Archive for April 13th, 2020

April 13, 2020

Dali in Figueras!

And darn it here is another escape of mine. So much in my beloved Spain, that sometimes I do mentioned briefly many places and go on. Later, I come back and really need to give more credit in my blog and Figueras or Figueres is one of them. After all, this is the home and repository of the great Salvador Dali! Even if he is more famous in Barcelona..he is from Figueres! And of course as this was way back around 2008 can’t find photos lol! sorry just for the memories. I did!! found a couple photos here they are!!!

I like to tell you a bit about the town of Figueres and then then Dali ok, hope you enjoy the tour as we did.

Figueras (Sp) or Figueres (cat) is a town in the north of Catalonia. It is the capital of the metro area of Alt Empordà in the province of Girona, kingdom of Spain. It is best known for housing the Salvador Dalí Theater-Museum; its worth the trip and we came by car from Barcelona . Figueras is located 24 km south of the Perthus pass, on the rail and road axis that links Barcelona to France.

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Figueres is a key point on the highway AP7 (toll) and formerly the national road N2, The city is also served by TGV from France and by Renfe for connections to Spain by Iberian gauge tracks. The presence of the international Barcelona-Girona-Portbou-Cerbère-Perpignan line, saturated with both goods and passengers, is handicapped by a different gauge of tracks from other European countries (1,668 mm for the Iberian wide track instead of 1,435 mm for the UIC standard track used in almost all continental countries). Until today, this railway hodgepodge made the city of Portbou, managed by Renfe, the capital of rail, with Cerbère, its cross-border neighbor managed by the SNCF France. This has now change since 2013 with the high speed line Perpignan–Barcelona an international high-speed rail line between France and Spain. The line consists of a 175.5-km (109.1 mi) railway, of which 24.6 km are in France and 150.8 km are in Spain. It crosses the French–Spanish border via the 8.3-km (5.2 mi) Perthus Tunnel bored under the Perthus Pass, connecting two small cities on opposite sides of the border, Perpignan in Roussillon, France, and Figueres in Catalonia, Spain. Renfe (Spain) and SNCF (France) in cooperation take you to 15 French cities. Discover by AVE (alta velocidad express trains) of Carcassonne, Lyon, Marseille, Nîmes, Paris, Toulouse, Perpignan, Narbonne, Béziers, Agde, Sète, Montpellier, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence,  and Valence.

In French, the term Figuières, was in use from the 17C. In 1696, Bussy-Rabutin wrote in his memoirs the prince took his quarter in Figuieres. In 1812, following the annexation of Catalonia to France by Napoleon I, Figuières officially became the name of one of the sub-prefectures of the Ter department (former French dept). In its official communications, the French government also uses Figueras.

A bit of history I like

In 1267, King James I of Aragon, known as “the Conqueror” conceded a charter to the city. On November 27, 1794, Figueras was taken by French troops from Pérignon after the battle of the Sierra Negra. During the Spanish War of Independence (from Napoleon’s France), the city was besieged by French troops. It briefly became chief town of the Ter department from January 26, 1812 to 1814.  On October 12, 1936 arrived in Figueres the first group of volunteers from the International Brigades who came to fight for the defense of the Spanish Republic. On January 20, 1938 the first bombing of Figueres took place with airplanes from Nazi Germany dropped some 30 bombs over the city, luckily without causing any casualties. On the third air attack, which occurred in the afternoon, was carried out by the Italian fascist air force. On November 11, 1938, farewells to volunteers from the International Brigades took place in the city before they left for abroad, after their campaign had failed. The night of February 1, 1939, the city became the seat of the Republican Corts and the capital of the Republic. The session of the Parliament, which was nocturnal, took place at the castle of Sant Ferran. On February 5, 1939, in Figueres took off the departure for France of the President of the Spanish Republic Manuel Azaña Díaz, of the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia Lluís Companys i Jover, the president of the Basque government José Antonio Aguirre i Lecube and other members of the Spanish Republic central government and autonomies. On the night of February 8, 1939, Nationalist (gen Franco) troops entered the city, and the war was over for the Figueres.

Other things to see here are a taste on the cradle of the modern Sardana dance and the seat of the Chamber Orchestra of the Empordà. As well as the largest fortress in Europe, the castle of Sant Ferran, the fortified Church of Vilatenim. The Empordà Museum presents the heritage of the Empordà. And the Toy Museum of Catalonia, which has the status of a national museum.

However, what we came to see here and its a must was the Theater-Museum Dali.   Inaugurated in 1974, it is built on the remains of the old municipal theater of Figueres, destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War. It offers a wide range of works that describe the artistic trajectory of Salvador Dalí i Domènech (1904-1989), from his first artistic experiences and his creations in surrealism, to works in the last years of his life. From the opening, the Theater-Museum Dali was very popular with the public : Dalí chose this theater for three reasons: the first, because he is an eminently theatrical painter; the second, because this theater is located just in front of the church where he was baptized; and the third, because it is in the hall of the theater hall that his first painting exhibition was held.

Some of the most remarkable works exhibited at the museum are: Port Alguer (1924), The Specter of sex appeal (1932), Soft self-portrait with grilled bacon (1941), Poetry of America-Cosmic athletes (1943) , Galarina (1944-1945),the Bread Basket (1945), Leda atomica (1949) and Galatea with the spheres (1952). Some of the works were specially produced by the artist for the theater-museum, such as the Mae West room, the Palais du Vent room, the monument to Francesc Pujols and the rainy Cadillac. In addition, are exhibited works by other artists that Dalí wanted to include in the museum such as El Greco, Marià Fortuny, Modest Urgell, Ernest Meissonier, Marcel Duchamp, Wolf Vostell, Antoni Pitxot and Evarist Vallès i Rovira , amongst others.

The Theater-Museum Dali was designed by Salvador Dalí as a work of art in its own right. Everything was done and designed by the artist in order to offer the visitor a real experience where he enters a captivating and unique world. The combination of images, sculptures, furniture, decorations and all kinds of curiosities means that in many rooms the walls and ceilings are completely covered with huge murals: some are original compositions while others are enlargements of famous paintings.   Dali’s jewelry collection presented at the museum is the result of his ambition and his eccentricity, an incredible surrealism. You could say that he is a maestro or a goldsmith engineer. It uses platinum, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, topaz, quartz, emerald and other precious stones, pearl, coral and noble metal.

Against his will (he wanted to be buried in the castle of Pubol), Dali was buried in the Theatre-Museum Dali on January 25, 1989, two days after his death. His embalmed body rests under the dome, in the middle of the museum. In the Dalinian Sistine Chapel, you will notice the visual effect of the portrait of Lincoln, the painting of Gala Dali (his wife)   looking at the sea and the portrait of Beethoven made in octopus ink, in the old theater floor is the rainy Cadillac. The museum recently integrated the Torre Galatea, the painter’s former home.

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In 2013, the museum ranked 40th among the most visited museums in the world and 3rd among the most visited in Spain. The museum is managed by the Fundacion Gala-Salvador Dali.

Foundation Dali and the museum in English: Official fundacion Dali on the theater museum

Tourist office of Figueres and the Theater Museum Dali in English: Tourits office of Figueres on the theater museum Dali

And now I feel better showing the wonderful story of Figueras or Figueres and the Theater Museum Dali, a must to see.

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

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April 13, 2020

My Retiro park in my Madrid!!!

If you have followed my blog, you know my attachment to Madrid, and my history there so need to repeat me think. If you have not and new to my blog just go to search type Retiro and/or Madrid and see the many posts on it. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday. And today more than ever!!!

The focus here is something folks dont really come to see but is a very relaxing way to see the city and hear about its many monuments inside the wonderful Parque del Buen Retiro or simply Retiro park in my beloved Madrid. Very near where I used to lived and walk by it everytime in the city. Hope you enjoy this post.

This is my park, Parque del Buen Retiro , I lived for several years not far from it,every time back in Madrid and luckily often need to stop by, and lately in the city stayed by a hotel nearby as well.  This time had a whole Sunday for me, and why not, spent it at the Retiro Park. Very difficult for me to describe it, it was my youthful park, where my mother took me and I came back to the city in a new era with her and then myself, as my mother passed away in 2007, coming here brings closer to her as well. The story continue once married and came with new wife and then more, and my wife passed away in 2018 and yet came back again with the boys in 2019. I can’t wait to be back again; this is the best medicine for a hectic troubled world. The Retiro park is it; there are places you never get tired of visiting and this is one of them for me, the main one.

