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Festival of Lights in Leipzig

Leipzig is known as the capital of German music, classic music artists such as Strauss, Wagner or Bach were closely attached to the city. Nevertheless, is also known for being part of an important moment in history, playing a key role on the fall of the Berlin wall, reason why the city is considered as the birthplace for the Peaceful Revolution.

On October 9th 1989, 70.000 Leipzig citizens demonstrate carrying candles around the Leipziger Ring calling for freedom to the Federal Republic of Germany. Despite several threats by the police to open fire, the demonstrations were peaceful and became an important milestone on the way to the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification.

From that date, every October 9th the Festival of Lights is celebrated to remember that important date, taking history to reality by using audio, video and light. On 2014, the 25th anniversary for the Pacific Revolution is celebrated and, as every year, the Festival of Lights in Leipzig sets the start for a long weekend were many cultural organizations dedicate events, exhibitions and concerts to remember the events on 1989. On 2009, for the 20th anniversary, almost 150.000 people joined a great parade around the city centre and Leipzig became a sea of lights. For 2014, numerous activities are expected around the festival.

Furthermore, on October 9-13th, 2014, Leipzig will celebrate a long week of cultural events and, throughout the year, visitors can follow the steps of these historical events and visit places such as the museum and the bunker in Stasi or the exhibition “Freiheit! Einheit! Denkmal!” (Freedom, unity, monument) – from September 24th, 2014 to January 4th, 2015 – in the Leipzig City Museum, where the historical memory remains to debate the future monument to freedom and unity.

Under the slogan “Fall 89 – Democracy arrival” Leipzig will transform the streets one more year in a light show and cultural celebration that you shouldn’t miss if you’re planning to visit the city.

Image from Philipp

Perfect plan to go with friends! Check our flights and sign up!

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Bilbao BBK – the Northern Spain Festival

Bilbao BBK has been with us for twelve years now – that’s quite a feat. A well consolidated festival which manages to compete with some all-powerful musical events in Barcelona and Madrid within a similar timeframe. The reason for its success is simple – its lineup of artists has been steadily growing in prestige and popular appeal. BBK, which is held this year from 6 to 8 July 2017, features some awesome names. The lineup of markedly varied musical styles is headed by Depeche Mode, Phoenix, Fleet Foxes, Die Antwoord, The Killers, Two Door Cinema Club, Justice, The Avalanches and Brian Wilson, among others. If you want to attend the concerts, there are still available some 3-Day Tickets and room in the campsite, should you prefer to steer clear of hotels and instead be more adventurous.

One of the hallmarks of this festival is the grounds it is set in. Monte Kobetas (also known as Kobetamendi), is one of the city’s iconic playgrounds. This elevated, forested area affords spectacular views of Bilbao, apart from acting as one of its lungs and a spot where Bilbaines do sport and go for picnics. However, the precinct is off limits to the general public for the duration of BBK, when it is repurposed solely to music. Access to Kobetamendi is a simple matter; in fact, a couple of free bus lines are laid on for the event by the organisers, facilitating access to the festival precinct for all attendees.

Over and above the musical offerings, BBK provides the perfect excuse for getting to know other places in Bilbao, too. Here are a few proposals for early risers eager to explore the city on foot.

The Best “Pintxos”

It’s a cliché, but it’s actually true – if you visit Bilbao, you simply have to eat pintxos more than once. It is an unwritten norm. And, Bilbao happens to have some of the best bars serving up this culinary speciality. To score a bull’s-eye with your pintxos, the best thing is to head for the city’s historic centre, an area crammed with restaurants of tried and tested quality. Four of them we can highly recommend are Gure Toki,Txiriboga,Motrikes and Askao Berri.

A Touch of Art

As luck would have it, BBK coincides with one of the pictorial exhibition highlights of the year, which is still on in the Guggenheim Bilbao, namely Paris, Fin de Siècle, an exhibition showcasing the work of the most prominent late-19th-century French and European painters. It would be unthinkable not to dive into the museum to see paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac and Redo, among others, before going up to the Kobetamendi precinct to soak up the festival. Oh, and while you’re about it, make sure you don’t miss the museum’s permanent collection, featuring works by the likes of Robert Motherwell, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, James Rosenquist, Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter.

