Archive for February 1st, 2020

February 1, 2020

Alcalà de Henares and the Queen!

And bringing out some of my favorite and personal stories of history let me bring you back to one of the nicest memory town we had visited as a family; Alcalà de Henares. Many souvenirs here over the years; and plenty written in my blog on it.

However, what I have left out a bit is the historical significance of a visit and meeting between a navigator and a queen. This is my rendition to Reina Isabel I La Càtolica or Queen  Elizabeth I the Catholic of Spain and Cristobal Colon or Christopher Colombus.

The court of Isabel I ,the Catholic is, like that of her predecessors, itinerant. The journeys traveled by Isabel I of Castile. In 1503, the trip took place between Alcalá de Henares and Medina del Campo, where the queen died on November 26, 1504. During these trips, the queen administered her kingdom from the place where she was.

One of the most important events in the history of the modern world had its beginning in Alcalá de Henares with the interview of Isabel I, La Católica (Catholic) and Cristobal Colón (Columbus) . It was on January 20, 1486 and was held in the Archbishop’s Palace of Alcalá de Henares in that interview the trip to the Indies began to be forged that led to the discovery of the New Continent.

It ran on October 24, 1485 when a long entourage, which had left Córdoba and stopped in Jaén, arrived in Alcalá de Henares to spend the winter and rest … The stay lasted for almost four months, being one of the longest and most fruitful visits from the Catholic Monarchs to Alcalá de Henares. Christopher Columbus, who had followed the Court from Cordoba, was the last to receive an audience by the Catholic Monarchs on January 20, 1486 at the Archbishop’s Palace. That meeting between the queen and the navigator was produced in the Archbishop’s Palace, which can be seen at the end of Calle San Juan , where the Casa de la Entrevista (Interview House) is located.   Currently, on the cover of the front of the House you can see the Cardinal’s checkered shield and the door hardware is remarkable, in which, in addition to the Cisneros shield, another one with Colombine motifs can also be contemplated.

Alcala de Henares

Columbus was desperate. He needed money to finance his trip to the “Indies.” He had already received the refusal of King Juan II of Portugal to finance his project. It was then that he went to Castile to offer it to the Catholic Monarchs, although the Royal Council rejected it from the first moment. When everything seemed lost in Castile, his great friend and supporter Fray Antonio de Marchena convinced Fray Hernando de Talavera, confessor of Queen Isabel I (Elizabeth), to get the kings to receive the navigator. It was January 20, 1486. And the rest is history I like!!!

You can see her wonderful statue in Alcalà de Henares by the Plaza Palacio where there are many monuments including the old Archbishop’s palace. A quiet humble corner for such a great world personage that still influences millions around the world in a common language. The Reina Isabel I, la Càtolica statue at Plaza Palacio. (palace square). Hope you enjoy the post.

Alcala de Henares

Not too much on the story in the tourist office but here it is for reference: Tourist office of Alcalà de Henares in English

For events and cultural activities sharpen your Spanish and see it all here: Culture in Alcalà de Henares

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



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February 1, 2020

Museum of El Greco, Toledo, Spain!!!

So bringing you back to another of my favorite cities of my beloved Spain. And many times visited with family nearby over the years, and of course, never enough written on it or pictures! I do have several posts on the city of Toledo, Castilla La Mancha , Spain. I will try to tell you in my next posts the arts and museums of Toledo, but first a bit about the city’s location, good by train and already a post on that over the years the car is my second home.

Toledo is about 71 km (about 44 miles) from Madrid. From Toledo part the N-400, which connects this city with Cuenca by Ocaña and Tarancón.  There is now an excellent  A-40 Autovia or highway of Castilla-La Mancha, that unites Avila with Maqueda (where it links with the Extremadura highway), Toledo, Ocaña (where it joins the highway of Andalusia), Tarancón (where it connects with the highway of Levante, Valencia), Cuenca and Teruel. A former national road 401 Madrid-Toledo-Ciudad Real was transformed at the end of the decade of 1980 in the current A-42.

