Archive for October 2nd, 2019

October 2, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXVI

Hah and just when you thought pedmar10 will stop writing about Spain/Madrid well not in a chance lol! Here I am with some goodies of my beloved Spain, far but still close you know how it is!! Anyway, for consolation the weather there is 72F or about 22C and sunny while in my neck of the woods is 61F or 16C and cloudy !!! oh well we cannot win them all.

Let’s get back to the serious matter…of the latest news bit from Spain everything under the Sun!

Among the recent donations of paintings from the 19C to the Prado Museum, that of Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier is unique not only for its number, 11 works, but also for its concentration in the art of the last years of the 19C and early 20C, one of the main nuclei of its extensive collections and the final section of the Prado. With this donation, which is exhibited in room 60 of the Villanueva building until January 12, 2020, painters such as Hermen Anglada-Camarasa, Eduardo Chicharro, Ignacio Zuloaga and Joaquín Mir are incorporated into the Prado, which enrich the end of the collections of Spanish painting of the Museum, where Sorolla and Beruete are already represented, their strict contemporaries. Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier  was born in Hamburg ,Germany on September 9, 1934, he conducted commercial studies there. He initially worked in an office that the prestigious Swiss firm Brown, Boveri & Cie, dedicated to electrical engineering and motor development, had in Hamburg. He moved to Spain in 1962 to start commercial business. He first represented the well-known MAN truck company, and later obtained representations of German car houses in the field of spare parts, with the idea of ​​becoming independent soon after. In fact, in 1964 he founded the German car parts company Rudolf Gerstenmaier, which became a public limited company such as Gerstenmaier S. A. By 1970 he began collecting Spanish paintings from the 15C and 16C and then Flemish painting. A third area of ​​his collection was the 19C painting, initially attracted by the sensory vivacity of Joaquín Sorolla’s work and the richness of the matter of Hermen Anglada-Camarasa’s. A great addition indeed and see at the Prado Museum:

The first tickets of the Resurrection Fest 2020 go on sale this past Tuesday, October 1. This is hot! The Resurrection Fest 2020 will be held in Viveiro , Lugo, Galicia (see my post on Viveiro) between July 1 and 4 next year, with System of a Down as headliner. Resurrection Fest 2020 program flagship groups such as Judas Priest, on their 50th anniversary tour, or Korn, with the only performance scheduled in Spain in 2020. Other bands that are also part of the Resurrection Fest 2020 poster are Lionheart, Hamlet, Beyond The Black, Elder, Our Home, Cannibal Grandpa, Dark Funeral, Burial, The Atomic Bitchwax, Thirteen Bled Promises, Amenra, Blowfuse, Vita Imana, Knocked Loose or Madball. More info here:

And this is to protect and defend! The Dolmen of Guadalperal begins to submerge little by little in the waters of the Valdecañas reservoir in Perelada de Mora, Cáceres. It is a slow agony that has begun a few days ago even without the autumn rains. The swamp begins to recover its flow due to the end of the transfer period that every year during the summer establishes the Albufeira agreement committed between Spain and Portugal for the sustainable use of water between the watersheds of both countries. This megalithic jewel of around 7,000 years old did not move from its place of origin. So it was a matter of time before the waters began to cover it until it returned to the depths. known as the ‘Spanish Stonehenge’  the main menhir, one of the fine-grained granite, which withstands the water much better, we can see since of all its engravings only slight few remains. Fat granite are very eroded, cracked and even flaked, if not already split.  Its appearance  this past summer has gone around the world and international media have made numerous reports on this dolmen and even the BBC prepares a documentary series on it. Hope you see it before its gone ! More info here in Spanish:

Something to cheer on more! A first because there is always a first of achievements! The Valencian Elisa Ferrer has won last Tuesday, unanimously by the jury, the XV Tusquets Prize for novels with the play  Temporada de Avispas or Season of wasps, the story of a young woman who is reunited with her absent father and recapitulates a helpless childhood. Elisa Ferrer, born in L’Alcúdia de Crespins (Valencia) in 1983, has a degree in Audiovisual Communication from the University of Valencia, a diploma in film and television script from the School of Madrid and graduated in the Master of Creative Writing in Spanish by The University of Iowa (USA), where she was a member of the editorial team of Iowa Literary magazine. She has worked as a television screenwriter and as a feature film script analyst for the RTVE Fiction department and has published articles and poems in several literary magazines, such as the Temporary Magazine of the New York University or Chicago Mishap. More in Spanish here:

Already eight million people have seen La función que sale mal or the function that goes wrong in more than 30 countries around the world since its premiere in 2012 at the London West End, where it received the Olivier Award for best revelation comedy. And rarely can one say that a success is so deserved. Just released at the Teatro La Latina,in my Madrid (see post on it)  this disgusting work where everything that can be twisted, as the title announces, ends worse, is a succession of falls, mistakes and scenographic accidents that manages to surprise the viewer and make them laugh out loud for two hours. More info here in Spanish:

And to cover everything under the Sun as in Spain! Be Lover, the first erotic market in Madrid that, with its 200 square meters, has become the largest establishment of its kind. Decorated in pastel pink tones with golden details and some purple light, the spaces can be modified and customized according to the demand of the market and its staff, highly qualified to advise and attend with discretion, offers a unique shopping experience that is supported not only in what is offered on the shelves, also in the free WiFi stations, in the relaxation area or in the corners with special promotions. Be Lover-Erotik Market. Calle de Santa Brígida, 4. Metro: Tribunal (lines 1 and 10). More information:

The musical based on the famous film arrives in Spain after going around the world. “Oh, my love, my darling / I’ve hungered for your touch / A long, lonely time.”. The Ballad Unchained Melody, created in 1955 by Alex North and Hy Zaret, is one of the most listened to and versioned songs in history. It has more than 1,500 adaptations, in which Elvis Presley, Liberace, U2 or Il Divo have participated. But it is the version of The Righteous Brothers that has been immortalized in the popular imaginary thanks to Ghost, beyond love (1990), the film directed by Jerry Zucker and starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. Now premiere on the Teatro Gran Vía , in a theater where you have the audience a few meters away and with a smaller stage. That will favor the show. More info here:

And a bit on Sevilla , why not, Andalucia at its best.

Metropol Parasol, this wooden building is located in the Plaza de la Encarnación. Cetas or mushrooms named for their enormous white structure, reminiscent of the shape of these mushrooms  occupy the total of what a market was more than a century ago. Visitors can enter this five-story complex to enjoy beautiful views of the city. Before climbing, they have the possibility to discover the Roman archaeological remains of the Antiquarium, found during the construction of this huge terrace. Once up, its meandering heights, with 250 meters up, allow you to know different perspectives of Seville. For 3 euros. Ticket sales at

This immense gothic Cathedral of Sevilla, ( Santa María de la Sede) built between the 15C and 16C. Although the beauty of the interior is beyond reproach, it may be more interesting to access, through its narrow spiral staircase, the upper floor of the Cathedral. There, you can fully enjoy its architecture and its views, which overlook the beautiful Patio de los Naranjos and the Avenida de la Constitución, as well as all the artistic elements that make it up: gargoyles, domes, stained glass and outriggers. The best panoramas can be made with the illuminated rosette that crowns the bottom of the Puerta de Asunción or Assumption gate, placed on the main altar. Entrance: 15 euros; More info here:

On the banks of the Guadalquivir river emerges one of the most emblematic places of the Hispanic city. The Torre del Oro, (gold tower), according to the legend, named for the golden glow that reflected on the river ,it houses a naval museum since 1944, where models, engravings, manuscripts and other navigation instruments are seen. The lower part of the structure is dedicated to the history of the Spanish Navy, as well as to the discovery of America and the first voyage of Columbus. The final point of the tour focuses on the trip around the world starring Magallanes and Elcano. Tickets: 3 euros. More information here:

The tower of the Giralda bell tower of the cathedral is 101 meters high and, at its highest point, has a female statue inspired by the goddess Palas Athena, known as Giraldilla. The structure can be easily climbed, since, instead of stairs, there are a total of 35 ramps leading to the bell tower. They were thus arranged by the one who ordered its construction, Sultan Abu Yaqub Yusuf, to be able to climb to enjoy the landscape on the back of his horse. The upper part includes an extensive vision of the town and all its monuments, with the Plaza de la Virgen de los Reyes and the Patio de los Naranjos at its feet..More info here:

In a separate post I wrote about it and now it is finally open to the public! The Palacio de Liria, residence of Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, XIX Duke of Alba. Tickets for visits, which will be made in groups of up to 20 people and will have an estimated duration of 65 minutes, are already on sale and can be purchased by accessing the website of the Casa de Alba Foundation.  You should not miss the Salon de Goya: In addition to Goya’s portraits of the XIII Duchess of Alba and the Marquise de Lazán, as well as those made by Tiziano and Rubens of the Duke of Alba, the collection also includes important canvases signed by Velázquez (Infanta Margarita) , Murillo (Juan de Miranda), Zurbarán (Santo Domingo de Guzmán) or El Greco (Christ on the Cross), among other artists. The Salon Flamenco: Painting, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, prints, documents and books spread over the 14 rooms that make up the visit round out this unique collection, which today exists thanks to the patronage and collecting work of the Dukes of Berwick and Alba for more 500 years .The Salon Estuardo: The battle of the Amazons against the Greeks and death of Queen Pantasilea is one of the most watched tapestries in the route. In this same dependence also rests the bronze bust that Mariano Benlliure made on behalf of Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart. The Biblioteca or Library: Among the main novelties of the visits, the library of the palace, so far only accessible to researchers and scholars. Its interior has about 18,000 volumes, including bibliographic and documentary jewels of incalculable value. La Biblia de la Casa de Alba or the Bible of the House of Alba: Made in parchment, handwritten in the Castilian language and elaborated between 1422 and 1431, the Bible of the House of Alba is one of the most valuable jewels that welcomes the stay. This piece was commissioned by the master of the Order of Calatrava, Luis de Guzmán, the rabbi of Guadalajara Mosé Arragel. In addition to its importance for language and culture, the codex, in the house of Alba since the 17C, contains beautiful illustrations. More here: Fundacion Casa de Alba, on the Palacio de Liria

And of course wine cannot be too far from my beloved Spain!

The latest statistics collected by the Observatorio Español del Mercado del Vino (OEMV) or Spanish Wine Market Observatory, confirm a trend in recent years with specific exceptions in cases of scarce crops indicating that this country is still in the spiral of bulk wine and bottled wine very cheap, which endangers the future of the sector by canceling profitability for wine growers.  Spain exported, in the first seven months of 2019, 1,268.3 million liters (+ 8.5%), worth 1,534.8 million euros (-8%), at an average price of 1.21euro / liter (-15%). In the report, it highlights the good growth of Japan, Canada and Portugal, which lead the increase in exports volume. On the negative side, sales felled  to China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, among the main destinations. Portugal, Russia and South Africa lead the increase in volume of Spanish bulk wine exports. These three markets increased their purchases of Spanish bulk by almost 84 million liters, in the first seven months of 2019. From official source:

And now a story that goes way back for me and my family when began tasting/drinking wine at an early age as tradition requires it! And a strong contrast to the article above !

It took then a Spanish family now call Catalan family go figure with our times. A Catalan family that had been in the wine business for a couple of centuries was going to bring modernity thanks to one of its young members, Miguel A. Torres, who went to study viticulture and oenology at Dijon, Burgundy, France (no surprise right!) . His Burgundy formation was going to revolutionize things in the Penedès region and bring change throughout Spain. In 1962 it was precisely that Viña Sol that said “Spanish Chablis – Dry” on the export label. Happy times in which the regulations allowed to fantasize a little with a wine made fundamentally, then, with the parellada grape. First they were their basic and very affordable wines: Viña Sol, Coronas, Sangre de Toro (nice memories of early drinking indeed!!). And then the most ambitious, with that sounded triumph of their Cabernet Sauvignon over large Bordeaux in a blind tasting in France (you got to be establish by winning over the French lol!). The Torres’s went deeper into the recovery and even the rediscovery of classic Catalan and Mediterranean grapes, and began to elaborate from them great wines such as the Grans Muralles (a classic). But the fame of the vast group already in Chile, and with the small and interesting  implantation in California created by Marimar, Miguel A.’s sister, remained long linked to its popular entry-level wines. From their base in the Penedès, and apart from their well-known Chilean and Californian branches, the Torres’s have extended to all Catalan denominations and, today, to Rioja, the Duero and Galicia!  

Some of their very best today according to my tastes are: (region, wine, and year) Penedès: Reserva Real (2015), Chile Manso de Velasco (2012), Conca de Barberà Grans Muralles (2015), Chile Escaleras de Empedrado (2013), Conca de Barberà Milmanda (2016), Priorat Mas de la Rosa (2016), Costers del Segre Purgatori (2015), Russian River Valley California Marimar Torres Estate La Masia Chardonnay (2017), Penedès Mas La Plana (2015), Russian River Valley California Marimar Torres Estate          La Masia Pinot Noir (2014). In vino veritas! Enjoy it!!

More on the Torres’s here: Torres’s family official webpage in English

There you plenty of firepower in my beloved Spain to come back and back and back. Hope you enjoy reading my Some news from articles and I thank you.

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

October 2, 2019

Île aux Moines at Port Blanc!

And so back to my lovely Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh. This is another jewel in my department 56 of Morbihan, been there but feel not written enough on it so here I go again. We have sunshine but cool 16C today in my neck of the woods another nice day in Bretagne!

Let me tell you a bit more on the island of Monks oops that is ïle aux Moines even thus there are no monks , and sailing there from Port Blanc in the town of Baden.

We go by car to Port-Blanc a village part of the town of Baden, and this is the boarding point by boat to the ïle aux Moines.


A bit of history I like here is that since the end of the 19C, it has been the site of a pier for Île-aux-Moines. The village occupies the tip of a point advancing in the Gulf of Morbihan and less than 400 meters from the Ïle aux Moines. The Port-Blanc passenger port handles most of the passenger traffic with Île-aux-Moines. The marina is grouped with that of Île-aux-Moines. The group offers 416 berths, including 120 pontoons and two launching stalls.


The gulf of Morbihan tourist webpage has some info on Port Blanc here: Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on the Port Blanc

Port of Call webpage on the harbor at Port Blanc

The Ïle aux Moines is located in the department 56 of Morbihan in the region of Bretagne. It consists of Île aux Moines, the largest island in the Gulf of Morbihan, Creizic Island, the island of Holavre, and the two islands of Brouël. It is 7 km long and 3.5 km wide with an area of ​​310 ha. Its shape is that of a cross and no point of the island is located more than 450 m from the sea. It can be reached in five minutes from Port-Blanc, Baden or about 400 meters at sea! I have here just for a sunset and back very briefly, I need to come more I am sure lol!


A bit of history I like

In 854, the king of Brittany Erispoë donated it to the abbey of Saint-Sauveur de Redon (created by his father, Nominoë).  After the Norman invasions of the 10C, the island is attached to the parish of Arradon. In 1543 she was elevated to parish status. In 1792, it became a town under the French name Isle-aux-Moines. During the French revolution, the municipality temporarily bore the name of Isle-du-Morbihan.

Some of the things to see here are typical of the island and the Morbihan in general. Several megalithic vestiges (dolmens and cromlech in particular) remain on the southern point: the Kergenan Cromlech, in the middle of the island, with a radius of more than 70 meters is one of the largest in Europe, the dolmen of Penhap, located in the south 5 kilometers of the borough, is the best preserved of the island.

There are some crucifixes at the points of Trec’h, Brouël and Toulindac (Bois d’Amour) as well as in Penhap and Croix de Kerno.The Saint-Michel Church, located at the exit of the village in the direction to the north, present some ex-votos to Saint Anne. The Chapel Notre-Dame d’Esperance  19C, in the rue de la Mairie, also the Chapelle Sainte-Anne  17C in the bay of Guéric.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Ile aux Moines on heritage

Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on the Ile aux Moines

Official dept 56 Morbihan tourist office on the Ile aux Moines

There you go another jewel in the islands of the gulf of Morbihan just south of me, heaven on earth indeed! You ought to yourselves to check it out the Morbihan! Hope you have enjoy the introduction the ïle aux Moines and Port Blanc!

