Archive for October 22nd, 2019

October 22, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXVII

And here I am with my 88th some news from Spain post, thank you all for following it. We are in Fall, and leaves are fallen but we have nice sunny weather with temps of 15C now or about 59F in my neck of the woods while in Madrid it is 50F or about 10C and rainy!

Now let’s get into the news shall we! Spain is everything under the Sun!

The Museo Nacional del Prado (museum) advances in its attempt to amend the women’s lagoon in the museums of the world with a new exhibition, which is inaugurated this Tuesday, October 22 and can be visited until February 2, 2020. This is Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana. History of two painters’, which comes three years after the first exhibition dedicated exclusively to a woman. they represent two ways of feeling and positioning in the Europe of the 16-17C.  The exhibition presents a total of 65 works from more than twenty European and American collections. On the one hand, Sofonisba Anguissola (ca. 1535-1625), a noble woman, used painting as a way of occupying the social position, while Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) followed a professional profile closer and even the one of the great part of the women artists, and it became  the first professional woman of painting.  More info at the Prado Museum webpage:

The director of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), has advanced on Tuesday October 22 that he hopes to have the new edition of the dictionary of the Spanish language for the year 2026, in digital and on paper, although in the latter format could be “on demand”. During the presentation of the XVI Congress of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, which will take place in Seville from November 4 to 8, director Santiago Muñoz Machado has acknowledged that his wish is for this edition to be on paper , despite the reluctance of other academics. The publication of this 24 edition would coincide with the 300th anniversary of the publication of the first dictionary of the Spanish language. Participants who will go through the congress include names such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Luisa Valenzuela, Leonardo Padura or Carmen Riera. The topics to be discussed will be broad, from inclusive language to the use of Spanish in reggaeton.More info here:

The Granada-born choreographer and dancer known as Blanca Li is the new director of Teatros del Canal, a scenic entity that depends on the Community of Madrid. Blanca María Gutiérrez Ortiz Blanca Li, a resident of Paris for several years, is also known for her work as a film director and has worked in her role as choreographer and dancer for Pedro Almodóvar, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Paul McCartney or Coldplay. The new director of Teatros del Canal, whose style combines flamenco, classical ballet, urban and contemporary dance, presented last June at its headquarters in Madrid a montage on Don Quijote next to the also choreographer and dancer Igor Yebra.  Blanca Li had just entered the French Academy of Fine Arts then becoming the first choreographer who has succeeded. Among other distinctions she has received the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts of Spain and the appointment as Officer of the French Legion of Honor. More info on the Teatro del Canal:

Located at the height of the no. 53 Calle Embajadores, in the middle of the roundabout, the history of the old tobacco factory (tabacalera) in Madrid is also that of the Lavapiés neighborhood. Initially conceived as the Royal Factory of Aguardiente and Naipes, (or cane base liquor and cards) The building changed its purpose in 1809. From that time on, the hundreds of operators that met daily between its walls to make tobacco were its tenants for decades. After the cessation of activity in 2000 and a period of abandonment that lasted for almost a decade, today it continues to write its story. To its wide range of exhibitions, managed by the General Subdirectorate for the Promotion of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, meetings and workshops that affect different themes are added throughout the year: from feminism to art criticism. Also in summer there are activities, especially designed for the younger audience. In addition, certain spaces are reserved to house site specific projects, residences or works with artists. Calle Embajadores ,53.metro: Embajadores. Hours from 18h to 22h webpage

The artistic offer in Madrid adds and continues. Around the Prado-Reina Sofía-Thyssen, and institutions such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Archaeological Museum or the National Library, cultural centers, private collections and foundations that make the capital one of the most interesting artistic epicenters and with more carats per square meter in the world.

