watch take place in southern Spanish cities such as Seville and Malaga.
Watch authentic flamenco in Andalusia
It might be a Spanish cliché but authentic flamenco is an immersive, dramatic and unforgettable experience. You can do no better than watching flamenco in the region where it was born: Andalusia. Be it in Granada or during the Feria de Abril in Seville, experiencing flamenco is a must when visiting Spain.
Discover Gaudi's Barcelona
Photo: Juan Salmoral/Flickr
You can’t visit Barcelona without learning about its most famous son, who left an indelible mark on the city – Antoni Gaudi. Visit the still-unfinished Sagrada Familia (get there early to beat the crowds) and Park Güell, which looks like it has been based on the house made of sweets in Hansel and Gretel. Climb up to the rooftop of the Casa Milà for great views over the city and marvel at the legacy left by the man who designed the city’s most iconic architecture.
Dream in a piece of history
Parador de Santo Estevo,, Ourense. Photo: parador.es
Spain's state-run hotel chain offers luxury accommodation in some of the most beautiful, unusual and historic buildings across the country. From an old monastery perched in the Galician hills to the fourteenth century Arab fort of Carmona, you are guaranteed an unforgettable stay if you choose a parador.
Cheer on a football team
Spain is football mad and the ultimate experience for any footie fan is to watch one of the big Spanish teams play a home match. Watching Real Madrid at the Bernabeu or Barcelona at Camp Nou is an unforgettable experience – and you’ve really hit the jackpot if you’re in town for El Clásico – when Real Madrid take on Barcelona. The atmosphere is electrifying.
By Jessica Jones
Sitges Mayor among others arrested in police investigation of alleged corruption
Aurora Carbonell, the mayor of Sitges and from the ERC party, has been arrested in connection with an alleged corruption investigation, that has also implicated 12 other people, including eight local councillors from the period 2017-2022.
At least four people have been arrested as part of the case, including the local ERC councillor Jaume Monasterio, who was responsible for public works in the last legislature.
The group are being investigated for the crimes of misuse of public funds, embezzlement, and falsification of documents in the awarding of grants and minor contracts in the previous two mandates.
The Spanish National Police and officers of their Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) carried out several searches on Wednesday morning in Sitges, including municipal offices and the homes of two people. The investigation is focused into the process of subsidies granted by the Sitges Town Council to the social entity ‘Taula del Tercer Sector’ (Third Sector Board) and another local co-operative. The police seized documents relating to the entities under investigation.
According to local sources, the police would be investigating, among other elements, if the entity was paid twice for the same service, or received a subsidy and a minor contract, for example.
According to El Pais, police sources have said that the investigation affects the local departments of Beaches and Social Welfare. The police are analysing various specific grants, some of €45,000, €100,000 and €120,000, among others, which may have allegedly gone to the entities under suspicion. According to reports, the total sum under investigation is €600,000.
The starting point of the case stems from a police report detailing the alleged irregularities in May 2022, discovered by the council’s own inspectors.
Carbonell, who was recently re-elected as mayor, has been mayor of Sitges since 2019. The court has ordered for Carbonell and eight councillors to be investigated, in addition to four others who were part of one of the entities and cooperatves also under investigation. The period of alleged corruption is over four years, and also affects the government team prior to Carbonell, according to reports, under the leadership of Miquel Forns (CiU).
The Sitges Town Council has since issued a statement to say that the investigation is connected to ‘external irregularities’ and that it denies any type of wrongdoing.
‘The facts under investigation had already been analysed internally,’ the statement read. ‘The Town Council, once possible external irregularities were detected, commissioned legal professionals to clarify the facts, stopping the subsidies, reviewing the files and starting the process for the return of the subsidies that were not fully justified. The Council has reports that ensure the absence of administrative and even less criminal responsibilities, and which demonstrate the diligence of the Sitges Town Council.’
The statement went on to say that the council ‘is a transparent institution, which has a rigorous code of ethics that ensures the highest standards of integrity’.
It said that it would be making itself ‘available to the authorities in order to show our full collaboration in whatever is necessary’ and ‘reiterates our willingness to cooperate with justice at all times’.
Spain’s far-right Vox seek to make gains in 28 May local and regional elections
Spain’s third largest political group in the national parliament, the far-right Vox party, is looking to make gains in the local and regional elections due to be held across the country on 28 May.
Since it entered a regional government for the first time in Castilla y León last year, Vox has attacked the unions and pushed polarising positions on social issues, including abortion and transgender rights.
It is now poised to spread its influence beyond the sparsely populated region near Madrid, with the party hoping to make gains in the elections at the end of May.
Surveys suggest the main opposition, the right-wing People’s Party (PP), could need the support of Vox to govern in half of the 12 regions casting ballots, just as it did in Castilla y León last year.
Polls also indicate the PP is on track to win a year-end general election but would need Vox to form a working majority and oust socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his coalition government from office.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal [pictured at a recent rally in Chinchón, near Madrid] has called the PP-VOX coalition government in office in Castilla y León since March 2022 a ‘showroom’ and ‘an example of the alternative Spain needs’.
It is Spain’s first government to include a far-right party since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
In Castilla y León, Vox has slashed funding to unions, which the party has vowed to ‘put in their place’ if it comes to power nationally. Trade union UGT was forced to lay off 40% of its staff in Castilla y León last month and scale back programmes to promote workspace safety. Spain’s other main union, the CCOO, is reportedly preparing to follow suit.
Vox has also angered LGBTQ groups by refusing to allow the regional parliament to be lit up in the colours of the rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement, for Pride festivities as in past years when the PP governed alone.
In addition, the regional vice-president, Vox’s Juan García-Gallardo, has railed against a law passed by Spain’s leftist central government that extends transgender rights.
The 32-year-old lawyer warned earlier this month that women would now be ‘forced to share locker rooms with hairy men at municipal swimming pools’.
Vox’s most contested initiative was a proposal that doctors offer women seeking an abortion a 4D ultrasound scan to try to discourage them from going ahead with the procedure.
The idea was swiftly condemned by Spain’s leftist central government, and Castilla y León’s PP president Alfonso Fernández Mañueco stopped the measure from going ahead.
The issue highlighted the hazards for the PP of joining forces with Vox, which was launched in 2013 and is now the third-largest party in the national parliament.
Spain – Gas falls below 90 euros per MWh for the first time in almost two months
The price of TTF natural gas for delivery next month has fallen below 90 euros on Friday for the first time in almost two months and closes a week marked by the decision of the European Commission to cap gas with a drop of 29, 36%.
According to data from the Bloomberg platform, gas closed this Friday at 83 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), 8.9% less than the day before and the first time it has lost 90 euros since last October 31.
After months of negotiations, the EU agreed on Monday to set a cap of 180 euros on contracts linked to the Amsterdam TTF index with a price difference of at least 35 euros above the average price of liquefied natural gas in the markets.
EU countries agree on a cap of 180 euros for gas with the support of Germany
In a report this week, the Swiss investment bank Julius Baer indicated that the chances of the mechanism being activated are low and pointed out that the chosen formula was not very effective in avoiding the multiplier effect that gas has on the price of electricity. However, he reiterated what was said in other previous reports: “Energy supply risks are minimal and prices should continue to decline in the future” due to the availability of raw materials from Asia to offset cuts from Russia.
Gas tends to fall during the hot months due to lower demand, but this summer it has reached historic heights as European countries were buying to face the winter with their tanks full and reduce their dependence on Russia. The price fell in September and October due to lower demand once the warehouses were full due to the high temperatures at the beginning of autumn, but in November it picked up again and 66% more expensive.
This article was originally published on Público
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