Graffiti artists in Barcelona.

Marketer by day, warrior by night: Meet the graffiti artists risking their lives to paint Spain’s trains

They meet up in stations, haunt hidden passageways and ignore no-entry signs. The infrastructure behind cities’ Metro and rail services has become as familiar to them as their own houses. Hooded and fast, they seek out carriages to spray as a cocktail of romanticism, art, adrenaline and risk courses through their veins. They are the ‘guerillas’ and this is their paint war

Roberto Polo and 'Otelo', his whippet, inside their home in Brussels.

In bed with Roberto Polo

Roberto Polo is not easily defined. The owner of a vast art collection, some of which is being shipped to Toledo and Cuenca, he was friends with artists, bankers and celebrities in 1980s New York. He also did jail time, had a close call with death, and was born again. This larger-than-life character has a motto: “Only mediocre men never have problems”

A class at a paella school in Valencia.

Valencia takes paella to the next level

Spain’s most emblematic dish is also its most corrupted. Paella has become the generic term for hundreds of random rice recipes. But demand for the real thing is growing. The dish may need no translation these days, but it’s time to talk about its roots. This is a trip from the wetlands of La Albufera where the rice is grown, to the Michelin-starred restaurants where the humble grain is transformed into haute cuisine

La Rambla as seen from the Plaza de Cataluña.

La Rambla: Bearing the scars of jihad

On August 17 last year, 16 people were killed by Islamic extremists in Barcelona and Cambrils. Eight of the terrorists died. They belonged to a jihadist cell that appeared, from the outside, to be an ordinary crowd of youngsters hanging out together, a band of brothers who aroused no suspicion whatsoever. A year on, we review the events of that fateful day to seek out the reasons for their radicalization and the political and social response to the jihadist phenomenon

The exorcism of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ survivor Philippe Lançon

The exorcism of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ survivor Philippe Lançon

On January 7, 2015, the Kouachi brothers burst into the offices of the satirical publication ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in Paris, armed with assault rifles. Shouting, “Allah is great!” they killed 12 people. The writer and journalist Philippe Lançon suffered terrible injuries to his face and subsequently spent nine months in hospital, undergoing surgery 17 – going on 18 – times. He then returned to ‘normal life’, which is, of course, far from ‘normal’. “It’s not the same because I am no longer me,” he explains. His book ‘Le Lambeau,’ which received critical acclaim in France, has acted as a kind of exorcism

“Verrugas,” one of the famous “big heads” at Sanfermines.

Sanfermines: The best fiestas in the world

On July 6, a rocket known as the chupinazo kicked off the mother of all Spanish fiestas. A million people from all over the planet come to Pamplona every year for the Sanfermines, an orgy of sound and color that lasts nine days and nights, and where no one is looking at their watch. This year San Fermín is looking to catch its breath in the wake of ‘La Manada’ sexual assault case. Here is how the biggest party in the world gets going

Luis Almagro.

“Sometimes failures can also bring progress toward democracy”

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States likes to go against the grain. Born into a peasant family in Uruguay, Luis Almagro grew up to be a rather undiplomatic diplomat. The nemesis of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, he’s also a vegetarian, a sportsman, and he’s become a leftist politician whose defense of democracy has made him a pariah with the apologists of South America’s authoritarian regimes


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