Predicting the World Cup 2010 Winner

What does predicting the economy got to do with predicting the World Cup winner? A lot if you listen to Swiss Bank UBS.

In the World Cup 2006, the economists and analysts at the Wealth Management Research at UBS used the statistical model that enabled them to predict market trends and investment decisions and applied it to predict the World Cup winner.

They correctly predicted that Italy would be the champion. They also succeeded in getting six of the eight quarter-finalists correct. Their track record also included correctly forecasting three of the four semi-finalists.

UBS’s model is a purely quantitative analysis and the criteria used are past performance, home advantage and teams’ strength. Now let’s discuss the model:

For past performance, so far seven nations have won the championship. (Brazil five times, Italy four times, Germany three times, Argentina and Uruguay two times, France and England one time each). So according to UBS, if you pick one of these seven teams, it appears to be a safe bet.

As for the home advantage, a third of the past world cups was won by the host country. Now:

# The weather is mild winter in South Africa and it appears that the host nation may not have the climate advantage. This applies similarly to the African nations in the finals.

# Some matches will be played at venues at high altitude. This is a clear advantage to the host and the South American teams like Brazil.

# In every tournament, there is speculation of referees favoring the Home team. Will there be many controversial calls helping the host?

# This being Africa’s World Cup, there are many who wonder if an African nation will advance past the group stage into the quarter-finals for the first time. In every tournament, there will always be a team which will be the surprise package. Will this team come from Africa?

# And lastly, there is this “outside-of-Europe” syndrome. So far every World Cup had been won by either an European team or a South American side. No European team has won outside the comfort of their own continent. Now in South Africa, many pundits believe that the South American teams will have so-called ground advantage.

Regarding the strength of the teams, UBS took into consideration the FIFA ranking and the bookmakers’ odds.

So which team has UBS picked to be WC 2010 champion? Brazil.

Well, your guess is as good as mine on which team will win. My trusted crystal ball tells me it is Spain.

In every World Cup, betting wise, it is a true challenge. The tournament is held every four years and qualification ends months before the ball is kicked in the first game of the finals. During this time, a lot can change in the football world.

World Cup means patriotic fervor comes into play. We all have passionate feelings for a certain team or a certain player which will determine our decision.

There are 32 teams in the finals so technically there are 32 potential winners. It is interesting to note some characteristics of these teams:

* Some teams have a good striking department with tons of firepower, but lacking everywhere else.

* Some teams have great talented players but have insane coaches.

* Some are perceived as perennial underachievers like Spain and England who seem to choke on the big stage.

* Some are tournament teams like Germany and Italy who may be underrated before the finals, but know how to grind out the results. Well this is according to past performances.

* Experts have expected Spain to win the last two World Cups – but they never have.

* England are going to win it every time according to the English – but they never do.

And there are some interesting statistics:

# No team has successfully defended the WC for a long while. Would the 2006 winner Italy be the exception? But Italy has an aging squad and may not be expected to last all the way. It is easier to reach the top, but much harder to stay there!

# Only once in the last 21 group games has the WC host lost, so would South Africa be the surprise package?

Why Spain will Win

With one loss in their last 46 matches, Spain arrived at South Africa as one of the best teams. They are the favorites to lift the World Cup on July 11. They are ahead of Brazil in the eyes of the bookmakers and pundits.

Spain (Rank 1) play in Group H against Chile (Rank 17), Switzerland (Rank 18) and Honduras (Rank 38).

They have been dubbed by the media in the past as “perennial underachiever”. But the faith of their fans may be justified this time as they have completely turned the corner after winning Euro 2008. They had built on this success and thereafter had won all of their qualifying games for WC 2010, the first team to achieve such a record.

The Talents

Spain is a team with polished gems. They boast the talents of Fernando Torres and David Villa up front, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas in the middle, Carles Puyol and Gerrard Pique at the back, and Iker Casillas in goal. The reigning European champion look a formidable bunch.

They are stacked with players from the elite leagues in Europe like Barcelona and Real Madrid. The squad has so much depth that even the impressive Arsenal captain Fabregas, whom many consider as one of the best midfielders around, has to warm the bench as a substitute.

A well balanced team is needed to have the consistency to get through such a high level tournament. Look at Argentina. The hope of the entire nation rests on the shoulders of young Messi. But Messi does not perform for his country like he does for Barcelona because he does not have the midfield marshals like Xavi and Iniesta behind him to pull the strings. And I shall leave the Argentina manager alone.

