Archive for September 20th, 2019

September 20, 2019

Matadero, Madrid of course!

Well let me take a step into a nice newer monument in Madrid. This was not there when I lived in the city and over the years have become a magnet for cultural events and concerts. I will dwell into the Matadero of Madrid, a place the young as my sons enjoy much.


The Matadero and Municipal Cattle Market of Madrid, also known for its primary use during its period of operation and for its location as Municipal Slaughterhouse of Legazpi or Municipal Slaughterhouse of Arganzuela, was a set of forty-eight buildings dedicated to perform slaughterhouse functions industrial and livestock market in the city of Madrid during the central decades of the 20C!.

Initially it was bounded by the Paseo de la Chopera, Calle Vado de Santa Catalina, the canalization of the Manzanares River, and the Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza, in the district of Arganzuela. The land had twelve hectares of built surface with several buildings of Neomudéjar architecture typical of the industrial architecture of the transition from the 19C to the 20C. It was built at the beginning of the 20C in an area that was then depopulated in Madrid in response to the needs of the growing population of the city and as a replacement for the old slaughterhouse in Puerta de Toledo. Between 1932 and 1933, the construction of an additional building with functions of slaughterhouse of fowls and chickens.

At the beginning of the 1980s, it was decided to concentrate the functions of the complex in the south zone of the complex, and there was the remodeling and change of use of several of the dependencies that were left free in the north zone: the Pabellon de Direccion or adm bldg (known currently as Casa del Reloj,(see previous post) transformed into the seat of the Municipal Board of the district of Arganzuela); the old cattle stables, in which the permanent headquarters of the National Dance Company (CND) and the National Ballet of Spain were located; or the old cattle stable (later Nave de Patatas), which became a set of greenhouses that reproduce the climate of tropical and subtropical areas as the Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela (see other post).

The Matadero or slaughterhouse was in operation for almost six decades until 1996, afterwar the facilities were left unused until in 2003 it was decided to transform it into a cultural space known as Matadero Madrid, which opened its doors in 2007. The underground of the M-30 beltway and the creation of the Madrid Río park also impacted on the environment of the old facilities, as the starting point was made in the plot of the Matadero park, which made disappeared the Dalieda (dahlias park). After the end of the works, all the land that had made up the Matadero Park was integrated into Madrid Río.(see previous post)

The proposals for alternative uses of the space were happening: Museum of Architecture, municipal libraries, multiplexes, shopping center, etc. In the 1990s, the old cattle stables were transformed into the headquarters of the National Ballet of Spain and the National Dance Company. The renovation and cultural transformation operations were linked within the so-called Baroque Trident formed by the Paseo de las Delicias, the Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza and the Ronda de Atocha  Initially 48 buildings were built on the grounds of the slaughterhouse and the market, which later increased to 64 in 1921. The materials used corresponded to those used in the monuments of Madrid: Berroque stone in plinths, exposed brick and masonry discovered abroad. The walls have the style of the Toledo rig typical of Castile. The style resembles the Werkbund  with clear traces of Neomudéjar style.


The conversion of the slaughterhouse(Matadero::)) into a cultural space is included in other restoration initiatives in Spain, such as the Laboral de Gijón and the Tabacalera de San Sebastián. The inclusion in the middle of the year 2011 in the Madrid Rio Park makes the Matadero a Cultural Space within a Park located on the banks of the Manzanares River between the Puente de los Franceses (Bridge of the French, we walked to it)  and the South Knot. The cultural space dedicates its facilities to temporary exhibitions, design and theatrical activity.


Aves Matadero (birds), an institution born in March 2017 and whose artistic direction is a space in which the performing, visual arts, literature, philosophy, cinema, music and transmedia activities are interconnected in an interdisciplinary program. The theater section occupies three central warehouses lined with rectangular plan and interconnected with each other warehouses 10, 11 and 12.

Intermediæ and Lobby, this is a space created and prepared for open interaction and cultural dialogue between the cultural activities of the Matadero and citizens. It is an experimental center for contemporary creation funded in part by the General Directorate of Cultural Projects of the Community of Madrid. It is located on the right, as you enter, along the Paseo de la Chopera.

Central del Diseño (Design central). This is a space dedicated to the exhibition dissemination and promotion of projects related to graphic, industrial and interior design. Like Intermediæ, it opened in November 2007.

Factoria Cultural or Cultural Factory, It is a space dedicated to incubator of new companies: nursery of cultural and creative industries. It has its place in the warehouse 1 of Matadero that overlooks the Paseo de la Chopera, and its surface is  of about 400 m²

 Open x Works: It is located in the former cold chamber of the Matadero (slaughterhouse)  occupying part of the oreo warehouse, hangers and refrigerating section that overlooks the Paseo de la Chopera. This space presents an exhibition area with special features, black walls and low light, dedicated to national and international artists. It is in operation since 2007.


