The Virtual Traveler

Hosted by Cstar1

Travel the world with us. Watch and share videos and photos, and also get some amazing travel deals and sales. If you've explored the world, or wish you could, this forum is the starting point for your journeys. Relax and enjoy the world.

  • 1424
  • 16587
  • 0


Life in Exile   Asia

Started 11/18/17 by Cstar1; 264 views.

From: Cstar1


When you travel around the world, not everything is majestic castles and beautiful rivers. Sure, those are the pictures we like to see, but sometimes there are also pictures we need to see.  

Msg 2100.2 deleted
In reply toRe: msg 1

From: RGoss99


Even most of the pictures and their titles are false. Think of the term "castles in Spain", i have only seen one of the many mentioned on Mallorca, the rest are either palaces or fortresses. 

The game goes like this: the tourist industry decides what people should see, most of which give kick backs, to make sure their sites are liste, which often means better, more authentic sies are never seen.

this gets reinforced when the majority of tourists bring home the I was their photos and selfies, so the next generation feels that their trip is a failure if they don´t get the same pictures.

Here is my method:

1. buy a good guide book in advance. make a ranked (A-F) list of all the things you are interested in (A=,must see, D =see only if it is raining, free, and not out of your way, F=don´t bother)

Then knowing you are, or are not missing, stay away from guides, explore on your own, take the cheapest most local public transportation, and be opened to looking down some

side street, not on any list.

2, go to shops and arestaurants, where you don´t see any ourists, especially villages that don´t show up on any list.

3. Check the local papers - does not matter if you can´t read th language, because the key words are mostly close to English. Usually towards the back, just after sports and sex, you will find such as "Mallorca Today"* which is usually followed by films, concerts, and TV. You will probably find many events that are not aimed at the tourist audience, but popular to the locals (example) below


*sadly, by the time you get a chance to read the equivalent of "Mallorca Today", today is half oveer, and many things are so far away you will miss them anyway. Some smart publications have a section called "tomorrow" These are not adverts, simply a listing by location, subject, and time.


I am a member of a casteller team (there are 150 of these between Valencia, Catalunya, Baleares, and Catalunya Nord (France). Most people find out the day after the events when they post pictures sof what you missed in the next day´s paper. The Baleares Region has about 1 million populaltion of 4 islands, but one weekend last summer 1.5 million tourists past through the Palma airport. The tourist area is about 10% of the island, so most of us never see any tourists in a normal day. A few summers ago the U.S. VI Fleet came here for R&R. For security reasons, only "approved" tour busses had access to their landing place. One package tour costing 40€ just for transportation went to "Festival Park" for the day - an American type shopping mall. But if the U.S. troops walked a mile, they could take a local bus there, round trip for about 3€. There other option was tourist bars, restaurants, and souvenire shops withn a mile of the harbor. At least once a year, 2 or 3 casteller teams, have a competion, inside an old fortress separating the cathedral from a park and the sea, it is never listed in the guide books, or turist information booths, probably because it is free. Every time we are there, some tourists visiting the Cathedral (competitions usually right after church services, where the south door, looks down into the fortress where people can see and hear the event) so they come down to watch, take photos, and/or participate - usually say this is great, why did no one tell us about this. So when the U.S. forces visited, I sent kids on bikes to handout simple fliars, one side told what castellera was all about, the other side was a simple map. Simple because old palma is a half circle facing the sea, and the Cathedral can be seen from everywhere. As a result we got about 300 marines and sailors come. Some were suspicious because people handing out fliers are usually promoting something that costs money.


Castellera is a prechristian ritual which became a dance, then a sport. The object is to build the highest most complicated human tower, spectators encouraged to join in the base to make it safer, and when one team is up, the other teams give support to make it safer. There are about 150 teams, of which about 30 are major (above 7 stories) the other minor 7 or lower) My team "Al·lots de Llevant" is now 28th in rank, having moved from minor to major league a year ago October. see clip - NB language is not in spanish, but not hard to figure out.

While this is the international competition lasting two days, the ones the tourist are most able to see are at most 3 teams, in an afternoon, but usually a part of a 9 day novena, with many other events which tourists seldom see, even if they are only a mile from their hotels.


From: Cstar1


Castellera is fascinating - I hadn't heard or seen it in years, until your recent posts. 

In reply toRe: msg 4

From: RGoss99


there is a strong link between castellera and Catalán nationalism. while its origins are prechristian, by the 19c, it was sort of a kids playground game. At that time there was a huge infestation called "phylocera" that decimated the southern Europea wine crop, putting a lot of people out of work, and stress between field and factory workers, So the mayor of Valls (Tarragona - Catalunya) turned it into a sport to distract the tension. You see, that while there are winners, no one cares very much, in fact if you look at the bottom of the castells in local competitions you will see the shirts of other teams, helping the one that is up, get a good score safely - afterwards they dance to celebrate a safe competition then go to a joint after party. So the source of the present 150 teams, is the two in Valls. Because the fact that this competition and the dance known as the Sardana (where there are no leaders, partners, or start - symbolyzing a communal effort) Franco tried to ban both, but failed. On Boxing Day (Saint Steven´s day - as in Good King Winceslaus). at the Palau de Música Catalana, there is an annual choir concert, which ends with the national anthem (Segadors) and "Pilars". In Castellera speak, a castell is based on a huge base, a trunk with 3 or more at each level, then 2 then 1 and 1, a tower has a trunk of 2, and a pilar a trunk of 1. For points a castell 3x7 = a tore 2x6, = a pilar 1x5. I have been in this in the past, and will fly over for one night to participate this year. Regarding the crisis, had I known I would have flown over, skipped the hotel and taken the ferry overnight back. Nervous about strikes, tried to change - can´t booked solid, then tried for insurance, but they will not insure for anything but illness. Hotel to Airport is about an hour underground, so that means I will miss my flight ifthere is a disruption. In this clip which has the "pilars" at the end, the enthusiasm of choirs and audience, and the fact that the "independenistes" are not geriatric hippies but would be recognied as establishment types in the U.S. If you look closely you might recognized some celebrties such as: Montserrat Caballer (opera), and looking nerdy with a red bow tie, right behind the conductor, Puigdamont, currently exiled president of Catalunya.