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This is my park, walking its winding trails and seeing the wonderful statues and buildings in it are just great beyond description. The snack bar by the lakes or estanque with its wonderful boats. Now they have rowing boats when younger coming here they had pedal boats as well. It was heaven by yourself to do it. Coming from behind the statue to king Alfonso XIII into the lake is wonderful and the views breathtaking.

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You need to see the wonderful remains of the Real Fabrica de Porcelanas (1760-1812) with info in Spanish as now shown in the Prado museum here,only in Spanish: Museo del Prado on the Porcelain factory

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And the La Noria del Huerto del Francés vestiges of something wonderful here; this one of the machine that took the water to make the porcelain, also in picture above, and they are of Persian origins.

Many entrances to the park my old haunts was by Puerta de Alcalà where I lived not far, but lately coming by the Plaza Niño Jésus ( square of the Child Jesus).  You plunge into the garden or jardines del Marques de Pontejos , right along the Paseo del Marqués de Pontejos ,passing by the Rosaleda (rose garden). The Madrid tourist office on the Rosaleda in English: Madrid tourist office on the Rosaleda or Rose garden

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And the Parterre (main garden walk area), entrance by the Gate or puerta de Felipe IV, with an axis from the Casón del Buen Retiro  to the Fuente de la Alcachofa , and the lake or Estanque. You see here the oldest tree in the park that of a Cipré calvo (cypress) .You see structures of old now being use as many as rest rooms. Coming by the estanque or lake into the other end by Calle Alfonso XIII. A magical walk with beauty of top gardeners keeper all around you.

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You have the wonderful statue of the Fallen Angel fountain or Fuente del Angel Caido, (b. 1878) the only statue representing the devil . Very busy intersection in the park one of the must see.  More info from Madrid tourist office in English: Madrid tourist office on the Fallen Angel fountain and statue

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You passed by the wonderful Palacio de Velázquez, (b. 1881-1883) an old structure use for temporary exhibitions for works of art.  As well as the Palacio de Cristal (b 1887) iron architecture  modeled after Crystal Palace in London. It is now for temporary exhibitions as well and just airy and wonderful ;from afar is better.  Many of these monuments have written in other posts. They are magical palaces in a gorgeous park.

And to top it off, the grand Lake or Estanque Grande (b. early 17C). The lake where families from very old days to now come to ride a boat any boat in the park is wonderful. The boys will rent a boat to roar for the girl ::) and seeing it from above the Statue to king Alfonso XIII is romantic indeed especially as night falls. Magical. A must in Madrid.

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This is my park, the one amongst many in Madrid, but the very best of all. A must to see in Madrid, in fact , you never been to Madrid if not walk the Retiro park… If anything makes me come back to Madrid is this park. My life’s youth and teen was spent around it, from all the side stories you can imagine. The thrill was to bring my boys here and play and walk and see as I did at their age; it was huge, souvenirs to last a lifetime. And hopefully it won’t be over any time soon. Hope you enjoy it in my Madrid as I did.

The Madrid tourist office on the neighborhoods of Madrid showcasing the Retiro with a downloadable map in English: Madrid tourist office on the Retiro park

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

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April 13, 2020

Always the streets of Madrid!!!

And so opportune that now when the going out is restricted I remember the glorious walks in my Madrid! Of course one of my favorite cities and the world and having lived there is sublime. i have written many posts on the city and its streets, this is another one.

Let me show you more streets of my Madrid, always Madrid Fuerza Madrid!!!

I must say not only walk but drove on this promenade many times and especially the last few years coming into my Madrid by car.

The Paseo de la Reina Cristina is the segregation of the land of the Olivar de Atocha (olives field) carried out by creating a new avenue, named after Queen Cristina, tangentially drawn to the Basilica of Atocha and, then, already proposed as one of the main access roads to the city . In this urban operation, some historical and emblematic buildings of the city are located , such as the Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha, whose origin dates back to 1523 with the foundation of the convent dedicated to this virgin, although previously there was a hermitage in this place. where the Virgin of Atocha was venerated. In 1836, with the confiscation of Mendizábal, only the church was preserved from the primitive building and where the quarters of the convent were located, the Cuartel de Invalidos or barracks of invalids was built. In 1890, taking advantage of the fact that the basilica was going to be rebuilt, it was decided to locate a Pantheon of Illustrious Men on the site of the old barracks, with the intention that the mortal remains of the most famous Spaniards in history would rest there. Today you can visit the Basilica of Atocha, where the remains of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, protector of the Indians (Americas), and the Pantheon of Illustrious Men, where, among others, are the remains of Canovas del Castillo, Sagasta and Canalejas in beautiful graves. Next to the Basilica is the Royal Tapestry Factory and its museum. The building where it is located was built between 1889 and 1891 but its antiquity dates back to 1720 and then it was in front of the Puerta de Santa Bárbara – today Plaza de Alonso Martínez-, hence the name of the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Bárbara. In this museum you can see the works that Francisco de Goya carried out commissioned by Cornelio Vandergoten, a collection of 41 invaluable tapestries, in addition to numerous cartons, sketches, carpets and tapestries by other great masters. This street continues as the Paseo de la Infanta Isabel and later the Avenida de la Ciudad de Barcelona leading to Atocha train station.

What is best here is the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de AtochaTourist office of Madrid on the Basilica

And the Royal Tapestry FactoryTourist office of Madrid on the Royal Tapestry

And the Pantheon of Illustrious MenTourist office of Madrid on the Pantheon

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This one is in old Madrid, beautiful area for walks recommended.

The Plaza de la Provincia (province square) is located in the Sol neighborhood, in the Centro district. From this square the ancient Calle Atocha starts towards the Plaza Jacinto Benavente square, while on the opposite side Calle Gerona , which enters the Plaza Mayor, and the Calle Imperial, which leaves towards the La Latina neighborhood. To the north, the square extends to the neighboring Plaza de Santa Cruz, and from there you can go down Calle Esparteros to Calle Mayor, a few steps from Puerta del Sol.

It is known by this name since the construction on its side of the Palace of Santa Cruz, built in 1636 and prison of the Court and headquarters of the Provincial Notaries. On the opposite side of the palace was the ancient parish of Santa Cruz, which disappeared in 1869, and which separated this square from that of La Leña, today the Plaza de Santa Cruz. The location of this square corresponds to the old Arrabal de Santa Cruz, in the Lagunas de Luján where the Plaza Mayor of the town finally settled. From this square, Calle Atocha, one of the most traditional in Madrid, starts. In the center of the square there is a fountain called the Orfeos or Orpheus fountain, which was built in the first third of the 17C and dismantled in the 19C. It was transferred to the National Archaeological Museum, where it remains. A reproduction made at the end of the 20C is currently on display. A monolith located a few meters from the fountain, in front of the Palacio de Santa Cruz, which commemorates Spain’s accession to the European Union on January 1, 1986. It is a large gratin stone, curved at the front and angled on the back, sitting directly on the ground and with the incised inscription occupying the main face.

The Orpheus fountain here at tourist office of MadridTourist office of Madrid on Orpheus fountain

And the Palace of Santa CruzToursit office of Madrid on the Palace Santa Cruz

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Can’t get any better than this one, sublime walks folks

 The Plaza de Santa Cruz is a point of intersection of the Calle Esparteros, Calle San Cristóbal, Calle Zaragoza, the Plaza de la Provincia by the end of Calle de Atocha and beginning of Plaza Mayor by one of its deviated arches; and Calle de la Bolsa.

The Plaza de Santa Cruz square existed during the reign of king Felipe II being a glass market space.  The name of the square is inherited from the old parish of Santa Cruz, the ground floor of which reached the square and the current calle de la Bolsa. The monastery of San Tomás was located in the square. At the beginning of the 19C, the square appeared as a street market for pasiegos or sellers of fabrics were the so-called secondhand clothing dealers. After the War of Independence (vs France), the square became a place for offering and contracting the service for wet nurses, who curiously are also from the Pasiegos valleys.  The palace of Santa Cruz ;current Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation was a former Court Jail. During the 18C it was called the Overseas Ministry. At the end of the century, the lost by Spain to the colonies of Cuba and the Philippines, the property was left without embassy functions. This is really by above square but they are interconnected for a great walk!

