Archive for August, 2016

August 31, 2016

Madrid never can get enough of you!!!

Ok so this is part of same trip but one last family look at my Madrid, the last post on the same trip is here

Well Madrid for me is everything to come back to Spain for it. If you have read my posts/blog you know I used to lived in Madrid and visit several times a year now usually alone. This time I came with the family and they as well as me re confirm our faith in the city. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day.

We came back as usual by car from Cuenca on the A40 then A3 , but this time we headed to Cibeles and found parking in Recoleto underground garage just next to Plaza de Cibeles, very central and nice. We then as usual set out on foot to see the city.

In no particular order, we had to go see the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium of my lifetime team Real Madrid FC,and had a beer and tapas at the Real Café Bernabeu with wonderful views of the stadium field.  The official site for the team is here:

The cafe webpage is here too :

We had the opportunity to try the bus network taken bus 21 from Plaza de Toros (Ventas) to Paseo Rosales;

This get you a nice overall view of the city and go from the wonderful historical Plaza de Toros very near of my old home to Paseo Rosales and the Teléferico (cable car) and the Temple of Debod Egyptian gift to Spain.

Right around the Monumental de Ventas plaza de toros, there is Los Timbales one of the original matador bars and still kicking, lovely memories and highly recommended to see something of Madrid and Spain away from tourist central.

I used to hang around the Plaza de Toros when as an early teen lived here and always a pilgrimage to this cultural and historical mecca of Spain. The teléferico or cable car, my mother used to take me to the Casa de Campo attraction park and the temple de Debod a gift of Egypt to Spain for helping in the flooding of the Aswan Dam. The temple sits on the Cuartel  de la Montana park, and old establishement military base during the Spanish Civil War and now practically part of the Parque del Oeste along Paseo del Pintor Rosales.

Of course, when we parked at Recoletos (Paseo de) , we immediately took a look at the Fuente de Cibeles that was undergoing renovation/cleaning and the Palacio de las Cibeles, the old city hall of Madrid and now a great place to see and climb to the top for great views of the city.  At the corner you can see the Casa de America a cultural center sharing the heritage of Spain and the Americas, all in the Plaza de la Cibeles.

A bit further walking and you reach my Puerta de Alcalà, the great gate of Madrid and I lived closed to it for four years! And from there, you go in to the fame Parque del Buen Retiro park another must and always a must for me, a wonderful memories of youth and still feeling Young just stepping into the park.

Near here, in Calle Alcalà just across from the Retiro park before arriving at the Puerta de Alcalà lies the Church of San Manuel y San Benito where my mom used to take me as a boy. It is still nostalgic to see it and remind if need to of my mother again, always in my mind even if already 9 years passing.  Tourist office here:

Official Church site here:

There is one by Doctor Esquerdo going towards Plaza Conde de Casal and another one by Menendez Pelayo and Calle del Alcalde Sainz de Baranda (photo) across from Retiro park, this is the Cerveceria Cruz Blanca, is another of the typical one in my Madrid away from tourist central.  A must .

Right diagonally from the brewery restaurant and before crossing the street to Retiro park there is a nice archicturally done Church the Parroquia del Santisimo Sacramento; more here:

One park that used to be my hangout and so far until now no pictures is the parque Eva Peron off the Plaza Manuel Becerra. There is a Church parroquia de la Covadonga right there too.

Of course we walked a lot see Madrid soak up its air, feel the city , once again is beyond words for me. We took the metro this time from the fame  Plaza de España to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. line 10.

And we took bus 14 from Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to paseo de Recoletos parking spot to recover our car.

Of course, we ate all sorts of ice creams and sodas along the way and water from mini grocery stores, but the nice sit in was near my old neighborhood on a new outfit call Audrey Brunch & Coffee, Calle Alcalà 183.  This is a new place, nice clean and friendly full of locals in non tourist central area. We had our chorizo sandwich and fanta lemon here as well as coffees and sweets to load up on the sugar content and survive the 35C weather in the city.  In fact so new is not even in the webpage of the company, wow!!

Oh well once again, had to leave my Madrid. I never get tired of visiting even repeat places. I have live in 5 countries, visited 79 cities of our world but Madrid is touching, virus like proportions, again I never get tired of visiting it. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday. Enjoy it too, Cheers

 Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid

August 30, 2016

La Granja de San Ildefonso, a palace in the mountains

On our way back from Segovia we came up the mountain of Navacerrada to see La Granja de San Ildefonso and its Palace. I have to say ,never been here, even if heard all about for yeeears and coming down to Madrid several times a year. Been with the family and already at Segovia , I said ,this is the closest I will ever be so let’s give a visit. It is about 11 kms from Segovia.

