Archive for April 11th, 2017

April 11, 2017

Some news from Spain XLI

This is the time to get back to Spain, so sunny and beautiful, I will be there end of the month and then again in August at least this year!!! Here in my current neck of the woods is sunny too but cool and temps in the 14C or about 60F a bit warmer during the afternoon.

So let me give some ideas to really enjoy Spain off the beaten path even, you will love it in Spain.

What are the loveliest towns,in my opinion, to see in Asturias! here are some:

You go to the Cudillero to breath the sea and the fish on each corner. Here you will see the tradition of Curadillo  , created by fisherman in years past. Dehydrated fish in the door of their homes. You have wonderful views from the lighthouse and the high point in the hills; ah and do not forget the palace or Palacio Selgas or the Indian houses. Some photos in French here:

and tourism contact for the palace  here:  and the tourist office:

Next, you come to Lastres, one of the most beautiful towns of Spain designation. Very nice streets known for the site of the story Doctor Mateo recorded here. More on the town:

Continue on towards Ribadesella , the world capital of umbrellas with a big event on it every August and see the pre historic cave or Cueva de Tito Bustillo. More here:

The most westerly frontier of the principality of Asturias is at Castropol. With its many castles and shield houses, with great views over the valley on the hill that ends at the river Eo creating the natural frontier between Asturias and Galicia. More here:

Next ,come over to Puerto de Vega, a very romantic town and an inspiration for many artists including the writer Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, passed his last days in the town; you must go around his visited bars and restaurants to find the best fish and seafood.  More here:

And we reach Luarca, known as the white villa at the green coast, famous for its indian houses like the Mesa de Mareantes, where decision to fish are were made. You come to know historic personages such as Severo Ochoa, Nobel prize in medicine. More here:

And why not Llanes with its great bean and clams, strong cheese (similar to Roquefort), and  red sea bream fish. Right on the mountains of the cordillera del Cuera and the Picos de España. Great beaches too and nice old town with palaces and monumental houses. Here there are great festivities for the La Magdalena, San Roque,and La Guia. More here:

We came to Tapia de Casariego, a treasure two Australian brothers discovered in 1960. The surf is big here, and on this Holy Week there is a big tournament ,and of course great fish dishes. More here:

And we end up at Tazones on the river ria de Villaviciosa with a whale tradition for being the first Spanish port where the emperor Charles V landed coming from Flanders. Many colorful houses and fresh fish dishes to go nuts !! more here:

And you come closer to the coast of Alicante and see the beautiful Guadalest and the Valley of Nisperos(loquat). It runs by the river Algar the main affluent of the Guadalest where you see the biggest production of loquat. This tree comes from the family of Rosaceans with green leaves or Eriobotrya Japonica revealing its oriental origins. There in the Orient it was used as an ornamental plant until the end of the 18C when Jesuits missionaries discovered the eating qualities of the plant of which fruit ripens quickest.  They took some to the Maurice island and then France just before the French revolution for later reach the shores of Levante by a Captain Roig, bringing it from Sagunto and reaching by the early 19C the province of Alicante near the Callosa d’En Sarria. Here it is produce about 75% of the Spanish production or nearly 30K tons. The best time is during Spring and the harvest can be extended to June. The writer Gabriel Miro wrote about it from the name of Sigûenza  in his work Años y Leguas published in 1928. There is a museum in Polop Casa Museo Gabriel Miro and free admission. Open April 17: More here:

And let’s get back to the cities and visit wonderful province of Burgos.  The town of Villadiego  has a great concentration of Churches , with its 1500 inhabitants and only 39 km from Burgos, prove the great past of this town founded by the Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos, Sire of  Amaya,in the 9C.  There were five building done and now only stay standing the Church or iglesia of San Lorenzo, Iglesia of  Santa María , and the ermite of the  Santo Cristo. The great city can count on a very nice  monumental enclosure of buildings such as the  Plaza Mayor ;where today the most important events are held still.  Here you will find the city hall or  Ayuntamiento, which its main façade has four arches of stone to hold a support structure. The Torre del Reloj  ,and the statue of  Padre Flórez , a historian from the 18C.  Also, see the arch or Arco de la Cárcel (15C) very nice indeed. It was originally served as the entrance to the city ,and now the only remaining one, you can still see the dungeon (today the museum of pictorals or Museo Pictórico). Other interesting monuments are the palace or  Palacio de los Velasco (16C), that of the  Condestables de Castilla (16C), the bridge or  puente medieval over the river Brullés, and the monastery or Monasterio de San Miguel de los Ángeles.  Next to the beforementioned  Arco de la Cárcel,is where the Jewish quarters were, and the Church with interior from the 15C is where the old synagogue used to be. It has a superheroe in the captain or  Capitán Trueno,  a good interaction with the little ones;and at Villadiego lived Ángel Pardo (1924-1995),the historian storyteller that drawed this superheroe the most. More in Spanish on the author of Capitan Trueno here:

More on tourism interest as above here in Spanish:

You will come into the wonderful Hispanic Society of America, early this year they send to the Museum of el Prado one of its jewels, the portrait of the duchess or Duquesa de Alba dressed in black, painted by Goya in 1797. It has been recently renovated to its founding splendor and the star of the exhibition of treasures of the Hispanic Society of America. Visions of he Hispanic world ceded by the museum-library that created Archer Milton to show a chronological trip on thematic works of art that covers from antiquaty to the medieval Spain passing by the Golden century and the end of the old regime to the modern Spain of today. It includes over 200 works from multiples forms of arts; archeological pieces, ceramics, glass, sculpture, paintings, furniture, knittings, manuscripts, cartographies are all included in the exhibition, where you can see work never before shown to the public such as the map or Mapa de Tequaltiche.

Works of arts including the paintings of Velázquez -Portrait of a Girl , Camillo Astalli  and Gaspar de Guzmán, Conde-Duque de Olivares-, The Piety from El Greco; The prodigy child from  Murillo, or Santa Emerenciana, of Zurbarán. Further, the paintings from the modernism and post impressionism such as those of  Sorolla with José Echegaray, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Pío Baroja or Miguel de Unamuno.  Arriving at the golden century or Siglo de Oro  you will see portraits from those before mentioned as well as utencils of the times, letters, jewerly, and relics; maps also, showing work of America and its relation to Spain amongst important Mexican work in polychrome wood showing St James or Santiago in Santiago Matamoros  in a horse knocking down an infidel . We reach modern Spain with portraits from masters such as Santiago Rusiñol, Joaquín Sorolla, Ramón Casas, Zuloaga, Gutiérrez Solana, Miguel Viladrich or Nonell ,not well liked and showing here his work the portrait of La Roser. Showing until SEptember 10 2017 at the Museo del Prado. More on the Hispanic Society of America here:

And the same at the Museum of Prado site here:

The area between  Valladolid and Segovia is very rich in tradition and a heaven for things to see, some favorite ones over my lifetime and never tired of them.

You can come to the town of  Tierra de Pinares, rich in the cultivation fo cereals and wine. Also, the heritage of the town palace of  Cuéllar, for the dukes of  Alburquerque and its ramparts walls. You will find lots of mudejar style buildings here too from religious to nobles to civils such as the Church or iglesia de San Juan Bautista (roman façade from the 12C and the mudejar from the 13C),at the town of  Fresno el Viejo; see the churches of  San Pedro (13C) ,  Santiago apóstol (14C), at the town of Alcazarén; the facades of the city hall and the Church or  iglesia de San Juan (13C) , Church of Santa María (14C) at the town of Mojados. Moving on to the cradle of mudejar in the town of Olmedo with the remnants of the wall ramparts from the 11C and gate arches of Villa and San Miguel; the palaces or palacios of  Caballero del Olmedo and its churches as well as a thematic park dedicated to the architectonic style of Castilla y León , at street Arco de San Francisco, 1.  You will see scale model of the 21 structures of mudejar style in the community or region of Castilla y Léon such as the Castles  or Castillo de Coca (Coca) and Castillo de La Mota (Medina del Campo). More in Spanish here:

You want to go into wines, and the great whites of Rueda, here are some suggestions: You know since 1980 the DO of Rueda was created and in 2014 the route of wineries was created.  You have about 14 bodegas with great tradition and the opportunity to walk in the vineyards and the barrels cellars is unique. In Rueda itself, you will find the Finca Montepedroso (Camino de la Morejona, s/n), located on a hill of about 750 meters high; the visits are done with tastings ;more here:  Another one is the  Diez Siglos de Verdejo (Ctra. de Valladolid, km 24,5) since 2009 in the outskirts of the town of  Serrada  offering tastings as well ,more info here

Another good one is that of  Javier Sanz Viticultor (San Judas, 2)  a family winery at the town of La Seca (the municipality with the most vineyards of DO Rueda), care after four generations, more here:  At the sunny home from the 18C in this same town houses the winery Campo Eliseo (Nueva, 12), with great underground caves with oval barrels and tanks, more here   And again another one is that of one underground with more than 300 years of history in the town of  Fresno el Viejo (Camino del Atajo, s/n).  It houses a plastiline model collection showing the old processes of making wine ,and you can get a tour by contacting the tourist office at Tel +34 616 240 371.  In the same complex you will see an old pigeon tower house now an interpretation site and nature world classroom.

You can combine the above with tasting of the local cheeses, such as paying a visit to the cheese maker at  Quesería Campoveja (Ctra. Matapozuelos, 62), in the town of Serrada, where you can see the process of making cheese from raw sheep milk ;more info here:  You can taste sweets pastries at the Obrador Artesano La Giralda de Castilla (Ramón y Cajal, 21) in the town of Matapozuelos, with an ample choice of traditional sweets, also tastings etc Another local delicacy are the mantecados al Verdejo de Rueda (crumbly almond sweets); more info here:

We come back to Madrid and take a look at one of the most historical and tradition restaurants that I have tasted on a business trip; this of course is Lhardy with 178 years of history. You can start to see the tipbits of Madrid here other than its wonderful croquettes, and gourmet store.  The restaurant was founded by a Frenchmen Emilio Huguenin opening at the location in Carrera de San Jeronimo. Since then, its armory of glass and mahagony wood give a glimpse of what to expect here. This restaurant was the first in many things such as separate tables, home delivery, and the menu in French . It’s six rooms smell of wood with incredible clients such as the marques of Salamanca, Queen Isabel II, Primo de Rivera, and Niceto Alcalà Zamora; here was named the President of the II Republic. The kings Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIII, bullfighters such as Manolete, the spy Mata Hari, and the literary legends such as Federico García Lorca, Benito Pérez Galdós, Ramón Gómez de la Serna, Ortega y Gasset, Jacinto Benavente ,and Azorín, amongst many more. Lhardy was born when in Madrid you had gas lighting and the Plaza Mayor you have corridas of bulls.

Plaza Mayor ; the 400 anniversary was in 2016 and do you know the floor you step into used to be a lake of Luján  that king  Felipe II ordered dried to give air to the town that later became the Capital of the kingdom of Spain. Four centuries later this dry land now the Plaza Mayor where king Felipe III in its equestrian statue in the middle of the square done in 1617 that finished the work that his father had dream. Its walls were reduced to ashes three times ,in 1631, 1672  and 1790 and it support frame with 114 arches had lived events of all types ,from the beatification of Saint Isidro in 1619 to the cruelty of the Spanish  Inquisition. The same Prado museum has an scene done by Francisco Rizi showing an act of Faith in 1680, where five autos were done of the holy siege given also 162 penitents from which more than 30 burned at the stake; the townpeople saw the execution of 359 prisioners by hanging or gallows the tally from the 17C to 1809. You can come to my favorite hangout here with the family on the anecdote of the intrepid bandit Luis Candelas on the Arco de Cuchilleros now a restaurant by the same name.  At the Puerta Cerrada, where Madrid claims its origins with a Cross and a mural where you can read  “Fui sobre agua edificada, mis muros de fuego son”, or I was built over water my walls of fire are. A legend showing the abundance of streams and water holes that the Arabs found in the city , and the marks on the walls with arrows built on flint. This is my Madrid!

And to close this post, why not remind you of Cervantes in another town.

Last year 2016 was the 400 anniversary of the death of Cervantes or Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra; it was April 22 1616, when the world said goodbye to the genie of the Spanish world after his most wonderful work for eternity  the ‘El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de La Mancha’, by some the most important work of language in the world and we go to Esquivias.

Casa Museo de Cervantes, this a a house of  artists from the 16C where Cervantes and his wife Catalina de Palacios lived during part of their married lives. The owner of the house was Alfonso Quijada. He tried to convince Cervantes to name the principal character in the story as Alfonso  Quijano ,and maybe why Quijote. You will be able to see a olive oil producing house with a windmill crushing the olives and all!  At the  Convento de los Capuchinos,a monastery where the humidity draws on the walls dating from the 18C you will see one of the most intriguing collection of mommies in Spain, and in its crypt  it keeps the incorrupt bodies in perfect state of preservation of five religious persons from between  1732 and 1735.

More on Cervantes here:

Convent of the Capucins here:

There you go enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun. Enjoy your week, Cheers.



Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: