Destinations for the November bank holiday weekend
There are lots of clichés about travelling in autumn: that it's low season, the weather's still mild, cities look nicer... But the truth is that it's an ideal time of year to take a break from your routine. Besides, there's a bank holiday weekend at the beginning of November, which means you can enjoy these wonderful places even more. Let us guide you with a few recommendations on places that are particularly charming at this time of year.more info
Your Own Street Restaurant For One Day
Eating in the street is all the rage. It is becoming more popular by the day and Restaurant Day, which emerged in Finland but is celebrated in various cities around the world, contributed to it in large measure. The event takes place every three months and is a magnificent expression of urban culture, as its origins lie in volunteering and citizens’ own initiative. Any person, or group of people, can open their own pop-up restaurant, an expression fast gaining currency – you choose a spot, set up your stall, impress, sell and dismantle it, all in a single day. It could be in a park, on a street corner, in a courtyard or even an apartment or office. What is the goal? To promote a culinary experience and, above all, to have a good time in community… and all for a modest price. One’s imagination is the limit!
Any individual or group of friends can come together for a few hours to prepare and offer one, two, three… five or up to ten different dishes. Sweet or savoury, whatever catches one’s fancy or, to be sure, whatever you can do best. The better the product you make, the more portions you sell and the more business you do. And, apart from the pleasure involved in the culinary experience, it goes without saying that nobody wants to lose money. You can even make money!
Restaurant Day is a veritable gastronomic experience for those who set up their own pop-up restaurant and also, apparently, for the thousands of potential customers who, in a matter of minutes, can savour dishes from the five continents. It is common to find youngsters selling Mexican dishes alongside another group making sushi, and a nearby family preparing a scrumptious paella, accompanied by various potato omelettes.
The driving force behind Restaurant Day is the Finn, Timo Santala, who decided to launch this initiative after a trip to Thailand, where street food is a common practice. It is also a way of cutting down on the bureaucratic red tape involved in opening a restaurant. The first Restaurant Day, or Ravintolapäivä, was held on 21 May 2011. Just 45 pop-up restaurants took part, distributed between thirteen towns in Finland. The second time around, the number registering for the event rose to 200. The last edition, held on 16 May 2015, saw the participation of nearly 2,500 restaurants in 34 countries. From Finland to Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Britain, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Belgium and the Netherlands. The fact is that people are taking a greater interest in the venture day by day, and becoming more open to preparing and tackling new cuisines and new flavours – restaurants serving foreign cuisines are always the most readily accepted everywhere!
In short, Restaurant Day is a great way for making people aware that they are the real citizens and owners of the towns they inhabit. The thinking behind this growing movement is that it is up to them to make the towns they live in a much better place. Despite attempts by administrations, particularly in Finland, to control the level of street-food hygiene and to levy taxes on the initiative, they were forced to back down due to the popularity of the event. Thus, the organisers have managed to maintain the civic spirit of the original proposal. It is therefore a great opportunity for anyone wishing to fulfil their dream of opening a restaurant, even if just for one day!
There is now even an app which enables you to find the nearest spot for a pop-up restaurant linked to theRavintolapäivä. The next stagings of this event are scheduled for 16 August and 21 November 2015, and Budapest will be one of the cities with greater participation of Europe.
Check out our flights here.
Text and images by Marc Carol and Jordi Casino (Barcelonahelsinki)
The Modernist Side of A Coruña
Modernism emerged in the late-19th and early-20th century, marking a break in style with the past, in line with the prevailing cosmopolitan, entrepreneurial mindset of the moment.
In 1883, the city needed to expand, leading to the construction of its famous Ensanche district,which spans the present-day streets of Juana de Vega,Picavia,Feijoo, Plaza de Lugo and Plaza de Pontevedra.
With the wealth they had acquired from foreign trade, the local bourgeoisie commissioned luxury residences in this new area, modelled on those of Vienna, Paris, Prague, Budapest and Berlin, in an outward show of their prosperity and cultural pursuits. This enabled them to distinguish themselves from the old Corunnan aristocracy, who still lived in the Ciudad Alta and Ciudad Vieja districts in dilapidated mansions with dark rooms, lacking proper ventilation or glazed window balconies, with their backs to the sea and to modernity.