We arrive on time, but the palace was getting some facelift, and we did not go in , and believe or not ; I was not impressed. Maybe so used to the best castles/palaces in Europe , especially France and Spain, seen this one was a bit letdown. Nevertheless , the gardens are gorgeous and a brief visit while from Segovia will be good.

The tourist office of the Spanish heritage monuments in Spanish  is at  Spain National Monuments on San Ildefonso

The national tourist office of Spain is here in English:  Tourist office of Spain on San Ildefonso

And the tourist office of the  Royal Palace of  San Ildefonso, La Granja,  Tourism San Ildefonso

We were able to find parking just outside the property gates around the corner restaurant.  The we set out to walk Inside. We saw the palace and the rénovations and proceeded to the gardens.

King Felipe V (who is the Grandson of King Louis XIV of France and was born at Versailles1683) acquired the land and building of the Jeronimos in 1721.  Construction continues into the reign of king Carlos III. The garden is surrounded by several fountains with the best looking one the one call Fuente de Neptuno as per photo. The gardens have more than 12,000 trees in-line, 70,000 trees in total , and 30 kms of lawn with 26 fountains.  It has a total area of 146 hectares and a high wall of 6 kms around encircle the garden. The highest point is at the Ultimo Pino at 1325 meters high and the lowest point is at the Puerta del Vivero.

The work on the Palace of San Ildefonso, continues from 1725  to 1732,and the Patio de Coches (carriages) is built where today visitors entered the palace.   Next to the palace you see the Real Colegiata de la Santisima Trinidad Church where the tomb of Felipe V and his wife Isabel de Farnesio are laid.

Spanish history here a bit intro: At this palace was the summer residence of the Bourbon kings and held the wedding of Carlos IV with Maria Luisa de Parma, the signing of the Treaty of San Ildefonso between Spain and France, the sargeants in the revolt obliges Maria Cristina de Nàpoles of proclaimed the Constitution of 1812.  Here too , was a place for receptions of embassies, births and baptism amongt them those of the Infanta Isabel (la Chata) and Don Juan (father of former King Juan Carlos I of Spain) Grandfather of the current one Felipe VI.

Yes , is a nice high mountain range, very regal but the palace is smallish even thus Inside it is said to be a little Versailles lol!

Stay tune for the big city next. Cheers

 La Granja de San Ildefonso  La Granja de San Ildefonso  La Granja de San Ildefonso  La Granja de San Ildefonso  La Granja de San Ildefonso  La Granja de San Ildefonso  La Granja de San Ildefonso

Tags: , ,
August 30, 2016

Segovia , aqueduct, alcazar, catedral and memories of always!

I wrote last in my blog on Segovia on March 14,2011. However, I have come here many many years ago , in fact came with my girlfriend 26 years ago , today she is my wife. So , very emotional memories coming back here. Even if always stop short in Madrid, Segovia is special for this and the magnificent stable of monuments of wonderful beauty and architecture.

The municipal tourist office in Spanish is here:  ; and the city of Segovia is here in English :  ; and the community of Castilla y Léon is here in English :

So where to start ,this is very emotional for me and many nice memories that my mind is going back to when my Mom took me here as a Young early teen boy in the early 1970’s. Then coming with what is now my wife of 26 years, and finally coming up with my grown boys in their 20’s. So special family memories and now to continue sharing.

We took off by car from Cuenca on theh A40,A3 direction Madrid and then the M30 tunnel until getting off the AP61  entering Segovia by Calle de Jose Zorilla and just landed at the underground parking of Ezequiel Gonzalez and then walk all over. The parking is named on Calle Los Barreros / Pº. Ezequiel Gonzalez; more here :

From there in no particular order we set out to see the city on foot , the best way to do so.  The sights we saw or visit were:

We passed by the Puerta de Madrid to find the parking and then walked up  the hilly back around the Cathedral and direction the Alcazar we passed by the Museo de Segovia at Casa del Sol, museum is on since 1842 and the house or casa is very old from the time of king Enrique IV: more here in English:

We walked on the Paseo de los Tilos by a nice fountain encrusted on the ramparts walls, we took a look at the city and alcazar from a mirador or lookout of the museum of Segovia and walked passed the Puerta San Andrés that connected to the old Jewish quarters, and we passed the tourist office too! More here in Spanish:

