By maris and chin2

The country of Spain lies on the continent of Europe. It is located forty degrees north and four degrees west. The capital of Spain, Madrid, is located in the central region known as the Centro-Meseta. The country of Spain is made up of four regions: El norte, El este, El sur, and Centro-Meseta. Spain's large area of 195,988 square miles covers about five sixths of the Iberian Peninsula. It is one of the largest countries in Western Europe. At its widest point, Spain stretches 635 miles from east to west. It stretches about 550 miles north to south. Spain's longest coastline lies along the Mediterranean Sea and stretches for almost 1700 miles from the eastern end of the Pyrenees mountain chain to the strait of Gibraltar. The Pyrenees, one of Europe's largest mountain chains, is 270 miles long. They are practically impassable to humans because are formed from only steep gorges that lead higher summits.

Spain is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean called the Gulf of Cadiz. The Huelva, Rota, and Cadiz ports lie on this coast and further up the Guadalquivir River is the ancient transportation center Seville. Some other major rivers in Spain are the Douro, Tagus, and Ebro rivers. Spain's currency is the peseta and is currently equal to one hundred centimos. The exchange rate has one U. S. Dollar for 134.61 pesetas.

More that thirty-nine million people reside in the country of Spain. That is because it is made up of a large ethnic diversity. Its location between Europe and Africa has resulted in a great mixing of races and cultures. The only distinct minority group generally recognized as outside the racial-cultural mainstream of Spanish society is made up of Gypsies, many of whom still follow nomadic life-style along the roads and highways. Fairly large communities of settled Gypsies are found in the cities of Mucia, Granada, Barcelona, and Madrid.

Spain is overwhelmingly urban, with seventy-six percent of its people living in towns and cities. This concentration of Spain's people heightens the impression of emptiness that so often is commented on by the travelers, specially those who cross the Meseta.

Most of the Spanish portion of the Iberian Peninsula is very thinly populated. In the Centro-Meseta region only the areas around Madrid and Saragossa have dense settlement.

There are many different kinds of languages spoken in Spain. Modern Spanish also referred to as Castilian, is spoken throughout Spain and is the official language. Castilian is often a second language, not a mother tongue. In el norte two regional languages are widely spoken. One, the language of Basque people, is called Euskara. It is on of Europe's oldest languages but is different from the Indo-European and Uralic languages spoken across the rest of Europe. The constitution of 1978 made Euskara an official local language and afforded increased political autonomy to the Basque provinces.

In the region of Galicia a language known as Gallego is widely used, and also since 1978 it too has been recognized as an official language to be taught in schools. Modern Portuguese evolved from Gallego, which resembles a cross between Portuguese and Spanish. From eighty to eighty five percent of Galicia's three million inhabitants speak Gallego. Attempt have been made to standardize the spelling and grammar, but they have not been entirely successful. A kind of common Galician language is beginning to emerge as a spoken tongue in the province's larger towns.

Catalan is another language that enjoys a special status under Spain's constitution. It is a "romance" language with highly developed literature. Most of the seven million people who speak Catalan are located in El este. It is the official language in the three communities Catalonia, Valencia, and Balearics. Catalan Speakers also live in the eastern fringe of Aragon, Andorra, southwestern France, and part of Sardinia. Catalonia's government promotes its official language both at home and in other countries.

Religion is very important to most Spaniards. Many Spanish people are baptized, married and buried as members of the Roman Catholic church. Under the 1978 constitution the church is no longer Spain's official or established faith, though financial support is still provided by the state. As a result, the church's influence in Spanish society has declined sharply, though officially more than ninety four percent of the population is reported as being Roman Catholic. The church supported the democratic movement and so helped foster the new attitude of tolerance and personal freedom found in present-day Spain.

Many of Spain's non-Catholic citizens are members of some Protestant Church. Small Eastern Orthodox congregations are found along with Muslim and Jewish groups. Among non-Christian Jews form the major community.

Spain's culture revolves around many different things. Clothing styles are generally not that much than the ones in the U. S. Most Spaniards dress in modern clothes. The beret is still widely worn, especially in the Basque country, and Galician men still favor cloth caps. Jeans, T-shirts, and tennis shoes are now as popular in the Iberian Peninsula as everywhere else in Europe.

Cuisine is another important aspect of Spanish culture. The Spanish, like other Mediterranean people, are particularly fond of sidewalk cafes, where a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or a meal can be enjoyed with friends. Seafood is particularly favored on most Spanish menus. Olive oil is used abundantly in cooking, as are garlic, saffron, and peppers. Rice is popular, especially in el sur and along the Mediterranean coast. Rice and pulses dried beans, lentils, and chick peas cooked with fish, chicken, or pork are basics in Spanish cuisine.

One thing that sets the Spanish apart from most Europeans living beyond the Pyrenees is their national spectacle of bullfighting. Every city and most towns of any size host a bullring, where the crowds cheer their favorite but jeer the matador, as he faces the bull. The matador taunts and teases the bull until the end when he ultimately kills the bull with his sword. Many Northern Europeans are critically and condemn it as a cruel and blood sport. Most Spaniards do not see it this way. To them bullfighting is an exciting test of bravery, skill, and grace.

Mining activities over most of Western Europe, have declined sharply. In Spain, however mining continues to play a role in the economy. Spain produces almost all the copper mined in the twelve countries of the European communities, and it leads in the production of lead and zinc. Spain is also Europe's leading producer of high-grade iron ore. In terms of total iron ore produced, Spain follows only France, where most of the ore is of far lower quality.

Spain's coal mines located in Austria and along the Sierra Morena, showed a steady increase in production from 1975 to 1985. In 1985 Spain was Western Europe's third largest coal producer, behind Britain and West Germany. In the production of lignite, a low-quality from of coal, Spain also ranked third.

Although its position has declined, agriculture a significant part of Spain's national economy and landscape. Spain has more than twelve millions acres under permanent percent of Spain's workers are employed in agriculture, and in 1987 they produced about six percent of the gross domestic product. They produce crops such as sugar cane, cotton, mulberries, citrus fruits, bananas, dates, figs, almonds, sunflowers, olives, tomatoes, green beans, avocados, wheat, rice barley, and tobacco.

There are many wild animals that roam the land of Spain. Sheep and cattle are usually used for livestock. Other animals such as bulls, horses and donkeys often drift around, unnoticed by the people that pass.


Around d WOrld

By maris and chin2

Travel is the change in location of people on a trip through the means of transport from one location to another. Travel is most commonly for recreation (as part of tourism or to visit friends and family), for business or for commuting; but may be for numerous other reasons, such as migration, fleeing war, etc. Travel may occur by walking or human-powered mode, or through mechanical vehicles, either as private or public transport.[citation needed]

Travel may be local, regional, national or international. In some countries, non-local internal travel may require an internal passport, while international travel typically requires a passport and visa.

The word originates from the Middle English word travailen ("to toil"), which comes from the Anglo-French word travailler ("travail")[1]. A person who travels is called a traveler (US) or traveller (UK).



By maris and chin2

The seasons are popularly considered in some Western countries to start at the equinoxes and solstices, based on astronomical reckoning. Thus, in the Southern Hemisphere, based on astronomy, summer begins on the day of the December solstice and ends on the March equinox. When it is summer in the southern hemisphere it is winter in the northern hemisphere, and vice versa. But, because the seasonal lag is less than 1/10th of a year (except near large bodies of water), the meteorological start of the season, which is based on average temperature patterns, precedes by about three weeks the start of the astronomical season.[1] According to meteorologists, summer extends for the whole months of December, January and February in the southern hemisphere, and the whole months of June, July and August in the northern hemisphere. This meteorological definition of summer also aligns with the commonly viewed notion of summer as the season with the longest (and warmest) days of the year, in which daylight predominates. From the astronomical perspective, spring days lengthen from equinox to solstice and summer days shorten from solstice to equinox, while meteorological summer encompasses the build-up to the longest day and a diminishing thereafter, so that summer has many more hours of daylight than spring.

Today, the meteorological reckoning of the seasons is used in Australia, Denmark and the former USSR; it is also used by many people in the United Kingdom, where summer is thought of as extending from mid-May to mid-August. Meanwhile, the astronomical definition is more frequently used in the United States.

In general, seasonal changes occur later in coastal regions, so countries lying near coastlines (except Ireland)[citation needed] experience the start of summer later than those lying inland.[citation needed] Elsewhere, however, the solstices and the equinoxes are taken to mark the mid-points, not the beginnings, of the seasons. In Chinese astronomy, for example, summer starts on or around May 5, with the jiéqì (solar term) known as Lixia (立夏), i.e. "establishment of summer", and it ends on or around August 6. An example of Western usage would be William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, where the play takes place over the shortest night of the year, which is the summer solstice.

In southern and southeast Asia, where the monsoon occurs, summer is more generally defined as lasting from March to May/early June, their warmest time of the year, ending with the onset of the monsoon rains.[citation needed]

From a popular culture point of view, in the United States summer season, is often considered to begin at the Memorial Day weekend (the last Monday in May) and end at the Labor Day weekend (the first Monday in September). Likewise, another set of pop-cultural reference points for summer is the time when elementary and secondary schools close down for the "summer vacation". This period usually lasts from around early to mid June until around late August to early September, depending on where the school is located.

source: WIKI



By maris and chin2

Argentina is a South American country with a population of thirty one million people. Argentina's capital is Buenos Aires, which is one of the largest cities in South America. Buenos Aires is situated on the coast of Argentina, which makes Buenos Aires a major trade route in Argentina and in South America. Argentina's national language is Spanish and the major religion is Roman Catholicism.

Argentina is a country with much natural beauty. It has miles of beautiful beaches and is also surrounded by the majestic Andes mountains. The Andes mountains are among the highest mountains in the world. Argentina's tallest mountain is the Cerro Aconcagua. This mountain reaches an amazing height of 22,200 ft. America's tallest mountain only reaches the height of 20,000 ft.


Shopping in France

By maris and chin2
Shopping is a big attraction in France. In Paris, department stores are good places to shop. In Normandy, shops have a rich selection of antiques. Sunday is a good day to shop on in Normandy because many stores have discounts. Normandy has a lot of lace too. The prices are high and the pieces are labor intensive. There are some good beaches in Normandy. It has lots of seaside coasts. There are many widely spaced resorts. On the Atlantic coast there are many waterslides, wavepools, and other water goodies. Paris has lots of culture. The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. It costs $8 to go to the top. It's open daily from 9:30 A.M. to 11 P.M. At night you can almost see all of Paris. In case you get hungry there are cafes to eat at on the Eiffel Tower. The Louvre has a collection of great art works throughout history. It was built in the 13th century. It has the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Divinci. There are seven sections at the Louvre. They are ancient civilizations, sculptures, furniture, drawings, paintings, prints, and arms armor. Don't try to see it all at once. The hours are wed-Mon. 9-6 and Tuesday open til 9:45. Admission $10 for adults, $7 for ages 18-25, 18 and under are free.