Walking the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain

For over a thousand years, the faithful have taken the pilgrimage to Santiago passing through northern Spain

Walking the Camino de Santiago in northern SpainFor over a thousand years, the faithful have taken the pilgrimage to Santiago passing through northern Spain. It's called the Way of St. James or El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. It's actually not just one route, however. It is a large network of ancient pilgrimage routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the…

Flea markets a great introduction to local culture

You can have lots of fun at flea markets around the world while learning something about that country's culture at the same time

One of the world's largest flea markets is in San Jose, California. It has more than 2,000 booths and sprawls over 40 acres. In all, 12.8 km (eight miles) of booth-lined walkways with arts, crafts, jewellery, antiques and junk! Lots of junk. The old saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure" tells you something…

Discovering the Basque roots of the American dream

Why visiting small museums can expand your knowledge of the broader world

Discovering the Basque roots of the American dreamThe Untzi Museoa is a modest naval museum in San Sebastian, an important Basque community on the eastern verge of Spain’s northern coast. San Sabastian’s relationship with the sea goes back to the early 1200s, when its prominent Mount Urgull was first fortified to ward off French attacks on its diverse community of traders, merchant…

Turning an inner-city wasteland into a thriving cultural hub

How the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a bastion of contemporary art, resurrected a community and why others should follow its lead

Turning an inner-city wasteland into a thriving cultural hubIn 1997, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened on the estuary of the Nervion River and immediately became the template for all new cultural institution architecture worldwide. Frank Gehry was the building’s visionary architect. His Spanish client was the Basque administration, along with new York’s Guggenheim Foundation. They sought to use architecture and contemporary art to…

Paradise lost: dark economic clouds gather over Spain

The world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, is betting against Spain. Investors should wonder why

Paradise lost: dark economic clouds gather over SpainSpain is one of the most popular destinations in the world for a beach holiday, but its business climate is less welcoming at the moment, thanks to a huge hedge fund bet. The world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, has bet $22 billion that the share prices of several European companies will go down. The…

Does the Catalonian crisis signal the end of the nation state?

Across the globe, a deep and growing frustration with the nationalist status quo is driving regional politics

Does the Catalonian crisis signal the end of the nation state?The Spanish government's response to the Catalonian independence movement is a reminder of just how fragile nation states have become in the modern world. Mind you, it's hard to imagine a less helpful response than Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's chosen option, arrogantly removing popular regional leaders and imposing direct rule. This is just the…

Democratic angst and independence turmoil

In Hillary Clinton’s mind, it’s everyone else’s fault. So she’ll continue to hog centre stage and suck up the political oxygen

Democratic angst and independence turmoilTwo topics jump out from the current news. One is the continuing Democratic Party angst over the 2016 U.S. election. The other is the recurrent propensity for independence movements to stir things up. On the Democratic front, Hillary Clinton’s promotion of her new book What Happened is Exhibit A. There’s nothing wrong with authors promoting…

The failed fight against fascism

The bombing of Guernica was a flashpoint in the Spanish Civil War, which became a microcosm of worldwide political and ideological schisms for years to come

The failed fight against fascismOn April 26, 1937, German planes bombed the Basque town of Guernica, killing around 1,000 people. Undertaken as part of Germany’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, the bombing was intended to cause terror. But as sometimes happens, there was a boomerang effect. For significant sections of western opinion, the brutality of what happened in Guernica…

Languor and romance bloom in Malaga and Ronda

The Costa del Sol is a place of white-stuccoed architecture, palm trees, yet more Moorish forts, and 25 C weather in October

Languor and romance bloom in Malaga and RondaLeaving Granada for the Costa del Sol and the port town of Malaga is simple and complex by turns. The marvellous AVE super-train promises to whisk you to the Mediterranean coast over hills and groves of olive trees at 300 km/h. It’s complex to say goodbye to Granada and the Alhambra palace after only two…

Deeply steeped in the Andalusia’s historic charms

Travelling through Andalusia is an exercise in similarities and differences

Deeply steeped in the Andalusia’s historic charmsTravelling through Andalusia is an exercise in similarities and differences. The similar components are quickly obvious: The interconnecting train and road networks are testimonies to national infrastructure investment on an impressive scale. Hotels and restaurants are well maintained, fairly advertised, and at least 10 per cent less expensive than Canada. Amorous behaviour is prevalent, involves…