Archive for May 31st, 2018

May 31, 2018

My early days in Torrejon de Ardoz,Madrid!

On a rainy day all day, I am thinking of expanding my writings on a not really touristic town of my beloved Madrid. Yes the province or Comunidad de Madrid. I spent many summers here, when a young teen. Much later, came back with the family just for the memories and the shopping center of Toys R Us! and the boys love it.  I am talking about Torrejon de Ardoz.

Here is my latest blog post on Torrejon de Ardoz , a bit writing on other towns :  A bit on Torrejon de Ardoz

Torrejón de Ardoz  is in the Comunidad de Madrid of which the capital city of Madrid is the main city.  Torrejón is in the corridor area of  Henares  (Alcalà) and also has presence in the metro area of Madrid. ​ It really took off in the 20C as a city growing along the expressway A-2 Madrid-Barcelona.  In addition it is connected to the rail line Madrid-Barcelona, and the beltway roads of M-50 and M-45 as well as the  M-206  towards Loeches and Ajalvir.  It is only 19 km from Puerta del Sol in Madrid and 9 km from Adolfo Suarez Barajas airport. There is a toll road, the radial or R2 Madrid – Guadalajara, the M-108 connects with Ajalvir;and the M-206 connects San Fernando de Henares with Loeches ; and finally the  M-300 connects to  Alcalá de Henares.

The suburbian train lines or Cercanías C-2 and C-7 have a city center station and another in the residential area of Soto del Henares (near the Hospital de Torrejón ,and the industrial park Casablanca). The city center station is at the Plaza de España. The line C-2 Guadalajara – Madrid Atocha – Madrid Chamartín (- Cercedilla/Segovia-El Escorial/Ávila), and the line   C-7 Alcalá de Henares – Madrid Atocha- Madrid Chamartín (- Las Rozas – Príncipe Pío).

There is bus connection I took when a child and also tested my family on it on our trip back then in 1993. Of course, the buses still do the run. You take the 224 in avenida de América, Madrid bus terminal to direction Hospital de Torrejon at Torrejon de Ardoz, you stop at Constitucion and there take the local bus no 4 to Parque Corredor a huge shopping center my kids love it.

Need to do a pit stop here.  The Centro Comercial “Parque Corredor” has an hypermarket Alcampo (from the French chain Auchan), and more than 180 stores including the famous Toys R Us and a children playground.  By car as we do mostly is on the road M-108 Carretera or highway of Ajalvir-Torrejon between Km 2 and km 5 well posted on the road. The webpage in Spanish is here: Parque Corredor


A bit of history I like,short.

In the 11C, after the castle of Aldovea, the town of  Torrejón de Ardoz is created. In 1118, the kingdom of Castile under king Alfonso VII, reconquered Alcalá (Henares) and these lands of which included the castle.  On an anecdote history will said that in 1906, Mateo Morral  tries to assassinate the king Alfonso XIII, and his wife and was able to escape to Madrid  ,however he is notice by several persons in a lot not far from  Torrejón de Ardoz, where he had stopped to eat. These persons called the security guard of the lot,  Fructuoso Vega, that after some verifications followed Mateo. Eventually, he gave up peacefully , but when he was conducted by the guard to the police station of Torrejón de Ardoz, he was killed by the guard and later this one took his life as well. Maybe a complot never to be known the roots of it. In 1955 the USA air base comes here as part of the agreement with Gen Franco and the USA . I came to play baseball here in the 1970’s and a team from the base form part of the baseball league of Madrid with 8 teams including Real Madrid (my team) Atletico de Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, Condepols, Piratas, and the Abraham Lincoln school from memory.  We played the games at the Elipa municipal fields which today it is still the Baseball federation base of Madrid and a baseball field still in use. In 1992 , the Americans leave and where the air base was now you see many installations, like a hospital, hotel, golf course, etc. all under the Defense ministry of Spain.

Here are my two loves for Madrid, Elipa and Bernabeu, always Real Madrid! Madrid, Bernabeu and the Elipa

Things to see in Torrejon de Ardoz, or rather other things to see in addition to above.

The Casa Grande is located in the Calle de Madrid in the old town of Torrejon de Ardoz. It was built in the 14C to beginning of the 15C. It was founded in the 16C by the Company of Jesus  to managed the Imperial College of Madrid. After the expulsion of the Jesuists in 1776 under the reign of Carlos III it had several owners. For a long time was the headquarters of the Civil Guard until 1974 on which Rafael Onieva purchased it and restored it to turned it into a lodging (4 stars) and artistic place that is today. It ,also ,house an important museum of byzantine icons with more than 1200 pieces.

The Saint John the Evangelist or Iglesia de San Juan Evangelista,located in the Plaza Mayor,was built from the 16C. At first ,it was a small Church with two Chapels and two nerfs ,and the dead were buried in the Church.  From about 1784, worked began to expanded as we know it today. A Basilical style with three nerfs and a dome. There is a famous portrait of the painter Claudio Coello entitled the martyrism of St John the Evangelist or El Martirio de San Juan Evangelista that dates from 1675.

Another big area for entertainment for the family but one we have not been is the Parque Europa that opened in 2010 as an improvement and enlargement of the previous park of the Ardoz.  It has many activities for the family and a huge complex in miniature of the famous buildings of Europe. More here: Parque de Europa

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here, and why not, something different from off the beaten path for Spain, and great for kids at the shopping center and Europa park.

Torrejon de Ardoz with map on the Casa Grande location:

City hall official:

Comunidad de Madrid tourism  on Torrejon in Spanish:

There you go another of my gems of youthful days and still memories that will not go away. Hope you enjoy these posts on something different. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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May 31, 2018

Vianden , a castle in Luxembourg!

On our road warrior tours of Luxembourg ,after visiting several times Luxembourg city, we started to span out into the countryside. We were staying in Germany south of Trier and as Luxembourg is so close and a dear stop for us, we decided finally in 2015! to visit this wonderful castle town of Vianden with the family, and memories of my dear late wife, Martine.

Vianden is located on the east of the Grand Duché of Luxembourg, bordering on the west with the German frontier. The city is traverse by the Our river an affluent of the Sûre river . The name of Vianden comes from the Gaullist that means Rocky.

There are ways to get here from several adjoining countries, but we set off by car from Trier. Taking the 49 road to Wasserbilig , then 141 /370/368 /129 all same road, to N10 at Echternacht along the river Sûre to Vianden. Reads difficult but is not all is a straight line and posted.

My previous blog post on Vianden :

A bit of history I like on the town

Already by 1256 the town is known but is not until the franchise letter of 1308 that Vianden legally carries the name of city. After been thrown out of Belgium, Victor Hugo comes to lived here for more than two months during the summer of  1871. During WWII, by 1940 the Nazis invades Luxembourg by  Vianden, with part of the 2nd panzer division to cross the Meuse river at Sedan . However, the barriers on the river stops them from doing so and not able to bring heavy equipment ; eventually crossed by the engineers nazis.

Things to see:  The rustique museum, museum of  dolls and toys;   The caricature and cartoon museum , the Trinitarian Church, the barriers on the river lower basin and upper to mont Saint Nicolas, and the underground installation of the pump central of Vianden to avoid flooding or provide electricity ; and the cable car.


Apart is the Literary museum of Victor Hugo with more info here.

Of course, the main thing here is the Castle. The construction goes back to the middle of the 5C; including roman periods over to the Caroligian period with most of the buildings from the 11C to 14C . It is set on a rocky promontory at a height of 310 meters that dominates the town of Vianden and overlooking the River Our about  100 meters below. The castle and its dependent buildings have a total length of 90 meters . The last great change took place in the middle of the 13C when the entire castle was adapted to reflect the Gothic style. Finally, in 1621 the Nassau Mansion with its banqueting hall and bedroom was built by Prince Maurice of Orange-Nassau-Vianden in the Renaissance style replacing a damaged side wing of the 11C. After mistreatment sets in by 1827,  the king, himself a Count of Vianden, repurchased the ruin hoping to begin restoration work. Unfortunately, his time was taken up with the Belgian Revolution of 1830 and it was not until 1851 that Prince Henry of the Netherlands reconstructed the chapel at his own expense, giving it a lower roof. When Adolphe of Nassau-Weilbourg became Grand Duke of Luxembourg in 1890, he ordered further restoration.

Vianden Vianden Vianden

The  work was interrupted by the WWI event.  During the WWII, in the Battle of Vianden which took place on November 19, 1944, the castle was ably defended against the Waffen-SS by members of the Luxembourgish anti-Nazi resistance, and proved to have some military value even under conditions of modern warfare. The castle today is property of the Luxembourg government that had restored it respecting historically values. Even discovering new rooms such as a cell under the Lower Empire and a ramparts from Caroligians of the 9C.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is recommended.

Tourist office of Vianden :

Castle of Vianden :

City of Vianden in French:

Hope you enjoy the post and do visit this fairytal castle up in Luxembourg. And remember as always, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all.!!!

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