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Thursday, September 04, 2014 (read 625 times)
Cities of the 2014 Basketball World Cupby David
Since we are in the middle of an exciting Basketball World Cup, you may be interested to know something about the cities that are playing host to this world championship. Of course you probably know something about Madrid and Barcelona which are going to hold the semi-final while Madrid will also hold the finals. But what about the other cities like Bilbao and Gran Canaria? To help you out, were going to give you some facts and info about this year's Basketball World Cup host cities.
The games will take place on this island which is right off the coast of Morocco. The Canary Islands are a favorite tourist destination for Spaniards and visitors from other countries due to its mild climate and consistent year round temperatures. Gran Canaria is the largest island in this archipelago and the tournament will be held in the city of Las Palmas—in the Gran Canaria Arena to be more precise.
Visitors from America will feel at home with the language since the accent of the Spanish spoken here is very different from the accents you will hear on the mainland. In fact this is the accent that was exported to America due to the strategic importance and participation the islands had in the trade with the America's during the Spanish Colonial years.
If you're lucky enough to catch a game here, be sure to enjoy some Canarian specialties like Gofio de millo in all its different forms, papas arrugadas with mojo picón (boiled potatoes with a pepper sauce that can be eaten alone as an accompaniment) and don't forget a little bit of old clothes! Ropa vieja is a Canarian specialty that is dish of chicken and beef cooked with all kinds of good stuff. All of this can be washed down with an excellent Malvasia wine produced on the island.
Bilbao, once a city on the verge of collapse, the city today is a shining example of urban renewal and reinvention. Bilbao was a city dependant on shipyards, ironworks and factories of all kinds. Pollution was an unfortunate by product of its success but in the latter half of the 20th century Bilbao succumbed to competition from other countries and demand for its industrial products withered. In the 80's Bilbao's economy bottomed out and things looked very grim indeed.
Since the 90's Bilbao has converted itself form an industrial stronghold to a service oriented city and is a leader in implementing environmentally friendly urban technology and infrastructure. You shouldn't forget to make time to visit the world famous Guggenheim or the Old City with its sagardotegi-dolare or cider houses where you can eat a hearty Basque meal (famous for their giant steaks and Spanish omelets) along with all the Basque cider you can drink—usually self-served directly from the cask.
Here the games will be played in the modern Bizkaia Arena which forms part of the very modern BEC convention center.
Seville which is slowly cooling off after a hot summer is hosting the first round at its Palacio Municipal de Deportes (Municipal Sports Palace) which is right on the Avendia Kansas City and around the corner from the Santa Justa Train Station (the station that the high speed rail AVE train from Madrid arrives at).
In Seville you will enjoy its pedestrian center, parks and gardens within the Old City and don't forget to get a view of the city from the Giralda, the tower of the cathedral which offers the visitor a great view of the city. Thankfully ramps take you to the top instead of stairs so making it to the top isn't too difficult.
Be sure to sample the typical Andalusian fare like gazpacho and pescaíto frito (the original fish and chips). Also, the Iberian ham that is produced nearby is also a must which can be washed down with a nice sherry.
What don't we already know about Granada? This is a spectacular city with its own particular blend of cultures and flavors. When not watching a game you'll have to enjoy a drink at one the many bars located in the small and winding streets of the Albaícin neighborhood which is also a World Heritage Site along with the Alhambra and the Generalife. From the San Nicolas church the top of the hill you will find some of the best views of the Alhambra, so have your camera ready.
Here, the games will be played at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes (not very original, but memorable) in Granada. This municipal sports complex is located in a newer neighborhood of the city about 2 miles south of the center of town. The palacio is located at the corner of the Paseo del Emperador Carlos V and Calle Torre de la Comares.
The famous Palau Sant Jordi atop the hill in Montjuïc Park will remind visitors of the famous 1992 Olympics which presented Barcelona to the world. This Olympic impulse is one of the few recent examples of where a summer Olympics has had a positive lasting effect on the host city—we only need to look at Athens to see how this kind of investment can go awfully wrong.
Today Barcelona is Spain's most European city and vibrant cultural center. There is so much to do here that you will not possible do everything that may be on your to-do list. Gastronomic hotspot, finding an excellent restaurant is not a difficult thing to do but around the time of the championships, getting a reservation may be harder.
The Palau Sant Jordi is located next to the Olympic stadium and there is plenty of public transportation to get you there and back, plus driving in Barcelona isn't really necessary since it has one of the best public transportation systems in all of Europe.
The semi finals (along with Barcelona) and the finals will be played in Madrid, the capital of Spain. Here the games will be played in the Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid. This arena is located off of the centrally located Called de Alcala in between the Retiro Park and the Las Ventas bull ring. The main entrance is located on Calle Lambia.
Madrid is the economic and political heart of Spain. You will also find some of the best museums in the world hear (located very close to the arena) along with excellent food and lodging. The size of Madrid means that finding a decent place to stay shouldn't be too difficult, and if you have to stay a little outside of the downtown there is an excellent public transportation system to get you around.
If you are going to rely on public transportation be sure to purchase a Madrid Tourist Travel Pass. This pass is good for all forms of public transportations (bus, light rail and metro) can be purchased for 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 days with a cost starting at €8.40 (€4.20 for children 4-11, children under 4 travel free) with the7 day costing €35.40 (€17.70 for children). You can purchase this card through the web or in certain locations in Madrid. If you purchase it in Madrid you will need to show your passport or other ID.
Some of Spain's premier cities will be in the spotlight for the first half of September as they host the most important global basketball tournament. 24 national teams will vie to become the true World Champion. The competition will be fierce and the fans will be key to who wins and who loses. Now it is up to you to come and be a part of this incredible event. Hopefully we've been able to orient you a little a little so that you time here is as remarkable as the tournament itself.
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