Category Archives: Travel

Best Spanish Festivals

Spain is famous for its festivals. Whatever time of the year you visit, there would be some or the other festival going around in Spain. The Spanish festivals resemble Spain rich culture and traditions. The good time always carve around the country may it be the dancing, food-festivals, or a patron day. Here is the guide to the festivals celebrated in Spain round the year.

  • La Tomatina Festival: The very popular tomato fight is celebrated on the last Wednesday of August in Bunol town, Spain. It is recognized as the “world’s biggest food-fight” where more than 30,000 people participate and throw more than 40 metric tons of tomatoes. The festival starts at 10 AM, at this time you will see people dancing and being showered with the water from hoses. To start the tomato fight, it is required that someone should climb the greased pole and drop the ham on top. Once this happens, a signal is given when trucks loaded with tomatoes throw in the Plaza del Pueblo. The crowd then becomes crazy and starts throwing tomatoes at each other. The fight continues for an hour. The tomatoes used in this festival are of low grade and inexpensive.
  • San Fermin: Recognized as the most dangerous festival of the Spain held in Pamplona. It is a world renowned festival and is attended by over 1,000,000 people. It is held in the honor of Saint Fermin. The festival starts from noon July 6th to midnight July 14th. The first day is marked as opening ceremony where rockets are exploded and people enjoy the fiesta start. The period from July 7th till July 14th includes the daily task of “running of the bulls”. In this activity people run in front of six bulls in the narrow street of Pamplona. The event concludes on midnight July 14th with the candle light march by the people.
  • The San Sebastian Drum Festival: The festival is celebrated on the first day of the year. It is one of the New Year celebrations held in Basque town. On this day, the drummers march around the city on deafening beats of the drums. The Child Drummer’s ceremony is celebrated the very next morning.
  • La Endiablada: It is religious festival celebrated in Almonacid de Marquesado, Spain. It is held in the month of February. The young boys dressed up as devils wearing colorful pants, jackets, colorful hats, and tie cowbells around their waist. These boys run and dance in the street and inside the church on the music of cowbells.
  • Fiesta de Verano: Celebrated in the month of August in Malaga, this festival starts with spectacular fireworks. The festival is celebrated in the streets of Malaga in which people wear traditional costumes and dance and eat ham, cheese, and fish with red wine.
  • Haro wine Festival: This “Wine Battle” takes place in the summer in city of Haro. People on this day wear white shirts and carry jugs and bottles filled with red wine.
  • Seville Fair: This fair is held in Seville, Spain. The fair is celebrated for one week, starting from Monday and ending on Sunday. The fair is accompanied with huge stalls and tents all over the ground.
  • All Saints Day: This celebration takes place on the November, 1st in Cadiz accompanied by lots of eating, drinking, and dancing. The people dress up traditionally.

Spain has a lot to offer with so many enthusiastic festivals. Whenever you are in Spain do plan your visit to have fun in these festivals. Enjoy the rich culture of Spain Festivals.

Lesson 13: ¡Me voy de viaje!

Lesson 13: ¡Me voy de viaje!

You’re going to find…

GRAMMAR: Préterito Indefinido de SER y de TENER

VOCABULARY: Los medios de transporte

DIÁLOGO: ¡Me voy de viaje!







The conjugation of the préterito indefinido tense is a little bit difficult but don’t worry! We’re going to learn how to do it easily. In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to conjugate two important and irregular verbs: ser and tener. Ready?


Yo fui


Él/Ella/Usted fue

Nosotros/as fuimos

Vosotros/as fuisteis

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes fueron


Yo tuve


Él/Ella/Usted tuvo

Nosotros/as tuvimos

Vosotros/as tuvisteis

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tuvieron




















































We use the preposition en with the means of transport: en coche (by car), en avión (by plane), etc.

How do we say “to take the train”, “to take the plane”, etc.?

We say coger el tren, coger el avión, etc.

The Spanish speakers from South America usually use tomar instead of coger; actually, in those countries the verb coger has got a sexual undercurrent.


