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7 Gastronomic Festivals to enjoy this summer
21 July 2021

If Spain has something it can boast about, it is eating well. In each of the autonomous communities, you can celebrate the products of the land and the sea through typical regional recipes either in markets or celebrations where local traditions are kept alive.

Many of these celebrations take place during the summer months, so if you are on holiday or just happen to have a day off everyone is invited to these wonderful gastronomic festivals, so take note and plan for the next one...

 

1 International Garlic Fair (Las Pedroñeras)

 
Every year, at the end of July, the International Garlic Fair is held in Las Pedroñeras, in the province of Cuenca (Castilla-La Mancha). This town, considered by many to be the garlic capital of the world, organises a weekend of festivities centred around garlic, one of the typical products of this land.

Activities such as a gastronomic contest, a parade of vintage tractors or a tapas route are on the agenda. The International Garlic Fair, which has been held for more than forty years, takes place at the Las Pedroñeras Fairgrounds for Exhibitions.

 

2 Albariño Festival (Cambados)


 
In the province of Pontevedra, Cambados is one of those wonderful Galician towns that is always recommended to visit, but it is also one of the cradles of wine in the region. Every first Sunday in August the Albariño Festival is celebrated in Cambados, in which tastings, tapas and seafood are always the protagonists, and in which you can stroll from booth to booth savouring the local gastronomic wonders. The town is known as the capital of Albariño in the world and its festival is classified as one of International Tourist Interest.


3 Gazpacho Festival (Alfarnatejo)

 


Among the typical recipes of Spain in summer, gazpacho has to be the most recognisable, so it is not surprising that it has a gastronomic festival of its own. The Fiesta del Gazpacho is held in the Malaga municipality of Alfarnatejo.

Declared a Provincial Tourist Singularity Festival, the Gazpacho Festival takes place at the beginning of August. Nestled in the heart of the Axarquía region, it is a perfect occasion to discover one of the most beautiful landscapes in Andalusia.

 

4 Octopus festivals (Carballiño)

 
The second week of August in O Carballiño, in the Galician province of Ourense, the Octopus Festival (Festa do Polbo) is organised, one of the most emblematic of the autonomous community. Large copper cauldrons are prepared to cook in the traditional manner this delicacy taken from the waters of Galicia. It is a day when local white wine, traditional Empanadas and Cachelos will definitely be on the menu. It is another of the gastronomic festivals of Galicia that was declared of International Tourist Interest.

 

5 Day of the Marmita (Laredo)

The typical metal pot of the Cantabrian lands called "Marmita" gives its name to the next gastronomic festival that must be savoured. The Day of the Marmita in Laredo, also known as Dia del Puerto celebrates cooked Bonito- Tuna steak. This gastronomic festival takes place every August 16, coinciding with the feast of San Roque, who is the patron Saint of the town.

The teams meet at the port to cook in these pots-cum-cauldrons and compete to see who can cook the best Bonito del Norte. Yet another gastronomic festival that must be noted.


6 Clam Festival (Lane)


 
Galicia is an explosion of parties in summer. So much so that if you move around the community in August you will see that in most municipalities one Patron Saints' day or another is being celebrated. Attached to these celebrations it is common to discover a gastronomic festival to aid in the celebration.

In mid-August the Clam Festival takes place in Carril, in Vilagarcía de Arousa (Pontevedra), declared a Festival of Tourist Interest in Galicia. Clam tastings and contests are some of the typical activities during this festival in which neither traditional music nor Albariño wine is lacking.

 

7  Natural Cider Festival (Gijón)

At the end of August, Asturias celebrates one of its most traditional drinks: cider. Thus, in Gijón the Natural Cider Festival takes place. It was declared an event of National Tourist Interest where more than 30,000 litres are distributed. The activities are very varied ranging from pouring contests to urban pilgrimages, apple and cider markets as well as visits to nearby wineries.

The Natural Cider Festival is the most emblematic of the Asturian cider festivals, since it has been celebrated since the sixties, and constitutes one of the best moments to get to know the beautiful city of Gijón.



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Spain's Grass Museum...
16 July 2021

In the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, one can find an abundance of stately buildings, from ancient and medieval structures to modernist masterpieces. Amongst them is the Palau Mornau, a grand Renaissance-cum-modernist structure that now houses a museum – not of portraiture, or decorative arts, or even Catalan history, but of grass..but not any grass.

The Palau Mornau was originally built in the 16th century as a city palace for the noble Santcliment family. Owned by the family for two centuries, the building was bought in the late 18th century by Josep Francesc Mornau (the “honorary war commissioner of the Royal Armies”) and later changed hands again in the early 20th century, coming under the ownership of one Joan Nadal de Vilardaga, the brother of the mayor of Barcelona.
The new owner undertook a major renovation of the palace, transforming the building into a masterpiece of the Modernisme style that was changing the face of Barcelona at the time and continues to be a major architectural signature of the city. The renovation included stained glass windows, floral wrought-iron balconies, a faux stone facade, and exquisite interior design that imparted every room with uniquely styled floors, ceilings, walls, and windows.

 

     


By 2001, however, the building had fallen into disuse and disrepair, when it was a discovered by Ben Dronkers, a Dutch entrepreneur and philanthropist who had started Amsterdam’s Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in 1985. Seeking to expand the museum’s facilities and mission beyond Amsterdam, he purchased the Palau Mornau and embarked on a ten-year project of meticulous renovation – a sensitive task, given the building’s status as a national monument. Once the restoration was completed, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Barcelona opened its doors to great fanfare in May of 2012, with the grand opening featuring drug policy reform advocate Richard Branson. 

 


The museum’s permanent collection contains approximately 8000 objects related to cannabis cultivation and utilization throughout human history, including medicine bottles, apothecary kits, prescription bottles, paintings, pipes, sculptures, and film posters. Exhibit topics deal with not only recreational and medicinal uses of cannabis, but also industrial applications, legislative history, and the horticultural considerations of cannabis cultivation. 

 

 



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What Huelva and Jupiter have in common
24 June 2021

Originating in Nerva a town nestled in the Sierra of the Huelva mountains in Andalusia, Spain’s Rio Tinto runs through the southwestern region of the country. For approximately five thousand years, copper, gold, silver and other minerals have been mined along the river, with dissolving iron giving it a strange reddish hue and hence its name, the "Red River".

 

 

The Rio Tinto is often considered the birthplace of both the Copper Age and Bronze Age. The Iberians and Tartessians in the area began mining the river in 3000 BCE, followed by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. For hundreds of years, the river’s mines were abandoned until rediscovered by the Spanish authorities in 1724 and it once again put back in operation.

After massive excavations and digging by companies from the United Kingdom during the 19th century, the river became extremely dangerous for people due to the high acidity level. Later the multinational Rio Tinto Company was formed to operate the mines. Rio Tinto no longer manages the river, but by the end of the 20th century, it had become one of the world’s largest mining companies.

 

 

The high acidity keeps people away from the waters but draws scientists in. Extremophile aerobic bacteria in the water provide conditions similar to those found in other areas of the solar system. Jupiter’s moon Europa, for example, is thought to contain an acidic ocean underneath its surface. Life in the Rio Tinto such as bacteria feeds on iron and sulfide minerals in the river’s subsurface rocks, making the likelihood of life on Europa all the more possible.

 

 

If you want to live a unique experience, do not hesitate to go for a ride on the authentic 19th-century railway. It is a restored locomotive and wagons that follow the original route of the past. The Rio Tinto Mining Park consists of a complete tour that includes access to the museum, a guided tour of an underground mine and open-pit mine, and finally the ride on the authentic mine train. A visit that you cannot miss if you travel to the province of Huelva.

 

 



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The Second Most Romantic Hotel in the World
02 June 2021


A small hotel in Guadalest has been voted the second most romantic in the world by users of the specialised travel website TripAdvisor, the most visited globally.

The rural complex Cases Noves is located in the urban area of the municipality, it has only five rooms and clients can stay there from 131 euros per night. Guadalest, which has just over 200 inhabitants, is located in the Alicante region of Marina Baja, 20 kilometres from the touristy Benidorm.

This small town in Alicante has been recognised as a Historic-Artistic Complex since 1974 and is also part of the Association The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain.

This dream getaway that couples love occupies a 1932 country house that has been remodelled while respecting the original charm. The users of Tripadvisor consider it to be "a real treasure".