The last tenants to settle on the coveted Golden Mile in Madrid are the Masaveu. A family saga of Asturian businessmen and patrons who are passionate about art and collecting, who treasure one of the best private art collections in Spain. The headquarters of the María Cristina Masaveu Peterson Foundation (FMCMP), which since 2013 manages the Masaveu Collection, owned by the Masaveu Corporation and formed by several generations of this family of entrepreneurs, has been inaugurated at Calle Alcalá Galiano,6. From 2005 to 2018, a 19C neoclassical palace was rehabilitated, converted over the years into a hotel (the Galiano hotel). The architects Rafael Masaveu and Carolina Compostizo have been in charge of remodeling the 2,000 square meters, divided into two cores, arranged around a central courtyard. The original volumetric of the building has been respected and the elements that have protection have been preserved: the facade and the beautiful spiral staircase. The result is a sustainable building, distributed over three floors, in which concrete and wood predominate. It has exhibition halls, multipurpose spaces, and an auditorium with capacity for 150 people, patios and terraces. For its inauguration the Spanish painting of the 19C has been chosen, which will be seen until December 31, 2020. The next one will be focused on the art of the 20th century. It has been selected 117 works by 47 artists from about 350 of the 19C that treasures the Masaveu legacy: some very famous and others little known or unpublished. Almost a hundred come from the Masaveu Collection, about twenty from the María Cristina Masaveu Peterson Foundation and one, from Fernando Masaveu Herrero’s personal collection: «Geneva», the last painting painted by Darío de Regoyos, who was unaccounted for until its recent appearance in the market and its acquisition. The exhibition starts with a work by Goya, «Banderilleros», painted in 1793 during his convalescence from a serious illness. Excellent portraits of Agustín Esteve, Vicente López and Federico de Madrazo (the latter highlights that of Inés Pérez de Seoane); landscapes by Carlos de Haes, Beruete, Meifrén, Martín Rico or Mariano Fortuny; genre paintings by Eduardo Rosales ,and. 25 Sorollas from the collection hang: among them, the best copy he made of a painting by Velázquez, the “Portrait of Mariana de Austria”; or «The Errázuriz family», a tribute to «Las Meninas» In addition, canvases by Zuloaga, Romero de Torres, Rusiñol, Casas (a portrait of his niece Catalinita, superb whites), Anglada-Camarasa, Nonell, Mir. Admission to the exhibition is free. María Cristina Masaveu Peterson . Calle Alcalá Galiano, 6.  Hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 11h to 20h. Saturdays, from 10h. to 20h. Sundays and holidays, from 10h. to 15h. Closed Mondays.  More info here:

The caliph went out to the balcony of his palace and watched as the walkers and the riders crossed the gigantic Plaza de Armas located just in front of his palace in Medina Azahara. Now, experts from the German Archaeological Institute (IAA), the Archaeological Ensemble of Medina Azahara (CAMaZ) and the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) have just discovered the great eastern entrance gate to this rectangular urban space that had dimensions that are as close to those of the Plaza Mayor, in Madrid. The access gate, about four meters wide and almost three high, collapsed when the city was demolished in 1010 after only a century of existence. It has contrasted that the leaves of the gate were of wood, but covered with metal, studded and adorned and that turned on two gigantic hinges on both sides. Everything found such as wood, nails, beams, hinges, coins,etc  is already in the archaeological site’s laboratory, in Córdoba, and they are being studied

Medina Azahara was the great palatial complex that ordered Abderramán III to be erected in 936 about seven km from Córdoba. It occupied about 100 hectares of a hillside and was structured, with large brushstrokes, in a strictly caliphal area, palace and attached dependencies in the upper part and under it some gardens that occupied the central area, flanked by houses and military installations. To access the palace you had to cross the urban area, while admiring the complex where the great lord lived and his court. To the east of the palace was the enormous Plaza de Armas, of which only two gates are known so far: the western one, which allowed direct access to the palace, and the now found, the eastern one, in perfect alignment with the first. This gate, embedded in the powerful arcaded structure that surrounded the square, was located in a portico whose walls and ceilings were covered by plasters adorned with blue plant motifs. Once the general research project is completed in 2022, it will be opened to the public to increase the areas that can be visited in the complex, now very congested. More info here:

Some places that eating is an art in both contrast country and city.

Between Madrid and Toledo, located in the region of La Sagra, there is a small town whose origins date back to Roman times. It is Cabañas de la Sagra, a perfect Toledo town to move there for a rural day because, it is so close that, arriving from Madrid only takes 40 minutes by car. The philosophy of Casa Elena , Calle Nueva, 15 with webpage:  focuses on protecting regional gastronomic traditions around the table and maintaining harmony with nature, hence defending the principles of Slow Food and use of zero kilometer products, that is, ecological and proximity products. Its culinary proposal focuses on traditional renovated cuisine that can be tested in its menu or tasting menu format. A perfect proposal to taste the autumn flavors of Castilla-La Mancha!!

Tradition has it that the origin of Almagro comes from an Arab castle called Almagrib. The name refers to the red clay characteristic of the area, with which numerous buildings of the town have been built. is one of the most beautiful Paradores in Spain, besides being one of the places where Almagro is best eaten , at Ronda de San Francisco, 31. Almagro, Ciudad. Real;with webpage: The building in which it is located is not wasted either, it is an old convent of the 16C that maintains its entire structure. Its menu focuses on the local product of the area, seasonal and proximity, in addition to making special menus for designated dates.

The garden or Jardin del Intercontinental Hotel , Paseo de la Castellana, 49. Inside the luxury hotel terrace full of trees and plants unfolds. It has a glazed covered area overlooking the square. At the plate, the proposals of chef Miguel de la Fuente average price: 55 euros. A great hotel chain and wonderful property where we had stayed and eaten. Recommended.  Webpage:

And my by now usual wine news from Spain

The wine sector predicts a particularly bleak horizon for its interests following the announcement of the imposition of tariffs by the United States, from October 18 2019, a key market for exports of Spain. Unlike oil , the other sector most affected by tariffs, Spain barely sends a tiny percentage of bulk wine to the United States and wineries cannot package it in other countries in order to circumvent this increase in the tax burden of an additional  25%, since most appellations of origin do not allow packaging in areas other than theirs. The United States is the third most important destination for national wines, only behind Germany and France; The price per liter is around 4 euros, three times higher than its average. In total, Spain sold wine to this market in the last moving year, from August 2018 to July 2019  worth 301 million euros. On the contrary, French wine,  also penalized by tariffs could better fit this price, due to the higher price of a significant part of its bottles, destined in many cases to a premium consumer. The United Kingdom (due to Brexit)  and the United States (due to increase tariffs) are two of the three main markets, and these are two very pernicious obstacles for the entire Spanish wine sector. Indeed trade is not supposed to be like this from both sides.

Some good inexpensive Spanish wines to try in Spain or elsewhere where sold. In order of region, winemaker/bodega/ name of the bottle,  and year.

Otros Castilla y León, Bodegas y Viñedos La Mejorada, Las Cercas (2014). Lanzarote, Canary Islands, El Grifo Colección Listán Negro (2018).  Ribeiro,      Auténticos Viñadores,Ciclohome Godello (2016). Toro ,Bodega Burdigala, Campo Elíseo Cuvée Alegre Tinto (2014). Sierras de Málaga  ,Cortijo Los Aguilares, Cortijo Los Aguilares Pinot Noir (2018). Rías Baixas, Pazo de Señorans,Pazo Señorans (2018).Otros Castilla y León,  Bodegas y Viñedos La Mejorada,Las Norias (2014). Valdeorras, Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (Cune), Maruxa Godello (2018).Ribera del Duero, Bodegas Emilio Moro,Malleolus (2017) . Ribeiro, Bodegas Cunqueiro, Camiño dos Faros (2018).Toro, Valbusenda, Abios Nude (2018) .Valdeorras, Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (Cune), Maruxa Mencía (2018). Rioja, Bodegas Luis Alegre,Luis Alegre Parcela N. 5 (2016). Otros Castilla La Mancha; Bernardo Ortega  Simbiosis ,Airén de Tinaja (2018).

