Sant Jordi: Love and Culture around Barcelona

On April 23, the Sant Jordi Day is celebrated throughout Catalonia. It is a very special day for the Catalans since it is a day to reclaim their own culture. Tradition says that boys should give a rose to their beloved, while girls should give them a book.

The legend

A long time ago there was a terrifying dragon located in the village of Montblanc, south-west of Barcelona. The dragon was always hungry, so the people gave him one animal a day to keep it from attacking the village. However, one day the dragon ate the last of the animals, and then it started eating the people of the town too. In order to satisfy the hunger of the dragon, the village decided to randomly choose a person every day to be sacrificed to the beast.

One day the princess’ name came up, and although that made the King very sad, he sent her to the dragon. But just when the beast was about to eat the princess, a brave and handsome knight, known as Sant Jordi, rode into town and killed the dragon with his spear, saving her life.

From the blood of the dragon, there grew a rose bush, and Sant Jordi took a red rose and gave it to the princess as a sign of his love. Everybody in the village was very happy because the dragon was dead and they lived peacefully ever after.

The real history

Sant Jordi was a knight who served Emperor Diocletian, and who refused to follow his orders to persecute the Christians, so he was beheaded on April 23rd of 303. From that moment on he was started venerate and then fantastic stories about his person emerged.

In the fifteenth century, a fair of roses was held every year in commemoration of Sant Jordi attended by many engaged couples and young matrons. It is thought that this is the origin of the tradition of giving a rose to loved ones. 

On the other hand, on November 15th, 1995, the General Conference of Unesco decreed April 23rd as the International Book and Copyright Day. So, during that day the readers take the opportunity to exchange reading impressions in the streets with their favorite writers. In recent years, this ritual has had a great media reception so that success has spread well beyond the Catalan territory.

Sant Jordi today

Since then the popularity of this day has been growing in such a way that it is almost impossible to walk through the streets of Barcelona on that date. In each corner of the city, you can find stops with roses and books. In addition, there are many acts in which free love is claimed, as well as musical performances with the Catalan culture as the main character.

 

April 23rd is not a day to stay at home. In the streets of Barcelona you can find writers signing their books at the stands, talks with authors, commemorative parties and also a blood donation campaign, because being altruistic is a great gesture of love.

In addition, the entire city is decorated. If you walk along Paseo de Gracia you have to go to Casa Batlló, the most commemorative building on this day. Gaudí was inspired by the Legend of Sant Jordi to create this architectural masterpiece (the roof imitates the scales of a dragon). So in the day, the house dresses its facade with roses giving it an even more impressive look.

Start planning your Spring love getaway for next year in one of the most fashionable cities in the world. Stroll along the Ramblas of Barcelona feeling the smell of roses, enjoy the Catalan culture at its peak and delight. We know April 2019 is not just around the corner but, it’s never too early. 

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Canary Islands: which Island suits you better?

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa, rugged volcanic island are known for their black- and white-sand beaches. The seven main islands are (from largest to smallest in area) Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.

Now, what kind of holidays are you looking for? This is a really important question to be considered before booking tickets to one of these natural paradise. Of course, you will find incredible beaches and a scorching sun wherever you go, but there are many more things to consider: crazy parties, endless trails, sports- round the clock, silent retreats … So follow our tips and have a great time.

Tenerife: a mix of party and relax

Tenerife is the largest island of the archipelago, so you can find a variety of environments depending on where you go. The south of the island is the perfect destination for those who seek sun all year round and unforgettable nights in pubs/discos surrounded by young people eager to have fun.

The north is somewhat quieter and has spectacular scenery, but you have to keep in mind that it is not always sunny. If you are looking for tranquility, you can find it in the mountain villages.

La Gomera: peace and tradition

The perfect island if you want some calmness, the second smallest island with 369 kilometers of mountainous terrain. For those who love hiking in the mountains, it is a good destination for small walks – or not so small ones – around Garajonay, a park declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  if your level of enthusiasm for trekking is very high, wait to read about La Palma.

You can tour the island in a couple of days, and if for some reason you end up a bit bored, you have the chance to take the ferry to Tenerife, as they are neighboring islands.

EL Hierro: for divers and sustainability seekers

With 268.71 km² it is the smallest of the seven. In 2000 it was declared Biosphere Reserve by the Unesco. Currently, a plan by the Ministry of Industry is being developed to make it the first island in the world to fully source renewable energy.

It is the ideal destination for those who love the sea and its creatures. Its scarce population and the lack of industrial use of the island minimize the dumping of waste and allow water to remain amazingly clear, with visibility of up to 50 meters. La Restinga, are among the mythical destinations of any recreational diving enthusiast. An area of high ecological value protected as a marine reserve. The diversity of flora and fauna and the possibility of seeing pelagic animals, the great sea travelers who live in the blue, make el Hierro a dream dive.

La Palma: for mountain lovers

This island got its appointment as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2002. In the center of the island is the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, where the largest volcanic crater in the world is located.

La Palma is an ideal destination for hikers: it offers more than 1000 kilometers of marked trails, in a territory of 708 square kilometers and a population of just over 80 thousand inhabitants. There are routes for all tastes and there are even accessible trails for people with reduced mobility.

Probably many have heard of the Isla Bonita (it is even said that Madonna was inspired by this island to compose the song), but the truth is that it is given that name because it is the one with the most vegetation and in which you can find more landscape contrasts and natural spaces.

Gran Canaria: the gay paradise

The island of Gran Canaria is one of the great centers of gay tourism in Europe. Especially nightlife can’t be missed: Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas, or in the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, countless pubs, and discos are displayed in which to take advantage of every minute of the night on the island.

If you can adjust your schedule to attend the Canarian Carnival do it, it is the most important party on the island, which is repeated over several weeks in each town and city. They are multitudinous celebrations, with outdoor dances throughout the night and with great shows such as the choice of the Carnival Queen and the Drag Queen Grand Gala.

Fuerteventura: water sports enthusiasts

Windsurf Surf und Kitekurs, Jet Ski, Sup, Kayak … these words sound like you? If the answer is yes, this is your island. Fuerteventura is a paradise for those who practice water sports. Windsurfers enjoy unbeatable conditions of wind and waves. Its coast is known worldwide by international windsurfers thanks to its winds and waves and the island has been consolidated in the World Cup circuit with beaches such as Sotavento.

Other options to have a great time with sports are sailing, surfing, water skiing or fishing. For example, the coast of Fuerteventura is known by fans of deep sea fishing.

Lanzarote: For those looking for exotic landscapes

Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993 it is popularly known as “the island of volcanoes”, as it is identified with the volcanic mantle that extends along a large part of its surface due to the great volcanic activity of the beginning of the century XVIII.

Five geographical milestones mark the morphology of Lanzarote, endowing it with a unique personality and each housing different landscapes. It is two mountainous massifs of great antiquity, (Famara-Guatifay and Los Ajaches); two areas of more recent volcanism (Timanfaya and the volcano of Malpaís de La Corona) and, finally, a marine sand originated that crosses the center of the island, in the area known as El Jable. These five spaces, together with the group of islets of the Chinijo Archipelago, to the north of the island, harbor most of the scenic charms of the “island of volcanoes”.

 

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Top 5 Summer parties

Summer is already here, that means beach, vacation and lots of fun. When it comes to the latter, there are some destinations and dates specifically designed for those hard-core partygoers who are always willing to move to get the best that good weather brings with it.

From Cuddlynest, we will give you 5 options that you should cross off your list of things to do.

1. Ibiza

The fate of the party and the chaos of excellence. This small island located in the Balearic archipelago (Spain), is widely known for its nightclubs and endless parties. During the day you can not miss Sa Trinxa and the Jockey Club, where you can enjoy the good vibes of the beach and music as a warm-up for the night session.

For the darkest hours, there are many options: Pacha, Amnesia, Space or Privilege. We all know that the hard part is getting up the next day. Therefore, the best option is to go to Ushuaia, in Playa d’en Bossa, the ideal place to spend those mornings somewhat complicated after a night of fun and some excesses.

2. Full Moon Party

Actually, this is a festival that is celebrated every month during the full moon on the island of Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand. It all started in 1985 when a group of backpackers began to gather there to celebrate the full moon. From that moment on, the party became known worldwide. Now, different scenarios are installed on the beach, you can participate in various activities (like jumping a rope of fire or jump down inflatable slides), and is the meeting place of millions of solo travelers willing to spend an unforgettable night.