The Casa del Lector or House of the Reader of the Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation is an International Center for Research, Development and Innovation of Reading. It is a center located in the two warehouses whose purpose is the training, information and dissemination of the book and reading.

The Cineteca is a visual cinematheque  archive dedicated to non-fiction cinema. The 2688 m2 floor space of the Matadero Cineteca has been divided into five functions: two cinemas , a shooting set, and Documents Archive (the visual library), a cafeteria  and an adjacent terrace space that allows the possibility of film projections in the summer months. The Sala Azcona (named in honor of the Spanish screenwriter Rafael Azcona) is a movie theater with capacity for 250 spectators responsible for the dissemination of the work of Spanish and international filmmakers and television creators. This room is the one dedicated to the monthly premiere. A multipurpose room (Room B), with a capacity for 70 spectators, is located in the space around the Azcona Hall.

Nave de Música or music warehouse. This is the space occupied until November 2011 by the Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA Radio) and which since 2012 hosts all the musical programming of the Matadero. It has among its resources a radio and recording studio, a stage for small concerts, and nine rehearsal rooms.


Since the beginning of 2011, the Documenta Madrid archive has been installed in the area near the chimney. It allows to see any of the works sent to the festival in all its editions since 2004. Warehouse or nave 16 is a multipurpose exhibition space, with 5913 m2. Due to its versatility, it can host presentations, large exhibitions, concerts, work production workshops, talks, scenic proposals or social activities.

Official Matadero Madrid

Tourist office of Madrid on the Matadero

And this is another dandy of Madrid that for the culturally inclined or concert goer should be a must to visit while in Madrid, remember, the Matadero they don’t kill anymore but show off the world of Spain. Hope you enjoy it!

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

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September 20, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXV

So not really totally out of my beloved Spain, even if some posts still pending from my last trip to sunny Spain. Let me bring you up to date with the fantastic cultural season coming up and some goodies! Right now I am sunny and windy at 16C or about 62F while my beloved Madrid is at 20C or about 70F and cloudy.  But let’s get in into the real deal !

The musical A Chorus Line, which will serve to inaugurate in a few weeks , they estimate it will be in November. The Soho Caixabank Theater, the project promoted by Antonio Banderas in Malaga, his hometown. The show can also be seen later in Bilbao, Barcelona and Madrid. I saw him on the practice routines and shoud be wonderful lots of energy and choreography! He is involved personally in the theater with private funds! And ,also trying to bring more arts away from the better known cities in Spain. More here:

Just 200 years ago, Francisco de Goya gave the first strokes of his black paintings, a series of 14 murals among which are some of his best-known works: Saturno devorando a su hijo,( Saturn devouring his son ) Perro semihundido,( Semi-sunken dog)  Duelo a garrotazos (Duel with sticks), Dos viejos (Two old men) , El aquelarre (the Covern)… He painted them on the walls of his house, Quinta del Sordo, a farm he bought in 1819 on the outskirts of Madrid to escape social life, already completely deaf, sick and increasingly elusive of the convulsive political situation, presaging perhaps his future exile in Bordeaux.  Maybe that’s why they came out so dark and violent. There, in Bordeaux,  the painter died in 1828. At the Fernán Gómez Center ,Plaza de Colon, has built an ambitious project that includes the premiere of a theatrical piece by José Sanchis Sinisterra, written expressly for the commemoration, and a large exhibition with a hundred works by 58 contemporary artists in which the Aragonese (Goya) footprint is appreciated: Antonio Saura, Antoni Tàpies, Rafael and Daniel Canogar, Cristina Iglesias, Luis Gordillo, Carmen Calvo, Eva Lootz, William Kentridge, Jorge Galindo and Rogelio López Cuenca, among others. In the main one there are works that reinterpret Goya’s titles: there are some canvases of the famous series Goya de Saura’s dog; a Saturn by Pablo Serrano (1974) and another by Robert Longo (2012), as well as a Chronicle Team Leocadia and an installation by Pilar Albarracín that materializes the print 39 of Los Caprichos (whims) by placing a large donkey on a mountain of books. Goya’s imprint on contemporary art, which can be visited until November 24 2019. More info here:

