Some news from Spain LXXX

And here i come back to you with news of my beloved Spain. Many as the good weather is coming there and all sort of things pops up in my Spain, everything under the Sun! Not so much good chance weather here as cloudy and damp rainy and 61F or about 15C however, Madrid much better at 79F or about 26C and sunny. Here then the latest news from Spain.

Best pools or aquatic parks that I know and are good to recommend are

Puerta de Hierro Sports Park in Madrid (No 1!). With its three hundred thousand square meters this sports park is by far the largest in the capital, including a gigantic adult pool of 6,500 square meters in addition to another for children. It is the direct heiress of the Playa de Madrid, also known as the Lido Chulapo, designed  between 1932 and 1934. It was the first artificial beach in Spain, located in the Manzanares river on its way through El Pardo. It had spaces for rowing, swimming and other water sports. After the Spanish Civil War, at the end of the fifties, the area was reconverted into the trade union park, building the immense pools that have survived to this day. The entrance costs 4.50 euros. Memories still of my youth in Madrid still there!

Playas del Vicario in Ciudad Real.  In the surroundings of this Castilian city of Castilla La Mancha, very close to the reservoir of the same name, there is a spectacular complex of municipal swimming pools that represent the best kept secret of La Mancha during the summer. Although they are usually very busy, they are so big that you do not feel overwhelmed. They have very complete facilities including a spa with an interesting menu of treatments. Tickets between 1.50 and 4.40 euros.

In my beloved DNA Canaries Islands, we have

Santa Cruz Maritime park in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The posthumous work of César Manrique (it was inaugurated in 1995) and the most modest of its maritime projects (22,000 square meters) has, however, very special characteristics as it forms part of an extraordinary landscape with the emblematic Auditorium of Santiago Calatrava as a backdrop, and being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in all its splendor and the Palmetum botanical garden. All this in the urban center of the capital of Tenerife. The use of volcanic rock further enhances the turquoise color of its two main pools. And this paradise is accessible to everyone, with a maximum rate of 2.5 euros.

Costa Martianez at Puerto de la Cruz, with its nearly 100,000 square meters and its sets of volcanic islands immersed in a gigantic lake, this leisure complex that includes the queen of Spanish swimming pools is an iconic place. Its origins go back to the mid-fifties, when a small pool complex was built, under the name of San Telmo, which would later be transformed, in the 1960s, into Los Aliseos, before Cesar Manrique took over the project, opening in 1977 . Its influence has been enormous and still attracts many ‘pilgrims’. Tickets from 15 euros.

Benicalap Pool in Valencia.  Among the public pools of the capital of th Turia,  the most attractive is undoubtedly opened in 1983 that is part of a large park located in this neighborhood north of the city, accessible by metro. It is very busy but it is very large and there is abundant vegetation. Its normal schedule is from 12h  to 18h30 but on Fridays it lasts until 01h  in the morning and thematic evenings are also scheduled. Tickets between 1.65 and 3.25 euros.

Oira Outer Swimming Pools in Orense, Galicia. The Ourense capital has no access to the sea, but its water supply is overwhelming. Its thermal offer is undoubtedly the most complete and accessible in Spain, including several outdoor centers of the highest level, with very cheap rates. It is also possible to paddle in Miño river itself, as in the many pools that dot the riverbanks. The best and most unique is the one found in the surroundings of the Oira sports complex that includes its own fluvial beach. And the most surprising thing is that its access is free.

The configuration of many of its streets, such as Barrio de Santa Cruz, attracts shade and causes drafts. In its many parks the fountains and shady corners abound. And at nightfall, there is no corner of the city that does not have any kind of cultural event. Nobody be alarmed, to enjoy Sevilla  with heat you only need a fan, organization and a lot of common sense. Indeed!! Some places for the shade and the fun.

The magnificent Museum of Fine Arts located in the former Convent of La Merced Calzada. An extraordinarily beautiful place conformed by numerous patios full of flowers where the air runs and that would be worth knowing by itself. But its great treasures are inside its rooms, protected by a perfect climate. Its collection of paintings by Murillo, Zurbarán or Valdés Leal is unique but they also feature works by Velázquez, El Greco or a chilling sculpture by Torrigiano. And at the moment access to all these wonders is free

Isla Magica, the Andalusian theme park par excellence that, in addition to a multitude of attractions related to the New World and discoveries around a large lake, has two immense swimming pools. One of them, Arrecife, dedicated to families, and another with waves, in a Caribbean environment with sand beach included. The rates include all types of offers, from 10-14 euros. .

