Archive for October 21st, 2020

October 21, 2020

My shopping in Madrid!!!

An often ask question in any city, and one most difficult to answer in my opinion. The choices are endless, and taste varied wildly. However, I will give my choices, hope they help you enjoy your shopping pleasures in Madrid, and maybe exchange some new ones from you.

Madrid is a very compact city, most of the stores are located in the Centro or city center area,and for more upscale by the Salamanca district between Castellana and Principe de Vergara, and from calle de Alcalà to Calle Maria de Molina. The stores open from 10h to 21h with some open continuosly and others closing from 14h30 to 17h30 everyday, most however close on Sundays. You will see the hours are not all fix nor care for although they have improved over the years lol! The fashion trend has hit Madrid since Movida days and it continous today with many fashion designers popping up with passarelas a la Paris or Milan.

Let me give my favorites over the years in my beloved Madrid!

You have the typical chains like FNAC Spain,  with the perennial main store at plaza Callao and metro Callao lines 3, 5. Lately at Calle Preciados near Sol.  https://www.fnac.es/Fnac-Callao/Fnac-Callao/cl2/w-4

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El Corte Inglés or the English cut, a chain store all over Spain,started in Madrid many years ago, and now the emblematic dept store of the city, my favorite is at Paseo de la Castellana,near Nuevos Ministerios where you get off from the airport at Barajas and arrive in the city go out turn right and the store is on your right hand side cant missed it. There is another perennial store by calle Preciados next to the Puerta del Sol. https://www.centroscomerciales.elcorteingles.es/centroscomerciales/es/eci/centros/centro-comercial-castellana

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Museo del Jamon or ham museum, for that classical jabugo ham of bellota or wild nuts, several in town but the best selections are in Gran via. These are also restaurants.  webpage https://museodeljamon.es/historia-del-museo/museo-de-gran-via-72-2/

Casa Mira, for those wonderful Spanish pastries including nougat or turron. Located at Carrera de San Jéronimo, 30 , metro Sevilla line 2. Open every day from 10h-14h and 17h-21h, Sundays 10h30-14h30 and 17h30-21h. https://www.casamira.es/la-tienda/

Mariano Madrueño, the best Spanish wines you can find in Madrid, all prices even from 2€! even liquors. Calle Postigo de San Martin, 3, Metro Callao lines 3,5. https://marianomadrueno.es/

Bodegas Santa Cecilia for wines, I had my personal well wishes always at Santa Cecelia better, find the other a bit too commercial, so Santa Cecilia stays for me. You go to store at calle Bravo Murillo,50 metro Rio Rosas line1 or Cuatro Caminos lines 1,2,6. Open Monday from 17h-20h30. Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10h-14h and 17h-20h30. https://www.santacecilia.es/santa-cecilia/tiendas-de-vino-madrid

El Flamenco Vive or the flamenco lives, a store for lovers of Flamenco and who is not? wonderful choices to buy everything related to this wonderful art of Spain.  Calle Conde de Lemos,7, Metro Opera lines 2,5. https://www.elflamencovive.com/

El Arco Artesania, in the Plaza Mayor, several Spanish artists to sell you authentic jewerly, vases, ceramics,lamps,engraving etc; located at Plaza Mayor 9, Metro Sol lines 1,2,3.and Cercanias trains. https://www.artesaniaelarco.com/contacto

Casa Hernanz, the best Spanish espadriles sandals (alpargatas) over 150 yrs doing it; located at Calle de Toledo,18. Metro Sol lines 1,2,3. Open monday to fridays from 9h-13h30 and 16h30-20h, Saturday 10h-14h. https://casahernanz.es/en/inicioen/

The best public market or flea market is El Rastro, there for years and years around Plaza Cascorro and the Calle Ribera de Curtidores, this is a tradition every Sunday morning until 15h-16h, best way there is metro La Latina line 5, Puerta de Toledo line 5, or just descend from Plaza Mayor. https://www.elrastro.org/

