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Asturias, one big nature reserve
25 March 2020

One thing Asturians are proud of is their region's nature: its mysterious forests and coastline left unscathed by the whirlwind of property developments, its salmon rivers and steep mountains, ideal for rock climbers and hikers. Arising from this pride is a magnificent conservation that has led to more than a third of Asturias' territory being declared as national and international protected areas and the best-preserved coastline in Spain.


The exploration begins with the 6 UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserves in the Principality.


The Picos de Europa's reserve was Spain's first National Park, protected since 1918. Rising up in the centre of this park is the Picu Urriellu, a real magnet for rock climbers, which then opens onto the Lakes of Covadonga. Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias is a Nature Park with totemic fauna including the brown bear and capercaillie. Within this park you will also find the Muniellos Forest Nature Reserve and El Cueto de Arbás Partial Nature Reserve.

Only 20 people per day can enjoy the experience of travelling through the Muniellos Forest, the largest oak grove in Spain and one of the best-preserved in Europe. You need to book far enough in advance. The route is mapped out, is circular and is 20 kilometres long. It's free but you can pay for a guide. It takes about seven hours and covers an ascent of 600 m. 


The brown bear's habitat extends up to Somiedo which, as well as being a Biosphere Reserve, became the first Nature Park in Asturias (1988). Its lake, El Valle, is the biggest in the region and its brañas (high-mountain pasture areas) are dotted with teitos (thatched roof cottages). Las Ubiñas - La Mesa Nature Park contains the second largest mountain range in the region, the Peña Ubiña Massif and is full of natural monuments, such as the Huerta Cave, home to a large bat hibernation colony, or the Puertos de Marabio, with its peculiar karst complex. Redes is a refuge for all species native to northern regions, from the brown bear to the capercaillie or the wolf. Its complex terrain, also recognised as a Nature Park, is combined with spectacular mountains, valleys and limestone gorges that can be discovered on the River Alba Trail or in Los Arrudos.

Oscos-Eo  (GPS:+43.515568,-7.043293) is the biggest UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve. Running through this territory is the river corridor of the Eo River, a special area for bird watching.

Other networks of international protected areas are the European Union's Red Natura 2000 and Sites of Community Importance (SCIs). Following their trace, you can discover the Sueve Range, the Oneta Waterfalls, the Esva Basin, the Deboyo Cave, the Santiuste Blowhole, the Villaviciosa Estuary, the Caldoveiro Peak, the Pastur or Barayo Yew. Ponga Nature Park is made up of gorges such as the Ponga or Beyos gorges and lies within the Partial Nature Park of Peloño.

 

 

Hiking is possibly the best way to admire these lush spots In Asturias, there are trails suitable for all physical conditions and tastes and for those looking for only short excursions. And you don't even need to park the car. The intricate network of regional motorways allows you to combine visits and organise unforgettable excursions. Other options are cycling along the sign-posted and well-preserved greenways or taking a journey on one of the routes travelled by giant dinosaurs, using their ichnites carved on rocks as a guide. 

Wildlife watching tourism has opened up a new door of experiences: set off on an ornithological route, follow the footsteps of the brown bear, get a taste of nature on an excursion collecting plants that are used in cookery workshops or travel through folds used by shepherds keeping your eye on the sky to spot the bearded vulture, reintroduced into Picos de Europa, in flight. This way you will be able to experience the passion for  Asturian nature first hand.



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Week 2 - Stay at Home
24 March 2020

 

Spain began its second week of total lockdown in the worst way possible on Monday. A total of 462 people died due to the coronavirus outbreak in just 24 hours. That’s the biggest daily rise seen up until today and confirms a trend that no expert expects will change in the coming days. “We are still in a phase of growth in the impact of the virus, and this will still last some time,” explains Pere Godoy, president of the Spanish Epidemiology Society.

The number of deaths in Spain caused by the rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on Monday reached 2,182, meaning that Spain has taken just three days to double the 1,000 deaths that had been registered on Friday. Not even China or Italy – two of the worst-hit countries in the world during this pandemic – saw that rhythm of fatalities.

What’s more, Spain is seeing a much wider territorial spread of the epidemic compared to Italy. In both cases, around 90% of the first 100 deaths were seen in three regions. In Italy, these were Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. In Spain, the first outbreaks occurred in Madrid, the Basque Country-La Rioja (both were sites of the same outbreak) and Aragón. In Italy, mobility was reduced more when the first outbreaks were detected.

