American Folk Singer, Alex Smith, Live at Sala Buho Real!

American Folk Singer, Alex Smith, Live at Sala Buho Real!

Alex Smith, one of the most promising young folk singers coming up in the States right now, will perform live In Madrid at Sala Buho Real on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 20:00: this is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your roots or get a taste of some real, authentic Americana, so mark your calendars ASAP!

Folk
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Smith follows the authentic folk tradition with deep, poetic songs full of rich stories and harmonies, inspired by the people in his hometown in the Adirondacks in New York State. He was featured in the Emmy award winning PBS documentary, Songs to Keep, the producer of which said:

“When Alex sings traditional folk songs from his region, he energizes them with his own voice, arrangements and charisma. I sought him out to perform in the Emmy award-winning documentary Songs to Keep: Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector, and it’s a real pleasure working with him.”
– Paul Larson, Producer, Mountain Lakes PBS

His Madrid set will be acoustic, creating an intimate experience that will transport you to the upstate mountain logging towns and back in just one evening. As Sarah Craig, director of the legendary Caffe Lena (where Bob Dylan got his start!), said: Smith is “a natural storyteller with a rich voice who is creating poignant songs rooted in the heritage of his Adirondack home.”

Folk
Tickets are available at the door, so be sure to get there early: here at Guiri Guide, we’re big fans of the song ‘Long Lake’ and are psyched to finally hear it live! As a reminder, Smith is performing in Madrid for ONE NIGHT ONLY, following a busy tour through Austria, so this is your big opportunity! See you all at Sala Buho Real at 20:00 (8pm) on May 4th guiris!

Se Habla Español, Madrid’s newest Spanish program

Se Habla Español, Madrid’s newest Spanish program

Se Habla EspañolHey guiris! Continuing with our tradition of language school reviews, here’s a bit about Madrid’s newest solution to learning Spanish– Se Habla Español. While not a traditional Spanish school, Se Habla Español partners with Spanish academies like AIL Madrid for classes and provides additional activities, language exchanges, nights out, and an intense sense of community.
Servando y RoxanaWho they are: Se Habla Español was started last year by two energetic entrepreneurs, Roxi and Servando. She’s from Valencia and studied journalism here in Spain before interning at a Spanish school and discovering her passion for sharing Madrid with newcomers. He’s from Venezuela, where he completed his degree in business admin before heading to the UK to study English, and finally to Madrid to study marketing. They are both passionate about providing the full Madrid experience to newcomers or a more intimate community to those who have been here a while but are still looking for their niche.

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What they offer: Se Habla Español is really focused on practicing your language skills while exploring the Spanish capital. Their activities in Spanish include walks around Madrid and/or museums, bar nights every Thursday at El Estudio de los Arquitectos, and Friday night, open bar intercambios (that turn into raging parties) at Star Studio 54. They can also hook you up with Spanish classes at one of their partnering schools so that you can brush up your skills before heading out to practice them in real life situations. Finally, they’re in the process of starting up some conversation classes of their own where you can practice with a native over drinks in a cafe, so keep an eye on their website if that’s something you’re interested in.
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Why we like them: to begin with, Roxi and Servando are super nice and welcoming. Secondly, they offer a great opportunity to join an international community here in Madrid, which we all know can feel a little lonely when you first arrive. In addition, it’s always more fun to explore the city with friends and maybe go places you wouldn’t think of on your own.

So if you or your visiting friends or family are looking for an authentic Madrid experience filled with tapas, café con leche, big smiles and more, Se Habla Español might just be what you’re looking for!

A week under the Málaga sun

A week under the Málaga sun

Malaga beachHey Guiris! With spring weather coming at us full blast, I’d like to share a little about my recent experience in Málaga for those of you who are itching for some beach time: I´d been working in Madrid for just over six months and finally decided it was time to take a break and improve my Spanish, so 3 hours and 50€ later I stepped off the train and into the sun to start my intensive Spanish course at AIL Málaga!

Since the only short description of what followed would be “a fantastic, bombastic, toptastic experience of a lifetime”, let me try to break it down into detail:

Living with international people

Malaga castleMy housing was already arranged by my academy when I arrived, so I just went directly to my shared flat in the center of the city from the train station. Once there, I met my new roommates for the week and realized we were quite an international group: Domenico from Italy, Ella from Switzerland, Verena from Germany, and me (from the US)! To get to know each other better, we made a big international dinner together on my first night (including a huge homemade pizza, tasty Swiss cheese, apfelstrudel and buffalo wings) and talked the night away.

