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Tony Bryant: Gitanerias, the Essence of Flamenco

May 25, 2015 – 12:50 pm
floamenco, Utrera, Seville, Sevilla, gitano, gitanos, gypsy, gypsies Tony Bryant’s third book focuses on the writer’s time in Utrera, a small town in Seville province known for its gypsy flamenco dynasties.

For those of us who choose to live in Spain, many aspects of the country and its lifestyle and culture are powerfully seductive. The weather, the tapas, the people – and strange, exotic, seemingly unfathomable traditions such as bullfighting and flamenco.

One Englishman, writer and Andalucia.com’s flamenco expert Tony Bryant, was first captured by the mysterious art of flamenco nearly 20 years ago, and since 2006 has spent much of his time in the small town of Utrera, in Seville province. The town is home to many of the musical genre’s most renowned performers.

In Utrera, the town’s gypsies still practise the most orthodox style of flamenco; many are descended from the legendary El Pinini, patriarch to one of the biggest and most illustrious dynasties in flamenco history. Tony’s second book, A Time-Defying Heritage, was a study of this huge family, many of whom are flamenco artists. Theirs is a closed world, where non-gypsies are rarely accepted, let alone welcomed.

But Tony, who is originally from east London and now lives in Malaga, got to know many of these families of singers, dancers, and guitar players while working on a previous project. He gained their trust and friendship, and they invited him into their homes and to intimate family events such as first communions, birthdays, funerals, and fiestas of all kinds. He witnessed a flamenco way of life which few non-gypsies will ever have the opportunity to experience.

Tony BryantTony Bryant has lived in Andalucia for more than 20 years.

Tony’s latest book, Gitanerias: the Essence of Flamenco, tells the story of how he became so intimately involved with these gypsies and their age-old flamenco tradition. He talks of these experiences, covering the entire calendar from the annual feria, Semana Santa, bullfights to other festivals, and the traditions and customs that make flamenco so fascinating. He tells of high-wired fiestas and drunken nights at ferias.

What’s more, the book also covers Andalucian folklore and legends in general, and the attitude of the Andalucians towards piety, death and superstition. It examines the Andalucian gypsies’ way of celebrating life, and will appeal to anyone who has an interest in this less-well-known side of Spanish culture.

According to Spanish dictionaries, the word gitaneria which carries a multitude of different meanings: cajolery, flattery, deceit, gypsy-like. In the world of flamenco, it means “that little bit of gypsy magic that separates them from the gacho, or non-gypsy, flamenco performers”, says Tony.

“It is that little flick of the wrist, or the raising of the eyebrow and the contortion of the face that sets them apart, and no matter what age, shape or size, they appear to possess a natural affinity with rhythm that makes their performance far more spellbinding than the academically trained performers,” explains the Englishman.

Last year, Tony collaborated on a BBC Radio 2 documentary, The Spirit of Flamenco, about renowned Spanish musician Paco Peña, which was broadcast in June 2014. He organised a juerga of local musicians whom he knows well in Utrera for the programme. Read our interview with him about making the documentary.

Tony’s first book was Flamenco: An Englishman’s Passion; his second, A Time-Defying Heritage, has been translated into Spanish - a considerable honour which shows how well respected his work is in the flamenco community here in Spain. You can find out more on his website.


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Madonna goes torera

May 16, 2015 – 12:42 pm
Madonna, bullfighter

Madonna’s bullfighter-themed Grammys 2015 performance, in Givenchy outfit. Photo: madonnaphotos/Flickr

The world of bullfighting in Spain, especially here in Andalucia, is one which provokes strong reactions.

From the breeding of toros bravos, fighting bulls, specifically for la corrida (bullfighting), to the brave men themselves, and the actual fights, visitors to Spain are rarely left indifferent.

Anyone who has ever seen a bullfight – whether on TV, as the ones at important bullrings are always televised, or live at Seville, Granada, Malaga or another plaza de toros - cannot failed to have noticed the suits worn by the matadors. These are the men (or, very occasionally, women) who come on last, wearing short pink capes, to finish off the bull with their swords.