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



October 2, 2019

Pointe du Blaire, Baden!

Ok so back to my French lands in the beautiful region of Brittany/Bretagne. I live if not read my posts in the dept 56 Morbihan, in land territory not far from home. After a wonderful vacation in my beloved Madrid hard to get back on track but need to do so life goes on la vie est belle as we say.

Today, I take you to another semi private public space of the so many found in the gorgeous Morbihan. For those new to my blog , Morbihan is the only department/state/province of France that does not have a French name but actually the local Breton language. Mor means sea and bihan is small so in French would be petite mer nevertheless it is Breton Morbihan !

In seeking to come closer to my new adopted area and always trying to find new places I went to what is usually routine trip on already visited areas but with so many creeks, tips and valleys attach I have enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life here. Today I am taking you to the Tip of Blair or the Pointe du Blaire!


We went by car along the old familiar D101 past Le Bono (past my boys old high school) into the town of Baden to find this gem of today.

The Pointe du Blaire or Blair is in the Gulf of Morbihan, dept 56 of Morbihan. It is located on the territory of the town of Baden, at the mouth of the Auray river. Opposite the pointe du Blaire is the entrance to the Auray river. To the left of the entrance, facing the sea, is the island of seven isles or the Sept ïles. On the right is the town of Locmariaquer. For memory , I have post on all these names already in my blog.


The Pointe du Blaire is a peninsula about 1 km long and 200 meters wide. It rises to 21 meters above sea level . In the Auray river, between the Pointe du Blaire and Huernic, the currents reach 4 knots (about 7 kph or less than 5 mph. Access to the jetty, which belongs to the public domain, is made by a private road, on a private lot, serving a subdivision. Access to the Pointe du Blaire is via the coastal path.


The Route des Vénètes (old inhabitants name for which the dept capital Vannes is name) road, there is the Venetean Wall a barred spur that closes the Pointe du Blaire , in the town of Baden. The remains date from the Neolithic ,between 5000 and 2500 BC! Go around the Pointe du Blaire with beautiful views of the island Sept ïles , Er Runio and the Auray river.


A bit of history on what could have been here at the Pointe du Blaire

Count Arthur Dillon wanted, in 1899, to make Larmor Baden a commercial port that would easily compete with that of Vannes. He built for this purpose at Penn Lannic a 110 yards jetty. Not finding the depths that he expected as only 6 meters, he abandoned the site in 1905 and transposed his idea at the Pointe de Blaire, the mouth of the Auray river in the Gulf of Morbihan. Taking advantage of the existence, in the bed of the river, depths of 10 meters at low seas, he planned to create a port in deep water, connected offshore by a natural channel. The future port, the deepest of all the French ports of the Atlantic, could have accommodated the ships with the largest drafts of the time. He would have transformed the Gulf of Morbihan by attracting trade and industry. Finally, after many twists (including the war of 1914-1918), the idea had no follow-up.   Today remains a pier of 88 meters to which leans a large platform. Access to these places, which became public since 1922, is regulated by a private subdivision. There is a coastal path that allows you to go around the Pointe du Blaire.

The information on these places is in French but nevertheless will post here and if questions you can ask me ok.

City of Baden on its heritage and pointe du Blaire

City of Locmariaquer on its heritage and Pointe du Blaire

And if you want to get a nice boat ride along this area there is the river passage boat or passeur des ïles , webpage here: Official Passeur des Iles boat cruise

For a day picnic or sightseeing into the natural environment of our world or the Morbihan this is a pleasant trip. We have already plan to do picnics here even in cooler weather !at nice secluded Pointe du Blaire. Really nice natural area and it has already bench tables for picnics and wooded free parking right next to walk trails to the secluded beach ! Lovely indeed.


Hope you enjoy the off the beaten path areas of my beautiful Morbihan and do come after ll we are the 3rd most visited region of France, and most visited departement in Bretagne!

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





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