After cooling off in the Patio de las Abluciones of the old Great Mosque of Sevilla, today magnificent Collegiate Church of the Divine Savior, lunch with tapas (do not forget one of snails) in the square covered with awnings of the same name where they say that it was invented to liven up the terraces with water spray

On July 21 and 26  2019 you can have one of those extraordinary experiences offered by this unique city. It is the verbena that the neighborhood of Triana dedicates to Santa Ana and the Apostol, on the left bank of the river, with the Calle Betis as reference. An opportunity to get to know this charismatic neighborhood, based on the most authentic flamenco, grilled sardines and many surprises. There is a pottery market, a flower offering, although the classic is to witness the Contest of the Cucaña in which a barge is placed with a fat-smeared pole crowned with a pennant that the participants have to reach before falling into the river!

The Nights in the Gardens of the Real Alcázar, which this year celebrates its XIX edition with 75 performances between June 14 and September 8 2019. Between the splendid gazebo of Carlos V and the Gallery of Grutescos you can enjoy flamenco, jazz, swing, blues and all kinds of ethnic as well as classical music. A real luxury that must be booked in advance.

The Guadalquivir river are protagonists of the summer nights and even more so since the old pier of New York has been rejuvenated and has already been filled with chiringuitos (food stands) and chill out terraces such as Muelles Nueva York ( Docks) and Mojitos Lounge from where you can see the sunset , mojito in hand but also have a drink with good music, already at dusk. Very close in the surroundings of Parque María Luisa, you can dine in great restaurants.

Although part of its structure is covered with scaffolding, the Giralda remains the irreplaceable reference of Sevilla and the image that is always engraved in our retina. That’s why there is no better way to end the day than having a drink in one of the privileged terraces overlooking the ancient Almohad minaret. If you are lucky, the perfect plan is to enjoy the Atico Dos Fuentes de la Marquesa de las Torres (Two Fountains Attic of the Marquis). But there are other alternatives such as the terraces of the Doña María, Fontecruz or Eme hotels. It is also worth consulting the concert schedule on the roofs of Sevilla site at

You can always check the latest at the city of Sevilla tourist webpage here:

The festival celebrates its 19th edition betting on the mixture between avant-garde and tradition From the Greek tragedies to the verses of Shakespeare or Cervantes, Clasicos de Alcalà (classics in Alcalá de Henares)  fills the city of theater with flavor to tradition . More information here:

William Klein. Manifiesto. First great retrospective in Spain of one of the fundamental figures of 20C photography. The New Yorker accurately portrayed the postwar society, helping to build our own vision of the world. The exhibition brings together 245 works and documents that make up the kaleidoscopic work of the creator, who also approached painting, cinema and graphic arts. The exhibition can be visited until September 22 2019. Where: Fundación Telefónica. More information  :

And the trivia question/answer of the post is:

The menu of the day, so common in the most modest restaurants and pubs , and in some that are not so much  has its origin, according to the most widespread version in Spain, in that ‘tourist menu’ imposed by the Ministry of Information and Tourism of the Franco regime in 1964, when the owner of that portfolio was none other than Manuel Fraga. But the reality is a little more complicated and it seems that some inspiration came to the Ministry technicians from the neighboring country of France (of course) who knew a very similar menu from a century ago. Among the promotional measures to attract more and more foreigners was that offer of an economic menu, which was initially mandatory in all restaurants, and at a price set by the Administration, according to the category of the establishment such as the most expensive, in the luxury restaurants, it was 250 of those pesetas from half a century ago! (166.386 pesetas = one euro !) And it was specified that specialties of the region should be offered. But, in any case, the reality is that from 1854 the concept had spread throughout France and, therefore, many Spaniards knew it. Initially it was not a daily menu, but simply a ‘plat du jour’, dish of the day, different every day, formula introduced that year by a chef who had been working in the United States, Pierre Fraysse, when he returned to Paris and opened his restaurant Chez Peter’s. It was a dish, yes, very abundant, often with vegetables and potatoes accompanying a meat or fish. In present-day France that tradition still exists, but throughout the 19-20C other establishments switched to a more complete ‘menu du jour’,or menu of the day like the one we have now! There you go a bit of Franco-American cooperation and now Spanish too :J

And now another trivia as we know most like hot sauces but not so much in Spain,however, lately immigration does its course and hot sauces are found in many supermarkets in Spain today. These are some popular ones

Tabasco Pepper Sauce.  Created in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny in Louisiana (USA), this famous hot sauce is prepared with red tabasco peppers  hence the name , macerated with water, vinegar and salt in oak barrels . Its pungency according to the Scoville scale is between 2,500 and 5,000 SHU. My favorite :J

Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce is  Sriracha or fermented chili is the name used to name this Southeast Asian dressing, very popular in Thailand. Take tomato, ripe chili, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt and score around 2,000 SHU.Mild..

The Ruda and Technical Chipotlera . Recipes of the Mexican chef Roberto Ruiz (Punto MX restaurant Madrid), these sauces are made from mature serrano chili peppers manually destemmed and fermented for two years. La Ruda has a semi-liquid density and is aromatic, intense in flavor and medium spicy or hot.

Salta Picante Espinaler. agressive version of the mythical Catalan salsa created in 1950 by Ventureta Roldós, wife of Joan Tapias when he was in charge of Espinaler. Its main ingredients are vinegar, spices (a secret combination, never confessed) and red paprika.

Veneno del Bueno con Mango (poison of good with mango). This Spanish firm based in Granada specializes in spicy seasonings of all kinds. Among all of them, I take this  version of Veneno del Bueno, a free interpretation of Tabasco, with strong habanero chile flavor and citrus notes, with the addition of large quantities of mango from Motril , which provides texture and an excellent point between spicy , sweet and fruity. Eye, your scale reaches 350,000 SHU: it is not for everyone, indeed!

Frank’s Redhot Wings Buffalo Sauce. The secret ingredient of the recipe for Buffalo chicken wings (originating from Buffalo in the State of New York, USA) was always its sauce: different cayenne peppers crushed with spices, vinegar and garlic (but get the real texture, you have to mix it with a pinch of butter).

And to finish on a smoother note! Here are some wonderful museums gardens in my beloved Madrid to visit and enjoy them especially during the hot Summer months.

Museo del Romanticismo (Museum of Romanticism) at Calle San Mateo, 13). The Garden of the Magnolio that hides this 18C  palace, inside which recreates the daily life of the upper middle class during Romanticism, is one of its corners with more personality. After several years closed, last summer reopened, giving away to the public a postcard distributed in four streets with a circular fountain that dominates its intersection. Your Garden Café seems like a more than valid excuse to enjoy a snack spiced with one of the homemade cakes that appear in your menu. Although the cafeteria schedule coincides with that of the Museum, it is not necessary (although it is advisable) to visit it to access it.

Sorolla Museum  at Paseo del General Martínez Campos, 3. Planned and designed by the artist himself, Sorolla took care of the tonalities of his garden with the same determination as those of his canvases. In fact, several of his paintings are inspired precisely in this space. Under the influence of his travels in Spain and Italy, this colorful oasis that beats in the heart of Madrid is divided into three different spaces and distributed in an L shape. In them converge box hedges, geranium pots and an amalgam of styles in the one that is possible to recognize from winks of the Andalusian gardening until details of Florentine airs.

Casa Museo Lope de Vega(house museum) at Calle Cervantes, 11. Like Sorolla, Lope de Vega also spent many hours of his life taking care of the garden that adorned his home with taste and care, and which today hosts performances and concerts. According to his own verses, he even received orange trees, laurels, pomegranates and a fig tree. The roses, tulips, hyacinths and jasmines rounded the picture with the arrival of each spring.

Palacio de  Linares  at Plaza Cibeles, s / n , corner with Paseo de Recoletos. Famous for being the current headquarters of the Casa de América, it houses a space in its back where green is the main color. The summer nights are especially animated in this enclave, whose touch of mystery is in charge of the numerous and ghostly legends that, for centuries, circulate around the building.

Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum at Calle Santa Isabel, 52. Splattered by sculptures by Alexander Calder, Joan Miró and Eduardo Chillida, the Sabatini Garden shares its name with the building that gives it shelter. The Italian architect was in charge of designing the General Hospital of San Carlos, the first destination of this site. Today your parterre proposes a complementary way to enjoy the Museum.

There you go another go at my beloved Spain. Hope you are enjoying these news posts of mine own creativity ::)

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

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