Author Archives: Alba DeSantiago

Bullfighting at Las Ventas

They say that if the conditions are right and you are close enough to the ring, you can smell the blood being spilled at a bullfight in Spain. Certainly the gruesome and violent nature of this centuries-long Spanish tradition has been condemned by animal rights activists internationally and has even prompted the Spanish province of Catalonia to outlaw the sport all together. However the sport endures, especially in the southern region of Andalucía and in Madrid.

Plaza Mayor, Madrid

It was mostly curiosity that compelled us to buy tickets to a bullfight at Madrid’s legendary Las Ventas bullring. Admittedly, we were also swept up in the romantic idea of attending a bullfight in Spain. Visions of passionate crowds yelling “olé” in unison as brave and daring toreadors in gleaming costumes waved colorful capes in the air seemed to distract from the fact that the bulls were there to be killed. This fact only became more and more clear in the days leading up to the bullfight. Proponents of bullfighting defend the sport as a wholly invaluable cultural practice that has defined Spanish culture around the world. While the iconic status of the toreador cannot be denied, one must ask if this is worth the lives of innocent animals. To go even further, do the Spanish people want to be known as a culture that celebrates the slaughter of animals for entertainment? Pushing aside these conflicting feelings was not easy but necessary if I wanted to remain objective.  So on a drizzly Sunday afternoon in late September, we caught the metro to Las Ventas, hoping to be enlightened, but anticipating sadness.

Bullfighting in Spain generally takes place on Sunday evenings from mid-spring to early autumn. We were fortunate to be in Madrid for one of the last corridos of the season. We climbed the stairs, away from the dark, humid metro and emerged to stand in front of the brilliant Las Ventas bullring, widely regarded as the “Madison Square Garden” of all bullrings, where only the best bullfighters have the privilege of performing. The graceful arches and mosaic details of the building helped establish an undeniable sense of place. It felt as if we were in the inner most chamber of the heart of Spain. I expected to see tourists, like us, lured to the bullring out of morbid curiosity. But there were also older Spanish gentlemen who looked as if they had been coming to bullfights their entire lives. There were families with kids, young couples and even bands of old ladies with colorful umbrellas. Once inside the bullring, our anticipation was almost palpable but tinged with a tiny bit of fear. Continue reading

Snack Time in Brussels

Hello Brussels, I never thought I would be in you, but here I am—fresh from a Eurostar trip from London. I brought my friend Nick Savage; he’s never been to Europe, so this visit is extra exciting to him. I hear you have waffles and fries? Beer too, I do love your beer. And chocolate, of course—who can forget? Oh, right and you have mussels! Holy cow Belgium, is there anything else to do besides eat?

The Magnificent Grand Place in Brussels

Three days in Brussels was a perfect break between London and Paris. With no real plans, Nick and I arrived to Gare du Midi expecting some art nouveau architecture and some fries. We did not expect to find a real snacking culture in Belgium that is completely lacking in other parts of Europe (France, Italy—no snacks). In this two-part post, I’ll take a look at a couple of the defining foods that make a visit to Belgium a worthwhile experience, especially for anyone who likes to eat.

Waffles
There are two main types of waffles in Belgium: gaufres de Bruxelles and gaufres de Liege, named after their respective cities of origin. Bruxelles waffles are similar to the types of waffles Americans are accustomed to eating. They are made from a batter similar to pancake batter. Once they are cooked on a cast-iron waffle maker, they are light and chewy on the inside and remind me a bit of funnel cake. Liege waffles are made from dough and are a bit denser. What really makes them special is that they are made with pearl sugar, so when the waffles are cooked, the sugar caramelizes and forms a great sugary crust on the outside.

Gaufre de Liege with Strawberries

Upon arriving in Brussels we immediately sampled both types, plain, just to be fair and objective. Liege waffles were absolutely our favorite; I don’t think we even bothered with gaufres de Bruxelles after that initial taste test. Nick wisely declared that a proper waffle is neither a cake nor a cookie, but rather something in between. Sure, the Liege waffles we had were good enough to eat on their own as we wandered through the Grand Place, but who could resist the seemingly endless list of optional toppings? Fresh fruit, Chantilly cream, Nutella, chocolate, and of course, ice cream. While there are several places to get a waffle in Brussels, especially around the Grand Place, we always ended up at a tiny waffle shop that seemed to be run by a gaggle of teenage girls. Continue reading

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Title : Boyka: Undisputed IV
Release : 2016-09-22.
Language : English.
Runtime : 87 min.
Genre : Action.
Stars : Scott Adkins, Bashar Rahal, Teodora Duhovnikova, Alon Aboutboul, Valentin Ganev, Julian Vergov.

In the fourth installment of the fighting franchise, Boyka is shooting for the big leagues when an accidental death in the ring makes him question everything he stands for. When he finds out the wife of the man he accidentally killed is in trouble, Boyka offers to fight in a series of impossible battles to free her from a life of servitude.

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24 Hours in London

Two months ago I traveled to Europe with a friend. London was our first stop and we would only be staying two days, which admittedly is not enough time to see and experience all that the city has to offer.  Our first day in the city was lost in a haze of tube transfers and jetlag. When we finally did manage to leave our hotel the first day, we spent most of the day walking, walking and more walking–ending the day utterly exhausted. That night, feeling a slight panic that we only had about 24 hours left to experience the city, we resolved to make the best of our last day before catching the Eurostar to Brussels. With only a short list of priorities, here are 24 hours in London.

9am: Eagerly we leave our hotel located in Kensington Garden Square, right behind Whiteley’s, and start walking west through Notting Hill to a cafe rumored to have a great traditional English breakfast.  The morning is bright, crisp and sunny as we pass expensive cars and gleaming white row houses covered in ivy. The cafe is located just across the street from The Travel Bookshop–yes, Hugh Grant’s bookshop from the movie. It was a real bookshop, but sadly it closed not too long ago.

9:30am: “I can’t leave London without  having some bacon,” my friend announces firmly. “English bacon is different, it is actually cut from the back of the pig as opposed to to American bacon that is cut from the belly,” he explains. He orders the traditional English breakfast with a side of bubble and squeak (a fried mash of vegetables and potatoes) and I order french toast with bacon and banana; we both order huge cups of coffee.  Looking around the cafe, I get a good feeling about the food we are anticipating. Its a Thursday morning and the place is busy with people on their way to work, friends catching up over coffee and eggs and an open refrigerator full of a mixture of familiar and exotic looking drinks (Tang in a can!). Continue reading

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Director : Aram Rappaport.
Writer : Aram Rappaport.
Release : January 13, 2017
Country : United States of America.
Production Company : Windward Entertainment, Create Entertainment.
Language : English.
Runtime : 80 min.
Genre : Crime, Thriller.

‘The Crash’ is a movie genre Crime, was released in January 13, 2017. Aram Rappaport was directed this movie and starring by AnnaSophia Robb. This movie tell story about In the not so distant future, a team of white collar criminals are enlisted by the Federal government to thwart a cyber-attack that threatens to bankrupt the United States of America.

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