Some news from Spain XXXIII

Well not far off my favorite visiting country now, Spain. If you read my posts then you know I am Spanish too ::) amongst others lol! a globetrotter travelers citizen.  I voted in Spain’s election, The USA election, and now ready for the French elections!!! Citizen of the World indeed. The temp in Madrid today is at 48F or about 9C with rains tomorrow more of the same but less rain.

And now, let give some insights into Spain and My Madrid especially (lived there).

To Madrilejos  where tourists can learn about the famous museum of Saffron(Azafràn)  known as ‘red gold’ to weight  a kilo of Saffron are needed more than 120,000 flowers, then after drying  the stigmas we lose 4/5  parts of its weight. The best time to learn about the fields of Saffron is in November. More here:

Consuegra  by the Sierra de los Molinos is mandatory if you visit Consuegra. La Muela Castle (Castillo de la Muela also of Consuegra), one of the best preserved of all Castilla La Mancha castles where the history of several centuries will be known through a theatrical  visit and will be appointed a gentlemen with a wooden sword for the kids. If you are an adult and want to, don’t stay with the desire and become an authentic noble toledano. more here:

The river ‘Guadiana’ in Villarrubia de los Ojos  the fourth longest  Iberian river reborn from the subsoil and in Daimiel flooded a plain which has the waters that bring you the Ciguela. A brackish and fresh water at the same time that in 1575 king Felipe II ordered to keep very well conquering today all that comes close to walk along its runways. The Guardana has irrigated 750 ha of its 1750 ha that can be flooded . Tablas the town near Daimiel can be lodged but needs reservation for at least 3 days two nights . Also, remember that in the nearby you have the archaeological site of Azuer Montilla from the bronze age, and the oldest artificial well in the Iberian peninsula without forget the Regional Museum there with vestiges of the rock that Roman and before them Muslims devised mechanisms to exploit the aquatic wealth of the place. More info here:

The Médulas, are the gold mines that were exploded in the open since the Emperor Octavio Augusto  one of the few examples covered within that category.  The medulas mountains two millennia ago supplied the precious metal to Rome now filtered through its tunnels the history of one of the most unique corners of Spain: el Bierzo. Plinio the Old wrote about it in its history theme Naturalis. At the time the gold extracted were the equivalent of 1.6 tons of gold per year. The mountain sits in the northwest corner of the Aquilanos mountains next to the Valley of the River Sil, ,the Medulas are considered the greater gold mine of all the Roman Empire. The snow accumulated in the nearby Monte Teleno played a fundamental role  in the exploitation of the mines. Converted into water during the spring, arrived at Cape River and fed the seven channels bordering the mountain not only through the channels that were used to ‘steal’ the Duero and the Sil, water tunnels – which are preserved today for more than 100 kilometers – or the large artificial caves that you can visit, but also for the mantle of chestnut and oak trees that dot the roads that surround it.  More here in Spanish,

Between the modern and the medieval the collaboration of the Musée Picasso in Paris and the MNAC Picasso – Romanesque now leads the exhibition dialogue emerges in Barcelona and will remain at the MNAC until February 26. More info here in English:

The exhibition ‘ Meta painting. A trip to the idea of art ‘ (from November 15 to February 19) that opens the Prado Museum.  Through 137 masterpieces by artists such as Goya, Velázquez, Titian, Rubens, El Greco and Van Dyck,  The  Prado  reflect on the craft, limits, rules and the protagonists of art from art itself .  Based  on the Royal Collections and the Spanish painting (115 of the 137 exhibits are from the Prado, of which only 52 are in the rooms of the Museum since most are in warehouses and deposits elsewhere , which are joined by 22 on loans), this exhibition examines the limits of that mirror that society and the artist is art that goes beyond the golden rectangle that it identified. More info here!

And we continue at Prado, the one and only with The Prado Museum delves into José de Ribera in ‘ Ribera. Master of drawing ‘ (from  22 November to February 19) You can see from the nearly 160 known you will see 52 drawings, along with 10 paintings and eight prints. Of these, a dozen have been in Spain as adoptions from Berlin and New York like the “ Hercules’ resting”. more in English here:

The Mapfre Foundation opens the Miro space, a permanent collection with 65 works from private  collections that reveal the more rebellious side of the catalan painter. Kills them not only at the level of formal leaving their mark on the surface but also using waste material, splints or recycling these banal canvas sleeping on the stalls in fact, 10 works of this kind are only known and four can be seen in Madrid from December 14 in the space Miro which inaugurated the Fundación Mapfre in Madrid. More in English here:

The capital city of Madrid was Muslim for more than two hundred years ,and Moorish in many other ways. Discovered its history into Arabic Madrid . Muhammad I of Cordoba founded the city by then called Mayrit ,and on principal was just a military outpost. Out of the ashes of this bastion came out the Royal Palace built by Felipe V. My Madrid has many faces welcome to find some more.

With two centuries of Islamic rule the walls were impregnable until 1085 where king Alfonso V had a soldier climb them with combat ready its 11 meters. The Christian troops came in afterward to conquered the city. Today, even the locals are sometimes call the Gatos or cats for this ability to climb. The Andalucian walls had nearly a km long and it is the oldest artistic monument in Madrid as witin it you have the  Cultural Institute (CalleMayor, 86) with a piece of it and then at the restaurant Korgui  (Calle del Rollo, 8) , and in the parking lot of Rouco Varela (Bailén, 12); but the best preserved stretch with a battered façade is located in the Cuesta de la Vega, alongside the Emir Mohamed I square , opposite Almudena Cathedral. More info in English here:

Our Señora de Almudena Cathedral or should we say Al-Mudayna? in Arabic means the Citadel, as it is there, in a tower of the Muslim wall, where locals hid the blessed Virgin once learned the infidel enemy was about to take the Peninsula , even with temporary lapses the Virgin was miraculously discovered on November 9, 1085  and protected his devotees all attempt of reconquest by the Muslims. Such was the intention of the Almoravides camping field where today is the Jardin del Moro but they were thrown back by a miracle of the Virgin causing them to have epidemics of plague to force them to withdrawed. More in Spanish here:

Museum of San Isidro, the patron of Madrid was born in Mayrit shortly before the city passed into Christian hands; under these circumstances, it’s more likely that the farmer had professed the Muslim religion before converting to Catholicism. And obliterated his heretic become base of miracles – up to 400 are attributed to the Saint! According to this hypothesis ,the Saint was called Idriss actually, a journeyman and worked all his life on the service of the family Vargas. What is now the Museum of San Isidro was his house. There is the well of his umpteenth miracles, but ,also parts of the archeological find that we speak of today. The entrance is free and is located in the  district of the Latina. More here in English:

In Madrid there are still some Churches that dates back to this period such as San Pedro, Santa María la Antigua ,and San Nicolás,one of the oldest in the city. Webpages on them here:

Moro de la Morería, Christians could not pass by the gate of the Moors; the Arab Court of Justice,  the alamin, was located in the Plaza del Alamillo (its name comes from there, later stood the chiquitillo alamo); the biggest Souk unfolded in the Plaza de la Paja, in the Plaza de la Villa, the mineret; here is where the Lujanes bought a mansion which is the oldest building in Madrid today; Alamborada Tower reminds the Minaret of a Mosque with its bricks, blind arches and typical tiles of Mudejar art. More here in English:

A watchtower to warn his people of future Christian invasions. The watchtower that drivers today see when parking in the Plaza de Oriente on the Floor 1. More on the square or plaza here:

Visit a hammam, to the Al Andalus is one of the few centers that there are in the city located on a cistern of the times of  Abd ar-Rahman (Atocha, 14).  There is another one in the train station of Chamartin, but the more authentic is the “Oasis”  (Sor Maria of Ágreda, 39). More on webpages here:

The vestiges of the Andalusian Madrid, whose taste can be followed in a mouthwatering gastronomic route. Like in the  restaurant Shukran (Alcalá, 62), Sahara( Libreros, 18) or the Badaweia (Costa Rica, 28). However, to eat a good couscous must go to Lavapies: Albahia (Lavapies, 3), The Habibi (Ave María, 41) or the Alhambra (Tribulete, 4). But in many of them you cannot  drink alcohol, warning! Restaurants recommendation from El Mundo newspaper.