Another popular flea or market I like to go is the one by Anton Martin, this one is every day from 9h-14h except saturdays afternoons and Sundays. It is a covered market of food,fruits,vegetables and very typical Spanish , calle Santa Isabel,5, metro Anton Martin line 1. https://www.mercadoantonmartin.com/

Another typical market even if best to have there, but you can take home too especially nowdays  is the Mercado de San Miguel, located at the Plaza San Miguel ,going to it from the southwest side of the Plaza Mayor, metro Sol lines 1,2,3. https://mercadodesanmiguel.es/

Another one of my favorites in Madrid is the Mercado de San Idelfonso in the Calle Fuencarral, open everyday from 1àh-22h, in barrio Chueca, all types of clothing ,shoes,artistic creation all around a metal stairs; here you can continue your shopping around small boutiques of the Calle de la Hortaleza,Pelayo,and plaza de Chueca. metro Chueca line 5, and Tribunal lines 1,10. https://www.mercadodesanildefonso.com/

Calzados Victor, Calle Alcala, 278, shoes for the whole family at great prices, a family place, I was bought my first Spanish shoes here at 10, then my kids,and wife, a tradition for us since 1971 when I was living in Madrid,and still to this day. Metro Carmen line 5.  Open 10h-13h30 and 17h-20h30. No webpage but perennial shoes store in the off the beaten path district of Madrid. Great bargains and family service.

madrid Victor calzados alcala 278 feb13

Cortefiel , mens clothing at its best, the best location is calle Serrano. Other locations in Madrid. Also in France. https://cortefiel.com/fr/en/stores

Zara, the leading Spanish ready to wear chain, also in France, in Madrid it was just a few meters from my piso or apt at Calle Alcala, 365 metro Pueblo Nuevo line 5. The best for woman really, classy look, my mom favorite. https://www.zara.com/ic/es/z-tiendas-st1404.html?v1=11108

Antigua Casa Talavera, its a wonderful place for the lovers of ceramics from all periods of Spanish history. They come from all  corners of Spain from the best masters. located at Calle de Isabel La Catolica 2, metro Santo Domingo line 2. Open every day except Saturdays afternoons, Sundays ,and holidays, from 10h-13h30 and 17h-20h. http://www.antiguacasatalavera.com/

Calzado Los Guerrilleros, a shoe store for all the family there over 50 years. Now closed but by the early  1970’s, it was my mom favorite too, and then we came in too. It had a funny commercial “dont buy here its too expensive” !! The main store was at Puerta del Sol . metro Sol lines 1,2,3. Here just for the memories of wonderful Madrid of old

La Favorita, for hats, even my grandfather purchase here, that’s old, and still here. Plaza Mayor, 25, metro Sol lines 1,2,3. Hats and caps of all sorts. A traditional place you will come back for it. https://www.lafavoritacb.com/contacto

Casa Yustas, Plaza Mayor 30 , metro Sol lines 1,2,3, a tradition of Spanish souvenirs (regalos), hats( sombreria)  and armory( efectos militares)  going back to grandparents in Madrid. My boys got to buy here too! https://www.casayustas.com/ 

Objetos de Arte Toledano, Paseo del Prado, 10-12, right front of museum of Prado, metro Banco de España line 2 or Anton Martin line 1. All about the universe of swords, medals and medieval military artifacts, souvenirs , best of Spain.  This is another that say adios, sadly it was a nice place shop. Here just for the memories of my wonderful Madrid!

Alvarez, for sporting equipement of all sorts, see them ,the best always. you wont be disappointed, they can advise on site. You can buy online or go to stores, the one I frequented is at Calle Capitan Haya, 6,  (now the street is call (Calle del Poeta Joan Maragall nº60) about 100 meters from hotel Melia Castilla,metro  between plaza Castilla lines 1,9,10 and Cuzco line 10. Mondays to saturday continuosly  from 10h to 21h. https://www.a-alvarez.com/

For groceries there are several good ones such Hipercor,(part of group El Corte Inglés see above); but I prefer the chain Sanchez Romero my family have enjoyed over the years, and I stock up when in Madrid. Great service and they take your swipe cards too,ask. The one I go is at Paseo de la Castellana,196; metro Plaza de Castilla lines  1,9,10 or Cuzco line 10. From Cuzco stay on the right hand side of Castellana and from Plaza de Castilla cross over to your left side and walk down. Other stores too,and cafeterias, also one at Castellana location, great prices.  https://www.sanchez-romero.com/

Chocolat Factory, calle general Peron, 40, metro Santiago Bernabeu line 10, the best chocolats in Madrid, even if Valor is a national chain, the chocoholics here will be in heavens. open monday thru Saturdays 10h-21h inside the Moda shopping center lower o 0 level. https://modashopping.com/nuestras-tiendas

Real Madrid main store, of course, my team, the best ever !!! Calle Carmen, 3, metro Sol lines 1,2,3.or the one at the stadium but believe the one at Carmen is more lively more for customers, the other one is more for diehard fans really ::) https://www.realmadrid.com/en/santiago-bernabeu-stadium/stores/el-carmen-store?pid=1390165211192

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Then you have the shopping centers, great to go for a nice shopping spree in any weather,and see the world go by.  And if pressed for time in the city they are superbe. My favorites in no particular order are

La Vaguada,avenida Monforte de Lemos,30, metro Barrio del Pilar line 9 or Herrera Oria line 9 ,closest is first one. wonderful shopping center with all you need in one stop shopping plus great movies. https://enlavaguada.com/en/

Plaza Arturo Soria, calle Arturo Soria 126-128, metro best by bus from Plaza de Castilla No 70 or from intercambiador Ave de America bus Nos 122,322. https://www.arturosoriaplaza.es/index.aspx

Plaza Norte 2,Parque Comercial MegaPark, San Sebastian de los Reyes, just north of city limits of Madrid, great huge shopping center, great values and local ambiance, you can get there from plaza de Castilla on bus number 156 or 171. All major stores are there from El Corte Ingles to Haagen Dazs, you will love the mall!!! https://www.plazanorte2.com/

Shopping Center Parque Corredor, another of my favorites outside the city but easy to get there, this one is next to Torrejon de Ardoz, if you want a family shopping experience and see the local way of life then come here. We did it for Toys R Us and Burger King lol!!! kids rule! .The place is lovely setup and great shopping at Al Campo (Auchan in France) You go there from intercambiado Avenida de  America, and take bus No 251/252, to Torrejon de Ardoz, cross street to take bus No 4 to Parque Corredor. https://parque-corredor.com/

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Las Rozas Village, a shopping outlet type mall, on the outskirst of the city, that is popular with several expats I know, its in the town of Las Rozas, similar to the outlet mall in Disneyland Paris, so major brands catch the good prices and take a leisure ride into other Madrid, for the curious.  From Intercambiador of Moncloa (calle Princesa 96) metro Moncloa lines 3,6 or from metro Sol, to Moncloa and take buses No 629 to Village. https://www.tbvsc.com/las-rozas-village/en

See above, Moda Shopping at calle General Peron, 38-40,metro Santiago Bernabeu line 10 just near paseo de la Castellana 95 and Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (Real Madrid FC), and right around Torre Picasso skyrise building. Some upscale shops and pubs, in a very busy section of modern Madrid, away from the tourist crowds and shop in a nice ambiance. https://modashopping.com/

ABC Serrano, Calle Serrano,61 metro Ruben Dario line 5 exit paseo de la Castellana,or metro Nunez de Balboa, line 9 or Serrano line 4. upscale oasis in Madrid chic district, very elegant stores, eateries for a nice indoors city break.  https://www.abcserrano.com/

This is it for me. Hope it makes your shopping pleasure in Madrid a bit better. Of course, its not an exhaustive list nor inclusive of all, but it gives you a good start. If you need specifics I am always around my blog. 

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

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October 21, 2020

My dear Segovia!!!

If you have read my blog, you know blood runs thru my veins (Tenerife) of this wonderful kingdom of Spain. And you should know I used to lived in my beloved Madrid. If there are many wonderful cities in my dear Spain, one of the closest to my heart would be Segovia. I like to give you an overview as already written several posts on its sights in my blog on my dear Segovia!

I first wrote an introductory piece in my blog on Segovia back on March 2011. However, I have come here many many years before , in fact came with my girlfriend 30 years ago , later my dear late wife Martine (28 yrs married and 3 boys). So , very emotional memories coming back to write on Segovia. Even if always stop in Madrid, Segovia is special for this and the magnificent stable of monuments of wonderful beauty and architecture.

Segovia is the cradle of Castilla y Léon, worth a kingdom and a very nice day trip from Madrid. It is UNESCO heritage site and for good reason.  Here was the seat of the kings of  Trastamara ,and one of them the queen Isabel I the Catholic was crowned here at the Church of San Miguel  queen of Castilla in 1474! , later the main supporter for the colonisation of the Americas.

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So where to start ,this is very emotional for me and many nice memories that my mind is going back to when my Mom took me here as a young early teen boy in the early 1970’s. Then coming with what was my Wife of 28 years, and finally coming up with my grown boys in their 20’s. So special family memories and now to continue sharing. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

We took off by car always either from Madrid and a couple of times from Cuenca. Our last trip together was from Cuenca on the A40 direction Tarancon, then ,A3 direction Madrid and, then the M30 tunnel until getting off the AP61  entering Segovia by Calle de Jose Zorilla and just landed at the underground parking of Ezequiel Gonzalez and then walk all over. The parking is named on Calle Los Barreros / Pº. Ezequiel Gonzalez;photo is from parking. More on this parking and others here: http://segoviaturismo.es/routas/parkings-de-la-ciudad

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The walls or murallas of Segovia, they used to be  3 kms long ( about 1.8 miles); today it is still visible the gates archway towers of San Cebrián, of  Santiago,and the San Andrés, as well as three archways such as Consuelo, de San Juan, del Sol, and de la Luna.  We passed by the Puerta de Madrid (see post) to find the parking and then walked up  the hilly back around the Cathedral and direction the Alcazar we passed by the Museo de Segovia at Casa del Sol, (see post) museum is on since 1842 and the house or casa is very old from the time of king Enrique IV. 

We walked on the Paseo de los Tilos by a nice fountain encrusted on the ramparts walls, we took a look at the city and Alcazar from a mirador or lookout of the museum of Segovia and walked passed the Puerta San Andrés (see post) that connected to the old Jewish quarters, and we passed the tourist office too! Wonderful walks and views!!!

We arrive on the side of the Alcazar (see post) following the high end of the old ramparts and with beautiful views of the country below. The Alcazar have older photos can see myself become of age lol! This is a beautiful fortress records show it from 1122 but probably it was there before, and a must visit with armor and statues of past Kings and portraits all beautifully kept. Inside the Alcazar, do not missed the section on the Real Colegio de Artilleria, royal college of artillery a wonderful museum of military history of the times. 250 years of history!! 

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We went around back into Calle de Daoiz and we found our first shopping spree on leather bags on 50% off!!! real bargain from Fernando. We continue on munching on ice cream until we reach the Cathedral or Catedral de Nuestra Señora de  la Asunción y San Frutos , (see post) a masterpiece and another must see here.  It has 27 chapels and the cloister, sacristy, Corum, Altar nave included. The work on its construction began in 1525 and completed in 1768! Considered the last gothic Cathedral even if many styles are renassaince. I am nostalgic about the Chapel of Sainte Barbe or Santa Barbara of which my mother was a devotée. Its a must to visit.

