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Still Discovering Spain...

Here for over 25 years and I still discover new things every day...

Morella, a town to be discovered
14 October 2021


Morella is an extraordinary example of a Gothic town and has the designation of 'Place of Cultural Interest' and is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

The highlights are, first of all, the castle and medieval walls, erected in the 14th century. Within the old enclosure, there are notable churches, like the Santa María la Mayor Archpriest (1263-1330), Gothic with Baroque details; the old San Francisco Convent (13th century); the San Juan Churches (15th century), Gothic with Neoclassical decorations, and the San Nicolás Church, Gothic; and the San Marcos and San Pedro Mártir Chapels.



As far as civil architecture is concerned, the Casa de la Villa (14th and 17th century), and the Ciruana, Piquer, Rovira and Cardinal Ram Houses are all worth mentioning, as well as the hospital (15th century).

Likewise, walking through the network of streets full of staircases, passing by the porticos of Blasco de Alagón, completing a loop around the mountain via the Alameda and contemplating the outside of the medieval Santa Llúcia aqueduct, are essential for getting to know this wonderful town.


Two points of interest stand out in the municipality of Morella: the cave paintings of Morella La Vella, and the Sanctuary of the Virgen of Vallivana. Every six years since 1673, a procession climbs to the virgin of the city. On the edges of the highway, there are many chapels where pilgrims perform prayers and supplications on their 22-kilometre march.



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Five budget destinations in Spain this October
01 October 2021

July or August are not always the best months to grab a break and many people increasingly postpone their vacations to take them in October. If you prefer being in Spain, not spending a lot and disconnecting completely surrounded by nature, here are five cheap destinations to travel to in October! What are you waiting for?

Ronda (Malaga)

Probably one of the most beautiful towns in all of Andalusia and where you can enjoy impressive parks and nature reserves in the open air. This land of Arabs and Phoenicians is capable of catching the eye of everyone who walks through it. Its strategic location, nestled in the middle of the Depression of Ronda and surrounded by the mountains, is part of the undeniable charm of this inland town. The Tajo de Ronda is a wonder of nature, where, at more than 100 meters high this ravine seems to defy gravity.

Among the essential things to see in Ronda, its Arab baths date back to the 13th century and are the best-preserved baths in Europe. The bullring is one of the oldest in Spain and its Balcón del Coño is the most visited viewpoint in Ronda, due to its curious name and the views it offers of the Tagus gorge. Also essential is the Bandit Museum, which covers the fascinating history of these thieves and seducers who have inspired hundreds of films. Or the Mudejar-style Mondragón Palace, which hides three Arabic-style interior courtyards worth visiting. If you're hungry, one of the top restaurants in Ronda is Bar Lechuguita. With rich and varied tapas from € 0.90, it is one of the compulsory stops to charge your batteries.


Llanes (Asturias)

The north of Spain is undoubtedly one of my favourite destinations. Llanes is a fascinating fishing village where you can find an old town that has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site. It is idyllic to stroll along its fantastic beaches surrounded by amazing cliffs formed of white limestone rock, which meet green meadows giving rise to a picture that will leave you speechless. The wild Cantabrian Sea, with the Bufones de Pría, is a sight worth seeing in autumn.

The Paseo de San Pedro or the Cubes de la Memoria are some of the places that you can visit in Llanes, although without a doubt, the most special monument is its Torreón from medieval times and built in the 13th century. It is declared a National Monument.


Cazorla (Jaén)

If you enjoy nature, this is one of the enclaves in Andalusia that very few know. The Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas Natural Park is one of the largest protected areas in Spain where you can witness more than 200,000 hectares of pure nature and find animals in the wild. If you want to take a trip in October, Cazorla is one of the best destinations where you can enjoy heart-stopping landscapes with good company. In addition, it has very good prices.

You mustn’t forget to also visit the Castillo de la Yedra, the hermitage of San Sebastián or the church of San Francisco. Gachas Serranas, Segureño lamb or Los andrajos are just part of the fantastic gastronomy that can be found in the famous Mesón Leandro. You will not regret it!


Nuévalos (Zaragoza)


Here you can find a great variety of natural spaces in the surrounding area, where you can enjoy contact with nature and relax during your visit. Its diverse landscapes range from the high Pyrenean peaks, in the north of Aragon, to spectacular valleys carved by the rivers that descend from the Teruel mountains. Mountains with glaciers, river gorges, forests that in autumn become a unique sight ... Authentic jewels of nature. In addition, in the vicinity of Nuévalos stands one of the most visited monuments in Aragon due to its undoubted beauty: the Monasterio de Piedra Park.

But the Monasterio de Piedra is not the only attraction in this town. In its urban area, beautiful buildings are erected, such as the Casa del Obispo or the parish church of San Julián. At the top of the town stand the remains of what was an old fortress, of which only its 14th-century tower remains.

As for the local gastronomy, the Torres Restaurant is one of the best options after your visit to the Monasterio de Piedra. Excellent homemade food and a large number of dishes to choose from. 


Posada de Valdeón (León)


Located on the banks of the Cares River that divides the Picos de Europa and at an altitude of 927 meters above sea level, Posada de Valdeón is a town and at the same time a municipality that is located within the Picos de Europa National Park, specifically between the Central and Western Massifs of the park.

Among the streets of the town, there are various amenities such as restaurants or shops where you can buy the famous Valdeón Cheese. Here you can discover the Parish Church of Santa Eulalia inside which a 12th-century Romanesque baptismal font is preserved. In addition, excavations have discovered a medieval necropolis that indicates the site of the old Church of San Pedro de Barrejo.

If you are a mountain lover, this is your ideal place. The Ezkurra Rural House is perfect to stay during your visit to where you can walk and enjoy nature.


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Let Gaudí take you around Barcelona...
23 September 2021

The city of Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, was the main place where Antoni Gaudí, the great Modernist architect and decorator, developed his talent. From his first modest commissions to the buildings that the UNESCO declared World Heritage, the imprints of the Reus architect are part of the main attractions in Barcelona.

It is a route that may be covered in one day. It can be done on foot, by bike or using the public transport in Barcelona. Something to bear in mind, especially if you choose one of the two first options, is that the route crosses the city from the lower part to the upper part. 

The route starts in Plaza Real, right in the centre of the city's old quarter. There are two six-arm lamp posts there, designed by the architect, commissioned by Barcelona City Council. It was one of his first projects (1879) when he was just 27 years old.

Just on the other side of the Ramblas, on Carrer Nou de la Rambla 3-5, we'll find the Güell Palace, one of the many buildings he carried out on commission for the industrial man and politician Eusebi Güell. Built between 1886 and 1890, it was one of the main buildings in which he expressed his conception of architecture and decoration. The building has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.



Then we'll travel up Las Ramblas to Plaça de Catalunya and the entrance to Passeig de Gràcia. To the right we'll see Carrer de Casp, where number 48 is Casa Calvet house, a building designed by Gaudí between 1898 and 1900. Then we'll return to Passeig de Gràcia to visit the Casa Batlló house (1904-1906). It is at number 43 and stands out because of its imaginative façade. It is also a World Heritage Site.


Two corners ahead, where Passeig de Gràcia (number 92) meets Carrer Provença, there is another great work by Gaudí: Casa Milà house (or La Pedrera), built between 1906 and 1910 and declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Its typical features are its curves, the white limestone on the façade, the innovative chimneys and the design (also curved) of the spaces and homes inside. 


If we continue along Carrer de Mallorca heading north-east, alter about 1.5 kilometres we'll arrive at the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia. It is possibly Gaudí's most internationally famous building and is still being built. As well as its design and conception, Gaudí also made the crypt and the Nativity façade, both declared a World Heritage Site.

Then we'll head towards the upper part of the city. About 2 kilometres north of the Gràcia neighbourhood, we'll discover the Güell Park. It is a set of gardens with different architectural elements designed by Gaudí between 1900 and 1914 when he was a mature artist.

