Jun 022012
A Spanish pilgrimage to La Virgén del Rocío

Many years ago, not having been long in Andalucia, and roughly at this time of year, some friends and I decided we should visit La Virgén del Rocío. All we knew was that ‘El Rocío’ was a fascinating pilgrimage, to which the faithful arrived on foot, while we planned to drive there comfortably in a new Citröen 2CV. What we did learn from some local know-all we encountered in one of the many bars at […]

Mar 172012
Las Fallas: the monuments, the ninots and Valencian traditional dress

Yesterday was La Planta, when the Las Fallas monuments (monumentos) are erected and when the Las Fallas fiesta in Valencia starts in earnest. Today the schools are closed, as they will be on Monday, and every town and village in Valencia Province is resounding to the explosions of fireworks from morning to night. Meanwhile, bands and processions of Valencians in traditional dress are marching joyfully through the streets. The atmosphere is terrific. I thought, given […]

Mar 032012
Las Fallas, a ‘must-see’ Spanish fiesta!

Las Fallas is almost upon us again – one of the most incredible fiestas in Spain and one that is a ‘must-see’ for anyone who loves seeing something quite stunning and totally extraordinary. The work-up to Las Fallas lasts a month and culminates in an extraordinary week of celebrations climaxing on the 19th March, with La Cremà, the amazing burning of the niñots in the streets of the towns and villages of Valencia Province. If […]

May 312011
Make the best of your summer holidays in Spain!

I am struck now by how many times I came for my summer holidays in Spain and yet never really took advantage of what was available to me.  Like most holidaymakers in Spain I tended to stay around the beach and the restaurants and bars close to where I was staying. Of course, once or twice during our beach holidays in Spain we would take a day trip out.  This was almost always to some […]

Apr 202011
Easter holidays in Spain, the Capuchins

One of the most notable aspects to any Easter holidays in Spain is the appearance of the Capuchins. All of a sudden, throughout Spain, you can see gorgeous religious processions with the people concerned resplendent in costumes that mimic the Klu Klux Klan – albeit far more colourful! Semana Santa (Easter week) is a very important time for anyone religious in Spain and is marked by processions of the Capuchins. These processions, in various forms, […]

Mar 212011
Las Fallas, the burnings (La Cremà)

La Cremà is the climax to Las Fallas and always takes place, every year, on the night of the 19th March (irrespective of the day of the week) within Valencia Province.  It is a terrific occasion with the most thrilling and greatest burnings of the effigies (ninots) taking place in the middle of Valencia city.  That is not say that the burnings are not mind boggling events in the surrounding towns – but they, obviously, […]

Mar 172011
Las Fallas, the joy, the beauty and the creativity!

Sometimes it really is good to be alive!  Today I have been down in my beloved Gandia, touring around the Las Fallas ninots and bathing in the celebrations of Las Fallas.  This is the eighth time that I have seen Las Fallas and I am still overwhelmed by the sense of joy that surrounds a major fiesta in Spain. As I have written before, Las Fallas lasts about a month, although the peak period is […]

Mar 142011
Las Fallas and the erection of the effigies (La Planta)!

So, Las Fallas is almost upon us!  Indeed, it starts in earnest tomorrow (15th March) and then continues until Saturday (19th March) – with the same dates annually, irrespective of how those dates land in the week.  However, I should stress that this is not a fiesta that celebrates the culture of Spain – this is about Valencian culture and occurs only in Valencia province! Needless to say, there is great excitement on the streets […]

Mar 012011
Running of the bulls Pamplona – the rules!

The first thing is never consider running with the bulls in Pamplona if you have not seen the encierro before.  Even if this is only the Spanish TV1 broadcast (excellent coverage every day of the feria de San Fermín from 7.30 to 8.30 am) which first transmits the run live, then has commentaries, then a re-run with a commentary, and finally a slow motion re-run with music.  Even an old film is better than nothing.  […]

Feb 182011
Las Fallas Valencia, a ‘must-see’ fiesta!

Las Fallas is nearly upon us – and it is one of the most extraordinary fiestas in Spain! Although the work up to Las Fallas is already starting now, the climax does not occur until the 15th – 19th of March, so you have plenty of time to book a flight to Spain and come over to see it. But what is Las Fallas – you may well be asking? Well, for a complete and […]

Feb 162011
Las Fallas Valencia, the most incredible fiesta in Spain!

Las Fallas must rank as one of the most extraordinary fiestas in Spain.  Indeed, over the past few years it has gained international recognition as one of those remarkable events that you should see – at least once in your lifetime. Certainly, the sheer scale of La Fallas is astonishing with the main festivities taking place over five days (15th – 19th March every year).  However, the ‘work up’ to Las Fallas starts from February […]

Jan 142011
Running of the bulls: Pamplona and the fiesta of San Fermin

  It is 7.30 in the morning and the cobbles are wet and slippery.  Not from rain, but from the hosing down the streets get every morning during the Feria de San Fermín. Even though it is the middle of July, there is a chill in the air, but this is Pamplona and it will warm up quickly and by midday will be stifling.  (The Feria de San Fermín runs from 7 to 14 July […]