Spain

Spain

How to survive a Christmas on your own in Spain

Facing a lonely Christmas on your own in your adopted country? Sally Fazakerley shares her tips for survival. So all your expat friends have buggered off home to see their relatives. All your Spanish mates trek to their local 'pueblo' to do an obligatory week with their 50 cousins. You stick around locally from lack of money/ poor planning/ a deep hatred of your family.You have no significant other to keep you warm in your central heating-less apartment (who needs it? It's Spain, right?) or give you a snog under the mistletoe. It is bad enough when you are in your native land and can at least hang out with your frienemies from school or university, but that isn't going to happen this year. What should we do? Here's what… Find the stragglers There are always a handful of kindred spirits lacking in organisational skills (or social skills for that matter) who will stay behind at xmas to endure the festive season. If pushed, they will invite you to plod a..

Spain

EU court strikes blow to Uber: It is a taxi service and can be regulated

Taxi drivers demonstrated in Madrid on Nov 30th. Photo: AFP The European Union's top court ruled on Wednesday that Uber is an ordinary transport service and not just a ride-hailing app, meaning that countries can regulate it. The case is yet another thorn in the side for scandal-rocked Uber, which has drawn the fury of local taxi drivers and officials for flouting local regulations. It also comes the same week as one of its drivers admitted to the attempted rape and murder of a British embassy worker coming home from a night out in Beirut, Lebanon. "The service provided by Uber connecting individuals with non-professional drivers is covered by services in the field of transport," said the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice. "Member states can therefore regulate the conditions for providing that service." Uber, the biggest name in the growing gig economy, claims it is a mere service provider, connecting consumers with drivers in more than 600 cities...

Spain

Brexit: Theresa May has a Christmas message for UK expats in Europe

This is her message: From the very beginning of the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union I have been consistently clear that protecting the rights of both EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU was my first priority. I know that the referendum result has caused considerable anxiety for many of you and your families. That is why, at the beginning of the negotiating process, I made it clear that any deal guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK would be dependent on such an offer being reciprocated for our UK nationals in the remaining Member States. So I am delighted to announce that in concluding the first phase of the negotiations that is exactly what we have achieved. From speaking to my counterparts across Europe, I know that they hugely value the UK nationals living in their communities. We have worked hard to address the very complex and technical issues that needed working through before a formal agreement could be r..

Spain

What next for Catalonia?

Caganer figures – including Puigdemont between Dali and Chewbacca – on display at a Christmas market in Barcelona. Photo: AFP Catalan voters will go to the polls on Thursday to decide whether to return the separatists to power or to bring in a pro-unity government, as their region's independence crisis nears its moment of truth. Lets take a look at the possible outcomes of the December 21st regional vote: A pro-unity revolt? Ciudadanos are doing well in opinion polls with Arrimadas at the helm. Photo: AFP Ciudadanos, a centrist anti-independence party formed in 2006, could win, with its charismatic 36-year-old candidate Ines Arrimadas taking the reins of power in the wealthy region. Such an outcome would be momentous for Catalonia, where nationalists have dominated since democracy was reinstated in Spain following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Arrimadas has pledged to enter into "dialogue" with her rivals, in a bid to overcome the divisions..

Spain

Ten traditional delights that make a real Spanish Christmas feast

Spain has its own Christmas traditional fare. Spain has its own traditions when it comes to sweet and savoury festive fare. The Local explores ten of the most delicious. 1. Turrón Photo: Lablascovegmenu / Flickr Creative Commons. This sweet nougat made of honey, sugar and toasted almonds is a popular Christmas treat across the Iberian peninsula. From the hard Alicante style to the softer version from Jijona. 2. Seafood Photo: emivel2003 / Flickr Creative Commons. Mariscos are likely to be served for Noche Buena -Christmas Eve and the focus of festivites. Expect anything from fish soup, lobster, prawns to langostinos, as pictured above. 3. Suckling pig / Milk-fed lamb Photo: Leslie / Flickr Either cochinillo (roast suckling pig) or cordero lechal asado (roast milk-fed lamb) are likely to make an appearance on traditional Spanish tables over Christmas. Cooked slowly until the skin is transformed into delicious crackling and usually served with potatoes, it's a..

Spain

What do Brexit and the Catalan crisis have in common?

From the hammer blow of Brexit to turbulence in Catalonia, new forms of nationalism are testing the relevance and unity of the European Union, analysts say. The crisis in Spain served as a stark reminder of the fault lines that run through Europe, with a country's central government battling a region whose leaders want to break away. In Britain, the cry for sovereignty brought 17.4 million people to the polls to vote for Brexit in June 2016. Campaigners also played on anger about having to fund the EU — arguing that it imposed bureaucratic rules from afar and prevented the country from engaging with the rest of the world. In Catalonia, emotional arguments dating back to the Franco dictatorship combined with economic issues to fuel calls for independence. "The nationalists understood that in developed and prosperous regions, you can no longer simply appeal to the idea of historic oppression," said Bruno Yammine, a Belgium-based historian. "Economic arguments ..

Spain

Spain blasts Catalan independence drive as ‘post-truth’

"The secessionist process was the worst episode of disloyalty in the history of our democracy," Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told a Senate committee. "But the worst betrayal was to Catalans who genuinely believed in independence. They were the ones who were led to believe that (their dream) was about to come true, whereas in fact it was all a big show, a 'symbolic' episode," she said. "A fake, in the full sense of the word," she said, adding that the campaign had been "founded on post-truth". Saenz de Santamaria also said separatist leaders had privately admitted that it was "impossible" for Catalonia to function as an independent state. The deputy prime minister's statement came as she presented her findings to a Senate committee, after she was tasked to run the region following a unilateral independence declaration by Catalonia's axed parliament on October 27th. Spain is poised to back Catalonia's region..

Spain

Deep in the mountains, Aran Valley resists Catalan independence

Horses graze in Gausac in the Aran Valley in northwest Catalonia. Photo: AFP "This isn't Catalonia": Tucked deep in the snowy Pyrenees mountains, the Aran Valley appears far removed from the secession crisis rocking the rest of the region. Speaking a form of the Occitan language like some of their neighbours in southern France, with a distinct culture, many residents of this Catalan district have firmly resisted calls for independence. After crossing the Port de la Bonaigua mountain pass into this secluded area under heavy snowfall, the blue, red and yellow separatist flags hanging in other Catalan villages nearby are hardly anywhere. "This isn't Catalonia, this is different," Amador Marques, a pastry chef who farms in his spare time, says at a small ranch that rears cows, geese, hens and baby goats. "Older people, my grandparents and myself have always said that we're Aranese first, then Spanish." With just 10,000 residents in an area roughly the..

Spain

Vandals convert Madrid town nativity into porn scene

Across Spain town councils have installed Beléns – nativity scenes – to celebrate the Christmas story. But some residents were left appalled after figures in one giant display on a roundabout in the town of Boadila del Monte, in the mountains north of Madrid, were placed in sexual poses. One farm animal was placed atop another while the figure of Mary was bent forward over the crib in a position that suggested she was giving oral sex to Joseph. El PP pregunta quién colocó las figuras del Belén de Boadilla del Monte en actitudes obscenas https://t.co/l0EdgMXdMH Los populares van a pedir una investigación — Cadena SER (@La_SER) December 15, 2017 The scene appeared overnight last week and resulted in a criminal complaint lodged by the local conservative Popular Party. Police are being urged to examine CCTV footage in a bid to track down the culprits. READ ALSO: 12 Weird and wonderful Christmas traditions celebrated across Spain A PP spokesman told Europa Press:..

Spain

Ana Vela, Europe’s oldest person, has died in Barcelona aged 116

Ana Vela on her 110th birthday in 2011. Photo: La Verneda Nursing Home Spain’s Ana Vela, the oldest person in Europe, has died peacefully in her sleep at a nursing home in Barcelona, six weeks after celebrating her 116th birthday Ana Vela Rubio, who was born in Cordoba on October 29, 1901 was not only the oldest living person in Spain but since April has claimed the title as the oldest in Europe. That title now passes to Italian grandmother, Giuseppina Projetto, aged 115. “She died peacefully while asleep in her bed, without suffering,” a spokesman from the care home confirmed to El Pais on Friday. Although originally born in Andalusia, Ana Vela had lived in Barcelona since moving there in the 1940s to work as a dressmaker. She was born during the regency of Queen María Cristina, the great-great grandmother of the current King of Spain and lived through two dictatorships, two world wars and the Spanish Civil War. For the last years of her life she lived in La..

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