We arrive on the side of the Alcazar following the high end of the old ramparts and with beautiful views of the country below. The Alcazar have older photos can see myself become of age lol! This is a beautiful fortress and a must visit with armor and statues of past Kings and portraits all beautifully kept.  More here in English:

Inside the Alcazar, do not missed the section on the Real Colegio de Artilleria, royal college of artillery a wonderful museum of military history of the times. 250 years of history!!  More in Spanish here:

We went around back into Calle de Daoiz and we found our first shopping spree on leather bags on 50% off!!! real bargain from Fernando. We continue on munching on ice cream until we reach the Cathedral or Catedral de Nuestra Señora de  la Asunción y San Frutos , a masterpiece and another must see here.  It has 27 chapels and the cloister, sacristy, Corum, Altar nave included. The work on its construction began in 1525 and completed in 1768! Considered the last gothic Cathedral even if many styles are renassaince. I can’t put enough photos here but i tell you is a must. I am nostalgic about the chapel of Sainte Barbe or Santa Barbara of which my mother was a devotée.

You can see a nice building on calle Juan Bravo just before the Plaza San Martin that today acts as a Municipal Library but once was the Royal Prison where the great Spanish writer Lope de Vega spent time…more here:

You come running if you can to see the Aqueduct and all its splendor, a must and again have a much younger picture of it as souvenir and now again… We came from above the aqueduct goes into the city upper side you come down on a grand stair alongside the aqueduct and see the Plaza de Azoguejo below and the famous restaurant Candido.  This goes beyond words of mine, you just have to come and see it.  You read more here in English and wait for my photos ::)

Another wonderful building that I came straight for it is the Casa Museo Antonio Machado , one of Spain leading poet/writer.  He first came here in November 25 , 1919 to hold a place as professor of French in the Instituto General y Técnico where he stayed until 1932.  And even thus he leaves the city in September 1932 to teach French in the Instituto Calderón de la Barca in Madrid. He did came back for visits afterwards; Segovia keeps a very big heart for him. He was actually born in Sevilla in 1875 , and founder of the Spanish Modernismo been part of the famous Generation of ’98 and member of the Spanish Royal Academy.  One of the poems I always remember was dedicated to the assassination of another great Poet/writer of Spain, Federico Garcia Lorca in the early stages of the Spanish Civil War, “El Crimen fue en Granada” = Se le vio, caminando entre fusiles, por una calle larga, salir al campo frío, aún con estrellas de la madrugada. Mataron a Federico cuando la luz asomaba” IN short, it translates as, He was seen walking amongt rifles on a long street, going out into the cold field still with stars of the night. They killed Federico when the daylight looms. One of my favorite poets of Spain.  There is a guide map where you can trace the walks of his daily routines in the city ask the tourist office. More here:

You can see the Church of San Andrés, on the street near the ramparts walls and the beforementioned Puerta de San Andrés, more on Masses here;

We came by to see the Church of San Clemente, built in the 12-13C; something more on it here:

A nice one was the Church of San Martin, built from the 12C in Romanesque style. More info here:

A historic one, Church of San Millàn, in the moorish area built by 12C, similar to the Cathedral of Jaca (you can see my entry on this town on previous post). More on it here:

Another nice one we passed by was the Church of San Sébastian built in the 12-13C however, dismantled and rebuilt in the early 20C.  More info here in English as well as some on the above Churches;

Convento de Carmelitas Descalzas de San José, founded by Saint Teresa de Jésus in 1574. More info in above link as well as here:

The Monasterio Santa Maria del Parral we saw at a distance as time is of the essence. However, is a worthy place to visit too. More info here:

Of course, we walked around and the Plaza Mayor is a must and Plaza de la Merced, and Plaza San Martin as nice too.  And we ate here too lunch in the Plaza Mayor at the La Oja Blanca restaurant. We had of course our bathful of beers, codfish croquettes, chorizo a la cazuela, hot dogs! and omelettes all for about 8€ per person. More here:

And we had our day in Segovia, ready to continue to our next post on a nice place nearby ::) Stay tune. Enjoy your week,Cheers.

Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia

Tags: , ,
August 28, 2016

Valencia from the El Cid to now!!!

It has been visited in my early teen when family still in the area, and now many many years later came back to Valencia. It is a major city of Spain and many many things to see which our time could not possibly allowed for all. Nevertheless, well planned I think we hit the main areas that needed  to be visited and might encourage others to do the same; we will be back.