DIÁLOGO: ¡Me voy de viaje!

Sophie: 1. Alejandro, la semana que viene nos vamos de viaje a Sevilla. 2. ¿Quieres ir con nosotros?

Alejandro: 3. Vale. ¿Vamos en tren?

Sophie: 4. Sí. Salimos de la estación de Atocha a las 4 de la tarde.

EJERCICIOS (Key at the end of the lesson)

1. Translate the dialogue

Respuestas exactas: …/8 (2 puntos por cada respuesta correcta)

2. Choose the right mean of transport

a. El … sale del aeropuerto de Madrid.

b. Fuimos a Sevilla en …

c. Alicia viaja siempre en …

d. Nosotros estamos en el …

e. El … se está hundiendo.

Respuestas exactas: …/5

3. Something is missing in the following text. Fix it!

Me gusta viajar avión pero no gusta viajar en tren. El avión es divertido y tren es muy aburrido. Además, muchos trenes sucios. Me gustan mucho aeropuertos y los puertos por sus atmósferas. En cambio, las estaciones trenes no gustan.

Respuestas exactas: …/7



Los medios de transporte de Madrid

Madrid tiene una buena red (network) de transporte público. Su metropolitana y sus líneas de bus funcionan muy bien y te dan la posibilidad de viajar rápidamente (quickly) por la ciudad y de llegar de manera cómoda al aeropuerto de Barajas y a la estación de trenes de Atocha.

¡Organiza un viaje!

Si sueñas con visitar España, entra en la página de la principal compañía de aviones española, Iberia, y organiza los viajes que te gustaría hacer. Escribe una lista de las ciudades que quieres ver y de los horarios de salida (departure) de los aviones. De esa manera, puedes practicar tus conocimientos del idioma y, al mismo tiempo, ¡soñar!



1. 1. Alejandro, we’re going to Sevilla next week. 2. Would you like to go with us? 3. Ok. Are we travelling by train? 4. Yes, we are. We’re going to leave from Atocha Station at 4 pm.

2. avión, tren, coche, tren, barco

3. en, me, el, están, los, de, me

Respuestas exactas: …/20

Si tus respuestas exactas son 18/20, ¡muy bien!

Si tus respuestas exactas son 16/18, no está mal: ¡la próxima vez te va a ir mejor!

Si tus respuestas exactas son menos de 15, vuelve a leer la clase y vuelve a intentar. 



Madrid, the Intoxicating Cocktail of the Tradition and the Modern

The haunting beauty of the guitars, the whirling flamingo dancer, the raging bulls and the strutting matadors – the Spanish capital of Madrid is a unique blend of the old and the new. As you walk along the streets of this beautiful city, you are buffeted a contrast of the old world charm and the brashness of the modern.

The city has really a lot to offer to the tourist. But, once you have landed here, where do you start? Let’s take a quick look at the must visit places in Madrid.

Calle de Atocha

The Calle de Atocha is the main street of Madrid which runs from the Plaza Major in central Madrid to Pareodel Prado, the area where the Atocha train station is located and beyond. As you stroll along this busiest street of Madrid, it’s as if you have been suddenly transported into the Middle Ages. Your walk would also give you a view of the building which houses the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. With its gorgeous white facade and the sculpture of the raring white horses looming over the Spanish skyline, this beautiful building is a breathtaking view.

The Royal Botanical Garden

If you wish to take a detour to the Garden of Eden, then don’t miss the Real Jardin Botanica or the Royal Botanical Garden in the Prado district of the city. Spread over almost 20 acres of land, this beauty is 250 years old and houses nearly 30,000 varieties of exotic flora from places as distant as South America, Japan, as well as European countries and many other places. Walking into the Royal Gardens is like suddenly being transported from a busy and modern city into a tropical paradise.

Prado Museum

After refreshing your minds with the soothing beauty of nature, it’s time to step into the world where this beauty is preserved in color by the master artists of the world. Yes, we have reached the Prado museum, one of the most visited tourist’s attractions of the world. The Museo Del Prado has one of the largest permanent collections in the world and is regarded as one of the most prestigious art museums around. Master pieces by the great Spanish, Italian and Flemish masters of both the past and the present adorn the walls of this museum. Rubens, Goya, Bosch and Velazquez are just some of the renowned painters whose works are exhibited here.

Retiro Park

Tired from walking around the Prado Museum? Well, go to the nearby Retiro Park to relax and soothe your aching limbs. You have the option of just lying beneath one of the trees that decorate this place or take a bicycle ride through its charming roads. Puppet shows, live music, sports, all these and more can be enjoyed here. You can even take a boat ride through the artificial lake on the northern side of the park, the Estanque Del Retiro. And don’t forget to visit the Palacio de Cristal, or the Crystal Palace on the banks of the lake. Modeled after the Crystal Palace in London, this beautiful monument used to house exotic plants in the past; but now it is used for exhibitions of a temporary nature.

The Clock Tower

To the southern side of the Peurta Del Sol, one of the busiest squares of Madrid, in the Ministry of Interior building is the large bell tower. Each New Year eve, residents of Madrid as well as millions of tourists from all over the world assemble in this square to welcome in the New Year. Well, if you turn back the pages of history, the basement of this magnificent building which at present is a major tourist attraction, would ring out with the agonized cries of the tortured human beings during the Fascist period.

The Royal Palace

A visit to Madrid is never complete without a look at the Royal Palace. The Palacio Real is one of the oldest and most impressive palaces in Europe. With more than 2,000 breathtaking and luxurious rooms, the royal palace was modeled on the Versailles Palace in Paris. Fifty of these are open to the public.

If you want to be taken back in times to the forgotten era of resplendent luxury Madrid is the place to go to.

The Pearls of Barcelona

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is the second largest city in Spain, behind Madrid.  This city is thriving with life, dynamic religious structures, spirited culture, amazing cuisine and spectacular vistas.

This wonderful city offers an assortment of adventures which are sure to check off the WOW-factor sensations on your list!  

Tibidabo Hill

Tibidabo Hill offers magnificent and picturesque views over the city.  It’s not just a mountain or hill, but an experience.

On your way to Tibidabo Hill, stop by the amazing Science Museum of Barcelona.

You will be able to ride the funicular atop Mount Tibidabo where you’ll discover an amusement park for children, and Barcelona’s most well adorned landmark, Sagrada Cor, with its stunning murals.

There is also the Automata Museum, Collserola Tower, the Observatory Fabra, and the Church Choir of Sagra. 

Gothic Quarter

Barrio Gòtico is full of life with its carefree cafes and artistic bars.  There are several must-sees here.

Take a stroll through La Seu Cathedral.  The inside of the cathedral is quite striking but the gentle alleyways such as Plaça Sant Felip Neri , with its charming fountain, and Carrer del Bisbe, with its neo-gothic overpass, offer up a most enjoyable outdoor delight.

When taking in the Gothic Quarter, consider a walking tour which will unearth the backdoor of Barcelona, and its historic significance.

A very popular tourist attraction is Barrio Gòtico’s institution, the neo-Gothic Cerveseria, which dates back to the 1890s.  This bar is where some of Picasso’s first works of art were held. 

Plaça del Pi is one of Barcelona’s most attractive squares.  Take in the shops, or enjoy a meal off one of the café terraces.

You’ll experience amazing architecture, market stalls, gothic churches, and artists lulling on deck chairs, all within walking distance.

Museu d’Historia de La Ciutat is a great museum to visit as it is said that it is the place where Christopher Columbus made an appearance after returning from the new world.  Here, there are ancient Roman remains, very old relics and literature which map out the capital’s primitive history through the takeover by the Moors. 

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas is considered Barcelona’s most celebrated street.  Take in the dynamic architecture, check out a show, marvel at the many street performers, enjoy a beer and take pleasure in the lively ambiance.

If you’re looking for a great place to eat, head over to the La Boqueria Market.  Choose from a variety of fresh fruit, or stroll to the back of the market where you’ll find excellent small restaurants with superb food and amazing tapas.

The street performers are a main attraction alone.  As you promenade through the streets, you’ll encounter many human-like sculptures.  The costumes are colorful and a bit bizarre, but entertaining nonetheless.

If you have time, take in a show at the Liceu.  Even though the performances carry an operatic tone, non-operatic performances are given throughout the year.

Placa Reial is a gorgeous plaza – a great place to enjoy your coffee and take in the unique architecture.

If you’re looking for a cool place to party, check out Sidecar, located in Placa Reial – great energy and a vibrant atmosphere.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Yes, it’s just a water fountain, BUT… not just any water feature.  This awe-inspiring and stunning fountain astounds with its music and multicolored lights.

Jets of water delight as its mist jets in coordination with the music and lights.

In the evening, the lights dance to the rhythm of the music which plays an eclectic mix of melodies – everything from The Godfather, to Mozart – very cool, indeed.

The attention-grabbing visual effects make the entire experience memorable and jaw-dropping.

El Born

The La Palau de la Musica Catalana is a must-see.  This magnificent opera house is coated with vivid and multicolored mosaics.  The acoustics are astounding and the paintings and glass cupola are simply striking.

Picasso is Spain’s most famous painter and it is here, at the Picasso Museum, in El Born, where you can be in awe of his wonderful cubist paintings and early sketches.

Stroll through the medieval palaces on Carrer Montcada, which are where wealthy aristocracy dwelled during the medieval times.  These fine palaces are lined with remarkable architecture and history.

How about a cocktail?  In the evening, the streets of El Born are full of fashionable and good-looking people ready to party at any one of the stylish cocktail bars.  A good one to try is La Fianna.  It offers Happy Hour at two-for-one specials.

Chocolate lovers, you’ve got to check out El Born’s Chocolate Museum on Carrer Comerc, and for spa lovers, relax at Baños Arabes – an elegant 18th-century building looking out over Ciutadela Park.  Soothe your tired feet and melt away your energetic day within an Arabian bath-like setting.

There is so much to see and experience while in Barcelona and the places and attractions listed here are guaranteed to fill your picture story book with wonderful and rich memories.

Top 5 Places to Visit While in Spain

Spain – a dynamic country, sure to breathe a breath of fresh air into any traveler’s wish for exciting adventures, great food and vibrant culture.  From running with the bulls in Madrid, to participating in the world’s largest tomato fight in Valencia, Spain is a playground filled with historic architecture, amazing cuisine and lively festivals.

While in Spain there is so much to take in.  To get the most out of your trip, include into your itinerary, cities and places that will allow you to sample and experience the best that Spain has to offer.


Serving as the capital of Spain, Madrid, the country’s largest city is a multi-faceted metropolis that encompasses the finest in dining, entertainment, architecture and museums.

The city is admired for its 73 museums featuring the “Golden Triangle”, which is an assemblage of art museums, sure to excite and thrill any lover of art!

This assembly of museums include:  Museum Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the legendary Prado.  This museums carries some of the most distinguished art in the world including:  Goya’s Naked Maja and Clothed Maja, Velázquez’s Las Meninas (The Maids of Honor), Bosch’s The Garden of Delights. 

Some of the amazing artists featured there are:  Fra Angelico, Raphael, El Greco, and Flemish artists such as: Van Dyck, Bosch and Rubens.

A visit to the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), Old Madrid, Retiro Park, the gardens, and the city’s incredible and world-famous plazas are all must-sees while in Madrid. 


The city is undoubtedly, the most popular destination in Spain.  Take a stroll down Las Ramblas, and incredibly popular street in Barcelona which covers the Gothic Quarter and the ‘barrios’ of La Ribera.

Along the stretch of Las Ramblas, you’ll experience vintage cafes and performances by the celebrated Las Ramblas Street Performers which perform throughout the main road.

Another great place is the underground Arabic grottos in El Born right next to Ciutadella Park.  There, you’ll experience Aire de Barcelona, a striking and gorgeous spa retreat.

Barcelona also boasts many wonderful plazas:

  • Plaça Sant Vicenç is well known for its café terraces and popular oyster bar
  • Plaça del Sol features a host of bars and restaurants
  • Plaça Sarrià is a very happening square which highlights Sardana dancing, with antique markets and books during the weekend
  • Other wonderful plazas include: Plaça Sant Vicenç, Plaça del Diamant, Plaça de Virreina, Plaça George Orwell, Plaça Reial and Plaça del Pi


This city is truly striking and is known as a vacation spot for locals.  There you will see dramatic and breath-taking views, beautiful weather during the summer, and free tapas with each beer you purchase!

The city is also home to the Moorish Alhambra.  There are two unique sections – The Fortress Complex and the Generalife Gardens.

Within the Fortress Complex:

  • Museo de Bellas Artes – Fine art museum
  • Nasrid Palace – The Palaces of  Mexuar (Moorish Palaces) and  Moorish architecture

Within the Generalife Gardens:

  • Gardens and orchards which encircle the villas

In addition, Granada offers some of the most superb flamenco performances in the region, and during the winter, the Sierra Nevada Mountains provide for some of the best winter sports.


Spain features some of the best festivals in the world and no matter what time of year you’re visiting, you’re sure to encounter one of them, if not many!

  • Carnival Tenerife in   Tenerife, Canary         Islands  (February)     –          compared to    festivals          given in Rio de Janeiro
  • Las Fallas Festival in             Valencia (March         15th – 19th) – raucous party filled with         firework displays
  • Semana Santa in Seville & Malaga, Andalucia (on the week prior to Easter Sunday) – a religious type parade celebrating images of La Macarena , Jesús El Gran Poder, and Triana
  • Feria de Abril in Seville, Andalucia (April) – riders and their horses, tents, food, music and the traditional parade
  • Fiesta San Isidro in Madrid (May 2nd – 15th) – outdoor dances and bullfight festival
  • St. John’s Bonfires in Alicante, Costa Blanca (June 20th) – bon fires, entertainment, fireworks and parades
  • Sant Joan Festival in Menorca, Balearic Islands (June 23rd – 24th) – very vibrant event with riders and their horses as the main attraction
  • San Fermín Fiestas & running of the bulls in Pamplona – July 6th – 14th
  • La Tomatina, Tomato Fight Festival in Valencia (on the last Wednesday of August) – a big tomato fight
  • Castellers – La Mercè Festival in Barcelona (September 24th) – the local’s festival 


This city is the party mecca of Spain.  It’s all about long days on the beach and clubbing at night.

Warm, translucent, deep blue water, with gorgeous sea views and brilliant coastline, makes for a well-liked destination for divers.

A must-see in Ibiza is the Hippy Market where you’ll find East Asian silver jewelry, leather moccasins, colorful wraps and trinkets.

There are a number of lovely spas for detoxing, yoga, meditation and overall beauty indulgence.

The Can Marça Caves are absolutely astounding with its gold and yellow tones, and at the center is a fantastic Music & Light Show amid a 30 ft. waterfall of brilliant and sparkling water.

Check out Dalt Vila, a medieval romantic castle, and later, head to Ibiza’s bustling night life.

It’s a festive experience at night as you’ll encounter fetish shops, many gay bars, hippie-chic boutiques, all along the Calle de la virgin. 

If the “festive experience” is a bit too robust for you, head over to one of three diverse restaurant districts in Ibiza Town which offer fine dining at its best.

  • Dalt Vila (the old walled town) – historic with a romantic drawbridge which leads you to the plaza and restaurants
  • Sa Penya (the old fishermen’s quarter) – cobbled stone streets filled with restaurants and bars
  • The Portpositioned around the water’s edge, has upscale cafes, restaurants and bars along with an upscale price!  The Port marks the spot where club parades begin.

Spain as a Travel Destination

The History of Spain

Spain has a long and distinctive past. This unique country has been occupied by many regimes including:  the Phoenicians; the Romans; the Suevi; the Vandals; the Alans; the Visigoths; and the Arab-Muslims.

During the 1400s, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, whom were Catholic Monarchs, married, thus the reign began over the Spanish Empire.  However by the 1930s, the people of Spain no longer wanted a Monarchy and so The Republic was created on April 14, 1931.

The Republic was riddled with political, social and economic discord.  The country would fall into a world filled with war and dictatorship which lasted over forty years.  Once Dictator, General Francisco Franco died in 1975, the Monarchy government was reestablished giving way to a western-style democracy which has developed the country, and today, ranks twelfth in the world on its economy and commands the tenth highest quality of life index rating in the world.

Spain is also a member of several global organizations including:  the United Nations, European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, World Trade Organization and others.

Climate of Spain

You can expect three main climate variations in Spain.  If you are along the peninsula or coastal regions, it is more prone to a Mediterranean climate, with dry and very warm summers, beautiful autumns and springs and mild winters.

In the southeastern portion of the country where the Ebro valley and Murcia is located; the climate can be referred to as semiarid; a desert-like heat, with very hot summers and mild to warm winters.

The north quarter of the country where Cantabria, Basque Country, Asturias and portions of Galicia are located, you can expect what is known as oceanic climate; where the summer, spring, autumn and winter seasons are determined by the ocean, though you can anticipate mostly warm summers and cool winters.

Your Visa to Spain

If you are a citizen of the European Union (EU), which means the country that you maintain citizenship in, you will not be required to attain a visa to enter Spain.  You are allowed to stay up to 90 days within a six month period.

If the country that you maintain citizenship in is not a part of the EU, you will be required to attain a visa to enter Spain unless there have been special arrangements made between Spain and your home country.   Your local consulate will have visa applications and can assist you with this process.  You’ll need to apply for and have in hand, your visa prior to travel.

All travelers are required to carry a passport.  It is recommended that you have at least two full blank pages in the visa section prior to traveling.  Often times, you may have to travel through another country or region before arriving in Spain and this country may require the necessary stamps within your passport/visa section.

Also, check with your airline to determine whether or not you’ll need a transit visa.  Countries that you may pass through on the way to Spain may require it.

Lastly, always check with your local consulate prior to travel to inquire about any visa updates.

Currency of Spain

The Euro is the currency of Spain.  Spain also accepts major credit cards such as your Visa, MasterCard or American Express in major stores and some restaurants – if using your credit card, there will be a surcharge, fee or rate comparable to what you would pay normally when purchasing with your card.

Using your ATM card in Spain will work and the fees will be comparable to exchanging currency at a bank.

If you need to exchange currency in Spain:

  • any major bank will work;
  • if you own an American Express card, seek out their local office; or
  • if you’re looking for the best currency exchange rate, seek out reputable exchange offices which handle most currencies and usually have a better rate of exchange.  The best ways to find these offices are, inquiring with your hotel concierge, or if you are traveling with a tour group reach out to your guide.

The Language

The official language of Spain is Spanish.  If you’re not already familiar with the dialect, it’s always customary to familiarize yourself with the native language of any country you’re visiting; learning main words and phrases will help you adapt and feel more comfortable during your adventure.

It is suggested that you take a basic on-line Spanish tutorial; pick up a “how to” book or, if you’re savvy you can pick of the language once you’re in Spain, as Spanish is considered one of the easier languages to grasp, and friendly natives of the region may assist you along.

Traveling to Spain

Air travel is always the best and most economic way to travel to Spain.  Always try and book a few weeks or months in advance as you are pretty much guaranteed an awesome deal.

Once you’re in Spain, you will have access to the country’s train system, buses, and taxis.  Renting a car is always an option – an expensive option but it may suit you if you plan on exploring some of Spain’s regions that aren’t easily accessible by train or bus.

The largest airport in Spain is Barajas Airport in Madrid.

Cities to Visit While in Spain

  • Madrid – diverse and very friendly
  • Barcelona – borders France with great beaches
  • Sevilla – stylish city with great cuisine and night life
  • Granada –  stunning gardens and Moorish palaces
  • Valencia – great festivals – i.e. Las Fallas