Archive for September 9th, 2019

September 9, 2019

The Palacio Real of Madrid!

Here comes something somptueuse and wonderful with beautiful things to see and plenty of architecture and history I like. I have written before on the Palacio Real or Royal Palace of Madrid, so therefore will just touch base here for the new readers.

And here is a bit extra with new photos of 2019.


The Palacio Real or Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain. The present kings do not reside within it, but rather at the palace of Zarzuela. The Royal Palace is used for protocol functions, and they are own and maintain by the Spanish government. The palace is bordered on the east by the Plaza de Oriente, from which it is separated by the Calle de Bailén. In the south finally, a huge square, called the Plaza de la Armeria, is surrounded by the wings of the palace with at the southof this square is the Cathedral of Almudena.


It is also known as the Palacio de Oriente or Palace of the Orient, although it is located in the most western part of Madrid, because of its location on the Plaza de Oriente itself being located east of the palace. The Teatro Real or Royal Theater having a direct axis with the palace just in front.


The last monarch who lived in the palace was Alfonso XIII, although Manuel Azaña, president of the Second Republic of Spain, also lived in it, occupying the rooms occupied by Queen Marie-Christine and being, therefore, the last head of state to do it.


The most significant elements in my opinion of the Royal Palace are: the Salón del Trono (throne room), also known as the Salón del Besamanos (kiss hands salon), where the allegiance ceremonies to the king took place. The courtyard and the Puerta del  Príncipe or Prince’s gate. The area of Carlos III ( Charles III). The Salon de los Espejos or (Hall of Mirrors). The  Salon de las Columnas (Hall of Columns). The Salon de Alabarderos (Hall of Halberdiers), The Saleta de Porcelana (Hall of Porcelain),  the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel  and  the Real Armeria (Royal Armory).


The Royal Palace is richly decorated by artists such as Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Tiepolo, Mengs and Caravaggio. Two adjacent gardens form an ensemble with the palace, the Campo del Moro, located to the west, between the palace and the Manzanares river and the gardens of Sabatini to the north.More of them later in my blog.

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your trip with my post are

Tourist office of Madrid on the Royal Palace

Official National Heritage of Spain on admission info to the Royal Palace

Needless but worth repeating, this is a very popular monument and lines are long, so need to prepare for it and come early. If you like the freebies there is free admission from 16h to 18h from Mondays to Thursdays and from October to March, and from 18h to 20h  from April to September for citizens of the European Union.

But do come anyway, it is worth the admission and an opportunity to see the architecture and history of the kingdom of Spain in Madrid! 

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

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September 9, 2019

Iglesia del Sacramento or Fuerzas Armadas, Madrid of course!

And moving right alone on my latest haunt in my beloved city of Madrid. I have come by here several times and very hard to get in as very small limited time allow and no pictures so is a love affair to get in. One of the off the beaten path Churches of Madrid!

I like to tell anyway on the Church of the Sacrement or Iglesia del Sacramento, otherwise known as the Armed Forces Church!

Madrid Cathedral Castrense of Armed Forces aug16

I came to the small wonderful quaint Catédral Castrense at calle del Sacramento 11,  off the Calle Mayor. The official name is the Iglesia Catédral de las Fuerzas Armadas (Church Cathedral of the Armed Forces), also,known as Catédral Castrense or Iglesia del Sacramento (Church of the Sacrement).


Here was the old monastery  of the Bernadines monks founded in 1615.  Only the Church is left of the original , the monastery was demolished in 1972. The Ministry of Defense used it since 1980.


It has a simple cover set around a central relief that represents the glorification of St. Bernard. The roof of the porch, meanwhile, houses a painting of angels playing. The ornate dome, the high columns topped with complex capitals, the altarpieces, the height of its ceilings. And, above this, the color of the light that enters through the magnificent lantern and occupies all the space

One of the most followed processions of Holy Week ends in this church. On Good Friday, the Christ of the Halberdiers leaves the Royal Palace and, after a tour of Madrid of the Austrias, returns to his place in the Cathedral of the Armed Forces.

Here are a couple of webpages to help you plan your trip here

Tourist office of Madrid on the Church

And this is the Archbishop’s site in Spanish but plenty of gorgeous pictures to enjoy: Official Archbishop Castrense on the Church

There you another off the beaten path right by a very popular area indeed. Enjoy the Armed Forces Cathedral or Sacrement Church! in my beloved Madrid.

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

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September 9, 2019

La Vuelta de España 2019! bike race

Well as I am in my beloved Madrid posts and my dear Spain, why not tell you up to date on an event very dear to Spaniards and the world! The Vuelta de España 2019! bike race!! I try to follow it as well as the Tour de France from whatever I am, several times on site and others on TV. This one will be on TV.

Let me bring you up to date for the new readers on this race, la Vuelta as we simply call it.

The Vuelta a Espana or tour of Spain  is a cycling race and one of the top 3 in the world.  The 74.ª edition of the Vuelta a España is celebrated between August 24 and September 15 2019 with a start in Salinas city of Torrevieja, and will end in Madrid. The course will have 21 stages over a distance of  3,272,2 km. It has a median distance of 156 km.

This current race Vuelta ongoing as I write has two contre clock races, 5 medium mountain stages, 6 plains, 8 high mountain stages for a total of 21 stages. My favorite has been so far and looking forward to the others are: Etapa 10 Jurançon Pau,  Etapa 11 Saint Palais –Urdax-Dantxarinea,  Etapa 17 Aranda de Duero-Guadalajara,  Etapa 18 Colmenar Viejo-Becerril de la Sierra,  Etapa 19 Avila –Toledo,Etapa 21 Fuenlabrada- Madrid!!

