Archive for Spain

Overnight: Humans Wrestle Horses - 'Rapa das Bestas'



I had never heard of this tradition (which some see as animal torture, akin to bullfighting) before. It takes place in the villages of northwestern Spain in the 'Galicia' region. No, not that 'Galicia' if you're thinking of Poland and further east. Galicia in Spain gets its name from Celtic settlers and Galicia - whose borders are a little vague - gets its name from a village called 'Galicja'

Wiki for 'Galicia (Eastern Europe)' - a disputed title, by the way here.

Wiki for 'Galicia (Spain) here.

So...let's talk about the 'Rapa das Bestas'.

As you'll see from the video, it's a real struggle between the villagers who wrestle the horses to the ground so that their manes can be sheared and they can be outfitted with identification tags but it also doesn't take long and the animals are not permanently damaged. It's necessary, according to the practice's defenders, because the horses are wild in the woods near the village 364 other days of the year.

PETA doesn't like it at all.

Here's a Wiki on 'Rapa das Bestas'

The video was made by


Overnight: Petrer, Spain: Festival of Moors and Christians



Just as we have our Civil War reenactments, the Spanish have them, too, but not that Civil War - one which came much earlier, between the 8th and 15th centuries. You can read more about it here.

Festivals commemorate these battles - between Christians and 'Moors' (Muslims from Morocco though not only - hence the name) all through Spain. This video is from the festivities in Petrer.

These festivals are not loved by everyone. You can read about opposition to them here.


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Corruption Across the European Union 'Breathtaking' (EU Report)



I just found this story on the BBC:

Corruption Across the European Union 'Breathtaking'

Note: the map represents the results of the question "Are you personally affected by corruption in daily life?' - not the actual results of the survey.

What I find strange about the story is that I lived in and traveled through Europe for about 17 years and was never asked for a bribe or felt that others were being asked for them or giving them unbidden.

I'm trying to figure at what level this corruption took place, perhaps if you were looking for building permits or dispensations from safety regulations.

I do wonder why the difference between north and south is so high. I do remember many stories from travelers to the former Soviet Union of constantly being asked for bribes to get the simplest things done. I have no idea if anything has changed since then (ca 15 years ago).


Video Overnight Thread- Flashmob Performs Heartwarming ‘Here Comes the Sun’ in Madrid Unemployment Office


I cried. Via.


VIDEO- Mitt "Chevy Chase" Romney failed Commander-in-Chief test, insulted our closest allies, "made an ass of" himself


After being subjected to this video of Romney’s foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute, including his newest major reversal on foreign aid, let's respond with this quote:

"We're not going to be lectured by someone who has been an unmitigated disaster on foreign policy every time he's dipped his toe in the foreign policy waters," said Obama campaign traveling spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "Just as a refresher, this is the same guy who, when he went overseas on his trip, the only person who has offended Europe more is probably Chevy Chase."

Team Obama takes it from there:

Mitt Romney has insulted our closest allies, rushed to judgement without facts while Americans were under attack, called Russia—not al Qaeda, our greatest threat, called the Iraq withdrawal "tragic", and didn't even mention Afghanistan in his convention speech.

"Reckless, amateurish—that's what news media and fellow Republicans called Mitt Romney's gaffe-filled July tour of England, Israel and Poland. When our U.S. diplomats were attacked in Libya. The New York Times said Romney's knee-jerk response 'showed an extraordinary lack of presidential character.' And even Republican experts said Romney's remarks were 'the worst possible reaction to what happened.' If this is how he handles the world now just think what Mitt Romney might do as president."

Indeed, let's not forget what Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister said about Romney: “What I see is ignorance of what is reality.”

Nor should we forget Mitt Romney’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad British gaffe-athon.

Nor that a Jewish group said, hey Mitt Romney, 17,000 of us want you to apologize to the Palestinians for your “racist and ignorant” comments as Palestinians protested Romney statements as “racist”.

And this: Russia is “without question, our No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

Romney is not qualified to be Commander In Chief.


Spain's Deputy Prime Minister on Romney: "What I see is ignorance of what is reality."


First we had Mitt Romney’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad British gaffe-athon.

Then a Jewish group said, hey Mitt Romney, 17,000 of us want you to apologize to the Palestinians for your “racist and ignorant” comments as Palestinians protested Romney statements as "racist".

And let's not forget this old chestnut: Russia is “without question, our No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

So there was that.

It's a new day, and with each new day, Willard M. Romney brings us a new hot mess. Today's involves his latest: managing to offend Spain. He's running out of countries to insult, but never you mind, he'll keep at it until he angers the entire world!

Romney is planning a big important foreign policy speech Monday at the Virginia Military Institute. Let's see if he addresses any of his many, many worldwide embarrassments, the most recent at the presidential debate during which he claimed Spain was a perfect example of government spending gone wild.

How endearing.


That left Spaniards confused, and threatened to reinforce Romney's perceived handicap in international affairs [...] Spain's level of government spending is actually low by European standards, and significantly less than Germany and Scandinavian countries with far healthier economic prospects. Spain's woes were chiefly caused by the collapse of a property bubble that had fueled more than a decade of booming economic growth.

Spanish reaction to Romney was swift.

"What I see is ignorance of what is reality, but especially of the potential of the Spanish economy," said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

Maria Dolores Cospedal, leader of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party, noted that "Spain is not on fire from all sides like some on the outside have suggested." Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo called it "very unfortunate that other countries should be put up as examples" when the facts are skewed. [...]

By singling out Spain, Romney ruffled feathers in a country he will probably need to call on for assistance if he becomes president. Spain has almost 1,500 troops in Afghanistan. It contributed fighter jets, refueling planes and naval vessels to the U.S.-led NATO mission that ousted Libya's Moammar Gadhafi from power.


Sure, Mitt can confidently bounce onto a debate stage full of himself, his reinvention, and his lies, but raising international eyebrows-- again-- exposes him for the inferior, ignorant candidate that he is. Let him try to run from, laugh off, or Etch A Sketch that.

H/t: Bernie Andreu