Archive for September 17th, 2018

September 17, 2018

KIO is Puerta de Europa or Gate of Europe! Madrid of course!!

So on a cloudy day at 19C or 67F ,I am trying to remember my memories and have plenty so hard to choose as they all look sentimental. Getting to write about Madrid is easy for me, one of if not my favorite city. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!

So you all go to the Centro, old city center by now overrun with visitors; visitors are good don’t get me wrong, they are needed and all around like it. It is just that after a while, it becomes so so visited that the locals starts cooking, painting and showcasing just for the visitors and not the local modes. So I always said get out from the center and see the city,it will amazed you.

I am taking you up north along Paseo de la Castellana to lovely Plaza de Castilla (Castile square) in the Chamartin district. And here you have a wonderful architecturally done buildings and art centers and a huge local transport hub. It is one of my hangouts in Madrid and we love to shop by it, especially the gourmet grocery store of Sanchez Romero (many branches in Madrid) at Castellana 196 not far on right hand side to Plaza de Castilla. More on the store here: Sanchez Romero at Castellana

The two towers that are located in Plaza de Castilla, and that make up the so-called Puerta de Europa (gates of Europe) , are commonly known as Torres Kio because they were promoted by the Kuwaiti company Kio (Kuwait Investments Office).  The two buildings are located on either side of the Paseo de la Castellana, the main artery of the center north of Madrid, on the northern edge of the Plaza de Castilla, in the Chamartín district., and across from the Centro de Arte Fundación Isabel Canal II ( a foundation for arts center name after queen Isabell II water chanel). More on the foundation here: Canal Isabel II arts foundation Center

The buildings are two inversely symmetrical towers inclined towards each other, 15 degrees with respect to the vertical one, and were the first inclined skyscrapers of the world. The skyscrapers have a height of 114 meters and twenty-six floors, and are visible several km away from Madrid, given their situation in one of the highest heights of the city. They are the first towers voluntarily inclined in the world. The construction of the towers began in 1989, but due to a series of financial difficulties, it interrupted for several years and ended only in 1996.

madrid

On a total surface of 2 340 m2 of floor, the towers consist of a steel structure covered with glass curtain walls totalling a surface of 32 864 m2 for a height of 114 meters.(about 376 ft)   Each building has four elevators, the first two of which serve floors 1 to 13 and the next two floors 13 to 27. These are the second highest twin towers in Spain, after those located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Madrid

The tower that has the top of the logo of Bankia is called Puerta de Europa I, whereas the other one, with the logo of Realia, is known as Puerta de Europa II. To avoid confusion the first has a heliport painted in blue and the second in red. KIO towers, at that time in construction, are one of the scenarios where the film is developed The Day of the Beast (El Dia de la Bestia) by Alex de la Iglesia.

Around the plaza you will see the obelisk of Calatrava itself 92 meters high (304 ft) ,and 6 meters in diameter (19.8 ft).  the monument of Calvo Sotelo, a huge sculpture of the Spanish jurist and politician, built in 1959 in memory of the assassination that was one of the sparks of  the Spanish civil war. The area is one of the main bus terminals in Madrid, above ground many local buses have a stop here, and underground you have buses to nearby cities and inter province service. You reach it on metro Plaza de Castilla ,lines 1,9,10. More on the transports here in English:CRTM Madrid Plaza de Castilla exchanges

A tourist office of Madrid information on the KIO towers at Puerta de Europa in the Plaza de Castilla here: Tourist office on Kio towers at Plaza de Castilla

Hope you enjoy this trip out from the tourist center and be encourage to see more of Madrid. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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September 17, 2018

El Corte Inglés!

Today , I will take a nostalgic ride to one icon of my beloved Madrid. Needless to repeat what I have written in these last few years in my blog and my love and predilection of Madrid since early teens years living there to now. I like to pick on particular memory that goes back to my family traditions and still carry on by me after 80 years , all together.

I like to tell you about the El Corte Inglés department stores of Spain, base in Madrid. When i was living there the competition with Galerias Preciados was fierce and both employees group still see this period with nostalgia even having memorial groups in FB. Calle Carretas starts it all near Puerta del Sol.

Now , today in Spain this is it becoming the conglomerate El Corte Inglés.  I have visited all their stores in Madrid, Barcelona, Porto, Lisbon, and Valencia. However, again, all comes back to Calle Preciados. The department store in Madrid is very nice at Calle Goya 76 , (nearer exit metro Goya) ,Calle Serrano 47 (corner with calle Marqués de Villamagna) , and Calle Princesa 41, (near metro Argûelles across Calle Buen Suceso )and my quick getaway even coming from the airport at Paseo de la Castellana as line 8 arriving at Nuevos Ministerios metro station turn left out in street and the store is right in next corner on your left!! Calle de Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde!  However, I have to come back to Calle Preciados………

Madrid

Madrid

 

Madrid

Madrid

The complex of El Corte Inglés here is huge. The stores covered the entire block square starting at Calle Preciados, 1,2,3 and Calle Abadia 5,and Plaza de Callao 2. The Calle Preciados goes back to Plaza de Callao the store on your left coming towards Puerta del Sol. There is a store by the Plaza de Descalzas Reales (near the monastery) and another nearer Puerta del Sol, just out from metro Sol.

madrid

Here at the Preciados fortress! you have all available services you can imagine ,even a nice cafeteria in Calle Preciados, 3 building in the 7th floor and great views.There is also a cafeteria at Plaza de Callao,2 in the 9th floor.

The Calle Preciados 3 is for fashion and sports with underground parking, basement is a supermarket, and street level you have fashion accessories and up; we love the 3rd men’s fashion, 4th women’s Fashion, here. At Plaza de Callao, you have underground parking, ,basement supermarket, street level you have cosmetics jewerly and then up, house decoration and hi tech, we like the 4th and 5th kitchen and house decorations as well the 8th is toys. At the Calle Preciados 1, building you have electronics, music, dvd films etc with cd’s in basement, and street level we like as well in First floor video games and films. At Calle Preciados 2, here is the library with books of course, the street level is the best with new and best sellers, at Calle Preciados 9 you have a complete sports store and the first floor is for football/soccer; at Calle Abadia 5, you have the sales, discounted items for children, men , women, house deco shoes, work uniforms, etc. Enjoy it!!! we love it!

Madrid

Now let me give you a bit of history and company description that is very near to me! I have their card and shop there always even from France ::)

El Corte Inglés is the most important Spanish and European chain of department stores. It is present in Spain and Portugal. El Corte Inglés has stores in the majority of large and medium-sized Spanish cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Murcia, Elche, Granada, Cartagena, Malaga, Marbella, Pamplona, Valladolid, A Coruña, Badajoz, Burgos, Alicante, Salamanca, Cordoba, Leon, Santander, Albacete, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, etc. In Portugal, El Corte Inglés is present in Lisbon and Porto. The stores are located in the city center and occupy large buildings that include underground car parks. Its commercial offer is supplemented by other services such as hairdressing salons, travel agencies, insurance or real estate services.

The El Corte Inglés was a small shop on the Calle Preciados (near Puerta del Sol), with corner to the Calle Carmen and Calle Rompelanzas, dedicated to the tailoring and confection of children clothing that had been founded in 1890. The expansion of the business that had opened in 1934, with the union of employees of Nuevas Pañerias (draperies) and the contribution of capital that was baptized as Sederias Carretas,by Calle Carretas, 6. The idea was to buy all the properties of the square around it to create a new plant building that housed its establishment, which later became reality with the definitive name of Galerias Preciados. (My first store in Madrid with my mother).

At the time by 1935, the current owners had asked to hire a nephew of the owner name Ramón Areces, who had just returned to Spain and, in view of his refusal to hire him, to take him to developed the store of El Corte Inglés, located in the lower pf the plot he planned to acquire, as he finished the purchase of the rest of the square and proceeded to the demolition and construction of the new center he had in mind. The at the time the President Pepín Fernandez, who like Ramon Areces had formed with César Rodríguez in the El Encanto dept store in Havana, ( itself copied after the Galeries Lafayette of Paris and the store of my family ;clients for life, now gone of course) accepted this last request of his cousin and thus, on December 23, 1935 , proceeded to transfer the store in the name of César Rodríguez and, later, on January 25, 1936, to buy the complete property for the headquarters of Sederias Carretas. Transposed by César Rodríguez the tailoring is put in charge of Ramón Areces who will be in charge of his management from that moment until his death, maintaining the business throughout 1936 and the three years of Spanish Civil War later.

The El Corte Inglés is transferred in June of 1940 to Calle Preciados, 3 corner with the calle Tetuan, where the stores of El Aguila (eagle) were located. Between 1945 and 1946, after acquiring a greater part of the building and carrying out the corresponding reform, the sales surface reaches 2,000 m² in five plants and starts up a sales structure by departments emulating the existing one in Galerias Preciados founded in 1943. It is the competition between the El Corte Inglés and   Galerias Preciados, from the 50’s and 60’s, which will produce a revolution in the Spanish distribution market, introducing the seasonal sales , advertising campaigns , the air conditioning in the store, the massive use of advertising, the introduction of large-scale window dressing, the shopping cards, the computerization of the point of sale, etc.

The expansion of El Corte Inglés begins in 1962 with the opening of its second sales center, located in Barcelona, and continues until today with the opening of new centers, although already diversified in different formats of which the second type was Hipercor, whose Introduction is carried out in Sevilla in 1980.  In the model of large distribution surfaces the third and last expansion is made with the creation in 2006 of Bricor for sale of decoration material and DIY. The El Corte Inglés creates convenience stores ,first in the service stations, naming them at first Repsol-Supercor and later, in 2008, Repsol-Opencor to identify them with the chain of convenience stores that are not in a service station created in 2000 with the name of Opencor. In 2000, it also creates the proximity supermarket format, Supercor. Finally in 2001 appears Sfera dedicated to the distribution of retail fashion of great consumption.

By 1969, it starts the expansion towards other sectors beyond the distribution with the creation of Viajes El Corte Inglés (travel agency)   and continues this type of expansion in 1980 with the creation of Investrónica ,and in 1988 with the creation of computer science El Corte Inglés IECISA.  From the middle of the 90’s the national expansion is intensified by the acquisition in 1995 of its eternal rival Galerias Preciados which was in financial difficulties. In 2001, the El Corte Inglés also acquired five hypermarkets of which Carrefour had to sell due to competition regulations. This same year the El Corte Inglés bought all the centers that the British chain of department stores Marks & Spencer had in the peninsula (nine centers in total) on the occasion of its abandonment of the Spanish market.

The companies that make up the group today are:

El Corte Ingles S.A., parent company. Hipercor.,large area dedicated to the distribution of food and bazaar. Bricor., large area dedicated to the distribution of decoration and DIY items. Supercor ,medium-sized area in the proximity supermarket format. SuperCor Express, supermarkets of closeness and of small space. Sfera, young fashion stores and accessories in medium and small size towns, located in Spain and the 3 located in Portugal and franchisees located in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Kuwait and Mexico. Óptica2000, which are small surfaces of distribution of optical and auditory components. Computer Science The El Corte Ingles (IECISA), dedicated to consulting, software development and value-added computing services. Investrónica, computer and telephony wholesaler. Telecor, commercialization of telecommunications services for the consumer and the company.

Viajes El Corte Inglés , group matrix of a group of companies dedicated to tourism both from a wholesale and retail standpoint. El Corte Ingles Insurance Group (CESS), dedicated on the one hand to the brokerage of insurance and financial and real estate through the center of Insurance and services with offices open to the public in the centers of the El Corte Inglés, and, on the other, with Seguros El Corte Ingles S.A. , life and accidents insurance and managing entity of plans and pension funds with activity in Spain and Portugal. Financera El Corte Ingles S.A. as a company of financing of purchases to the clients and distributor of the bank card of purchases of El Corte Ingles.

As instrumental or ancillary companies of the main business involved 100% unless otherwise stated are Industrias y confecciones S.A. (INDUYCO) integrated in the group in 2010, Ason Inmobiliaria de Arrendos (rents) S. L., Construcciones, Promociones y Instalaciones S.A. Editorial Centro de Estudios Ramón Areces S.A.; Tourmundial Operadores S.A., and Parinver S.A. (75.83%). As minority stakes in other businesses: they are 50% in Gestion de Puntos de Ventas S.A. (GESPEVESA) that manages the Opencor stores in the Repsol service stations;   50% in Sephora cosmeticos España S. L.;   6.15% in Euroforum Escorial S.A.;   4.36% in Parque Temàtico de Madrid S.A.; and 1.7% in IAG.

Some webpages to help you come and understand this department store par excellence are

Official El Corte Inglés for Spain

Official El Corte Inglés English

And I give you one blog post of mine that speaks briefly of this store here: Madrid sights and smells

You will do good if shopping in Madrid or Spain for that matter to come here, check them out. Just saying….

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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