Travel: Bologna, Ferrara

Remembering a few lovely days in Bologna before Christmas.
The streets so packed with people.
Per “un voltio” and maybe some shopping.
Christmas markets full of tack and lots of people checking the merchandise and maybe some shopping.
Or lots of shopping, go figure.
I just remember the people, the beautiful people, in very expensive plastic parkas.
And everyone just eating and drinking outside, like the cold didn’t exist.

The towers have to be checked out. Astounding.
Interesting egyptian exhibition.
The little touristy train was a waste of time, as sitting on the inside I saw nothing and understood nothing. Must brush up on my Italian. Unless you’re tired, like me, it’s better walking it.
Beautiful cathedral.

Ferrara. The Castello Estense or castello di San Michele is a beautiful medieval castle/palace in the center of the city.  Worth checking out.
Inside it’s empty, so you don’t really gain an insight.  Some of the staff on the verge of foreign tourist hating, but the outside it’s beautiful.

Cita del dia: Miguel de la Cuadra Salcedo


Tuve la suerte de conocer a Miguel de la Cuadra-Salcedo en la Mezquita Azul en Estambul hace ya tantos años. Estaba con el equipo español en el rally París-Dakar
(sí, ya sé que es una vuelta tremenda, pero yo no lo organizaba, yo estaba de viaje de fin de curso),
y mis tres amigas y yo tuvimos la oportunidad de charlar un rato.
Estaba embobada porque le admiraba muchísimo, era mi héroe.
Un carísma tan grande, tan inmenso.



“Eran otros tiempos y otros medios.
Tenías que convivir con la tentación de tomar partido por un bando,
algo que no es recomendable, ni siquiera en el caso de las causas más justas.
Por eso cambié el reporterismo por la aventura.
Preferí a Orellana y Amundsen.”

Miguel de la Cuadra-Salcedobiografia.


Cult of the Week: Fanzara, Unfinished Museum of Urban Art


Unfinished Museum of Urban Art

  Fanzara, a village deep in the mountains of East Spain, on between Valencia and Barcelona, surrounded by orange and olive trees, and crossed by a river that has overflown occasionally elsewhere;  inhabited by 330, mostly traditional pensioners, has become the first Unfinished Museum of Urban Art, although rough similarities can be found in New York and Berlin.

  The contrast of modern daring graffiti painted on a base of rural buildings welcomes the increasing amount of visitors.  At the open air contemporary graffiti gallery, described by The Guardian as a “Cultural Triumph”, you can enjoy during a morning or afternoon colourful stroll, dozens of graffiti, sculptures, installations, murals and quotes of the traditional and particular vocabulary of the town; starting at one bar, and finishing at the other.

 The collective does not exist as a closed group, as they invite artists from all around Spain and Europe.  The artists, though, must involve the residents in the creative process.  The first time, a couple of Septembers ago, around 24 artists were invited for a long weekend, with the offer of freely expressing their art, a bed at one of the neighbours and meals for the weekend.

  Graffiti artists paint your house if you put yourself forwards.  However, if you want to choose the design, a fee applies.  Perhaps slightly unsure to begin with, there are more and more neighbours lifting their barriers and putting their walls forward, “adopting” the artist for the weekend.

  MIAU (meow!) stands for Museo Inacabado de Arte Urbano (Unfinished Museum of Urban Art),  of which a cat is the representative mascot.  Unfinished, as murals would need to be repainted as the weather leaves its mark.  Besides, new competitions are planned every year, so new additions are expected.  It’s a growing project, as with expanding popularity, both nationally and internationally, more and more artists are expressing their interest in being part of the project.  The third edition of the festival will take place next July.  So, get in touch if you want to exhibit your art.  Miau Fanzara

  The art festival, with its exhibitions, workshops, films and splash of creativity, competes with a much more traditional and typical festival mid October, “las Fiestas”, kind of like a village fest, that lasts 5 days, although it used to be 10, and with much more drinking.  There are processions, church events, orchestras that go on until early hours, community meals, children games, fire works, lots and lots of fire crackers, and bullfighting were the local boys show how macho they are according to how close they get to the big bulls or slimmer cows.  Medieval Fairs, as in the rest of the province, have also had a success in recent years. They are similar to the British ones except, perhaps, no falconry is usually involved.


Fanzara map

Fanzara town map



Continue reading Cult of the Week: Fanzara, Unfinished Museum of Urban Art

Dish of the week: churros



Churros con chocolate.  Made by French in Northern England.  Eatable.

But frankly, I rather have churros made by “churros”.  The crispness must be the perfect contrast to the softness inside.  The chocolate, thicker, much thicker.  Can’t wait to have the real ones in Spain.

Enjoyed them thoroughly though.

Cult of the Week: Chris Ramsay, live in Newcastle

A couple of nights in Newcastle for George’s work.  The city is more charming than I expected, with an awful lot of things to do, although I had little time and energy for much exploring.

millenium and bird
millenium and bird

It was my first time in Newcastle, although I always had a soft spot for the city. It shares the same football colours than my city, Castellon.  It was also the first British team I was devoted to; firstly, because as already stated, the Castellon colours, secondly, because I discovered Newcastle Brown Ale, having always drunk lager.  So that’s my explanation for supporting the team.  Nope, I never knew who was in the team or which position it held, I just did my supporting bit by drinking NBA at the weekends.  Seems so long ago.

newcastle united players
newcastle united players

The Live Theatre is a rather nice cosy theatre, with a very nice bar, surprisingly big for the size of the theatre.  The show was hilarious.  It was the filming of “Offermation” as an extra for the “All growed up”, Chris Ramsey forthcoming DVD. I had the chance to meet Chris Ramsey backstage and he’s lovely, supernatural and genuinely funny.  Plus he thinks my hair is cool, he doesn’t know of course why is supershort, so top bonus for him.  Mind it, he also told me to take care of G, because he is lovely, so his credibility is somehow diminished.  He’s got a great haircut too.  It would look fab in G if I could convince to take the risk.

G with Chris Ramsay
G with Chris Ramsay

People in Newcastle is so lovely and friendly that it seems alien for Londoners like us, so we were tempted to move up.  Dress sense hold me back though.  

We had rented a lovely Ford, with all mods con, and plenty of gadgets.  Unfortunately, like well brought up people who cannot keep their mouths shut in the most delicate situations, our car could not keep the windows closed, and with thousands of pounds worth of heavy equipment in the car, and with me unable to lift any weight, G had to keep coming and going from the car to the hotel room and theatre and back and forwards lifting heavy stuff.  Anyway, I shall enjoy his new developed muscles.

In any case, it was an unexpected and enjoyable trip and show.  Specially considering that the expected show, on the 17th, for Kenneth Branagh’s “The Entertainer”, doesn’t seem to be until next year!, as I disappointedly discovered on the eve of the 17th, wondering why the tickets had not arrived.  It was a birthday treat as well.  Oh, well, next year it will be.

sneaking backstage
sneaking backstage

English Summer; parks and recreations

Ah! English Summer,

with its Pimms and cider;

Wimbledon tennis, friendly games of cricket;

sunbathing in parks, swimming in ponds;

rainy barbecues and windy picnics;

thick tights and short boots;

guys in flip flops and too short shorts;

movies al fresco, rooftop bars.