Europe

Blog, Europe, San Sebastián

Experience San Sebastián: St Thomas’s Day


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Horses on show at St Thomas Day Festival

San Sebastián is the official European Capital of Culture for 2016! It’s the principal city of the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Country, Spain.

It’s the land of Pintxo bars and the legendary “Old Town”, dating back to when the city was founded in 1180.
The annual “Saint Thomas’s Day” takes place on December 21st, when the city turns into an enormous country market of which the absolute star is the “txistorra” (fresh chorizo-like sausage). Stalls are set up all over the city, offering all sorts of food and craft wares, mostly produced by the people from the local farmhouses. These include cheese, honey, txistorra sausage, cider and cakes.

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Goats on show
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4-horned ram… said to have magical properties
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Busy street in the Old Town
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Young girls + boys on the streets singing is common for Christmas time. Note the traditional Basque clothing
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Roasting a pig!
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Typical Pintxo bar serving Pintxos which are part of the local cuisine, as well as local red wine or “Txakoli” – a sparkling white wine exclusive to the region
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A citizen buying his meat at the supermarket for Christmas day
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Olentzero the coal man, the Basque version of Santa Claus

 

 

Blog, Europe, Madrid

South African In: Madrid


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South African In: Madrid

With a population of over 3 million people, Madrid is the stunning capital city of Spain. It enjoys more cloudless days than almost any other city in Europe. Certainly during the time I spent there, I didn’t experience a drop of wind or rain. I went with my mother around this time last year – the best time for long warm summer nights. We stayed in “Hotel Catalonia Gran Via” along Gran Via – an upscale shopping street in central Madrid. It’s always a thrill travelling, and Madrid was one of my best thrills yet!

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Blog, Europe, Lisbon

South African In: Lisbon


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South African In: Lisbon

Lisbon was one of the most magical, enchanting places I’ve been to. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world. It’s definitely one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years. They love their sardines… and I was explicitly told by a local that I wouldn’t truly experience Lisbon if I didn’t experience their char-grilled sardines (with lemon and sea salt).

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Blog, Europe, Toledo

South African In: Toledo


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4 Months ago while I was in Europe, I took a trip to Toledo. It’s a small village south of Madrid in Spain. It’s an official UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its sheer history and beauty. It has a famous history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now popular souvenirs of the city.

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Blog, Europe, Sintra

South African In: Sintra


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South African In: Sintra

One of my greatest passions in life is travel. 3 Months ago I found myself in Sintra, on the west coast of Portugal. I was up in Portugal with my mom for the annual Rotary Convention in Lisbon, and I took a day trip into Sintra with her. It was a cute little town with castles & buildings dating back to the 8th & 9th centuries. It’s known for its wine & traditional confectionery. The Sintra National Palace & The Castle of Moors are actually World Heritage sites.. so if you find yourself looking for a day trip while in Lisbon, you won’t go wrong with this! The fountain pictured is their famous “marriage” fountain… anyone who drinks from it will supposedly find love soon! So let’s see 😉 … It’s funny to think that only a few months after this I would find myself on the opposite end of the world in New York studying acting. You never know where life will take you!

Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.’ – Lisa St Aubin de Teran

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Blog, Europe, Madrid

Sangria


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Both Spain & Portugal love their sangria … and it’s become a favourite drink of mine, too! We sampled sangria on the streets of Madrid, Toledo, Lisbon, Sintra & Cascais. The best I had was in Madrid, Spain, at El Mercado de San Miguel (nice drink to go with paella) It can be made very simply and it tastes similar to gluhwein… you serve it traditionally in a big jug filled with slices of orange. Here is a fantastic recipe I found… make it at home, you won’t be disappointed!

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