September 19, 2017

#TravelTuesday with Trafalgar Quiz: Answer

Where in the world can Trafalgar take you? 

La Tomatina fiesta!                                                                                                              Photo © http://www.spain.info/en

SPAIN!

Hola Spain! Welcome to the European Union’s second-largest country – the land of bull fighting, Flamenco dancing and the place where the stapler, mop and bucket all had their origins.

More than sunshine and beaches, Spain is very much the land of fiestas. From chucking talcum powder at each other for hours on end, to hanging out in coffins, pelting tomatoes at La Tomatina and running with bulls, Spain plays host to some of the weirdest and wackiest events.

Along with fiestas, the Spanish love a good siesta and you will often hear the locals talk about the “quality of life”, which has a lot to do with how much free time one has. The Spanish love to chill out so much that, according to a 2013 OECD report, they devote 16 out of every 24 hours on average to leisure, eating, drinking and sleeping.

Royal Palace, Madrid                                                                                                         Photo © http://www.spain.info/en

However, it’s not all about parties and napping. Spain has a lot to offer in terms of history and culture. Spain's central capital, Madrid, is a cosmopolitan city featuring elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro. The city is renowned for its rich collections of European art, including the Prado Museum’s works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters. The heart of old Hapsburg Madrid is the portico-lined Plaza Mayor, and nearby is the baroque Royal Palace and Armoury, displaying historic weaponry.

Prado Museum                                                                                                                      Photo © http://www.spain.info/en

In Barcelona you will come across, La Sagrada Familia, a Roman-Catholic Church, which has been under construction since 1882. This beautiful church was designed by the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi and is today considered as one of the biggest and the most beautiful buildings in the world. Seven of Gaudi’s works in Barcelona have also been listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites.

If you have any spare time to do some shopping in Barcelona, head out to Portal del Ángel, a pedestrianized shopping street in the same city which sees the soles of 3 000 pedestrians every hour of every day. It's also known as the most expensive street in Spain.

Another of Spain’s sights to marvel at is the Casas Colgadas, or Hanging Houses of Cuenca. The City of Cuenca at one stage lacked the option to spread out as its population grew, so they did the next best thing: expanded upwards and outwards. It almost appears as if the houses cling terrifyingly to rocky outcroppings, sometimes topping out at seven or eight gravity-defying stories, and extending out over the valley far below.

The Hanging Houses of Cuenca                                                                                          Photo © http://www.spain.info/en

In the mood for some dancing, why not try out the flamenco? A word of warning though; it is not as easy as it looks and the amount of practice that goes behind a great flamenco performance will make anyone break a sweat. The flamenco consists of four main components: cante (song), baile (dance), palmas (handclaps) and toque (playing of the guitar). And, to get it right you have to co-ordinate all these four components carefully. In 2010, Unesco declared the flamenco as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Flamenco!                                                                                                                            Photo © http://www.spain.info/en

And of course, is that Spain is famous for its food and wine. Embark on a discovery of tapas in Spain’s bars, pubs, and lounges, which line street after street. Tapas are small portions of snacks or appetisers that are served hot or cold. Some of the most famous tapas include cheeses, olives, fried squids and chorizo (sausages). Just a heads up: do not be alarmed by a dirty floor in a bar. It is completely acceptable and normal to throw things on the ground in bars. If the floor of the bar you are frequenting is filthy, it bodes well.

Don't leave Spain without trying some...                                                                             Photo © http://www.spain.info/en

Not in the mood for a pub lunch? You can enjoy a meal in the oldest restaurant in the world, in Madrid. Although other restaurants claim they are older, the title has been awarded by Guinness World Records to Restaurante Botín, which has been open since 1725. The signature dish? Cochinillos asado (roast suckling pig).

Keen to embrace la vida loca in Spain? Why not hasta pronto and see this amazing destination with Trafalgar? See if from the inside with the 12-night Spain and Portugal highlights package.

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