The tourist office of Madrid on the parish of Santa Cruz: Tourist office of Madrid on the Parish of Santa Cruz

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And the one almost everybody comes to for transports, without realising the history behind it or the monuments around it.

The Plaza del Emperador Carlos V (emperor Charles V square) is a roundabout where the Paseo del Prado, Calle de Atocha, Calle de Santa Isabel, Ronda de Atocha, Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza, Paseo de las Delicias, Calle de Méndez Álvaro, Paseo de María Cristina and Avenida Ciudad de Barcelona connects. Until 1941 it had the name of Plaza de Atocha or roundabout of Atocha, names by which it is still known. It gave its name to the Mediodia (noon) or Atocha station, the main railway station in Madrid. In this square there is also the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum , that is in the former General Hospital, and the Ministry of Agriculture (Palacio de Fomento).

It owes its name to the Puerta de Atocha demolished in 1850 ,which was located where a replica of the fuente de la Alcachofa (fountain of the Artichoke) was later placed at the Retiro park, where it is today at Plaza de Honduras. There is a replica at the square today see picture. In 1941 the roundabout was given the current name to avoid duplication or confusion with Calle de Atocha.   On one side of the roundabout, the Atocha station has stood since 1892. In front of the Cuesta de Moyano (Madrid book fair and stands are today)  hill is the statue of Claudio Moyano. As an alternative to the traffic problem, an underpass was built between the Ronda de Valencia and the Paseo de María Cristina, under the square and the cercanias train tracks of the Tunel de la Risa (laughter tunnel).

The Atocha train station at Madrid tourist officeTourist office of Madrid on Atocha train station at Carlos V

And the Reina Sofia museumTourist office of Madrid on the Reina Sofia

And the Palacio de FomentoTourist office of Madrid on the Ministry of Agriculture

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And last, but never the least and never forgotten is my square where i lived across the street. I believe have written on it briefly but will give you more here to be shown a different view of my Madrid, one away from the tourist hordes in off the beaten path way indeed. Let me tell you about my Plaza de Quintana, along Calle de Alcalà, metro line 5 neighborhood of Quintana in the Ciudad Lineal district!

The place where it is located once belonged to a Timoteo Damián and was expropriated in the 1940s for urban reasons in order to eliminate the existing curve of Calle de Alcalá, but in the end this was never done and the fate of the Timoteo’s estate was to host the Plaza de Quintana as we see it today, a pedestrian area surrounded by shops and open on one side to Calle de Alcalá.  At no 292 on Calle de Alcalá we find the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Fàtima or the Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, presided over by the crowned image of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. The Nuestra Señora de Fátima school has an annex. On October 13, 1951, the emblematic date of the dialogue between the Virgin and the children, the high altar was blessed. On October 12, 2000, Cardinal Rouco Varela, being the pastor of Jesús García Jiménez, canonically crowned Our Lady. My church!

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In the Plaza de Quintana, there is the Bar Docamar, famous for its patatas bravas since 1963, with several awards and mentions in television programs and by food critics. This was my main resto bar in the area I lived across the street in same Calle de Alcalà! Recommended webpage here: Bar Docamar Plaza de Quintana

In the Plaza de Quintana, on Sunday mornings a sort of market for the trading of stickers, coins, stamps and other more or less childish barter elements has been meeting for a quarter of a century. Even if most of the pieces are not vintage , ephemeral enthusiasts , collectable posters dating from the 20C and 21C are starting to find real little treasures. It is probably among the most popular markets in its category in Spain, even ahead of the Rastro de Madrid. Yes we traded football players cards!!!

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And asi asi de bonita es mi Madrid, like that pretty is my Madrid! Sublime walks who wants to be underground! See the beautiful architecture and history abound in all these streets of yesteryear ,today ,and hopefully forever in Madrid. Hope you have enjoy the walk!

For info the tourist office of Madrid in English: Tourist office of Madrid

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

ps. Bear in mind , many of these monuments already have a separate blog post for them.

 

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