Two starkly different events have been taking place over the past few days in Spain and the big UK newspaper websites have covered them with some excellent picture galleries.
In Andalusia, the pilgrimage of the Virgen del Rocio has seen thousands of Catholics walk to the town of the same name in the Huelva province of Andalusia. The Guardian website has a Virgen del Rocio picture gallery.
If that's not your thing, maybe Barcelona's X-Games is. The extreme sports event has expanded in recent years from its American roots to a six-event international series. Check out this X-Games Barcelona picture gallery.
And May is still not over! The next big event, which I'll be going to, is the Primavera Sound music festival, also in Barcelona.
The organizers of Primavera Sound have announced how you can pick up your wristbands to get into the festival this year.
The collection of tickets will only be possible from the Parc del Forum - the site of the main days of the festival. It will not be possible to collect your tickets at the pre-shows at Sala Apolo, however, you do not need your wristband to get into these concerts - all you need is to print out your ticket and show it at the door (with your ID).
The ticket exchange office at the Parc del Forum will be open at the following times:
Monday May 20, 2013: from 4 pm to 8 pm
Tuesday May 21, 2013: from midday to 8 pm
Wednesday May 22, 2013: from midday to 11 pm
Thursday May 23, 2013, Friday May 24, 2013 and Saturday May 25, 2013: from midday to 2.30 am
See also: Primavera Sound 2013 Schedule
A British man accused Ryanair of discrimination when he discovered that he and his compatriots are charged more compared to other countries - and won compensation. Could you also claim compensation from Ryanair?
The Consumer Action Group has urged British Ryanair customers to get claim letters in the post 'as soon as they can' after Ryanair tried (and failed) to silence the successful claimant over the amount repaid. Ryanair paid Simon Couzens over £400 after the airline overcharged him by a similar amount over seven return flights to Croatia - a mark-up of 18 per cent.
See here for Ryanair's contact details.
If you're planning on traveling to Spain in May or June, where should you go?
Cordoba and Madrid are great places to visit in May. Proud homeowners decorate their patios and allow visitors in to see them during the Cruces de Mayo festival in Cordoba, while Madrid has its patron saint's day, the Feria de San Isidro, which also marks that start of a month of Bullfighting in Madrid.
These links will help you decide what to do in May in Spain:
There's lots going on in June in Spain - it's difficult to pick a top event to head for. The Fiesta del Agua, a giant water fight in Lanjaron near Granada, is an obvious highlight, as is the similar (but messier) Batalla del Vino (wine battle).
See more about June in Spain:
Update: The schedules for all three main days (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) are now in Google Calendar format.
The organizers of Primavera Sound 2013 released the schedule for most of this year's festival on Friday. Check out this link to see PDF and Google Documents versions of the Primavera Sound 2013 Schedule.
Over the weekend I created a version of the schedule for Google Calendar. Follow the instructions below to add the schedule to your Google calendar. You can then sync this to your smartphone or desktop calendar (Android phones do this automatically and it's easy to do it with an iPhone too).
You will then be able to set up notifications before each concert so you will never miss a single band (unless they clash with someone else, of course!).
If you would like the full schedule in your mobile phone, with reminders when bands are about to start, follow these steps:
1. Click on this Primavera Sound 2013 Google Calendar.
2. At the bottom-right of the page you will see a + Google Calendar icon. Click on this. You will then be asked to confirm if you want to add this calendar to your own Google Calendar. Click 'Yes'.
3. Your calendar will probably be showing today's date. Change it to 'day' view mode and then go to May 23, 24, 25 and the early hours of May 26 to see the schedule.
See also: Primavera Sound Preview
Primavera Sound, Europe's best alternative music festival, has unveiled the timetable for this year's event.
On the official site the schedule is in alphabetical order. I have made it simpler to see who plays when by making Google Documents showing who plays when and where:
- Thursday (May 23) Primavera Sound 2013 Schedule
- Friday (May 24) Primavera Sound 2013 Schedule
- Saturday (May 25) Primavera Sound 2013 Schedule
I have also created a Primavera Sound 2013 Schedule for Google Calendar (GCal and iCal) so you can see all the bands on your phone and get notifications when an artist is about to begin.
