Posts Tagged With: Spain

This is Flamenco: Guitars and Gypsies in Granada

When you think of Spain chances are that you think about flamenco, sangria and bull fighting.  That’s partly true, but especially so in the south of Spain.  Flamenco is perhaps Spain’s most notorious export; but to the people of Andalusia, flamenco isn’t just a style of music…it’s a way of life.

The Vagabrothers explore the back streets in the shadow of the Alhambra and speak to a master guitar maker to find out what flamenco really is.  Come along to jam with the Gypsies of Granada.

Disfruta amigos!  Ole!

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#MyBBB Vlog #2: Agur Euskadi (Goodbye Basque Country)

Spend the next 3 minutes with the Vagabrothers as they recount their amazing memories from a very special place.

Goodbye Euskadi…for now.

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Andalusia: Road Trip through History

Wow,

What a crazy adventure, where to begin and how?  The last month has been hectic,  March Madness is not just about Basketball,  Mark left Spain and is back in California (visa’s are an unfortunate reality of travel).  With Mark gone, two of my childhood friends, Andy and David came out to visit.  We found a ridiculously cheap camper van rental and headed South, into the heart of Andalusia where Spain’s history is on display and very much in your face.  Semana Santa is a week-long somber ‘celebration’ of Jesus’s story;  it’s where a moribund Catholic Church takes the streets of Spain and reinforces its presence. It’s when the Army, the Church, and the Spanish people get together to celebrate the Reconquista.  All week-long from the biggest cities to the smallest pueblos, Jesus and Mary, cloaked in the silver and gold amassed by Conquistadors so many centuries before, make their way through the winding cobble stone streets of Southern Spain.  The processions often pass the architectural reminders of a time when Spain was an Islamic country.  It’s a fascinating and at times perplexing display of a long, complicated and violent history.

Here is a two-minute taster of what we saw.

Enjoy

Vagabrother Alex

 

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Vote for Vagabrothers: Help us Win a 6-Month RTW Trip and $50,000

The Vagabrothers need your help!

We just entered MyDestination.com’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List contest to win $50,000 and a 6-month trip around the world.  For our entry, we made a 3 minute video about our favorite city – Donostia-San Sebastian – and wrote a short story about hitchhiking across Scotland.

We put a lot of time and effort into our entry, but to win we need your help.  Please take the time to go to the link below and vote for us to win so the Vagabrothers can take our show around the world!

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR VIDEO AND VOTE!!! 

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San Sebastian – Marching to a Basque Drum (The Tamborrada)

New Video: The Vagabrothers dive into San Sebastian’s biggest annual party, the Tamborrada.  As they watch locals dress up like soldiers and chefs, they learn the story behind the party and why so many people are proud to be from San Sebastian.

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Sneak Peak: Photos from the Tamborrada

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San Sebastian Day – The Tamborrada

We stood in the middle of San Sebastian’s main square, a regiment of Napoleonic soldiers on our left squaring off against a few hundred elderly men dressed up as chefs. It felt as if we’d stepped into a bizarre time warp, but more strange still was that the soldiers had no guns – instead, both sides bore drums, massive wooden spoons, and absurdly large golden knives and forks.

As midnight drew nigh, the whole city poured into the square, pushing through the porticoes for a view of the standoff and cheering from the balconies above. We didn’t quite understand what we were seeing, but we knew where we were – moments before the start of the biggest celebration in San Sebastian, the Tamborrada.

Cultures can be difficult to understand, their traditions more mystifying still. For us, the annual celebration of San Sebastian’s day, known locally as the tamborrada, was one such case. Why were locals so stoked to dress up in 19th century costumes and spend 24 straight hours banging on drums? As with many foreigners, it left our ears ringing and our minds befuddled, but curious.

In the spirit of exploring cultural identity, we decided to take a closer look at the unique celebration that forms an immense source of pride of locals. What we discovered inspired us to jump into the festivities – how a tragic event from the city’s darkest days transformed into the beautiful celebration we see today.

But we weren’t satisfied to stand on the sidelines, so we bought a 3€ chef get-up and drummed away to the beat – between filming, of course! So stay tuned for a new video on Vagabrothers, – San Sebastian’s Tamborrada – the best day of the year of our favorite city in the world!

 

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A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim (Walking the Camino de Santiago)

NEW VIDEO: Vagabrothers Alex and Mark connect with their inner pilgrim as they walk a section of the ancient pilgrimage route, El Camino de Santiago with this week’s special guest, Kit Barmeyer.

Good company, great times, beautiful scenery, and a quick dip into the deeper side of travel.

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Anarchism in Barcelona Part II: The Bank and the Bikeshop

Join us as we connect past and present in some unlikely parts of Barcelona in “The Bank and the Bikeshop”.

 

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Remember, Remember…

Alex and I skate up to the abandoned building and stop before the entrance. The main door is barred shut. Curtains and cardboard cover the windows. To our left, a dented black door lays ajar, casting a ray of light into a dark room. A chain dangles from a busted keyhole, it’s padlock left open.

We knock, then took a step back and looked at the massive mural stretching five stories into the Barcelona sky. There was no doubt we had found the Casa Okupa. We’d been skating across the city all day looking for one that hadn’t already been shut down by police, and this one looked alive – if secretive.

We knock again and wait a moment. No answer.

“¡Hola! Is anyone here?”

We look at each other, shrug and crack the door open. We hear voices up the staircase.

“Hola chicos!” we shout. “Can we come in?”

“Upstairs!” they reply, “Come upstairs!” We push the door open, stepping into the Okupa and into a world we’d been wondering about since coming to Spain three years earlier.

 ***

Spain’s rebellious side simmers just beneath the surface. Beyond flamenco is punk. Past the beach are the squats. And across the walls of every tourist town is anti-fascist graffiti and anarchy signs. It’s an image that jars our stereotypes, but it’s very real indeed.

It’s easy to dismiss this anti-establishment streak as a passing trend, but we wanted to see if there was more to the story. In particular, we were interested in the Okupa movement, which has been taking over abandoned buildings and converting them into community centers and collective living arrangements – although ones that are often shut to the public.

A closer look shows Okupa is more than just squats in abandoned buildings. It’s a philosophy to life and a political statement with a presence in every major city in Spain and its roots in a forgotten history – the days when Barcelona was run by anarchists.

The story took us to Spain’s civil war of the 1930s, a bloody era whose scars are still felt today. Learning more would require us to examine a skeleton in Spain’s closet. Was anarchism a passing trend, or a was it an enduring part of the Barcelona’s spirit?

That question took us here, to our first Casa Okupa in Barcelona. At this point, there was nothing left but to go inside and see where the adventure would lead.

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