Power Records – Bilbao’s Temple of Vinyl

When in Bilbao, dropping in on Power Records is almost as important as eating pintxos if you’re a music aficionado.This legendary store has over twenty-five years’ history behind it. Located on Calle Villarías, near the Old Town and the Nervión estuary, this establishment has a mind-blowing selection of vinyls, both second-hand and imported. This is a veritable sanctuary for music lovers hunting for rare records by their favourite groups. Apart from second-hand albums, Power Records is also dedicated to CDs, reissues and the latest releases. So, if that seven-single by Depeche Mode, or a vinyl of “Pet Sounds” by Brian Wilson has been eluding you, you’re probably going to find it here.

Book your Vueling to Bilbao and let yourself be swept away by the music waves of one of the standout festivals in Spain.

Text by Xavi Sánchez Pons


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Ciutadella A St John Festival With a Difference

The night of 23 June, renowned for being the shortest in the year, is accompanied by countless rituals and festivities across most of Europe. Fire usually takes centre stage in the form of fireworks or bonfires, but there are other highlights, too. Among such exceptions are the celebrations in Ciutadella, Menorca, where horses and their riders provide the main show in a ritual which goes back to the early-14th century and nowadays draws hosts of visitors eager to be immersed in new experiences.

The Festes de Sant Joan de Ciutadella traditionally take place between 23–24 June and the previous Sunday. The opening day is Diumenge des Be (Sunday of the Lamb), when a peasant dressed in sheepskins known as s’homo des be (the man of the ram) parades barefoot through the city streets carrying a white ram over his shoulders. Symbolising St John the Baptist, he is the herald who announces the start of the festivities.

The second highlight of the Festes de Sant Joan de Ciutadella begins at 2 o’clock in the afternoon of 23 June and lasts until daybreak on 25 June – that’s nothing in those parts! And, what are visitors likely to encounter there? Well, the famous horse parades (in Menorcan, qualcades) of which the two leading lights are the mounted cavallers (horsemen) and the caixers, who stand for the four social estates – the clergy, represented by the Caixer Capellà or Capellana; the nobility, by the Caixer Senyor; the craftsmen, by the Caixer Casat (married, and master of a manual craft) and Caixer Fadrí (the apprentice), and the peasants, by the Caixers Pagesos. The whole parade is headed by the fabioler, mounted on a somereta (ass), who announces the arrival of the retinue with his flute and drum. All told, the parade is actually a kind of shrine festival, with the crowds escorting the saint from the Plaza del Born to the small shrine of Sant Joan de Missa (St John of the Mass).

Another moment in these celebrations which you should make a point of seeing is the Caragol des Born, held on the afternoon of 23 June, in which horses and their riders circle around the Plaça des Born to a musical accompaniment, surrounded by crowds of onlookers. Another highlight of the festivities are the Jocs des Pla, which start at 7 p.m. on 24 June. Be sure to head for the Pla de Sant Joan well ahead to secure a place, as the ensuing equestrian medieval games are very popular. There the mounted knights show off their prowess in a series of tournament events.

And, like any Menorcan fiesta worth its salt, the island’s cocktail par excellence is very much in evidence. I am referring to gin amb llimonada, a wonderful blend of local gin and crushed ice lemonade which you are urged to drink in moderation. And, no – don’t call it a pomada, unless you want to get snooty looks from the locals.

If you are unable to get there in time for the Festes de Sant Joan de Ciutadella, rest assured there are various other high feasts on the island (some of which also feature horses), where entertainment is guaranteed.

Fire up and experience these fiestas for yourself – book your Vueling here.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Morfheos

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Lollapalooza Berlin is very much in keeping with the original festival

Of all the music festivals that take place in September, Lollapalooza Berlin is, probably, the largest and most popular. Originally from the United States, Lollapalooza has been held in this German city since 2015 and is almost every bit as good as its older brother, because great names in the music scene such as Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Muse have performed there.

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