I spend a lot of my time browsing the web, discovering new places in Spain to visit and share with you. Here is just a selection of what I've picked up in the past week.
- Andalucia's best budget beach hotels The best of south-east Andalusia's hotels. (The Guardian spells Andalusia the Spanish way, but I'm writing in English so I use the English spelling. Read more about Andalusia or Andalucia?)
- Avoiding the crowds in Andalusia Annie Bennett shares her tips
- Mini-guide to rural Ibiza Where should you go if clubbing's not your style?
- Barajas T4 in Madrid voted world's 3rd best air terminal
- Ten hidden gems of Europe Lonely Planet's list features La Coruña in Galicia.
If you have an iPad, iPhone or Android device, you might be interested in my magazine on Flipboard. Subscribe to my Spain Travel Magazine on Flipboard to see the latest articles from around the web in an easy-to-read format.
The Feria de Sevilla is underway, Seville's chance to let its hair down after Lent and Easter is over. And one way that some Spaniards like to unwind is by going to see a bullfight. For many, the highlight of the Feria de Sevilla is the full bullfighting program, with a week of bullfights for aficionados and the curious.
If you are interested in seeing a bullfight, it can often be quite difficult to find out when bullfights take place. Bullfighting websites are poorly maintained, if at all, and sites that sell bullfights are little better.
I have used my contacts to create the best bullfighting schedule for you.
This schedule is to help those who are already interested in viewing a bullfight. This is not a recommendation or an endorsement of bullfighting. I do not try to convince people that they should see a bullfight. If it hasn't piqued your interest already, it's probably not for you.
Update: I now have the Primavera Sound 2013 Schedule and the Primavera Sound 2013 Schedule as a Google Calendar
There have been a few changes in the line-up for Primavera Sound 2013, with Fiona Apple and Foxygen canceling their appearances. Mercury Award nominees Django Django have been added to the bill.
Primavera Sound is one of Europe's best alternative music festivals. Check out my Primavera Sound 2013 Preview.
The changes in full:
- Fiona Apple
- Crime and the City Solution
New Acts Added to Primavera Sound 2013 in Barcelona
- Django Django
- DJ Koze
- The Drones
New Acts Added to Primavera Sound 2013 in Porto, Portugal
Who takes a package tour? Spain tours are no longer about simply getting you to the beach with the least contact with the natives as possible. Tours of Spain today also include excellent cultural experiences that pack in more in a short period of time than you could ever achieve by yourself.
Some tours are worth it for the transportation alone. Take, for example, a tour to the Valle de los Caidos and El Escorial. Buses between the two sights are infrequent (one per day last I was there). To visit both in one day (which is really what you should do) is logistically difficult - the first time I went, I missed my connection and didn't make it to the Valle. A guided tour takes the risk of failure out of the equation.
Another tour that I recommend for similar reasons is a Costa del Sol to Madrid tour. A one-way tour that takes you to Granada for a night followed by a drive up to Madrid with a stop in Toledo, this route is impossible by public transport as there is no way to get from Granada to Toledo.
But these tours are rare. Most simply offer a lot of sights in the quickest time, with guided tours, pre-booked accommodation and a couple of meals thrown in. Their only crime is that they can feel a bit rushed - you have to pack and unpack your bag every morning and night and you often don't have the time to explore the cities by yourself. But there are (partial) solutions to this too - if it's the packing that bothers you, check out this Four-Day Tour of Lisbon, which takes you to some of the best sights around the Portuguese capital (and a couple of spots in Spain too) with all of your accommodation in one place. And if it's the lack of exploring you dislike, then be sure to book some extra days at the start of end of your tour to see the city on your own. Many tours are not loops, so you can have some extra days at the beginning and the end.
Check out this page of Spain Package Tours for an idea of the kinds of tours available.