Archive for February 5th, 2019

February 5, 2019

Palacio Velazquez, Madrid!

So let me bring you down again to my immense Madrid, the city of my youth, teens and first loves, well enough talk I have said a lot on it in my blog before. I went thru my posts and many of a general overview , so decided to go back and pick some of the influential sites in my life there and after visits.

I like to tell you a bit more on the special Palacio Velazquez a palace in the middle of the Retiro Park of Madrid. In my earlier days living there it was just a school trip and hanging around it with the friends, a good place for a first kiss. Later, on been to the exhibitions there ,and eventually brought the family along; many nice memories indeed.

The Velázquez Palace or Palacio Velazquez  is located in the Retiro Park or Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid. It was built between the years 1881 and 1883 on the occasion of the celebration of the National Mining exhibition carried out in the city between the months of May and November of 1883. Along with the Palacio de Cristal (see entry in blog), the Palace of Velázquez  is one of the two exhibition venues of the museum Reina Sofia in the middle of the Retiro Park.

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It is a building covered with iron vaults accompanied by glass that allow to illuminate the rooms naturally, and is inspired by the Crystal Palace of London. With dimensions of 73.80 by 28.75 meters was built in two-tone bricks as well as tiles from the Royal factory of the Moncloa.

The building was conceived in 1883 with a visit of King Alfonso XII accompanied by the sovereign of Portugal Luis I  to inaugurate an exhibition on mining. In 1887 it was used for the exhibition of the Philippines held at the retreat, and after the exhibition, that same year, the Government assigned it to the Museum of Ultramar (overseas). It is dedicated to temporary exhibition hall of the National Museum Reina Sofía Art Center, thereafter.

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The building is structured in three quadrangular bodies united by a gallery. The central body is posed as an entrance portico, preceded by a large staircase of marble between sphinxes and covered by a large vault of zinc cannon and glass. On both sides of the gallery are two quadrangular bodies with zinc sliding roofs. At the sides of the entrance portico there are two discrete bas-reliefs, on the left one dedicated to the fine arts and the other right dedicated to mining. In the center a staircase of delicate white marble of 15 meters of length leads to the entrance, then a portico with three arches of half point on Ionic columns. However, the interior of the rectangular floor is practically a single space without divisions, only those that correspond to the four towers.  In the 18 meters high central gallery, the roofs and iron columns are the only protagonists.

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The entire exterior enclosure of the building was made in red brick of Zaragoza, brick that has been overcooked and is slightly deformed and its color is not uniform. It complements the decoration with ceramic cladding of the porcelain factory of the Moncloa, reopened a few months before. All the constructive materials of the 19C are reflected here. The granite stone for the basement, the brick of various shades for the walls of enclosure, the multicolored ceramics for the adornments of bows and spandrels, the stucco for the corbels of the cornice, the iron for the bearing structure, the zinc for the curved deck surfaces and glass for interior lighting.

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Located at the Paseo Venezuela, Retiro park, free admission, and you arrive by Metro line 2 Retiro, Line 9 Ibiza, and Line 1 Atocha, or bus lines 2, 20, 26, and 61 ,or even trains at Atocha-Renfe.

Some webpages as usual for me to help you plan your visit here are

City of Madrid on the Palacio Velazquez

Tourist office of Madrid on the Palacio Velazquez

Reina Sofia Museum on its venues and Palacio Velazquez

The Palacio Velazquez is an art center, but it means more to me ,as my life goings and comings by my Madrid. It is as everything in the park, a must visit by all ,and by me obligatory stop. I have several posts on the Retiro Park in my blog and speaks volumens on it, enjoy it as I do.

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

 

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February 5, 2019

The other Churches of Toledo!

So I am back settled down in my beloved Spain, and I come to you for a world historical city ,very popular and many times visited by me and many over the years. This is known to all me think. However, Toledo has in such a small space treasure throves of jewels to be seen. Time is still here ,and me think must go to the best known touristic wise. I have family in a small town just north of it towards Madrid, so makes it easy for me stopping y often.

There are so many wonderful places to see here, and written briefly on many already. However, I feel need to tell you a bit more on the Churches of Toledo in my beloved Spain. I will be brief, just an introduction as they are all needed to be seen while in town!

The Church of the Savior or Iglesia del Salvador was at the time of the Muslim presence, a mosque, whose date is to be determined, although some researchers date it in 1041 or possibly earlier. Previous remains of Visigoth ecclesial occupation and even a late Roman period of the 2C have been found.  It is one of the Churches named in the guide of Tormes and in it were baptized Juana I de Castilla (“La Loca”=crazy) and the playwright Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla.  The present Church is built on an old Muslim mosque, so it is oriented towards the southeast, towards Mecca. For whose construction, as usual, different architectural elements were reused Visigoths, thanks to which has retained a horseshoe arches supported on Visigoths pilasters with sculpted decoration of figurative themes. The Pilaster of El Salvador presents in one of its faces various miraculous scenes of the life of Jesus, in overlapping records: The healing of the blind, the resurrection of Lazarus, the Samaritan and the Hemorroísa, as well as other themes of Eucharistic nuance that allude to Christ  as a salvation and whose iconography seems to be taken from some Paleo-Christian sarcophagus that  served as a model. The conversion to Christian worship in 1159 made it undergo various modifications, especially the construction of the Gothic Chapel of Santa Catalina, at the end of the 15C. The minaret, converted into a tower, would later be added to a brick steeple. Again in 1822 a new fire had it badly destroyed and only the Chapel of Santa Catalina was saved.

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Church

Toledo

The Church (Iglesia) of San Ildefonso is a baroque-style Church located in the center of the historical city of Toledo, is also known as the Church of the Jesuits and is consecrated to San Ildefonso of Toledo, patron of the city and father of the Church. Its construction, which lasted for more than a hundred years, began in the year 1629, on a land acquired by the Jesuits of Toledo in 1569 where were the houses of Juan Hurtado de Mendoza Rojas and Guzmán, Conde de Orgaz,  and that had also been the birthplace of San Ildefonso. Located between the Calle San Román and Calle Alfonso XII , the Church has a northwest-southwest orientation, so that its frontal facade is directed towards the Cathedral of Toledo. The interior of the Church, with its main nave in the form of a Latin cross plant, is large and white in color. On this nave stands the high dome over the transept. In the transept there are two large baroque altarpieces. The Chapels on the northeast side of the building, in order from the transept, are dedicated to the Virgin of Fatima, to San Francisco Javier, to the Blessed Christ Crucified and to San Francisco de Borja. On the southwest side are those dedicated to the Immaculate, Dolorosa or painful, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Christ of the Martyrs. In one corner of the Church lies the Chapel of the Ochavada in which the relics of the Church are kept and venerated. The outside of the dome, due to its dimensions and the location of the Church, is one of the highest points of Toledo, next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Alcázar, to which has notable views, just like the towers, which can be visited.

Tourist office of Toledo on the Church

 Toledo

The Church (Iglesia) of San Román  was built in Mudejar style in the 13C in the place where once there was an ancient Visigoth basilica and probably an ancient Roman building. Nowadays it is the seat of the Museum of the Councils and the Visigoth Culture. It is located in one of the highest and privileged places of the city, in the second of the Twelve Hills that form it. There is already news of the parish in the 12C and the Church would be consecrated in 1221 by Archbishop Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada. The tradition points out that here  was crowned king Alfonso VIII of Castile in  1166. The Church has a basilica plant with three naves, separated by horseshoe arches with alfas that support on pillars with Visigoth and Roman columns attached with capitals reused of Visigoth origin in some cases, distinguishing by its Corinthian leaves. The frescoes are divided into two areas separated by inscriptions. The four winged evangelists and the representations of Archbishops, the Saints Esteban and Lorenzo, angels or the Final judgement stand out. In the 16C, Alonso de Covarrubias designed the plateresque domed apse of coffers in the main chapel; And the paintings were subsequently covered, thus losing their trail until the first third of the 20C in which they were rediscovered. It was not until the  1940’s when they were recovered as much as possible.

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Church

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The Church (Igleisa) of Sao Tome or Saint Thomas the Apostle is located in the historical center of Toledo, and was founded after the reconquest of this city by King Alfonso VI of León. as quoted in the 12C , as built on the site of an old 11C mosque. This mosque along with others of the city were used as Christian churches without major changes, since in the making of the city there was no destruction of buildings. However, at the beginning of the 14C, being in a dilapidated state was completely rebuilt by Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, Lord of Orgaz and transformed the old minaret of the mosque into a belfry in Mudéjar style. Its fame is mainly due to house inside, the painting the Burial of the Count de Orgaz by El Greco, (El entierro del Conde de Orgaz de El Greco) which can be seen by accessing the back of the Church. The Church consists of three naves with transept, covered by barrel vaults and polygonal apse. It has the Church in its chapels, two Baroque altarpieces, one plateresque and a baptismal font from the 16C. They include an image of the Virgin Mary of marble from the 12C, and the altarpiece with ionic elements of the main chapel of the 19C.

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Church

Toledo

The Convent of San Pedro Martyr, through its successive extensions and modifications, became one of the richest and most important convents of the city. The convent, large, is organized around three courtyards: the closest to the entrance is called Real or Royal; The smallest is called Silencio or silence/quiet, and the Naranjos or Orangery  or Procesiones or processions  is located on the side of the epistle of the Church. The cloister called the Silence  is the oldest of all and possibly corresponds to a civil construction that, later, was included in the convent ensemble. It consists of three floors. The low with half-point arches resting on columns. In the north band there are pointed arcs. Marble columns and capitals, of great invoice, point to an Italian origin. The second floor is made up of lowered arches resting on columns very similar to the lower ones. The cloister of the silence contrasts with the Real, of much larger size, which began to be built with traces of Covarrubias, in 1541, by his disciple Hernán González de Lara. It consists of three floors entirely built in stone. The low floor is composed of half-point arches resting on columns. The new church and the sacristy. It began to be built in 1587 and consists of two spaces: the largest, rectangular, is the one that really serves as a sacristy, and another, square, houses a small Chapel. The walls of the two spaces are formed by arches with niches, which achieves a greater unity between them. Among the arches are erected Doric pilasters with its corresponding entablature run, which also serves as an element of union between the two spaces. The main space is covered with a flat Cistercian vault, bands and with eyelids. The most direct access from the Church to the sacristy is made by a door located at one end of the main side. There is the Chapel of Santa Inés, whose architecture is Gothic, with vault of edges, which contains several interesting graves. The works of the current church began in 1605. As a curiosity, in this monastery, was a member, the Dominican friar Juan Bautista Maíno in 1613. It is a renowned painter whose works include the “Adoration of the Shepherds ” of the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Since 1991 the building serves as university headquarters of the Faculty of Juridical and Social Sciences of Toledo, belonging to the University of Castilla-La Mancha.

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Convent

 Toledo

 

And last ,but not least, the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Star (Ermita Nuestra Senora  de la  Estrella)  was founded by the Brotherhood of the same name, which was based in the neighboring Church of Santiago del Arrabal (see my previous post on it). Its construction was carried out in 1611, it presents a plant close to a Greek cross. However, in extending the nave and presbytery, with respect to the arms of the broad transept, the axially of the building is strengthened, in the direction of the longitudinal axis of the bedhead. This makes it possible to lose the idea of a centralized plant, especially in addition, after the presbytery and the aforementioned axis, the dressing room of the Virgin. The present cover of the Hermitage is of late realization than the building; It was built around the middle of the 17C.  A bit isolated description on it but best here in Spanish:

Site Adventures of Madrid on the Hermitage

 Toledo

These are some of my favorite curiosity in the city of Toledo. There are plenty more to browse while in town. I have several entries on Toledo in my blog for more information on visiting here. Well already well known no need to tell you further, is a must. I have come often as have cousins not far on the road to Madrid.

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

 

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February 5, 2019

Grevenmacher and Bernard Massard!

On a day calling for snow, well not seen any yet just a bit of rain and some wind all calm down by now; I like to go into one of  my favorites subject, wines. This time however, will not tell you about French or Spanish wines but those of Luxembourg and especially the sparkling wines of Bernard Massard.

We were vacationing in Germany, and doing some road warrior trips into Luxembourg, we tumble into the town of Grevenmacher and voilà just crossing the Moselle river we stumbled into a nice beautiful building that is the cellars of Bernard Massard. And of course, a visit was necessary lol!

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from Grevenmacher LU ,B Massard over the bridge and Germany

 

They are done in the Champenoise style as he learned the trades there, however, more on what the French call Crémants or a bit more creamy smooth type of “champagne”. We like the smoothness of them and a nice price to match so we not only tasted but purchase several bottles for home which we enjoyed and looking forward to a next visit.

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I like to tell you a bit about the town, very brief.  Grevenmacher is a town and the capital of the canton of the same name in Luxembourg. The city is bounded to the east by the Moselle, a tributary of the Rhine river which also acts as a border with Germany at this point. It is surrounded by well-known forests and vineyards.

My surprise was to find a sparkling wine maker of good quality and better prices in town. This is Bernard Massard,which is open from April 1 to October 31 every day from 9h30  to 18h. Out of season, by appointment only see webpage for contact. We came on regular hours and park right inside the premises.

You announce yourselves and wait in a nice lobby for the tour by a cellarmaster. He comes to pick you up and take you on the lobby showing some historical features of the House of Bernard Massard. Then, you go with him into the cellars, seeing all the production process and  ageing as well as at the end go up to a nice terrace restaurant with lounge chairs to have your tasting and hors oeuvres ,the price I believe if can remember was 7-9 euros per person. You get to try about 3-4 different bottle labels.

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The company was created in 1921 by a Luxembourg Oenologist who learned his craft in Champagne, France named  Jean Bernard-Massard. He led his project in the future by building his beautiful cellar of Grevenmacher on the banks of the Moselle river, these cellars produce sparkling wines in the Champenoise method. The visit of the lower cellars is complemented by the projection of a documentary film on the Grand Duchy, the Moselle river area, the work of the vine and the elaboration of sparkling wines as said.

Bernard Massard exploits in particular the enclosed areas of the rocks which stretches over 18 hectares, in Grevenmacher and Thill Frères which extends over 12 hectares, and Schengen, reputed especially for their Rieslings, Pinot blanc and Pinot Gris. The company is the first family producer of still and sparkling wines from Luxembourg with a total production of nearly 3.9 million bottles. Export wines in more than 20 countries, with a presence in Belgium since its foundation but also in many other markets such as Finland, Canada, Great Britain to name but a few. Total area is  38 ha,with  9 grape varietals, and  6.2 km of underground cellars.

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The historic building of the Bernard-Massard cellars, located in Grevenmacher, in the northern part of the Luxembourg vineyards, houses: a superb winery, ripening cellars, riddling tools, disgorgement and labelling, and ideal premises for organizing of events. Over the decades, Bernard Massard has become the first family manufacturer of sparkling wines from Luxembourg.  With its two partner domains, the Clos des Rochers and the Château Schengen , the company is one of the best producers of white wines of the appellation. In 1921, Jean Bernard-Massard, with the support of Luxembourgish and Belgian wine lovers, also founded a sparkling wine cellar in Grevenmacher, Luxembourg, and built a distinctive wine cellar right on the banks of the Moselle River. The brand Bernard Massard produces sparkling wine from Chardonnay, Riesling, and Cuvées in various flavors. The dry sparkling wine is made in traditional bottle fermentation in the naturally air-conditioned cellars.

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Previously, in 1919, the Luxembourg cellar master Jean Bernard-Massard founded a sparkling wine cellar in the Palais Pillishof, which was first mentioned in documents in 1447.  Thanks to its rococo façade of 1770, this building, in the middle of the city center, is one of Trier’s most important buildings in terms of art history. To this day, Bernhard Massard produces its sparkling wine in the basement vaults of the palace, which dates back to 1270. This is a different legal company of the family there.

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Some webpages to help you plan your visits here and it is worth the detour are

Official Bernard Massard Luxembourg

City of Grevenmacher tourist office

Tourist office of Luxembourg on Grevenmacher vineyards

Tourist office of the Moselle Luxembourg area on Bernard Massard

There you have a nice wine visit and lovely town as well. I had written mostly on the town before in my blog with brief mention of Bernard Massard, but definitively needed a post on its own, worth the visit indeed.

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

 

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