SPAIN - "Imagical" ... or a perfect image

Two images spring to mind and Spain linger, making the blood race.

The first centers around the bullfight, the extraordinary spectacle of a man facing a lonely beast that rages in a barren arena before thousands of people. The image of a single, elegantly dressed matador standing face to face with hundreds of pounds of animal death. It is not necessary to have been to a bullfight, or even approve of bullfighting, to appreciate the emotion generated by the event. To feel the hot sun down on the fans in the stands of the huge open roof Plaza de Toros, to see the hoist matador dressed in black, his red cape, hear the thunder of hooves pounding the ground the bull . Ole! Ole!

Then there is a moving image, but also a lot calmer around the flamenco show! For this, the scene can be as large as the ballroom of a five star hotel or as simple as the floor of a local bar tapas. Anyway, the effect is still powerful.

The lights go down, a guitar comes to life and beautifully dressed dancers begin to weave their magic, their upper body was still moving through the arms, legs working feverishly, and their heels create exciting rhythms.

These two pictures suggest all we need to appreciate the charm of Spain today. Together, they convey the love of country and color of passion, tradition and enjoyment, audacity and talent. But these two images are an allusion to the magical diversity of Spain. Two other images evoke a very different picture.

The first concern of the siesta, which reminds every day that Spain is the country's south and blessed by the sun and heat as long as everyone feels the need of a few hours of respite during the afternoon. What a charming idea that is! A nap. How easy it is to feel the silence of a hot afternoon crystal clear to see the curtains blowing gently in the breeze, to enjoy the darkness, inside fresh.

It's the perfect time to reflect the fact that the Spaniards recognize that there should be some relief from work every day.

A supplement to the nap, and as a source of inspiration is the Spanish attitude to eating. The tendency to linger over lunch until late in the afternoon and over dinner until after midnight, as if to say that good food and good company are, where appropriate, more importantly at a full life, than the rest.

The second new image of Spain as a leading economic force, a country that has been transformed from a little behind, based agrarian society in a dynamic industry and services . Siesta or not, Spain is working. This is evident in the elegant buildings lining the streets of Madrid, Barcelona and other major cities. It is also evident in most of the specific achievements, such as the proper functioning of these recent global events like the Olympics in Barcelona and the Universal Exhibition in Seville

Bullfighting, flamenco, naps, and industry - these give a reasonable picture of Spain. But other images convey much more.

Equally symbolic is the country's coastline, which makes Spain one of the greatest destinations in the word for weekend sea and sand. This hill is so long and varied that it is almost impossible to realize the wealth of a choice to include it. In fact, Spain beaches stretch for hundreds of miles from the Costa Brava north of Barcelona, ​​south from Valencia and Alicante to Malaga and Marbella on the Costa del Sol, and along the north coast , Atlantic, with Santander and San Sebastian, and offers literally hundreds of parameters of the station. Not satisfied with this cornucopia, Spain has the audacity to offer the islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Menorca as well. Ibiza trendy street scandalous life is completed by neighbors more rustic charms of Formentera. Mallorca combines Mediterranean atmosphere of Palma and its tourist attractions of the Bay-hosted with the timeless Spanish charm, architecture and landscapes of the north and east that have attracted everyone from Habsburg Archduke George Sand Chopin. Menorca is a better bet for away-from-it-all relaxation station. A little later, the Atlantic 70 miles off the coast of southern Morocco, the Canary Islands, offers exciting opportunities for lovers of sun and nature lovers. Each of the seven volcanic islands of the archipelago has its own personality. Some have lush tropical greenery, poinsettias as big as trees and thick banana plantations, while others offer arid moonscape of lava rock and sand dunes. At age 12, 198 m, Mt Teide, the highest point of Spain, is snow-covered for several months each year. And islands feature six national parks and dozens of other environmentally protected areas.

tourist allure of Tenerife is dominated by sprawling south coast resort of Playa de las Americas, but places like the capital of the province of Santa Cruz still evoke the heritage of the island mesmerizing. Similarly, Gran Canaria offers the combination of stations to the south and in the Central Highlands, a rich evocation of life in rural Spain. The capital Las Palmas is a vibrant city with an old Spanish fascinating area. Stark Lanzarote volcanic landscapes are softened by the traditional architecture of low-rise green and white beaches and some very attractive.

But despite his incredible lucky to have beaches, Spain could equally well be represented by another image very contradictory culture. Just remember the names of a new major painters of Spain, El Greco, Velasquez and GOYTA to Dali, to get a glimpse of what the country has to offer in the way of culture. Or reflect on his equally impressive architecture, from Moorish palaces and enchanting gardens of the Alhambra in Granada to the breathtaking Art Nouveau creations of Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to travel far to experience the incredible diversity of Spain has to offer. Barcelona makes this point graphically. It is undoubtedly one of the main big cities of the world. He has outstanding luxury hotels, excellent shopping, fascinating historical areas, excellent restaurants and exciting nightlife. But, reflecting the dual nature of Spain, Barcelona is also one of the seaside resorts of the world. It's a city. There is a dimension as large to many major resorts of Spain, the stations have something sophisticated, boasting luxury hotels, restaurants serving the very best of Spanish cuisine premises and easy access to destinations important as Cordoba and Ronda.

Even Madrid is following this trend. Located in the rear, away from the beaches of Spain, it is especially admired for the quality of its shops, wide boulevards and nonstop nightlife, but it provides alternatives wonder of urban life. For example, one of its biggest attractions is the Casa del Campo, an area of ​​4000 hectares of heathland and woodland filled with an amusement park and zoo, and only a short distance from a multitude of jewelry world smaller, but celebrities such as Toledo, Segovia, Aranjuez and El Escorial. Then there are spectacularly historic Seville and driving the creation of Valencia, Spain's third city.

It also offers in bullfights, flamenco, and a nap. Ole!


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