And we arrive at the wonderful historical beautiful and educational Alcalà de Henares in the community of Madrid.
We arrive straight from our house in the mountains at Serrania de Cuenca, on the A40 then A3 towards Madrid where we took the M50 and A2 Zaragoza until the M300 and arriving at our parking in plaza de San Lucas underground and nice easy walk to all over the city.
From Via Complutense we set out on foot to see the city. You have wonderful Arch of San Bernardo and into the parque O’donnell park , and right into Plaza de Cervantes. Here you have the wonderful music kiosk and the statue to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra the Creator of Don Quijote ,the utmost story of the Spanish language and a native of the city(b.1547 d.1616).
Right around it is Calle Mayor and we went looking frantically for his House Museum Cervantes at no. 48 ,opened to the public since 1956. You come in for free!!! and right into the courtyard or patio. You take the walk tour into the surgery room, from his father’s trade; then the dining room, kitchen, ladies’ drawing room, a puppet show of the novel Don Quijote, his bedroom, bathroom private parlour, children room,and exhibition hall. Wonderful a must. http://www.museocasanataldecervantes.org/information/
Then, we headed for the Cathedral or Catedral Magistral de los Santos Justo y Pastor, children martyrs of the faith. This was a great Church and wonderful belltower that you climb 140 steps right from the spot where the children Justo and Pastor were massacred and became Saint Justus and Saint Pastor. It offers a spectacular view of the city after climbing the helicoidal staircase. You will see wonderful chapels and the tomb of Cardinal Cisneros that together with Queen Isabel I the Catholic were instrumental in Columbus discovery of new lands in America. The cloister also has a nice collection of statues and stones found in the area. http://www.catedraldealcala.org/
You will do well to visit the Church Santa Maria la Mayor ,this one has a wonderful belltower overlooking the plaza de Cervantes and Inside has spectacular altar to the Virgin as well as a beautiful Chapel. Tower info here: http://www.turismoalcala.es/que-visitar/monumentos/45-torre-iglesia-santa-maria-alcala-de-henares.html And the Church here: http://cvc.cervantes.es/artes/ciudades_patrimonio/alcala_henares/paseo/iglesia_compania.htm
You see wonderful architecture such as the City Hall (Palacio Consistorial b.1870), http://www.ayto-alcaladehenares.es/portalAlcala/contenedor5.jsp?seccion=s_floc_d4_v2.jsp&codbusqueda=352&language=es&codResi=1&codMenuPN=3&codMenu=215&layout=contenedor5.jsp&codigoArea=29&ca=12&layout=contenedor5.jsp
and the Convento de las Clarisas de San Diego, more here: http://cvc.cervantes.es/artes/ciudades_patrimonio/alcala_henares/paseo/convento_clarisas.htm
The great University of Alcalà de Henares: some info here in Spanish, http://cvc.cervantes.es/artes/ciudades_patrimonio/alcala_henares/historia_tradicion/universitario_01.htm
And more from the University: founded in 1499 by Cardinal Cisneros: https://www.uah.es/es/conoce-la-uah/la-universidad/historia-mision-y-valores/
Looking out from the Cathedral I saw this quaint Church and decided to take a closer look, the Ermita de Santa Lucia: This is a barroque Hermitage from the 17C that has its origins in a medieval Church from the 12C where the city Council convene to discussed business. IN 1515,on this site Cardenal Cisneros called for the concordat of Santa Lucia to resolve conflicts between the nobility and the people. Inside there is a chapel that welcomes all the Polish immigrants to the city and the thriving community today. http://cvc.cervantes.es/artes/ciudades_patrimonio/alcala_henares/paseo/ermita_lucia.htm
By Calle Mayor, you have the Hospital de Antezana, in the old Jewish quarters. This hospital is one of the oldest in Europe and continues to functions for the elderly. Here San Ignacio de Loyola, founder of the Jesuits and maybe too, Rodrigo, father of Miguel de Cervantes. Previously it was called the Hospital de Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia, founded in 1483 by Luis de Antezana; and the new one took his name.
Right around the Plaza Cervantes, do not missed the free admission the Interpration Centre, The Universes of Cervantes (previously the building was the hermitage San Juan de los Caballeros where the nobility were buried and those in prison paid their penalties as well as a burial for the cavalery. This is now an eye opener into the life and times of Cervantes where you can even see the baptismal vase where he was baptised on the wishes of his father Rodrigo and mother Leonor. You see displays and interactive rooms on Cervantes’ life. A must. more here: http://culturalcala.es/espacios/centro-de-interpretacion-los-universos-de-cervantes-2/
The Monasterio de San Bernardo and the Palacio Episcopal are two other great architecture buildings to see while walking in this area. These we just passed by taking a picture and move on ;more info is here: http://monasteriosanbernardoalcala.es/ and http://www.turismoalcala.es/que-visitar/monumentos/29-palacio-arzobispal-antiquarium-recinto-amurallado.html
Another we did came in and it’s a must is the Museo Archeologico Regional (archeological museum) ,also, free admission. It is house in the old convent of the dominicans Mother of God (convento de frailes dominicos de la Madre de Dios) built in 1565. It is opened since 1999 and the permanent collection opened in 2003. You have nine themes from the entrance garden of antiquities to the patio of glass (patio de los cristales) to areas of knowing and not inventing, Madrid and the Courts, medieval Madrid, hispano roman history, agriculture, early towns, before humanity and another section on temp exhibition call the Los Escipiones: Rome conquest Hispania. (Scipios). Many artifacts and statues, stones, drawings Tools of the time of the Romans in Spain. Again, this is a must visit. More here: http://www.turismoalcala.es/que-visitar/museos/35-museo-arqueologico-regional.html
Oh yes forgot , we did eat of course lol! We left the mornings with breakfast at home and come back in the evenings for dinner at home, the way to go with large families, and for lunch we eat out local, nothing touristic, so we headed for one right smack in tourist lane yet it was great!!! Go figure it/ The resto tapas bar La Gitana Loca is just across from the Cathedral. An umpretentious place that look more like a bar than a restaurant but the service was very friendly and the food sublime and cheap, tapas for one euro and beer for 50 centimes attack attack, and we came out for about 7 euros per person full bellies and delicious Spanish fares. See the picture for the glorious menu. More here: http://www.lagitanaloca.es/locales/alcala-de-henares/
And yes at the end of the day it was time to head back home and quickly get on the A3 then A40 flowlessly back to Cuenca , always little or no traffic at all especially on the A40. We arrive home late time for the Mahou cinco estrellas cold beer and ibericos, manchegos and chorizos and listening to our Neighbors heavy metal music practice, yes a band lol! Our boys were in heaven, we almost dead lol!!!
Enjoy your weekend and stay tune for more, the trailblazing continues…………………….;;;;Cheers