A bit of history I like

The Vuelta was held for the first time in 1935. Since its inception, the race has been suspended four times: from 1937 to 1940 due to the Spanish Civil War, from 1943 to 1944 due to World War II and the poor economic situation of Spain, in 1949 and from 1951 to 1954.

At the beginning of 1935, Clemente López Dóriga, in collaboration with Juan Pujol, director of the Informaciones newspaper, organized the First Cycling Tour of Spain with a 14-stage route and 3431 km in total. The prestige of the Vuelta was growing and, more and more, it was counted on the presence of cycling stars of the international scene. During the late 1950s there were the first triumphs in the general classification of Italian and French cyclists

In 1973 the Belgian Eddy Merckx managed to win in the Vuelta and he did it in an overwhelming way, winning six stages and all the individual classifications with the exception of the mountain, in which he finished second. With the passage of time, it was the only occasion in the history of the Vuelta in which there were three winners of the Tour de France on the podium of the Vuelta: Eddy Merckx, Luis Ocaña and Bernard Thévenet.

The 1983 edition was the first appearance of the Lakes of Covadonga as the end of the stage, an ascent that would become, with the passing of the years, the most emblematic climb of the Tour of Spain. In 1984 the edition that ended with the smallest difference between the first and second classified was disputed. Eric Caritoux, a complete unknown until then, managed to win the Vuelta with only six seconds ahead of Alberto Fernández, second classified, who would die in December of that same year in a traffic accident and in whose honor the organization of the Vuelta decided baptize from the next edition to the top of the race as the Top Alberto Fernández in tribute to this great cyclist

From 1985 until a little after the end of the 80s, there was a Colombian cycling boom was observed, which presented a strong dominance, especially in the mountain stages. And it continues today

In those 1990s La Vuelta could count on the potential of two of the best Spanish teams there have been: the Once and the Banesto with outstanding teams of good national and international runners.  The fiftieth edition of the Vuelta, held in 1995, coincided with the change of dates. The Vuelta of Spain takes place in September, near the end of the season.

The first editions of the 2000s were marked by the dominance of Roberto Heras, who managed to achieve victory on three occasions, and even in 2005 he achieved it for the fourth time. However, he was disqualified days after the end of the competition by testing positive for an anti-doping control, this time for consumption of EPO. This positive was ratified days later by the counter-analysis and Roberto Heras was dispossessed of his fourth title, for the benefit of Russian Denis Menshov. On June 24, 2011, the Superior Court of Justice of Castilla y León annulled the sanction for doping imposed on February 7, 2006 and issued by the National Committee of Competition and Sports Discipline of the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation, leaving the door open to the recovery of the title of the Tour of Spain 2005 to Roberto Heras. On December 21, 2012, the Supreme Court of Justice confirms the cancellation of the sanction to the Bejarano corridor for a series of irregularities in the practice of the analyzes, including that the samples were delivered almost 40 hours later, at room temperature, per person or company that was unknown, with what Roberto Heras appears again in the medal winners of the Vuelta a España as winner of the 2005 edition, being also the only cyclist who has won this race in four editions.

The editions after 2010 brought a change in the Vuelta model. The finals were increased with high or explosive ports that raised the interest of the spectators at the cost of reducing the intermediate hardness that was not so much until that moment. The Vuelta  positioned as the second race in participation of first figures of the big three. It was because it was encouraged that the runners could run the Tour and the Vuelta  to be of the same organizers:

Winners of the Vuelta and Tour de France have been: Jacques Anquetil, Jan Janssen, Felice Gimondi, Roger Pingeon, Luis Ocaña, Eddy Merckx , Bernard Hinault, Joop Zoetemelk, Pedro Delgado, Jan Ulrich, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali ,and Christopher Froome.

Most wins by country are with first second third and total points:  Spain 32, 50, 39,121, France 9,3,4,16 and Belgium  7,4,8,19.

Most victories by riders so far are Roberto Heras,4. Tony Rominger  3 Alberto Contador, 3  and have to put my idol Pedro Delgado 2.

After 15 stages of the Vuelta 2019 the leaders are:

1          Primoz Roglic          TJV     58h 10:32

2          Alejandro Valverde MOV   + 02:25

3          Tadej Pogacar          UAD   + 03:42

The today’s stage 16 between Pravia  and Alto de La Cubilla. Lena is beginning with 118 out of the 144 km run with four runners in front. I will come back to give you the winner. The winner was today Jakob Fuglsang of team Astana. Alejandro Valverde lost sconds and now is 2m 48s back still in second place. Primoz Roglic still the leader! And the top 3 held on until the end.

Update/ The Vuelta 2019 is over and the winner is a new name on the stage from Slovenia, Primoz Roglic from Team Jumbo-Visma team. What I pleasantly surprise is that  a champion in Alejandro Valverde at 39 years old was second only 2 minutes 33 seconds behind! from the Movistar Team.  Third place and closing the podium was another from Slovenia Tadej Pogacar. Therefore, congratulations to them, this must certainly was the year of Slovenia in Spain! 

The last year 2018 winners were 1)Simon Yates (GBR),2)Enric Mas (ESP), and 3) Miguel Ángel López (COL).


The official webpage is here: Official La Vuelta bike race

There you go needed to post this, if you are anywhere near the towns by which it passes by all means go, it will be a thrilling experience and great fun as in Spain everything under the Sun! Enjoy La Vuelta! Until next year!!!

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

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