Destination: Spain

Budget Dining in Barcelona: How to Do it Right

Budget Dining in Barcelona: How to Do it Right Photo by visualpanic via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by visualpanic via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The first time I visited Barcelona, I was at the tail end of a 10-week backpacking trip around Europe. I had just four days left before I caught a plane back to the U.K. (where I’d been living) and then home to Canada—and, predictably, I was out of money.

My British and Canadian bank accounts were both tapped out, and while I could still charge my dorm bed—a clear necessity—to my credit card, I stubbornly refused to charge restaurant meals or withdraw cash for groceries on it. (The interest will kill you, y’know.)

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Travel Movie Watch: ‘Homage to Catalonia’

More than 70 years after its initial publication, George Orwell’s Spanish Civil War memoir is hitting the big screen.

Hugh Hudson, best known for “Chariots of Fire” and “I Dreamed of Africa,” will direct, while Colin Firth and Kevin Spacey have already signed on to star—the media coverage of the news doesn’t offer anything definite, but it looks as though Firth will play Orwell, and Spacey will take on the role of Georges Kopp, Orwell’s POUM commander.

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Eight Great Family Travel Stories

Eight Great Family Travel Stories iStockPhoto

To mark World Hum's eighth anniversary, we've collected eight favorite travel stories from our archives that explore the family vacation in all its forms

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Eight Great Travel Stories of Serendipity and Kindness

Eight Great Travel Stories of Serendipity and Kindness Photo illustration by Jim Benning

To mark our eighth anniversary, we've collected eight favorite stories from our archives that show how one person, or one small act of kindness, can alter our sense of the world

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Dhani Tackles Poetry: ‘The Dancing Leprechaun’

Dhani Tackles Poetry: ‘The Dancing Leprechaun’ Red Line Films/Travel Channel, L.L.C.
Red Line Films/Travel Channel, L.L.C.

NFL linebacker and Renaissance man Dhani Jones hosts the new Travel Channel show, Dhani Tackles the Globe.

Like any good Renaissance man, he’s writing poems inspired by the travel experiences featured on each show.

The topic of tonight’s journey: Spain’s Basque Country.

The Dancing Leprechaun

In the blink of an eye, the bullet passing by, I’m amused at the compilation,
the assortment,
the distraction which is the ballet written on the granite wall.
The pelota, considered what some might suggest,
is the test,
to defy gravity and bend with the basket.
I lean on life like I lean on the court for support it keeps me lifted. My feet move quickly like a dancing leprechaun not far away searching for the pot of gold.
For in the stands mama y papa bet at hand the game they wish to unfold. The odds the bookie takes pacing the people as they consume tapas and xcholi galore.
The Basque country,
the Basque region,
its passion,
pride and legend they consider and more.
I am a man who has traveled so far to reach this point of flexibility. The ocean of San Sebastian, consider its beauty and amongst those that fight for immortality.
Yet, you can reflect while chewing chuleta. Indulge while chorizo is on the mind.
But never not now, will you ever forget that very first time. 

Makalani ‘09
Carpe Diem ...

The Thrill of Gel and Other Disappearing Edible Delights!

Photo of food at Alinea by xmatt, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Grant Achatz, the avant-garde Chicago chef, went to Madrid to attend Madrid Fusion, a congress of 50 of the world’s best chef, and all he got was a crappy food-stained T-shirt. Moreover, in this article he penned for the Atlantic, Achatz bemoans on a grander scale by wondering if molecular gastronomy is dead. Most of the world’s population didn’t even know that it had been born. But Achatz sat there during the meeting as chef after chef took the mic and felt pangs of emptiness:

“Where were the culinary fireworks? The introduction to the next ingredient that was going to enable us to turn oil into powder, serve a gelled liquid hot, or thicken an infusion by simply blending in a magical white substance? Where were the explanations of new techniques? Like the ones used to create raviolis with skins made from themselves, making pasta from stock, and aerating food to produce sponge-like textures?”