More than 80% of the 6,000 deaths that Italy has seen continue to happen in the same three regions, a percentage that in Spain has fallen to 65%. The reason for this is that unlike Italy – where the rest of the territories continue to see relatively low rates – in Spain there has been a rapid rise in cases in a group of regions. These are Catalonia, Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha. To a lesser extent, this rise has also been seen in the Valencia region.

“There is a group of regions that, without reaching the highest rates, have registered a notable increase in deaths in the last week,” explains Daniel López Acuña, an associate professor at the Andalusian School of Public Health and the former director of Health Action in Crisis at the World Health Organization (WHO). “This is a phenomenon that didn’t happen in Italy. 

" The expert believes that this was due to the fact that “in Italy, mobility was reduced more when the first outbreaks were detected, while in Spain mobility was very high even during the days ahead of the declaration of the state of alarm.”

While experts believe that it is still early to reach conclusions with scientific evidence, Pere Godoy also points to the moments ahead of the state of alarm. “I think it was a mistake to allow the large geographical dispersion that took place in the days prior to the introduction of isolation, something that could have facilitated the dispersion of the virus.” 

Another factor that López Acuña points to is the “trickle of cases imported from Italy that definitely was in Spain in the days prior to the detection of local contagions.” He continues: “These were definitely more intense and disperse than those that could have happened between China and Italy, which explains the current rise observed in these regions.”

Joan Ramon Villalbí, a member and ex-president of the Spanish Public Health and Health Administration Society (SESPAS), believes that the differences between Spain and Italy also have had an influence. “It is likely that as a state, Spain is more integrated into the flow of circulation of persons than Italy, where there are huge differences between the north and the south,” he says.

This would explain, for example, why a region with a high population level such as Sicily, which has more than five million inhabitants, has seen just three deaths from the coronavirus as of Sunday. But it doesn’t explain why another area in Italy, such as Tuscany, with 3.8 million residents, has also seen a much lower impact. This has led the experts to conclude that the causes of the phenomenon are “a combination” of those previously mentioned.

Please stay at home and only leave your house if it is absolutely necessary.

Stay Safe.

 

 

 

[source El Pais]



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Spain’s coronavirus deaths soar past 1,000, while infections rise to nearly 20,000
20 March 2020

The latest figures from the Health Ministry on Friday put the number of coronavirus infections at 19,988, with 1,141 patients in intensive care and 1,002 dead.

Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, said that the number of cases had risen by 16.5%, which was “substantially lower” than the 25% spike in infections reported on Thursday.

The health expert, however, warned that the figures may not be an accurate reflection of the local transmission of the virus.

“In some communities, the suspicion is that the local transmission is greater than what is indicated by the figures,” said Simón. “We are not able to report on cases that have not been confirmed, and we don’t have an objective idea of community transmission. Studies are being done to understand the situation. It is very likely that the figures underestimate the total transmission.”

Simón added that the health authorities were doing everything possible to prevent coronavirus fatalities, but that in serious cases “death is a reality.” According to the health expert, 10,542 people have been hospitalized with the coronavirus (52% of the total number of infections), and 1,585 had been cured.

When asked why Germany had a lower fatality rate from the Covid-19, Simón replied: “I cannot explain it ... We are making an effort to understand it, to see whether if it is the reality or if  there are discrepancies in the methodology.” As of Friday morning, Germany had 13,957 confirmed cases of coronavirus, but only 31 deaths.

The Madrid region recorded the highest number of cases, with 7,165 patients testing positive for the virus, 44.1% of the total in Spain. As of Friday, the northern Basque Country had 1,465 cases.

Lockdown in Spain

Spanish authorities congratulated citizens on Friday for their efforts in observing the stay-at-home orders issued by the government on Saturday, following the declaration of a state-of alarm that placed the entire country on lockdown.

“Yesterday [on Thursday] I spoke about discipline. I have to congratulate all Spaniards, who have been behaving like soldiers at this time,” said Miguel Ángel Villarroya, the Defense Chief of Staff. “In this strange war, we are all soldiers. Everyone has a role that corresponds to them.”

