20.8.14

La Feria de Málaga「マラガの祭り」

Feria de Málaga 2014

The Feria of Málaga commemorates the taking of the city by the Catholic Monarchs (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) 18 August 1487, only five years before the completion of the Reconquista, at which time Málaga was incorporated into the Crown of Castile.

This is a crazy week, that starts with some Fireworks on a Friday night and ends (probably the same way) about a week after. The city becomes a completely crazy place, with bottles of CARTOJAL and flamenco dresses, all over the place. At least once, you have to see it. I was never into this kind of celebration, with a lot of drunk people packed in a huge place (San Fermin in Pamplona, Fallas in Valencia, El Pilar in Zaragoza). But I reckon that, if your best friends happen to be in town, it may turn out to be a rather memorable day. As we say in Spain "una y no mas".

Also notable is that party does not end at dusk. There's another place, called El Real, which you can reach with buses. There,  the celebration continues at night. A whole day there was enough for us though, you'll see why...

Feria de Málaga 2014
I had expected more of horse carriages and people dancing Flamenco on the streets. It turned out to be a major spring break party. In the middle of the city center - which happens to be quite compact - with more Flamenco trannies than stylish traditional dresses.
Feria de Málaga 2014
Calle Larios decorated with Biznagas, the traditional jasmine flower arrangement sold by the euro on the streets.
Feria de Málaga 2014
Part of the group
Feria de Málaga 2014
Hike among the drunk and the hungry
Feria de Málaga 2014
The crew
Feria de Málaga 2014
The guides
Feria de Málaga 2014
Flamenco Tranny
Feria de Málaga 2014
Feria de Málaga 2014
Feria de Málaga 2014
Crazy crowded atmosphere in the caseta right by Plaza Constitución
Feria de Málaga 2014
Party-selfie
Feria de Málaga 2014
Feria de Málaga 2014
Blurred us.
Feria de Málaga 2014
Further trannies
Feria de Málaga 2014
Finally, AIRCON inside Toulouse Club.
Feria de Málaga 2014
Blurred us
Feria de Málaga 2014
Rebujito, white wine with soda, is a much more refreshing option than the super-sweet Cartojal.

Tarifa「タリファ」: City of Wind「風の町」

Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
...seems quiet, at least when you start walking along.

For those of you based in Europe, having in mind to try an adrenaline-boosted water sport this summer: Stop thinking, start booking. There are affordable flights from all over the place to Malaga (Norwegian, Ryanair, AirBerlin to name a few). It just takes to rent a car. 2h and 15€ toll after, you are in Wind Paradise.

Tarifa is a small town in the province of Cádiz (Andalucia) on the southernmost tip of Spain. It is really located right there, facing the Straits of Gibraltar and Morocco. Its old town is super charming, the local tuna is excellent, Tanger is a 30min ferry ride away (perfect for a quick taste of Morocco). However, the success of Tarifa is mainly due to its wind, which is really stable for a place in the continent. Tarifa's winds are strong and well channelled, thanks to the tunnel effect that the Straits of Gibraltar provide, accelerating the air flow and securing water fun year round.

There are two prevailing winds, along a 50km coast of white sandy super-long beaches:
- Strong and warm Levante, blowing day and night from the East.
- Colder Poniente, blowing strongest in the afternoon.

We picked Hostal Tarifa, clean and convenient place, right in the main avenue. Sure, there are many apartments for rent and lovely apartments in the surroundings, but this makes shopping, parking, dining a lot easier. Something that really matters after a long and exhausting day by the sea. Prices drop (half) in off-season. Everyone's telling us that September is the best month to visit the area, with much less people but the same lovely weather. We will see for ourselves soon :)

Meanwhile, let's take a walk along Los Lances Beach
where letting a large kite make you fly over the sea is the thing. Kitesurf may have gained popularity in the last 20 years and safety, in the last 5. However, using kites to save fuel in cargo ships seems to be a practice much more common than one would imagine, at the first thought.



Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa
Kite surf Valedevaqueros Tarifa

17.8.14

Kobe「神戸」: Shin-Kobe Ropeway「新神戸ロープウェー」 to Nunobiki Herb Garden 「神戸布引ハーブ園」

Shin-Kobe Ropeway

Rokko Mountain can either be hiked up or climbed using the comfortable Shin-Kobe Ropeway「新神戸ロープウェー」 that offers a relaxed seating space while you get outstanding views of the southern slopes of the Rokko mountain chain, Kobe's skyscrapers and the Herb Garden that covers the hill. It's a lovely view, specially in early Spring.

The ropeway departs from next to Shin-Kobe Station, Kobe's shinkansen station. As it ascends, it passes by the Nunobiki Waterfall and the Nunobiki Herb Garden, giving a nice aerial view of both. The highlight of the ride lies in the observation deck located just beside the top station, which offers spectacular views of Kobe and is a popular night view spot.

Shin-Kobe Ropeway
Shin-Kobe Ropeway
Shin-Kobe Ropeway
Shin-Kobe Ropeway
Shin-Kobe Ropeway
Shin-Kobe Ropeway

At the top, a really nice picnic & shopping area awaits. It is called Nunobiki Herb Garden「神戸布引ハーブ園」. Starts with the souvenir stores, but as you come down, it becomes more and more magic, until all romantic dreams crystallise in the Glass House that became the last part of our day in Kobe.

Rokko mountain herb garden
Rokko mountain herb garden
Rokko mountain herb garden
Rokko mountain herb garden
Rokko mountain herb garden
Rokko mountain herb garden

15.8.14

Kobe「神戸」: Kitano「北野町」

kitano area

Due to its harbour, Kobe revolved around its harbour since its early days back in 201.

Hyōgo Port was opened to foreign trade by the government of the Bakufu at the same time as Osaka on January 1, 1868, just before the advent of the Boshin War and the Meiji Restoration, that we discussed in our understand Kansai story. The region has since been identified with the West and many foreign residences from the period remain in Kobe's Kitano area [MAP]. It is really charming place, specially for us living in Japan.

It feels like being in the set of A boy called H that reflects WWII history in this area. I cried like a baby, during the one-way flight back to Europe. Because I felt just like those residents, the Gaijin who spoke the language and felt at ease in the Far East but somehow were forced to leave by the situation. Ironies of life, I suppose.

Anyway, Kobe can be done in one day and this is the first step of the route :)

13.8.14

Södermalm: Café Fåtöljen

Café Fåtöljen, Hornsgatan 55

Llevo unos días, un poco perdida.

Stina se ha escapado de NY, para hacernos una visitilla, con eso de que nuestras vacaciones este año son una sucesión de findes largos.

Me faltan palabras para describir lo que se siente al volver a tu hogar, en la mejor época del año. Enrique, llevaba sin pisar Estocolmo desde que nos fuimos de allí, en 2011. Tres años. Sin volver a tu casa. Suficientes para olvidar lo maravillosamente amplia que es la cocina, las vistas entretenidas del balcón y Fatbursparken y el encanto que tiene una stringhylla flotando sobre un suelo de cemento pulido. Lo cool que es Söder y lo maravilloso, que es Estocolmo cuando brilla el sol de un buen verano - que no lo son todos, ni mucho menos.

Me duele el alma de estar lejos. A la vez que me siento confusa, y sorprendida, de lo que hacen 8 años con una persona. Me siento tan Sueca como Española, a la vez que veo muchos restos de Japón en mi comportamiento. La vida repat no es nada fácil, para esta especie de bastardo cultural en el que se convierte un expat. Ni de aquí, ni de allí. Una mezcla extraña que no tiene muy claro ni dónde, ni cuándo, ni si... Echará raíces.

Café Fåtöljen, Hornsgatan 55

En shock, con el sueño de un madrugón (4AM), pisaba Götgatan (la mítica calle de Girl with the Dragon Tattoo aka Män som hatar kvinnor) donde paramos a comer en uno de nuestros cafés favoritos, Café Fåtöljen

Se trata de uno de los muchos cafés suecos, donde hacer una buena FIKA, que viene siendo juntarte con un amigo a tomar un café y trozo de tarta, para hablar durante un buen rato. Porque los suecos hablan, eh? Por mucho que el mito diga lo contrario. Especialmente, cuando cogen un poco de confianza y ven que entiendes su idioma. Son personas abiertas, educadas y que si les das un poco de tiempo, se convierten en amigos de verdad.

Café Fåtöljen, Hornsgatan 55

Tanto Samba Sushi como Ljunggren - que esconde una joyita de terraza - son grandes sitios de sushi, para los aficionados a la comida Japonesa. Nosotros teníamos más craving de cosas suecas.

Café Fåtöljen, Hornsgatan 55

Aunque en el menú ponga pastasallad siempre puedes pedir vanlig sallad para que te la hagan con lechuga solamente, sin pasta. Sea sandwich, tostada o ensalada lo que tomes. No te pierdas un trozo de Kladdkaka que os enseñábamos a hacer aquí y sabe mejor cuando la compartes :P

Café Fåtöljen, räksallad
 MUMMA!!
Café Fåtöljen, kladdkaka med vispgrädde

Café Fåtöljen [WEB]