Category Archives: Interesting stuff

A look around Sevilla’s April Fair

Sevillas Fair
Sevillas Fair

When the spring is almost in the air and Seville smells like orange blossom, the April Fair takes place, a world-famous fiesta which is full of grace and color.

Its origins date back to 1846 when Narciso Bonaplata and José María de Ybarra signed a proposition which demanded to celebrate an annual festivity. From that moment on, it has become the most emblematic fiesta around Seville – where, during an entire week, either get-togethers or friends are the center of attention.

The sceneries are formed by several stalls, distributed all over the streets which are densely packed crushed rocks one. The stalls are decorated by flowers, pennants and paper lanterns.

These stalls belong to families, groups of friends, associations or entities, and that’s why the entrance is restricted to their members and guests. They usually have a tablao or a dancing area (here’s a good location for flamencos outside of the festival) along with a bar or areas where people usually meet each other.

This fiesta lasts six days; it kicks off Monday night when local people meet within their stalls to have dinner while enjoying the traditional “pescaito frito (fried fish)”. At 11 p.m. the “alumbrado” takes place when huge wooden arches (improvised also every year for the occasion) flood the local streets with colorful bulbs and paper lanterns which means that the holiday has already started. Of course, this does not prevent some families from an earlier celebration, and they usually start partying that Friday which previously comes before the holiday.

Every day, the local people come in the middle of the morning, to enjoy the eye-catching Paseo de Caballos (Walk of Horses) where riders or horsewomen, with their typical suits show their talent and their horses or where the nicest horse hitches usually color the showground.

A bit of advice: leave your backpacks and larger luggage at the hotel or place where you’re staying, else you risk to lose it in the crowd and is a nuisance to worry about constantly. I actually got my backpack with a special safety strap that just ties around my waist and arm and makes the backpack hard to remove from me. Check out the best carry-on pack listings on Rangermade.

Almost every Sevillian, in spite of his/her age will have the traditional flamenco suits on. They will spend the day dancing and singing flamenco, eating and drinking the golden Fino de Jerez (a local wine) or the Manzanilla.

In the afternoon, at 5.00 p.m, the most important bullfights of the year are held. And after that, a long night full of songs and dance awaits. It generally ends up with the traditional breakfast known as the chocolate con churros (chocolate with crullers) which can be served within the local bars and food stands along the streets.

The fair ends on Sunday at 11 p.m. when its splendid night lighting stars in and the fireworks show marks its closing ceremony. This way, a colorful and ephemeral spectacle comes to an end, expecting for another year to light up the Sevillian people’s days.

Ever stayed in a tent in winter?

Bivy tent stayingEven though it’s winter and chilly outside, and maybe it seems a little odd and you don’t have a mind for tents right now, now’s a good time to buy a tent. Why? Because prices are lower than in the summer, when outdoors sports stores are filled with people, something which stores take advantage of to raise prices.

Where/what for do you use your tent?
In that respect, we can classify tents into:

  •     Bivouac tents (made only for one person)
  •     Hiking tents (3seasons – spring, summer, winter)
  •     Expedition tents (4 seasons – especially for winter)
  •     family tents (tents large and tall)

Bivouac/bivy tents consist only of a sheet and 2 poles for support. You’ll sleep directly on the thin “floor”. Bivies are not a substitute for tents, for failing to provide protection in case of rain, don’t keep insects at bay and the only advantage is the lower weight. In other words, we would recommend them only for veteran hikers. For a good informative read on the best bivy tent http://www.rangermade.us/best-bivy-tent/

And also this resource: http://www.climbing.com/skill/the-essentials-survive-an-unplanned-bivy/

Before you get to know the main rules of resting in a bivy tent it is Bivouac tent in summernecessary to mention that climbers should not resort to it except in cases of extreme need, because it does not offer complete resting conditions, which may have implications for the rise of the next day.

The bivouac is still needed in the following situations:

-on long trips, especially in peak traversals, when climbers are forced to spend the night on the ridge, away from shelter;

-in the case when the next day the team must leave very early on route.

On some tracks – which normally can be completed in a single day — it happens that the hiking time gets long because of a sudden change in weather. In this event, the team must take into account the possibility of a bivouac stay, and carry with them the necessary gear.

Bivouacing becomes obligatory even in shifts that normally would not require this, if the team has undertaken a route unknown, if it was lost, if special conditions occur, if an accident happens, or if a team member falls ill.

In terms of installation of the bivy, there are several general rules that climbers need to comply with. Firstly, the installation is never postponed after night fall, since a bivy is usually set up in unfavourable atmospheric conditions, on inappropriate ground, and teammates are tired, you need enough visibility that can be installed as well. Secondly, the bivouac material must be of good quality and checked continuously.

The value of a bivouac tent depends to a great extent on the material used and the choice of the site.

As we talked in a previous chapter about bivuacare material, we give below a few rules regarding the choice of the bivouac.

warm-bivy-shelterThis choice is made with particular attention, since any mistake may result in imminent danger. Taking this into account, the bivouac is installed in the following conditions:

a) Away from danger of rock falls and avalanches. To do this, the bivy is placed at the base of valleys or passageways and highly inclined slopes. Also, do not place at the base of walls or slopes that drain water.

b) Away from wind currents. The bivy is not installed on peaks and ridges, but in places protected from wind, on opposing slopes or in buildings.

c) as close to the route to be followed as possible. To gain time, the team will stay on high ground when going uphill, and on low ground when going downhill.

d) on a surface as smooth as possible, to allow the setting up of the tent and the arranging of a small terrace at the entrance. This terrace eases the installation of the bivy tent and stops the sliding of objects downhill. When there are several tents, these are grouped as close as possible, in order to be better protected against wind and cold.

e) on a platform cleaned from snow. In winter, if the snow layer is not too thick, it’s good practice to remove it from the platform of your choice, to avoid the wetting of the tent.