Spain and NATO: A brief history of a love/hate relationship

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Spain’s admission into the NATO alliance, and to commemorate it, Madrid is hosting the organization’s summit. And it couldn’t have come at a more delicate time, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has made it one of the tensest moments in its history. Even so, despite Spain’s participation in some 22 operations over the years, the relationship has always been somewhat of an uneasy one, where support, disinterest and opposition push back and forth. Check out this podcast and learn a little more! Enjoy!

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STAYING COOL IN SUMMERTIME SPAIN

Summer in Madrid, and in Spain for that matter, can be a trying time for those who struggle with non-stop oppressive heat. There are many ways to cool off and keep hydrated, but in today’s podcast we are focusing on a couple of typical drinks (soft drinks) that are popular in Spain, and one that is hard to find, but still worth the effort to locate and try. Listen and enjoy!

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Spanish Fiestas: San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid

One of Madrid’s oldest and most traditional fiestas takes place every June at the church of San Antonio de la Florida, where each year women seeking a partner partake in the curious ritual of placing their hand in a basin full of pins and seeing how many stick to it.  The number predicts the amount of potential boyfriends they’ll have that year. Maybe one will become their future spouse. Listen to more and learn about the history of this classic Madrid tradition. Enjoy!

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Real Madrid and The Champions League: History of a match made in heaven

On May 28, Real Madrid won its 14th Champions League Cup, breaking its own record and widening the gap between it and the next team with the most cups, AC Milan, with 6. This wasn’t Madrid’s finest team, but it managed to pull it off, thus contributing to the belief by some that this team is somehow destined to greatness when it comes to Europe’s most important club competition. Today’s podcast briefly covers the history of Real Madrid and its successful love affair with the Champions League. 

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Spanish Songs that were International Hits

La Razón

How much do you want to bet? I bet you never knew that the 1960s classic, Black is Black, was made famous worldwide by the Spanish rock group Los Bravos? Surprised? I sure was when I first learned about it. It was the first Spanish international hit and it wouldn’t be the last. Spain hasn’t had many, but some have been enormously successful. Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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Spanish History 101, Ep. 14: Muslim Consolidation and the Dawn of the Reconquista

The Moors managed to conquer most of the Iberian Peninsula in a relatively short time. But for the first few decades, that dominance was more nominal than real, as constant infighting would hamper the efforts. At the same time, the people in the lands along the northern coast of Spain – which had resisted the Muslim onslaught – would almost immediately begin to take back lost territory. By 755, with the arrival of Abd Al Raman I, the Muslims would form their first state, the Emirate of Cordoba. The battle lines for centuries of warring had been drawn. Enjoy!

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Spanish History 101. Ep. 13: The Muslim “Invasion”

More than an invasion, the arrival of the Muslims, popularly called the Moors in Spanish history, came about probably as a result of a number of circumstances that made it perfect for them to go in and take control of the Iberian Peninsula. Was it deceit? Betrayal? Ambition? A combination of the three? It’s not easy to know for sure, but scholars have got a pretty good idea of what might have happened. One thing is for sure, once they did appear, conquer and settle down, they were there for the long haul. This episode takes to when it all got started. Listen and enjoy!

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Fiestas in Spain: Why do the People of Madrid Celebrate “2 de Mayo”?

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a famous celebration associated with Mexico, but in the region of Madrid, the 2 de Mayo is an annual holiday. The painting in the podcast was done by Goya and it powerfully depicts the horror of the executions carried out during the famous uprising against Napoleon’s troops in 1808. And it all started in Madrid. Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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FIESTAS IN SPAIN: Lunes de Aguas

Foto: Turismo de Salamanca

This picnic food featuring a hearty meat pie, called “Hornazo” in Spanish, is eaten on Easter Monday along the green banks of the River Tormes in the city of Salamanca. This is the traditional celebration of the Lunes de Aguas (literally, Monday of Waters) and it is almost exclusive to this city and surrounding villages. The wholesomeness of the modern version of the event belies its lewd origins, making it one of the funniest fiestas of the Easter season. Listen to this podcast and learn more. Enjoy!

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SEMANA SANTA MADRID

Madridiario

Processions are a ubiquitous image of Semana Santa in Spain, as hundreds of towns and cities celebrate Holy Week. The most famous are generally down in Andalusia (Seville, Malaga, Cordoba, etc) or up north (Valladolid, Zamora, etc.). Madrid has an old tradition of processions, but the custom had largely disappeared up until recently. In the past two decades they’ve become enormously popular and today locals and tourists flock to enjoy them. Listen and enjoy!

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