Archive for February 14th, 2019

February 14, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXIIII

Ok so need to get back to my beloved Spain, it has been a while on news of my Spain. Weather-wise we are in heaven here at 53F same as Madrid and sunny; this is about 11C.

There is lots of things always going on in Spain ,everything under the sun. However, I will pick some with historical values and great off the beaten paths ways to discovered the beautiful country.

This is a wonderful trip by car . Perched on the Sierra de Ayllón, these Segovian villages of black architecture, by the abundance of slate, and red, by the use of clay, trace a perfect route for a weekend in nature, mountain flavors and absolute disconnection. Everything, an hour from Madrid.

The medieval village of Riaza is one of the most beautiful villages in Segovia province. Its arcaded square which also exerts the bullring, its ancestral houses with emblazoned facades and the Church of Nuestra Senora del Manto (Our Lady of the mantle) are the main traveler’s claim. The construction of the houses has given Villacorta that characteristic reddish color. In addition to the Church of Our Lady of the Mantle, we can visit the hermitages of San Roque and the Eternal Father, whose pilgrimage, which is celebrated the Sunday following Pentecost, constitutes one of the most popular festivities in the region. Of blacks, the blackest, this is the Muyo, a hamlet where time seems to have stopped. The most characteristic is that the walls and roofs of all their houses are built with black slate. Also the pavement of the streets. The only touch of color is provided by his church, with red tiles. Becerril, we now come to a town that has built its brownstone houses with slate roofs. Its most emblematic building is the Romanesque Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Asunción or Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, renovated in the 16C. In the visit you cannot miss a walk through its magnificent Acebeda where there are also yew, rowans and Ash. At Martin Munoz de Ayllon; its slate quarries served to make the roofs of the Palacio de La Granja and for the floor of the Cathedral of Segovia. Also to cover their roofs that contrast with the reddish of the land of the place and the gilding of quartzite. Thus colorful is this small and picturesque village located in the foothills of the Sierra de Ayllón whose parish church, San Martín de Tours, is the most outstanding building. At Ayllon proper, this villa hides important jewels in its medieval lattice. From the Contreras Palace to the lively Plaza Mayor arcaded, passing through the Church of San Miguel or the Convent of San Francisco. Everything can be discovered through dramatised visits. A wonderful ride by car is a must to see deep Castilla y Léon autonomous region!

And fantasy in Spain can be real, as said everything under the sun. Well there is more! see Astroland, the newly created Spanish interplanetary agency, has chosen a cave in Cantabria to develop the technology needed to inhabit the red planet. It is a cave of Arredondo with similarities to the Martian environment: low temperatures, strong winds and high stellar radiation that make it very hostile. If the forecasts are fulfilled, this innovative project will begin with a mission of ten expedition members on June 15th 2019. And all of this, of course, with a view to making the arrival of manned missions to Mars a reality, a feat that, at least, is expected for the year 2030. Of course, each of the ten crew members will have to demonstrate a number of skills to know the role assigned to them: leadership, expeditionary, biologist, psychologist… And they will receive a previous training program of about 90 days, which includes knowledge of coaching and leadership, climbing and caving, skill in emergency plans or hydroponic crops. These are the methodologies that space agencies follow to train their astronauts. At the moment, emulating this experience in Cantabria is a possible proposal at a reasonable price of about 10,000 euros. For those who want to sign up, the registration process is already open through the Astroland website.:

February is the month of lovers, of the Saint Valentine and it is no coincidence that it is also the time when Teruel, the true city of Spanish love, revive its most beautiful story ever told, occurred eight centuries ago. A romantic getaway to the walled Aragonese village is worthwhile to admire one of the most important and best preserved mudejar constructions in the world, but also to participate in the weddings of Isabel de Segura, the celebration that commemorates the annual legendary tragedy of lovers of Teruel. This goes back to 1217, when Diego de Marcilla, after five years in the war, returns to marry his beloved, Isabel de Segura, not knowing that this, pressured by her father, has not waited as promised and committed to another. Diego dies of grief, like Isabel, after learning the news.

For four days (from Thursday February 14th to Sunday February 17th ), the city immerses its inhabitants and visitors in the 13C: In the streets the medieval atmosphere is recreated, the locals are dressed in the period, the camps and artisan markets are held, dances are celebrated , tournaments, parades… and concerts, exhibitions, entertainment and many activities are held for all ages. But the real tourist attraction is that, in addition, some 400 actors recreate the drama of the lovers with many theatrical performances. The majority takes place in the Plaza de la Catedral, where the temple of Santa Maria de Mediavilla was erected, of Mudejar construction, with the tower, the dome and the roof as more important elements, and in the Plaza del Torico, surrounded by modernist buildings On whose porches there are shops, bars and restaurants with terrace. More info here:

Those interested in learning more about this tragic love story cannot fail to visit the Mausoleum of Lovers, where rest their remains under magnificent sculptures with the hands clasped by Juan de Avalos. The Pantheon, attached to the Church of San Pedro (14C, its belfry, the Torre de San Pedro, is the oldest example of Mudejar), has different exhibition halls that seek to bring to the visitor everything related to these characters, from the social, political and cultural characteristics that surrounded the events in the Teruel of the beginning of the 13C until the influence of the lovers in the world of the Arts (literature, theatre, music, painting, sculpture…) Throughout the history and how It carried out the finding of the mummies (it was in 1555 in the subsoil of one of the side chapels of the mentioned Church of San Pedro), as well as its location for years: The Mudejar cloister of San Pedro, next to the temple of the same name, built in the second half of the 14C, Gothic-Mudejar style (entrance to the mausoleum: 4 euros; Mudejar and mausoleum: 8 euros). More info here:

