Spain by Jan Morris

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Spain is one of the absolutes. Nothing is more compelling than the drama, at once dark and dazzling, of that theatre over the hills – the vast splendour of the Spanish landscape, the intensity of Spain’s pride and misery, the adventurous glory of a history that set its seal upon half the world . . . Passionate, evocative and beautifully written, Spain is a companion to the country: its people, its history – and its character. First published in 1964 and no less compelling today, Jan Morris’s classic work is back in print, bringing Spain, its glory and its tragedy, vividly to life.

Spain

A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain

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Anthony Bourdain, life-long line cook and bestselling author of “Kitchen Confidential”, sets off to eat his way around the world. But being Anthony Bourdain, this was never going to be a conventional culinary tour. Bourdain heads out to Saigon where he eats the still-beating heart of a live cobra, and travels deep into landmined Khmer Rouge territory to find the rumoured Wild West of Cambodia (Pailin). Other stops include dining with gangsters in Russia, a medieval pig slaughter and feast in northern Portugal, the Basque All Male Gastronomique Society in Saint Sebastian, rural Mexico with his Mexican sous-chef, a pilgrimage to the French Laundry in the Napa Valley and a return to his roots in the tiny fishing village of La Teste, where he first ate an oyster as a child. Written with the inimitable machismo and humour that has made Tony Bourdain such a sensation, “A Cook’s Tour” is an adventure story sure to give you indigestion.

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Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey by Tim Moore

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Being larger than a cat, the donkey is the kind of animal Tim Moore is slightly scared of. Yet intrigued by epic accounts of a pilgrimage undertaken by one in three medieval Europeans, and committed to historical authenticity, he finds himself leading a Pyrenean ass named Shinto into Spain, headed for Santiago de Compostela.
Over 500 miles of extreme weather and agonising bestial sloth, it becomes memorably apparent that for the multinational band of eccentrics who keep the Santiagan flame alive, the pilgrimage has evolved from a purely devotional undertaking into a mobile therapist’s couch.
Ludicrous, heart-warming and improbably inspirational, Spanish Steps is the story of what happens when a rather silly man tries to walk all the way across a very large country, with a very large animal who doesn’t really want to.

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A Late Dinner: Discovering the Food of Spain by Paul Richardson

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In this vivid and humorous journey, Richardson takes us past the cliches of paella and gazpacho to tell the real story of Spain’s mouth-watering food, from the typical coastal cuisine to the shepherd cooking of the interior and the chic ‘urban’ food of Madrid and Barcelona. Along the way he gets caught up in a fish auction and the annual pig slaughter, spends a day at El Bulli restaurant and makes a never-ending stream of new friends.

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Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell

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‘Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism as I understand it’. Thus wrote Orwell following his experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, chronicled in Homage to Catalonia. Here he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity, describing with bitter intensity the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic episode.

Barcelona by Robert Hughes

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A modern homage to a proud, cosmopolitan city, where geniuses like Picasso and Miro learned how to break the rules. Robert Hughes takes us down the Ramblas through the “intestinal windings” of the ancient gothic quarter, past the bountiful Boqueria market to the Eixample.

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee

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It was 1934 and a young man walked to London from the security of the Cotswolds to make his fortune. He was to live by playing the violin and by labouring on a London building site. Then, knowing one Spanish phrase, he decided to see Spain. For a year he tramped through a country in which the signs of impending civil war were clearly visible. Thirty years later Laurie Lee captured the atmosphere of the Spain he saw with all the freshness and beauty of a young man’s vision, creating a lyrical and lucid picture of the beautiful and violent country that was to involve him inextricably.
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The Pillars Of Hercules: A Grand Tour Of The Mediterranean by Paul Theroux

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At the gateway to the Mediterranean lie the two Pillars of Hercules: Gibraltar and Ceuta, in Morocco. Paul Theroux decided to travel from one to the other – but taking the long way round.
His grand tour of the Mediterranean begins in Gibraltar and takes him through Spain, the French Riviera, Italy, Greece, Istanbul and beyond. He travels by any means necessary – including dilapidated taxi, smoke-filled bus, bicycle and even a cruise-liner. And he encounters bullfights, bazaars and British tourists, discovers pockets of humanity in war-torn Slovenia and Croatia, is astounded by the urban developments on the Costa del Sol and marvels at the ancient wonders of Delphi.
Told with Theroux’s inimitable wit and style, this lively and eventful tour evokes the essence of Mediterranean life.
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Ghosts Of Spain: Travels Through A Country’s Hidden Past by Giles Tremlett

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The Spanish are reputed to be amongst Europe’s most voluble people. So why have they kept silent about the terrors of the Spanish Civil War and the rule of dictator GeneralĂ­simo Francisco Franco? The appearance – sixty years after that war ended – of mass graves containing victims of Franco’s death squads has finally broken what Spaniards call ‘the pact of forgetting’. At this charged moment, Giles Tremlett embarked on a journey around Spain – and through Spanish history. Tremlett’s journey was also an attempt to make sense of his personal experience of the Spanish. Why do they dislike authority figures, but are cowed by a doctor’s white coat? How had women embraced feminism without men noticing? What binds gypsies, jails and flamenco? Why do the Spanish go to plastic surgeons, donate their organs, visit brothels or take cocaine more than other Europeans?
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