Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday #89

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cocktail Demonstration from Our Spanish Cookbook on DrinkingGirlsTV...Please Share on Facebook!

We have created a new video series called "Shakin' It Up with the Drinking Girls" on our very own youtube channel, DrinkingGirlsTV.  I was the first ginea pig to make a video.  Tiff will be filming hers soon!  Check it out and tell us what you think!  We would love it if you could click on the facebook button at the bottom of this post and share it on your wall!  Cheers, Ashleigh

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tapas, Tomatoes, Baby Jumping and Bulls: An Expats Guide to Spain’s Famous Festivals

We are very excited to have Guest Blogger, Isabella Woods, with us.  Here's her take on some of the most interesting festivals Spain has to offer.

Spain is the home of many unique, fun, and sometimes scary festivals, known as ‘fiestas’ is Spanish. If you’re prepared to travel across the country, you could find more than one of these fiestas to enjoy every month, and it is no secret that the Spanish love to let their hair down and party. There is something for everyone within Spain’s annual calendar of festivals, whether it’s drinking and dancing, eating delicious food, listening to world famous musicians, or witnessing religious traditions. The choice is vast and what’s more most of the festivals are completely free to attend.

There is no doubt that finding a Mediterranean cruise deal and soaking up some rays is a relaxing way to spend your free time, but there is much more excitement to be had by visiting a festival in Spain. There are some truly unique events that just shouldn’t be missed by anyone living in or visiting Spain.
Seville Tapas Fair – Birthplace of Tapas
Seville is the capital city of the autonomous region of Andalusia, in southern Spain. It is famous for its tapas and recognised as the birth place of this type of cuisine, which has become popular all over Spain, and many other parts of the world. If you haven’t come across tapas before, it can be described as a variety of snacks or appetizers that are often served with drinks, but there is much more to tapas than that.

The widest variety of tapas in the world can be found in Seville all year round, but during the Seville Tapas Fair the entire city gets involved, with restaurants and bars all offering their individual specialties for locals and tourists to feast upon. Delicious types of fish, meat, vegetables, cheese, and bread will be served in an almost endless variety of ways. The dishes are small, but the idea is to order a few of them and enjoy all the different tastes, along with a nice refreshing beverage of your choice. For food lovers this festival simply should not be missed, and it begins at the beginning of February lasting right through until March every year.
La Tomantina – Tomato Fight
The annual tomato fight in Buñol, within the region of Valencia, is one of Spain’s most famous festivals, and attracts thousands of people each year. The small town of Buñol has a population of around 9,000, but on the last Wednesday of August each year, the number of people crammed into the town swells to more than 30,000.

It’s a relatively new festival, and its origins can be traced back to 1945, when a gang of men brawled in the street during a parade and began hurling tomatoes at each other. Since then the act was carried out year after year, and sometimes people were prosecuted by the authorities. But now the town council completely supports the festival, and arranges for truckloads of tomatoes to be brought in each year for this messy event.
El Colacho – Baby Jumping
Known as ‘El Colacho’ in Spain, the infamous baby jumping festival is held in the village of Castrillo de Murcia, near Burgos. It has been going on since 1620, and is one Spain’s more bizarre festivals. An entertaining but scary combination of Spanish folklore and religion, this festival takes places alongside celebrations of the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi, which occurs in either May or June each year.
The tradition is that babies born within the previous twelve months of the year are laid on mattresses in the street of the village. The El Colacho, a man from the Brotherhood of Santisimo Sacramento de Minerva dressed in a yellow outfit, represents the devil. He proceeds to jump over the babies, and by doing cleanses them of all evil doings.
San Fermín – Running of the Bulls
The world famous festival of San Fermín, often referred to as the running of the bulls outside of Spain, is arguably Spain’s most dangerous and exciting festival. It takes place in Pamplona every year, beginning on the 6th of July and lasting until the 14th of July. Every day after the opening ceremony there is a bull running event in the morning. Bulls are released within narrow streets of the old town, and people gather to run ahead of the rampaging beasts.

Definitely not for the light hearted or out of shape, you need to be fast and brave to run from the bulls as they undoubtedly run faster than everyone in the crowd. Watching the event can be as fun as participating in it, so this festival is great for spectators too.

-Isabella Woods is 29 years old and resides in London.  For the past five years, she has been working as a professional writer and researcher.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Staying Connected...Through Football!

Although we live in Spain and we LOVE it, it is nice to commune with our fellow Americans, even if we have to do it across the big blue ocean.  This was third Super Bowl that has taken place since we've lived in Spain, but its the first one that we've watched live.  It's really tough to watch prime time sporting events that take place on the east coast of the United States when you love in Madrid because they don't even get started until midnight.  The Super Bowl always takes place on a Sunday night, so that makes it even harder because the kids have to get up and go to school on Monday and they don't do it all on their own.  So each year, I have begged off, until now...

I told the boys that if they got everything ready for school and ate dinner before we went to church AND  went to bed right afterwards (we like to attend 7pm mass on Sunday nights), then I'd wake them up at midnight so they could watch the game live.  As a military family, we watch American broadcasts on American Forces Network.  According to Wikipedia, "The AFN worldwide radio and television broadcast network serves American service men and women, Department of Defense and other US government civilians and their families stationed at bases overseas, as well as U.S. Navy ships at sea. AFN broadcasts popular American radio and television programs from the major U.S. networks. It is sometimes referred to as the Armed Forces Network. AFRTS, American Forces Network and AFN are registered trademarks of the U.S. Department of Defense."  AFN does a great job of keeping us from getting too homesick.  Many of the most popular programs and sporting events are shown love or the next day.  We really appreciate it too, because all the programming is donated by broadcasters.

So while the shows are the same, there is one major difference...No Commercials!  Normally, this is a good thing, but when it comes to the Super Bowl, you do kind of feel like you are missing out a bit.  Still, the kids really enjoyed waking up in the middle of the night and watching the game.  It was a good one, for sure, and our team won!  Content with our victory, we were all back in bed by 4am  for three more hours of shut eye. Can't wait to do it again next year!  Hasta luego...


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