Friday, 27 September 2013

The Messi of the Peonza? (Favourite toy 3)

Do you have 'crazes' that go through your school? Football cards? Hippie Sticks? Skipping? It's the same here in España. Every couple of months a new craze will take over the playground (patio). We've had marbles (canicas), Monster High dolls... and just before the summer hols, PEONZAS!
Have peonzas ever become a 'craze' in your school?  What? You don't know what a peonza is?? Watch this...

This is Gustavo Castro (from Mexico), professional spinning top demonstrator/competitor. He showed up in the 'park' near where we live one evening and gave a masterclass to a couple of dozen children.

Here's his 'spinning on the tongue' trick...

When I was young spinning tops were made of wood, but the latest models are now mostly plastic with steel tips, and some of the children at school got quite good at getting them to spin for long periods. But none of them could do this...

Or this...

And finally, this. What I call his 'Messi' display. 

Impressive, isn't it? And no, there's no messing about with the video, this was me and him in a park. (With a couple of dozen Spanish chicos and chicas gazing wide-eyed and then trying it all out for themselves.) 

So go on. Get down to your local toy shop and pick up a peonza (they're sometimes called 'trompos') and see what you can do? 

I would have shot more video but towards the end some of the children started trying out the 'very high throw and catch' trick. Except it turned out to be more of a 'very high throw and hit people on the head' trick. So I went home...

C U next week for some more Spanish street life...

Friday, 20 September 2013

¡La Ruta de los Dinosaurios!

Hands up if you like dinosaurs...
Hands up if you know why I'm talking about dinosaurs on a blog about Spain?

I imagine you've guessed straight away. Millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed over large parts of northern Spain. This summer, I went to Enciso in La Rioja to investigate.

Enciso is especially famous for its icnitas, or fossilised dinosaur footprints. You'll find many dinosaur footprints here (over 1,000), a lot of them on the 'Ruta de los Dinosaurios' (Route of the Dinosaurs), a 6km senda (footpath) through the hills. As well as the real icnitas, preserved in the rock, there are some pretty cool life-sized models of the dinosaurios which left them. It's great fun doing the walk as you never know what (or who!) you'll bump into around the next corner! Here's some of what I saw...

There's lots more to Enciso than the 'ruta'. There's a museo which has some fantastic fossils.

There's also el Barranco Perdido (the Lost Canyon) an adventure park next to the start of the 'ruta' which has rope-bridges, zip-wires, swimming pools, 3D films and more. Check out their video El Barranco Perdido video. 
and their website where there's a dinosaurio videojuego (video game) you can download.

And remember, if you need any help convincing your parents that a trip to the La Rioja region of España is worth it, then remind them that it's where the famous Rioja wine is produced, and that the capital, Logroño, has some of the best tapas bars in Spain.

Now don't tell me learning Spanish isn't fun!

 ¡Salud! (That's 'cheers', or literally, 'health'.) 

Extras: If you're ever unsure how to pronounce a Spanish word, check out the Collins online dictionary which has sound-files so you can hear the words spoken by a Spaniard. Here's a link to the word dinosaurio. Click on the little speaker next to the word to hear it.

Extras 2: Enciso is only one small town with dinosaurio attractions. Check out this article for many more sites of dinosaurio things to see and do in northern España

¡Buen viaje! (Have a good trip!)