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Paella is a traditional Spanish dish from Valencia. It is a rice dish that can have meat, fish, seafood, and vegetables and is characterized by its use of saffron to give it a yellow color and unique flavor. There are three main types of paella:

  • Valencian paella/paella valenciana: rice, green vegetables, rabbit, chicken, or duck, snails, beans, and seasoning.
  • Seafood paella/paella de marisco: rice, seafood, and seasoning.
  • Mixed paella/paella mixta: combination of seafood, meat, vegetables, beans, and seasoning.

 


How to prepare the best paella

Before beginning preparations, it’s important to ask, “How many people will be eating?”Once you answer that, you can decide what size and type kind of pan is needed.

  • The Paella Pan: Paella pans, sometimes called paelleras are made especially for the job. They are round, open, metal pans, which are approximately 2-2.5 inches deep (5-6 cm). These pans spread the heat and withstand cooking over hot coals. Paella pans can be made of carbon steel, stainless steel or enamel and have two handles. The material, shape and shallow depth of the pans are what make them perfect for cooking rice, which is the focus of the paella. Paella pans are readily available in sizes from a 9-inch pan that makes 1-2 servings, and costs about 10 Euro.
  • Casual Ingredients: 
    • Spice Mix for chicken, recipe follows
    • 1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut into 10 pieces
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 Spanish onion, diced
    • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
    • Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
    • 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
    • 4 cups short grain Spanish rice
    • 6 cups water, warm
    • Generous pinch saffron threads
    • 1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
    • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
    • 2 lobster tails
    • 1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
    • Lemon wedges, for serving
    • Chicken Spice mix: 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Preparation: Before starting rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Season the chicken pieces and dust with flour. Heat a little olive oil in a large deep pan and fry the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Place the pieces on a baking tray and into the oven for 20 minutes. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove the chicken from pan and reserve. In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect. Cook’s note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Finally, add the cooked chicken and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon.Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon wedges.
  • Drink: Paella is a complex dish, with many ingredients and layers of flavors, so the range of wines and beers that complement it is wide. Traditionally, the Spanish accompany Paella with a rosé or a crisp Spanish white wine such as albariňo. Lovers of sparkling wines could try a good Spanish cava and red wine fans might favor a light Spanish rioja.
  • Bon appetit / ¡Buen provecho!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The obvious reason to come to Granada would be our Spanish language school of course :-). Though if you are still doubting whether to come to Granada or learn Spanish somewhere else in Spain, may this article help you in your choice.

History

The first settlements in Granada dated back to 1500-2000 BC, where small tribes lived close to Granada. At this time, the region was inhabited by the Phoenicians and subsequently the Carthaginians. From the 5th century, when Visigoths conquered the city, establishing it as a military stronghold. It was from that time that Granada started to become a more significant city. During the same period, a small Jewish community lived in the region, calling it “Garnata al-Yahut”, which was probably the origin of the city’s name.

In 711 the Moors took over the city of Granada and developed it during the next 300 years. At the beginning of the second millennium, the city was almost completely destroyed, because of fights between the ruling clans. Finally, in 1013, the dynasty of Ziries came to power converting the region into an independent kingdom. The expansion of Granada was sustained under the regime of Nazari dynasty, one of it’s greatest   periods. The Nazari family controlled Granada until 1492, when it was incorporated to Castilla by Ferdinand and Isabel which marked the end of the last Muslim kingdom in Spain.  During the next centuries the Moorish population was baptized by force and all the signs of the Arabian culture were prohibited. This led to rebellions and riots and as a consequence, most of the Moorish were expatriated.

Until the middle of 20th century, Granada was in economic depression. Some years after that it became an important Spanish university city and also artistic center, with Federico García Lorca and Manuel de Falla living here. Now Granada is a thriving and growing modern city which enjoys a wonderfully rich history and   great atmosphere as Spain’s third largest university city.


1) Weather

The weather in Granada is seasonal and can be extreme. Winter can be cold with temperatures below zero, although there is generally more sun and brighter cold days than rain and snow. December and January are the coldest months. During summer, temperatures can rise to over 40 degrees centigrade, into the  100s Fahrenheit. July and August are the hottest months. You can normally guarantee good weather from June to the end of September. October is  great but it can rain also, generally “winter” starts in November and ends in March. Spring is short here and the heat comes quickly!! Granada has a dry climate and there are many options to enjoy Granada and the beautiful countryside that surrounds it,  such as mountain climbing, biking, trekking, horse riding or rafting.

  • Winter: The obvious sport in winter is Skiing and during your stay in Granada you can make the most  of having the Sierra Nevada ski resort just 45 minutes away. The skiing is fantastic, with some great slopes and runs for ski or boards. The Sierra Nevada has been voted one of the top ten ski resorts in Europe by Conde Nast Traveller. Skiing is not the only sport that you can enjoy in Winter, due to the dry climate, there are many sunny winter days where the temperature hits 15­‐20 degrees easily. Mountain biking, trekking and mountain climbing are very popular with locals and  visitors  alike. It’s a good way to meet people and get to know the surrounds of the city.
  • Summer: During the summer in Granada, temperatures can rise into the 40s. The city is generally quieter as the schools and Universities are on holiday from June through to at least September.   August is the quietest month when a lot of people choose to take their summer holidays also. The Tropical coast (Granada’s coast line) is a popular resort for those wishing to escape the heat in July and August. However, city life continues, albeit at a slightly slower pace! Granada always comes to life at night and summer nights are no different. People enjoy evening strolls, city bars with terraces and of course the wonderful Albaicín which has many open air restaurants with the most spectacular views imaginable.

2) The Alhambra & Generalife Gardens

Dating back to the 9th Century and soaked in history, the Alhambra is a world famous monument and is a must see during your stay in Granada. Spring is a fantastic time as the Generalife Gardens are spectacular at this time of year. The Alhambra offers a summer program of theater, music and dance – all at night in the amazing surrounds of the Generalife gardens. It is a wonderful experience and as you would expect, tickets sell out extremely quickly.


3) The district Albaicín

The Albaicín isn’t just Granada’s oldest district, it’s also the largest and most characteristic of Spain’s surviving Islamic quarters! The rambling  white-­washed web of intertwining cobbled streets will take you back to  the years of Islamic splendor. Practically unchanged, the Albaicín, which is also a World Heritage Site, emanates Arabic culture from every street! Amongst the intimate squares and original Islamic fountains, you’ll find Arab baths, Islamic palaces, and many interesting places to pass the day or night.


4) Cuesta de los Chinos

Located at the end of the Paseo de los Tristes and looking up to the Alhambra Palace, this place is a meeting point to relax, read a book, sell artifacts, watch the world go by or paint.


5)The parc García Lorca

What was once the countryside surrounding the home of famed poet,   author, and playwright Federico García Lorca is now an enchanting park named after him. Perfect for a lazy late afternoon stroll or a relaxed picnic lunch, or a pit stop at the bar. Perfect for strolling, walking or jogging. Take the opportunity to revel in its footpaths lined with trees, bushes and blossoms. Be sure to head to the García Lorca Park’s “rosaleda”, where hundreds of species of roses come together for unbeatable visual and aromatic pleasure. It is a great place to chill out in the middle of the city.