Raviolis with skins made from themselves? Aerating food to produce sponge-like textures? Sheesh. And he wonders why people may be losing interest in it.


Interview With Ferran Adria: Spain’s Super Chef

Interview With Ferran Adria: Spain’s Super Chef REUTERS/Victor Fraile
REUTERS/Victor Fraile

Superlatives and Spanish chef Ferran Adria seem to make the perfect pairing. His restaurant, El Bulli, located north of Barcelona, is often referred to by foodies, travelers and restaurant critics as a culinary heaven. The best restaurant in the world. And, as a result, nabbing a reservation is like winning the lottery: 100,000 requests for reservations per year come in. If you’re lucky enough to get one, you arrive in Spain hungry.

Adria spends six months out of the year in his Barcelona workshop, creating a menu (some have dubbed it “molecular gastronomy”) that is so avant-garde that it’s hard to find anything else like it (unless, of course, a chef is copying Adria—and many are).

I recently exchanged emails with Chef Adria and asked about his interest in travel—and I tried to be extra nice in the hope he’d grant me one of those impossible-to-get reservations.

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Morning Links: Paris Celebrates Voids, Favellywood, the Travel Bug and More

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A Very International Oscars

Last night’s Oscars ceremony is likely to be up for debate for some time—among the most contentious issues, for me, is the fact that the cast of “High School Musical” got more screen time than most nominees—but one thing is certain: it was the most international Oscars since 2004, when Charlize Theron thanked everyone in South Africa, and the winners from “Lord of the Rings” managed to name-drop just about everyone in New Zealand, too.

In the 2009 edition, there were acceptance speeches smattered with Spanish (Penelope Cruz, for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) and Tamil (A.R. Rahman, the composer for “Slumdog Millionaire”), there were shout-outs to Mumbai (from the assortment of “Slumdog” winners, who took home 8 awards between them), and there were two separate winners from Japan.

My favorite globally-flavored Oscar moments, after the jump:

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R.I.P. Conchita Cintron, Woman Matador

The Peruvian matador’s debut performance dates back to 1937. She died in Lisbon at the age of 86.

Morning Links: The Belgian Flair for Comics, New Orleans Street Theater and More

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The Year’s Six Best Global Pop Albums

Seun Kuti in Oslo REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Ben Keene wants a new category added at the Grammys: Global Pop for the Traveling Mind. Herewith, his nominees.

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Sailor Girl

Sailor Girl on State of Maine Photo by Edie Platt

Cullen Thomas considered his mission -- joining his mother on a perilous sea -- a noble one. But he presumed too much.

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Hoscar the Grouch

Hoscar the Grouch Photo by Big Richard C via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo of Lisbon Lounge Hotel by Big Richard C via Flickr (Creative Commons)

It’s the Hoscars! No, it’s not an Oscar party with your friend from Rome, but rather Hostel World’s ranking of the top 10 hostels in the world, based on the opinions of some 800,000 hostel bookings in 20,000 different properties. We heard that backpackers the world over were scratching themselves with anticipation and/or scabies while waiting for the 2009 winners to be announced. The top dog: Travellers House in Lisbon, part of a clean sweep of the top three by Lisbon hostels.

Meanwhile, hostel fans on the other side of the Atlantic are out of luck, as no American—neither North nor South—properties made it on the list. It’s proof positive of something, probably the lure of Spectravision at a Motel 6. Even so, do take the list with a grain of salt, as even old travel writing greybeards like Leif Pettersen have yet to grace the sheets at any of the top 10.

Check out the top ten below.

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Travel Movies Go to the Oscars

Travel Movies Go to the Oscars Photo by ginnerobot via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by ginnerobot via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yes, the Oscar nominations are in. And while this year’s crop of nominated travel flicks won’t exactly be waltzing down the red carpet with all eyes on them—as expected, the films that made noise at the Golden Globes got significantly less love from the Academy voters—a handful may yet manage to sneak in one of the side entrances and grab some hardware.

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