Photo of the Day (1/13/07)

Flamenco Dancer
For my Saturday evening photo of the day selection, I chose this one from StrudelMonkey. Taken in Seville, Spain last December he notes that flamenco is more than a folk music. “It embodies a complex musical and cultural tradition.” From the way the woman is moving, one can almost feel her thoughts and emotions seeping from her soles from what I imagine to be sweet sounds flowing from the Spanish guitar being played.

Bullet Trains in Spain

An interesting article (which was actually a long, but well-written advertisement!) in MIT’s Technology Review this month, talks about Spain’s push to lay high-speed rail throughout the country.

Spain had been hampered historically, from interlacing their rail system with the rest of Europe, since they used a different gauge track; but they developed high-speed switching wheels that switch gauge at the push of a button, and they’re laying new track with the European standard gauge. Their push is so big, that since 2003, Spain is putting more money in rail than in roads, seeking to link all of their major cities with high-speed rail by 2020: 10,000 km in all, servicing 90% of their population.

Already, the Seville to Madrid line is fully operational (and only 2 hours, 20 minutes), and is so efficient that they’ll refund your money if the train is more than five minutes late (which happens only 0.25% of the time). Their trains reach speeds above 200 km/hour (120 mph), and hit as high as 300 kph (185 mph).

Why the push for rail? One big reason is oil independence, and another is air pollution. Rail helps with both goals, plus, it whisks travelers right into the heart of the city.

Do Espana MTV Real World Style with STA Travel

Spanish HousesFans of the hit MTV reality series The Real World who enjoyed watching the cast of Key West on their Spanish getaway to Spain can live it up just the same. STA Travel is sharing the cast mates fan-tab and totally top-secret 10-day itinerary for the world to see and experience for their own. I’m sure this doesn’t really sound all that appealing to the older, more sophisticated non-MTV watchers out there, but it’s still a trip to Spain and the itinerary doesn’t look all that bad. Stops include Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona with packages starting at $605. Check out STA Travel for more details.