Archive for July 8th, 2018

July 8, 2018

Some news from Spain LXIII

And Summer is here already very hot all over and in my beloved Spain it is sizzling, my friends from Granada reported going up to 39C!!! 102F! In my neck of the woods we have gone up to 32C about 90F!

Here is the latest news I can pick up from Spain.

The Royal Palace of Olite, in Navarre, in fact, this medieval palatial complex is so special that it already hosted  travelers in the 15C.  It’s maximum splendor during the reign of Charles III of Navarre also known as ‘ The Noble ‘, who honoring his French origins called expert architects from all over Europe to remodel and expand the building under the distinguished French civil Gothic style that was in vogue at the time. The Palace was  partially destroyed in 1813, when fire made it to partially collapsed ; later rebuilt more than a century later, when the fallen walls were re-erected respecting the French design that one can presently observed.

You can distinguish two parts in the medieval building: the commonly known as ‘ Old Palace ‘ and the ‘ New palace ‘: The old part, where the Parador national de Turismo is now located, corresponds to the building erected on an old Roman fortress that was remodeled during the 13C and 15C and that keeps features of Gothic and Renaissance architecture in its walls. Its exterior is characterized by the large stone walls that surround the palace and the circular turrets with slate roofs that rise in the corners. A large courtyard gives access to the interior of the enclosure where there are three gardens, the grapefruit, the aviary and the Mulberry, the latter being the home of a centenary Mulberry and the central nucleus of the ‘ New palace ‘, where were the ostentatious royal chambers with flared windows and the towers from which the Kings followed the tournaments held in their palace.

The Palace of Olite is in the historic centre of the town of Olite, 42 km south of the city of Pamplona and to get there you can go by car or by bus from the capital of Navarra. To access the palace you will have to pay an entry of 3.5 euros per person and can be made in summer time, every day from 10h to 20h ( 10am to 8 pm). More on the palace and parador below.

Palacio Real de Olite :

Parador de Olite :

The ancient inhabitants of al-Andalus (Andalucia) called these lands Fash al-Ballut, “The valley of the Acorns “, and today it is enough a walk by the place so that there is no doubt about the origin of such name. The region of Los Pedroches, in the north of the province of Córdoba, has been synonymous with dehesa for centuries, a natural environment that nourishes life and prosperity throughout the region for centuries, the Dehesa de los Pedroches-which presumes to be the largest continuous dehesa of all Europe- It has been the main sustenance of the region, providing wealth thanks to the breeding of lamb and, above all, the pampered Iberian pork-here prefer to Cochinos or filthy pig, a real star of local cuisine.

A D.O. Pedroches denomination of origin designation. Each herd enjoys a space equivalent to one hectare per pig , at Finca Las Lagartosas in Villanueva, tourists have the possibility to spend a day in the Dehesa to know all its secrets as you walk between Holm Oaks and Cork Oaks. In addition to the beauty of the landscape, the experience allows to taste the typical products or participate in a ham-cutting workshop. More in Spanish here: Finca Las Lagartosas

The dryers, like that of IBESA, also in Villanueva, have emulated the model of many wineries and offer a guided tour of their facilities, in which they explain the whole process of production of their delicatessen, including tasting and demonstrations of howto get the perfect ham cut. More in Spanish here: IBESA

Among the most important buildings is the former audience, an outstanding civil construction of the 17C, today Museum of Local History. Nearby there is also the interpretation center of the Dehesa and the parish Church of San Miguel (16C), under whose square is hidden an old refuge from the Civil war. The visit to Hinojosa del Duque is essential to know its stately buildings, a sign of wealth and one of the reasons that king Alfonso XIII granted the population the title of city. Another of its jewels is the spectacular Church of San Juan Bautista,(St John the Baptist)  with a superb renaissance façade. Pedroche is the oldest locality in the region and was its capital in the time of the Catholic monarchs. Here it is obliged to visit the Church of El Salvador, whose Renaissance tower, 56 meters high, allows you to enjoy one of the best views of the region. Pozoblanco is probably the best known locality, because in its bullring , the great Spanish bullfigher  Paquirri lost his life. Leaving aside sad bullfighting milestones, the population is now capital of the region, and offers a varied sports offers such as in addition to a equestrian club and a shooting range, Pozoblanco attracts fans to airplanes and fishing, and especially golf lovers , because not in vain has the first municipal club of this sport that was created in Spain. The Pantano de la Colada swamp, near El Viso, is another enclave that attracts locals and visitors. In addition to numerous sporting activities, the swamp has a landscape of great beauty that in winter serves as a refuge for cranes from northern Europe. With the arrival of twilight, these birds quietly fly in flocks, offering a spectacle difficult to describe.  The AVE train arrives at the Pedroches in just an hour and a half from Madrid. More info on the Los Pedroches below!

Turismo Los Pedroches:

Local tourism and business center on Los Pedroches:

Terraces in Madrid for the summer, some of my favorites that can recommend are

Aduana ,calle Hermosilla, 2 (inside the Gran Meliá Fénix Hotel); metro  Serrano or Colon Tel +34  91 431 67 00 ,Average price: 50 euros | It doesn’t close. It has only decoration: to this rooftop (on the seventh floor of the hotel) you will have enough views of the Discovery Gardens, Paseo de Recoletos or the National Library.  I have stayed in the hotel as well tops! Aduana in the Gran Fénix

Behia , calle Manuel de Falla, 5 ; metro Santiago Bernabeu ;tel +34 91 421 19 07; Average price: 35 euros.  It doesn’t close. Decorated with wooden floors and covered by a structure that allows it to be open all year, the elegant exterior space of Behia offers market cuisine. Behia

Cafe Comercial Glorieta de Bilbao, 7; Metro: Bilbao ; Tel +34 91 088 25 25. Average price: 35 euros ; It doesn’t close. The historic café (just under new management been here in old and new still very good) takes a few tables to the roundabout, protected by awnings. Now owned by Grupo El Escondida, has strengthened its gastronomy on Sundays, brunch by Café Oliver on the second floor (28 euros). Cafe Comercial

Calista, Paseo de la Castellana, 95 (in the Torre Europa); metro  Santiago Bernabeu ; Tel +34 91 770 78 99 . Average price: 20 euros. It doesn’t close. In the Bajos of Torre Europa (basement of Tower Europa), its terrace is decorated with illuminated trees and hanging wisteria. Calista

The new exhibition of the Thyssen Museum explores for the first time the connection that was established between the life and work of the disciple and his teacher. The paths of Claude Monet and his master Eugène Boudin crossed for the first time in the spring of 1856 almost by chance, when they coincided in the stationery store Gravier, in Le Havre. It was just then that Boudin, 16 years older than Monet, wanted to congratulate him on his work as a caricaturist, and encouraged him to continue studying and painting, inviting to do it with him.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum delves into the relationship forged between the two artists. Through a hundred works that include loans from museums and institutions such as the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery in London or the Metropolitan of New York, the exhibition is recreated in the picturesque landscapes with which master and disciple put to the test in their brushes. First, formed under the grey skies of Normandy. Then, protected by the light of the Mediterranean. Many landscapes and brushstrokes later, in 1874, Monet invited his teacher to join the first Impressionist show, where he exhibited seven portraits in what can be interpreted as homage to his mentor. As Monet himself once wrote, “If I have dedicated myself to painting, I owe it to Eugène Boudin “.  The show is until September 30th 2018. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Paseo del Prado, 8. More here: Thyssen Museum on Monet and Boudin

After its exhibition in Sevilla, Valencia and Valladolid, the Museum of  Sorolla in Madrid hosts the exhibition Sorolla. Un Jardin para pintar or a garden to paint, which crosses the evolution of the painting of the Valencian artist while designing and seeing the  growth of  his own garden. The exhibition contains more than 170 oil paintings, sketches, drawings, sculptures, tiles and photographs related to his passion for the gardens. Sorolla painted on numerous occasions Andalusian gardens such as the Alcazar of Sevilla and the Alhambra in Granada. These inspired him to start building his in 1910. It is a Mediterranean garden where the features of the gardening of the Italian Renaissance are mixed with the Hispanoárabe.  Museo Sorolloa Calle General Martínez Campos, 37, in the  Chamberí district , metro Rubén Darío. More here: Museo Sorolla

Update , be prepare as Madrid is following the lead of other European cities making it tougher to go in with a car, a series of vignettes decals on pollution will begins by November, the areas in question are in all the center. Lucky me I always park outside the centro area ::) Here is a map from El Confidencial newspaper.

Now enjoy Spain, and Madrid especially in the summer heat , not too many but all is open really, we go there every summer. Well now maybe not as my wife is gone, really need to soak in all these trips and see what we do next.

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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July 8, 2018

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XXVI

And here we are ending our Sunday in the heat almost 21h or 9pm and it is 28C or about 82F, sunny with a bit of a breeze. We finished another week in wonderful Morbihan.

A bit sad as we are without our dear late wife/mom Martine in our first Summer alone since 1989. We had so much planned and we came to realise one late, the barbecue. We had set up stones in the back to create one from scratch ,the old fashioned way.  Procrastination and a lot of other projects put it in the lower end of the to do list.  We finally decided with the boys to get a simple Weber on charcoal.

We went to the groceries bearing in mind to try it this weekend. After so many errands ,we finally did it this afternoon.

Saturday, well is now our battle ground. We went to Castorama for the Weber barbecue and supplies as well some pebbles for our driveway. I was there with my oldest boy as my twin boys were in a competition on video games in Cinéville, the cinema complex in Vannes, where one of them got second place and many giveaways!

Continuing with my oldest, we passed by V&B beer place in Auray to get our load of beers from Germany. And of course, we continue zig zagging to Nicolas in Vannes for our wines load. Passing by the market (marché de Vannes) to get some real cheese from the cheesemaker stand.

We went to Animalis animal store to get the sign for our house, Beware of Dogs ,just to be in regulation as we do have a big 7 months old borador (mix border collier and labrador) male. Right around we went to Norauto auto store to get me my new car charger for my mobile telephone Samsung.

We had lunch at the McDonalds in Auray for lunch as my oldest crave about these still…. even in lovely France lol! yes.I know.

We finally went to E Leclerc in Vannes to do our groceries and get the goods for the barbecue. wow, that was a lot of moving in one day. We were doing it during the week to leave our weekends free, but now we really have not decided our next adventures, even my vacation at work for 3 summer weeks in August are approved, not yet chosen where we are going. I know we will need some days to finished the work in the basement of our house that was purchase a while back with the Mother. So stay tuned for the vacation.

At home Sunday, we started the new Weber barbecue and as amateurs the darn thing was not starting, the fire died out three times and we were exhausted with the same. Then my dear old father came in and told us the bottom holes had to be open so the air circulate and the fire takes off.Oh well, we did and the fire did caught up ok. The cooking was on!!! Steaks first and then sausages and chorizos and of course the German cold beers.


All for a nice simple French family Sunday; everybody now got the idea of the barbecue passing by our outdoor terrace, we should see some competition by next weekend. A big one here as it will be National Day July 14 (better know outside of France as Bastille day) ,the French revolution.

Until then, and other posts, stay fresh, dry and remember; happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all !!!



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