And there you go folks, another dandy visit visual to my beloved Spain. Hope you enjoy it and see you around ok

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





Tags: , ,
October 22, 2019

The Hôtel d’Assézat, Toulouse!!

I will take you south deep cathar country and home of family on wifes side. We have been here many many times and have posts on several locations ,however, most have been brief comments of the sights to see. I think they deserve more so will do several posts on the things to see and we like in the pink city of Toulouse! The city is in the Haute Garonne department 31 of the region of Occitanie. Hope you enjoy the series.

Located a short distance from the Place Esquirol  at the rue de Metz, the Hôtel d’Assézat is a mansion, built in 1555-1557. Behind a monumental wooden gate hides an inner courtyard, renovated in 1993. It houses the Museum of the Bemberg Foundation which presents a collection of art, including painting, from the 15C to the early 20C.  We owe this magnificent mansion to a wealthy merchant, Pierre d’Assézat who made his fortune through the trade of pastel in the 16C. In order to establish his power, he entrusted the construction to one of the most famous Toulouse architects, Nicolas Bachelier and construction began in 1555.


The courtyard is made of brick but the decor is stone creating an aesthetic effect. Two sides of the courtyard have a three-level elevation superimposing the three classical orders (Ionic order, Doric order, Corinthian order); it takes over the hierarchy of orders established by the Treaty of Serlio. The imposing stair tower on the corner rises high enough to be visible in the distance. With the loggia, you find all the elements that make up a mansion of the Renaissance period. This is one of the first manifestations of French classicism. Pierre d’Assézat could not enjoy it. He died ruined in 1581 even before the work was finished. The hotel remained in the Assézat family until 1761. The bank Ozenne, who bought this building in the 19C, soon bequeathed to the city to accommodate learned societies. It’s still one of its missions today.

The Hôtel d’Assézat  is home to the Bemberg Foundation Museum. In 1994, Georges Bemberg, a wealthy Argentinean art lover, lends the municipality for 99 years the remarkable collection he has assembled (1,100 works divided between paintings, sculptures and objets d’art) in order to make it accessible to the public. . Among the exhibits, painting and drawing occupy a privileged place, with for example a unique set of more than thirty paintings by Pierre Bonnard and works by great painters of the different European painting schools, from the 15C to the 20C such as Canaletto, Tiepolo, Francois Boucher, Cranach the Elder, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Antoine van Dyck, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque,  and Amedeo Modigliani, etc.

The Hôtel d’Assézat is home to the union of academies and learned societies which consists of six companies: The Academy of Flower Games,  was founded in 1323 by seven troubadours in order to perpetuate the Occitan lyricism in Toulouse . Since their foundation, the floral games are celebrated each year on May 3rd. This academy is considered the oldest literary society in the western world. The Archaeological Society of the South of France: it studies the monuments of the South of France. The Academy of Sciences, inscriptions and belles-lettres of Toulouse: founded in 1640, the Academy of Sciences, inscriptions and belles-lettres of Toulouse has the privilege to be the eldest of its eminent Parisian sister, born only in 1666. The Academy of sciences, inscriptions and belles-lettres of Toulouse has forged a national and international reputation through the action of its members, in the fields of the conservation, the enrichment and the diffusion Knowledge. The Society of Medicine, Surgery and Pharmacy: The Society of Geography and The Academy of Legislation.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and you must are

Official Fondation Bemberg

Official Friends of the Hotel Assezat

Tourist office of Toulouse on the Hotel Assezat

Tourist office of Toulouse on the Bemberg foundation

There you go another dandy in my belle France, and lovely territory of many memories from and with the family over the years. Again, very nice area ,hope you enjoy the series posts to come on Toulouse, the pink city!

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: