martes, 26 de mayo de 2015

El Rocío, Parque Nacional de Doñana - Intercambio Idiomas

El Rocío, Parque Nacional de Doñana, near the town of Almonte has a permanent population of about 700 people. A village made for the horses, The end of the route, village of devotion and pilgrimage that attracts every year about one million pilgrims next to the to the Hermitage where “la Blanca Paloma” is waiting every year.

El Rocío, with their fraternities, national and international groups, is most important Marian concentration around the world, and has great significance and international impact.
The traditional pilgrimage can be traced back to the 15th century when a hunter from the local village of Villamanrique discovered a statue of the Virgin Mary ( "Virgen del Rocío") in a tree trunk near the park. The wooden figure of the virgin is kept in a big church (the Sanctuario de Nuestra Señora de El Rocío). This church was destroyed by the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 but completely rebuilt fifty odd years ago.

Since 1758 the event has taken place on the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday. The pilgrims, known  as Rocieros, arrive with horses, wagons and elaborate flower-bedecked carriages. Most of the female pilgrims are wearing bright flamenco-style dresses with their male counterparts having the short riding type jackets (traje corto).

The procession lasts until the evening and is accompanied by masses of followers chanting, clapping and beating drums with the playing of tambourines, flutes and guitars.

lunes, 18 de mayo de 2015

Pablo Picasso - Intercambio de Idiomas

Pablo Ruiz Picasso is probably the most important figure in 20th Century art as well as the creator of Cubism.

Picasso was born on the 25th October 1881 in Malaga, in southern Spain.
He was called Pablo Ruiz Picasso, later he dropped his father's surname to become simply Pablo Picasso. Picasso's family was middle-class; his father was a traditional, academic artist, a professor of art at the School of Crafts and a curator of a local museum. Picasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age.

Picasso's father decided to send the young artist to Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando, the country's foremost art school. In 1897, Picasso, age 16, set off for the first time on his own, but he disliked formal instruction and quit attending classes soon after enrollment.
Paris was the desired destination of young artists, and in October 1900, Picasso made his first trip there. Pablo Picasso continued to create art and maintain an ambitious schedule in his later years, work would keep him alive. He died on April 8, 1973, at the age of 91, in Mougins, France.

domingo, 10 de mayo de 2015

Diferentes tipos de café en España / Intercambio de Idiomas

Coffee is part of life, and everyone can enjoy a good quality coffee at a reasonable price. Spanish bars serve the best coffee.

Café solo is a small strong black coffee served in a small glass. If you like black coffee and feel the solo may be  too strong, then try a café americano, it is similar to a café solo but served  with a bit more water.

Café con leche is the next most popular way to drink coffee, especially as the first cup of the day. It is half café solo and half hot milk and can be served in a small glass or a tall thin glass. The milk is poured into a small metal jug and rapidly heated with the steam from the espresso machine.

Another variation on the coffee with milk is a café cortado, in this case a strong black coffee with only a drop of milk.

Café sombra or manchado is also coffee with milk but this time largely milk with only a dash of coffee. The names sombra and manchado mean shade and stained respectively and signifies the milk
is shaded or stained with only a small amount of coffee.

Café carajillo, a  very small glass is used and into it goes a dash of brandy with a small glass of café. The bartender may set fire to the brandy. When the alcohol has sufficiently burned off, the café solo is poured into the glass resulting in a perfect morning tipple especially on cold days.

Café bombon which is a small glass of condensed milk into which a café solo is slowly poured. The drink remains separated half black and half white until it is mixed.

When it´s hot, you have the iced coffee or café con hielo. Café solo or café con leche and a tall glass filled with ice cubes on the side.

martes, 5 de mayo de 2015

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) - Intercambio Idiomas

Miguel de Cervantes was born in Alcalá de Henares in 1547. His father was somewhere between barber and doctor, he had seven children. Miguel de Cervantes was born in the family home, which belonged to his grandfather, where the Museo Casa Natal de Cervantes is currently located. 
It is well known Cervantes’ participation in the Battle of Lepanto. In 1571, he and his brother Rodrigo boarded on the galley Marquesa to fight with the Christian troops of the Holy League, which would fight against the Ottoman Turks. Miguel was seriously wounded: he was shot twice in the chest and once in the arm. From then on he was known as the ‘One-armed man from Lepanto’. Once the war was over and the brothers had become ‘excellent soldiers’, they both returned to Spain. Miguel brought two letters of recommendation, signed by don Juan of Austria and the Duke of Sessa that, apparently, guaranteed him a promising future in the Indies or in the court. However, on the return journey to Spain they were captured by Berber corsairs on the Catalan coast and were taken to a prison in Algiers. Rodrigo was rescued in 1577 but Miguel had to suffer incarceration until September 1580. Cervantes was able to leave Algiers and return to Spain after five years in captivity and four escape attempts.
These events marked his character but also the lives of his family who had had to deal with the costs of keeping a house and the debts incurred from the rescue attempts of both sons. Cervantes tried to gain a posting in the Americas but all doors were closed to him. He needed to make a good marriage and find a profession that would help him to get out of the difficult situation he was in. At 37 years of age he met the great love of his life, Ana Franca de Rojas (an actress), with whom his only daughter, Isabel de Saavedra, was conceived. However, surprisingly, despite the love they professed for each other, Miguel de Cervantes ended up marrying Catalina de Palacios Salazar. Shortly after their wedding, the couple separated geographically. Catalina decided to stay in Toledo while Cervantes accepted a job as provisions officer, which obliged him to travel around Andalusia. Working to collect grain for the king, he had to face new scandals and problems with the law.

Miguel de Cervantes settled in other cities, such as Toledo and Valladolid, where he composed and wrote sonnets, comedies, etc. Success came in 1605 with the publication of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of la Mancha. By that time he was living in Valladolid but he would soon make a definitive move to Madrid (1606). There, he decided to settle near Huertas, which is known today as the ‘Neighbourhood of Letters’. His neighbours were writers as Lope de Vega, Quevedo and Góngora. 

Despite the apparent literary prosperity of those years, in which he published Exemplary Tales in 1613, Journey to Parnassus (1614) and the second part of Don Quixote (1615), Cervantes never ceased to have problems and never knew his Quixote would become one of the most important books in the universal history of literature. On 22 April 1616 Miguel de Cervantes died. He was buried at the Convent of the Trinitarias, in Madrid.


Astrana Marín, L.: The Exemplary and Heroic Life of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Madrid 1948
Canavaggio, J.: Cervantes. Revised and Up-dated Edition, Madrid 1997.
VV.AA.: Museo Casa Natal de Cervantes Guidebook, Madrid 2004.