Zaragoza

Zaragoza was once a Roman town called Caesaraugusta. The Moors did not change the name, but pronounced and spelled it as Saraqusta, and afterwards the Romance and Spanish speakers transformed it into Zaragoza. To the west of the city, within the 90 km radius, lies the municipality of Illueca, with just over 3000 inhabitants. Illueca has a strong shoe making tradition - in the 17th century there were already three tanneries in the town. The modern shoe making industry was launched in the 1920s. By the 1940s numerous shoe making factories were flourishing, some of which still exist today.

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Happy Place

A week on the beautiful Caribbean island of Hispaniola put me in my happy place. The Rincón beach in the Samaná peninsula, Dominican Republic, is ranked as one of the 10 Best Beaches in the world. It's a 20-min ride from the village of Las Galeras. The trip by power boat is even shorter. Of course, I did not forget about Spanish shoes.

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Good bye, March!

Two pictures from the Iberian peninsula hat sum up March for me: one courtesy a journalist from Soria, Spain, and the other by an Instagrammer who captured one of the most exciting moments of the Fallas festival in Valencia.

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Barcelona & Catalonia

Barcelona and Catalonia are the hub to many innovative Made in Spain shoes and accessories brands. The region is abuzz with business and culture. Barcelona, the capital, is considered to be

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Córdoba

Córdoba (also referred to as Cordova in English) is a fabulously beautiful old town in Andalusia. It is famous for its Moorish architecture, as well as its fine leather industry.

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Menorca, the Luxury Shoes Island

Menorca is a shoe-making island on par with Mallorca. Menorca is known for its luxury shoe brands. It is also the birth-place of the avarca sandal. Ferreries is also home to the high-fashion Jaime Mascaró and Úrsula Mascaró labels. Their graceful designs have walked many a red carpet. The Mascaró family of brands includes the Pretty Ballerinas label, favored by the global jet-set and entertainment personalities.  Nearby, in Alaior, Menorca, the Pons Quintana brand presents collections of shoes in gorgeous colors, renowned for their beauty, quality, and a unique leather-braiding technique.

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Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is not a shoe producing town. It is the resting place of Spain’s patron saint – Santiago, or St. James the Greater. As early as the 10th century, pilgrims from all corners of Europe were embarking on a faith journey to Compostela to ask the powerful saint to intercede on their behalf. Today pilgrims still walk the Camino de Santiago or the St.James' Way. In summer 2013 I decided to join them and walked a small portion of the way from Bamberg, Germany, wearing my "Pamplona" espadrilles made in La Rioja.

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La Rioja

La Rioja, the picturesque autonomous region in north-central Spain, is known throughout the world for its fine wine of the same name. That said, La Rioja is also a notable footwear producer. The Neosens brand from Quel is known for its extravagant Baroque-inspired designs. The Art brand, also from Quel, targets the metropolitan urban crowd with cheeky, street-art inspired footwear. The brand Gaimo from Arnedo opts for simplicity and subdued elegance, producing espadrille-inspired sandals with quality leather uppers.

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