Don Carlo, in the Teatro Real , Plaza de Isabel II ,in the last four years, the final operatic tetralogy of Giuseppe Verdi has been seen in the Teatro Real (Royal Theater), with leaps back and forth: two lucrative commissions from abroad and his two calm collaborations with Arrigo Boito inspired by Shakespeare. Music by Giuseppe Verdi. Maria Agresta, Marcelo Puente, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Dmitri Belosselskiy and Luca Salsi, among others. Royal Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real. Musical direction: Nicola Luisotti. Stage direction: David McVicar. Until October 6, 2019. More info here:

Theater companies such as Matarile, Mal Pelo or Imaginary Numbers will alternate in the next edition with great international figures such as Milo Rau, Alain Platel and Maja Kleczewska and the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne are some of the great names of the international theater that will participate in the 37th edition of the Fall Festival of the Community of Madrid, which will be held between November 15 and December 1 2019. Also, the Chilean company La Re-Sentida, which already performed last year at the Festival de Otoño (Autumn Festival), returns this year with Landscapes to avoid coloring. From Argentina come a unique performance by Fernando Rubio, entitled Everything that is next to me, in which viewers are invited to share a conversation in a bed with seven Spanish actresses: Susi Sánchez, María Morales, Nerea Barros, Mónica Bardem , Marta Poveda, Elena Seguí and Conchi Espejo. And also from Argentina, the well-known Claudio Tolcachir will present Proximo (Next). More info here:

CaixaForum  proposes a trip through more than 200 treasures from the Assyrian empire to that of Alexander the Great: the exhibition Lujos (Luxury). From the Assyrians to Alexander the Great. The 217 precious objects that are exhibited in CaixaForum ,Paseo del Prado, 36 from September 20 to January 12, 2020. From the Assyrians, through the Phoenicians, the exhibition discovers the luxuries of the Babylonians or the great influence of the Achaemenids. It ends with the arrival of Alexander the Great, who changed everything. All the objects in the exhibition, which belong to the British Museum, constitute a journey through the history of conquests, incessant struggles and looting; but they are also proof of the great commercial and cultural exchange of empires that occupied an area between the Iberian Peninsula and India. The oldest object dates from 1,000 B.C. It is a belt carved with such care that remembers the will of humans to create and possess beautiful things. Then and now. More info here:

The towers of the Evangelists of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) Barcelona, will be crowned by the four figures that represent them: an angel to Matthew; a lion to Marcos; an ox to Lucas, and an eagle to John, with sculptures by Xavier Medina Campeny that will measure about nine meters each. The tower of Mary will also end predictably in 2021, and that of Jesus will be the last to end, in 2022. The four Evangelists have reached 106 meters and are only one to match the towers that Gaudí built for the Nativity facade before he died in 1926. Yesterday the prototypes of the terminals of this tetramorphous were presented, which will have the shape of a man, Lion, bull and eagle. They will end up at 135 meters high, weigh 14 tons and measure nine meters high, 6.5 of them will be huge wings. The base of these figures will house powerful spotlights that will illuminate the tallest tower, that of Jesus Christ, of 172.5 meters.

The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has admitted for processing the appeal raised by the Platform of People Affected by the Sagrada Familia against the special urban plan approved by the City Council of Barcelona in February 2019 and promoted by the temple board. The approval of the aforementioned plan implies, de facto, the construction of a platform 57 meters long and five meters wide on the facade of  Calle Mallorca, a first part of a cantilever that would compromise the future of the houses located in that strip. The City Council undertook to summon the neighbors and all those interested in participating in that debate in which, among other things, the following should be addressed: the legitimacy of the stairway project that the Board assures was of Gaudí, how the expropriation of the floors and businesses affected, the quantification of what it would entail and, most importantly, who should face this millionaire expense.  So I guess to be continue… More on the renovation/construction in Spanish here:

Daniel Landi, member of Comando G ( G of Garnacha), is a master in the art of extracting the old Castilian Grenache from Gredos its glorious singularity. and it has been doing it for a few years in the designation of origin Vinos de Madrid. Always using surprising red names for its red wines, such as  La Mujer Cañón, Reina de los Deseos, Hombre Bala o este, La Bruja de Rozas,(the witch of Rozas)  por Rozas de Puerto Real, where its nine hectares are located with vineyards between 50 and 90 years old; settled on soils degraded granites that bring freshness and finesse. It is a forested enclave, on the slopes of the Sierra de Gredos, almost 900 meters high. Biodynamic philosophy and fermentations separately in wooden vats and aging for 10 months in French oak vats. They thus obtain a complex red wine, where the compiled wild fruit maintains its aromatic chromaticism, and the discreet imprint of the wood allows the presence of floral and spicy nuances, together with the dreamy memory of balsamic herbs. Long, fresh and tasty, it conquers you without boasting body and color.Another Spanish innovation in winemaking. More info on contact here:

And this on the wine La Bruja de Rozaz from one of my all time favorites Jancis Robinson:

Something exotic from the land of Quixote’s dreams Castilla La Mancha!  For millennia, the waters of this Xuq river have been scratching the ground of this part of the region of La Manchuela of Albacete creating an amazing vertical landscape of canyons of white and yellowish earth crossed by a green artery of poplars, ash trees, fig trees and willows, to those that were added productive orchards that take advantage of the rich silt left by the river course century after century. In that environment is XUQ, which takes its name, precisely, from the old Arabic denomination of Júcar: Xuquer.  Enterprises folks have turned these old cave-houses into tremendously attractive accommodations, mixing the exotic rusticity of the caves with design furniture and modern decorative elements, creating environments where traditional and artisanal coexist with industrial and avant-garde. The eight suites are different from each other. Its interior aspect has changed but they are still bioclimatic houses in which the temperature is constant throughout the year (between 18 and 20ºC). A great idea for a get away and dream on! More here:

And there you for this edition of Some news from Spain, which is everything under the Sun! or where La vida es chula (life is beautiful). Hope you have enjoy it. I will continue with Madrid!!

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

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September 20, 2019

Madrid Rio, Manzanares that is!

Well you know by now that every great city has a river! Yes , and Madrid is no exception even if not right down the middle is life to the city. Recently , it has been given more protagonism in the landscape of clean Madrid with the creation of Madrid Rio. Frankly, I was not too excited about it at first but by now its all welcome! Beautiful job and wonderful to be in walking it is sublime even in Summer! All along the Manzanares river of Madrid!

Bear with me its a bit long as will try to describe this huge area briefly ::)

Madrid Río is a linear park of 1,210,881 square meters where you will find gardens, sports activities, activities for children and even what they call the beach, with water jets. Through the Manzanares River and its 9 dams, en los dos márgenes del río Manzanares, en buena parte sobre el trazado soterrado de la vía de circunvalación M-30, desde el nudo Sur hasta el enlace con la A-5. There are 33,623 new trees, 470,844 shrubs and 210,898 square meters of low grassland.

The tree-lined promenade, also called the Salon de Pinos or Pine Hall. Six landscaped areas: Gardens of Aniceto Marinas, Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto , Segovia Bridge, Toledo Bridge, Matadero and Arganzuela Park; The boulevard of the avenue of Portugal, 30 km of paths for cycling, 33 sports tracks for skating, skateboarding, climbing, football, futsal, paddle tennis, tennis and basketball. 17 playgrounds for children and Madrid Rio swings, 7 petanque courts, 12 game tables, 3 platforms for cultural events, 63 drinking fountains, 637 bicycle forks, 33 overpasses and bridges, 13 ornamental fountains, climbing wall and an urban beach with three water enclosures in the Arganzuela Park.

From city center the Príncipe Pío metro station lines 6 and 10. Behind the Puerta de San Vicente there are some stairs that will take you to the Madrid Rio (River). Another option would be, once you leave the metro, walk along the Paseo de la Florida until you reach the Reina Victoria Bridge and so you can see Madrid Rio from the beginning .We took it from Legazpi on bus 46 and walk all along the Manzanares river! Paseo de la Chopera and Paseo de las Yeserias to the  Glorieta de las Piramides to take metro line 5 back .Wonderful!


The Manzanares River sits on a 69-kilometer basin that begins at 2,258 meters of altitude in the Sierra de Guadarrama, and ends at the Jarama River at 527 meters above sea level. In its route it receives water from more than thirty streams and coexists with different types of infrastructure, some that are its own as bridges, dams and reservoirs, and others that cross or limit it, such as roads, railways and conduits.

What we liked most to discover were the bridges and viewpoints of the Madrid Rio, the vast majority with incredible views. Some examples are the Segovia Bridge or the Puente del Rey or King’s Bridge. The viewpoint of the Huerta de la Partida is also impressive, from where you can see a magnificent perspective of the historic sky line of Madrid, including monuments such as the Royal Palace or the Almudena Cathedral. Another is the viewpoint of the Glorieta de San Vicente, with its panoramic view of the Casa de Campo, the boulevard of the Avenida de Portugal, and the Sierra de Madrid itself. From the terrace viewpoint of the monumental bridge of Arganzuela you will see the Toledo bridge and the new Arganzuela park with the urban beach.  What they call the Playa del Madrid Rio is an aquatic space of more than 6,500 m2 where the small and not so small can be soaked with high-altitude water jets that are also capable of producing different effects and clouds of water spray .


The linear superstructure of the Salon de Pinos is the element that organizes the continuity of routes along the right bank of the river. It is built on the tunnels in its entirety and has an average width of thirty meters. On the concrete slab that covers the passage of cars, more than 9,000 units of different pine species, of various sizes, shapes and clusters have been planted with a forest plantation framework. Two symbolic examples of this intersection are the historic bridges of Segovia (1582) and Toledo (1732).

The Puente de Segovia bridge was built at the end of the 16C, commissioned by king Felipe II. The landscaping project of its surroundings is an exception in the area of ​​the Salon de Pinos or Pine Hall, constituting a widening of it and offering a different approach to the river. The gardens are arranged through a series of organic trace lines that model successive terraces that descend towards the river. Two clean water ponds have been built on which, on the one hand, a monumental fountain of 16 water jets with a cypress shape rises and on the other a small garden of water lilies. The ponds are accessible by stone steps that approach them until they submerge.

The gardens of the Puente de Toledo bridge constitute one of the most significant areas of the Madrid Río Project, since they are located in an enclave of exceptional importance in which the Salon de Pinos or Pine Hall meets one of the monumental bridges of Madrid, the Puente de Toledo, built between 1718 and 1732. The Esplanade of the King,an open esplanade paved with a large figurative pattern and serves as a great atrium before the Casa de Campo. The Huerta de la Partida (orchard), which is a closed enclosure in which different reticles of fruit trees (pear, apple, mulberry, pomegranate, fig, walnut, hazelnut, etc.) have been planted host an extraordinary viewpoint of the cornice. The Avenidad de Portugal, turned into a boulevard paved by Portuguese socks and populated by four cherry species  allows the contemplation of a spectacular flowering that It lasts more than a month in spring. Finally, the gardens of La Virgen del Puerto, on the other side of the river, structured through the arrangement of flower beds oriented along the axes of the main urban events in the area: the Segovia bridge, the Puente del Rey or King’s bridge, Avenida de Portugal and the Puerta del Rey (king’s gate) that has been restored.

The Esplanada del Rey or King’s esplanade, which is an open space with an area of ​​approximately 14,000 m2 and a parallel front of the river of just under  250 meters. The destination of this space is to form a stage capable of hosting different civic manifestations (concerts, official celebrations, cultural activities, etc.) in an environment of extraordinary environmental quality, which allows all to contemplate the Historic center of Madrid. This place is connected to the Salon de Pinos and is part of it, although due to its use, it is an area almost devoid of trees.


The Huerta de la Partida is again,  the planting of different fruit tree clusters (pomegranates, mulberry trees, apple trees, pear trees, hazelnuts, almond trees, fig trees, olive and walnut trees) that are incorporated into the environment describing crosslinked quadrants with subtle orientation variations. Finally, a wet estuary has been projected that describes the trajectory of the Meaques stream, currently piped and hidden, since in the past, when king Felipe II acquired this farm after establishing the capital of Madrid, in this position some orchards were planted that produced the necessary food for the workers of the Casa de Campo.

The new Arganzuela Park, built on old pastures of grass for communal use. In this environment the Municipal Slaughterhouse was built, a notable example of post-industrial architecture of the second decade of the 20C (see previous post). Among the existing bridges stands out the operation carried out with the seven dams that have been converted into pedestrian walkways through its integral restoration and the incorporation of an accessible wooden board. Secondly, in this series, the recycling of the M-30 road bridge that crossed the river south of the Segovia Bridge, converted into a pedestrian and cycling bridge that incorporates a slope planted with pine trees. Among the unique bridges it is worth mentioning the Y-shaped bridge built with metal profile drawers, which evokes the language of the railway bridges of the 19C hanging on the forest gorges and the twin concrete bridges that are given access to the Matadero complex (see next post), projected as passage elements capable of also configuring a space that is entered, such as pavilions that gravitate on the river, but that truly belong to the park . It is worth mentioning the Pasarela de Almuñécar,  Puente Oblicuo (oblique),  Puente del Principado de Andorra, Puentes Cáscara (peels)  y Pasarela de la Princesa. The seven dams that regulate the river as it passes through the city have been restored and placed at the service of the new cross-pass system. Its mechanisms and levies have been repaired and an accessible wooden board and fish scale have been incorporated to favor the continuity of underwater fauna along the river. Incredibly beautiful!!!


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must to do so now!

City of Madrid on Madrid Rio

Tourist office of Madrid on Madrid Rio

Info and map of Madrid Rio in pdf file format : City of Madrid pdf file with info and map of Madrid Rio

Ok there you go, long but worth it me think. Hope you enjoy it as from Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! Madrid Rio is it, I will be back!

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


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