María José Rallo, the secretary-general of the Transportation Ministry, said that the confinement orders were being respected, noting that occupancy had fallen to 14% on the intercity train line Cercanias, with respect to a normal day, and to 2% for medium and long-distance train services.

The joint operational director of the National Police, José Ángel González, warned, however, that the number of arrests for disobeying the state of alarm was on the rise. Since the decree came into effect, 157 people have been arrested for breaching the restrictions on movement. “We are going to increase the number of patrols at transportation hubs to avoid crowds. We will strengthen the surveillance of the exits and entry points into other cities,” he said.

Simón added that “we are coming up to a week since the implementation of the decree. The most difficult days that must be endured are upon us.”

 

[source El Pais]



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LOCKDOWN UPDATE: Key measures that are NOW in place
16 March 2020

The decree approved by the government on Saturday has immediately locked down the country, limiting the movement of citizens across the entire territory

 

 

Why has the state of alarm been implemented?

To deal with the health situation caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. According to Article 116.2 of the Spanish Constitution, the state of alarm can be declared “in all or part of the national territory, when there are health crises that involve serious alterations to normality.”

Which parts of Spain do the measures affect?

The declaration of the state of alarm went into action on Saturday night and affects the whole of Spain for a period of 15 days.

Which branch of the administration is in charge?

Under the state of alarm, the central government in Madrid has all powers. All security forces, including local and regional police forces, are under direct orders of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska. The government will reserve the right to fine people who do not respect the restrictions, as is allowed under the 1981 law setting out the conditions of the state of alert.

What are the restrictions on movement?

# During the state of alarm, citizens and vehicles will only be allowed to travel on public roads and streets for the following activities:

# The purchase of foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and essential items - always alone unless you need assistance because of age or disability.

# To attend health centres.

# To go to work or to provide employment services - travelling alone in the car at all times.

# To return to your usual residence.

# To assist and care for seniors, minors, dependants, the disabled, or people who are particularly vulnerable.

# In cases of force majeure or of necessity - (eg. You can walk your dog, but alone and close to home)

# Any other activity that is, by its nature, justified.

# Vehicles may take to the roads for any of the aforementioned activities, as well as to refuel at gas stations.

# Limits to commercial activity, restaurants and leisure centres

# All premises and establishments that carry out public-facing activity are closed, apart from those distributing foodstuffs and essential items.

# Cafés and restaurants are shut, but they will be able to deliver food to people’s homes.

# Public shows such as cinemas and theatres are closed, as well as sporting events, museums, etc.

# All local fiestas and marches are suspended.

 

Ceremonies and religious sites

Civil and religious ceremonies, and services in places of worship, including funerals, can go ahead provided that there are no large crowds and that attendees maintain a distance of one meter from one another.

Reinforcements for the health system

Military personnel and health installations will be used to strengthen the national health system across Spain. The Health Ministry will ensure that production centres for health supplies continue to operate, including the temporary intervention of companies, private health establishments and pharmaceutical sector centres.

How will transport and supplies be regulated?

Rail and bus services can be reduced by 50% by operating companies. The authorities will guarantee the circulation of goods across all of Spain. The supply of tickets for travel available for reservation will be reduced by a third. The government will guarantee the supply of electricity, gas and oil, and the protection of infrastructure that is critical to services.

Is the supply of foodstuffs guaranteed?

The authorities guarantee the production, storage, transport and distribution of foodstuffs to the consumer. When necessary, the transport of produce will be under escort, and routes will be established to allow for the circulation of personnel, raw materials and finished products. To guarantee these supplies, the government has powers to mobilise the state security forces and the army.

Members of the public face fines or even prison if they disobey lockdown rules.

Minumum fine €100 - Maximum fine €600,000

 

[source El Pais]



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5 Beautiful Villages Worth Visiting
06 March 2020

Spain is full of stunning villages but here I have selected just a handful. Some may be well known, and others may be less well known, but all are breath-taking and well worth a visit. 

 

Grazalema (Cádiz) 


On the Grazalema mountain range’s white village route, this charming enclave dazzles in the glare of the southern sun, its white façades contrasting with the natural green landscape around it. Curiously, this is the wettest area of Spain, which would explain why it boasts one of the country’s biggest forests of ‘pinsapo’ (fir), which has all but disappeared in the rest of Western Europe. A town of 2,165 inhabitants, Grazalema has been part of a Biosphere Reserve since 1977, making it a hiker’s paradise.