The Spanish squad has been largely unchanged from the team that won Euro 2008. Playing together for years can only foster better understanding on the pitch. The Spain of today exude calm and confidence. Wearing the European crown does such things to you.

Injury

Of course injury is a concern but this is the same for every team. Torres and Fabregas missed playing the tail end of the league due to injuries. To look on the bright side, this could actually be a blessing in disguise as they are totally rested for the World Cup.

Spain has a deep squad with comparatively able replacements. They are not a one or two men team like Ivory Coast relying on Drogba.

If injuries are inflicted on play-makers, any team will suffer like Rooney for England, Lucio and Kaka for Brazil, Messi for Argentina, Sneijder for Holland, etc. Serious injuries are a disaster for every team.

Pressure

Being ranked No. 1 and as hot favorites, expectations are high. Will Spain crack under the pressure?

Much was made out of their 2-0 defeat in the Confederations Cup semi-final to USA last June. This ended their 35 match streak without a loss. Some said Spain buckled under the pressure in that match because they wanted so much to break Brazil’s 35 match streak of not suffering a loss. To many this is considered a great weakness to cave in to pressure.

A lot of teams lose matches that they should win. Most important is to learn a lesson from the loss. I believe the Spanish had indeed learned a valuable lesson. From then on, they had not lost again.

Mental Strength

Psychologists often stress that half of the battle is won in the head. Unfortunately, Spain have the unwanted tag of perennial choker on the big stage. In the past when the going gets tough, they have gone missing.

But now all the players pledged that they know their biggest enemy is themselves and they have developed greater self belief.

Complacency

There is a great threat of complacency when facing the likes of Honduras, Chile and Switzerland. I am confident that with an experienced coach in del Bosque, the players will know in no uncertain terms that a place in the second round is not a formality.

Assurance and over-confidence is divided by a very fine line. The last thing they will think is they have already won the match even before the ball is kicked.

How To Beat Spain

Some said the way to beat Spain is to follow the tactics of Jose Mourinho whose Inter Milan succeeded where virtually everybody failed by knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League. The tactic is to have the players defend deep in their own half, soaking up the pressure thrown at them and rely on swift counter-attack to score. Well, I am not sure whether there could be another “Special One’ around.

Conclusion

If Spain keep their heads they will win World Cup 2010. If they don’t, they are simply beaten by themselves.

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Spain Tourist Attractions & Must See Places in Spain

A country on the Iberian Peninsula, situated between Europe and Africa and bounding Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Spain is among the best travel destinations not only for its geographical condition and its results but also for a range of factors such as its own traditions, cuisine, variety of places to see. Spain boasts a rich history and owns historical places. Wide sandy beaches, clear waters are charming. The country offers much more which can be experienced while visiting and enjoying each region.

Among the popular cities and travel destinations of Spain, there are Madrid, Barcelona, Bilboa, Valencia, Seville,Toledo, Granada, Cordoba, .Zaragoza, San Sebastián, Pamplona, Alicante, Cadiz, Andalucia, Malaga, Costa Blanca, Tenerife, Salamanca etc.

Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean and Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast have worldwide fame as travel destinations and must-see places of Spain.

Madrid is the capital of Spain. It’s a city known for bullfighting, fiestas and flamenco dancing, and royal palaces. The top attractions of Madrid are the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de la Cibeles, Parque del Buen Retiro, Plaza de España, The Prado Museum, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, The Archaeological Museum etc. The city offers dance halls, movie houses, music halls, cafes and more. Barcelona is known as a cultural centre owning monuments, historical sites, numerous art galleries and natural resources.The most visited museum is dedicated to one of Spain’s most famous names, Pablo Picasso.

The Alhambra, the palace of the last Muslim ruler of Spain, located in Granada is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions for exhibiting the Islamic architecture together with Christian and Jewish.The Mezquita in Córdoba is a famous tourist attraction. Tomb of Christopher Columbus in Seville is also visited by travellers. A new science centre and futuristic aquarium named L’Oceanografic aquarium are attractive places of Valencia to see.The historic cities of Cadiz and Malaga are visited by travellers. Moreover, Malaga is a wellknown city due to its being the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and movie idol Antonio Banderas. Guggenheim Museum and Plaza Nueva are the tourist destinations of Bilboa.

Balearic Isles, the three main islands of which are Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca, is an exotic destination. The island of Ibiza is popular with its club scene, weather and beautiful beaches. When clubbing is talked about, it means Ibiza. It has an international fame. Mallorca is the least crowded island among them. Fresh seafood lunches are delicious. Majorca is as popular as Ibiza as a tourist destination.

The Canary Islands, the seven islands in the Atlantic Ocean, of Spain are very popular. These are: El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, La Palma, Lanzarote, Tenerife. Gran Canaria Canary Islands is like paradise thanks to its numerous beaches, crystal clear waters and water sports. Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and very popular as a tourist destination. Here is the Mount El Teide. Not only water sports but also hiking, climbing and cycling ara available activities.

Among the other travel attractions of Spain, there are Alcázar, Castillo de Santa Bárbara,

La Sagrada Família, Parc Nacional d’Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, Doñana National Park, The Basque Country, the Parc Guell, Picasso Museum, Las Ramblas and much more.

Spain’s folkloristical traditions are certainly Flamenco and bullfights. Running of Bulls is the most popular event during the Sanfermines in Pamplona. Flamenco is the musical tradition of Spain. As a visitor, for an unforgettable memories it is recommended to visit the country in the season of festivals and fiestas. Spain is a beach lovers paradise with its white sand beaches. Delicious Spanish cuisine and wine must be tasted, too.

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The Best Time to Visit Lloret De Mar

Lloret De Mar, situated in the region of Catalonia, Spain, is famous for its warm weather and sun all through the year. It is blessed with a Mediterranean climate which has warm summers and cool winter. It is the perfect summer party destination for young tourists who like to party all night and then head to beach the next morning to calm their minds. There is no dearth of sunshine in Lloret De Mar that makes it a perfect place to get tanned and sip your cocktail by the beach, just make sure you have plenty of sunscreen on because it can get really warm.

What temperature you may expect in Lloret De Mar

It really depends which time of the year you choose to go. The month of July and August are the hottest months with cold evenings, temperature being as low as 17 degrees Celsius. Mid-Autumn can see temperatures soaring as high as 33 degrees. The strong summer sun lasts from June to September; which makes it a favourable holiday time for tourists. 27th July is the warmest day of the year.

With all its beaches in Costa Brava, LLoret De Mar is at the centre. It receives about 13 hours of sunshine in summer which allows tourists to enjoy the beaches more than the cool winter months. Winter sees an average of 7 hours of daylight. The cold water makes it difficult to swim and spend time at the beach, definitely not the right time to visit if you’re going just for sunshine and warmth. The best time to visit Lloret De Mar is from June to August. However, from September, the sun is not as harsh; expect rain but still a decent time for tourists.

Things to do in Lloret De Mar during a summer holiday

• Summer time is all about beaches. PPlatja deLloret, its main beach, is about half a kilometre long with sandy blue coarse sand. Enjoy the water-sports such as jet-ski, kayaking, parasailing and water skiing during your summer holiday.

• The capital of nightlife in Costa Brava is Lloret De Mar. As the sun sets, the streets are flooded with party lovers. There are so many pubs and bars that have queues of people standing out to get in. Make sure you’re dressed well to get inside some of the best clubs.

• Water World Sensation: Enjoy your summer holidays by getting in the two water parks with exciting water rides, wave pool and fun water rides for children. You would make many unforgettable memories with your family and friends, truly a holiday well spent.

• Since summer is the best time to visit, the weather allows you to hike beautiful mountains and enjoy the beauty of wild flowers at the coastal cliff.

• Santa Clotilde Garden, a breathtaking garden on a cliff, is one of the best tourist attractions during summer and spring time, with blooming flowers making it an absolute delight to y our eyes.

Lloret De Mar is rich in history. Its natural heritage, picturesque sunset points, walking trails and cultural events can be enjoyed to the fullest if you visit from mid-June to September.

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Extreme Sports – Defining the World of Extreme Sports

Extreme sports have been growing in popularity for many years now. Multiple activities fall into this category of intense sports with high levels of inherent danger. Defining the world of extreme athletics can be tough to do since there are so many different activities included under this term. Still, it is safe to say that pretty much all of them involve a high degree of speed, danger, special gear, and physical and mental exertion. These sports certainly are not for the faint of heart. People seeking thrills are the ones that flock to these intense and adrenaline packed activities.

It is debatable as to exactly which sports can be classified as extreme sports. We can get a pretty good idea of the types of activities included in this category by looking at some of the common elements that most extreme sports share. Athletes involved in this field tend to face more adverse challenges. Traditional athletes have to compete against other people, but extreme athletes go up against other environmental obstacles and uncontrollable variables such as weather conditions and terrain surface.

Weather and terrain play especially big roles in most extreme sports. While conditions can be controlled to a certain extent in regular sports, extreme activities involve uncontrollable factors like wave height, snow conditions, and wind speed. Some of the sports that definitely fall into this category include paragliding, skydiving, inline skating, mountain-biking, free-skiing, snowboarding, kite-surfing, rock climbing, and surfing. There are certainly some other activities that could be considered to fit the bill for this category of sport. The common threads are the increased levels of danger, skill, uncontrollable conditions, and adrenaline. It may be hard to judge each and every sport, but there is no denying the incredible acrobatics, stunts, and physical challenges that this field of activities presents.

The extreme sports term was really made popular by the X Games, but it has been around far longer than most people realize. These types of sports can be competitive or non-competitive. Those people who thirst for adventure and intense challenges are naturally drawn to this field of sport in search of something more. The thrill of going up against nature and other elements makes for a truly memorable experience. That is why extreme sports continue to gain so much popularity. You can find information on just about any extreme sport, so look for more on whatever it is that interests you.

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Getting to Your Destination Cheaply

Barcelona has an abundance of architectural works, culture, history, beaches and football clubs, accommodating any kind of visitor with the wish to identify with the city. This is one of the destinations you will find everything you could be looking for wrapped into one, making the trip successful and as enjoyable as it can be.

The cool Mediterranean climate of the region makes it a favorite of many, especially during summer months. The weather during this season is warm and pleasant, making it ideal for most people. This is a great time to spend exciting time by the beaches engaging in all sorts of activities. Since this is the peak season, cheap flights are hard to come by compared to the off peak season which falls between September and October. Although it is highly unlikely to find the city without visitors, this season is less busy and therefore cheap flights are easy to find.

To get to Barcelona cheaply, you can choose to utilize the services of consolidators. These wholesalers tend to provide cheaper rates as they have large volumes of tickets to work with. They also re-sell cancelled seats at very affordable prices making it easy for you to travel without pushing your financial limits. If you fail to get hold of consolidators, tracking charter flights to Barcelona can be the next best option for your trip. Charter flights are less popular as most passenger services are not available but they can be a great way of travelling cheaply.

Apart from charter flights, budget flights are a good choice for travelling. One would have to sacrifice a few services onboard for the sake of getting the cheap tickets which the low cost carriers can provide. People not travelling with small children can find the flights very friendly in terms of saving them money.

Regardless of the destination you are headed for, it is always advisable to make your bookings early enough. Any discounts available should be taken advantage of as well as other flight packages that could be more advantageous as compared to normal flights. If you book early, then airfares tend to be lower. Always make a point of asking for a refund to avoid instances where you end up paying more than the rest of the passengers.

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The 10 Day Weather Forecast For Menorca

Why are we obsessed with the climate and why is it that weather sites online are so well visited, especially the ones labeled “The 10 day Forecast.” Menorca is a wonderfully different holiday island and yet the question of the weather always intrigues would be visitors so let’s take a few minutes to explain.

Is it me or does everyone like to look at the weather forecast for Menorca before going on holiday, especially the 10 Day Forecast. Hands up all of you who do the same as me! There is a Menorcan legend that the Winds of Menorca change people’s personalities! Call me a septic but I do like the legend, but true or not many visitors do become regulars as a result of their first visit.

Obviously the climate has a strong impression on visitors. Menorca’s weather, as one would think, is Mediterranean. Summer temperatures reach into the low 30s but the average is a comfortable 24ºC. Winter sees a marked drop with some and sunny periods but the average temperature is fall in winter to 11ºC, but there are still sunny days with tempertures reaching 15º or 16º.

The rainfall is low with most rain falling in the autumn. However rainfall varies throughout the island and is highest in the North and the interior and lowest in the south eastern parts. Menorca has a cool north wind, known as the Tramuntana, which tempers the temperature and has resulted in the unique Minorcan landscape.

I have been on holiday in early September and suffered gales. In September 2003 there were such adverse weather conditions one evening that the ferries from Barcelona were delayed and significant damage occurred in nearby Mallorca. In October 2008 we chanced the weather with a weeks break and could not have wished for better weather so late in the season. October can be a wet month but we have taken a holiday in mid October and had glorious weather save for one evening when it rained heavily but it was only a passing thunderstorm.

The Menorcan season is short but we have never had a holiday ruined by rain in all our Menorcan holidays. The UK weather can be problematical but Menorca will give you warm evening and sunny day for significantly more of the year than anywhere in the British Isles. If all you want is the current conditions here is the forecast!

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History of Real Madrid

Spanish club Real Madrid has been the best club of Europe for some time now. The team enjoys popularity throughout the length and breadth of the world and has been the leader of the clubs. They have been leading the pack, leaving behind arch rivals Manchester United and Barcelona in the process as well. The club has boasted of David Beckham, Ronaldo, Figo, Kaka and the likes who played. Fondly called as Los Blancos, they have always maintained the Galactico standard, comprising of world-class players being recruited from the top clubs across Europe.

They boast of having one of the richest boards in the entire club circuit. The Madrid side is one of the richest clubs in the world as well, earning revenues from shirt sales and merchandise goods and tickets. The club has always been one of the top clubs to draw the most number of sponsors and is a hot favorite with the sponsorship companies who intend to striker a deal with them.

Unearthing Club History

The history of Real Madrid dates back to the year of 1912 when a group of boys introduced football to Spain. The group of boys used to practice on local fields until 1920, King Alonso of Spain granted the side the title of ‘Real’ which means ‘Royal’ in Spain. Since then, the name was officially bestowed on the club and the team began to be known by the name of Real Madrid in the country and later throughout the world. The club started playing games across the country with different teams and since then, there has been no looking back for them. The team looked to build on to their reputation being the best team of the country and went from strength to strength.

The club suffered a major setback back in 1937 when all the activities of the club was suspended and games were not being played as the country got engaged into a Civil War. The club elected its first president back in the year of 1945 when the Civil war was finally over and the elected president made sure that the club was rebuilt. The club got a proper board and a panel of experts was hired by the president as well.

Rise to Fame

Real Madrid has experienced a meteoric rise in their growth and popularity since they resumed playing following end of the civil war. Apart from success in the domestic field, the club gained a lot of respect from the international circuit as well as they were on their way to becoming one of the biggest clubs in Europe. They have won the European competition for the most number of times till date and no other club has come closer to their achievement till date. The club has won the Champions League for a record number of eleven times so far and is still going strong in the current seasons.

They look set to lift the La Liga trophy this 2016-17 season. The club has also won the La Liga for a record number of times as well. The club still goes on to dominate in both the domestic and international circuit and maintain its stature of being the best club in the world.

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Discover a Reliable Betting System That Comes With Minimum Risks

Football Betting has always been complicated. A bet that seems safe, turns out to be punters worst nightmare often. Take for instance last season, who would expect Numancia to beat Barcelona on the opening day of the league. Every betting tipster predicted that Barcelona will sail through easily.

Therefore, a less dangerous approach is needed to make sports betting safer. It is only a matter of discipline and technique that are needed by the bettor to develop his safe betting system. Without discipline and technique, it could lead to serious complications.

In Britain, the (British Medical Association) called gambling, compulsive gambling and lotteries a social poison. The addiction to it, is as destructive as the addiction to drugs and alcohol, causing serious physical, and psychological damage that contribute to family breakdown and financial collapse.

In order to avoid the above social poison, strict discipline and a less dangerous way to bet is needed. One of it is to bet on the double opportunities; that is to say, we spoke of that one option that occurs in almost all the houses of bets, in which we can choose between 1X, 12 or X2.

This approach is not entirely foolproof, but the percentage of failures will be limited.

Another variation of double opportunities or chance is to place a lay bet on the home, and away team or the draw at betting exchanges. When a lay bet is placed on the home team, you win your bet when the away team wins or draw the match. When a lay bet is placed on the away team, you win your bet when the home team wins or draw the match. When a lay bet is placed on the draw, you win if either team wins the match.

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School Sports Tours Explained

The subject of school sports tours naturally generates a number of questions, including the most fundamental of all: just what are school sports tours? To give a general overview, they are specialist overseas journeys that involve younger people from schools, colleges and sporting associations, visiting other young people abroad and participating in their shared sporting interests.

Practically, this may involve, say, a football club or lacrosse association travelling overseas to destinations such as Spain, Ireland or the United States, to participate in training and games against local sides. Depending on the operator you choose to travel with, school sports tours encompass a significant number of sports and a diverse number of overseas destinations.

What is the purpose?

There may be a number of general objectives with this sort of tour, however perhaps they may group together under three broad ones:

• To promulgate better relationships between young people of different cultural backgrounds through shared participation in sporting activities;

• To improve the performance and enhance the sporting potential of the participants on the tour, by exposing them to different playing conditions, training regimes and tactics;

• To allow the young people on the tour to experience some of the local customs, conditions and cultures of the country they are visiting.

Of course, there is also a clear intention to help the young people concerned to simply have a good time!

Are school sports tours competitive?

Yes and no. During a typical tour, the participants will get the opportunity to engage in lengthy practice sessions with local teams and some competitive matches. However, the primary objective is not to conduct the tour with the intention of somehow “emerging victorious”, but instead to return enriched and hopefully up-skilled.

Why is there stress on the cultural elements?

Take, for example, a basketball tour to Platja d’Aro in Spain. As you may expect, the basketball facilities locally will be of an excellent standard, but this destination is relatively also close to Barcelona – one of the world’s great cities and a centre of Catalan culture.

It would be a great pity to be so close and not to have the opportunity to explore some of Barcelona’s attractions. This is not merely sightseeing, but an opportunity for young people on the tour to expand their emotional and intellectual horizons – a factor that is sometimes cited as being an important part of improved sporting achievement and enjoyment.

Are these tours intensive?

Both coaching and supervisory staff will take their responsibilities seriously and will expect the participants to take the sporting activities and training equally seriously. Yet this is not exclusively about sport, and it is recognised that young people need leisure time to let off steam. That is why the local accommodation and facilities typically include recreational opportunities and time for the young people to enjoy themselves. Once again, the longer-term performance benefits of allowing participants in sports to have “time off” is well recognised across the sporting world. On professionally-organised school sports tours the participants will be unlikely to complain about being either bored or jaded!

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Paint the Town Red! Bullfighting in Spain on Costa Dorada Holidays

When considering Spain holidays, you may be looking to find the best tapas restaurants, flamenco events or even bars offering the best sangria. However, there is one other traditional aspect of Spanish culture which cannot be ignored – bullfighting.

Its practice attracts controversy and protest yet it remains a characteristic part of Spanish life. The name ‘bullfighting’ commonly leads to misunderstanding as it is not a sport, but a performance. The Torero (bullfighter) asserts his control and strength over the bull in a planned and elaborate act. Reading the bull’s behaviour to weaken the animal is the aim, resulting in the bull’s ultimate demise. Despite widespread objections to bullfighting, many Spaniards and tourists alike still gather to witness these spectacles throughout the country.

Sanfermin Festival, held in Pamplona in July each year, includes the infamous Running of The Bulls. The bulls are let loose to run through the streets along with a group of daring participants surrounded by a lively crowd of onlookers. In the afternoon, the bulls are taken to the ring for the bullfights which start around 6.30pm. However, many revellers are only there for the thrilling party atmosphere. Sanfermin is essentially a huge street party festival. A firework display marks the beginning of the celebrations which include a procession and the streets fill with music and dancing. There are a number of cheap holiday deals available to Pamplona but it is advisable to book far in advance to beat the crowds to this popular event. The El Toro is a rustic hotel in the quiet location of Berrioplano, just 5km from the city centre of Pamplona. A stay here means you can enjoy the peace of the countryside while also being close to the celebrations.

In 2010, the parliament of Catalonia voted to ban bullfighting. It is the first region in mainland Spain to enforce a ban, which will take effect in January 2012. Catalonia with its capital of Barcelona is a thriving region containing two very different coastlines. While the Costa Brava is known for its rugged coastline, in contrast, the miles of fine, golden sand contribute to making Costa Dorada holidays a popular choice for visitors. The Plaza Monumental de Barcelona is the only functioning bullring left in Catalonia. The bullfighting season usually finishes at the end of September so grab the chance to witness this tradition in the region before the ban comes into force. If you’re reluctant to see a bullfight but would like to know more about this practice, The Monumental also houses the Bullfighting Museum. Here, you can learn all about bullfighting history and see plenty of artefacts which bring the stories to life.

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