From the Republic of Catalonia to the State of Catatonia
Remember Catalonia, the land of yellow ribbons? The long-coveted Republic has turned into a “State of Catatonia” and continues to be ruled by an avatar in Madrid. The politicians who sacrificed the Community’s autonomy at the altar of independence are touring Europe and no new government is on the horizon.
Yet things work out, so to speak. The economy is back on track and tourism grows more than in the rest of Spain while pro-independence fervor fades. So you know what, dear Catalans? Pass the wine, fuck the government, I love you…
VolandoVa: The First Travel Portal Where You Don’t Travel
A brilliant fundraising campaign by MSF Spain. VolandoVa offers a wide range of destinations where nobody would like to go, including Syria, South Sudan, and Yemen. As they say: “We don’t ask you to come. We ask you to take us.”
Sure, when it comes to relieving the effects of wars and famines, it’s better that they do it. We can just support and praise their great altruism and creativity.
Remapping the City to Highlight Community Initiatives
We can look at a city as a simple repository of buildings, monuments, streets, restaurants, shops, squares, and green spaces devoid of life but with a glorious past. As tourists though, it’d be nice if a city map could reveal something more, such as places and cultural initiatives creatively shaped by the local community.
Remapping the City: A Map of Madrid and Its Community Initiatives – Illustration by Los Madriles
An alternative mapping project like that of Los Madriles in Madrid, Spain can then become a new way of looking at the urban territory and fully understand its great diversity. All major cities should have one, don’t you agree?
Ecotourism: 7 Rural Wonders of Spain 2017 by Toprural
As every year since 2012, Toprural, a platform for booking rural vacation rentals launched in 2000 and now part of the HomeAway Network, has organized an online contest to select the seven rural wonders of Spain.
Royal Monastery of Santa María of Guadalupe – Photo Courtesy: Rpmayor @ Wikimedia Commons
The 2017 winner is Guadalupe, a village with just over 2,000 inhabitants located in Extremadura known for its beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Monastery, which is the second most important pilgrimage site in the country.
Looking back at the previous editions, Toprural’s users seem to really love this relatively poor area of western Iberian Peninsula. And you can’t blame them. Extremadura is also one of Europe’s least visited regions with only 71 yearly nights spent per square km. What better to enjoy ecotourism in Spain?
2018 Urbanism Awards: 5 Great Places to Visit
There are so many awards that celebrate European cities that it is difficult to track them all. Bilbao, the capital of Biscay in northern Spain‘s Basque Country, has just been named European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism, a network of built environment experts from across Europe.
2018 Urbanism Awards: Bilbao is Europe’s Best City – Photo Courtesy: SnapwireSnaps @ Pixabay
A well-deserved prize, given that the city, famous for the Guggenheim Museum, has in fact much more to offer and, as the chair of the Academy said, “is a great example of the wholesale transformation of a former industrial city – not just physically, but socially, economically and culturally.”
Even more interesting, we think, is all the work they do to honor great towns, neighborhoods, streets, and places across the UK and Ireland. Actually, there is an award for each of them and this year’s winners are Corby, Byker (Newcastle), Humber Street Fruit Market (Hull), and the Brunswick Centre (London).
L’Alternativa: 24th Barcelona Independent Film Festival
This year again we will take part in l’Alternativa, an Independent Film Festival held in Barcelona, Spain (or is it the self-proclaimed Republic of Catalonia?). A whole week to enjoy the screening of more than 200 movies from around the world and engage in various activities, including debates and workshops.
Cinema is a reflection of our society and helps us to ponder the crises that we live in. Based on this idea, most of the movies selected for the 24th edition of Barcelona’s Independent Film Festival deal with topics such as human rights, personal freedom, and overcoming borders. Save the date: Nov 13-19, 2017.