 

 


Villanueva de los Infantes (Ciudad Real) 


This town of 5,500 residents in Campo de Montiel, in the region of Castilla–La Mancha, was declared a site of artistic and historical significance in 2004 thanks, among other things, to its 17th-century Plaza Mayor – the main square – and Santiago Hospital. But apart from the architecture, it’s fun just to wander along the medieval street of General Pérez Ballesteros or the upbeat Calle Cervantes. Villanueva de Los Infantes is one of the corners of La Mancha that may have been the subject of Cervantes’ famous opening line in ‘Don Quixote’: “A village in La Mancha whose name I do not wish to recall...”

 

 

 

Ujué (Navarre) 


The cobbled streets of this rugged medieval hamlet, 50 kilometres from Pamplona in the Olite district, lead up to the Santa Maria church–fortress that was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Once you have made it up, you can enjoy panoramic views that stretch from the foothills of the Pyrenees and the plains of Ribera del Ebro to the mountain of Moncayo to the south. It is also worth just strolling through its labyrinthine streets, which are home to 200 people, as well as sampling the local delicacy, ‘migas de pastor’ (or shepherd’s breadcrumbs).

 

 


Chinchón (Madrid) 


The main square is the best place to start a sightseeing tour of this charming town of 5,447 inhabitants, some 44 kilometres southeast of Madrid. Recognized as one of the most beautiful squares in Spain, it is by no means all the town has to offer. There is also the 14th-century Torre del Reloj – or clock tower – which is the only vestige of the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church, the 15th-century Castillo de Los Condes – Castle of the Counts – which is fairly well preserved despite being ravaged by fires and wars, and the San Agustín Monastery, whose living quarters have been converted into an impressive Parador, or state-run luxury hotel.

 

 


Covarrubias (Burgos) 


Lying on the banks of the Arlanza River, Covarrubias has the only pre-11th century Castilian fortress in Spain – the Torreón de Fernán González, which was built in the Mozarabic style in the 10th century. Lately, there has been a surge of tourism to this community of 600 inhabitants, with visitors drawn by the tomb of Princess Christina of Norway in the cloister of the Church of San Cosme and San Damián. The daughter of King Haakon IV, Christina married Prince Felipe, the brother of Alfonso X the Wise in 1258 in Valladolid and was buried in Covarrubias following her death four years later. Legend has it that whoever touches the bell next to the tomb will find love. The Archivo del Adelantado de Castilla is also worth a look as are the numerous medieval-style dwellings that line the streets.



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A Rather Unusual Bridge
28 February 2020

 

Practical, strategic, essential and even artistic, bridges test the skill of engineering. A challenge to gravity and the obstacles of nature subjected to the vagaries of human development. 

'Devil’s Bridges' are a feature of several Italian and European cities, almost always characterised by a great span that exceeds a ravine or a rushing river, reminiscent of the days when certain works were too bold and at the same time they were immediately classified as a fruit of the devil.

This Puente del Diablo, or Devil's Bridge, crosses from Martorell to Castellbisbal in Catalonia, and its gravity-defying structure has a surprising stabilising device.

The bridge over the Llobregat River dates back to 1283 when it replaced an earlier Roman infrastructure of which there are still strong reminiscences, which can still be seen around the current bridge, including a triumphal arch. If it doesn't seem quite right for medieval times, the bridge was actually destroyed in 1939 during the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt in 1965. However, much of it is still the original stone.

 

 

It's not clear where it gets its "Devil's Bridge" title, although it's likely due to its curious architecture which may have led people to believe that it was not built by human hands. However, it was of course, and just required a little ingenuity. The highest arch has an opening 145 feet high and is quite thin, but the little chapel-shaped building at the top is actually keeping it stable and holding it all together. This building would more than likely have been used for taking tolls between the two old towns. 

 

(This photograph of the 'Pont del Diable' was taken by Charles Clifford and later purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1854.)

 


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One Spanish castle that must be visited
19 February 2020

        

It is one of the most visited monuments in the whole of Navarre. It is not surprising that as soon as you enter Olite it is as though you were in a fairy tale. With just a glance, the palace takes you back to the Middle Ages. Its turrets and passageways will delight anyone who loves art, architecture or history. In addition, the place has spectacular lookout points which afford views of the Mediaeval town of Olite. Here are ten curious historical facts that will give you more than enough reasons for visiting this fine example of Spanish history.

