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The controversial and overcrowded Saloufest begins.

29 Mar

 “It´s huge… It´s back… and it´s better than ever!“. That´s the advertisement of the polemic Saloufest, that will take 9.500 British University students to the township of the Golden Coast this year for taking part of a sport festival which, actually, also involves long nights of revelry and wildness. It´s the thirteenth edition and it´s breaking records of participation (last year 8.500 people came). Never before too many young people had been signed to the Saloufest -In Salou (Tarragona)-, which in his web page claims to be “the best festival of the world” and guarantees “the best week of your life” for a little more than 200 euros.

The young people, aged 18 to 25, are students of english, scottish and welsh universities. They will arrive in three batches: 4.000 participants arrived yesterday after a long travel from their hometowns that more of them made by bus. The students will lodge in seven hotels and apartments in Salou untill March 29. Since April 1 to 7, a group of 4.500 young people will arrive in Salou. Similarly, the next day 1.000 students will land on the city.


Some of the students in the Pacha disco.

The college crowd travel to the municipality anxious of fun, party and sex. Although in their baggage, the students have room for sport clothes, because during the day they usually play sports. This year include two new modalities, “handball and riding“, according with Doreen Straatman, accountable for Sol Active Tours, the company which organize the event. However, much of their baggage are full of colorful costumes because after the sunset, thousands of young people -generally scantily clad-, join next to hotel pools for then going out to streets looking for alcohol.

Transformed in herds of Hawaiians, superheroes, playboy bunnies and cheerleaders, they travel through a route of bars and clubs until morning. Some of them end in fast food restaurants, tumbling in sidewalks or urinating in corners. Much of them, finish looking for parts of a lost costume. Despite the college crowds, Straatman argues that never have been serious incidents or altercations.

In addition, facing the neighbors complains about noise and the image of drunkenness tourism that project for some of them, Straatman defends the date helps to extend the tourist season. “They come in off season and they’re more seen, but the noise an English student can do is the same that others”, he says. In a economical crisis context like the current one, the festival leaves substantial economic benefits to Salou, about five million euros.

The organization puts on offer trips to Port Aventura, parties in the Pacha’s disco, routes in boat along the Golden Coast, breaks to Barcelona and daytime celebrations in the pool with happy hour. The Saloufest has passed barely unnoticed until 2010, when a participant reported a violation. Then, the festival had an international repercussion when it was discovered it was advertised by using lures such as drinking alcohol from a shoe or having sex in an elevator. The Generalitat was about to retire the seal of familiar tourism off Salou. After the torrent of critiques, the organization suppressed this kind of devices.

Source: El País    Photo: Google Images

One voice towards the world

29 Apr


The National Action Plan on Cultural Foreign Policies makes the atmosphere of collaboration between ministries official to consolidate the brand “España”.

That which seemed impossible between the foreign minister (Miguel Ángel Moratinos) and the culture minister (César Antonio Molina) was actually achieved the 7th of April by two different ministers, Trinidad Jiménez (the current foreign minister) and Ángeles González-Sinde (the current culture minister). The foreign policies to support the development of cultural activity, which were long ago a controversial topic between the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Culture,  has led these two ministries to work hand-in-hand officially since yesterday .

 It must be pointed out that the understanding started in November 2009, when Moratinos and Gonzalez-Sinde signed an agreement in order to establish “the reinforced strategy to promote Spanish culture abroad”. And that day the last step was taken, thanks to the presentation of the National Action Plan on Cultural Foreign Policies in the headquarters of the Spanish cultural institution the Instituto Cervantes. In straightforward terms, it means that “there is only one voice, only one strategy for the Spanish culture in the world”, González-Sinde said. She reminded the economic potential of the sector (800,000 employments, 4% of the Gross Domestic Product) and the impact of the creators in the brand “España”. “Culture provides us with a fundamental tool so as to present Spain as a modern, dynamic, varied and plural country”.

Edificio situado en la antigua sede del Banco Central diseñada en 1918 por los arquitectos Antonio Palacios y Julián Otamendi para el Banco Español de Río de la Plata.

Instituto Cervantes in Madrid/ Source: Flickr

The plan, which doesn’t count on a proper financial endowment-each organism, Foreign Office, Culture, Cervantes and AC/E (Acción Cultural Española, the official brand which promotes Spanish culture) develops the international action plan as stated in its budget, is considering the creation of an advisory council and a consultative forum, in which the civil society would participate. The Real Instituto Elcano (“a forum for analysis and debate on international affairs and particularly on Spain’s international relations”) would act as a consultative organ too.

During the year, specific strategies for each sector and country will be approved in order to straighten the brand “España”, to boost the spreading of each official language, to project the creation trough singular events and to promote cultural tourism. The plan presented  join the recent initiatives like the merger of the three cultural societies into one (Acción Cultural Española, AC/E), forced by the drastic budgetary reduction which was resolute by the government consequently to its austerity plan.


Presented a 1757 plan which represents part of the historic area of Lugo

21 Apr

The map, elaborated by the sculptor Agustín Baamonde, was found in the archives of the Pazo de Tor in Monforte

The Museo Provincial de Lugo (Provincial Museum) was the scene the morning of 13th April of the presentation of a street plan, found in the archive of the Pazo de Tor (Monforte de Lemos), which represents the distribution of the neighbourhood of Campo Castelo in 1757, located right in the center of the capital’s (Lugo) historic area.

To the presentation of this valuable document attended the vice-president first of the Deputación de Lugo (a legal organism which has 1757 Lugo's Planauthority in the province), the nationalist Antón Bao, as well as the manager of the Red Museística (Museum network), Encarna Lago, and the director of the Museo Provincial herself, Aurora Balseiro. The historian Adolfo de Abel Vilela, author of a report about the aforementioned plan, also participated.

The map is a picture made by Agustín Baamonde, a sculptor from Lugo. It dates from the 22nd June 1757 and represents the distribution of Campo Castelo in that time. It has a remarkable historical significance since it can help to understand the way the city evolved. By the report of the historian, it is a mixture of plan and elevation whose scale measures are probably realistic. However, because of the map we know that the author had a lack of knowledge in planimetry and perspective.

Adolfo de Abel Vilela pointed out that it is probable that the sketch of the district was elaborated in order to be used in a lawsuit between Lugo’s bishop fray Francisco and one marquis of Lugo in the Real Council (a consultative and decision-making organism with authority above minor institutions).

In fact, he added it’s also possible that there is some documentation related to this issue which is preserved in the Pazo of Tor’s files.

Several works of the author’s plan are known, such as Saint Antonio’s altarpiece, sculpted for his brotherhood, founded in the convent of Saint Francisco; several images of Saint Froilan, Saint Bartolomeo’s, the eight angels bearing the lamps of the major chapel or Saint Peter’s image, which can be seen in the Cathedral of Lugo.

In his intervention, Antón Bao explained that the Pazo de Tor is becoming “a very important fund of historic findings”, so that the Deputación de Lugo is going to invest 190,000 euros to improve the building conditions and to assure the conservation of all documents and valuables that it keeps.

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