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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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Sanlúcar Site of the Oldest Horse Race in Spain

With the setting sun as an idyllic backdrop, the beaches of Bajo de Guía, La Calzada and Las Piletas as unique race tracks, and swimming costumes as the main attire of the onlookers, the horse races of Sanlúcar de Barrameda are a must-see classic of summer in Cádiz. This horse-racing competition, designated an International Tourist Interest Event on account of its setting, with the Guadalquivir river mouth and the Doñana National Park in the background, is also one of the oldest competitions of any kind in the country, dating back to 1845. It now draws a crowd of around 30,000 visitors each year, eager to spend a lovely evening in which the horse races are the perfect excuse for soaking up the scenery, watching thoroughbreds in action and – needless to say – betting on the winning horses.

This year will see a total of 23 races, to be held from 3 to 19 August and divided into two cycles of three days each – the first, during the first half of August, on the 3rd, 4th and 5th, and the second, in the second half of the month, on the 17th, 18th and 19th. The races are run between six thirty in the evening and half past nine at night, a time when the low tides fall on weekends in August.

Manzanilla Sherry Cellars, Nature in the National Park and Much More

In addition to the spectacular summer horse races, Sanlúcar de Barrameda has a lot to offer visitors to the city, located on the mouth of the river Guadalquivir. This seafaring resort, a witness to Columbus as he embarked on his third voyage to the Americas, as well as Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano on their first circumnavigation of the world, still harbours signs of that period of splendour related to the discovery of the New World. Indeed, the city’s heyday accounts for much of its historical legacy, as attested by the 16th-century Church of Santo Domingo and the 17th-century Church of La Merced. There are also examples of earlier constructions, notably the Church  of Nuestra Señora de la O, with its spectacular Mudéjar coffered ceiling, and the 15th-century Ducal Palace of Los Medina Sidonia, the former residence of the nobility of Sanlúcar.

Sanlúcar’s importance is also enhanced by its proximity to the Doñana National Park, reached by boat from the city. This accounts for a large portion of the visitors who come here each year. The claim to fame of this priceless national park includes the fact it is one of the leading passage areas of migratory birds in Europe. Make a point of signing up for any of the host of excursions running from Sanlúcar to Doñana, which range from outings to observe the fauna and flora to bicycle tours of the area.

To offset so much nature, you always have the option to indulge in an enological tour of the manzanilla sherry cellars. Manzanilla is the wine par excellence of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where the leading wine cellars are Barbadillo, Hidalgo, Argüeso, and La Guita. By chance, the dish that best pairs with this variety of sherry is another classic of the area, the “langostinos de Sanlúcar” (Sanlúcar prawn).

Book your Vueling to Jerez de la Frontera, hardly half an hour’s drive from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and revel in these spectacular horse races.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Guillén Pérez

 

 

 

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Five Spanish summer dishes

We love discovering new destinations through their food and drink. In Spain, as well as typical food that you can eat all year round, like paella, tortilla and bread with tomato, you can also find special dishes that are perfect for summer. Ideal recipes for hot days when you really fancy something light and fresh.

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2018 World Cup in Russia

The 21st World Cup kicks off on 14 June in Russia. It's the eleventh time it will be held in the Europe and the first time it is hosted by an Eastern European country.

How is Russia getting ready for the big event? What do we need to know about it? What are the 2018 World Cup dates? Since Russia was awarded the World Cup at the end of 2010, beating Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands, the country has been busy getting everything ready for the big event.

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