3. La Tomatina

The war of tomatoes. This Spanish festival is celebrated in Valencia on the last Wednesday of August (this year is August 29). It is one of the most original, colorful, sticky, contagious and fun festivals in Spain: a clean tomatazo war.

The tradition began in 1945 when some young people started to fight in the town square of Buñol and had no hand to throw more than the vegetables from a nearby post gave rise to this vegetable battle. The following year, those same young people met again to repeat the feat, but the police intervened and the battle was forbidden. After a few years, the town of Buñol organized a march called “the tomato burial”, in which the whole village dressed in mourning and walked the streets carrying a coffin with a tomato inside while they cried and sang funeral songs in the streets.

This procession was so successful that the ban was lifted and since then it is a party that has given much to talk about internationally and has even been the scene of films and television series.

4. San Fermines

Following the crazy Spanish parties, who have not heard of this famous tradition in which bulls run through the streets of Pamplona? Seven days of celebration, madness, and calimocho (wine mixed with Coke, the most typical drink of Pamplona).

Something that few people know is that the party does not start on July 7 as the famous song says, the chupinazo (the beginning of the festivities), takes place on July 6 and it is one of the best days to be present, as it’s not so crowded and is when the city’s peñas come together in the town square to enjoy a hearty breakfast that replaces the coffee with the famous beverage mentioned above.

5. Boat Party in Gili Trawangan

There is no specific date for this event. In fact, you can enjoy it throughout the year. Known as the Party island of Bali, it is a must stop for those who are in Indonesia. Remember: save yourself one day to spend it on a boat party, you will not regret it.

You will have to find the party, we can provide you with the accommodation everywhere you wanna go cuddlynest.com

 

Basque country: food culture and beautiful locations

A bit of history: The Basque Country or Basque Autonomous Community was granted the status of nationality within Spain, attributed by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The autonomous community is based on the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country, a foundational legal document providing the framework for the development of the Basque people on Spanish soil, although the territory of Navarra was left out and made into a separate autonomous community.

Essential stops

Navarra: Pamplona

The Basque Country is known worldwide for its wines and its gastronomy. If you travel to this part of Spain it is essential that you stop by its bars and restaurants. Here you can find the famous Tapas that are part of the Spanish culture. There is immensity of restaurants and locations where you can taste these magnificent culinary works.

If you pass through Pamplona, take a walk around San Nicolás and Estafeta (famous street for being the route of the bulls during the San Fermines). A must stop is the Asador Katuzarra. Also, if you want to have a coffee with splendid views of the city, go up to the Meson Caballo Blanco. Going out to taste wines on the street is part of the culture of Navarra, its streets are always full of people and good energy (especially on a Saturday night).

 

Guipuzcoa: Zumaia and San Sebastián 

Obligatory stop: Zumaia, a town that will leave you breathless. On the way to San Sebastian, stop for lunch at the Idoia Ardotegia restaurant. Do not leave without tasting the famous and the Tapas they have at the bar. The best thing is that the kitchen does not close. To drop off the food, go to the beach of Zumaia, 5 minutes walk, one of the locations of the famous series of Game of Thrones.

Probably San Sebastián is the best known for its beauty and the Comb of the Wind created by the famous sculptor Chillida. A place where the whole family can enjoy and have a good time even if the weather is not on your side. Recommendation: bring change clothes for the children (or grown children), it is easy to get soaked.

Vizcaya: Bilbao, Mundaka, and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Another essential stop of the Basque geography: Bilbao. Stroll through The Seven Streets and go for Tapas in Plaza Nueva. Try the croquetas, the chuletones and do not forget to taste the spectacular pinchos de fua accompanied by a glass of Ramón Bilbao. Obviously, you can not miss the obligatory visit to the Guggenheim Museum.

Mundaka, widely known by surf lovers. In this town the famous left is born, a long wave that has made the Basque Country worldwide popular. If you want to see it with your own eyes, consult the forecasts before, since the ideal conditions are not always available to see it. A perfect spot to watch it is the Hotel El Puerto, with a terrace located to the best views, while you enjoy some jamón serrano and a glass of wine.

A stop that has become even more famous than San Sebastian is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. The explanation is simple, it is the scene of the meeting between Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow in the Seventh Season of Game of Thrones. Who does not remember that conversation going down the steps of Dragonstone?

 

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