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Destinations to enjoy summer in winter

What could be better than travelling to a warm destination in winter? Anyone can afford to enjoy mild temperatures in December, January, February and even March! Take a look at this list of warm destinations we've prepared for you!

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Els Enfarinats and the absurd government

For Winter Fest in Ibi, better known as Santa Llúcia or ‘Nadal’ (Christmas), taking place between December and January, there is an odd tradition. On December 28th "els Enfarinats" (The floured) take the town in a funny flour battle to take the government of the city.

Everything starts with a gathering early in the morning where ‘Enfarinats’, the great protagonists of this celebration, meet in front of the church. To be part of this team you must be a married man. From the church, they start a race whose winner gets the title of ‘Alcalde dels Enfarinats’ (Enfarinats’ major), and all the powers of the city are given to this burlesque major. He is the judge, secretary and banker of this absurd government only for one day.

Now the battle starts. A group of neighbours, named ‘Opositors’ (opposition), arrive dressed with black top hats, and the flour battle starts. There’s not only flour on this battle, also thousands of rockets, eggs, vegetables and more flour, anything they need to take down the new absurd government.

After the war, the center of the town ends up covered in flour, but this is not a cruel ward and it will have a happy ending: around 2am, ‘Enfarinats’ and ‘Oposició’ sign the peace and get a great meal together in the streets of Ibi. There is food you will always find in this meal, like a large pot of beans, a typical dish from the region based on pork and white beans.

The meal is a little break until they are surrounded by the ‘Tapats’ (the hidden), who arrive fancy dressed in the most bizarre ways and their faced hidden so no one can recognize them, now is when Opositors and Enfarinats fiancés take their revenge.

Once the stomach is full, they all go to Asil de Sant Joaquim, where they will deposit the money collected over the day, from fines and sanctions, used to assist the elders residence of the town.

Go to Ibi to enjoy this funny celebration from Alicante. However, be aware that lawas in the city change that day and everyone can get a fine for whatever reason and end up showered with flour head over feet.

Pictures by diania.tv

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Destinations to get away from the cold

Do you hate the cold? Do you get depressed when you have to get your winter clothes out? Do you try and plan trips to the nearest beach during the winter? You can do something about it! You might have already been to these destinations to get away from the cold and this will bring back memories... or maybe it will inspire you to get away to a warm place in the next few months! Let's enjoy the good weather!

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Vintage Trip To Aranjuez

Among the host of outings to go on in Madrid’s outlying area is one to Aranjuez, with its panoply of artistic, cultural and ecological heritage sites. Not for nothing was it listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Landscape in 2001.

The Strawberry Train – Experiencing a Bygone Age

For enthusiasts of both old times and new experiences, there is an alternative and highly original way of travelling from Madrid to Aranjuez, which is by taking the Strawberry Train. But, what makes this means of transport so different from the others? First, it runs on the second railway line to be built in Spain, inaugurated on 9 February 1851. The first line to come into operation was the Barcelona–Mataró line, opened in 1948. The aim of the second route was to connect Madrid to the coast, with Alicante as the final destination. In its early days, its importance lay in the produce it transported to Madrid from the market gardens in Aranjuez, prompting it to be known as the Strawberry Train.

Its other big draw is that the train operating this line was built in the early 20th century. Having been restored, it gives you the feel of what train travel was like in bygone days. It has a rakish engine with wooden carriages. And, during the journey, passengers are offered strawberries from Aranjuez by hostesses dressed in period costume. The Strawberry Train runs at weekends in May, June, September and October and leaves from the Railway Museum or Museo del Ferrocarril. The timetable is posted here.

Aranjuez, An Area of Courtly Recreation

Aranjuez’s fortunes changed when Philip II awarded it the title of Royal Site. It was turned into the Spanish monarch’s country residence, thus becoming a royal precinct, particularly during the reigns of Philip V (17th-18th century) and Charles III (18th century). It was precisely these kings who commissioned the creation of the areas which are now the city’s must-see sights. In line with prevailing tastes during the Enlightenment, the inner city was designed in a reticular layout which has survived to the present and never fails to surprise visitors.

Among the standout monuments is the Royal Palace, designed by the architects, Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera. It also features a later extension, including the wings added in 1775. The interior houses such curiosities as the Porcelain Study – the capital work of the Royal Porcelain Factory in Madrid’s Buen Retiro – and the Arab Study, inspired by the Hall of the Two Sisters in the Alhambra of Granada.

Also worth visiting is the Real Casa del Labrador (Farmer’s Lodge), set in the so-called Prince’s Garden, the work of Juan Villanueva and Isidro González Velázquez. Lastly, another notable landmark is the Church of San Antonio, commissioned by Ferdinand VI in honour of St Anthony of Padua.

Another standout feature of Aranjuez is its Royal Gardens. There are four in all, namely the Parterre, the King’s Garden,the Island Garden and the Prince’s Garden, situated on the Tagus riverbank and within the Royal Palace precinct. They were all designed as recreational areas for the Court and attest to a blend of French taste acquired from the Bourbons and Italian influences, yielding a stunning result which is worth strolling around and enjoying.

Wait – There’s More!

For those who aren’t satiated by monuments and gardens, another feature of Aranjuez is its huerta or market gardens, among the most important in Spain. Situated between the Tagus and Jarama rivers, the fertile soil produces such crops as asparagus – here known as pericos– and strawberries, introduced by the French Bourbons. The latter also patronised farming research and experimentation on this land, as evinced in the surviving Renaissance layout of the allotments.

Don’t fail to make a gastronomic stopover to savour the fruit of this land. A classical option is Casa José, one of the most celebrated restaurants in the Madrid Community.

Ready for a getaway with a period twist? Check out our flights here.


Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Eric Titcombe, M a n u e l, Andrés Gómez - Club Ferroviario 241

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