 

 

The hotel not only offers accommodation, but its team offers the client a myriad of activities and services. Among them, gourmet breakfasts, romantic dinners, Spa sessions to disconnect, wine tourism activities, hiking trails, as well as the possibility of organising celebrations. Also, there are those who choose this place to celebrate a small wedding.

One of the welcome packs offered by the hotel to surprise your partner offers an aphrodisiac cocktail, chocolates, scented candles and music to liven up the evening. The hotel team decorates your room in a romantic and personalised way.

 

The rural complex is very well located, it overlooks the castle and has fabulous views of the mountainous landscape. From its windows, you can see the Aitana, Serrella and Xortà mountains, as well as the bay of Altea in the distance.

The property, owned by Sofía Alonso and Antonio Serrano, came into operation in July 2005. Since then it has received several recognitions from TripAdvisor and the Booking.com portal.

The Cases Noves is only surpassed as the most romantic by the Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat hotel in Montville, Australia, within this category of "most romantic in the world" establishments.

 

 



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Urban Speed Limit Changed in Spain - Photo guide
12 May 2021

Watch your speed when driving anywhere in Spain from today (Tuesday) – more than you usually do – since new, lower limits have come into force.

Single-carriageway streets through towns or residential areas have now dropped to 30 kilometres per hour (18.6mph), down from 50 kilometres per hour (31mph), and when the road surface and pavement are on the same level – as is increasingly the case in neighbourhoods that have been given a full refurbishment in the last 20 years or so – the limit drops to 20 kilometres per hour (12.4mph).

The previous 50-kilometre limit now only applies to roads through built-up areas which are at least dual carriageways, although for heavy goods vehicles and those carrying hazardous loads, this reduces to 40 kilometres per hour (24.9mph).

'Lanes' are defined as those designed for all road users and motor vehicles, meaning the presence of a bus lane or taxi lane does not make a road into a dual carriageway.

Given that up to 80% of roads within municipal boundaries are 'town' roads, or through built-up areas, the impact is very widespread, since the only driving it does not affect is that which takes place between towns, through countryside areas, and on motorways. 

In fact, the 50-kilometre limits on dual-lane roads through built-up areas can be decreased if the local council decides to do so, provided it is part of the local authority network.

Town councils 'own' roads within their municipalities, but inter-provincial highways – those beginning with 'N' – come within the jurisdiction of the provincial government, or Diputación, which mainly exists to distribute funding for major works on infrastructure that falls within its 'property'.

An autopista, or motorway, is State-run, but often managed by franchise firms who charge a toll to cover their maintenance; an autovía, which looks exactly like a motorway – complete with blue signs instead of black on white, and can normally only be told apart by the placards 'reminding' drivers which road they are on – is also State-run, but funded by car-owners' taxes.

 

Worst accidents are on secondary roads, but 30-kilometre limit drastically reduces death rate

Despite being fast-moving, with a speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour (74.6mph) – sometimes dropping in parts to 100 or 110 kilometres per hour (62 or 68.4mph) – only a very small percentage, typically about 2%, of fatal crashes happen on motorways, either autopistas or autovías.

The vast majority, over three-quarters of crash deaths happen on secondary roads.

According to the most recent full-year figures, from 2019, a total of 519 people were killed by vehicles on town roads, of whom 83% were considered 'especially vulnerable', defined as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

That year, the number of accident deaths in towns rose by 6%, but the number of fatalities on inter-town roads fell by 6%.

Interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska says if someone on foot or on a bike is knocked over by a car travelling at 50 kilometres per hour, the probability of their not surviving is around 80-90%, but at 30 kilometres per hour, this probability shrinks to 10%.

Below 30 kilometres per hour, the chances of injury still exist, but the likelihood of death is minimal.

Marlaska, additionally, points out that the braking distance at 30 kilometres per hour is half that of a car travelling at 50 kilometres per hour.

He believes the speed limit cut, as well as reducing fatal accidents, will also bring down congestion and air pollution, but does not say how this will be the case.

 

Loss of points and fines according to severity of speeding offences

Fines for breaking the speed limits start at €100 – on 30-kilometre roads, driving at above the limit up to and including 50 kilometres per hour will attract the minimum fine; travelling at between 50 and 60 kilometres per hour in a 30-kilometre limit will cost the offender €300 and two licence points; up to 70 kilometres per hour will be subject to a fine of €400 and four points, and up to 80 kilometres will mean a €500 fine and the loss of six points.

Speeds of 50 kilometres or more above the limit will mean a €600 fine and the loss of six licence points.

In Spain, driving licences start off with 12 points and these are reduced for offences, with a ban occurring once the points total is reduced to zero – the opposite to the UK, where a clean licence has no points, these are added on for offences, and 12 points invalidates the licence and means an automatic prohibition.

'Extreme' cases of breaking the speed limit, such as driving at more than 60 kilometres per hour over the 30-kilometre cap – travelling at 90 kilometres per hour in a 30-kilometre limit – falls into 'criminal' territory under Article 379 of the Penal Code, and can be punished by a daily fine of six to 12 months, or 31 to 90 days' community service, or a prison sentence of three to six months, although if the driver has no previous convictions, custodial sentences of under two years are automatically suspended.

Whichever of these sanctions is levied, the offender will also face a driving ban – which covers motorcycles as well as cars – of at least one but not more than four years.

[source : thinkSPAIN.com]

 

For those who understand better with visual stimulus here is what it looked like before and what it will be like now:

 

 

 



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How to keep Strawberries fresher for longer
21 April 2021


Although the earliest varieties have already appeared at the end of winter, strawberries are typically spring fruits that we love to enjoy at this time of year in a thousand different ways. Full of virtues, they have a small drawback: they are very delicate and spoil quickly. To extend their life we can apply simple steps at home that will avoid the annoyance and wastefulness of having to throw them away, especially as strawberry punnets tend to be fairly big in Spanish supermarkets.

We need to be aware that strawberries are non-climacteric fruits, that is, they no longer ripen once they have been collected, unlike apples or bananas. This means that when we buy them, they have already started to deteriorate and lose quality, and it is something that will only become more pronounced as the days go by. The key, therefore, is to buy them at the optimal time and conserve them properly to slow down this deterioration process.

Don't be carried away by temptation unless you know you are going to be able to consume all the strawberries in a short period of time. If we decide to buy them, as always, it is convenient to check the labelling to know the collection date or packaging date, and thus choose the most recent. It is also important to examine the strawberries carefully as well.

It is preferable to choose strawberries that are not too tightly packed, in rigid and protected containers that allow you to see the contents clearly. Check that there are no mouldy, stale or pieces that are too green, that they are not crushed or apparently damaged. Very green or white fruit will no longer ripen, and old fruit will likely show dark spots, cracks, or a loss of juices as the strawberries start to weep with time.

When in the trolley they need to be treated with care and never put other objects on top. If possible, keep them at the top, away from damp or very fragrant food, and also separated from apples and bananas, which emit ethylene.

Although they are at room temperature in the store, strawberries, like berries and other delicate fruits, must be refrigerated. The sooner we get them in the fridge, the better, and always without washing. Strawberries should only be washed just before eating, as the humidity would only accelerate their deterioration.

Once at home, you should open the container check them one by one, discarding those that may have mould or very visible damage. The most strawberries that are most mature should be separated and consumed quickly.

Mouldy or rotten fruits must be thrown away. It is not safe to cut off the rotten or mouldy part as fungi are dangerous pathogens that spread through the food.

Do not remove the stems, as it would be an easy entry point for microorganisms. This can be applied, as a general rule, to all plant products.

Place the fruit in a clean, spacious container, preferably in one which allows them to be arranged in a single layer, without piling them up. If we have too many, you can always split them between two containers.

We can line the bottom of the container with kitchen paper or with a special cloth for preserving vegetables, such as those sold for refrigerator drawers. This allows air to circulate and will absorb any possible moisture that is released.

Strawberries need to "breathe" so you should never close them tightly. If we want to cover them, make sure you leave access for air to circulate freely.

Inside the refrigerator, ensure that they are kept at a constant cold temperature, never lower than 2ºC, and not higher than 6ºC. Again, away from foods that emit strong odours or ethylene.

Strawberries will keep fresh like this for between four and five days, but it is always advisable to check the status of all fruits daily, to quickly discard any specimen that shows signs of mould or any deterioration.



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Ever tried Panther Milk?
15 April 2021

Those who happen to have visited the bars along Carrer de la Mercè, a street that runs through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, will have undoubtedly encountered Panther Milk. Known locally as "Leche de Pantera". This dangerous drink is basically a cocktail of condensed milk, gin, water and a few other touches which I will share with you shortly. Although not so widely spread as a drink, it does have an interesting history.


Head back nearly one hundred years to the 1920s and you’ll find that the Spanish Foreign Legion is responsible for this notable mixture. Legion Founder General José Millán-Astray wanted a drink that was easy to produce and could be served in ‘any situation’. With time spent in some of the harshest environments, such as deserts, the drink needed to have a good shelf life and be easy to reproduce. The tale goes that the general approached legendary barman Perico Chicote at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid, to forge such a beverage. While the idea of Chicote solely aiding in Panthers Milk’s creation makes a great story, most agree that the legion themselves had the biggest hand in bringing the mixture back from the front to the bars. While injured the soldiers would mix medical-grade alcohol with condensed milk for quick pain relief and later, once out and about it was upgraded to gin and other common liquors.

In the ensuing decades, panther milk largely disappeared. In the 1970s, however, it was resurrected by a newfound fervent fanbase: college students. Around 1975, a former Spanish Legionnaire opened a bar called La Barretina in an alley along Carrer de la Mercè. There, he began whipping up chilled bottles of the old favorite. Students flocked to this revolutionary cocktail, which became a staple in the area. La Barretina’s neighbours quickly caught on to the new trend. The bar across the street, Tasca El Corral, hopped on the bandwagon by making a less potent, more palatable pink version. La Barretina has since shuttered, but the neighbourhood’s “pink panther milk” (Leche de Pantera rosa) spot remains popular three decades later, and here is the contemporary recipe:

 

 

Pink Panther Milk Recipe

0.1 oz. BOLS Grenadine (do not add if you want white Panther milk)

0.9 oz. BOLS Triple Sec Curacao liquor

1.7 oz. Gin - any one you like but London Dry is best.

1.3 oz. Condensed Milk

Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top if you want

Serve chilled from the bottle or shake the ingredients into a mixer filled with ice, strain and serve.

Salud!



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Isolation since the Iron Age has given the Basques their "unique genetics"
29 March 2021

 

A study by the Catalan Pompeu Fabra University addresses the "genetic uniqueness" of the Basques, and points to the "language barrier" as a "possible bulwark" that fostered the isolation of the population in the face of the different historical events that led to contacts with other civilizations and, consequently, the confluence of cultures and languages ​​in the rest of the peninsula.

This is the first study to explain the true origin of a population whose language, Basque, has no relation to any Indo-European language. Until this Thursday, numerous investigations had been carried out that pointed out the peculiarity of the cultural and biological traits of the Basques, but none had been able to be specified.

The study - promoted by the Pompeu Fabra University and published in the journal 'Current Biology' - has brought together an international research team to carry out the "most exhaustive geographical sampling to date", with more than 600,000 genetic markers throughout the entire genome from the DNA of the 1,970 individuals analyzed (current and from ancient times).


The results of the study - which has involved a team of linguists and geneticists- reveal that the cultural barrier of a language as different as Euskera "could promote the isolation of the Basque population from subsequent population contacts", such as the influence of the Roman Empire or the Islamic occupation of the Iberian Peninsula.

And, as they point out, the findings show a "clear differentiation" of the Basques with respect to the surrounding populations, as well as a "strong genetic heterogeneity" closely related to geography. This distinction, they say, "is the result of a genetic continuity" that dates back to the Iron Age, highly characterized by "periods of isolation and a lack of recent genetic flow, which could have been reinforced by the linguistic barrier."

The sampling included micro-regions within the Basque Country and also in the surrounding areas, this way, they obtained samples from a geographical region where Basque has always been spoken, others where it has historically been spoken but has been lost, and regions where it has never been spoken. The study covered 18 territories from the Franco-Cantabrian region.

After comparing the Basque population with other current European populations and with data from ancient DNA, they concluded that their genetic composition is similar to the rest of the Western European populations, but they present slight differences, maintained for 2,500 years due to not having mixed both with other populations. For example, they did not find influences from North Africa that is seen in most populations within the Iberian Peninsula, nor is there any trace of other migrations such as Romanization. 



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Coronavirus Vaccine Side Effects and Worries in Spain
04 March 2021

An association representing more than 100,000 local and regional police across Spain has asked the national government to suspend the vaccination of officers against the coronavirus with the AstraZeneca formula.

The Confederation of Local and Regional Security Forces claims that it is the vaccine that gives the least protection of all those on the market and, in addition, the association claims that it is causing numerous side effects among the people who receive it.

The organisation cites the example in France, where they have had to suspend vaccination among the risk group of police and health workers due to side effects including very strong flu-like symptoms, headaches and high fevers.

Additionally, the group points out that in Spain the AstraZeneca vaccine is not recommended for people over 55 years of age due to insufficient research data with that age group - which leaves a large part of the membership they represent out of the vaccination scheme.

The Generalitat of Catalonia began to administer the vaccine a few weeks ago to the Mossos de Escuadra regional police force and it has reported similar side effects to those experienced by officers in France.

The campaign has now been stalled while vaccines from other manufacturers are being sourced.

Are these side effects normal? Well, YES they are, and are nothing to be concerned about.

Vaccines work by stimulating an immune response to an infectious disease. This is like a practice run for the body on how to fight the disease, and it also means that various bodily responses are triggered, much like they would if you caught the actual disease.

Although vaccines are created through a number of different methods, ultimately the goal is the same, to harmlessly introduce the body to an element of the disease.

Common side effects, such as a fever, or chills, show that the vaccine has been effective in stimulating an adaptive immune response. Most people experience soreness and redness around the site of injection.

These side effects do not mean that you have coronavirus, nor are they infectious. Vaccines only contain part of the organism causing the disease, or in some cases a weakened form, so you cannot be infected with a disease by taking the vaccine.

Side effects of the approved coronavirus vaccines are incomparable to the long term effects of catching coronavirus.

While some people may experience mild effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, they should pass after a few days. Of the people who got the Pfizer vaccine the most common side-effects were headache or fatigue.

By contrast, an initial study from China suggested that around 1 in 5 people over 80 required hospitalisation after contracting coronavirus.

It is difficult to know the exact mortality rate but research from Imperial College London suggests that in high-income countries around 1 in 100 people who catch COVID-19 die.

Data is still being collected in order to determine the severity of the long term risks associated with coronavirus, however, some complications include:

  • inflammation of the heart muscles
  • respiratory problems and damage to lung tissue
  • kidney damage
  • skin problems such as a rash or hair loss
  • neurological issues such as long term loss of taste, difficulties sleeping, concentration problems
  • psychiatric problems including depression, anxiety and mood changes

The long term risks associated with coronavirus are far more dangerous than any side effects associated with the vaccine.

There is also a growing concern that coronavirus can cause long-term neurological problems. The effect the virus has on the neurological system could mean that those who catch it could have a higher chance of having strokes or developing Alzheimer's in later life.

 

What are the side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine?

According to the UK Government, these are the most common side effects (affecting more than 1 in 10 people) of the Pfizer vaccine:

  • pain at the site of injection
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • fever

Less common side effects (affecting fewer than 1 in 10 people) include:

  • swelling and redness at the site of injection
  • nausea

Uncommon side effects (affecting around 1 in 100 people) include:

  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • feeling unwell

Very rare side effects (affecting around 1 in 1,000 people) include:

  • temporary one-sided facial drooping.


What are the side effects of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?

These are the possible side effects of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine according to the UK Government.

Very common side effects (affecting more than 1 in 10 people) include:

  • tenderness, swelling, pain, redness, swelling, warmth or bruising around the site of injection
  • feeling unwell
  • fatigue
  • chills
  • headache
  • nausea
  • joint or muscle ache

Common side effects (affecting fewer than 1 in 10 people) include:

  • a lump at the site of injection
  • fever
  • vomiting
  • flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose, cough or sore throat

Uncommon side effects (affecting around 1 in 100 people)

  • dizziness
  • decreased appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • excessive sweating
  • itchy skin or rash

It is also important to understand that many people may experience illnesses or medical problems around the same time that they are vaccinated and that this does not necessarily mean it was caused by the vaccine. According to the Oxford Vaccine Knowledge Project, “when a vaccine is given to a very large number of people in a population, it is likely just by chance that a few of them will develop some kind of medical problem around the time of vaccination, but this does not prove ‘cause and effect’”.

 

Conclusion?

By February 14, the UK had administered 8.3m first doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine and 6.9m first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. For both vaccines, the “overwhelming majority” of adverse events were felt shortly after the injection and were not associated with “more serious or lasting illness”, the MHRA said. Those side effects included sore arms and generalised symptoms such as “flu-like” illness, headache, chills, fatigue, nausea, fever, dizziness, weakness, aching muscles, and rapid heartbeat, it said.

Severe allergic reactions — so-called anaphylaxis — were reported 168 times for the Pfizer vaccine and 105 times for the AstraZeneca product.

Overall, the data showed a slightly higher rate of adverse reaction for AstraZeneca’s adenovirus vaccine, about 0.45 per cent, than for Pfizer’s mRNA jab, approximately 0.3 per cent. But Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, warned against drawing conclusions from the Yellow Card reports about the relative safety of the shots.

“There is a range of factors that can lead to increased reporting of one vaccine over another — for instance, socio-demographic factors of vaccine recipients or whether or not they have been encouraged by information, or a healthcare professional, to make a report,” she said.

The two vaccines have been used in different settings and the age distribution of people receiving the shots has differed too. During the first four weeks of the UK vaccination programme, when the oldest age group was targeted, only the Pfizer jab was available.

In general, younger adults tend to suffer more side-effects from vaccination than the elderly because their immune system responds more strongly to the vaccine.

Brendan Wren, a professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said he would not expect the AstraZeneca vaccine to produce more side-effects than the Pfizer shot in the same population.

“I can’t think of any scientific reason to suppose that using an adenovirus vector is any more likely to cause an adverse reaction than mRNA in a lipid nanoparticle, but lipid particles can occasionally have allergic complications,” he said.

Professor Beate Kampmann, director of The Vaccine Centre at the LSHTM, said: “There is nothing to be gained by digging for any subtle differences between the two products, as overall they are performing the same, and it’s great to see all of the granularity for this information to be publicly available.”



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9th October - The Day of The Valencian Community
09 October 2020

 

The Day of the Valencian Community (Día de la Comunidad Valenciana) marks the anniversary of King James I of Aragon's re-conquering of the city of Valencia from Moorish forces in 1238. It is also the Day of Saint Dionysius, a traditional festival for lovers, the Valencian “Valentine’s day”.

The custom on this day is to give the person you love the ‘mocadorà or mocaorà ‘which consists of a knotted silk scarf with miniature marzipan candies in the shapes of fruits and vegetables inside.

The most widespread version of the origin of this tradition is that Jaume I and his wife, Violante of Hungary, on their triumphal entry into the city of Valencia, after defeating the Muslims on October 9, 1238, they were met by their inhabitants with gifts of fruits and vegetables from the local orchard and farms, wrapped in silk handkerchiefs.

 

 

From 1331 this date was established to commemorate the founding of the Kingdom of Valencia, which over time became a celebration of marked festivity in which the worldly pleasures were given free rein.

Unfortunately, with the abolition of the regional code of law by Felipe V in 1707, the celebrations of the 9th of October were also banned.  However, all was not lost, and with the intention of  the 9th October not losing its festive character, the guild of bakers and confectioners of the city of Valencia impelled the celebration of Saint Dionysius (Sant Donís) as the "day of the lovers".

To this day, the Valencian bakeries prepare themselves thoroughly for the 9th October and cook thousands of marzipan miniatures; it is estimated that more than 80,000 kilos of marzipan are used to make about 250,000 "mocadoràs". In addition, the Guild of Bakers and Confectioners of Valencia convenes the Sant Donís Contest, to choose the best "mocadorà" and is the best showcase opportunity fro the bakeries and pastry shops throughout the city of Valencia. Last year’s winner was El Forn de Latzer. You can see some examples here:

 



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