 

1. It was "real" royal whim.

The palace is the masterpiece of the reign of Carlos III “The Noble”. The project was of such magnitude that people used to say it had as many rooms as the days in a year. The work was an economic extravagance for the period. Charles III wanted his castle to be admired by his guests and he achieved this. It was a real royal whim.


 2. Among the most luxurious of the era

When it was built, it was considered one of the most luxurious medieval castles in Europe. It was so beautiful that, in the 15th century, a German traveller wrote in his diary (which is preserved in the British Museum, in London): “I am sure there is no king with a more beautiful palace or castle, and with so many golden rooms.”


3. It is two palaces in one

Actually, it is really two palaces, one built next to the other. The first, used today as the Parador Hotel, dates back to the 12th-13th century and only its walls and towers remain. The second, from the 14th-15th century, is considered the ‘New Palace’ and was completely rebuilt during the 20th century.    


4. It had famous hanging gardens

One of the most admired features of the palace were its famous hanging gardens which, like the legendary gardens of Babylon, were suspended up to 20 metres above the ground, abounding in plants and flowers from all over the world. So that the courtyard would not buckle under the weight of the large plant pots, orders were given for an underground arcade to be built to act as a buttress. It is the Sala de Los Arcos (Room of Arches) or Sala de Los Murciélagos (Bats).

 

5. It was a royal zoo

It was traditional for European courts to keep game or exotic animals inside their castles. Carlos III's grandson, Prince of Viana, took this hobby even further and included all sorts of animals until he had created a small zoo, with giraffes, lions, camels and all types of birds. Today you can still see the remains of the aviary in the Patio de la Pajarera (aviary courtyard).


6.  La Torre del Homenaje has exceptional views

The royal chamber is one of the most impressive rooms in the whole architectural complex. It is in the keep, which is nearly 40 metres tall; to reach the top, you need to climb 133 steps. The keep affords exceptional views of Olite and the surrounding land.


7. It has a royal fridge

From the Ochavada Tower, you can see the ice well, or 'the egg', as the locals call it. It is the place where they stored the layers of snow that were used to preserve food. The egg-shaped lid covers a well that has a depth of about eight metres.

 

8. It came back from the ashes

In 1813, during the War of Independence, the palace was practically destroyed by a fire started by General Espoz y Mina to prevent the French troops from making forts inside the castle.  In 1913 it was bought by the Regional Government of Navarre and 25 years later, a meticulous restoration began, which made the palace look like it does today.
        

9. Bécquer was greatly impressed

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer was one of the tourists who was greatly impressed by this palace.  It was at the end of the 19th century when the poet visited Olite; when he saw the castle's deplorable state, he dedicated an essay in which he evoked the glorious days of this architectural complex.

 

10. A mediaeval market takes you back in time

Every year, just for two days, Olite holds its mediaeval market; it lets everyone relive the palace's bygone days of splendour. During the festival, all kinds of traditional products are sold and activities are organised that take you back to the Middle Ages, with hawkers, peddlers and minstrels included. 

 

 



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Moors and Christians - Bocairent - 7 February
04 February 2020

During the first week in February, Bocairent, in the province of Valencia, celebrates its Moors and Christians festivity in honour of Saint Blas, patron of the town. This particular Moors and Christians fiesta is one of the oldest and best in Spain. Fireworks, paso doble music and bands, spectacular parades, processions and the deafening sound of gunpowder are the main ingredients of this colourful six-day fiesta.  A deep-rooted tradition full of colour and popular culture makes these the town’s most attractive celebrations.

 

The highlight is the Entrà, when over 2,000 people participate in an amazing parade of floats. If you happen to be in the region you really must withness this fantastic festivity. Here are some of the key days:


FRIDAY  7 February
LES CAIXES
With the “Night of the Drums” (“Nit de les Caixes”) the actual fiestas begin: hundreds of Bocairentines cloaked in their traditional woollen blankets take to the streets carrying Chinese lanterns and beating their drums, announcing the town’s patronage of Saint Blai since 1632.

 

SATURDAY 8 
LA ENTRADA - Entrá
The “Entrance” (“Entrada”) of Moors and Christians on 2nd February brings the fiesta to life. First to enter are the Christians who parade to cheerful sounding pasadobles and once night-time falls the Moors enter to the slow and emotive tunes of Moorish marches.

 

SUNDAY 9
SANT BLAI
One of the most emblematic events of the fiesta is the procession on the day of Saint Blai; the entrance into the Town Hall Square of the saint, his relics and the banner of Saint Blai is particularly stirring, with the bells tolling and everyone shouting in unison: “Vitol al Patró San Blai” (“Long live Saint Blai”), as the lights go out and a shower of confetti rains down on the statue of the saint.

 

 

MONDAY 10
MOORS AND CHRISTIANS
“The Embassies” (“Les Ambaixades”) on the 4th of February are the representation of when the negotiations for the conquest of the castle between Mores and Christians are acted out. The enormous quantity of gunpowder fired off into the air along with the town’s main streets marks this day out as a special one.

 

 

TUESDAY 11
HOLY CHRIST
The day of Holy Christ (Santo Cristo) is also noteworthy due to the procession up to the chapel by participants and musicians, converting the Stations of the Cross footpath into a snaking line of colour.



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Discovering the next super food
24 January 2020

 

Black garlic is essentially fermented garlic which is achieved completely naturally without the use of any preservatives or other chemical additives.

The garlic is ripened for a long time in a stricktly controlled temperature and humidity conditions, as a result of which the cloves become darker and darker until they turn completely black.

Black garlic is not only a form of garlic but it has its own very special taste, sweet with nuances of balm and liquorice, similar to the flavour "umami", which in Japanese means "pleasant savoury taste", and is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty.

The word was originally coined by Professor Kikuna Ikeda and derives from a combination of the terms umai "delicious" and mi "taste".

 

 

As a culinary ingredient black garlic can be used in a wide range of ways, just like normal garlic, but its soft and easy-to-use texture also make it a delicious, healthy snack on its own. Most importantly, however, it has outstanding nutritional benefits.

Black garlic has five times more antioxidant potential than normal raw garlic and contains between five and seven times the quantity of polyphenols . This is because during the lengthy ripening process the pungent garlic compounds are naturally converted into health-giving phenolic compounds, among which are bioactive organic sulphur compounds such as S-allylcystein and S-allylmercaptocystein, which have anti-oxidative effects. In addition, black garlic contains tetra-hydro-beta-carboline derivates, which exert anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic activity, a property also found in other fermented products such as wine and beer. So there you have it, the next super food and the most famous variety in Spain are made with purple garlics from Las Pedroñeras.



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Friday 17th January - Animal Christmas
13 January 2020

Just when you thought the party was over another one comes along! The 17th of January marks the Saints Day for San Anton - San Antonio - St. Anthony. As children, if we lost something, then Saint Anthony would have been called upon to give a helping hand. But here in Spain, according to the Catholic church, San Antonio is the patron saint of animals, and his day is used as the perfect opportunity to bless all creatures great and small throughout the land. What a great excuse for another party! It’s Animal Christmas! Now it’s the four-legged kids’ turn to be the centre of attention!

 

 

The celebration involves blessing both the creatures and their owners and ensures another year of good health and protection. The animals will walk straight into church and sometimes dressed up for the occasion, so if you want to see a dog in a suit – this is the opportunity! San Antonio is celebrated all over Spain on January 17th – and is known as Fiesta de San Antón in Valencia, although on the 16th in Valencia a bonfire is set to burn stubble and waste from the fields. It is organised by the Brotherhood of San Antonio Abad and began to be commemorated as we know it today in the middle of the last century.  

San Antonio is the patron saint of farm animals and although domestic animals are also a part of celebration (dogs, cats, turtles, snakes, birds...) they stand in the first section of the parade and receive a “medalleta” - small medal - of San Antonio. Valencia's Sagunto Street is where the point of celebration takes place and where you can watch the Parade and three parish priests give out their blessings from a main stage to all participants.  

 

After the domestic pets, the mounted town's police in full uniform pays homage to the saint, followed by mounted national police corps after which carriages carrying the "panet, garrofeta and l'estampeta" amulets follow. Finally more horses, riders and other animals close the parade.

So if you happen to be in Valencia this January, you might like to take a look!



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