AIL Málaga Spanish Classes

 experience in MálagaAfter such a great first night in my flat, I didn’t feel at all nervous about meeting new people and immediately made friends with my classmates and teacher. Classes at AIL Málaga are very conversational, encouraging debate, which was made extra interesting since my classmates and I were from five different countries and had very different opinions! We enjoyed discussing bullfighting in particular, since the practice was far more shocking to some of us than others. I never once felt bored, loved my native teacher, and found the experience very energetic and dynamic!

Party time in Malaga

Malaga nightlifeMy new friends from class and my flat mates already had a pretty good handle on Málaga’s nightlife, so we visited a few of their favorite places each night and I can now proudly say I know TONS of Málaga bars! But my favorite spot by far is a bar called ‘Picasso’ (lots of places are named after him in this city), where all the international students go and you can hear at least six different languages being spoken at a time.

Malaga- art and culture

Picasso museumIn addition to the crazy nightlife, Málaga also has tons of interesting things to visit during the day. I didn’t have time to do everything so I’ll definitely have to return again soon, especially since there always seems to be a museum to visit, a concert to go to, or another beach to explore. My Brazilian friend, who’s also an art fanatic, recommended the Picasso museum, which is made extra special since was the artist’s hometown. It features paintings from each period of his artistic career, and I was particularly taken in by “La Mujer con los Brazos Levantados” since I had studied it in art history- seeing famous works come to life off the page always sends tingles up my spine!

Malaga’s Tasty Cuisine

Malaga cuisineMy more foodie-focused friends and I went on a seaside walk to try Málaga’s famous ‘espeto de sardinas’ (grilled sardines on a skewer) and ‘porra antequerana” (a chilled soup made of tomatoes, vegetables, and bread). I have to say, I love the taste of Málaga!

Sun and downtime in Málaga

Malaga Paddle boardingA siesta on the beach is just what the doctor ordered after a light, Mediterranean lunch: and there’s so much beach in Málaga that you can always find a nice spot to lay your towel. After developing a nice tan, my friends and I rented paddle boards and took a spin around the bay: not only was it fun but there was a fantastic view of the city from the sea!

After one of the best weeks I can remember, it was time to go back to Madrid but my Málaga friends are planning to visit me soon and I know I’ll be back again soon. I hope you guys find this helpful while planning your trips to Málaga, especially if you’re looking for a great Spanish school. ¡Hasta luego!

Madrid: St Patrick’s Day 2016!

Madrid: St Patrick’s Day 2016!

St Patrick’s Day 2016Hey guiris! Are you starting to get that spring fever? Looking to let those ants out of your pants and get a little weird? Well, we at The Guide have a treat in store for you: a list of St Patrick’s Day Events in Madrid that will knock those pants right off and send them express to mars!

This year, Madrid is combining the classic tradition of Irish bars, bombastic parties, black tie galas, and general hooliganism, mixed with a little bit of wholesome Irish tradition and culture. Needless to say, it’s going to be a blast, so let’s get down to details:

St Patrick’s Day Events in Madrid

The Irish Embassy
Events from Sunday March 13th to Friday March 18th

St Patrick’s Day 2016St Patrick’s Family Fun Day, Parque Deportivo, Puerta de Hierro, on March 13th:
This blow out includes traditional Irish dancers and musicians, Gaelic football, hurling matches, and Irish films. For families with children, the event also includes temporary tattoos, stickers, storytelling, and Irish theatre! Enjoy traditional Irish cuisine from the vendors at the park, or feel free to pack your own picnic.

St Patrick’s Charity Gala, Westin Palace Hotel on March 18th:
A perfect opportunity for networking and adding a little sparkle to your life, this black tie charity ball is brought to do by the embassy in conjunction with the Spanish Irish Business Network. The 100€ entrance may seem steep, but grants access to: cocktails and appetizers, a four course Irish meal (smoked salmon, angus beef etc), an open bar, live entertainment from the Irish Treble, and a raffle to benefit families affected by William’s Syndrome. Plus, it’s held at the Palace, darling! What’s not to love?

St Patrick’s Day The Irish Rover (Av del Brasil, 7, 28020 Madrid)
Events from Sunday the 14th to Friday the 18th, with a month long themed menu!

Themed pub quiz and language exchange, March 14th and 15th
On Monday, they’ve got a great Irish themed pub quiz, followed by an intercambio on Tuesday!

Live music from The Colonials, March 17th and 18th
The Colonials (who are flown in from Ireland just for this!) are returning with another great set, dancing, and countless opportunities to make new friends! Another great reason to go: free necklaces, drinks, and some yummy snacks! Grab your entry bracelet at the door and get a free drink, and/or visit at any time in March to try their Irish themed menu.

Irish bars in Madrid

Do you like to play it fast and loose? Make party decisions on the fly? We get you, guiri. You’re a wild child, with a lust for casual fun and nights that might get a little weird. So we’ve got just what you need- a complete list of Irish Bars in Madrid . These spots have all planned some of their wildest parties yet (Dubliner’s is already talking a big game), and they’re all just for you. Get your green on, you crazy thing.

Join Us!

Here at Guiri Guide, we’ll be participating in the Global Greening campaign (see below) and hitting up numerous parties! Feel free to join the movement and tweet us your St Patrick’s Day photos and stories! @Guiri_guide

Are you a St Patty’s newbie? Here are a few things you should know…

Madrid St PatricksGlobal Greening

Countries across the world are jumping on the Irish bandwagon by participating in the Global Greening campaign. One example in our very own Madrid is the Cibeles fountain and palace, which will glow various shades of green all evening on March 17th, so be sure to walk by and check it out! A few reasons why this is happening:

St Patty’s complicated, yet glorious history…

 

Let’s take this back a moment and remember why we’re drinking all this beer: St Patrick’s Day was crowned as an official feast day during the 17th century, originally as a celebration of St Patrick’s, and thus Christianity’s, arrival in Ireland. As the years went by, the day graduated into the day we know and love: a celebration of Irish heritage, culture, music, and origins. Religious and cultural festivals (or a mix of both) can be found not only in Ireland, but throughout the world: the largest non-national celebrations are held in Canada, Great Britain, Argentina, and the United States. Even the international space station throws a party (though I’m still waiting for my invite)!

A quick tip on your getup:St patricks day Madrid

The color green and/or the sporting of a green shamrock are non-optional, unless you want to get pinched! The shamrock has been worn for centuries to represent luck, Irish heritage, and (at times) the Catholic Church. Whichever representation you choose to honor just make sure you’re wearing green or (and again, I do not joke and am 100% speaking from personal experience), some enthusiastic, slightly tipsy partier will definitely pinch you. Then again, that might be exactly what you’re looking for! 😉

Have fun guiris! We love you!

Gluten free guide to Madrid: Part 1

Gluten free guide to Madrid: Part 1

mercadona 1Hey Guiris! Are you gluten-free and not sure how to handle a new city? I sat down with a few of my classmates from AIL Madrid this week to put together the ultimate gluten free guide to Madrid, with everything you need to know to stay happy and healthy in Madrid.

This week: Supermarkets! And stay posted because our tips for bakeries and restaurants are coming soon!

Mercadona Mercadona Mercadona!

Unlike BeetleJuice, this is something you desperately hope will appear after you say it three times because Mercadona is the gluten-free lover’s best friend. It’s constantly rumored that the owner of Mercadona has a celiac daughter and, whether or not that’s true, his sympathy to gluten free diets is made obvious throughout his stores. Each and mercadona gluten free guide to Madridevery gluten free product (self-evident or not) is marked with a clear blue and red stamp if its celiac friendly, and the options are vast and exciting! Freshly made bread, multiple pastas, frozen pizzas, cookies, ice cream and the list goes on.

When it comes to lactose free products, they are also incredibly well labeled and the options are plentiful, if not as impressive as the gluten-free ones. But the best part about this store? It’s actually affordable. Yes, Corte Ingles has lots of gluten free products as well, as does Carrefour, but you won’t find prices (or labels) better than Mercadona. Its only possible rival is the gluten free section at Alcampo, but Mercadona is more likely to have a location near you.

If you don’t have easy access to one of these big stores, don’t sweat it because even the little corner stores have a lot of gluten free products these days: yes you’ll have less choice, but you’ll definitely find some tasty options!

As always, feel free to add your own tips in the comments 🙂