Strictly speaking, Modernism came to the city in 1906 with the arrival of the Cuban architect, Ricardo Boán y Callejas, and the Corunnan architect ,Antonio López Hernández, who brought the new trends in building design from Austria, Switzerland and Germany. They also brought journals, catalogues and photos from those countries featuring designs by the Austrian, Otto Wagner, and the Belgian, Victor Horta.
One of the most striking features of these houses are the female faces adorning some of the buildings that are still standing. They were mostly inspired by the countenance of an English lady, Elizabeth Siddal, the wife of the Pre-Raphaelite painter, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She was immortalised in the guise of her languid, enigmatic beauty and her long tresses following her death from an overdose of laudanum, a mixture of opium and alcohol.
Modernism in A Coruña was influenced by the ornamental style of the English architect, Owen Jones (1808-1874). Local artists decorated the facades and doorways with irises, horse-chestnut leaves, water plants, roses and camellias in multi-coloured garlands which seem to reach out to the passer-by and lavish pleasure on the senses.
Galleries are awash with the Mackintosh Rose motif of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as well as twirling, sap-bearing plant stems. The transparent glass surfaces spread out among them like dragonfly wings. However, Japanese influences also come to the fore in the form of embossed irises, reeds and butterflies on lilies, star-shaped holly leaves and lotus flowers framing windows and lifts, by way of a country-like, ecological architecture. Enjoy a Modernist route through the city – download the guide here.
Modernist Top 5 in A Coruña
1. Casa Rey (1911)
The work of Julio Galán, his architecture distils the essence of the glass city. The rippling cornice, the Mudéjar inspired glazed ceramics and the wrought iron balconies made in the Wonenburger foundry make it a veritable dolls house for the ladies of those times that adorned its balconies with their head-dresses of gardenias and palm leaves. Chocolate was one of the exotic wares shipped from the Indies and other colonies to the port of A Coruña, and chocolateries dating from that period are still open to the public on the streets of Riego de Agua, Plaza de Lugo and Estrecha de San Andrés. Hence the origin of the popular Corunnan demonym ofcascarilleiros(huskers),an allusion to the cocoa husks which filled the streets with their aroma. Plaza de María Pita, 12.
2. Casa Molina (1915)
Designed by Rafael González Villar. The building was the home of Don Raimundo Molina, a representative of Royal Dutch Lloyd and consul of the Netherlands. He was also the father of the well-known mayor, Don Alfonso Molina. Influenced by the Italian Modernism of Turin, the garlands and draped ribbons of the building form a theatrical final curtain to the Old City. C/ Santiago, 2.
3. Kiosko Alfonso (1912)
Also designed by Rafael González Villar, this is a magnificent example of early-20th-century recreational architecture. With its rectangular floor plan, it operated as a café, music hall and cinema, the central screen of which divided the auditorium into two rooms. In the first room, the audience saw the positive film, while a negative of the film could be viewed at a lower fee from the other. Converted into an exhibition hall in 1982, the original Modernist decoration is still intact, including dragons which surround and immerse the audience in a world of mystery and fantasy. Jardines de Méndez Núñez.
4. Compostela, 8 (1910)
Also the work of Julio Galán Carbajal. The foyer, with access at no. 8 Calle Compostela, is the most striking entrance hall in the city. Walls, ceilings and the archway leading into the lift turn the space into an original stuccowork greenhouse, brimming with intertwined water plants, lotuses, lilies and irises. The lions at the entrance, the eagle and the caryatids on the cornice form a symbolic defence of the house’s residents, reminiscent of ancient Persian palaces.
5. Plaza de Lugo, 13 (1912)
Lastly, this bourgeois residence designed by Antonio López Hernández, linked to the family of the Corunnan actor, Fernando Casado Arambillet (better known as Fernando Rey), features overflowing ornamentation as an outward show of the economic prowess of its residents. It is theatrically adorned with a large garland of roses, leading the eye towards the huge female caryatid dominating the ensemble. The decorative syntax makes this the most beautiful building in A Coruña.
Don’t wait to see these Modernist architectural jewels in A Coruña. Check out our flights here.