The city tourist office is at  ; and the Community of Valencia region here:

We came in by car on the A3 expressway  passing the viaduc de Buñol,  and getting by the Torres de Quarts and the Puente de las Artes straight to our underground parking garage as planned, this was the parking empart Colon at Carrer del Comte de Salvatierra,23 underneath the great Mercado Colon. Wonderful choice walk all over from here.

Therefore, the first thing we saw was the Mercado Colon.  Created as the market of the area of Ensanche and recently beautifully restored. It is a magical place with plenty of food stalls, and supermarket especialising in meats, seafood, cheeses, wines etc on the below ground floor and restos on the ground floor, way below is the parking. More here:

From there, we move on by foot to visit as much as the main sights as possible.  Walking is always better than public transport for us;once we parked our car.  In no particular order these are the sights we saw or visit with at least a corresponding photo.

Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados or Our Lady of the Foresaken; the city patron Saint as well as the Community of Valencia. This is a must  ,gorgeous in and out, just a sample of photos here. More on it,

We reach the Cathedral or Catedral Santa Maria, very nice but a long line so we skip the interior. See photos of exterior on the this post and for more info here:

We went by the Church San Juan de la Cruz, nice architecture of Baroque style ,indeed. more info here :

We went to the Church San Martin, there since the Christian conquest of 1238AD.  There is some info on the city hall page of Valencia in Spanish;

We passed by the Church Saint Nicolas y San Pedro, a nice Church with lots of history. More info here:

We took a peek at the Church Santa Caterina and tower right around the Plaza de la Reina. The tower is impressive. More here :

Again more history and architecture in the Church of San Juan del Hospital, claiming to be the oldest Church in Valencia; see the official site in English here:

The Parrish Church San Tomàs Apostol and San Felipe Neri, borrowing the baroque from Rome, nice architecture; more here :

Government buildings are dull except the city halls of Europe that can be rich and ornamental sometimes former palaces and manor houses; this is no exception in Valencia where on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (city hall square) you have a beautiful city hall building before you.  Be careful if coming by car , we saw several cars been wreck truck taken to the car pound rather quickly. More here in Spanish:

There is a great statue here of Francesc de Vinatea a great heroe of the region opposing the feudal ideas of the king and serve as First Juror . One of his famous phrases and slogans of the time is this one “cada uno de nos somos tanto como vos, pero todos juntos mucho más que vos.” It reads something like ,Each of us is as much as you, but all together are more than you. Democracy rings! but this was in around 1300!

This is supposed to be the biggest attraction in Valencia, the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias or the arts and sciences city actually just outside city center ;not really big on muséums and on the last way out, we skip it. However, it is here for content, and more information is here:

We, also, took a look at another novelty the train station, we are road warriors so the train is only when must on business trips. The estacion del Norte is very nice architecturally thus and it could be visited. Locals call it Estaçio Nord. More info here in English from official source:

And we arrive at the Mercado Central, now this is us, love it, vibrant live, great ambiance and great food and drinks… the center of it. The gorgeous hams was a tentation as well as the great wines to take back to the house. This is a must and for us just enough to be back.  The construction is marvelous and it was already pack with locals and visitors alike.  The official page is here in English:

In Spanish is as such El Colegio del Patriarca San Juan de Ribera , but just call it the Patriarch. A gorgeous monument showcasing the work of Father Juan de Ribera (Saint).  It is a vast building, we took a peek Inside and it is gorgeous, Worth coming back for a detail look. More in English here;

Another that needed more time was the Museo Nacional de Ceràmica y Artes Suntuarias “Gonzalez Martî” -Palacio Marqués de Dos Aguas. or simply the Ceramics and arts museum. A gorgeous baroque building richly decorated with what it shows! More info in English here:

There is a Plaza de Toros or  bullfight arena here, and rather dull round brick building. It is next to the Estacio Nord train station. More on it here:

And we headed for the beaches, passing by the Puerta de la Mar arch. The weather by now was cloudy a bit of fine rain so not much action but the beach is long and wide, rather nice. We moved the car and park at the Paseo Neptuno parking garage, and then walk up and down the beaches of Arenal and Cabanyal, and continues into Malvarossa. The paseo maritimo walkway is rather nice with shops and restos and of course hôtels. Plenty of activities in sandy wide beach, something to think about next time with more time.  There is a nice statue mémorial to Antonio Ferrandis a great Valencian actor.

And we came back one more time to home base in the Serrania de Cuenca. Before moving the car from the parking at Mercado Colon we had lunch at Pantalan 5 in the ground floor of the market, nice cold beers and sandwiches of chorizo and potatoes, croquettes of ham and cheese and other goodies for about 8€ per person. Nice simply and grand style lunch in a beautiful place. More here: ,and more photos here :

Until next episode on our trailblazing saga of Spain, hope to be given you a sampler to come to Spain, is everything Under the Sun…and more. Enjoy your Sunday, Cheers.

 Valencia  Valencia  Valencia  Valencia  Valencia

Tags: , ,
August 28, 2016

And one more time in Cuenca our main city home base!

And on our second weekend to keep it low and relax we stick around our area where we rented a rural house in Las Majadas (casa Pitu) in the Serrania de Cuenca mountains at about 36 kms to Cuenca where we descended several times. See previous posts on Cuenca and Las Majadas.

Now we came down early and we saw a nice spectacle on the road down the mountains; we have seen goats, wild pigs, cerfs, and cows on the side. This time there were two cows right on the road blocking our access!!! (see photo). So how to get them to move lol!!! When I claxon they just look at me like we are here and you wait ::) finally after some minutes that seems like an eternity one of the cows moved to the road edge and we were able to pass by the other one that just stood there on the road looking at us wow!!! It was very funny could be worse…. We move on.

We went down to city center by the by now repeated metal art work on the road into city center.  We came into the Stream of the river Jùcar that passes by the city and the Church of Virgen de la Luz, dating from the 16C .  This Church is famous for housing the Black Virgin. More here in Spanish:

There is a curiosity that we did not took the bait for it but maybe interested for others, the Tuneles Alfonso VIII, admission is 3,50€. These are underground passages showing life as it was in the time ,and serve as refuge during the Spanish Civil War. It has 90 meters long by 250 square meters of space with three entry points; been the main at the street of same name Calle Alfonso VIII.  On this street you can ,also, admire great architecture as on the houses or casa de los Clemente Aróstegui from the 17C,with a facade adapted to the curve of the street; casa del Corregidor, with a palace like facade and on the back gives way to the neighborhood of (Barrio) de San Marín; and the casa de los Mendoza, that now houses the museum Museo de las Ciencias de Castilla-La Mancha. The street is hilly as most in Cuenca.

See the beautiful photos of the rio Jùcar river passing thru the city and the life of promenades in the shade very nice. It goes around the town up to the mountains and where we stayed. There is a great eery nice shot from the town up the mountain and a huge Christ on the very top. This is Spain still.

We came looking for the Torre Mangana tower and we did! This is a huge tower on the upper part of the city.  The tower is from 1565 and the clock and Cross were added in 1532. This clock mark the official time of Cuenca even today! There is ongoing excavations below it closed to the public, as  the base of the tower on the plaza de Mangana,was where the neighoborhood of Arabs and later the Jewish quarter in medieval times and finally the Christian area of  Santa María(Saint Mary).  More here in Spanish :

From the tower you can see détails of the city such as the Church San Andrés:

And Oratorio de San Felipe de Neri:

Of course, we cannot go down to the town for the whole day and don’t eat. So lunch we had at Bar Cafe Martina on the pedestrian nice city center street of Calle Carreteria. This is a local joint very friendly nice and the price right. We had our usual beers Under a umbrella canopy in the middle of the street,and had our omelettes, chorizos, and croquettes all good for about 8€ per person.  More info here:

Nice town, Unesco historical site, and easy in and out on the road A40 of Castilla La Mancha. Enjoy it.

Las Majadas  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca

Tags: , ,
August 27, 2016

CLM and Comu. de Madrid:Torrejon de Ardoz,Huete,Ségobriga,and Belmonte.

To continue our story with our beloved Spain , we went by our own car on the road of Castile=Castilla. We went to Torrejon de Ardoz to revisit some shopping center and then down to Huete to visit a cheese factory and further down to Ségobriga archeological site (Roman times)  and onwards to Belmonte to visit a castle. I am a road warrior, I tell you ::)

We went straight to Torrejon de Ardoz on the A40/A3/M50/CM420 right into our old ave de la constitucion to see the old town where I used to come as a Young teen ,and took my boys when very Young to shop at the Toys ‘R Us store in the shopping center parque Corredor. Well we came back with them much older and it was a nice memorable trip. Of course,this time we did not stop at Toys’R Us but it was a chance for them to now pay their own and buy us some drinks lol!!! The shopping center is loaded with stores (about 180 of them) and restaurants and a good stopping point out of Madrid as well to shop better prices. Here is the link:

And you don’t need a car if coming from Madrid, as from Avenida  America bus depot you can take bus 224A  to Torrejon de Ardoz and there take the bus to the shopping center  Parque Corredor on No 252 or bus 4.

site on the manchego cheese from the tourist office here:

There was a pepino de Huete festival on August 9th, and we had a blast with the peppers tasting and local white wines, on a market ambiance festivity. More here in Spanish:

We had time to wandered the Streets of Huete and see its arquitecture richness for a small town, very good. The Antiguo monasterio de Santo Domingo de Guzmán founded in 1620.|0&id=enlace11

The Casa Palacio de los Condes de Garcinarro; built mid 15C, here stayed the King Felipe III in 1604; more here:|0&id=enlace14

Torre del reloj build on the old city hall and done in 1795.right alongside the wall encircling the old town. More views here after restoration in the city page:

In Ségobriga , (Salieces) they have found practically a city of Roman times fully excavated that is quite large, the information desk told us about 1H30 so in the scorching sun of about 35C we decided it was too much to do, we will come back in better walking weather but the site is a must.  It is known as the Parque Archeologico de Segobriga. We just stopped by to see the détails and gather information; you have more info here in Spanish:

And in English from Spain tourist office here :

We finally set route for Belmonte one of the best preserve castles in the region of Castilla La Mancha South of Madrid.  There is always something going on here even of medieval looks, and it is wonderful a must to visit. We did not have time to see it all but is on our agenda to come back for more here.  The castle page in English is here:

The Castle of Belmonte, built in the later part of the 15C by the Marquis of Villena who did a lot building around the region and has inprints in some of the town we visited in Castilla La Mancha region. The castle was abandoned and in ruins for many centuries and later served as a monastery ,the a prison, and finally restored again and open to the public in 2010. Interesting for me and maybe many here is that this castle came by heritage to a member of the house of Villena, Eugenia de Guzman, better known as the Empress  Eugenia de Montijo (imperatrice Eugénie of the French wife of emperor Napoleon III) she spent money restoring it until her end from power in 1870. The castle passed to her descendants the Casa Ducal de Peñaranda – Montijo, consisting of the Duque de Peñaranda (and Conde de Montijo), and his  3 brothers in direct line who are still the owners. History here some facts recall the many battles to conquer the Castilian crown, Royal Lodge to the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella,(Fernando y Isabel I) or the birth of the renaissance poet Fray Luis de Leon.  It has also been the setting of the film “El Cid“ with Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren as main characters. Wonderful indeed the photos of from the exterior and you can see the windmills written and spoken in so many works from the time of Don Quijote de la Mancha.!!!

More from the tourist office of the region in Spanish:

After a long hot day on the road we headed back to our home base in the Serrania de Cuenca at 1400 meters cool mountain air. Ready to plan our next traiblazing outing in Spain. Enjoy your weekend, Cheers.

 Belmonte  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete Segobriga  Torrejon de Ardoz

Tags: , ,
August 26, 2016

Alcalà de Henares, Cervantes was born here!

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.

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.

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:  And the Church here:

You see wonderful architecture such as the City Hall (Palacio Consistorial b.1870),

and the Convento de las Clarisas de San Diego, more here:

The great University of Alcalà de Henares: some info here in Spanish,

And more from the University: founded in 1499 by Cardinal Cisneros:

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.

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:

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:  and

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:

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:

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

 Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares  Alcalà de Henares

Tags: , ,
August 25, 2016

Chinchon, Colmenar la Oreja, and Villarejo de Salvanés, Comunidad de Madrid!

ON our whirlwind tour of my beloved Spain, we took a day and made it long sort of. We came first to Aranjuez (see last post) and then  move on by car on the road M305 to Chinchon , another wonderful old town. We followed up with Colmenar la Oreja and then Villarejo de Salvanés before getting back on the A3 /A40 back to home base.

Chinchon is a nice town famous for its wonderful anisette base liquor and its great Plaza Mayor square.  Here at the plaza mayor the first houses were built in the 15Cn and the square is used for many things not least the bullfight arena!

The Church Nuestra Señora de la Asunción was built in 1534 and finished in 1626; and the great belltower without a Church of the old Church of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, built in the 15C as well, now only see a clocktower or Torre del Reloj  over the plaza mayor.

