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Events taking place in El Puerto

Photo Exhibition

This exhibition, diplaying some of Fito Carreto´s (reknowned photographer in southern Spain) most magnificent photos, takes place from March 19th to April 9th in right here in El Puerto. If you are interested in photography, do not miss this!

Blanco y negro – art gallery/pub

This bar is unique in that every few weeks they display different artists and types of art. From now until April 17th, it is the turn of artist Juan Lara´s students. Why not enjoy some art with a beer in this portuense pub/gallery?

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Fancy a trip to the cinema to see a classic?! Check out this “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) in colour on the big screen at Cine del Puerto.

Live Music – Hector and friends

Check out this punk rock/indie band when they perform in the public theatre “Teatro Municipal Pedro Muñoz Seca”. Entry 6€ or 4€ with a student card.

Jazz band

Looking for something to do this Friday, March 25th? Why not relax and take some time to enjoy the “Javier Gallardo Quartet”, on stage from 23:30 in the Sala Milauwke.

 

Events taking place in neighbouring towns and cities

 

Motor GP

The grand prix of motorcycling is taking place in Jerez this April from 1st to 3rd, so expect an influx of  avid motorcyclists in the southern Spain area.

Cosmopoetic Festival

This annual literary extravaganza is taking place in Cordoba from March 14th to April 10th and draws the hottest poets from all corners of the world. It is an unmissable event for peotry fans, as they get to enjoy writers performing their pieces on balconies, halls and on street corners in the 8th edition of this festival.

Malaga Festival

At the Malaga festival of Spanish film, premieres, homages and conferences are just some of the exciting events associated with the Malaga film festival which takes place from March 26th to April 2nd.


¡Hola a todas!

Today, I have decided to talk about one of my favourite topics, food.

I won´t lie though, I am a picky eater. I know what I like to eat and how, and I am not always willing to try new things, “don´t fix it if it ain´t broke” and all that…

However, since my move here, that has changed radically. Most of this change is not my decision, but rather, due to peer pressure; my friends or colleagues telling me I “have to try it” or a simple “man up and eat it” from Fiona.

If like me, you are a picky eater but are considering becoming more adventurous, I have two pieces of advice.

  1. Do it! Your taste buds will thank you
  2. Start small

 Tapas. Tapas are a well known type of appetizer/snack associated with Spanish cuisine. They are a great way to experience new foods in a clever way (hey, if you don´t like it, it probably only cost you 2€ anyways..). Eating tapas also means you can try many different varieties of foods, for a small price.

When we first arrived here, Doug and Inge took us out for tapas. We went to “El Asador” in the centre of El Puerto. When we walked in, the first shock we got was the fact that everyone who was eating tapas was doing so at the bar. Some were sitting on bar stools, but the majority of folk were standing, while talking, eating and laughing. This “standing up while eating” concept felt completely bizarre me.

The second, and far more frightening shock I got, was Doug announcing he had ordered bull´s tail (yes, you read that correctly) and pig´s cheek for us to try. At first I thought he was joking, and I looked at Inge and Fiona for a laugh but didn´t get one. When I realized he was serious, I really did need a bar stool to sit down on.

Doug and Inge let us start off gently with the first round of tapas including; a piece of manchego cheese (a well-developed cheese from La Mancha in Spain), “patatas bravas” (small chunks of potatoes served warm with a spicy tomato sauce), a mini peppered steak, (succulent meat served with a large helping of pepper sauce) and some green olives. They were delicious, with the peppered steak being the tastiest, in my opinion.

Too soon, those tapas were demolished and the rest of our food arrived. I was surprised to see both of the bull´s tail and the pig´s cheek looked quite appetizing, if only I didn´t know what they were…

After some serious “you only live once”, “just try it” “it’s not going to kill you”, I relented (I feared I would be sent back to Ireland if I didn´t…joke!).

The bull´s tail was served with crisps in a delicious sauce and the pig´s cheek was tender and moist, quite possibly the most delicious pork I have ever tasted.

In the end, I survived to tell the tale (excuse the pun!), and I would even go as far as to say, I highly recommend you try all of the foods mentioned above!

All this talk about food has made me hungry..that’s all for now…!

Audrey

Hello all,

Last weekend, I had my first experience at a carnival, ever!

Before I came to Spain, a lot of people had mentioned the word “carnaval” most describing it as “some sort of crazy party that lasts for weeks”. I didn´t pay too much attention to that statement, assuming “Carnaval” would be a pretty laid back event with some singing and dancing for anyone interested. How could it possibly span into a 6 week celebration?! Boy, was I wrong.

The first night I arrived to Spain (the 30th of January), my housemate Chris arrived home late as he had been at the beginning of the carnival in Cadiz. He explained that it had been pretty crowded with lots of live music and plenty to see and do. It sounded like fun, but not something I hadn´t seen in Ireland before.

Every weekend since then, I had heard snippets about the carnival in Cadiz, but I didn´t take much heed, as none of my friends seemed that bothered by it.

Finally, last weekend, a mate mentioned it to me, and said we should check it out. He also mentioned it was the third biggest carnival in the world. Wow. We then decided to dress up for the festivities on Saturday night in Cadiz. We had heard that this was the tradition, but we were skeptical as to how many others would actually dress up.It turns outs, EVERYONE dresses up for the event and they all wear fantastic costumes..

After a trip to one of the inexpensive Chinese stores in El Puerto, we all had new identities. Personally, I went as a “gitana”, a gypsy, while Fiona went as a ladybird, Josh went as a cowboy and Matt went as a patriot to South Africa. A lot of our other friends dressed up as pirates. We then took the ferry to Cadiz, where we found out being on a boat with 100 other people dressed up in unusual outfits is actually lot of fun, if a little strange. When we arrived to Cadiz, it was manic! The streets were crowded with people and there was  live music blaring through the city. The atmosphere was electric and the party was jumping. The city was alive with colour, celebration and fun.

After some hardcore celebrating, I caught the train home at 6am on Sunday morning, although some of my friends managed to make it through to 11pm Sunday night!

All in all, it was a fantastic event. It was so different to anything I have ever experienced in any other country. It was such a cultural experience and I would 100% recommend it.

I am even returning this weekend, but only to watch the less intense, day time parts of “carnaval”.

We at Spark Spanish are delighted to announce that our sister company, El Centro Ingles, has been voted the best    private school in all of Andalucia! What an achievement. El Centro Ingles, which was founded by Linda Randell in 1969, received this honour in the 2nd of March 2011, when Spanish newspaper “El Mundo” voted them the best in Andalucia. The English centre is a bilingual private day school of primary, secondary and ‘bachillerato’ education in El Puerto de Santa Maria. If was founded over 40 years ago and has been providing excellence in English language school. El Centro is also currently ranked 41st best school in the country of Spain! Congratulations El Centro Ingles, you really deserved this!

The Spark Building has officially been born. For the first time since the renovations began, the Spark Building has finally got a name publically displayed above its door. This white banner is for our English Academy, which will be starting in October 2011. Our Sparkville building will be ready in May 2011,with courses begining in July 2011 also.With a large white “lona” (canvas banner) now gracing the front wall of the Sparkville Residence, I think it is fair to say (and to see) that the Spark Structure is well and truly on its way to success!

Hello there!

It is now my third week here in El Puerto and I have to say that time is flying by! So this weekend was a pretty hectic one… With a game of pub golf, a joint birthday and some serious shopping, how could it not be?!

On Friday night, Fiona (another Irish girl) and I decided to brave the nightlife of El Puerto on our own. Prior to this we had always gone with a group of people, so going it alone was an exciting, yet daunting prospect!

We started off with a few drinks in “Bar Granada” or as the regulars call it, “Bar G”. In this cosy pub, run by Micki, a Chilean man who is known to befriend newcomers to El Puerto, we managed to make friends with some local Portuenses. After one or two “chipitos” (shots) we moved on to “El Niño”, an active pub/club that played English pop music all night long – much to our delight! Here, we partied to the early hours and added some more friends to our group, with a variety of nationalities including; Dutch, German, Lithuanian, Spanish and British.

On Saturday morning, we took a well deserved rest before hitting “El Paseo” for some bargain hunting. Shops like Zara, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti and Oshyo forced us to return home with our wallets considerably lighter!

On Saturday night, we attended a joint birthday party for 2 of our workmates. We decided to play pub golf, a traditionally British drinking game. The game involved visiting 9 different pubs, in 9 different locations, and drinking the specified alcoholic beverage within a certain amount of gulps. If you succeeded with one gulp to spare, your par then became -1 and +1 if you didn´t finish your drink within the set amount of gulps. With a drink in 9 bars, this game was a really great way to see the different types of night life El Puerto has on offer. For example, O´Donoghues offers charm and cosiness, while Bar Jamon had amazing tapas, Bar Granada gives low price drinks and a friendly service, as La Vue offers great music and room to dance while Bar Magdalena was a little off the beaten track but a great find nonetheless! My personal favourite was “El Reconquista” a bar with a Moroccan theme to it – they have great cocktails!We finally ended the game in “Loca”, where Fiona was crowned the winner. I must admit I was quite proud to come in second place!

On Sunday, we relaxed in the sun to prepare ourselves for the working week ahead. All in all, it was a great weekend, with the El Puerto nightlife offering a lot more than I had bargained for!

Until next time,

Audrey

Vote for the prize you would like to win and find out more about how to win the prize of your choice in the competition details of Sparking the world!

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El Puerto is truly a wonderful place and there is no better way to realise that than through video, so in this blog post we attach you links to two videos on El Puerto that we liked.  The first shows you images of the the whole city as well as some images of the 15km apx of coastline El Puerto has.  The second is a bird’s eye view of our wonderful beaches, less professional than the first but in my mind a joy to watch.  I hope you enjoy them and if you wish to see some more El Puerto videos, please don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or suggest a video to upload.  La vida bella existe en El Puerto.

VIDEO of EL PUERTO:

BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF EL PUERTO:

Hi, everyone!

Well, let’s start with an introduction, my name is Audrey and I work as the Spark Administration Responsible. I am originally from Ireland, but I´m currently living and working in El Puerto de Santa Maria. I plan to keep our Spark followers updated about everything and anything, both Spark and El Puerto de Santa Maria related, over the next couple of months. Here goes…

Beach Day

Today, the 9th of February, is my eight day as Spark secretary. I am slowly adjusting to my Spark responsibilities and the Spanish way of life in El Puerto. So far it has been an intense but very enjoyable time.  The first few days of my arrival here in El Puerto were hectic, to say the least. I really believe that getting lost three times in one hour on the way to a Mexican restaurant is a new record. I don´t know what we would have done had we not randomly met Inge on our third attempt at locating “Zapata” restaurant.

During my first week of work, I got to do many interesting things, including, a visit to the Sparkville Academy/Residence. As I had been told the Sparkville building was currently undergoing renovations, I have to admit I was expecting a very basic building with a few shovels and maybe some cement mix. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Firstly, the building, which used to be an old hostel, is in a prime location, with lots of shops, cafes and bars nearby. The interior of the building is very spacious and parts of the beautiful architectural structures, from the hostel remain intact. These include some authentic stonework archways and walls. Even though the building is still quite far from completion, the core framework and interior design is very evident.

I also really liked one of the exterior “chill out” zones, a massive roof with a nice view of the town. We visited the spark building on the 2nd of February, and even then, the sun was beaming down on us as we explored the roof. I can just imagine how lovely it would be on nice hot day for a bbq, a chat with some friends or even just to have a few drinks and cool down.
All in all, my first experience was really interesting and I´m looking forward to seeing the progress at the Sparkville residence next time!

Until the next blog!
Audrey

Restaurant Aponiente, in El Puerto de Santa Maria, appears on the list published by the New York Times with 10 restaurants around the world worth a visit! Other restaurants on the list include restaurants in London, New York and Singapore amongst others. The mentioning on the list is a second big success for Resaurant Aponiente that was also awarded a Michelin star at the end of 2010. For the full list and a description of the restaurants by the New York Times, click here.