6) The mountain range Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada is a dramatic, rugged and extensive mountain range, the highest in Europe after the Alps. The protected area encompasses torrential rivers, sheer-­sided gorges, stony slopes, glacial lakes between snowy summits and, in the foothills of the Alpujarras, cultivated terraces of almond trees and vegetables. Designated a national park in 1998, it is one of only two in Andalucía. It was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1986, in recognition of its exceptionally diverse plant, bird and animal species. As we mentioned before, in the Sierra Nevada you can enjoy a wide range of activities such as skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding to name a few. Any activity can be arranged by the school with qualified professionals.

sierra nevada2


7) The valleys of Las Alpujarras

Las  Alpujarras is a 70km long collection of valleys along the   southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. It is a mixture of dramatic mountains, deep ravines, sloping  hillsides, huge gorges, and the  most breath-­taking views. It is full of many clusters of beautiful white villages, often seemingly clinging together on the side of a steep mountainside, which are a traditional feature of this area. Las Alpujarras has often been  described  as ‘oddball’, ‘kooky’ or ‘strange’ due to its uniqueness,  and old‐world quality. It has a sense of timelessness and its own pace of life.  It is extremely picturesque and beautiful and once seen, never forgotten. The Alpujarran people are very welcoming; everywhere you go you are greeted with a friendly ‘Hola’ and are soon made to feel part of the community. There is a strong emphasis placed on family life; you will often see several generations of the same family sat down enjoying a meal together. It is a particularly delightful area to explore on foot and there are many well-­signposted walking routes, ranging from a short stroll, to day long hikes into the Sierra  Nevada. For the really serious walker there are two famous long-distance foot paths that cross Las Alpujarras. One is the GR-7, which begins in Tarifa in Cádiz province and crosses Europe all the way to Greece. The other is the GR-­142, which runs from Lanjarón to Fiñana on the northern side of the Sierra Nevada in Almeria province. Las Alpujarras, and in particular Granada, is famous for its delicious tapas. These are small snacks served (free) with an alcoholic drink and cover a wide range of imaginative dishes. The town of Trevélez is famous for its ‘jamón serrano’ (cured  ham). The well known ‘Alpujarras’ or ‘Costa’ wine can also be sampled.

valley


8) Granada Beaches and Coastline  
The Costa Tropical, situated between the Costa del Sol in Málaga and the Costa de Almería, is a rich strip of coastline, which coasts the very best conditions and attractions necessary to provide an excellent holiday. Its situation on the Mediterranean, its closeness to Africa and to the Sierra Nevada, with the highest peaks on the Península, protect the Costa Tropical from the cold northerly winds. The result is a subtropical micro-­climate, with 320 days of sunshine a year and an average temperature of around 20ºC, where all kinds of tropical fruit is grown, such as  Kiwis, avocados, bananas. Winter temperatures are usually between 15-18ºC and in Summer between  25-30ºC.  With  six  tourist  centres: La  Herradura, Almuñécar, Salobreña, Motril, Castell de Ferro and La  Rábita – the Costa Tropical boasts a good tourist network where countless sports can be practiced: windsurfing, surfing, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, waterskiing, golf, tennis, squash and horse-­riding.

granada beach


9) Semana Santa (Easter Week) in April
Holy Week takes place in the last week of Lent. It is a religious  festival  which  began in the early days of the Church, when the faithful traveled to Jerusalem at Passover to  re-enact the events leading up to Christ’s resurrection. In towns and cities throughout Spain and especially in Andalusia, it is a week of great celebrations, processions, masses and displays of religious fervor. In Granada, some of the particular events include a procession known as ‘Christ of the Gypsies’ or ‘Christ of Sacromonte’ on the Wednesday of Holy Week and a ‘Procession of Silence’ from midnight on Thursday, from the Church of San Pedro on the Carrera del Darro. There is also the ‘Procession of Las Angustias’, on Easter Saturday. The processions are held all around the city of Granada starting from either the cathedral or various churches.


10) Dia de la Cruz (Cross Day) in May

Each year, various brotherhoods and organisations enter into a competition for the best-decorated cross. The size is large and the theme is generally floral and elaborate. The crosses are erected at different locations throughout the historic center, and in the adjoining   neighborhoods of Albaicin and Realejo. Public squares and courtyards are usually chosen, and each participating group seeks to boost their chances of winning by laying on music and flamenco dancing. In addition, the streets and squares in which the crosses are installed are beautified for the occasion, because there are cash prizes to be won in this category too. The festival is very popular and many people tour from one cross to another to enjoy the festivities,   which often continue until late at night.


11) Feria de Corpus Christi in June

Granada lets its hair down with huge fairgrounds, lots of music and dancing, puppet shows, fun activities for children, processions, balcony decoration competitions, plant and pot exhibitions, flamenco performances in casetas (huge  tents) in the fairground on the outskirts of the city and in the city center. There are two major processions. The first is the Tarasca (Tarasque), where a figure of a woman on a dragon, accompanied by giants and other characters wearing big paper maché heads, walks through the streets of Granada. The other procession, which is named after the feast of Corpus Christi itself, is solemn and religious and leads out on the Thursday, which is a feast day in Granada.


12) International Dance and Music Festival in June and July

This prestigious and long-running festival is one of the musical highlights of early summer that’s distinguished by the extraordinary combinations of great music in fantastic settings. Musicians such as Rubinstein, Victoria de los Angeles and Andres Segovia have performed in the beautiful Arab courtyards of the Alhambra and other evocative venues, in front of enraptured audiences. Schuricht, Karajan and Celibidache have conducted at the Palace of Charles V;  Margot Fonteyn and Nureyev have danced in the Gardens of the Generalife. The festival program is based on classical music, ballet and Spanish dancing but also includes flamenco and ancient and contemporary  music.


13) Jazz festival in the Costa Tropical in July, August and September

Taking the international Jazz festival to the Granada Tropical Coast. Enjoy a host of Spanish and International Jazz artists performing in a wonderful coastal setting. Flamenco Summer Concerts held through out the summer months of July to September, the evening are held in different areas of Granada, such as the well know “Cuevas” (caves) of Sacromonte or in the various indoor and open air theaters in Granada city center.

 


14) Jazz  Festival in Granada in September
The Granada International Jazz Festival is one of Europe’s longest-running and is a Spanish member of the Europe Jazz Network, which  organizes jazz festivals in Europe. The event has been held since 1980, with the participation of prestigious international figures from the world of modern jazz. This festival is aimed at jazz lovers. Apart from the concerts on the official program, there are also unofficial sessions at a range of venues around the city, as well as other activities related to the event.


15) The Festival de Otoño (Autumn Flamenco Festival) in December

December in Granada is dedicated to flamenco music and dance and takes place in the first week of December every year. The best-known and most talented flamenco artists from all over Spain come together to perform in the atmospheric Teatro Isabela Católica. Performances are also held at various other locations around the city, mainly in the Sacromonte district.

 

 

Barcelona is divided into 10 districts and due to the multiculturalism and the long history of the city, each of them has a different flair and atmosphere. The areas vary from small streets and bars in El Raval and Barrio Gothico to wide streets with lots of restaurants in Eixample that looks a bit alike New York with its square city blocks.

As well as the areas vary, so do the bars. That’s the reason why we want to share you with the best bars in town in order to make your city trip as entertaining as possible.  Here’s our inside guide to Barcelona’s best bars!


Barceloneta Barrio – this area is home to Barcelona’s closest beach to the city center. Popular with families and tourists who want good access to the center of the city but away from the hustle and bustle of the heart of the city center. Here are our recommendations for the best bars in this area:

  • Beach garden:  Beach garden is situated at the beach and looks like a Chiringuito at first sight. But it’s a great restaurant and cocktail bar all in one with a beautiful view on the beach. The bar is located in Plaza del Mar in Barceloneta, where you can relax, enjoy the sun and watch at the beach while listening to great electronic or alternative music at the same time.
  • Absenta Bar: The old sailors district of Barceloneta is the only witness of the history of the bar. The exact date of when it was founded, is quite uncertain. The first records of the city in 1897 suggest that a police raid discovered the existence of a speakeasy in this discreet corner where sailors and artists drank the then banned absinthe, sharing long nights of pleasure and inspiration. In the century after, the bar witnessed countless events: parties, wars, bombings and the complete transformation of the neighborhood. Today, the bar continues in that same corner, rescuing an ancient bohemian corner, entirely dedicated to art, music and the warmth of the green fairy, absinthe. You find the bar with the “Green Fairy” drink in Carrer Sant Carles 36.

absenthe

 

  • Bar Electricitat: It’s called the legend in Barcloneta due to the fact that it is a classic and typical Spanish bar where young and old mix together and the waiters mostly or only speak Spanish. The atmosphere is casual and authentic and you won’t find that many tourists. Don’t be afraid to enter, because you will find delicious food and drinks for cheap prices. (for example calamar, seashell, etc.). The bar is located in Calle Sant Carles 15 in the center of Barceloneta.

