Some news from Spain XCIII

And here I am back on my beloved Spain. Even if times still are recovering and the healing will be long; all if not most is a go. There has been renew covid19 in Llerida Catalunya and A Mariñas areas of north Galicia as people still do not follow rules.

Some better news from my Castilla La Mancha region.

And this is Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of the Kingdom of Spain. One of my fav regions of my beloved Spain. There is so much to see as evidence by my many posts on it. However, let me tell you a bit more from the tourism pros.

The region is committed to natural spaces, charming towns and a great cultural offer in a safe environment for these coming holidays. Everything, led by a great kitchen that has seven Michelin stars as ambassadors. The third region of Spain in size has in its favor that national tourism is the one that leads the way because of the coronavirus. Hence, 90% of Spaniards plan to spend their holidays within their borders, according to the CIS ( Centre for Sociological Research).

For this reason, nature tourism gains strength with these jewels: two national parks, Las Tablas de Daimiel and Cabañeros; seven natural parks from the Alto Tajo to the Barranco del Río Dulce; six river reserves such as Sotos del Río Milagro; 48 micro-reserves, 122 natural spaces from the Lagunas de Ruidera, one of the most beautiful wetlands in Spain, at the source of the Río Mundo, and 26 natural monuments after adding the Chorreras del Cabriel (Cuenca). Archaeological sites such as Albacete from Libisosa should not be forgotten. There’s more: the Parque Minero de Almadén(mining park) or the black towns of Guadalajara.

On the cultural level, the biggest show in Spain stands out, Puy du Fou’s El Sueño de Toledo or dream of , which faces its second season on a five-hectare stage in the open air. Among the novelties is the appearance among the waters of the spectacular Crystal Palace of King Al-Mamún, as well as 15 Spanish horses that join the 35 already existing. The new Roberto Polo Collection museum a Center for Modern and Contemporary Art. In addition, the 46th edition of the Almagro Festival, the best in the world focused on the Golden Age, has been confirmed from July 14 to 26.

The Ruta de La Manchuela route, straddling Albacete and Cuenca, is dotted with charming medieval towns with treasures such as the Alcalá del Júcar Castle, the hermitage of Cristo de la Vida or the Iniesta Archaeological Museum. As a colophon, you must go to the Hoces del Cabriel, one of the best kept secrets in the area to escape to during this unusual summer.

And Castilla La Mancha has a new brand,Raiz Culinaria or culinary root, an axis to enhance visitor attraction by underlining the richness and gastronomic diversity. The ambassadors of this seal are the seven Michelin-starred chefs in the region: Fran Martínez (from the Maralba restaurant, in Almansa, Albacete), Enrique Pérez (from El Doncel, in Sigüenza, Guadalajara), Iván Cerdeño (from the restaurant of the same name in the Cigarral del Ángel, Toledo), Javier Aranda (from Retama, in Torrenueva, Ciudad Real), Jesús Segura (from Trivio, in Cuenca), Pepe Rodríguez (from El Bohío, in Illescas, Toledo) and Samuel Moreno (from Molino de Alcuneza, the second in Sigüenza). All of them have one star except the first, Maralba, who has two.

In the gastro chapter, the wine universe takes on special importance, with visits to wineries and vineyards on foot, by bike or 4×4, museums, exhibitions, festivals, tastings, contests and experiences for all audiences. Under this umbrella, Rutas del Vino de Castilla-La Mancha or the Wine Routes of Castilla-La Mancha offer the largest vineyard in the world, with 473,000 hectares, 50% of the total area of Spain. From them come references such as Finca Antigua Crianza Único, the Pago de la Jaraba 2018. Among the best in the world with ecological certification is the Ulterior Parcela 17 Graciano 2016, valued with 95 points in the Decanter contest. The La Mancha Wine Route discovers the heritage of this region that evokes the figures of Cervantes and Don Quixote, present in towns such as Alcázar de San Juan, Campo de Criptana, Socuéllamos, El Toboso, Tomelloso and Villarrobledo. Regarding the Valdepeñas, it is full of wineries, large and small, in the urban area or in the countryside, which combine tradition and modernity.

And for reference for my biking readers, Spain is tops for this and of course even I have done it even if many years back. This is more for the real aficionado! At least read the book!  Sergio Fernández Tolosa, author of the book “España en bicicleta or Spain by bicycle. 101 rutas ciclistas imprescindibles “ or 101 essential cycling routes (ed. GeoPlaneta), which has just gone on sale. The 35 main itineraries, unpublished and that have been created especially for this guide, add up to more than 7,300 kilometers! If cultural heritage appeals to you, it tells   you to go to Uncastillo, in the Cinco Villas region, to see its Romanesque churches , make the Vía de la Plata or the Cistercian Route. If you like volcanic landscapes, Lanzarote and La Graciosa are paradise. If you want to emulate the greats of cycling, the return to Las Ubiñas, with an ascent to Angliru included, or any of the routes that we propose through the Pyrenees are the perfect plan.

And something wonderful I use all the time even today! Extra Virgin Olive Oil!!!

In an extra virgin olive oil, the following will also be considered, among other aspects: legal quality, organoleptic quality (gastronomic-culinary), nutritional quality (health), therapeutic quality, differentiated quality (DOP) and also quality related to practical aspects of product use (type of container, price, etc.). Extra virgin olive oil must be fruity, that is, smell the fruit from which it comes, without making a sensory description of it, and must not have defects, which, from a technical point of view, is implemented as a median of defects equal to zero. Like any food that comes from the field, the quality of virgin oils will be influenced by agronomic factors, such as the variety of olives, cultural practices in the field, and the ecosystem in which the olive grove is located, and could even extend to collection and transport to the mill. Do not forget the processes related to obtaining the oil at the mill, and also those related to conservation, packaging and the degree of freshness.

Although all seem to have a common origin in wild olive or olive, there is great diversity and each olive will give it its own personality, always mediated by the ecosystem in which it is implanted. In Spain they deserve to be mentioned among others: arbequina, empeltre, mallorquina, picual, picudo, hojiblanca, cornicabra, manzanilla cacereña, farga, lechín from Granada, verdial from Vélez Málaga, verdial from Badajoz, blanqueta and morrut and for mesa manzanilla from Sevilla y Gordal from Seville as well as the Manzanilla from Cáceres.  Outside of Spain; in Portugal: galega, cobrançosa, cordovil and verdeal; in Italy: frantoio, lecchino, moraiolo, carolea, pendolino, coratina and taggiasca; in Greece: koroneiki, adramitini, mastoidis, valanolia, and konservolia and kalamata are highly valued for table; in France: picholine from Languedoc; and in the other Mediterranean countries: in Turkey: memecik and ayvalik; in Syria: sorani and zaity; in Morocco: Moroccan picholine; in Tunisia: chemlali from Sfax and chetoui.

For there to be a Denominacion de Origin Protegida or protected denomination of origin (DOP) the following requirements must be met: 1. Existence of a perfectly delimited region, place, region or locality. 2. Defined cultivation practices and the existence of an adequate raw material. 3. Uniform production methods of the highest quality virgin oil. In Spain, currently most DOPs only cover extra virgin olive oils.

In April 2020, Spain had 29 D.O.P. distributed as follows:

In Andalusia (12): Baena, Sierra de Segura, Priego de Córdoba, Sierra Mágina, Sierra de Cazorla, Montes de Granada, Poniente de Granada, Sierra de Cádiz, Antequera, Steppe Oil, Montoro-Adamuz, Lucena. In Catalonia (5): Les Garrigues, Siurana, Terra Alta Oil, Baix Ebre-Montsià Oil, Oil from l ‘Empordá or Olí de l’ Empordá. In Extremadura (2): Gata-Hurdes, Monterrubio Oil.   In Castilla-La Mancha (4): Montes de Toledo, Campo de Montiel Oil, La Alcarria Oil, Campo de Calatrava. In Aragon (2): Oil from Bajo Aragón, Sierra del Moncayo. In the Balearic Islands (1): Mallorca oil. In La Rioja (1): La Rioja oil. In Valencia (1): Valencian Community Oil.  In Navarra (1): Oil from Navarra. In addition, the two IGP, currently in the process of resolution in the European Union, as follows: Ibiza Oil and Jaén Oil, the latter a very good producing area and mention that will include other Jaén areas such as Campiñas de Jaén or Jaén Sierra Sur that preceded it. Love it Extra Virgin Olive Oil! From Spain ,the best!

And the arts are suffering too. The Madrid Art Triangle, made up of the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía museums, have experienced a sharp fall in June 2020 due to the reduced capacity and social distancing measures adopted to combat the pandemic.

The most pronounced fall is that of the Reina Sofía, which from June 6 to 30 of this year has had 13,133 visitors at its main headquarters, where the “Guernica” and the bulk of its collection is housed, while the same period in 2019 had 113,779 visitors. The museum reopened on June 6 with only part of its route, which houses the most important pieces, such as the central work of Picasso, and other reference rooms, such as those dedicated to Dalí. It has been adding spaces to its tour in recent weeks. The Prado has also gone from receiving 295,285 visitors in June 2019 (full month), to receiving 41,358 visitors from June 6 to 30. The gallery has reopened only a quarter of its length and has done so with “«Reencuentro»”, a unique exhibition that brings together its most important works. Last, Monday, it has announced that it is expanding its capacity from 1,800 visitors a day to 2,500, which will allow the exhibition to be seen by more people.   The Thyssen-Bornemisza is the one that falls the least. Unlike the other two, the museum reopened all of its facilities, albeit with reduced capacity as indicated by the government’s de-escalation program. Of the 63,378 visitors it received in June 2019, it has now received 25,079 (from June 6 to 30). This sharp fall is influenced, on the one hand, by the dry braking of international tourism, which in the case of the three museums accounts for more than half of its visitors, but also that of national tourism, which until the state of alarm ended June 22nd could not be reactivated and is still of little importance.

And another tradition to see in Spain that is hurting from the pandemic. “Of each and every one of the members of the Lidia Livestock Association (AGL), which is made up of more than 350 farms, with a total of more than 47,200 fighting bulls registered in the Genealogical Book. Understanding and suffering as mine, because I also have, such brutal economic losses. And I have also shared the sadness of having to make the tough decision to send bulls and steers to the slaughterhouse as the only way out. ? In view of everything that is happening, I think the time has come for the rest of the actors who live for and for the show to step forward. We need a large dose of imagination and courage to, maintaining the basic historical pillars of bullfighting, propose an adaptation to current times. Structural adaptation of the show, of values, of culture, of aesthetics, of the economy, etc. I understand that it must be a project made by specialist technicians, the best, who represent all sectors, and when I say all I say all: ranchers, slaughterers, bullfighters, bullfighters, silver bullfighters, picadores, businessmen, swordmen, doctors, veterinarians, owners of stable or portable bullrings, bullfighting schools, etc. But I repeat, made by specialists, all together yes, leaving aside personalisms and prejudices that have always given such a bad result. United and working side by side.” This a translation by yours truly from a speech by Víctor Huertas Vega BS Veterinary , cattle rancher of lidia bulls and president of the Asociación de Ganaderías de Lidia (AGL).

In better standing we have: The legendary stamp of Victorino Martín already has the date of his first “postcovid” bullfight: on August 15,at Herrera del Duque. Victorino has not had to send any bull to the slaughterhouse, although “he says have made more haste in the usual waste of cows and males; his is highly valued and the selection is very clear. In the town of Herrera del Duque, they will report on the sextet of the A crowned Manuel Escribano, José Garrido and Juan Silva “Juanito”, in a celebration organized by the businessman Joaquín Domínguez and that has been presented this morning at the Parador de Mérida. In Mérida, the Matilla house has closed two posters with the usual figures, with a luxurious combination in homage to Borja Domecq. Friday, August 28, homage to Borja Domecq with bulls from Jandilla for Morante de la Puebla, El Juli and José María Manzanares; Saturday 29, bulls by García Jiménez for Enrique Ponce, El Fandi and Miguel Ángel Perera. And the feast goes on!!

And there you go folks a bit of news blending as the situation goes. We will need to have patience but we will get out ok at the end; best wishes to all my readers!

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: