Some news from Spain XL

Well here I am again on my Spain…. First Spain beat France on a friendly football/soccer match last night 0X2 played at St Denis stade de France. For the first time a VAR or video action recorder was used and indeed welcome to football. To call this match friendly is a misused of the word, as there was a lot of prestige on the line and Spain clearly dominated the game. Now on to more serious games to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Here in my neck of the woods is a mild quasi sunny day of 15C or about 58F ;Tomorrow more of the same going up to 64F or about 18C. In my Madrid, now is 65F and tomorrow higher to 71F with the sun showing up.

The choices of Spaniards to go out on trips is mostly within Spain at 90,9% and only 9,1% outside. This is from a survey of Turismo de Residentes (ERT/Familitur) done for the INE (sp. statistical institute). On costs 68% was done in Spain while outside expenditures came to 32%; the average expenses were median of 44€ in and 96€ out. No wonder with the beauty of Spain who wants to go outside !

Something outside of Spain near me now in the belle France but was created by a Spaniard, the Castle of Villandry. This transformation of the castle was done by Joaquin Cavballo from Extremadura who in the first half of the 20C created a garden in the castle with tulips, persil, asparagus, ornamental herbs and flowers that now attracts over 400K persons each year. During a century the castle went thru several owners until Joaquin, a brilliant university graduate born in Don Benito, Badajoz arrived. He married Ann Coleman and search for a home far from the crowds until they found this semi abandoned castle. They paid 120K French Francs (about 18K€ ) to a old pharmacist. They study the history of Villandry, read books on gardens, purchase furniture and works of arts from Spanish origins to embellish what others have try to let rot; and this how Villandry was reborn to what we see today, a masterpiece, must see. More on the castle here: http://www.chateauvillandry.fr/en/

Hilario García made wine to satisfied the national needs hardly any was exported. Then, in 1990, he took the bodega and modernized while keeping the wine tradition like French oak for fermentation and ageing on those same barrels. Then, we need it to find the bottle and was done in gold or silver done by the jewerlers of Prototecnia and numbered each bottle.  The bottle  AurumRed serie oro or gold series produces only 300 bottles per year from the tempranillo grapes of more than 100 years old and been the most expensive Spanish wine at 17 000 €. The same wine on the silver or  serie plata goes for 12000€ and produces 6K bottles per year. And there is the white wine with about 3000 bottles per year of the sauvignon blanc grape. You can’t be more exclusive here. More info on this wine here: http://www.aurumwine.com/body/aurum-series/gold-serie/

Going now to something close to me as my ancestors family from grandparents back comes from Tenerife.

My Tenerife ,can claim a wonderful astronomic observatory that gave the name to many lunar mountains and a fantastic record , the biggest shadow in the world projected on the ocean !  The island inclination and closeness to the great TEIDE mountains and volcano makes it so that when the sun is rising or goes down the volcanic umbra on the water becomes the biggest triangle of shadow on Earth. More on the observatory and Teide here:

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/tenerife/the-island/astronomy/observatorio+del+teide.htm?_ga=1.261119693.1119486785.1490809692

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/what-see/teide-national-park/?tab=1

You guys like to walk well this is heavens territory , go see the Acantilado de Los Gigantes , where vertical walls go from 300 meters to 600 meters. From the municipality of Santiago del Teide you have a nice view to the heights of Teide at 3 718 meters. More here:

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/what-see/outdoor-attractions/acantilados+de+los+gigantes.htm?_ga=1.202929745.1119486785.1490809692

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/tenerife/the-island/municipalities/santiago-teide/?_ga=1.227103325.1119486785.1490809692&tab=1

You can go to the top of the crater in the volcano with a guide. Other goodies in mother nature are the Parque Nacional de las Cañadas del Teide, and visiting the quaint towns of Garachico and Masca  as well as the municipality of Icod de los Vinos.  In this latter one you find the  drago milenario, a tree and a natural attraction on the island.  This tree is almost 20 meters high and is between 800 to 1000 years old. If you are older, you might remember this tree was feature on the corners of the old 1000 pesetas bill (Spain’s money before the Euro). More on them here:

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/what-see/gardens-and-parks/parque+del+drago.htm

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/tenerife/the-island/municipalities/garachico/?_ga=1.261824205.1119486785.1490809692&tab=1

http://www.webtenerife.co.uk/what-see/towns-hamlets/masca.htm

You can’t leave without tasting the local cuisine guanche.  One must is the mojo and the papas arrugás. These are cook potatoes without peeling and a lot of salt serve with the mojo. The mojo is a sauce that can be hot spicy or mojo picon or not and is made from garlic, olive oil and vinager.

And I move to something familiar as well and one will be visiting again this coming summer, this is Guadalajara. Here even after civil wars and succession wars the city still is wonderful. You must see these:

Palacio del infantado, a wonderful palace from the 15C well preserve and wonderful frescos paintings of the renaissance where you will find the museum or Museo Provincial. More here: http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Palace-of-El-Infantado-

Palacio de mendoza , it has been going thru a vast renovation and many uses such as provincial museum, prison, provincial government and schools now still the high school or  Liceo Caracense.  At the same time, it is the convent or  Convento de la Piedad. More here: http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Convent-of-La-Piedad-

Palacio de la Cotilla, this is another palace and from the 16C that houses the museum dedicated to the dramaturgic Buero Vallejo. It has a very interesting salon de thé/tea of El salón de té of the marqueses of  Villamejor, decorated in rice paper and painted in China and Japan in the 18C, indeed unique. More here : http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Palace-La-Cotilla-Chinese-Room

The wonderful Capilla Luis de Lucena. belonging to the now gone church or Iglesia de San Miguel where the painter Romulo Cincinato created a small sixtine chapel or Capilla Sixtina.  The chapel preserve the remaining decoration of the Churches of San Gil. More here: http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Chapel-Luis-de-Lucena

The magnificent Torreón De Alvar Fáñez  takes its name from a chavalier gentlemen and battle friend of the great El  Cid.  Here a leyend is preserve and currently it houses the Centro de Interpretación del Escudo de Armas; or interpretation center of the coat of arms. From 2004 ; it ,also a center of interpretation of the ramparts of  Guadalajara. More here: http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Tower-Alvar-Fanez

See the Church or co-Cathedral or Iglesia or Co-Catedral de Santa Maria , the origins goes back to the moors or mudéjar period as evidence on the doors and décor that hides underneath the chalk of the baroque period that you can see with permission in advance.  It has a nice retable on the altar from 1624. More here: http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Co-cathedral-of-Santa-Maria-

Another beauty is the Church or Iglesia de San Francisco. It has been destroyed and rebuilt on many occasions, now on a gothic style you will find the pantheon of the Mendoza family done similar to that in the El  Escorial monastery.  It is connected to the altar of the Church. More here: http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Church-Crypt-San-Francisco

You have the beautiful Palacio de la Condesa de la Vega del Pozo, or it’s gorgeous pantheon as well as its foundation  share the same architecture style of the 19C from the same architect( Ricardo Velázquez Bosco) that did the Palacio de Cristal, Casón del Buen Retiro,  Palacio de Velázquez. etc. More here: http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Foundation-of-the-Countess-of-La-Vega-del-Pozo-

http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Mausoleum-of-the-Countess-of-La-Vega-del-Pozo

http://www.guadalajara.es/en/Palace-of-the-Countess-of-La-Vega-del-Pozo

Do not forget to try the local sweet delicacy or bizcochos borrachos, (liquor soaked cake) at the pastelería Hernando , Calle Mayor, 32; and especially at pasteleria  Guajardo, calle Miguel Fluiters 35, opened in 1880.   another local specialty is the  albóndigas en dulce, (or meatballs in sweet sauce sugary) done with cottage cheese, eggs and sugar. Direction here: http://www.pastelerias-pastel.es/pasteleria-guajardo/

These are my favorite of a wonderful city in Castilla La Mancha region. Guadalajara.

And as Holy Week or Semana Santa is coming, here are some nice ones outside of Andalucía:

Tamborrada de Calanda, Teruel here hundreds of drums and drumming sound off on Holy Friday and Saturday  to put a tragic note on the Holy Week celebration. It is a sounding off noisy promenade in town of old rites  reaching a climax on the hour that Christ died which according to the bible an earthquake shook Jerusalén.  April 15 at 12h midday. More here in Spanish: http://www.semanasantaencalanda.com/

Cofradia de la Santa Vera Cruz de los Disciplinantes, La Rioja. The rite of the Los Picaos is a form of penitence very popular all over.  It consist of an self-flagellation of the back by a group of persons as an act of faith and voluntary known as the disciplinarians  by which a hit with a wooden item is done.  The voluntaries need to fulfill these requirements, adults , male, and that a priest attest the fact that they are Christian and of good faith.  At all moment, the anonymous condition of the voluntary is kept. More in Spanish here: http://www.sanvicentedelasonsierra.org/Los-Picaos.1392.0.html

Danza de la Muerte de Verges, Gerona. the only town that preserves the dance of death as celebrating ancient rites of the dead. This dance tells the passage of time where the skeletons dance to the sound of a kettledrum to remember that nobody is exempt to end its days in this world. More in Spanish here: http://www.laprocesso.cat/esp/index.html

Los  empalaos de Valverde de la Vera, Càceres,  This is a promise done to God that means the beginning of the Via Cruxis by the streets of the city in which all penitents are anonymous.  On this route the empalao(stiff numb person) walks without shoes with a plow beam on his/her shoulder tied with a cord around his/her chest.  A white blouse cover him/her from the waist down and on the head there a white veil with a crown of thorns. The main moment comes when the procession passes by the crossing of two empalados and kneel as a symbol of respect. More in Spanish here: http://turismoextremadura.com/viajar/turismo/es/explora/Los-Empalaos/

Coming along the Holy Week and its delicacies ,here is some more of my beautiful Spain:

Spanish pastry work reaches its highest moment during this period of lent and the chosen sweets are the torrijas, buñuelos, pestiños ,etc, that mound like armories in the window front of many pastry shops to receive the Holy Week.  One such pastry shop very nice and well known by me and many is the La Duquesita at Calle Fernando VI, 2,open from 8h30 to 20h30 (closed Sundays afternoons) ; this is a century old pastry shop in Madrid that is led today by master chocolatier Oriol Balaguer. The main sweets in this period are the Monas de Pascua.

From its beginnings in the 18C this traditional bread has revolutionize until becoming the complex structures of chocolate that follows the children fashion of our time.  Here, it has created a tree of chocolate of more than 1,5 meters done exclusively with black ,white and milk chocolate that dresses one of the windows of La Duquesita.  In Spain, this is a tradition to go to the pastry shop to see the latest creation of the pastry chef.  A month before Holy Week, most pastry shops had a giant piece in their windows. The sculpture rises on a base of chocolate of more than a square meter ,and from its leaves you see beans of different colors surrounded by some Easter eggs that will be on sale in the form of a rooster, fish or clown. You can, also, find these goodies in the Boutique Oriol Balaguer(also in Barcelona) , calle José Ortega y Gasset, 44 where different sizes are on order with different motifs with the main ingredient the Cacao Grand Cru. Oriol Balaguer has created for the La Duquesita two offerings of  torrijas: traditional anisette (4,50€) ,and toasted pastry cream (5€). Both come from a brioche done on site with English cream and sugar. More here: http://laduquesita.es/

and his boutiques here: http://www.oriolbalaguer.com/eng/OBboutiques

Now, there you have it, enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun !!! Cheers

 

 

 

 

2 Comments to “Some news from Spain XL”

  1. Goodness me! I had forgotten all about las Monas de Pascua. I remember having them in Alicante, where I was born and lived until just before my 6th birthday. Torrijas we made at home even in La Coruña, as well as orejas and filloas. Oh, happy days! 👍 🌞🌞🌞

    Liked by 1 person

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