Madonna, bullfighting

Another image from the Grammys, where Madonna performed her track Living For Love. Photo: madonnaphotos/Flickr

The suits are called trajes de luces (literally, suits of lights), so named because the gold gleams brightly in the sunshine, and come in a range of bold shades: fuscia pink, vivid turquoise, lime green, and blood red, as well as white and black.

These striking outfits consist of skin-tight high-waisted satin knickerbockers and cropped jacket, hand-sewn with gold braid, and matching accessories: knee-high stockings and black pumps, topped with black hat. The entire ensemble will set you back at least 3000 euros.

Now such extraordinary and costly suits are becoming sought after by global celebrities – Madonna has ordered two of them, made to measure and mostly hand-sewn, for her new Rebel Heart world tour.

 

Madonna

Jacket made for Madonna’s world tour by Daniel Roque Tailors in Utebo (Zaragoza).

Madonna

M for Madonna on the singer’s black bullfighting cape, embroidered with coloured flowers.

The suits were made by Zaragoza tailors Daniel Roqueta – the singer contacted them through Malaga-based website Toroshopping.com – and were originally wanted for the Academy Awards on 22 February, but time was too short. In the end, the two suits (one black, one white), cape and other items for her dancers on the tour, were finished in record time – 12 days – thanks to staff working all hours. Roqueta dresses star matadors such as El Juli.

Madonna will sport the outfits on her world tour, which includes two concerts in Barcelona on 24 and 25 November.

The singer chose a bullfighting theme for her Grammys performance of Living For Love earlier this year, as well as the notorious BAFTA ceremony where she tripped over a long cape.

Her interest in the sport dates back more than 20 years – she came to Ronda in 1994 to make a video with torero Emilio Muñoz for her song Take A Bow. See an interview with her here.

bullfighting Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker is also a fan of couture bullfighting apparel.

Another A-list celebrity who loves the glamour of bullfighting outfits is Sarah Jessica Parker. The Sex and the City actress worn one of Roqueta’s jackets, in white, on the cover of the launch issue of SModa, fashion magazine of El Pais, back in 2011. On Toroshopping.com, where SJP placed her order, it is shown as costing 1500 euros. You can choose the colour of fabric and braid (gold, silver or black). SJP’s is light grey, although it looks white.

Will this particular trend filter through to the high street, we wonder?


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Spain still top summer holiday destination for Europeans

May 12, 2015 – 10:21 am

Beautiful Estepona Beach

Beautiful Estepona Beach

For a large majority of Europeans, Spain is still the top country of choice for the big annual holiday, according to YouGov. And among the Brits, one favourite area is Andalucia.

The survey asked 7,562 people in seven different European countries, both northern and southern – the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Sweden – where they would spend their summer holidays. Spain was first choice amongst those staying in Europe.
In the UK, a quarter of holidaymakers were heading for Spain, while 28% of French will travel here, plus 18% of Italians, 17% of Germans, 16% of Swedes, and from the Netherlands, 15%.

Most Spaniards will holiday in their own country. And why not, with all the fabulous places to see? In fact, one in ten Spaniards has never taken a holiday abroad.

The Stunning Puerto Banus

The Stunning Puerto Banus

For those surveyed in the UK, the Canary Islands, Balearics and Andalucia were the favourite destinations; for Brits, guaranteed good weather is a crucial factor when booking their holiday. After decades of heading for our cloudless blue skies and gorgeous beaches, crowds of families and other holidaymakers continue to escape the dire British weather for a week or so every year, to enjoy a perfect combination of sun, sea and sand.
Of the total tourists coming to Spain, a whopping 20% are British, followed by the French.

As well as the sunshine, Europeans holidaymakers travelling to Spain are sure to be attracted by the fabulous gastronomy – tapas made with wonderful fresh local ingredients, like cheese, tomatoes and olives – plus olive oil, jamon iberico, and wines.

Spain has so much to offer as a holiday destination – and its prices are invariably competitive, offering superb value.


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Feria! The season starts in Seville

April 25, 2015 – 3:57 pm Women in the Feria Women in the Feria, with red striped casetas to the right.

Every town throughout Andalucia holds its own party between April and October – throughout spring, summer and autumn, from small villages to large cities, such as Malaga, Cordoba, Jerez and Granada, hold their feria (Here is our list). And the first one, to kick off the season in style, is Seville’s Feria de Abril.