 

  • Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria):  It’s a factory shop for wine a couple of streets back from the beach. They are specialized in cava and you can get a glass of it for only 1.60 € and around 6 € for a bottle. Its a great and lively bar and the food is flying out of kitchen but it is always absolutely packed. So make sure you avoid rush hours when you want to have a seat.

 


Poblenou: The urban district. Poblenou lives an unstoppable transformtation by the hand of a creative community that risks, reinvents and generates proposals that place this postindustrial nucleus in the sport of Barcelona’s vanguards. Here are our recommendations for this area:

  • Balius Cocktails & Vermouths: During centuries Barius used to be a chain of drug stores in Barcelona. After they closed down their store in Poblenou, the building has transformed into a cocktail bar and the whole interior design has changed since 2014. However, it still kept the charm and exterior design of the drug store. The cocktail bar is specialized in Gin Tonic and open from 7pm till 2.30am in Carrer de Pujades, 196, close to Rambla Poblenou.
  • Ovella Negra: The bar reminds about an old brewing factory and offers lots of space to hang out with friends. It is probably one of the best places, where you can relax, drink cheap beer or sangria and also watch the FC Barcelona or Spain matches on huge screens within a lively atmosphere. The place is huge and has an additional room, where you can play pool or table soccer with your friends when the match is over. It is definitely worth a visit.

 


Les Corts: Les Corts is an important financial business district in Barcelona and therefore has many good hotels and restaurants but not so much in the way of tourist attractions. Also, on Diagonal there is a large shopping complex called L’Illa. In L’Illa there are several good restaurants, a huge supermarket, a small exhibition centre and of course lots of clothes shops. Here are our recommendations for the best bars in this area:

  • The Black Lion: The bar is the oldest Victorian pub in town and it’s situated in Evarist Arnús 70, just 5 minutes walk away from Nou camp stadium. The bar is perfectly decorated in British pub design and furniture and a typical old red phone box in the entrance tops off the atmosphere. Here you can choose from a wide selection of local and imported beers on draught and an even wider range of imported and artisan bottled beer. Grap a beer at the bar while watching to several sports matches life on diverse screens. It might becomes your second living room to hang out with your friends. Here are the opening hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 7pm – 1am, Thursday 7pm – 2am, Friday and Saturday 7pm – 3am and Sunday 7pm – 00am.

 


Eixample District (Left and right): – Some of Barcelona’s best shopping is found in this Barrio. It also has many bars and restaurants along with modernist architecture e.g. Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia. This Barrio is also characterized by a busy grid-like road system. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Ale & Hop: The bar was awarded in 2014 for excellence in and service to the craft brewing community. So iti is officially one of the best beer bars in Spain and definitely the best one in town. You can taste their special beer in Carrer Basses de Sant Pere 10 during their daily opening hours from 5 pm till 2.30 am
  • Dry Martini: Dry Martini is the cocktail bar of Barcelona that has become an icon in the Cocktail Universe. Included on the list of the 50 best bars in the world, as part of the top 25 year after year, and it is considered the third gin best world bar. Find your dry martini in Calle Aribau, 162-166.
  • Quilomobo: Are you looking for live music, good drinks and great ambiente? Then Quilombo is the perfect address, where you will find one of the best Mojito in town. While slurfing it you can listen to live music of different artists, which change hourly. The venue is situated in  Carrer d’Aribau, 149 and is open from 10.30pm till 3am from Monday till Saturday. On Sunday the bar is closed.

El Born Barrio: Offers culture and traditional buildings close to Barcelona centre. The area is close to the beach, and has good night life, restaurants and bars. Here are our recommendations for the best bars in this area:

  • Collage Cocktail Bar: Aloha, get ready for some Hawaiian inspiration! The bar is well-known for their eccentric cocktail preperations and stylish decoration. If you forget your Hawaiian shirt at home, don’t worry you will be able to buy directly one at the bar in order to plung into the vibes of Honolulu. The address to your Hawaiian destination in Barcelona is  Carrer dels Consellers 4. The bar is open from 7pm – 3am daily.
  • Cal Brut: If you are looking for a night out alone or relaxing evening with your friends, Cal Brut is the right address. It is a small but comfortable and has an alternative undergrond touch. The bar is authentic and definitly worth a visit if you want to relax and enjoy a beer with great tapas. The bar is located in Calle Princesa 42 and open from Monday till Saturday from 7pm until 1am.

cal brut


El Raval Neighbourhood: Controversial area in Barcelona, probably more suitable for seasoned travellers. Raval is an interesting and exciting area in Barcelona however it also has its darker and seedy side that you ought to be aware of. It is certainly not the safest or the cleanest area in Barcelona but it does have a special personality and character all of its own that makes this area a compelling visit. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Bar Marsella: The bar has been existing since 1820 and it is the oldest bar in town and is specialised in absinthe. The custom of drinking absinthe gradually became so popular in bars, bistros, cafés, and cabarets that, by the 1860s, the hour of 5 pm was called “the green hour”. Absinthe was favoured by all social classes, from the wealthy bourgeoisie, to poor artists and ordinary working-class people. According to rumors Picasso, Dali and Gaudí were also big fans of the high alcohol and came Bar Marsella to get inspired to work. Walking inside the bar, itt seems like they never changed anything on the interior design. Also the fact that it has signs from the Franco regimes, which show the repression of the Catalan language makes it even more interesting; it’s like travelling in time. You find the classical bar in town in Carrer de Sant Pau 65 and it is open from 10pm until 3pm.
  • Tahiti Bar: Red leather couches, dim light, a jukebox and Tiki inspired furniture turn the bar into an oldy but goldy. Tahiti’s mission is to bring the quality of Barcelona tiki back to the ’40s and ’50s, and to be a departure from the ’70s tiki bars found in the city. The fire and cocktail mixing shows underline the bar’s delicious tropical cocktails and they are serving classic drink recipes from Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s—an area where other Barcelona tiki bars fall down. You find the Tiki bar in Joaquin Costa 39 and it’s open every day from 7pm till 3am.

Gothic Quarter – Barri Gòtic Quarter: The “old city” in the heart of Barcelona and the “original” Barcelona where the city all started. This area is characterized by winding cobbled ancient streets, wonderfully picturesque architecture, top quality restaurants and cafes full of atmosphere. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Els 4 Gats: Dazzling in its design, Els Quatre Gats is an unmiss- able stop for those interested in Modernista archi- tecture and indeed the art of the period, being the former regular meeting place of Picasso and other artistic luminaries. Nowadays, it chiefly caters to tourists, and is no crucible for Catalan gastronomy – nor is it cheap. There is, however, a more reason- ably priced and generously portioned set lunch, and when it’s all over you can buy the T-shirt. To appre- ciate the building without forking out for dinner, visit its café. It’s open daily from 12am till 1am and you find it in the street Montsió 3.

