Game of Thrones, Series 5 WILL BE filmed in Andalucía, Spain

Alcazar, Seville, Spain

IT’S OFFICIAL!

The eagerly anticipated announcement that Game of Thrones fans have been awaiting has been made.  The United States Ambassador to Spain, James Costos, has confirmed that Series 5 of the popular TV series will be filmed in Andalucía, Spain.

The Royal Alcázars in Seville (Reales Alcázares de Sevilla), which is the oldest Royal palace in Europe, has been chosen as the main venue for the filming of Series 5 of the Game of Thrones.  The Alcázar, originally a Moorish fortress, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and the palace is one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture.  (Filming will take place from 14th – 22nd October 2014).

Mercury's Pool in the Alcazar gardens, Seville

Mercury’s Pool in the Alcazar gardens, Seville.

 

Gold ceiling of the Ambassador's Hall, Seville Alcazar

Gold ceiling of the Ambassador’s Hall, inside the Alcazar of Seville.

It has also been confirmed that filming will take place within the historic town of Osuna, in Seville province – the origins of which date back three thousand years.

Whilst the exact locations of all filming within Andalucía for the Water Gardens of Dorne is still being kept secret, it’s understood that the Alcázar of Córdoba, the Alhambra Palace in Granada and the Alcázar of Málaga have yet to be completely ruled out.

This is good news for Andalucía with a boost to the economy in the region of €80 million euros, creating around 900 permanent and 5000 temporary jobs, as well as a growth in tourism to the area.

EDITED TO ADD: The Spanish producer chosen by US TV network, HBO, for the filming of ‘Game of Thrones’, has just issued a casting call for Series 5.   Interested persons should register with the following email address:

castingjuegodetronos@gmail.com

At this stage, specific characteristics for actors have not been announced – but hey – GO FOR IT! 

Which location would be your choice?  Would you like to be an extra in Game of Thrones?

 

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Gratitude and saying it with flowers!

Taking the high road in Frigiliana , Spain

Last week, I went on a photo-shoot around the pretty, white village of Frigiliana.  Can you see the little grey and white pebbles making up patterns on the steps?  And the plaque on the wall at the top of the steps?  Well, I’ll be telling you more about them soon, but for now I have a favour to ask.

I’m delighted to tell you that my blog, East of Málaga, has been not only nominated, but shortlisted for a Brilliance in Blogging (BiB) Award 2014 in the PHOTO category – BUT I NEED YOUR VOTES TO GET THROUGH TO THE FINAL!

CAN YOU HELP ME?

If you click through to the Voting Form HERE and then scroll down to the PHOTO section – check the little bubble next to East of Malaga, and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and submit your vote.

Last year more than 200,000 nominations and votes were cast – making it one of the UK’s most popular blogger awards. So, you can imagine how excited and honoured I am to have been shortlisted into the last 16 blogs in the PHOTO category.

Thanks everyone!

Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain

Tomorrow I’m heading to one of my favourite cities in Spain – Córdoba.  Not only will I be re-visiting the amazing Mezquita, but the main reason for this visit is for the famous Patio Festival.  

Nothing says it’s Spring each year more than the many private courtyards within the city with are opened to the general public, to view the beautiful displays of flowers.  It’s a few years since I last visited the Patios, so it will be quite a treat.  

I’ll no doubt be telling you all about that soon, too!

 

**If you don’t already follow my FACEBOOK page, then you are missing out on lots of information and photos that I never post here on the blog.  Come on over and say HOLA! 

 

One Trip EVERY Month Challenge: February


Vejer de la Frontera, Spain

I’ve a couple of trips to tell you about this month.   My February began in the delightful Andalucían town of Vejer de la Frontera, on the Costa de la Luz, where I was a guest at Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen.  Annie not only showed me around her home-town, where we feasted on delicious tapas, but she also took me to the fish market at the nearby town of Barbate, where we bought the delicious fresh ingredients we would use for our cooking weekend.

 I’ll be telling you all about Annie B’s fabulous Spanish kitchen in a separate post, later.

Border crossing from Spain to Gibraltar

My second trip was somewhere that many British expats take regular visits to.

Gibraltar.

Just three hours along the coast, it’s a popular outing to stock up on British goods and groceries we can’t always get hold of in Spain.  You know how we English love our cups of tea, so a trip to British supermarket, Morrison’s, can be a bit of a treat.