What is a feria?

It is a party for the residents of a town, village or city, whatever its size, held in a large open area often with a yellow sandy floor of albero. Small tents, or casetas, are set up with a bar in each serving food and drink (most popularly beer and fino or manzanilla sherry); music is played, either a live band or digitally; and people dance Sevillanas (a type of flamenco danced in pairs). In most ferias, all casetas are open to everyone, except in Seville where only members and their (invited) friends are allowed to enter.

What do people do there?

They eat, drink, dance, talk, then drink and dance some more. Business deals are struck, love matches are made, friendships cemented or left in tatters. The action goes until about 3am, when everyone staggers home, then gets up the next day, come back and does it all again. Hangover, what hangover?

If you’re a jinete or an amazona (horseman or woman), you groom your horse so his coat is gleaming, tie his tail into a complicated plait effect, then ride around the fairground with your friends, and possibly your girlfriend sitting decoratively behind you in her traje de flamenco, side-saddle with her arm around your waist.

Livestock breeders and other well-to-do Andalucian types parade around the recinto (fairground) in their horse-drawn carriages with family crest or initials (look out for the matching logo on door and horses). A classic feria image is a carriage full of girls wearing colourful flamenca dresses, sipping a glass of sherry

Girls with flowers in Hair Girls wearing flowers in hair and mantones (shawls).

What do they wear?

Women wear a  long traje de gitana, or flamenco dress, which is close-fitting down to just above the knees, then a skirt with frills (volantes). They can come in any colour, plain or patterned (usually spots but also floral), and accessories are selected to coordinate – so if you have a blue and green dress, you could choose either a blue or green flower to wear in your hair, with matching fringed scarf (manton) worn around your shoulders and pinned at the front with a brooch, earrings (the bigger, the better), necklace and fan. Men wear suits. Horses wear tiny coloured pom-poms all along their bridles.

Horseriders have their own outfits – men wear the traje corto, a cropped jacket with trousers and wide-brimmed cordobes hat.

Carriage driver in Ronda style Jackets Carriage drivers in Ronda-style jackets, with scarves and velvet hats.

Carriage drivers have a variety of outfits – with matching headwear. One of my favourites is the rondeño (as in, from Ronda), with a little velvet hat with an oriental-style point, and sometimes a beautiful embroidered jacket.

All in all, the annual feria is a time to cast off your worries and dress up to the nines (women spend months planning their outfits, with extraordinary attention to detail in the accessories).

Ole and a bailar!


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Happy 19th birthday, andalucia.com!

April 16, 2015 – 10:25 pm
Andalucia.com is 19 years old!

Andalucia.com is 19 years old!

On Friday 17  April Andalucia.com celebrates its 19th birthday - the website was founded by Chris Chaplow on 17 April 1996.

Andalucia has established itself as the leading website about the region, with visitor statistics which have grown exponentially, as southern Spain is a consistently popular destination for English-speaking visitors who want reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date information.

Over the past year, the English version has had over 10 million page views, with 4.2 million visitor sessions  and 3.1 million users. Our Alexa ranking is 52,143.

Google Analytics for Andalucia.com

Google Analytics for Andalucia.com

Andalucia.com is staffed by a varied group of people whose passion for the region is equalled only by their dedication to providing the best and most incisive details about all parts of southern Spain. The writers on our site are respected professionals, experts in their areas, published in the British and international press.

So if you’re planning a trip to this fascinating and varied part of Spain, you know where to go – with 10,000 pages we have more data on Andalucia – its beaches, cities, history, fiestas, parks, gastronomy and produce – than any other website.

Consolidating our established position as the most respected site in this field, we look forward to a bright and exciting future.

Our celebration on 19 April will be a low-key event, but we are already making plans for a big 20th birthday bash!

Read more about our 19th birthday here.


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Semana Santa in Seville 2015: a whole Holy Week of sun!

April 10, 2015 – 11:25 am
Band of Las Cigarerras of La Carreteria procession in Seville takes up the entire street.

Band of Las Cigarerras of La Carreteria procession in Seville takes up the entire street.

