Archive for August 30th, 2016

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

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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.

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