Monthly Archives: November 2011

Into the small

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Yesterday, I got up early to shoot some pictures for a report I want to make. So wandered around the city and eventually found myself on the outskirts with more and more greenery and nature around me. I decided to take a path into the forest so that I could take a beautiful walk home. When walking I stopped quite often to take macro-pictures – shots of small items such as flowers, fir cones or a spider net. It was a wonderful walk and a great start into the day.

Report: Ohlala, Madrid!

When people go on vacation to Spain they probable will go to Barcelona. The city with the beach, famous soccer club Barcelona and the Sagrada Familia from Dalí. But the capitol of Spain, Madrid is a must-see-city too.

Madrid is easy to reach from Holland. From Amsterdam a lot of planes fly to the capital of of the Mediterranean country. In two and a half hours you’re in Spain and it’s easy to take the public transport to the centre of the city. You can buy a ticket very easily and go to any metro station you want. Every ten minutes a metro goes to the centre of the city and there a the hotels and hostels were you can spend the night.

When you are in the city, the party can begin.

Pretty spots of the city

Walking trough the city is the best way to explore all the places. One of the places is the Parque del Retiro. There are artist who perform acts and alive statues in all different kind of themes. Pretty buildings in the park are the Palacio de Cristal build in 1887 with a nice lake in front of it, the statue El Angel Caído the only know statue that is dedicated to Satan and Estanque del Retiro, a big artificial lake is the central spot in the park. You van even rent a row boat and have the best view on the statue of King Alfonso XII that is in front of the lake. And what is better then relaxing in a boat on the lake when somebody else is rowing for you.

If you want to see the city in a relaxt way, you can also take a bus tour. The Madrid City Tour has a tour in 14 different languages and there are two different kind of routes. You can buy the tickets everywhere on the street and for 20 Euro a day (or 24 Euro for two days) you can see everything and get information about the spots. You can go off or on the bus whenever you want to see the place you like to see a bit closer.
But if you really want to enjoy, take your one earplugs, because the red ones you get from the tour aren’t that comfortable.


Museo Paseo del Prado has a stunning collection. On the first Wednesday of the month, people can go in to the museum for free, so why not take a look at the paintings. The museum is very big, it has two floors, and you will take a few hours to see all the paintings from Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn or Francisco Goya. Or sculptures from marble.

An other big museum in Madrid is the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The art in this museum is a big modern and you can find paintings from Salvodor Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Piet Monderiaan.

PYou can also spot giraffes in the zooanda’s

One of the special attractions of the city is the zoo. You might think, a zoo that’s boring. But Madrid has one of the most beautiful Zoo’s in Europe. The Madrid Zoo Aquarium has four giant panda’s , the two youngest pandas where born in 2010, and that is very rare for a zoo. In Europe their a just a handful panda’s born in captivity. But the Zoo also has koalas and Barbary lions and a big aquarium with sharks, octopuses and seahorses.


In Madrid you can go out in different ways. You can go to the cinema. The cinema Acteon show the films in English with Spanish subtitles so even tourists can see films. Even in 3D.

But if you want to do something more exciting you can go to bars or nightclubs. If you like rock and roll, you can go the the bar Pakestéis but for jazz you will enjoy Clamores and if you want to see the famous Spanish flamenco you have to go to Casa Patas they have a show every evening at midnight.

You van also find fun nightclubs in Madrid. Alonso Martínez & Bilbao is three floors with various genres and a lot of room to dance. Cuzco & Infanta Mercedes is an old club but still very popular. The play international disco hits and the ambiance is beautiful.


For men Madrid will mean one thing: Soccer. Real Madrid is a one of the, or the biggest soccer clubs in Spain and in the world. The stadium, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is almost in the centre of the city. From the outside Benabéu looks ugly. It is an Gray, concrete, huge building. But from the inside it is heaven for the soccer fans. You see the field, the same field where famous players like Xabi Alonso, Kaká, Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas play their home games. And it is huge. Over 80.000 people can fit in the stadium to watch Los Merengues.

Time goes fast!

Yesterday I was calling my dad to congratulate him with his birthday (that was on the 22th of November) and he was really happy that he could talk to me. But one thing he said was kind of shocking: “But I will see you soon, you will only be in the Basque country for three weeks.”

And that is true. I will be here for three weeks, that is short and there is a lot that I want to do! So I made a list, actually two lists. One want-to-do-list and a have-to-do-list.


– Go to Pamplona (this is a very famous city and a beautiful one, I think)
– Learn more Basque/Spanish cooking
– Have GirlsNight with Sarah, Rahel and Malgorzata.Maxibon
– Go walking at lake Ullibari or Urkulu
– Visit a wine making farm with Markus and Rahel
– Go to a Christmas market
– By gifts for my family!
– Eat a MaxiBon

– Finish the documentary
– Write my reports about the Basque country
– Write my paper for International Communication
– Do other school stuff…..

So that is quite a lot, and there are only 23 days left!

Running from the waves

Port of Getaria

Today we had the chance to see another pearl of the Basque Country. We walked on the camino de Santiago from Zarautz on to Getaria. That meant we were in midst of wine yards with an incredible view over sea and hills. When we arrived in the small town, we had a little refreshment in a bar and then went on to the port, where we had lunch. As recommended we went for fish, and I had gambas followed by sea bass, which was exactly the right thing for the athmosphere. After a while we took the path along the coast back to Zarautz – as we were accompanied by a surfer he made sure it was high tide and we would see the huge waves coming and going. From time to time we even had to run to avoid getting wet, but that made it even more funny.

Beauty in Zarautz

Yesterday I went to Zarautz with Markus and Rahel, my fellow journalists and Swiss friends. We went to visit Olwen, a college of us at

It was my first time in Zarautz and even in the dark and cold night, is was so beautiful. The beach was pretty and the sea came closer and closer. The only things you cold see in the dark was the foam of the waves.

In the morning I walked to the bus stop but I was very early so I went to the beach. And also in brought daylight it looked very nice. People were walking their dog on the beach because the sea turned low and there was a beach again.

And as every time when I go to the beach, here in the Basque country, a found a shell and took it with me. A reminder or beauty.

It works! An update….

Finally my blog works again. There was a problem with plug-ins so that is why I couldn’t blog any more. But I will give you an update.

Sort things out

I left you at feeling alone in October and after that I went home. Home to see my boyfriend and sort thing out in hour relationship but that didn’t work. I don’t know why we aren’t together, I don’t think he know ether but still he ended it.

I spend the week with my sister, brother and little sobrina (niece) Keela. I was sad, but happy to be with my family and little Keela, for who I have so many new and different feelings. I was nice to see my grandmother and my dad, my brother and my friends. I missed them a lot for two months.


After being home for 1,5 week I went to Madrid with my fiends Marcia and Iris. My sister and her mother in law brought me to the airport. And I was crying. Crying to leave my sister, crying to leave my family, crying because I was dumped for now reason, crying because I had to go away on my own, again.

Italian Food

Madrid was fun. It was totally different than Vitoria. I was crowded, without green and huge. We went to the Zoo (I love the zoo), rowed in a boat on a lake and ate lots of Italian food. But I was glad I could get home, my home in Spain: Vitoria.


It was nice to be home. When I went to school by bus and saw the mountains, the green, the trees, the little houses I passed so much the last couple of weeks I felt better. This was the place I new, with people I knew and all the green and mountains are so pretty. The green and the mountains are the things I love the most being here.

I feel sad that I can’t show them to my loved ones. The pictures are nice but in real life they are so beautiful and in the fall even more. But this is the way it is. I have to make more pictures to show the mountains and the beautiful view to my family, next month, when I am home.

Conservatives to save Spain

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On yesterday’s elections, the Spanish supported the right wing people’s party (PP – partido popular) with great majority. With a rate of 44.62%, the party gained 186 of the 350 seats in parliament. In addition to this, PP-leader Mariano Rajoy will succeed José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as Prime Minister. The conservative party was expected to win due to surveys already pointing in that direction. For me personally it was nevertheless a surprise that they would win with such a majority.

With 71,69% voter participation was slightly lower than in the previous general elections in 2008, when it was 73,85.

Left loses 59 seats

PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español), the left wing party which was in power for the last seven years, has lost 59 seats in parliament. While being elected by 43,87% in the previous elections in 2008, this year the Socialists only gained the confidence of 28,73% of all voters. This could be tracked back to the current economic situation Spain finds itself in today. According to a survey carried out in the first third of 2011, Spain has an unemployment rate of 21,52%, which is a total of nearly five million people without work. It has constantly been increasing since 2007, when the unemployment rate was at 8,3%. This reflects the highest unemployment rate in the first world. In addition to that, Spain’s youth unemployment is considered 43,61%. As the Spanish see themselves hit hard by the economic crisis, it seems like they have lost trust in the ruling PSOE.

Rajoy without euphoria

Meanwhile, elected Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warns people of being too euphoric. He said that he would not be able to work wonders. The 56-year-old furthermore called to make a common effort to confront these difficult times, referring to the economically difficult situation which he calls the worst economic crisis in decades. Rajoy stated that he had no enemies despite unemployment, deficit, debt and stagnation. It is clear that the focus for the new government will lay in economic issues. In general, promises and concrete statements from Mariano Rajoy have been rare during the campaign. However, in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País a few days ago he said that he would cut neither pensions nor raise taxes. But “we have to make cuts wherever possible”, he said.

Victory for Basque Country

The Basque country celebrated its own historic moment after yesterday’s elections. With this year founded left wing party Amaiur, the Basque Country is represented in the Spanish parliament with seven seats. The party emerged as a coalition of so called abertzale parties, significating their nationalist spirit. Amaiur’s most important goal is the self-determination of the Basque Country.

This is a special victory for the Basque Country as previous parties and coalitions have been outlawed and therefore not allowed to participate in elections. So has the Basque party Batasuna been banned in 2003 two years after its founding for having ties to the terror organisation ETA. A coalition called Bildu founded in april 2011 was further banned for having alleged ties to the illegal party Batasuna. The Spanish Constitutional Court however overturned this decision of the Supreme Court a few days later and Bildu was allowed to take part in the local and regional elections in May 2011. The coalition became the political party with most seats and second in number of votes (25%) in these regional and local elections. Bildu was founded in response to the foundation of the Basque party Sortu in February 2011 that was banned by the Supreme Court, which considered the party to be sponsored by the “Basque nationalist left” as the successor to Batasuna, therefore in affiliation with ETA. Sortu has been outlawed despite openly rejecting ETA’s violence.

The latest elections have been the first without the involvement of ETA for a long time, after ETA announced the ending of armed activity in October 2011 after 43 years of terror and more than 800 people murdered.


San Sebastian

When you walk along the river to get into the heart of San Sebastian it is like you were walking towards a postcard. Various bridges mirror themselves in the clear water before you get to see the beach, where people stroll on the pavement along the sea. On a beautiful day everybody wants to take a breath of this fresh air out here and not few of them even labour the way up to a little hill just next to the sea to have the merits of the beautiful skyline on one side and the sheer endlessness of the blue sea on the other.

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Better late than never..

MeMaritxu 2011

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Copyright: Markus Baertschi

My personal report of Maritxu Kajoi:

On 9 a.m. I got up, took a shower, started straightening my hair. When Markus got up to take his shower, I let him overtake the bathroom for a while and made myself comfortable on the breakfast table. I started the day with “Vogelheu”, a very simple meal consisting of onions, bread, cream and eggs, which you all fry in a pan and tastes delicious. It used to be the meal of farmers in Switzerland, because this was a way of using the old bread and they naturally had eggs and cream or milk around. My friend Silke showed me how to do it late at night once, as her mother was the child of a farmer and passed the simple recipe to her. But today wouldn’t be about Swiss meals! No, today it would all be Basque – especially the food. Nevertheless, it would turn out to be a good decision to have eaten something before leaving the house, as anticipated lunch wouldn’t be served for a long time.