On Carrer de Carolines 24, not far from Güell Park, we'll find Casa Vicens house, one of the main commissions that Gaudí managed to get when he was young (1883-1888). Then we'll head towards the Bellesguard Tower, situated at numbers 16-20 on the nearby street of the same name.



The next to last stop is just over 1 kilometre away, on Carrer de Ganduxer 85. There we'll find the College of Las Teresianas, another of Gaudí's works. Finally, we'll end the route at another building designed for Eusebi Güell: the Güell Pavilions, on Avinguda de Pedralbes 7. It is a set of buildings that Gaudí designed between 1884 and 1887.  Enjoy the route!


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The bank of Spain's other treasure.
14 September 2021


Goya, Sorolla, Madrazo, Chillida ... the banking institution has presented a catalogue with its collection of paintings and sculptures in order to bring them closer to the general public.

It is well known that the Bank of Spain has the largest gold warehouse in the country with a bomb-proof vault that jealously guards thousands of ingots of the gold that constitute only a part of the 283 tons of national reserves. Much less known is the other precious treasure that the institution conserves in the form of paintings and sculptures, a very rich historical-artistic heritage that it has been amassing throughout its 235 years of existence, and which from now on will be more accessible to the general public.

Undoubtedly more valuable than the ingots that the so-called "Gold Chamber" of this emblematic building on Calle Alcalá keeps safe and sound 35 meters underground (each piece weighs 12.5 kilos and has a value of around 600,000 euros), are the Goya, Sorolla, Madrazo, Zuloaga, Tàpies, Chillida ... treasured by the Bank of Spain. They are all part of the  Catalogo Razonado presented yesterday by the organization and which includes its impressive collection of works of art in three volumes, made up of 1,400 pieces by almost 500 Spanish and foreign authors. At the same time, the bank launched its first heritage portal, which makes this fabulous artistic wealth available to everyone.


The new catalogue revises and updates another one from 1985 only dedicated to painting, the main discipline represented in the collection. In the current edition, the field of study has been extended to sculpture, drawing and photography.

The three volumes reproduce with great quality each of the 1,400 works in a collection founded over the centuries on the basis of acquisitions, commissions and inheritances from the banks that preceded it. Each one is accompanied by its historical documentation, along with critical comments provided by 22 specialists, as well as the biographies of the artists.

Volume I includes the classical art section: 263 pictorial jewels produced from the 15th century to the first decades of the 20th, and where there are many portraits of the first directors and governors of the Bank of Spain, along with kings and heads of state, who have marked the history of the banking institution since the end of the 18th century. In the words of Javier Portús, head of Conservation of Spanish Painting at the Prado Museum, and author of two of the essays included in this first volume, it is “one of the best collections that exist to study the evolution of the official portrait in Spain since the end of the Modern Age and throughout the Contemporary Age ».

Among these works is a portrait of the Minister of Finance and later Governor of the Bank of Spain in 1877, Pedro Salaverría, painted by Federico de Madrazo and which is considered one of the bank's best canvases. Like a painting of the financier and diplomat of French origin Francisco de Cabarrús signed by Goya in 1788, the last work that the Aragonese genius did for the Bank of San Carlos, the direct predecessor of the Bank of Spain.

Volumes II and III contain more than 1,100 works that make up the contemporary art collection, dating from the middle of the last century to 2018. The pieces corresponding to the 21st century have focused on European and Latin American art.

To discover this unique collection online follow this link

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe - An Extraordinary Place
09 September 2021



The climb down the hill, across the bridge and up to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a small adventure that will handsomely reward you with truly impressive views. The ocean can be particularly rough in this area and the waves really crash against the rocks of the island, adding to its awe-inspiring beauty. If you think it looks cool in the photos, just wait till you experience it in person.



San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, whose name means “castle rock” in Basque (“gaztelu” = castle + “aitz” = rock), is a definite “must” if you are visiting the Basque Country. It is an island located just off the shore along the Bay of Biscay. The island is cone-shaped and features a tiny church on its highest point that is dedicated to John the Baptist. Although not proven, it has been said that he even set foot on the island.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is connected to the mainland by a man-made stone bridge. The bridge transitions into a narrow path that contains 241 steps and zigzags its way back and forth to the top. Once there, you will find the church which has a bell situated along the front of its facade. According to legend, after you have completed the climb, you should ring the bell three times and make a wish.