No celebration in Spain is as weather-dependent as Semana Santa. At the Feria de Abril, you can duck inside a nearby caseta to avoid a rain shower, nibbling some tasty queso and jamon, and sipping some manzanilla sherry until it’s clear to go outside again. At a food festival, you’re generally safely inside a marquee, restaurant or bar. But in Semana Santa here in Seville, if the heavens open, or the sky simply looks threatening, it’s game over. The statues remain safely inside their churches, instead of being carried through the streets to the cathedral and back again. These adored masterpieces are far too old and precious to risk them getting soaked in a downpour.

This year, we had an entire Holy Week (Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday) in which the sun shone in a blue sky every day, and the temperatures were in the mid to high 20sC, even 30 – shorts, sandals and sunglasses weather. It was the first complete Holy Week, without any pasos being rained off, since 2006 – that’s nine years of cancelled processions and distraught nazarenos (pointy hats) and costaleros (who carry the statues).

In truth, I did find the heat a little wearing – yes, I’m complaining about sunshine in March – and ended up seeing most processions at night, although this was largely because I was lucky enough to be invited to a couple of balconies on evening procession routes – Cristo de Burgos on Wednesday, and La Carreteria on Friday. But this meant that my photos were not great; night-time photography is notoriously tricky, and if your subject is moving, it becomes even more challenging. The advantages of a balcony are that you’re away from the crowds, you can sit down and have something to eat without watching your bag – it’s more relaxed; but that’s also the downside – I love the buzz of the street. So the ideal combination is a mix of the two – the rarified lofty viewpoint, and the in-with-the-masses street-level perspective. The complement each other perfectly, in my view.

The Madrugada (early hours) Jesus del Gran Poder is one of the city´s most venerated religious works of art.

The Madrugada (early hours) Jesus del Gran Poder is one of the city´s most venerated religious works of art.

I got in with the crowds on Thursday night, for La Madrugada, known as La Madruga’, a series of night-time processions starting at 1am – people stay out until the next morning watching the pasos at various points around the city, fortifying themselves with beer, and later churros and chocolate. This is hard-core festivalling, as only the Sevillanos know how.

Jesus del Buen Fin in Plaza del Salvador, Seville.

Jesus del Buen Fin in Plaza del Salvador, Seville.

The temperature at night was a delight – mild enough not to need a coat, and feel comfortably just right – more pleasant than day time, just without the light. The nazarenos must have suffered, dressed from head to toe in sun-soaking black, in hooded robes, with only their eyes exposed to the air.

Did you see any Semana Santa processions in Spain this year?


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HolaBank launch in Marbella

March 28, 2015 – 11:22 pm

GUEST BLOG By Chris Chaplow

I was interested to attend the launch of a new bank last week – HolaBank by La Caixa. The event, held at the Don Pepe Hotel in Marbella, was attended by around 400 customers, as well as lawyers and estate agents.

The Launch of Hola Bank

Speakers at the HolaBank launch included Victorino Lluch, Mayoress Angeles Muñoz, Juan Antonio Alcaraz and Vincente Morato.

First to speak was Victorino Lluch, director of Eastern Andalucia for La Caixa (Almería, Córdoba, Granada, Jaén, Málaga and Melilla), who set the scene by telling us that La Caixa has 13.8m clients (the highest number of any bank in Spain) and 6,000 branches. In Andalucia La Caixa has a 16 % share of the banking market.

HolaBank is a new programme (rather than an actual bank) aimed at international clients who have bought or are renting property in Spain, whether residing in the country permanently or just for part of the year. These can fit a number of profiles: families who have bought holiday homes, investors, business people, professionals or retirees. They are often European, but may also be from elsewhere in the world, and have moved to Spain for business or leisure purposes.

We were shown a video where foreigners were being interviewed about what they wanted from a bank, with answers across the scale, from interesting to unpredictable. English-speaking staff, security, no fees (which got the biggest laugh), and service, service, service.

We hear complaints from foreign tourists and residents about service levels in Andalucia all the time, but strangely this never appears in published Tourist Board marketing audits. Interesting that La Caixa have picked up on it.

