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Presenter : Shilpa Mehta

Northern Spain

Sixty million visitors come to Spain each year but most head for the tourist resorts in the south. Shilpa Mehta’s journey takes her through the less travelled north of the country.

Shilpa Mehta at the Running of the Bulls in PamplonaStarting in Barcelona, Shilpa explores the city’s rich architecture and discovers Flamenco dancing in the street. Just outside Barcelona is the small town of Terrassa, where Shilpa watches a Catalan traditional event of building human castles.

From Terrassa Shilpa heads for Pamplona in the province of Navarra, where the annual Bull Run known as ‘El Encierro’ is taking place. Running alongside the bulls whilst they are herded through the streets is seen as a test of machismo, but participants risk serious injury and even death.

Shilpa hitches a lift north to San Sebastian,where she samples the tapas dish unique to theBasque region, known as pintxos. She then continues her journey to Asturias, where she explores the Somiedo National Reserve by mountain bike.

The next leg of Shilpa’s journey takes her to the heart of the country, Madrid. Just outside the city, she visits a school for young bullfighters, and picks up some of the skills required for the Magic bus: Shilpa and the crew on the roadjob.

From Madrid, Shilpa’s road trip takes her northwest through the cities of Segova, Avila, Salamanca and finally Zamora. On this journey she glimpses a spectacular aqueduct, visits a farm that raises bulls for the ring, and finally witnesses a bull fight with a famous female matador.

In the north west of the country Shilpa joins thePilgrim Trail, staying in refugios along this famous religious route. The trail ends inSantiago, and Shilpa arrives in the picturesque city just in time to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Spain’s patron saint, St James. After attending a service in Santiago cathedral, Shilpa watches a spectacular fire work display, symbolising the turning of the Moslems out of Spain and victory for the Catholic faith.

In contrast to the lively festival in Santiago, Shilpa ends her journey further west on the Atlantic coast. This is a vast expanse of virtually unpopulated country, stretching to the edge of Europe. This destination is known as Cabo Finisterre, which means ëthe end of the world’. A fitting place to end an incredible journey through one of Europe’s most enticing countries.

 

Places Mentioned - Southern Spain, Spain, Spanish Islands

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