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You can see a nice building on calle Juan Bravo just before the Plaza San Martin that today acts as a Municipal Library but once was the Royal Prison where the great Spanish writer Lope de Vega spent time…!

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You come running if you can to see the Aqueduct and all its splendor, a must ! (see post) It is from the 1C or early IIC  AD, it has 818 meters long ( 2699 ft)with more than 170 arches and its highest point is at Azoguejo with 29 meters (95.7 ft). We came from above the aqueduct goes into the city upper side you come down on a grand stair alongside the aqueduct and see the Plaza de Azoguejo below and the famous restaurant Candido.  This goes beyond words of mine, you just have to come and see it.

segovia aqueduct from above aug16

Another wonderful building that I came straight for it is the Casa Museo Antonio Machado , (see post) one of Spain leading poet/writer.  He first came here in November 25 , 1919 to hold a place as professor of French in the Instituto General y Técnico where he stayed until 1932.  And even thus he leaves the city in September 1932 to teach French in the Instituto Calderón de la Barca in Madrid. He did came back for visits afterwards; Segovia keeps a very big heart for him. He was actually born in Sevilla in 1875 , and founder of the Spanish Modernismo been part of the famous Generation of ’98 and member of the Spanish Royal Academy.  One of the poems I always remember was dedicated to the assassination of another great Poet/writer of Spain, Federico Garcia Lorca in the early stages of the Spanish Civil War, “El Crimen fue en Granada” = Se le vio, caminando entre fusiles, por una calle larga, salir al campo frío, aún con estrellas de la madrugada. Mataron a Federico cuando la luz asomaba” IN short, it translates as, He was seen walking amongt rifles on a long street, going out into the cold field still with stars of the night. They killed Federico when the daylight looms. One of my favorite poets of Spain! There is a guide map where you can trace the walks of his daily routines in the city ask the tourist office.

You can see the Church of San Andrés, on the street near the ramparts walls and the beforementioned Puerta de San Andrés. We came by to see the Church of San Clemente, built in the 12-13C. A nice one was the Church of San Martin, built from the 12C in Romanesque style. A historic one, Church of San Millàn, in the moorish area built by 12C, similar to the Cathedral of Jaca (see post) . Another nice one we passed by was the Church of San Sébastian built in the 12-13C however, dismantled and rebuilt in the early 20C. Convento de Carmelitas Descalzas de San José, founded by Saint Teresa de Jésus in 1574. The Monasterio Santa Maria del Parral we saw at a distance as time is of the essence. However, is a worthy place to visit too. The monasterio de San Antonio el Real, old hunting lodge of king Enrique IV before becoming a monastery, the rooftiles dates from 1455AD all of them! Most of the above see separate post in my blog.

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Of course, we walked around and the Plaza Mayor is a must and Plaza de la Merced, and Plaza San Martin as nice too. And we ate here too lunch in the Plaza Mayor at the La Oja Blanca restaurant (see post). We had of course our bathful of beers, codfish croquettes, chorizo a la cazuela, hot dogs! and omelettes all for about 8€ per person. On the way back we took a different route and slept for the night at my old reliable at Venta Magullo, lodging and restaurant on site for road travelers. We came here first in 1990! So close it was time to visit again before returning to Cuenca! on the same AP61, A6 to M30 tunnel road in Madrid and A3 to Tarancon, and then A40 to Cuenca in about 2h40! Nice ride indeed for this road warrior!!!

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The Province of Segovia tourist office on Segovia city in English: http://segoviaturismo.es/en/ven-a-segovia/destinos/segovia

The city of Segovia tourist office in English: http://visitsegovia.turismodesegovia.com/

The Autonomous Community of Castilla y Léon tourist office in English: https://www.turismocastillayleon.com/en/destinations

There you go folks, one of the best of Spain, and plenty to see in architecture, history, personalities, and gastronomy/wines you should be there and we will be back! Segovia forever!

As not to duplicate photos will only post here different ones. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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