Literature lovers have another original option to learn more about this medieval story, thanks to the initiative Leer Aragón (read Aragon by the regional government), which proposes 11 literary routes (one or two days and with the option of including meals and accommodation) to know first hand of Aragonese writers and visit with them the scenarios that inspired some of their novels, set in Aragon. The tour will include a walk along the Calle Amantes (lovers), which goes from the Plaza del Torico to the Plaza de Pérez Prado, where stands the tower of San Martín (Mudejar style of 1316), and where they spent their childhood Diego and Isabel, as it is near the house where she grew up, next to the city/town wall. You will also visit the Plaza del Mercado (place of furtive encounters of the lovers), the Monasterio de los Hospitalarios ,and the corner in which begins the slope that leads to the Church of San Pedro, where this love drama ends. More info here:

And yes Paris and Madrid has a lot in common going back way back; intellectually too.

Paris, at the end of World War II, became the largest artists ‘ refuge town in the world. Painters, sculptors and writers of half the world (also Spaniards) settled there willing to soak up the bohemian atmosphere, the artistic independence and the freedom that many denied them in their countries. In Paris, Kandinsky became master of abstraction, Picasso turned to the conventions of painting, Chillida met his friend Pablo Palazuelo… All are protagonists of the show Paris despite everything. Foreign artists, 1944-1968, with whom the Reina Sofía Museum reveals the importance of foreign creators in that city during the postwar period. It is a sample that gathers works of more than 100 artists, among which are, in addition to those mentioned, Herrera, Kelly, Tinguely, Tamayo, Asger Jorn, Arroyo or Alfred Manessier.  More at the Reina Sofia museum webpage:

There enjoy my Spain, and remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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February 14, 2019

The castle museum of Dinan!

And continuing to showcase my lovely Brittany to all readers, I come to a very nice popular area of Dinan. Not to be confused with the other similar name town this one is in the dept 22 of Côtes d’Armor. And one of the beauties of it is its castle museum!

We came by car of course, and as always once in town, walking is it. Lovely city to walk full of history and architecture marvels, the Castle is one of the main attraction but there are others to come in later posts. I have written before on Dinan, but believe it gives credit to what is deserve a post on the castle alone is well merited. Here is my take on the Castle museum of Dinan


The Château de Dinan in Côtes-d’Armor dept 22 in my beautiful Brittany lies to the south of the city. It is a composite ensemble, formed at the end of the 16C by the Duke of Mercœur from three elements initially distinct: The ducal tower, built in the decade 1380 by the Duke of Brittany Jean IV, the Guichet tower originally the southern gate of the city-and the Coëtquen tower, a remarkable artillery tower built at the end of the 15C during the modernization of the urban enclosure, sponsored by the Duke Francis II. The ensemble is part of the urban enclosure of Dinan, built at the end of the 13C by the Dukes of Brittany, and was once the third most important of the duchy after those of Nantes and Rennes.


Winner of the War of the succession of Brittany, Jean IV the Conqueror, Duke of Brittany, decided to build a master tower in Dinan in 1380 in order to assert his authority in a city that had long supported his rival Charles de Blois . The construction site is completed in 1393 and maybe even from 1384. Made up of two contiguous round towers, the junction of which is reinforced to the west by a square front, the building culminates more than 30 meters. The coronation is reinforced by machicolations consoles with four jumps. The lower, very stretched jump allows the console to rely on a larger number of seats, while providing a high quality aesthetic rendering.


More than a fortress, this construction is above all a princely residence, a real palace tour where the distribution of the spaces and the high quality of the interior decorations meet a strict organization, characteristic of the end of the 14C. Thus, on five levels, the kitchen, the banquet hall, the siding room and the chapel, and finally the private apartments, take place in turn. Originally, a sixth level and a roof described in 1636 as double peaks in slate-covered spikes complemented the ensemble. A remarkable example of the architecture of the late 14C, the tower-Palace of Dinan, due to its architectural complexity and the quality of its decor, is one of the great princely mansions of the period. At the scale of Brittany, the castle of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes (Loire Atlantique 44) and the Château de Suscinio (Morbihan 56) are a witness to the refinement of the Court of Montfort.


At the end of the 16C, Dinan became a stronghold of the Catholic League and, under the impetus of the Duke of Mercœur, governor of Brittany, major changes were made. In order to reunite the master tower at the Coëtquen Tower, an artillery tower erected at the end of the 15C, a military sheath called the Mercoeur underground was arranged, resulting in the condemnation of the Guichet gate which is then walled. In parallel, a high-court, protected by spurs structures was built in a very significance way, it is to the city and not to the exterior that are turning the doorways.


The castle, which became a common law prison in the 19C, was bought in the early 20C by the town of Dinan, which installed its municipal museum in 1908. The Museum of Dinan in the ducal tower which then becomes the Castle Museum. Dedicated to the history and crafts of Dinan and its territory, the collections include many ethnographic objects collected in the towns of the banks of Rance river in the 1950’s and 1970’s. The museum is in discussion for a  Projet Scientifique et Culturel,(cultural and scientifc project)  that come about this year 2019 to determine its orientation for the future so make sure call ahead to know if will be open.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Dinan on the Castle

Tourist office of Dinan Cap Frehel on the castle of Dinan

Therefore, another excuse to come to jolly celtic beautiful Brittany where history architecture and religion is all around us every day. Hope you enjoy it and do come is a must visit! The castle museum of Dinan is very nice indeed

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


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