The church on top of the island is by no means the original. Over the centuries the church has burned down and been rebuilt several times. It is believed that the first hermitage that existed here was erected in the 9th century. In the 12th century, it became a convent. However, two centuries later, the friars abandoned it taking with them everything of value.

Later on, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe had a strategic purpose as a defensive outpost for the lords of Biscay. It was used as a bastion against the King of Castile, Alfonso XI. The seven knights from Biscay fought against him at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Alfonso XI was humiliated and was forced to retreat.

In 1596, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe was attacked again, this time by Sir Francis Drake and his corsairs. They looted everything they found and killed the hermit that was living there by throwing him off a cliff to the rocks and water below.



San Juan de Gaztelugatxe also played a role, albeit small, during the Spanish Inquisition. Witches and their ritualistic meetings are known as Akelarre in Basque make up a part of the Basque mythology. For this reason, the Catholic Church focused much of its time during the inquisition hunting for witches in the region. Several accounts seem to indicate that many of the accused were locked up in the caves of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.

The church deteriorated over time and it was eventually demolished in 1886 and then rebuilt from scratch. Unfortunately, during the demolition process, all of the artefacts found in the ground, such as coins and cannonballs, were thrown into the sea.


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The Green Spain
01 September 2021



Whoever goes to Asturias for the first time, without having read or heard anything about it, instantly gets two surprises: first, that it is a place steeped in history and tradition; and second, that its inhabitants have a unique, friendly nature.

Over a thousand years ago, amid high limestone peaks, green mountains, lush forests, mighty rivers, lakes, springs, waterfalls, orchards, high mountain meadows and vast grazing lands... a kingdom emerged that had thirteen kings, the first of whom was Pelayo, whose memory is especially preserved at the Royal Site of Covadonga in Cangas de Onís. The last was Alfonso III, known as The Great, and for nearly one hundred and fifty years in between the two, a great deal of history –battles included– which was to be decisive in the social and geographical evolution of the Iberian Peninsula as well as that of present-day Spain. Asturias was the first Christian kingdom of this European peninsula and many traces remain of that ancient kingdom –the most prominent among which is Asturian Art, also known as Pre-Romanesque Art, declared World Heritage by UNESCO. There have likewise endured numerous reminders of the nobility and lineage that runs through the bowels of this land, which, since the 14th century, also comprises a Principality, the region most closely linked to the Spanish monarchy since those ancient times right up to the present day.



And between the 14th and 20th centuries, so much history…a history of a beautiful, yet forceful rural Asturias, which lives on today; of the development of three cities - Oviedo (the capital), Gijón and Avilés; of almost twenty fishing towns and numerous historic towns and villages; of over 200 beaches and a well-preserved coast; of rich industrial heritage, the result of technological and manufacturing prosperity; of 6 Biosphere Reserves; of 5 World Heritage Caves; of a rich cuisine that makes the region, among other features, the leading cheese-producing area in Europe… and much, much more. A veritable Natural Paradise!


 In this region, the cult of the palate can be perceived by the fact that practically everything is celebrated, commemorated, remembered or enjoyed around a table covered with a tablecloth. The green Asturian terrain is a symbol of fertility, food from a rich fertile land and pasture for cattle producing their famous meat and milk. More than three hundred kilometres of coastline and some of the best Cantabrian ports guarantee excellent fish and shellfish cuisine. It can be said, therefore, that Asturias is a true natural pantry.


When one head towards southwest Asturias you encounter a surprisingly different landscape. Mountains rising to infinity and winding roads racing towards their shelter, where their tiers appear and we get our first impression of that heroic mountain viticulture that is practised in Asturias and which constitutes a unique spectacle. They may look like simple terraces capriciously won from the abyss, but you just have to sharpen your gaze to see in their soil the vineyards that stand up proudly, obvious proof that you have entered wine country.

However, Asturias doesn’t just have wine. In the year 60BC, Estrabon, the Greek traveller and writer, cited cider without ever having tried it. Today this would almost be a sacrilege. In the juice of the apple, the Asturians have not just their local drink, but also a cultural element that forms part of their way of seeing life, an umbrella beneath which territories are joined together, and even a sign of identity. The sensation of pouring cider, for example, is a unique experience, which is experienced in a special way in Asturias because it is the only cider-making region in which this playful-gastronomic ‘ritual' is carried out.

Asturias is a Natural Paradise and this reality as can be proved by the numbers: a third of Asturias's territory is environmentally protected. For this reason, the traveller encounters beautiful untouched landscapes, among which stand out six gems, the six biosphere reserves recognised by UNESCO.


The Asturian coast is one of the best-preserved in the whole of Spain. So much so that its purity makes the cliffs, the level green coastline and the beaches a perfect refuge for those who like untouched nature. In addition, their fishing villages – totalling almost twenty along the three hundred and forty-five kilometres of the coast - have grown, adopting impossible shapes, on hillsides which shelter the ports, and even remember the days when they were whaling docks, landing points for kings and a shelter from storms. Asturias has so much more to offer so why not give it a go and experience the ‘Green Spain’. 

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Contemporary Artist Wolf Vostoff left his mark in Spain
09 August 2021

The Spanish-German artist Wolf Vostell (1932-1998) is a fundamental figure in contemporary art in the second half of the 20th century. He was the discoverer of the concept 'Décollage' as an artistic tool, father of "Happenings" in Europe, pioneer of video art and initiator of the Fluxus movement.

Vostell, linked to Extremadura since 1958 after marrying Mercedes Guardado from Cáceres, met in 1974 the Natural Park of Los Barruecos.

This artist's encounter with this space of incomparable natural beauty, populated by large granite rocks and numerous lagoons, combined with the resounding presence of the 18th Century "Lavadero de Lanas" (The wool wash) buildings, left an unforgettable impression upon the artist. This unexpected reality resulted in the launch of a unique and innovative museum, as an expression of avant-garde art; a meeting place for Art and Life.



The Vostell Malpartida Museum offers visitors three collections of contemporary art: Wolf and Mercedes Vostell Collection, Fluxus Collection-Gino Di Maggio Donation and the Collection of Conceptual Artists.



In addition to the exhibition rooms, you can also visit the Interpretation Center of the Livestock Trails and History of the Wool Wash Complex. The museum extends into the landscape of the Barruecos with two sculpture-environments, both installed between the rocks: VOAEX (Viaje de (H)ormigón por la Alta Extremadura) (1976) - a Journey with Cement through High Extremadura - with which the activity of the Vostell Malpartida Museum began, and 'The Thirsty Dead Man '(1978).

It is currently one of the most important avant-garde European museums and has become an obligatory forum within the national and international art scene.



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A Spanish Village Hidden Inside a Cave
02 August 2021

I'll bet whatever you want that not many people know of a place where you can literally find a village inside a cave, and if that wasn't enough, with sea views. This really was a discovery, a surprising and incredible one at that and it is most definitely a place to visit if you are in the region. Add it to your list as you will not be disappointed.

You don't have to travel very far if you are already in the Canary Islands because this remarkable place can be found on the island of La Palma. Tucked into a large cave, on an impressive cliff, we can find a small village that seems to be taken from an adventure novel. The village is called Porís de Candelaria and it is located in the most western part of the island built upon the oldest rock formations of lava on La Palma which combined with a backdrop of almost vertical cliffs make for a spectacular sight.


The meaning of its name comes from the word 'porís' which means 'jetty or natural harbour'. In it, we find white-washed houses located under a giant stone semi-dome created by the constant volcanic eruptions that the island has had over the centuries. The majority of the houses are more than 80 years old and are used by their owners during the holiday season to escape the heat.

To get to the 'secret cave village' from the town of Tijarafe, you need to follow the road that goes towards the sea, the LP-1 heading North for about 4 kilometres.


Start Exploring!



