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Max Abroad : The Best of Spain

Quite simply writing about the best things Spain has to offer and anything that might crop up along the way. Spain is a lot more than just sun, sand and sea...

The Music "Palace" of Barcelona
22 November 2018

The Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The concert hall is an architectural jewel. Its exterior is as surprising and unique as its interior, with one of the most beautiful auditoriums in the world.

Built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català (a Catalan choral society), it is currently one of the most representative Catalan Modernist buildings in Barcelona.  

Its impressive acoustics is the reason for which many famous artists wish to sing in the Palace of Catalan Music and why it is held in such high esteem.

If you happen to be in Barcelona and have enough time, I recommend booking the guided tour. If you don’t have time you must at least walk past the Palau to see this magnificent building.

 

The building’s guided tour begins with a presentation of its history, its current programme how it plays an essential role in the society of Barcelona.


 

Once the presentation finishes, visitors are taken to the concert hall. This auditorium is naturally lit during the day with a bright and colourful light thanks to its stained-glass panes and its enormous stained glass skylight. The hall is beautifully decorated to immerse the spectators into a magical world, almost fantasy.

 

 

The hall and the stage contain sculptures, busts, reliefs that fill the room with magic and create an ideal atmosphere for the various artists that perform in the Palau.

 


The tour of the Palace continues in the Lluís Millet hall which is a gathering place for concert-goers a striking Modernist hall with a small terrace with peculiar columns covered in mosaics.



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The Cathedral of Wine
20 November 2018

 

Defined by the playwright Àngel Guimèra as one of the 'cathedrals of wine', the modernista cellar of Pinell del Brai is an architectural expression of the agricultural cooperatives in Catalonia at the end of the 19th century. Its construction, in 1919, was the responsibility of Cèsar Martinell who used all the elements of the traditional local architecture and enriched it with the technical innovations of his teacher Antoni Gaudí. For those who know the works of Gaudí, it is easy to see his influence in the work of Martinell. The light that is filtered from the windows, the floor plan reminiscent of a church and the feeling of spaciousness recreates the interior of a Gothic Gaudiesque Cathedral.

But beyond the architectural beauty of the building, Martinell created a functional space designed for the production of wine. For this reason, some important technical innovations were incorporated: the structure of the warehousing based on parabolic arches, the ventilation system through large windows or insulation in the cavity walls of the containers in which the wine is made.

 

 

Another characteristic element of the winery is the glazed ceramic frieze on the façade designed by the painter Francesc Xavier Nogués, where there are scenes of the harvest and the production of wine and oil. Despite it being spectacular, due to the lack of budget, it was taken out of the initial project and was not incorporated until 1949.

 

 



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The Most Expensive Ham in the World
13 November 2018

The most expensive ham in the world, which sells for 4,100 euros a leg, just won the organic food Oscar. The 'Biofach' in Nuremberg (Germany), the largest European fair for organic production - a sector with a continental market value of 10,000 million euros, according to the International Trade Center agency - has distinguished a ham from Huelva as the best ecological product available.

The creator of this exquisite product is Eduardo Donato, a Catalan who has been living in Cortegana (Huelva) for 26 years and who has managed to save his unique species of pig: the Manchado of Jabugo, of which only a little over a hundred reproducing specimens are left, and thus in danger of extinction.

Eduardo Donato, 67, considers it the most valuable, not the most expensive because what reaches the consumer's palate is the result of years and years of "patience, passion and pleasure".

At Dehesa Maladúa, this variety “Manchado de Jabugo” (“Spotted Jabugo”) has been bred and raised in perfect harmony with the pristine habitat of their Mediterranean forest.

The “Manchado de Jabugo” faithfully exemplifies the Iberian pig of olden days. By enjoying the utmost of its pasture’s wealth like no other, the free-roaming pigs present us with charcuterie of a quality that rises above any other variety of Iberian pig. Experts from all over the country have hailed this ham as unique and 'truly special', if only it were a little cheaper!!!

 



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