I’ve been to Gibraltar many times before, but I’ve always driven through the border on previous occasions.  This time, I was on a coach rather than in a private car, and as there was a bit of a queue of vehicles, some of us decided to hop-off the coach and walk across into Gibraltar.

No sooner have you crossed into the British Overseas Territory, you are faced with the following sign:

Airfield crossing sign, Gibraltar

Because  Gibraltar is so small (just over 6.5 square kilometres), and within that area is the famous 426m high Rock, space is at a premium.  This means that the peninsula’s runway is bisected by its busiest road, Winston Churchill Avenue.  Each time an aircraft wants to land or depart, barriers come down to prevent motor vehicles from crossing the airfield.  

As you can imagine,  it causes quite a spectacle …. and a queue!

Walking across the runway in Gibraltar

So there you have it – my contribution to the One Trip EVERY Month Challenge this month is two for the price of one!

One Trip EVERY Month Logo

If you’d like to join me, here’s how:

  • Each month, visit somewhere and then write about your trip or describe it using photographs – whichever suits you best.
  • Don´t forget to title and tag your entry ’One Trip EVERY Month Challenge’, and link back to this page.
  • Display the Challenge logo on your post or in your sidebar.
  • HAVE FUN!

Are you ready to join me by taking ONE TRIP EVERY MONTH?  What are you waiting for?  

GO!

F1 and MotoGP in Spain: My Kind of Speed Date!

Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari at Jerez, Spain

Most football fans know how HUGE Spanish football is within Spain, but what you might not know is how well attended motor-sport events are.

With an unprecedented four MotoGP motorcycle events, a Formula 1 weekend AND winter testing on the Spanish motor-sport calendar, it’s never too long to wait between speed dates!

During the late 1980s and twice in the 1990s, Jerez was the venue for the Spanish and European Grand Prix on the F1 calendar.  While it may have lost out to Barcelona and later, Valencia for the actual race, the Circuito de Velocidad (speed circuit) in Jerez has continued to be the place where the F1 teams prefer to conduct their winter testing in late January or early February, each year .

On the morning of Tuesday 28th January, we had an early start for the three hour drive to Jerez from our home, east of Málaga.  With good, quiet roads we made excellent progress and were soon within 20kms of Jerez, enjoying our breakfast of coffee and toast, and still in time for the 9am revving of the engines.

The circuit is well used to hosting huge motor-sport events and has a good system in place for funnelling the traffic to the nearby car parks, which cost us just 1 euro to park our car for the day.

Tickets for F1 Winter Testing at Jerez, Spain

The first time we travelled to Jerez to watch the F1 winter testing was about five or six years ago when only one of the stands was open, the entrance cost for the day was five euros and there were fewer than 200 people there.

Things have changed a bit since then, as now there is a choice of entrance to the VIP tribune area for 20 euros per day or general access for 10 euros per day.

Seating is not allocated within the circuit,  leaving you free to move around as you wish, to try to get the best view.  Since we were going to be there for the first two of the four days of testing, we decided to take the VIP tickets for the first day and have general access on the second.  That way we got access to approximately half of the circuit over the two days.

There are plenty of stalls where you can buy food and drinks or snacks, though you can also do what we did and take a picnic in a cool box.

Among all the stalls selling tee-shirts, flags and caps supporting various F1 (and Moto GP) stars, it was sad to see the irony of the “Sale rail” selling off Michael Schumacher tee-shirts for just 5 euros.

Lewis Hamilton emerges from his garage at Jerez

Our first day was spent on the inner part of the track, starting in the VIP tribune, opposite the team garages in the pit lane.  Not all the drivers are at the track at any one time, but over the two days we saw Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Jenson Button (McLaren), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes),  and Sergio Perez (Force India) amongst others.

There were lots of photographers in the pit lane and each time one of the cars fired up, there was a flurry of activity as they jostled to get first sight of the new, updated vehicles with their V6 engines and styling.

Just before the lunchtime break, we witnessed Lewis Hamilton’s spectacular front wing failure which resulted in his vehicle skidding for one hundred metres into the gravel trap and tyre barrier on the first corner.  Sadly, even though he was unhurt, this was the last we saw of Lewis, as the next day saw the turn of his team-mate, Nico Rosberg.

On the second day, we were nearer to the entrance, on the outside of the track, and there was definitely more driving action as the teams had adjusted their expectations after their testing sessions on the first day.  Every so often, the track marshalls waved their red flags to suspend the action, and out came the pick-up truck to collect a stricken car which had broken down somewhere on track.

Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull at Jerez, Spain

The winter testing days provide the first opportunity for the general public to see the styling and design of the new season’s cars and to hear the difference in the engines as their capacity has been reduced from 2.4 litre V8 to 1.6 litre V6 turbo.

I’ve been a motor-sport aficionado for as long as I can remember, and have attended quite a few Formula 1 and Moto GP events, but it’s always astonishing to see and hear the speed of the cars at the track, as they are greatly distorted on TV with telephoto lenses and microphones.

Bear in mind that these four days are for testing tyre wear, cooling systems, handling and suspension set-up, brakes, reliability and the overall performance of the cars.

It is not a race, so there is no guarantee that any particular cars will be on the track.

World Champion Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull, for example, only appeared during the final 20 mins of first day, for two individual laps and completed just two further laps on the second day.

I hope you will appreciate the clambering about I had to do to get some of these shots – but it was a good opportunity to put my new Nikon D3200 camera  through it’s paces!

Although Jerez is no longer one of the venues for the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix, the weekend of May 4th 2014 will see approximately 125,000 motorcycle fans descend upon Jerez for the first of four Spanish dates on the Moto GP calendar – the largest crowd of the MotoGP season worldwide.

How the Spaniards love their motorcycle racing, and no wonder with so many Spanish riders in the line up.   Current World Champion Marc Marquez, who won the crown last year despite being a rookie, is just 20 years old and will have his work cut out this season, with previous World Champion Jorge Lorenzo trying to regain the top spot. 

If you want to see a lap simulation around the track, click here.

Moto GP dates and venues in Spain for 2014:

4th May – Jerez

15th June – Catalunya (Barcelona)

21st September – Aragón (MotorLand)

9th November – Valencia

Formula 1 race in Spain 2014

11th May – Catalunya, Barcelona

MY SUGGESTION FOR A TRIP: 

If you are a fellow petrol-head and want to travel to visit either the F1 winter testing session or the MotoGP in Jerez,  it is definitely worth staying in the city for a few nights to visit the sherry bodegas.   You could also visit nearby Cadiz which, at over 3000 years old, is one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in Europe.

The weekend after the MotoGP in Jerez sees the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 11th.   Flights are available to Barcelona from Jerez with Spanish airline Vueling

You can purchase TICKETS for the MotoGP in Jerez from the circuit, HERE  or for the Formula 1 race in Barcelona, HERE.

ARE YOU A SPEED FREAK, LIKE ME – OR DO YOU PREFER TO LIVE AT A MUCH SLOWER PACE OF LIFE?

VOTE, VOTE, VOTE for David against Goliath!

Cómpeta, Andalucía, Spain

OK, OK …. I admit, it’s not really for David – it’s for ME!  But we ALL love an underdog, don’t we?  🙂

In my analogy, Goliath is a professional photographer currently leading the vote in a photographic competition I have entered on Facebook.   So, even though I AM that underdog, I’m running a close second, only a few “Likes” behind, but with only five more days left to vote.

Faithful followers: I NEED YOUR HELP TO DEFEAT THIS GOLIATH!

If you are logged into your FB account, click on the photo above (it’s of my home village of Cómpeta) and you will be taken through to to my voting page.  All you need to do is LIKE and COMMENT on that post.

THE PRIZE is a day trip for 4 people (with lunch), to one of the most picturesque parts of Andalucía along a scenic train line known as Mr Henderson’s Railway – a British-built Victorian train line from Algeciras to Ronda.

If I’m lucky enough to win this competition, there are two further benefits:

1.   I will SHARE MY PRIZE by inviting two local bloggers to join me for the day.

2.   You will be able to read all about my trip in a blog post, where I will include lots of lovely photos.

Will you help me to share the joy by voting for my photograph?  

Thank you.

EDITED TO ADD:    So many of you clicked through to my photograph and added your vote that I am delighted (and amazed) to tell you that David did indeed defeat Goliath.  I WON!  I have invited two local bloggers to join me and sometime over the next three months we will be enjoying the prize of a trip on Mr Henderson’s Railway.  I’ll let you know all about it.    Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to vote.  I am truly grateful for your continuing support.  You are AMAZING!