Juan Antonio Alcaraz was introduced as Director General of HolaBank. He is also Chief Business Officer at CaixaBank. He explained that “La Caixa had identified a group of clients with important characteristics and specific needs – this is why we set up Hola Bank.”

As the press release says, “CaixaBank currently serves 375,000 clients in this segment, generating business volumes standing at 6 billion euro (figures as of February 2015). By setting up this business line CaixaBank aims to secure market penetration of 25% among international customers over the next four years, in line with the bank’s 2015-2018 strategic plan.”

HolaBank will have 16 special branches in the Malaga province, starting with Manilva, Estepona, Marbella and in other provinces: Alicante (16), Murcia (5), the Balearic Islands (38), Las Palmas (12) and Tenerife (13). These chosen branches will be rebranded to ensure they are easily recognizable to clients.

So what will HolaBank customers get for their money? Specialised customer service provided by multilingual account managers in the branches, supported by documentation available in several languages. The account managers can explain both banking services and financial products. The bank account will be called a HolaBank “living solutions account”.

The Launch of Hola Bank

´Making your life easier´ - The motto of the new Hola Bank

Under the meme “Ways to make your life easier”, a living solutions plan includes a series of concierge-type services, legal advice (including unlimited telephone queries), online access to translations and interpreters, handyman service, household staff service, removal service, service bureau (ie gestoria), and medical appointments

After a speech on great Marbella by Mayoress Angeles Muñoz, Vincente Morato @vicentemorato, a lawyer and economist from Martínez-Echevarría, gave an interesting presentation on the economics of the foreign investor.

Currently 70% of Spain’s foreign investment is in Madrid concentrated on industry and insurance. The foreign investor in Andalucia is individuals or micro-empresa, while most of the private investment is in inmobilaria (real estate).

HolaBank is not only concentrating on inmo, but also on small business. Foreigners buy companies, and not just bars or hotels. Recent interesting contracts Vincente has seen include a finca of cranberries and a spring water operation.

Vincente spoke about house building and purchase statistics, saying “We can confirm today that the point to inflection has been passed. Real estate transactions in Malaga are more than five years ago.”

Malaga is the fourth province of Spain for house purchases, and for foreigners Malaga is number one, with Marbella being purchasing capital of Malaga.

The presentation finished with a lighthearted chat by Leopoldo Abadia, an economist and guru who has written a number of popular economic books and papers, all in layman’s language. A good choice of speaker to finish a banking conference.

Find out more at holabank.es

 

 

 

 

 


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Andalucia 2015 elections: #22M

March 18, 2015 – 1:11 am
vote

This Sunday there are regional elections in Andalucia.

If you live in Spain, you’ll have noticed banners and posters around towns and cities advertising various political parties.

The reason is because this Sunday, 22 March, regional elections will take place across Andalucia. The results – which are impossible to predict, with no clear frontrunners – will set the scene for the national vote in November of this year, whose outcome is also anybody’s guess. Diputados to the Andalucian parliament will be elected on Sunday, and when seated, will elect the President of the Junta de Andalucia, the most powerful post in southern Spain.

The biggest change on the political spectrum since the last elections is the appearance of Podemos, the left-wing party led by Pablo Iglesias. Changing Spain’s political landscape by adding a fourth party, Podemos’ rise has been far from smooth – its policies and politicians have been getting a rocky ride in the Spanish media, with considerable  foreign press interest including coverage in the Guardian and a cover story in the New York Times.

Spanish politics can be confusing at the best of times, so we’ve put together a short guide to the main parties and their SM handles.

 

Parties and Candidates for the president of the Junta de Andalucia in the 2015 elections

PSOE – PARTIDO SOCIALISTA OBRERO ESPAÑOL

The Spanish Workers’ Socialist Party is centre-left and its Andalucian branch is very appealing to many workers across this region, in particular those in the inland rural areas and some of the cities. The party has governed Andalucia since its creation in 1982.

Candidate: Susana Diaz

Election Slogan  Andalucia tiene mucho que decir (Andalucia has much to say)
@psoedeandalucia
#YoConSusana

PP – PARTIDO POPULAR

The “Popular Party” is Spain’s conservative party. This party has been fighting to win majority of the Andalucian parliament and form a government, but so far has been unable to win the necessary support. Coastal cities and towns in Andalucia are considered to be closer to the Popular Party. The party has difficulty connecting with a working class that has traditionally made up the bulk of Andalucian society.