Quatre-gats-gerra-3

  • Ocaña: This space is the namesake of José Perez Ocaña, paintor, activist and defender of freedom, who was one of the main players of ‘la Movida’, the great counterculture movement during the Transición following Franco’s death in the 1970s. Ocaña is a bar and restaurant with prime outdoor seating, and its own cocktail bar, La Apotheke. The décor and ambience have been treated with care, with respect for the original structure of the building and with  pieces of furniture from all over the world. Check it out in Plaça Reial, 13-15. Get inspired by the ambiente. It’s open from 1pm until 3.30pm daily and let the spectacles inspire you.
  • Sor Rita: If Mario Vaquerizo lived in Barcelona, this would be his favourite bar: a place that has find in the ‘kitsch’ style, its reason to exist, that seems to be a part of an Almodóvar movie, one of the hard ones. You find this colorful and inspiring spot in Mercè 27.

sor-rita


Gràcia Barrio: Gràcia was an independent town until the late 19th century and even now the community is small and tight. However despite the trendy nature of Gràcia it is also a traditional barrio with a large elderly population which makes for an amusing and odd mix. Here are the best bars of this area:

  • Châtelet: It is the typical bar of Gracia and offers a unique atmosphere with its big windows and has some inspiration of Gaudí due to the different and colorful Mosaics on the wall. The food and drinks are good for affordabel prices. It is a perfect place to go with friends but it is quite busy, so make sure that you book a table in advance. The decoration with the low lightnings and screens invites to have a chat with friends and sharing beers, snacking some nachos and end with your favorite cocktail while listening to and watching great music videos. The is located close to Cinema Verdi in Carrer de Torrijos 54. (Opening hours are: Monday – Thursday: 6 pm – 2.30 am | Friday: 6 pm – 3 am | Saturday: 12 am – 3 pm Sunday 12 am – 2.30 pm)

getlstd-property-photo

  • Bobby Gin: As the name mentions it, Bobby Gin is a specialist in Gin cocktails, especially the Gin & Tonic. The barkeepers at this place are to gin what Walter White is to meth. So if you want to go to a place for a cocktail in the city, this one is definitely worth a visit. The bar is little bit pricey but it certainly got ambiance, style and delicious craft cocktails. You have also the possibility to eat some nice tapas while slurping delicious cocktails. The location is tucked away along the side of the wall in a sketchy alley in Carrer de Francisco Giner 47. There is no sign outside the bar, so make sure you have the right address. (Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday | Wednesday and Sunday: 7 pm – 2 am, Thursday: 7 pm – 2.30 am | Friday and Saturday: 7 pm – 3 am)
  • L’Armari: The perfect place to have a romantic dinner. They have delicious tapas, you will see that almost of the dishes have a very welcome French twist. Their cocktails are original, you will notice it! It’s good to know that all cocktails have 1€ discount until 10 pm! (Opening hours: Monday 7 pm – 2.30 am | Tuesday – Thursday 6 pm to 2.30 am | Friday – Saturday 6 pm to 3 am | Sunday 6 pm – 1 am)

l-armari

  • Cafe del Sol: Cafè del Sol was one of the first bars to open in this most famous of Gràcia squares “Plaza del Sol”, which is a spot not only for sun worshippers, but also for having a beer and getting entertained by the crowed at the square. Cafè del Sol features a generous terrace peppered with metal chairs, where day and night, you hear patrons speaking local and world languages, not understanding each other until the waiter comes over, when everyone knows how to order a ‘cervesa’. (Opening hours: daily 11 am – 2.30 am)
  • Gorilla: The bar has a old Berlin or “Hippster” style with old leather furniture, wooden chairs and tabels. It is perfect to have a chilly and cheap drink while watching football on a big screen or listening to great songs. But it is also a great place for a coffee and cake during the weekend in order to read a book or to work on your laptop. You find the bar in Carrer Torrent del L’Olla 39. (Opening hours: daily 10 am – 1 pm)

Montjuïc – Picturesque Montjuïc characterized by the fabulous views of the city when you get to the top of the mountain (more a steep hill really) Tourist attractions include the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, MNAC museum, and Poble Espanyol. Barcelona Olympic stadium is only a short walk away. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • La Caseta: La Caseta is a secret of Barcelona that is situated at Mirador del Migdia in Montjuic and is only open during summer time. Besides exceptional views over the sea and the mountain, it’s a fresh alternative to the summer heat, being the place, where you can watch the sunset of Barcelona while listening to vibes of alternative, Mexican or Flamenco music. Here are the opening hours:  Night (starting the 23rd of June): Wednesdays: 21.00h – 24.00h (only with reservation), Thursdays: 20.00h – 01.00h, Fridays / Saturdays: 20.00h – 01.30h, Sundays: 20.00h – 24.00h.

Plaça Espanya: The main draw to Plaça Espanya is the Palau Nacional which is the Museum of Catalan art, stands regally up on the side of Montjuïc. It’s stunning and there is never a better time to see it than when it is lit up at night with the Magic Fountain in front. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • B-Bar at B-Hotel: The B-Bar hotel is situated in “Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 389”. From the terrace you have a perfect view on the square of Plaça Espanya as well as on Montjuïc with the Museu National d’Art de Catalunya. On the elegant terrace you can have diner next to the pool with a view on “Las Arenas” that used to be a bull fight arena in the past. Compared to other rooftop bars in Barcelona, the prices for tapas and cool drinks like are relatively affordable and it is less crowded than Sky Bar. The bar is daily open from 08pm till 1am and you get drinks for affordable prices.

Poble Sec: – Not much in the way of tourist attractions in this area but you will find that accommodation prices are lower and since the heart of the city centre is only a 10 minute ride by metro you have excellent transport to the rest of the city. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Bar Rufian: The bar is one of the few places that once gave life to the city, El Clandestino – which in little more than a year and a half had become one of the epicentres of local music – was dismantled. The staff of El Clandestino – Dani, Jorge, Ghenadie and Berta – have come back with El Rufián, a Poble-sec locale specialising in beers, vermouth, and tapas. The ingredients are simple: a cosy spot with modest aesthetics, excellent music, a friendly atmosphere and premium drinks. Saturdays and Sundays are a party: go in for some vermouth and you’ll find a great place to meet kindred spirits spending the afternoon in good company. Check it out in  Nou de la Rambla, 123. Opening hours are: Monday – Thursday 9am-1am; Friday and Saturday 9am-3am and Sunday 11am-6pm.
  • Psycho: Psycho is a rock and roll bar that ticks all the boxes: red bar and walls, posters of The Who, The Dead Boys and Mystery Train; stickers of Black Flag, Shaft, Route 66, 13th Floor Elevators, Motorhead and Misfits; and a small back room where you can dance and sweat alongside the excellent sound system. Psycho’s clientele is varied, but tattoos and the ’50s look abound, with an age range from late-20s to early-40s. The bar is located in Piquer 27, it’s open daily from 8pm till 2.30am and it’s the perfect place for a pre- or post-concert drink.

Port Olympic: – Modern and stylish area in Barcelona with ready access to Barcelona’s beaches. This area benefited from the Olympic Games area regeneration program. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Icebarcelona: Have you ever thought about taking a drink in Barcelona inside an Arctical ambiente? Icebarcelona is the first ice bar at the beach in the world and a unique venue at a temperature of -5ºC, designed by internationally renowned artists. The theme of the lounge, the lighting and the sculptures are renewed at least twice a year, in order to offer something different every time you come. The average visit lasts 45 minutes. While you are shivering with fun, you can relax on the terrace, perfect for an al fresco cocktail right in front of the Mediterranean sea. You find the “cool” bar at Paseo Maritimo de la Barceloneta 38 A, just next to the beach of Port Olympic and between Shoko and Sotavento. it is daily open from 12am till 3am.

 

 

Tom is 27 years old and comes from Leigh, near Manchester. He studied Medicine in Liverpool and is now working as a doctor in London. Tom likes reading history and novels, playing guitar, running and swimming. He speaks French, because he went to Angers (Pays de Loire) in the Northern part of France for an exchange program, when he was a student. Before he came to Barcelona he was working in Intensive Care Medicine in London. Due to the fact that he got a new job beginning in August he decided to go abroad and to learn a new language, because he had an opportunity to do something else whilst he was between jobs. Tom used the duolingo app to get some basics before he went on his language travel to Barcelona. When he arrived he had Spanish level A1 and after 4 weeks of the intensive course at linguaschools he reached the A2 level.


