Spanish Idioms With Spanish Cities (II)

¡Hola a todos!

Today I’m writing about the second part of Spanish idioms using Spanish locations. You can read the first part here if you didn’t!

  • Estar a la luna de Valencia / Quedarse a la luna de Valencia

Literally, it is “to be under Valencia’s moon”. And you may think: “but the moon is the same everywhere in the world”. Yes, but this idiom’s origin is about Valencia. Long time ago, Valencia was surrounded by a wall whose gates were shut all night long. People who didn’t reach the gates before they were closed, had to stay out of the city during the night, under the moonlight.

About its use, you may guess. Somebody who left behind or, according to our dictionary (RAE), to talk about the failed hopes (like sleeping in your bed instead of the ground out of the walls).




  • Barcelona es buena si la bolsa suena

This is not an idiom itself, but it can work too. If we translate it into English, would be something like “Barcelona is good if your bag sounds”. Sounds like what? Well, we’re talking about money. Currently, it makes reference to the high prices you can find in Barcelona (although we all know there both are expensive and cheap deals everywhere).

It is said that, originally, this expression was about the businesses in Barcelona, where Italian people went trying to make big deals and said that it was a good place if you made it, that is, if you got the money in your bag.


  • De Madrid al cielo

This is also not an idiom, but a very popular expression that describes Madrid: “From Madrid to the sky”. But its origin is very confusing.

Some people say its due to the remodeling plan that Carlos III carried out in the city. Other people say there is a house in Garabitas’ Hill where souls of deceased people born in Madrid gather and ascend to the sky.

But the most reliable is the one related to Luis Quiñones de Benavente, a writer from the Spanish Golden Age. He wrote the following words in one of his dramas:

“Pues el inverno y el verano,

En Madrid solo son buenos,

Desde la cuna a Madrid,

Y desde Madrid al cielo.”




  • Tomar las de Villadiego

Villadiego is a town located in Burgos, west of Spain. We say “to take the Villadiego ones” when running away from something.

Its origin is as follows. When Jewish were persecuted in Spain, Fernando III ordered that no Jewish in Villadiego could be caught. Then, when they felt threatened, they went to Villadiego seeking protection. Once there, they had to wear yellow tights as a sign of the King’s protection.

  • Salir de Málaga y meterse en Malagón

“Leave Málaga and get into Malagón”. Its literally meaning makes sense if you’re going for a trip from the Southern city to the town located in Ciudad Real, middle area of Spain. As an idiom, it has a different meaning: escaping from a bad situation and get into a worse one.

About its origin, I’m afraid to say that there are no kings involved here, it’s just a pun. As you may know, “mala” means “bad” (female form), hence using Málaga. The second part is about the augmentative suffix. We add “-ón” to some words to make them look bigger, for example: cabeza – cabezón (head – big head). So if we put this suffix into Málaga, it turns Malagón (I’m not saying this is the origin of the town’s name!), and we can make reference to the small problem (Málaga) and the bigger one (Malagón).




  • Son como los amantes de Teruel, tonta ella, tonto él

“They are like the Teruel lovers, she’s a fool, he’s a fool”. This is used to people who match really good because… well, they’re just silly. We use it due to the rhyme, but there is a story behind it.

To sum up, it’s a typical tragedy (but you can read the whole story here): a man loves a woman, the woman loves the man, but her dad doesn’t want her to marry him, so he married her to a wealthy man. Once, the man asked her to kiss him, but she didn’t want, as she was married. Suddenly, he died of pity, and so she did. Finally, they were buried together.


  • Poner pies en Polvorosa

“To put the foot in Polvorosa”. It is an expression that we use when somebody runs away (literally or not) from a problem. The popular origin of the idiom is about the dust (“polvo”) that raises when we run on a dirt road.

But there is also a historic theory. When Alfonso III noticed the danger about the Moorish people conquering his Kingdom, he took the troops to Polvorosa (in Palencia) to settle the battle. Once there, they obtained the victory because the Moorish run away completely terrified… due to a moon eclipse that frightened them.



  • Pa’lante como los de Alicante

This is only about the rhyme. Alicante is a Southern city in Spain, a coast one, and the whole sentence means “Forward like those from Alicante”. It is used when you have to go straight or go ahead with a plan.

It is a very colloquial sentence, and we can see that on the contraction. The correct way should be “para adelante”, but we cut it and say “pa’lante”. This is a very common linguistic resource in Southern Spain: shorter words in order to speak faster.


That’s all, folks! I hope you enjoyed reading these idioms as much as I enjoyed putting them together on this post. If you liked it, please let me know, and if you want more, I could write about more idioms with cities… from other parts of the world!

If you have any question about this, don’t hesitate to ask me. Remember that you can study Spanish online with me, you can ask for a 30 minutes free trial lesson, where we will get to know each other and start your Spanish adventure!

Also remember to follow me on Instagram and Facebook, where I publish daily contents.

Thank you! 😊

Faro de Lenguas Magazine – Alumnos que abandonan


En esta ocasión, me dirijo a profesores, porque este número de Faro de Lenguas Magazine está dedicado a nosotros, profesionales de la enseñanza del español como lengua extranjera.

¿Que de qué hablamos en esta ocasión? Pues de algo que, por poco que nos guste, a todos nos ha pasado: alumnos que abandonan nuestras clases sin dar explicaciones.

¿Por qué lo hacen? ¿Cómo debemos tomarnos una acción de este tipo? ¿Es culpa nuestra?

Estas preguntas y muchas otras tienen respuesta en el podcast, pero no es una respuesta cerrada, por supuesto. Somos el equipo de Faro de Lenguas Magazine (Francisco, Isabel, Manuela, Janete y yo) con un invitado especial, Sergio Delgado.

¿Has pasado alguna vez por esta situación? ¿Cómo lo afrontaste?

Cuéntanoslo por correo electrónico, nos encantará tener testimonios para utilizar en nuestro próximo podcast.

¡Un abrazo!

Prepositions of place in Spanish

¡Hola a todos!

This week I’m talking about place prepositions. Yes, those words we always get confused with because they are kind of different in English. I’ve prepared a visual illustration about them, so you only need to have a look at it and you will know which preposition you need.

I hope that you liked this short post and that it’s been clear. All week long you will find some pictures on my Instagram and Facebook profiles to review and practice this, so if you don’t follow me yet, follow me now!

If you have any question about this, don’t hesitate to ask me. Remember that you can study Spanish online with me, you can ask for a 30 minutes free trial lesson, where we will get to know each other and start your Spanish adventure!

¡Hasta la próxima!

Culticultura – Marzo 2018 (los inventos)

¡Hola a todos!

Welcome once again to Culticultura, Culture section in Faro de Lenguas Magazine.

I'm giving to you today Monday's Edition of Faro de Lenguas Magazine, the Edition for Spanish learners. This month, I'm talking about inventions by Spanish speaking people. 

Do you want to know more? Listen to it! You can also download the transcription and some exercises here, and give them back to me so I can solve your questions.

And if you want more, you can listen to the whole podcast here.


¿Ser o estar?

¡Hola a todos!

I'm back this week with a grammar topic: when do we use "ser" and "estar" in Spanish? I know this is something driving crazy most of Spanish students, so I'll try to clarify the issue a little bit.

To start with, I'll show you a picture with the uses for "ser" and "estar", but to make it easy, you'll see a note in a chart.

As you can see, that note simplifies the use for both verbs in Spanish: we use "ser" for the characteristics regarding to the object or person itself; and we use "estar" to talk about circumstances.

Yes! It's that easy!

But we've not finished...

No, it couldn't be that easy. Did you know there are some adjectives whose meaning may change depending on the verb they go with? I give you another picture where you can see some of the main adjectives suffering this change:

So it's not the same to say Soy listo that Estoy listo.

As I said, there are more adjectives whose meaning change when we use one or the other verb. Do you want to know them? Contact me and I'll help you out!

If you don't follow my Instagram and Facebook profiles, follow me! I post daily contents where you can practise your Spanish, and if you like it, remember that you can study Spanish online with me, you can ask for a 30 minutes free trial lesson, where we will get to know each other and start your Spanish adventure!

¡Hasta la próxima!

La casa (short story)

¡Hola a todos!

This week I’d like to post something different, not grammar or idioms, but a short story. I’ve picked some words related to home vocabulary and I’ve built a short story so you can practice your reading. Here it is!


Me llamo Miguel, y soy de Cádiz, una ciudad costera del sur de España. Pero ya no vivo en Cádiz, me mudé la semana pasada por el trabajo de mi padre. Ahora vivimos en Barcelona, pero no me gusta, porque esta casa es mucho más pequeña. De hecho, no es una casa, sino un piso.

Puedo sentir mi casa de Cádiz con los ojos cerrados: miro por la ventana y veo la playa, escucho el mar y siento la brisa con olor salado. Vivíamos en un chalet con jardín, piscina y dos plantas. En la planta baja teníamos un salón muy amplio, con un sofá muy grande y muy cómodo en el que nos tumbábamos para ver la televisión o echar la siesta. A mi madre le gustaba mucho nuestra cocina, decía que podía cocinar muchas cosas a la vez porque tenía mucho espacio y muchos electrodomésticos, y no hacía falta limpiar la cocina para poder comer, ¡porque teníamos un comedor! Y nuestras habitaciones eran enormes, de verdad, ¡¡enormes!! Yo jugaba en mi habitación a todo lo que quisiera, y además, tenía un escritorio y una silla en mi dormitorio, así que también estudiaba ahí.

Pero ahora todo es muy distinto. Nuestra casa en Barcelona es muy pequeña, y vivimos en un edificio de pisos, así que no es una casa, es un piso. No tenemos piscina, y el jardín es de todos los vecinos, así que no podemos jugar en él. Tampoco puedo ver la playa, porque este piso está en el centro de la ciudad, así que el paisaje es muy diferente. Pero lo peor es que ahora comparto habitación con mi hermano: dormimos en literas (yo me pedí la litera de arriba) porque no hay sitio para tres dormitorios, solo para dos: el de mis padres y el nuestro. La cocina es mucho más pequeña, igual que el sofá (¡ya no podemos echarnos la siesta porque ocupamos el sofá entero!).

Mi padre dice que los pisos en Barcelona son mucho más caros que las casas en Cádiz, así que nos ha prometido que iremos de vacaciones a casas más grandes tantas veces como podamos.


I hope that you liked this story! I’ll be posting some questions on my Instagram profile to review and practice this vocabulary, so if you don’t follow me yet, click here and follow me! You can also find them on Facebook. And if you liked this story, let me know so I can keep writing short stories like this!

Do you have any question? Don’t hesitate to ask me! Remember that you can study Spanish online with me, you can ask for a 30 minutes free trial lesson, where we will get to know each other and start your Spanish adventure!

¡Hasta la próxima!