Candidate: Juan Jose Moreno Bonilla

Election Slogan     Contigo por Andalucia (With you for Andalucia)
@ppandaluz
#ContigoPorAndalucia

 

IU – IZQUIERDA UNIDA

United Left” is formed of groups of the communist party and other factions including the Greens under a united front. While some towns might be headed by United Left, this party has been considered the third force in Andalucia politics.

Candidate: Antonio Maillo

Election Slogan     Transformar (Transform)
@iuAndalucia
#ContigoPorAndalucia

 

PODEMOS

Podemos is the far-left political party (translated into English as ‘We Can’) founded last year by charismatic political science lecturer Pablo Iglesias, elected to the European Parliament in May 2014 when Podemos burst onto the political scene.  Teresa Rodriguez (34), a Spanish language and literature teacher from Rota (Cadiz) and former MEP, was among the founding leaders. Its place in polls ranges from first to third.

Candidate: Teresa Rodriguez

Election Slogan     El Cambio Empeza en Andalucia (Change starts in Andalucia)
@podemos_AND
#ContigoPorAndalucia

 

PA – PARTIDO ANDALUCISTA

This regional party was a minority force in Andalucia politics but has lost ground since the 2008 elections when it joined forces with the PSA (Partido Socialista de Andalucia, or Andalucian Socialists) as well as other smaller parties to form the Coalición Andalucísta (CA) and lost all of its representatives in the regional parliament.

Candidate: Antonio Jesús Ruiz

@PAndalucista
#DefendeAndalucia

 

UPyD – UNION PROGRESISTA Y DEMOCRATICA

The Union, Progress and Democracy Party, formed in 2007, is a social liberal party that rejects nationalism (including Basque and Catalan) and wants to adopt a system of European federalism, along with proportional voting. Its roots lie in the Basque Country and anti-ETA civic associations. Prominent members include former PSOE MEP Rosa Diez. The party is not defined as left or right with active members on both ends of the spectrum.

Candidate: Martín de la Herrán

Election Slogan
@UPyD
#LevantaAndalucia

 

CIUDADANOS

Citizens (C’s) is a rightist party formed in 2006 whose origins lie in Catalunia as a platform of intellectuals. Nationally C’s has 350 groups, 75,000 registered members and 2 MEPs. Juan Marin is vice-mayor of Sanlucar de Barrameda, where the C’s have governed in coalition with the socialists since 2007.

Candidate: Juan Marin

Election Slogan     Ha llegado nuestro tiempo   (Our time has come)
@CS_Andalucia
#MejorUnidos

  

Each of these parties has candidates in all eight provinces

Falange Española de las JONS (FE de las JONS)

Partido Animalista Contra el Maltrato Animal (PACMA)

Partido Comunista de los Pueblos de España (PCPE)

Recortes Cero

VOX

 

As I mentioned, it is impossible to predict the outcome of this election. The two TV debates with the PP, PSOE and IU (the exclusion of the new fourth party, Podemos, was much remarked upon) on the past Sundays both descended into the usual slanging match of “LIAR!”, shouting over each other and being reprimanded by the presenter like naughty school children, for not letting the other candidates speak. Let’s see if the results produce a clear winner.

It is also worth mentioning that EU residents in Spain cannot vote in these elections, however they will be allowed to vote in the forthcoming municipal election in May.


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Two major openings in Malaga: Caminito del Rey and Pompidou Centre

March 13, 2015 – 10:22 pm

In two weeks’ time, on 28 March, Malaga province will have two exciting new attractions for visitors.

On the Saturday before Semana Santa, one of Andalucia’s most intriguing and death-defying attractions reopens to the public after a major refurbishment, the same week as a fourth major art gallery opens in Malaga, joining the Carmen Thyssen Museum,  CAC (Contemporary Art Museum) and Picasso Museum.

The refurbished attraction isn’t a palace, a castle, or a church. It’s a walkway. So what’s the big deal? Well, this particular walkway, known as “the King’s Little Path“, clings to a 100-metre tall cliff and is just three metres wide.

The thrilling Caminito del Rey

The thrilling Caminito del Rey

Not for the faint-hearted or those affected by vertigo, the 6km wooden path follows the sheer limestone wall which drops down towards the churning rivers of the Guadalhorce river below. The section along El Chorro gorge is the most stunning. For years, the camino was in a terrible state of repair – parts had fallen away completely and the only way to navigate it was using rock-climbing equipment. Several souls fell to their deaths, and in 2001 it was closed off completely, although some daredevils  continued to use it.

The Caminito del Rey is likely to become one of Andalucia’s most popular visitor attractions. As soon as the date was announced, the website had so many hits from people wanting to book tickets that it stopped working.

Tickets are free for the first six months, but numbers have to be strictly limited due to the narrowness of the walkway – streams of tourists pushing past each other are not an option on a walkway like this.

It is hoped that King Felipe VI will come to reopen the Caminito del Rey, originally opened in 1921 by King Alfonso XIII, whose costs have been met jointly by the regional and provincial governments – Junta de Andalucia and the Diputacion de Malaga.

For more information, see our page on the Caminito.

Pompidou

The Pompidou Centre in Málaga

The other big draw for Malaga is in the city itself – the new Pompidou Centre on the waterfront, which also opens on 28 March. This new art gallery will feature 20th century works by the likes of Malagueño Pablo Picasso, Bacon, Brancusi, Calder, Chagall, Dufy, Giacometti, Kahlo, Magritte, Schnabel and Tapies, in its current premises (it is billed as a five-year “Pop-Up”) which incorporate a futuristic cuboid glass building.

Exhibitions at the Pompidou

Exhibitions will be held regularly at the Pompidou centre.

In addition, the Centro Pompidou Malaga will hold two or three exhibitions per year, with 2015’s shows being dedicated to Joan Miro’s works on paper, and to the works of women photographers in the 1920s and 1930s. Known as the Pop-Up Pompidou, it is scheduled to stay in its current location for five years, until 2020. The French ambassador to Spain called it a “new and beautiful Franco-Spanish adventure”.

A Cross-Section of the Pompidou

A cross-section of the new Pompidou Centre.

Malaga locals should note that on the afternoon of Saturday 28 March, and all day Sunday 29 March, admission will be free.


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Down’s Syndrome benefits from Cordoban fashion house

February 26, 2015 – 7:49 pm
Raul Rodriguez models the latest collection for Cordoban menswear company Silbon.

Raul Rodriguez models the latest collection for Cordoban menswear company Silbon.

During the month of February, one dynamic young Andalucian fashion company has been running a laudable charity initiative.

For every article of clothing sold in one of Silbon’s eight stores, which are mostly located in this region, and on its online store, the menswear label which makes classic Anglophile smart and casual clothing (its logo is two crossed tennis rackets) has donated 1 euro to Down Cordoba, the provincial charity for those with this condition.

A generous offer, to be sure, but the other aspect of this month’s initiative was a first for Spain: the model used in Silbon’s ads is a man with Down’s called Raul Rodriguez. This is the first time someone with the condition has appeared in a fashion company’s advertising campaign.

In a video shot in the Jardines de Patos in Cordoba for the Compromiso Silbon initiative, Raul, who is 32 and has a keen sense of style, explains that he enjoys swimming (he’s won a number of competitions), he travels independently, is working in the Delegacion de Salud and is going to do a course in new technology, and he wants to get a job.

The idea came about because one of the Silbon team had a child with Down’s, which made the company more aware of the syndrome.

Co-founder Raul Lopez says “Everyone in the project wants to make a social commitment a reality.”

“With this initiative of donating one euro for every item of clothing sold in our shops, we estimate that we will be able to donate 3000 euros to Down Cordoba,” explains Lopez.

“El Syndrome de Down no es una enfermedad,” says Raul. “No soy enfermo. Soy una persona adulta.” (Down’s Sydrome isn’t an illness. I’m not ill. I’m an adult person.)

The Down Cordoba association aims to show that people with Downs can work on an equal level with people who aren’t intellectually discapacitated.

Find out more on the Silbon blog, and in the video.

 


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