Where to find the perfect dress

So when the bathroom was my empire again, I continued putting on some make up, finished my hair, and finally slipped in my long, black dress. I especially enjoyed this moment as the search for a dress had been long and hard. The dresses I saw in the stores were all either too short, too coloured, with too much fuss around – I looked for a classically long, black dress without success. Until it suddenly came to my mind: I already had the perfect one at home. So in the last week before Maritxu Kajoi I let my mother send it to me from home. It came by mail just in time.

One last glance in the mirror, and I was ready to go. Ready to go to Maritxu Kajoi. The day that everybody had been speaking of for weeks had finally arrived.

We left the house with our huge umbrellas, which we especially went to Eroski for one day before as the weather had changed from sunny and warm to rainy. Markus already started clicking with his beloved Canon 7D. We then met friends of our hosts in the street and the spectacle could begin. A small martini here, a little beer there. We headed from bar to bar, met new people, left or lost others, chatted, laughed and socialised. The streets were full of girls with long, short, classical or extraordinary dresses in all colours. It was like an unspoken competition – which is the most beautiful one this year?

At first I was hungry

After three p.m. we went back to our cars to drive to the Restaurant of a friend’s uncle, where we would have lunch. We was at the moment around 20 people from Mondragon and surroundings and even some from Madrid.

Soon, the first glasses of red wine were filled and the first plate, Jamòn and Chorizo served. It would be followed by delicious Croquetas with sauce Bejamel inside – which I will miss incredibly after this stay – and fried Calamari. After that, the first challenge came: Gambas. I really like the taste of them, but as they were fresh, everybody had to turn the head off and skin them, which was a rather bloody thing. From this course on, I was actually quite full. But of course we would have more: For example a fish with small faked eels on top, a common meal in this region, not so common to me. I was happier with the piece of meat that would follow, along with some French fries and red peppers. Now I was hardly able to get anything into my stomach anymore, but fought myself trough the tasty dessert, anyway. And we were done.

Back on the road

Around 7 p.m. we were back in the streets. Chatting, laughing, socialising. The highlight would come soon – at 8.30 the miracle would be revealed. At this time, a big crowd gathered on the main square of Mondragon, excitedly waiting for what was to come. Suddenly, a big bang. The first tone hit the silent crowd. And everybody started singing the familiar phrases, first in Basque, then in Spanish. But: This year something was different. Instead of the known melody that had been played for decades, it was a newly interpreted one, played by a Punk Rock Band of Mondragon. I didn’t really understand the miracle, as my hosts had been talking about this subject for weeks, but for some it sure was. Besides that, it was the core of a heated debate of supporters and opponents of this modern interpretation.

Anyways, all discussions would be forgotten in the next bar. Now everybody was dancing and cheering, the evening on his top. Personally, I started to feel the long day in my legs and started to say goodbye at around 2 p.m. I finished the day at home, in a comfortable trainer and some “Vogelheu”.

Piece of Basque history no. I

As we passed by the words Carlist War as well as Maria Cristina lately (independent of each other), and all of us couldn’t say what this was about, I decided to cross-check those for any of you who are interested in history. There were three Carlist Wars, I will here carry out only the first Carlist War for now. This war mainly affected the Spanish regions Basque Country, Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia.

The first Carlist War took place from 1833 – 1840 and had its start shortly after the death of Ferdinand VII of Spain who wished his minor daughter Isabella II to become Queen. On her behalf, her mother and Ferdinand’s wife would reign in between. He backed this decision with a law he had adopted himself, the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830, which would replace the old Semi Salic Law that said that no inheritance of the Salic Land shall come to a woman.

That was exactly the Law that Carlos V, brother of Ferdinand VII, held on to. He argued that as Ferdinand VII was born before 1830, this law wouldn’t be valid yet.

Despite the family crisis that might have initiated this conflict, the first Carlist War has a deeper meaning. The crisis split the people into Cristinos (or Isabelinos) and the Carlists. The Carlists as followers of Carlos V fought for “God, Country and King”. Their war was mainly about remaining the Spanish traditions of legitimism and Catholism and fighting the carried out liberalism of the ruling government.

The liberal government won the first Carlist War after seven years and the conflict was settled with the Convention of Vergara. For now.