The castle of the Counts built in the 16C or Castillo de los Condes; its last used was a liquor factory, and now it is just there holding fairs and temporary events.  Entering town you see the Convento de las Clarisas built in 1653. Tourist office is here in English:

And the Madrid commune tourist office:

We continue our journey on the M311 road , after doing some excellent foot work on the Streets of Chinchon to reach our next town on the trailblazing sun of Spain; this town was Colmenar la Oreja.

We quickly gather around the Plaza Mayor that has an overhanging house to get to on one side and opens up on the other side encircling a bulls arena as well. The  Plaza Mayor (Major Square), built on a cliff between 1676 and 1794, and we walk around the Church of Santa María la Mayor.

More on it in English at the Madrid community tourist page here:

I wanted to visit one more town before heading back home for the day, we are fast ::)  We continue the journey on the road M311 crossing over our expressway A3 to reach Villarejo de Salvanés, I have read it has a nice tower and indeed it is. There you will see the wonderful  Torre del Homenaje o part of the old Castle of Villarejo de Salvanés.  By here , passed the old road of Toledo as well as call the Senda Galiana (Roman road that linked Galia (France) and Hispania (Spain) used during the Middle Ages.

The wonderful Church of San Andrés the Apostle sit facing direct to the tower and castle ruins on a nice square or Plaza del Castillo.  More on the town from the tourist office of Spain:

and more from community of Madrid tourist page in English:

A wonderful entry into the real Spain away from the crowds in a peaceful surrounding, at Villarejo we spoked with locals waiting for their bus which connects to the city of Madrid, got to know the bus routes and the Mercadona supermarket ::)

It was time to head back to our mountain retrieve in the Serrania de Cuenca along the A3 and then the A40. Enjoy it as much as we did. Spain everything Under the Sun, a slogan of the tourist office from the movida years of the 80’s and still holding true. Cheers

 Villarejo de Salvanés Chinchon Chinchon Chinchon Colmenar la Oreja Colmenar la Oreja Colmenar la Oreja  Villarejo de Salvanés  Villarejo de Salvanés


Tags: , ,
August 24, 2016

Aranjuez is more than a concerto !

And we came to the wonderful city of Aranjuez, a princely town made very famous by all Spaniards for the concerto created by Joaquin Rodrigo on an old story of love between a prince and princesse, hear it, sublime music of Aranjuez. My mother made me come into it when a boy and it has always stay with me up to today.

The tourist office is at  and a site with more info in Spanish

We follow by car the A40 from Cuenca all the way to Aranjuez that is in the Comunidad de Madrid, just South of it and closer to Toledo.

We came right into the the Church chapel of San Antonio after passing the arches that hold the Church together on each side. This is right next to the Royal palace or Palacio Real. Here we took the chiquitren or litle train ride all over town for about 50 minutes and 5,50€ per person good deal.

We did our usual walking around town soaking in the local life after the litle train ride into Calle Principe where we found free parking, and Calle Postas right by the Mercado del Abasto or food covered market.

The Calle Postas takes you right into the Plaza de Toros on your left at corner with calle mirasierra. Its not a major arena so we just walk around it. We headed back walking to see the garden or Jardin de Isabel II and a nice statue of the Queen.

The Palacio Real we did not go in as already seen lots of palaces including this one before, but for first timers is a must. We rather had some granizados crushed ice with flavored drinks for the heat and continue walking into the jardin del Principe and Parterre of the castle behind it.

The highlight for us is the local food and off tourist trails we headed for one closer to the plaza de toros, the De Cañas en Fedario, at Calle Postas ,68. This was great menu for 7,50€ included a first plate of Arroz con Tres Delicias, Gazpacho, ensaladilla Rusa, and then second plate of chicken breasts, roasted pig a la plancha, or hake fish rounds in spices, all with french fries, dessert we had arroz con leche and flan, beers of mahou very cold , a great deal indeed. No web of course….

While in town you notice a nice looking Church on end of calle Principe, this the Church of Alpajes (also known as the Señora de Angustias) and see the wonderful fountain of Apolo at Plaza de la Mariblanca right in front of the Palace.

It was a quick visit that we combine with our next town, see it in next post. In the meantime, enjoy Aranjuez and its concerto ! Cheers

 Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez  Aranjuez

Tags: , ,
August 23, 2016

The mythical beautiful Toledo!

And I made it back to Toledo this time with the family and it was one of our best expériences from our trip to Spain. Believe or not , I have come here often on my rounds by Madrid , but this time came with the wife after 26 years!  Toledo is magical but been to many places and little time for it, this time with the family finally made it back and it was very special.