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Safest beaches in the Valencian Community this Summer
19 July 2021

When the thermometers are going crazy during the summer period, we are all looking for a place to escape the sweltering heat. The beach is still the ideal place to take a refreshing swim and enjoy the sea breeze. But this summer, once again, there is another imperative: compliance with sanitary measures. The National Geographic Spain travel guide has compiled a list of the safest beaches in Spain where you are sure to keep your social distance. Two Valencian beaches appear in this classification and are very near the top.


El Dosel Beach, located near Cullera, is undoubtedly one of the wildest and most representative beaches in the Valencian Community. It is part of the Albufera Natural Park and extends over almost 1.5 km of sand. The cordon of dunes, which gives the landscape a unique beauty, is home to a rich and diverse flora. This natural environment is ideal for walking and sunbathing by the sea.





Muchavista Beach is a long stretch of fine sand (more than 3 km) that begins at the San Juan beach in Alicante and runs north to the Rincón de la Zofra. Certified with the Blue Flag since 1993, it is located in a semi-urban environment crossed by the tram that connects Alicante with El Campello. The beach is also accessible for people with reduced mobility (between the Xaloc and Costa Blanca restaurants) and is a privileged place for practising water sports.


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Melon - How healthy is it?
14 July 2021

Do you consider melon to be a healthy or unhealthy fruit? Often we are misled by its sweetness thinking it must have a high sugar content but it couldn't be further from the truth. 

Honeydew melon - popular in Spain - has just 7,2g/100g of sugar, Watermelon 5,2/100g and Rockmelon as little as 4,7g/100g. In fact, few fruits have less sugar content. You would need to go to strawberries or grapefruits to ingest less sugar. When compared to grapes with 15g/100g or Bananas with 12g/100g it is certainly much healthier. Its high water content (up to 92%, according to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation) and its comparatively lower amount of sugar to other fruits, make it a light and refreshing aperitif or snack to enjoy during the summer.






But that is not all. The reality is that the melon contributes much more since it is a fruit that has different vitamins and other nutrients. For example, 300 grams of rindless melon provide 75% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins as well as multiple minerals, among which potassium stands out, along with phosphorus, iron and magnesium, which is why melon is a natural remineralizing product.

So it is not unreasonable to think that including melon in our daily diet can have great benefits to our organism. The nutritional properties of this plant help to strengthen the immune system. This is substantiated by the fact that it is a food that is very rich in beta-carotene, on the same level as others such as carrots.

These are pigments that belong to the group of carotenoids, but which in our body is transformed into vitamin A. And, as is well known, it is an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body while strengthening the immune system.

As mentioned before, it is a food rich in vitamin C. For practical purposes, this means that it can help promote the production of collagen in bones and protect blood vessels, muscle and, in general, tissues such as skin, which is an excellent ally to prevent premature ageing and wrinkles.

The melon has very few calories, about 40 per 100 grams. Also, much of the melon consists of water. Therefore, choosing it as a snack over other options can help us lose weight. There are many studies that link a high water content with weight loss and the fight against obesity.

Finally, it is important to remember that melon has bioactive that stimulate the breakdown of fats and promote satiety, in addition to protecting the intestinal microbiota.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17.7 million people die each year from cardiovascular diseases, which places them as the main cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. A good way to reduce this risk is to eat some cantaloupe/rockmelon every day, as it helps reduce blood pressure by providing a good amount of potassium.

According to the American Heart Association, potassium is a mineral that helps maintain the water balance between cells and body fluids. This helps regulate blood pressure and protect blood vessels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

As I have already said, it is food with a lot of water. And this is not only good for losing weight, but it ensures that we will stay hydrated, something especially important in episodes of strong heat.

Therefore, choosing to eat a serving of melon each day is a great way to avoid dehydration and its unpleasant effects, such as dry skin and mouth, headaches, constipation, confusion, wrinkled skin, accelerated heart rate, increased risk of suffering kidney stones, fever and fatigue, among others. So what you may have thought was an unhealthy fruit high in sugar is in fact the opposite. Enjoy melon this summer!

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