The general tourist office information is here:

Tourist office of Toledo:

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Toledo:

Ok so this one I have not only to give more exposure in my blog but keep it in a single post by itself, all worth it, good enough to come to Toledo alone me think. And the city of Toledo has a bookful of places to see that are worthy. The story, the paintings, the places of El Greco are all marvelous. We love it!!! Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on the museum of El Greco in Toledo, Castilla La Mancha, Spain!

Museum of El Greco, a house-museum conceived as recreation of the home of the artist, as this was lost centuries ago. This House contains several relevant paintings, although the famous painting of the burial of the Count of Orgaz is located in the Church of Santo Tomé, also in Toledo.


The El Greco museum is dedicated to the life and work of the painter El Greco, born in Crete, but who painted the majority of his paintings in Toledo. The institution was inaugurated in 1911 and designed as a house-museum dedicated to bringing together the paintings of the artist, who was beginning to be reassessed at that time, and to give an idea of the way he lived. The house is not the real house where El Greco has spent the most time in Toledo , this one is located a little further but it tries to give a good idea of the living conditions of the painter.


The idea of the museum is due to Don Benigno de la Vega-Inclán y Flaquer, Marquis de la Vega-Inclán , a patron who contributes to spreading in Spain the fashion for the reconstruction of historical atmospheres where were created works of art at the beginning of the 20C, he bought a group of houses in the historic Jewish quarter of Toledo and were restored ;he eventually donated the group of houses to the State (Spain) , to with the exception of the Vega-Inclán house-residence, which remained private property until 1942, then was bequeathed to the State in accordance with its will.

The El Greco museum was enlarged several times first in 1914 with the creation of four new rooms on the upper floors of the house, 1921 a new room to house fifteen new paintings and 1924-1925 with the construction of an apse chapel where installs a Mudejar coffered ceiling which houses the altarpiece of Saint Bernard; other works were undertaken in 1950 and 1960. The new exhibition space presents, in addition to the life and work of El Greco, information on the history of the house-museum in order to put it into perspective with later developments in museography. The museum houses paintings representative of the successive phases of the artistic journey of El Greco. It notably holds several portraits of notables, the View of Toledo and the portraits of the apostles (some unfinished).

The Church of Santo Tomé appears cited in the 12C, although its current configuration was undertaken in the early 14C by the Count of Orgaz himself, who added the current Christian bell tower to the old Muslim minaret. Santo Tome is a church with a Mudejar tower, a copy of that of San Román (see other post). It contains glazed ceramics and inlays of a Visigothic niche and a kick cross. Its last restoration – magnificent; has returned all its splendor to one of Toledo’s most beautiful towers and has been renovated in 2000.


Toledo  Inside the temple, an altarpiece from the 16C, plateresque, and two baroque, a baptismal font of marble from the 16C a beautiful image of the virgin in marble from the 13C, three interesting canvases from Tristán, student of El Greco and two beautiful sculptures of the school of Alonso Cano.

El entierro del Señor de Orgaz (burial of mister Orgaz), popularly called El entierro del Conde de Orgaz (burial of Count of Orgaz) is an oil on canvas of 4.80 x 3.60 meters, painted in Mannerist style by El Greco between 1586 and 1588. It was performed for the parish Church of Santo Tomé, and is preserved in this same place. It is considered one of the best and most admired works of the El Greco. Some painters have defined it as not only is El Greco’s top work, but the masterpiece of all painting! Me think too.!!

El Greco painted it in his full artistic maturity. It has architectural rigor and an extraordinary unity despite the two parts into which it is divided. In this work all the elements of the painter’s mannerist language are present: elongated figures, vigorous bodies, implausible foreshortenings, bright and acidic colors, arbitrary use of lights and shadows to mark the distances between the different planes, etc.

The Church of Santo ToméOfficial Church of Santo Tomé and El Greco

Tourist office of ToledoTourist office of Toledo on museum of El Greco

Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain: Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain on El Greco museum

And voilà ahi tienen, cierro este ciclo de articulos sobre uno de mis pueblos favoritos, Toledo. There you , I close the series of posts on one of my favorites towns, Toledo.  Toledo is worth a kingdom, and a must to visit while in Spain. The sights to see are huge and all rewarding me think ; and the Museo de El Greco and Church of Santo Tomé are tops. Maybe I am biase sorry. Its a great place to visit in my beloved Spain.

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




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