Why did you decide to learn Spanish and why did you choose to learn the language during a language course abroad?

My girlfriend spent 4 months in Argentina to learn Spanish. She traveled to South America before and she fell in love with Argentina. That’s why she wanted to go back there to learn the language properly. During her time in Argentina I visited her in Buenos Aires for 3 weeks and I could see that her level of Spanish helped us a lot to experience the culture and country much more deeply. That’s the reason why I wanted to use the short time during my job change to learn Spanish in an efficient way in order to catch up with my girlfriend’s level of Spanish. Another reason is that on the long term I and my girlfriend would like to work and live in a Spanish speaking country, especially in South America.

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How did your Spanish level improve during your stay?

I started with nearly no level of Spanish. After 4 weeks intensive course at the language school I feel quite comfortable in terms of understanding Spanish. I can’t say whatever I want but I understand a lot. In case of travelling to Spanish speaking countries, for example booking a hotel, asking locals for information, etc., I feel totally confident and would survive without any problem, because I could easily order food and drinks. (*laughs)


Why did you decide for Barcelona? Why should someone visit this city?

Barcelona was a quick and spontaneous decision. However, there are two reasons, why I had the city in my mind. First, probably my favorite English author George Orwell wrote about Barcelona, in “Homage to Catalonia”, where he recounts his experiences of the Spanish Civil War. So I wanted to come and see the city he wrote about.

Second, Barcelona is a city with a kind an edge to it, because people are little bit more radical and the city is quite different than the rest of Spain. I knew about the Catalan identity and I wanted to find out more about it. Also, the city seems an independent and unique place to visit. You have the mountains behind and the sea in front of the city. The food and drink is great, the architecture is just incredible and there are so many different areas with a different atmosphere in just one city.


What did you do at linguaschools?

The life at school was really sociable and the activities helped me to meet people from different classes. During my time at linguaschools I joined the Tapas tour in Poble Sec and I went on a picnic in the Parc de la Ciutadella with the school. I also played Volleyball and celebrated San Juan with students at the beach of Barcelona and I went on a city trip to visit Sitges, the city of artists. Due to the fact that I made friends easily at school I did a lot with them after school classes and activities as well.


Which are your favorite spots to visit in Barcelona?

There are three venues that are really special for me in Barcelona.

  • Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria): It’s a factory shop for wine a couple of streets back from the beach. They are specialized in cava and you can get a glass of it for 1.60 € and around 6 € for a bottle. It a cool bar in Barceloneta which is always absolutely packed. I really enjoyed it, because it is so lively and the food is flying out of kitchen. So I suppose they cook food continuously for people to order it and they serve you really fast.
  • Bar Marsella: The bar has been existing since 1820 and it is the oldest bar in town and specialises in absinthe. It seems like they never changed anything on the interior design and the fact that it has signs from the Franco regimes which show the repression of the Catalan language made it even more interesting for me; like travelling in time.
  • Olympic Swimming pool at Montjuic: The city of Barcelona built this pool for the Olympic Summer games 1992. It is a swimming pool with an astonishing view, where you see more or less over whole Barcelona. The pool is only open in the summer and it opens in early July.

How can you summarize your language travel and stay in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a great play to come and study. I wouldn’t be to put off that there is Catalan and Spanish, because a lot of people speak Spanish. I would definitely come back to learn Spanish in Barcelona, because I went from no Spanish to level A2, only because of school. In addition I met so many great people, who have a similar outlook on life and similar attitudes. The life at school makes it really easy to integrate and I met with some extremely funny and nice people, for example Vitali from Ukraine, Helle from Norway and Charlotte from London. That’s also an important reason why it is best to learn a language abroad, because you meet so many people from all over the world.

João is 22 years old and comes from Lisbon in Portugal. Currently he is doing a Spanish course at linguaschools in Madrid. Just before coming to Madrid he was finishing his Master’s in Business Management, and he will continue once his stay here is over. He is a fun and active person, who often looks for new adventures in life. He is always eager to learn something new, and the search for knowledge keeps him moving. His hobbies include reading, writing and, of course, travelling (when he can!). He usually doesn’t like to stay in one place for a long time and often look for new opportunities to stay “on the road”. Before he came to Madrid he had level B1 and he chose an intensive course with 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 2 months to become fluent.


Why did you decide to learn Spanish and why did you choose to learn the language during a language course abroad?

I have always been fond of learning new languages and I felt that since I already had a basic level of Spanish, extending my knowledge of it should not be too hard, and the best way to do it would be to actually live in a Spanish speaking country. I believe that the Spanish culture is quite similar to the one from my country, and therefore I would fit in quite nicely and without the need to go through an adaptation period. Also, given that Spanish is currently the second most spoken language in the world, I also think that improving my proficiency may be beneficial to my academic and professional career.


What was your reason to go to Madrid and since when have you been here?

I arrived in Madrid in the first of June. For me, studying in this city was a very obvious choice. It is the capital of Spain, internationally known for its multicultural environment, gastronomy and nightlife. Besides, it’s quite close to my hometown! Overall, I was under the impression that Madrid would be very impressive and appealing to me, a big metropolis full of life and young people, and I can happily say that my suspicions were confirmed.


How did you experience your time at school?

This wonderful experience started at my very first day at the school. There were many international students from different places taking similar courses at the school, and it was easy to meet people and make new friends, which made my language learning process even faster. The course that I took was conversation-based and, in my opinion, this is best way to learn (and you really had to participate!). The Academia also held many events that brought the students together, and in no time I was already making plans to fill my afternoons after class.


How did your Spanish level evolve during your stay?

When I first arrived in Madrid, I could understand a bit of Spanish since I had studied it before and due to its similarity to my native language, even though I could only form some basic sentences. I think that I started improving from the very first day I stepped into class. I, just like all the other students, had to communicate fully in Spanish, and the teacher was very attentive and corrected all our mistakes. Of course, since I’ve been living in Madrid for this period, I am also very exposed to the language on a daily basis and I have to make use of it in many daily life situations: going to the supermarket, asking for directions or even talking to someone in a nightclub!


Why should someone visit Madrid?

The question is: why shouldn’t they? This city has everything that you’re looking for. International environment? Check. Great cuisine? Check. Fantastic nightlife? Check. Impressive art scene? Check. Madrid is quite touristic, and there are many places to explore, from the famous Prado museum to the beautiful Retiro park. Also, Spain has quite a unique way of life and I believe that Madrid fully represents it. People take the time to enjoy a good meal during lunchtime and during the afternoon the streets will be almost empty: it is the famous “siesta” time. When the day is ending, you will see the locals coming out of their house for some “tapas” and maybe a “caña”. I think that visiting in Madrid is a very important cultural experience due to its uniqueness, and everyone should come at least once in their life.


Which touristic spots are really worth to visit?

Madrid is a big city and it has a lot to see, but if we have to narrow it down to a short number of places, I would definitely recommend Plaza Mayor, the heart of city that still holds a very significant historic significance; the Prado and Reina Sofia museums, where you can find widely known paintings by Picasso, Goya, Miró and many others; Templo de Debod, even though it may be smaller than you expect, it is an important artifact since it was constructed about 2200 years ago. For a more local insight, I recommend going to one of the many “terrazas” in Calle del Toledo, taking a stroll around Gran Via and paying a visit to the famous Rastro in La Latina.


Which insiders’ tip don’t you find in a tour guide?

Did you know that there is a “beach bar” in Madrid? Ojalá, in Malasaña, has its floors covered in sand where you can sit, relax and enjoy a beer.

Would you like to dine in the same place as Hemingway once did? Look no further. Sobrino de Botín, near Plaza Mayor, is one of the oldest restaurants in the world and they would be happy to receive you. If you would like to see a recreation of Lucifer being expelled out of heaven, Madrid is also the place to go: the Retiro Park is home to the fallen angel, a statue that depicts that exact scene.


Which restaurants can you recommend?

There are many places in Madrid where you can have a real taste of Spanish cuisine. Between ten and mid-day, many restaurants offer a day menu that is usually large, cheap and composed by traditional dishes. By evening, many a tapas bar is what you are looking for: “tortilla”, “morcilla” or “patatas bravas” are very common and any bar will serve them. Whether you are walking in the city center or in the surrounding areas, it will be easy to find a place that suits your needs.

 


What are your favorite places to go out in Madrid?

In my opinion, Madrid can be enjoyed by night as much as during the day. There are many discos and hot spots all around town, and different neighborhoods often sport different styles so you have to explore a bit in order to find a place where you feel truly familiar. From Sol, the main plaza of the city, you can find several nightclubs in the streets close-by. La Latina, another central area, is manly famous by its many bars and attractive prices. In Malasaña and Chueca you will find yourself in the middle of the hipsters and trendy scene of the city – people gather in the streets to drink, talk and spread their joyful Spanish energy. You can get very acquainted with the city in a short amount of time.


What are your favorite “beaches” or places to swim in Madrid or in regions around the center?

A lot of people may think that there are no beaches in Madrid but I will let you in on a little secret: in Pelayos de la Presa you will find the famous Pantano de San Juan where you will find over 10 kilometers of beaches and where you can bath as much as you want. Even so, if you prefer to spend a day in the city you may wish to visit one of the many public pools of Madrid, such as Universidad Complutense’s in Moncloa or Canal de Isabel II in Ríos Rosas.


Which markets can you recommend?

When speaking about markets, three immediately come to mind: First, Mercado de San Miguel, right next to Plaza Mayor. This is a specialized food market where you can find samples of many traditional spanish foods, from “Cocido” to “Paella”. All the ingredients are very fresh and just walking around this market will make you hungry. Secondly, I have to mention El Rastro. This is a flea market that is held every Sunday morning in La Latina, so remember not to sleep in. You will find yourself surrounded by dozens of stalls that sell all sorts of items, such as books, clothes and souvenirs, all at a bargain price. Finally, take your time to visit the farmer’s market in Matadero. Here you will find fresh and quality products that will make you want to come back.


What are you going to do after your travel to Madrid?

After these months in Madrid, I will spend six months in Italy as an Erasmus student. Once I finish my studies, I certainly plan to return to Spain.


If a person walks up to you asking for advice and you only had a few minutes to give him or her your best tip to learn Spanish, what would it be?

Meet the locals! Many “Madrileños” are eager to meet foreigners and will welcome you with open arms. Spend as much time as you can with them practicing your Spanish and you will be speaking fluently in no time!

Sangria is a drink normally made of red wine, in which seasonal fruits (apples, pineapples, mangoes, pears …) or particularly citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, clementines and nectarines) are macerated. Spices and liquor such as port, cognac or brandy are also added. Some even add sparkling water.

 


If you would like a little bit of Spain at home (even if you don’t have the sunshine), you can find below the sangria recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3 liters of red wine… or substitute the red wine with white wine for sangría blanca (white sangría)
  • 1 litre of lemonade
  • 2 peaches
  • 1 apple
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 chunk of cinnamon
  • Sugar

 


Instructions
Wash all of the fruit and cut it into chunks. Now add the wine. After letting it all soak together so that the wine absorbs the fruity flavors, add the lemonade, sugar, and cinnamon (at this point you can also add other liquors if you so desire). Mix everything together, cool it, and then serve it even colder with ice cubes and fruit chunks.

 

A closer relative to the Italian frittata than a Mexican flour or corn tortilla, a Spanish tortilla is so much more than the sum of its humble parts. Potatoes are the star, but tortillas welcome variation. The tortilla makes an excellent breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or crowd-pleasing tapa.


Ingredients:

  • 6 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
    Serving suggestion: tomato salad drizzled with olive oil

 

Preparation:

Peel the potatoes and cut them into small slices or pieces. Do the same with the onions. In a medium bowl mix the potatoes, onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt by hand. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the potatoes and onions on low heat and cover with a lid for 5 minutes to let them soften. Turn up the heat for another 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the stove and drain off any excess oil.

Meanwhile break the eggs into a medium bowl. Add the remaining salt and milk and whisk vigorously until frothy. Add the potatoes and onions to the eggs and mix until fully integrated.

Clean the frying pan and return to stove. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on a high heat and pour in the mixture, moving it around in the pan to help the tortilla to rise. Fry until golden brown, stirring occasionally until it has set. Then turn down the heat to allow the inside to cook. After a few minutes turn up the heat in order to brown the tortilla. When it’s cooked place a large plate over the frying pan and flip the tortilla onto it. Return to the pan and fry the other side until golden brown.

When its perfectly cooked and the , transfer the tortilla to a serving platter and let cool at least 10 minutes. Serve warm, at room temperature, or slightly cool. Cut into wedges or small squares, sticking a toothpick in each square if serving as an appetizer.

Plantation rum, the “Grands crus” of rum from the Caribbean” has received more awards by judges than any other brand in the entire competitions in 2012.  This night Maison Ferrand came to linguaschools in Barcelona to present four of their amazing rums and to our language students. After the single rum tastings the Brand Ambassador prepared a delicious Mojito with the Plantation Rum 3 Stars.


1) Plantation Rum 3 Stars – White Rum – Alc. 41,2 %: This rum was awarded a “Double Gold Medal” at Madrid International Rum Conference and the Berlin Rum Festival. Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum is a skillful blend of the best the Caribbean has to offer from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad.  Each Island has a distinct rum style developed over centuries and brings its own special character to Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum:  matured Trinidad rum imparts its classic elegance, Barbados delivers sophistication with a balanced mouth feel and Jamaica conveys its unmistakable structure and rustic edge.

Keenly vibrant and well-balanced, Plantation 3 Stars displays the finesse and style of Trinidad and Barbados well integrated with the character and fuller flavors of Jamaica. On the nose it has delicate notes of tropical fruits intertwined with brown sugar and ripe banana. On the palate it displays subtle spices and floral notes with a finish of sugar cane and vanilla.

It pairs well with the easygoing Macanudo Hyde Park Cafe (Dominican) with its complimentary vanilla notes, some cream and bread dough.


2) Plantation Trinidad 2001 – Alc.42%: This rum has a delicate and elegant style, true to its origins, and will make you discover one of Trinidad’s greatest treasures. This rum is characterized by its uprightness and its smoothness. The nose is complex with cinnamon and tropical fruits notes, and also notes of smoke. In the finish, we find notes of candied orange and of cooked molasses.


3) Plantation Jamaica 2001 – Alc.42%:

Intense and highly aromatic as a result of long fermentation and pot-still distillation, Plantation Jamaica is faithful to its origins. A lovely mahogany colour, it reveals a wide range of exotic aromas on the nose, with marked notes of pineapple, cooked mango, clove and nutmeg. A generous palate with fresh sugar cane notes and plenty of length… A powerful rum with plenty of character!

This calls for a cigar with complexity and flavor. The Alec Bradley Family Blend (Honduras) has a complex leather flavor and a woodsy finish thanks to its unusual blend, which includes some Indonesian tobacco.


4) Rum Plantation 20th Anniversary XO Barbados – Alc. 40%: A blend of the company’s oldest reserves, this rum is something else. Selected rums aged for long years in the Caribbean are painstakingly blended by our cellar master at Château de Bonbonnet then matured in small French oak casks for a further 12 to 18 months. Double aging gives the rum an incomparably round and creamy palate. The colour of old mahogany, Plantation XO 20th Anniversary reveals a nose with exotic notes of sugarcane, oaky vanilla and toasted coconut, enhanced by more complex aromas of cocoa, candied orange and cigar box.

To be enjoyed slowly, with or without a cigar. This rum needs a cigar with lots of flavor, but also some balance. The Flor de las Antillas Toro (Nicaragua) makes a lovely paring, with its coffee bean notes, hearty wood and backing sweetness.


5) Mojito with Plantation 3 stars rum: 

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. of Platnation 3 stars Rum
  • 2 Sprigs of Mint (approx 12 leaves)
  • 1/2 a Lime
  • 1/2 oz. Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz. Club Soda

Directions: Crush the mint, lime and brown sugar in a glass. Top with ice. Add rum and club soda. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.


This activity night was unique and the students enjoyed the first rum tasting in history at linguaschools. It was an opportunity for our students to learn more about the production, the flavors and aromas of rum and to understand the diversities. The Brand Ambassador explained what fits best to each type of rum and what kind of cocktail suits each rum the best. After tasting each single rum the students had the possibility to find out how the perfect Mojito is made in order to prepare the cocktail at home.

My name is Gijs Vaessen, I am a second year marketing student at the Hanze hogeschool Groningen (Netherlands). In this year there is a half year scheduled for an internship, I chose to do my internship abroad because it is a once in a life time opportunity that you should take! In high school I have had 2 years of Spanish classes, which I always found very interesting, and I wanted to improve my Spanish. So my vision was aimed at Spain for an internship.


Why did you decide to go to Valencia and to make an internship abroad?

I wanted to make sure that my internship was at a high educational level and was linked to my education, but I also wanted to enjoy my free time. When I was searching for a city, I first looked at Barcelona and Madrid which are both big cities in Spain, but I realized they didn’t offer exactly what I was looking for. The third big city of Spain is Valencia and I was really surprised about what you can do there. I chose this city, because it is located at the beach, the city has beautiful architecture and it has a perfect size, where you can easily bike through the whole city  and the prices for food, drinks and rent are cheaper then in Barcelona or Madrid. Furthermore, I also found my perfect internship at Linguaschools in the city center of Valencia.


Why did you decide to make a Spanish course?

On 20th of April I started my internship and from the minute I arrived in Spain I noticed that the people here are very open and kind and everyone is enthusiastic and helpful. This is the same with my colleges in the office and in the school. Apart from my working hours I follow Spanish classes each day at Linguaschools, because I want to learn Spanish as quick as possible and I am sure it will help me to integrate much faster. My Spanish has been improving by miles and I know for sure that at the end of my internship I will communicate in Spanish without any problems. The way of teaching at the school is very different than I am used to, because there is a lot of communication in the classes and you put your knowledge immediately to practice. The teachers teach with a lot of enthusiasm so that the 2 hours fly by each day.


Why should someone visit Valencia?

Valencia is a beautiful city with so many things to do and you will never be bored! There are so many places where you can eat traditional Valencian food, for example the original Paella, and have a drink for a very low price. What I enjoy very much about Valencia is the Jardin del Turia that is the park that runs 9 km through whole Valencia and is the biggest urban city garden in Europe. In this park you find a mixture of beautiful buildings and fantastic nature.

At the weekends I really like going to the huge white sandy beaches of Valencia which are only 10 – 15 minutes away from the city center and easily reached by public transport. My favorite beach is Malvarrosa, where I spend most time of the weekend. On the evenings during the week or after the beach on the weekend I like going out with my friends in the old town area El Carmen as well as in the areas Marina or Aragon to take some drinks and to enjoy the flair of the city. The area of El Carmen is known for being a place to head for bars, clubs and restaurants. Plaza de la Virgen is a good place to start and when you walk down the streets like Calle Caballeros you will find a wealth of places to go eating and drinking. The Marina area is a slightly more chic place to go out and it is close to the beach of Valencia. You find some big clubs in this area but there are also a lot of seafood restaurants and cocktail bars that enable a view on the Mediterranean sea.

Due to the fact that most of the universities and language schools are situated between Avenida de Aragon and Plaza del Cedro in the area Aragon, this part of the city is well-known for university and language course students. The squares and bars are most popular with a student crowd and you can find drinks and food for cheap prices.

I have been here now for almost three months and I have already seen and done so much in this city, but I know there is still so much to discover. Valencia is a marvelous city, which I can recommend to everyone and I will definitely come back here in the future.

I am looking forward to the next months here in Valencia and I am glad that I chose this city as my Spanish destination the place to do my internship. I am sure that I will miss the city a lot when I will go back to Holland but I know that this great experience will definitely help me to mature and will be a huge advantage for my professional future.

 

Spain is the 4th biggest countries by geographical area in Europe with 506.000 km2. Due to the size there is so much to see and do in this vast and diverse country. One of this beautiful places is called Valencia,  a large city on Spain’s eastern coast, located 320 km south-east from Spain’s capital Madrid.

Valencia has a mix of old and new buildings, giving it a real special feel of it’s own. From medieval castles and towers, to modernist and art decor architecture and plenty of beautiful places to eat and drink. It is the 3rd biggest city in Spain with nearly 800.000 inhabitants and is situated at the Mediterranean coast. The city has the largest inner city urban park in whole Europe, three beaches (Playa de las Arenas, Playa de Malvarrosa and Playa de la Patacona) and is packed full of culture and history, for example the holy grail. Historians worldwide believe La Catedral de Valencia is home to the last cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. The Holy Grail is made of agate stone and displayed in a decorative – gold and pearls – structure in the city’s imposing cathedral. Legend says the Holy Grail, which features in the cult novel The Da Vinci Code, possesses miraculous powers and crowds gather to pray in its presence.

 


1) La ciudad de las artes y las ciencias – The city of arts and sciences

The city of arts and sciences is a cultural and architectural building and park complex. It represents the modern town’s landmark and is located in the drained channel of the river Turia which is 280 km long, rises in Montes Universals and ends in Valencia. The complex was designed by the Spanish architectures Santiage Calatrava and Félix Candela and includes five buildings:

  • L’Hemisferic (an IMAX cinema): The building has the shape of and eye that reflects 24.000 square meters lake. The cover of the cinema looks like the eye lips of the eye, and can be closed or opened. (ticket prices: 8.80 € adults, 6.85 € reduced, 4.70 € school groups, 6.40 € adult groups)
  • Prince Felipe Museo de las Ciencias (science museum): The construction of the building reminds a whale skeleton. The museum is orientated to learning the sciences through experience and it is perfect to go with kids, because everything is graphically diplayed with huge texts and pics, experiments, button to touch and experience. The museum is open from Monday to Sunday from 8.00am till 00.30 am. (ticket prices: 8.00 € adultes, 6.20 € reduced, 4.30 € school groups, 5.80 € adult groups)
  • Oceanographic (a giant marine par or aquarium): The Oceanografic is Europe’s biggest Aquarium and it invites you to travel around the planet’s main seas and oceans. More than 45,000 examples of 500 different marine species – amongst which can be found sharks, Beluga whales, walruses, sea lions, penguins and manta rays – inhabit nine underwater towers that, structured in two levels, represent the most emblematic ecosystems of the planet. The oceanographic park, created as a great leisure, training and research centre, is structured into ten great areas. (ticket prices: 27.90 € adults, 21.00 € reduced, 12.55 € school groups, 18.65 € adult groups)
  • Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia: The spectacular building promotes the performing arts. It has an extension of 55.000 square meters and is one of the finest international venues for theatre, dance, opera and music concerts. Measuring over 70 meters in height, the Palau de les Arts is divided into four separate halls, all boasting the latest technological advances conceived to stage all kinds of opera, musical and theatrical performances. Here you find the program for 2015 and 2016. Perfomances start normally at 8pm, during Sundays and bank holidays at 7pm. The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is divided into the following rooms:
    • Sala Principal: This concert hall, which seats 1,412, principally serves as an opera house, but it is also used for ballet and other performing arts.
    • Auditorio: With a seating capacity of 1,490 people, this auditorium is equipped with advanced sound, cinema, and video installations.
    • Aula Magistral: This space, which can seat up to 378 people, is especially designed for performances by small music ensembles and it is also used for recitals, conferences, and educational events.
    • Teatre Martín i Soler: This theatre, located next to the Palau de les Arts, forms the south-west boundary of the complex. With a seating capacity of 400 people, the backstage installations and orchestra pit of this space are perfect for small and medium format opera performances.
  • Agora (multi-functional space): The Agora in the City of Arts and Sciences is a versatile space that will allow the holding of varied events. A multi-functional setting has been planned for the staging of congresses, conventions, concerts, and performances; it can also be converted into an exhibition area. This building hosted successfully the Valencia Open 500 Tennis Tournament, one of the most important international sports meetings.

2) La Lonja – the world heritage

Constructed between 1482 and 1548, during Valencia’s “Golden Age”,  La Lonja de la Seda (the Silk Exchange) is World Heritage-listed and described by UNESCO as “an exceptional example of a secular building in late Gothic style, which dramatically illustrates the power and wealth of one of the great Mediterranean mercantile cities”. Visitors can peruse the former trading hall, with its splendid spiral columns, and chill out in a courtyard sprinkled with orange trees.


3) The birthplace of Paella – taste the real one

Typical Valencian paella consists of white rice, green vegetables, meats that range from chicken and rabbit to snails or seafood, beans and seasoning. Many proud Valencianos say that these are the only required ingredients in a paella and therefore Valencia people proudly boasts it’s the birthplace of this iconic Spanish dish. While you can savour seafood paellas here, an authentic paella valenciana stays faithful to its peasant origins. It’s traditionally cooked on an open wooden fire with locally grown rice and only eaten at lunch. Valencians swear their mothers – and grandmothers – do the best paella, but many restaurants offer tasty version ‘menu del dias’ (fixed-price, three-course specials).


4) El Barrio del Carmen

Street art is one of the quirkiest features of El Carmen, the grittiest, but increasingly gentrified, chunk of Valencia’s historic centre. Springing south from the pretty Carmen church and plaza, a warren of alleys bulge with clothes and curio stores, tapas bars, bohemian cafes, jazz lounges and cosmopolitan restaurants.


5) The fallas festival

The festival begins in March, marking the beginning of spring, and technically lasts for 5 days. Each neighborhood has Falla houses that compete by building their own “falla” (effigy), which is usually a political pun or gag. The houses compete in different leagues, and on the last night of this lively festival, known as ‘La Crema’ (burning night), all but one effigy are destroyed. The surviving falla is called a “ninot” (small falla), and is officially pardoned. On this night, the entire city is on fire– literally and figuratively– as revelers enjoy music, parties, food, drinks and dancing in the streets. This fiesta is definitely worth experiencing at least once in your life.


6) The golden sandy Mediteranean beaches of Malvarrosa
The beaches of Las Arenas and Malvarrosa along the Mediterranean cost are beautiful sandy beaches stretching as long as the eye can see. They are noticeably clean, like the whole city and in peak summer time the beach will never be overly crowded, leaving tourists and Spanish locals with enough space to enjoy the sea. The coastal promenade is relatively undeveloped with a modest number of delicious bars and restaurants scattered along the front.


7) La Tomatina in Bunol

La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol 40 km direction west away from Valencia. The festival is supposed to be the ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’ where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. The festival is in honor of the town’s patron saints, Luis Bertran and the Mare de Deu dels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless), a title of the Virgin Mary. This year La Tomatina is taking place on the 26th of August and starts at around 11am when many truck haul the bounty of tomatoes into the centre of the town at Plaza del Pueblo. Once the tomato throwing begins, the battle is generally every man for himself.


8) The Natural Park of the Albufera
The Natural Park of the Albufera just south of Valencia Region is a Mecca for bird watchers. Connected to the sea by two narrow canals, it is one of the largest lakes in the country, with a total area of 21,000 hectares, much of which is covered in thick reed beds.


9) Calpe – the beautiful village in Costa Blanca 

At the heart of the Costa Blanca, within the region of Valencia lies the ancient fishing village of Calpe. Now transformed into a tourist magnet, the town sits in an ideal location, easily accessed by the A7 motorway and the N332 that runs from Valencia to Alicante; its approximately one hour drive from the airport at Alicante. Calpe has a wonderful mixture of old Valencian culture and modern tourist facilities. It is a great base from which to explore the local area or enjoy the many local beaches. Calpe alone has three of the most beautiful sandy beaches on the coast.
 Calpe is dominated by the towering rock of Ifach which reaches an impressive 332m, rising almost sheer above the sea and is a nature reserve. The summit of the rock is reached after a tough climb up a footpath, by means of a short tunnel through the upper part of the rock. Be warned the path above the tunnel has almost no safety features and is not recommended for anybody with a fear of heights, the very young, or the remotely unfit.


10) Sagunto
Only 20 kilometres from Valencia Region and easily accessible by bus or train (30 minutes), the coastal town of Sagunto is one of the most important historical locations of the entire region. Bronze Age and Iberian peoples settled here, drawn by the fertile lands and the natural fortress formed by a high crag which rears out of the plains. But Sagunto is most famous for its courageous resistance to the Carthaginian general Hannibal, who laid a siege to the fortress in 219 BC for 8 months. Rather than surrender, the citizens set fire to their city and perished in the flames. Today, the fortress and old Jewish quarter of the city of Sagunto are a popular tourist attraction, with one of the largest and most highly restored Roman theatres in existence in Spain set in a natural amphitheatre just above the town.


11) Xàtiva – the heritage of Spanish history

The city is situated 60 km away from the city Valencia and it is one of the most important cultural and historical cities in the region of Valencia. In 1150 the first paper on European ground was produced in Xàtiva by Moors. The city was founded by Iberian and Moors but in 1244 the city was conquered by Jaime I. of Aragon who created one of the most important archives in Europe. Xàtiva, especially the castle and the old town of the city, has many remains from each era of Spanish history, from the Iberians over Romains and Moors till the Gothic epoch. You can buy a train ticket for 6 € way and return (50 minutes one way) from the train station of Valencia to Xàtiva.


12) Utiel-Requena Region
Scarcely 40 miles inland from the city of Valencia, on the way to Madrid, you will find the Utiel-Requena Plateau. With a totally different climate to that of the coast, its cold, frosty winters and sunny, scorching summers make it the largest wine-producing area in the Valencia Region and one of the largest in Spain. A rural landscape of rolling hills and vineyards dotted with small towns and villages combines with mountainous, thickly wooded areas ideal for trekking or cycling. One of the most dramatic features of the area are the Hoces del Cabriel Gorges, where the Cabriel river runs swiftly among impressive stone walls and needles, an awe inspiring backdrop for sports such as canoeing or rafting. If you prefer walking around old towns and monuments, then Requena’s old town (the “Villa”) is the place to visit. Its winding streets flanked by old white houses, some impressive gothic churches and the “Cuevas del Vino”, a maze-like underground system of wine cellars with more than one mile of caves, will surprise you.

Should you prefer to focus on cuisine and wines, you will find a good array of restaurants in the area, together with some of the oldest wine cellars and wineries in Spain. Utiel-Requena is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) for wines with the area being renowned for the predominant use of the Bobal grape variety. Archaeological finds in ancient Iberian settlements, such as the one at Villares, show that viticulture and wine production in the area dates to at least the 7th century BC.


13) Montanejos – the hot springs

The Castellón town Montanejos is famous for its health contribution and it is situated 90 km north west from Valencia. The water has health properties and is highly recommended for cases of digestive and kidney-related illnesses. When you walk through the beautiful nature of Montanejos you can find crystal clear water spots with cliffs to jump off.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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