Friday, 21 November 2014

Spaniards, prepare for a long life

According to the latest research the average European lives 2 years longer than the average American. 

A baby born in the USA has a life expectancy of 78 years and 7 months, whereas the European baby can hope for 80 years and 4 months. 

This is mainly the average in the axis Ireland-UK-Benelux-Germany. 

In many countries in Eastern Europe it can drop to 77 years... and guess who makes the overall average go up again? 

Yes, Spaniards and Italians, on average looking at 82-83 years. 

Which propels them in the Top 10 of longest living people on the planet (admittedly, still overtaken by people from Andorra and San Marino). 

Now that question... what is the reason?

Out of work and struggling with the economy... but beating the USA, Canada, Norway, Australia, and just about any other typical role model - how do they do it? 

Digits are one thing, but to come up with that one and only answer is almost impossible. 

Most scientists point to the Mediterranean diet. It's heavy on fruit, salads, fresh fish and olives, for cooking olive oil is used instead of butter - and Spain also has so much agriculture that even the food on the supermarket shelves can come straight from the land. (As opposed to the bags of lettuce in the UK often coming from Kenya). 

Others assume it's related to more space and the fresher air. The air in southern Spain is said to be the healthiest of Europe - and do not forget that even air contains vitamins. 

More space and lower stress levels are also said to be contributors. 

Arguably the answer lies in a combination of many elements. 

If there's one thing humans and societies all try to achieve, it's a forever higher life expectancy...  so Spain must be doing something incredibly right.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Ski Season has started in the Sierra Nevada

Skiing in the morning and being on the beach in the afternoon: an unlikely luxury?
Once again, not so for Andalucía! Here it's only a 2 hour drive from beach to skiing runs.
Admittedly, only some 2 months a year: the typical ski season lasts from somewhere-in-November through to somewhere-in-February.
But sometimes it goes on until early May, at which point you can really expect very long, sunny days of skiing.
(But why combine skiing with beach, if you've got the superb city of Granada or the world renowned Alhambra at only 20 kms?). 
Today we are at the start of the season, so the reservation departments at all resorts in the Sierra Nevada are working overtime. It is the most southerly ski resort of Europe, and thus one catering to all aficionados of ski and snowboarding of southern Spain and Portugal. If you intend to stay overnight, make sure to make your hotel booking well in advance and as soon as you can!
Sierra Nevada means 'snowy mountain range' and snowy it is. The highest summit is the one of the Mulhacén mountain (3481 mts) and the highest ski lift goes to just below Veleta (at 3398 mts).
In case you hesitate, here are 2 handy links:
Anyone living in Andalucía, should have tried this at least once... skiing in the morning, après-ski in the afternoon.
Have fun!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Game of Thrones filmed in Andalusia

'Game of Thrones' filmed in Andalusia?

Yes! Producers at HBO have confirmed it: America's most popular TV series is coming to our gorgeous region.
To us who live here it's no surprise. Where to best transmit a mythical, imaginary land than in mythical Al-Andalus?
The shooting is said to start still this 2014. Parts of the TV series will be shot in the province of Seville, with the Alcazar in Seville city as main contender - but the town of Osuna will see most swordsmen and dragons.
This sun drenched hilltop town, amidst olive groves east of Seville, is well known for its 16th century courtyard mansions.
But hold your breath. Speculation might go through the roof, the precise locations and dates are a well kept secret.
This does not stop many Andalusians being in a frenzy. Iceland, a location of the previous season, saw it's tourism increase by a staggering 20% - mainly because of the huge fan base. One can imagine the inland towns and villages of Andalucía, with their current unemployment rate, looking forward very much to some action - and an increase in tourism.
Whether or not anyone will get close to the film sets: proud of Andalusia we will be anyway, anyhow, and anytime.
This is our 'tierra' where knowledge spread to the rest of Europe from the university of Cordoba, the land of tiles and food brought in by the Moors, the land of Carmen and Don Juan.
Every day is a Game of Thrones.
OK, the settings are.
But don't miss that 5th season!