Paco de Lucía, The Death of a Spanish National Monument 1

Paco de Lucia

February 27, 2014–Paco de Lucía’s sudden death yesterday struck Spain like a hammer blow. Francisco Sánchez Gómez, the world’s greatest flamenco guitarist, was a Spanish national monument like the Escorial or the Alhambra. He wasn’t set in the landscape, however, rather in people’s hearts. He was their “Paco,” and he connected to them through his prodigious musical skills as a performing artist and composer, as well as his sweet, self-effacing character. Paco was a “caballero,” a Spanish gentleman.

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Metropol Parasol Wows Locals and Visitors to Seville Reply

Seville Metropol Parasol

By Marcia Argyriades for Yatzer.com–What is there not to like about Metropol Parasol?  The waffle-like crown structure in Seville, Spain was finally completed in April 2011 after a competition held by the city of Seville in 2004.  Located at Plaza de la Encarnacion, the stunning sequence of undulating parasols comprises the world’s largest wooden structure.

The Metropol Parasol project was part of the redevelopment of the Plaza de la Encarnacíon, designed by J. MAYER H. Architects. This project becomes the new icon for Seville, a place of identification and to articulate Seville’s role as one of the world´s most fascinating cultural destinations. More…

Help ¡Alegria! Grow–Here’s How 6

Seville April Fair

Photo by Jean Dominique Dallet

In order for ¡Alegria! to prosper it needs sponsorship, which we consider the best way to finance the magazine while maintaining our non-commercial approach. Before committing themselves, potential sponsors, whether institutional (like tourist offices) or private companies (like hotel chains or airlines), want to know about our readers. They don’t need your names or contact information, but they do want to know where you’re from, the subjects you like best from ¡Alegria!, along with information about your location, lifestyle and consumer habits. More…

I Belong to Dublin but Spain is Mine 1

My home on the Costa Blanca is the best investment I ever made. It has given me a second life, and a more open, tranquil version of myself, writes Sheila O’Flanagan

Sheila O'Flanagan homeSheila O’Flanagan, Irish Independent, December 12, 2013–Because I once worked in financial services, I’m often asked what my best investment ever has been. And although I know most people imagine that I’m going to tell them about a hot-tip share that doubled in value a few days after I bought it, or a massive killing on the commodities market (neither of which actually happened unfortunately) the truth is that the best investment I ever made was buying a holiday home on Spain’s Costa Blanca nearly 16 years ago. More…

Munira’s European Road Trip Becomes a Life in Spanish Leather 3

Munira Mendonça repujadora

One of Spain’s leading craft persons and activists on behalf of her compañeros in Spanish leather working was born and raised in Oakland, California. Over her 35 years in Spain Munira Mendonça has presided over an association of women artesanas, served on the board of directors of the Andalusian regional federation of artisans, and organized craft fairs and courses. Since she’s had her shop, she’s promoted the work of local handicraft workers there. She’s also taught her skills to a series of apprentices, some of whom have established their own workshops. And she still offers occasional leather working courses to small groups. More…

Spanish Architects Convert Abandoned Barn into Dream Home 1

Stable conversion Extremadura

When Carlos Alonso and his sister Camino (partners at Madrid architecture firm Ábaton) were looking for a country home for their extended family, they stumbled upon an abandoned stable in rural Extremadura, Spain and recognized it as a special place. High on a hill and far from city water or an electrical grid, the crumbling cow shed was far from the conventional image of luxury estate, but Carlos and Camino could envision a transformation. Their vision became a stunning reality, and example of what can be done with a pile of old stones and a little imagination. (In the photograph you cannot appreciate the babbling of the brook that runs through the house, nor the music of the cowbells on the hillside.)

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Wrestling Wild Horses in the Rapa das Bestas de Sabucedo, Galicia 1

Rapa das bestas

Every summer the mountain villages of Galicia, Spain’s northwestern region, celebrate A Rapa das Bestas, The Trimming of the Horses. This custom that some say dates back almost 350 years is for the most robust of the villagers who hike up the mountain, round up a herd of wild horses and drive them down to a corral in the village. After this arduous pilgrimage they jump into the corral, wrestle the horses to the ground and trim their manes with scissors.

It sounds straightforward enough. But you have to see this documentary of the Rapa das Bestas in the village of Sabucedo in order to even begin to understand the atavistic forces at work in this event: religion, tradition, personal superation, profit, bravado… And what’s that wisp of a girl doing in the midst of all those muscle-bound mozos wrestling with the horses? More…

From The Outside This Is A Derelict Cement Factory. But Go Inside And… 1

Bofill Cement Factory

Viralnova.com, December 18, 2013–No, this isn’t just an old factory, crumbling to pieces. It used to be a cement factory, sure, but now this sprawling structure is the incredible home and studio of architect Ricardo Bofill. He discovered The Cement Factory in 1973 and it was abandoned and partially in ruins. It couldn’t have looked like much, but Ricardo saw its true potential. He bought it and began renovating. He turned it into something you can barely recognize as the factory it used to be.

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“Turncoat!” I’m Guilty and Here’s How It Happened 1

Michael Booth’s Book Relates the Metamorphosis from American Boy to Spanish Turncoat

The Turncoat ChroniclesHow does a young man from deepest Midwestern U.S.A. transform himself from a normal American college student, ad agency shill and conscript soldier into a card-carrying Spanish citizen? And why? This is the story that Michael Booth recounts–45 years on–in his ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles. Booth, who discovered a Spanish village outside Granada in 1969 where he made a home for his family, still lives there. In the intervening four-and-a-half decades he has learned valuable lessons of simplicity, humility, humanity and solidarity. His teachers: the uncomplicated and generous villagers of his pueblo. More…

The Fabada Asturiana Story and Recipe 1

Asturian fabada casserole

Made internationally infamous by Hannibal Lecter’s odd choice of diet in Silence of the Lambs, the Fabada bean casserole is the signature dish of Asturias and is enjoyed throughout all of Spain and further afield. It’s a rich hearty meal that is great for replenishing energy stocks after rigorous activities. More…