My bible for many things Spanish, and the equivalent of Michelin but much better price and information me think is the Guide Repsol 2017 in its newest edition and also online . Covering a  total of 1 813 restaurants,,503 of them recognized with a Sun rating. Gastronomic proposals and traveling are well complemented ,every day with more content online to inspire travelers and my readers…It comes with maps or how to travel with pets or destination to get lost forever; just superb. More in Spanish here but the site can be change for itineraries etc.

After the peaks of the sierra de Guadarrama runs a province dotted with medieval villages, walled enclosures towns , towers and battlements, ditches and drawbridges ; this is Segovia Here I leave you with some of my favorites over the years living and coming to the area.

Well Segovia itself of course, the city. In addition to the fortress Alcazar that houses the  Museum of weapons and the General Military Archives ;complete visit 7€ and only the tower 2€ More info here:

Also, five minutes walk from the Alcàzar  is located the Hotel Palace San Facundo , where the tranquility exudes by all their facilities. Highlights it’s spectacular central cloister (where is located a cafeteria) ,a stunning closed glazed dome. With all amenities such as WIFI and parking,and some rooms have a canopy bed. Also, the Hospederia de Santo Domingo ;the Jewish quarter, a few meters from the gate of the Villa of Pedroza, and three centuries of antiquity, recently restored with a nice garden , bounded by the walls of Pedraza, from which you enjoy beautiful views of the Guadarrama.

And 33 km from Segovia, in the town of Turégano, lies the castle of the same name, dating back to the 12C . Integrated in the fortress there is the Church of San Miguel , flanked by a well preserved towers of the ancient Roman castrum. In 1703, was sent to build the Españada – so there were put the belltower  still visible from several kilometers away. The main use of the compound was as a prison and in its dungeons many illustrious prisioners such as the son of the Duke of Osuna, Admiral of Aragon and the Prime Minister of Felipe III, Antonio Pérez (entry:2€); and more here in Spanish ;

About 30 minutes east of Turégano,by car  you reach the lovely walled town of Pedraza. Located on a promontory in the piedmont area of Segovia and guarded by its fortress (Castillo de Pedraza ,built 13C and rebuilt 200 years later) ,the oldest in Europe.The castle was the residence of the Fernàndez de Velasco,then the highest authority of the armies of Castilla (Castile).  The enclosure has an imposing Tower of honor or Homenaje ,a moat and is surrounded in the majority by a cliff. The tower is the Museum of  Ignacio Zuloaga (the painter) ,which includes the study room and their private rooms as well. The weapons and entremuros yards ar the most visited rooms in the castle (entrance: 6€ entrance and museum tower 15€. More info here in English for castle and museum:

At Cuéllar, in the highest part of the province of Segovia (very close to Valladolid) there is an spectacular castle, also known as the Palace of Albuquerque, a formidable example of the Castilian strongholds.  Well preserved and consists of a mixture of different architectural styles, ranging from the 13C to the 18C; although predominantly Gothic and Renaissance. At the end of the 19C the building was virtually abandoned and fell victim to looting. In 1938 a criminal prison  was installed in it for political prisoners, along with a sanatorium for other prisioners with tuberculosis.  Today it has a centre of teaching and the Alburquerque archives.  They include its sumptuous entrance the huge ground parade with columns and double gallery, which opens tot the different rooms decorated with artistic tiles coffered ceilings of stucco and carved beams visits are always guided. Price: 3€. More information on Tel +34  92114 22 03 and more in Spanish here:

And at Coca; the most important and imposing of Spain. Located in the town of the same name, it was built as a Palace fortress in the 15C of  Spanish Gothic-Mudejar style.  It is surrounded by a deep moat and a triple defensive system. The lower square enclosure flanked by four towers.  The larger is the torre del homenaje or honor ,which in its interior has a narrrow spiral staircase that gives access to the Chapel , to the weapons room, and other rooms. From the top, you can see the castle of Cuellar and Iscar (entry  2.70€). More in Spanish here:

As you can see , Spain is everything under the Sun. Enjoy it as I do. Cheers


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