The tourist office is here:

We came by car on the N400 after going most of the way on the A40 from the mountains north of Cuenca (see previous posts). The drive was easy with little or no traffic ,and the parking was easy to find and plenty of spaces available in the Corralillo de San Miguel just next to the Alcazar.

Of course, the first building was the Alcazar and the museo del Ejercito or army museum.  We are not into muséums preferred the street walks and soaking in the local flavors of the gastronomy and shopping.  However, this is a must for museum goers.

We quickly moved to wonderful Plaza del Zocodover, full of life and great eateries and shopping, we loaded up on Swords and pennants which the boys soaked up pretty quickly; even a musket pistol! The shop is just across from the entrance to the museum,the name escapes me as usual on these things duh!

We ,then, took the calle comercio full of shops and restos very colorful, we love it came by here many times sometimes in circles so be it ,it is wonderful. I can stay here all day ,you walk. This street takes you on the back of the Catedral Primada. Now, again not into seeing buildings but if not been in it you should see it. Me, well can’t seen to be paying 11 euros to see a Church; sacre! it should be free or at least much cheaper.

In our walks, we passed by many Churches with lots of history but we just walk by them soaking in the architecture and the sights even of other tourists…. One that was Worth the photo was the Church of del Salvador or Savior built on a mosque and Christian by the 12C. Of interest Queen Juana of Castile was baptised here, been the mother of Carlos V.   The Church of San Idelfonso an original Jesuit Church that took 150 years to built, following the example of  Il Gesú in Rome. Next we came to the Church of San Romàn, located on one of the 12 hills of Toledo! on the foundations of a Roman building, and Inside it has a Visigoth museum or museo de concilios. Another, was the Church of Santiago del Arrabal, considered one of the best example of Mudéjar style architecture in Toledo.

We came into a nice square Plaza de San Vicente where the Circulo del Arte building is located; this is a nice example of old, religious like building used to expose great works of arts in temporary and permanent expositions.

The nice  Convento de Santa Isabel de los Reyes, a convent where nuns sells the sweets of the area is quite nice and very inviting to eat even in the heat of 35C!

An interesting building was the Posada de la Hermandad or brotherhood created to protect the farmers from bandits even if today is used for exhibitions by the city;

The city hall or town hall (Ayuntamiento) is always attractive in many cities and one to look at its architecture, this one in Toledo is no exception.

A super site just by the puerta de Valmardon is the Mezquita Cristo de la Luz

The Cristo de la Luz mosque is the most perfect example of islamic art in Spain ,kept almost intact from the time of the Caliphs by around 999AD.

Another interesting gate is puerta de Alcantara,

and Puerta de Bisagra:

For those on public transports the train station is very nice and just on the outskirts of town with great bus service inward.

We did try the bus no 61 to get us from the back of the Church of Santiago del Arrabal (puerta bisagra stop) back to the Plaza Zocodover after an exhaustive day of walking , the ride was nice and the cost 1,40€ per person. info on UNAUTO here

There is a nice Teatro de Rojas in Toledo not stay overnight to try it but it looks very nice and good alternative for the day activities of anyone. From 1578 a comedy theater to the one now from 1878, its all here in Spanish:

And of course, we did delves into ice creams and granizados or granitas best can translate, its syrup of different flavors to choose on crushed ice great for the heat of the day. However, for a formal lunch we could not resist the 6,95€ menu from Meson Palacios part of hostal Palacios. on Calle Alfonso XI El Sabio (the sage) no 5 corner with calle Navarro Ledesma. We had first plate arroz a la Cubana, judias blancas con panceta y rabo, croquetas Roquefort, then 2nd plate, bistec a las finas hierbas, hamburguesas con patatas, pollo en pepitoria, also bread, dessert like rice pudding, a glass of beer and coffee tax included all this for 6,95!!! the best bargain in our trip and all deliciously serve with great friendly funny service. A memorable family moment to last.

On the way back, we stop for more shopping and ice cream at the shopping center or centro comercial Luz del Tajo on the N400 road, follow centro comercial and then luz de tajo ,further there is Fusion shopping plaza but not as good. Something to use as a rest stop as well.

And our trip to Toledo ended good. Memories for me and especially for the other half as 26 years ago I brought her here searching for a hotel and could not ,all booked, we end up back in Madrid where we found one, driving on the road with no réservations, never again. Toledo is now seen by our sons and we pass on the thirst for more in the future as they like it too !!! Enjoy the photos and may it bring you the thirst to come here too, Toledo is magical, mythical, beautiful. Cheers!

 Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo

Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: