Sunday December 1, 2013
Winter in Spain. The days are shorter and the beaches are largely empty. What do visitors to Spain do in the darkest months of the year?
There are fewer events in Spain in December and January than at other times of year. Christmas in Spain is a big deal, so a lot of what happens in December is in anticipation of the big Christian event. Check out what's happening this year for Christmas in Madrid, including the locations of all the big Christmas markets.
Other events in December in Spain include the famous El Gordo Christmas lottery, a flamenco festival in Malaga and an odd event featuring a man dressed as a bear. Take a look at these December Events in Spain.
After New Year's Eve comes Three Kings Day in Spain, when the kids get even more gifts. Check out the procession on the night of January 5, when the three kings will visit the cities of Spain and hand out sweets to onlookers.
Other events in January in Spain include a winter motorcycle rally in Valladolid and the San Sebastian festival: January Events in Spain.
Friday November 29, 2013
Christmas will officially begin tonight in Madrid, with the switching on of the Christmas lights taking place later on today.
The best lights are in Puerta del Sol (with its centerpiece - the giant Christmas tree, sponsored by the State Lottery), Gran Via, Paseo de la Castellana and the Salamanca district (around Calle Goya and Calle Ortega y Gasset).
This week also sees the opening of several of the city's Christmas markets. Read more about Christmas in Madrid to find about the locations of the markets and other festivities in the capital this holiday season.
See also: Christmas in Spain
Thursday November 28, 2013
I found an interesting article on The Local today, about the problems even Spanish people have with their own language.
Ten Spanish Mistakes Even Spaniards Make points to some interesting mistakes, including one that has always bothered me - the blurring of the difference between 'hear' ('oir') and 'listen' ('escuchar') - and a few I can smugly say I have never had problems with myself!
Check out the article if you're currently struggling with what people always dismissively describe as one of the easiest languages to learn and take heart in the fact that people speaking the language have problems too.
It is true, though, that Spanish is relatively easy, compared to learning German, French, or any Scandinavian or Slavic language. A few weeks at a language school in Spain should put most people well on their way to some level of competency. I studied for 12 weeks at a school in Seville and went from the beginners class to the advanced class - and yes, I worked incredibly hard, but I would never have said I was particularly adept at learning languages.
If you're currently struggling at evening classes in your home country, I can assure you that there is no substitute for total immersion in a language you are trying to learn.
Check out these resources on choosing a language school in Spain:
Wednesday November 27, 2013
Finally, after years in development, the non-stop high-speed train from Barcelona to Paris will finally begin in time for Christmas.
The high-speed train from Spain to France was launched earlier this year, but it required a change in Figueres due to technical differences between Spanish and French rail tracks.
These difficulties have now been ironed out, meaning the new train service will cover the route in just six hours and twenty minutes, half an hour faster (and a whole lot more convenient) than the current journey with its change at Figueres.
Other new routes include Barcelona to Lyon, Barcelona to Toulouse and Madrid to Marseille (via Barcelona).
This new route makes the Eurail Spain-France Pass a lot more worthwhile.