Archive for February 2nd, 2021

February 2, 2021

Cervantes and Don Quijote!

So need to bring this up for notice and update. One of the great ones of Spanish literature and one of my favorites. I have chasing all over and one place dear is Alcalà de Henares in the Comunidad de Madrid, near the capital of Spain, Madrid. I like to bring back the story of Don Quijote and Miguel Cervantes Saavedra!

Coming back to nice Alcalà de Henares, almost a backyard of my beloved Madrid. I came here first with my dear late mon Gladys from the age of 10 ,and eventually came with my dear late wife Martine, and then with the 3 boys; and always memories. I have written several posts on the city but what about Cervantes?

One cannot come here without at least visiting once the House Museum of Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra at Calle Mayor,48.  Always difficult to pinpoint exactly ,and he had several houses in his life, but this one is recognized as been the birthplace.

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The Museo Casa Natal de Cervantes  is in Alcala de Henares at the Calle Mayor next to the Hospital de Antezana. The current house is from 1956 done in the traditional way of the Castilian countryside  . Miguel was the son of Rodrigo de Cervantes a surgeon doctor and Leonor de Cortinas,  We do not know exactly his birthplace but Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is recognize as been born in this city in 1547, even if the only record is of his baptism here in the same year at the Church of St Mary or Santa Maria in front of the city hall even if from this Church only remains the tower, and some column bases and chapels.

At the time of him living here the house belongs to his Aunt Maria in which he lived until 1551 when he moved to Valladolid, where there is another house he lived in. The house is of two floors and is in the corner of Calle Mayor and Calle de la Imagen. There are ,also houses in Madrid, and Esquivias.

In the museum, you see a daily life of a well off Castilian family in the 16C and 17C showing public and private spaces.  It has an important library section with previous editions of his work in all periods and all languages, including the first part of El Quijote edited in Lisbon in 1605.  At the street level floor, you have rooms dedicated to the social and daily life  such as a living room, dining room, a Ladies room, pharmacy as his father was a surgeon in the hospital of Antezana.

From the entrance garden of Cervantes, the central courtyard is reach. This is a traditional element in the Alcalainas houses (local homes). It has eight columns of granite and limestone with Corinthian capitals, on the ground floor, while the upper floor shows the balustrade and the wooden pillars. It stands out in the courtyard in a corner, the original well of the house in an octagonal shape.

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The courtyard is passed to the podium or room of the ladies, a very characteristic room of the time, where they sat on the floor on cushions and rugs, to read, sew, pray, play music or chat. The furniture is of small size, like footstools, boxes, small desks. There could be some low stool for the Knights, who only entered here if they were invited.

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The Noble Room is where visitors were greeted, you can see arm chairs or friars, with leather backing, buffets or tables and large braziers to warm up the stay in winter. The buffets were covered with cloths, as well as the walls with fine decorated sheep skins.

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Leaving the courtyard, a hallway takes us to the pharmacy or chamber of Rodrigo, father of Miguel de Cervantes, who was a surgeon doctor. These “old surgeons” did more than Barbers, who were involved in indenting, much less than doctors.  In the room there is a surgeon’s table, an armchair to sit the patient, a mudejar style cupboard for medicines and remedies, many of them herbal, and various jars of pharmacy, in ceramics; All these are original objects from the 16C and 17C.

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The dining room , which at the time there were no proper dining rooms, but the table was available in the meeting room, and so was the dressing room to eat. After eating the utensils of the food were removed, mainly plates and spoons, some Becket, the candlesticks to illuminate with candles the dinners, or a brazier to warm up in winter, which in this case is polygonal . Once again, all objects are originals of the golden Ages.

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Kitchen and wine cellar , which, if you are a Spanish or Mediterranean visitor will be familiar in many of its objects, as it was in the 16C has remained until today in many rural areas of Spain. It has been arranged giving a very vivid image of how life was then, centered in the kitchen, to the point that when in the house many times slept there.  In the winery, once restored, audiovisuals are projected on the life of Miguel de Cervantes.

And of course ,why this why all the talk about a house a museum in little Alcala de Henares; well because the Don Quijote de La Mancha was a novel written by the Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Published its first part with the title of the El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha at the beginning of 1605, it is the most outstanding work of the Spanish literature and one of the principal of the universal literature. In 1615 appeared its continuation with the title of Segunda parte del ingenioso caballero don Quijote de la Mancha. The Quijote of 1605 was published divided into four parts; But when the Quijote appeared of 1615 in the quality of the second part of the work, it was actually revoked the partition in four sections of the volume published ten years before by Cervantes.

The museum house of Cervantes is free. The cercanias train  C-1, C-2 and C7A can take you here from Madrid, there is a bus no 223 from the bus depot at Avenida de América in Madrid all for reference. I did came here by car once adult, there is public parking at Pico del Obispo, Calle Cardenal Sandoval y Rojas with entrance at Puerta de Madrid. I rather park a bit away and walk in, via Complutence in parking San Lucas, just great easy in and out of the city.

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The official webpage of the House Museum of Cervantes in English: http://www.museocasanataldecervantes.org/information/

The tourist office of Alcala de Henares on the House Museum of Cervantes in Spanish: https://www.turismoalcala.es/turismo/museo-casa-natal-de-cervantes/7/

There you go, a wonderful town to walk it all. Alcalà de Henares is to see a lot more, see my posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy the post as I and we will be back, I know I will.

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

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February 2, 2021

The magnificent Cathedral of Cuenca!!!

Now this one need to update revise text and links, it is a masterpiece and not given the credit it deserves in monument loaded Spain. It was my main city base on several vacation trips to Spain with the family staying in the mountains off Cuenca, plenty of posts in my blog on that. Also, several on Cuenca too, but this is the magnificent Catedral de Santa María y San Julián ,and needs more. You can print and take with you as guide for the visit! Hope you enjoy as I.

I like to tell you about one Cathedral of Cuenca or the complete name in Spanish Catedral de Santa María y San Julián. Over the years upon  my requests for travel in the family, I have always tilted to Spain of course. Even if living as citizen now in another wonderful country of France, the blood calls. My family nicely has followed and onwards to Spain we went for many years for our long summer vacation.

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This town of Cuenca up in the mountains of the Serrania of Cuenca we rented houses up 1400 meters, and use it as a base to travel all over the Castillas and Madrid and Valencia regions. It will always stay with me as right now they are sentimental souvenirs of our trip with my dear late wife Martine. She came to love it here, and always eager to go. This is the autonomouse region of Castilla La Mancha and the Cathedral of Cuenca is a mayor work, do not think will give justice to it in one post ,even if done some general briefings on my other area posts in my blog. I have decided to give you some description on the Cathedral alone here.

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A bit of history of the Cathedral of Cuenca that I like

The city was conquered back from the Arabs in September 21 1177 and king Alfonso VIII of Castilla brings the bishop’s seat here in 1183. The Cathedral was one of his priorities and it begun construction in 1196.  In the year 1208 had already made an important part of the works because it was possible to consecrate the main altar. In the year 1257, a large part of the structures were completed and the Episcopal palace was built. The work continued throughout the 13C. In the year 1448 was modified its headboard, rising a giro similar to that of Toledo. It is known that the wife of King Alfonso VIII, Leonor Plantagenet was the inspiration of this majestic construction, advised by her Anglo-Norman advisors.  That is why the cathedral of Cuenca presents elements that differentiate it from the large number of Gothic cathedrals that exist in Spain-of French influence. The time when major modifications were introduced was in the fifteenth century.

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A bit on the construction/architecture I like

The modifications both inside and outside have substantially changed their original architecture.  In the 16tC and 17C several works were carried out on the façade and several chapels and the cloister were built. In the 18C, renovations were made in the apse, pillars and in the interior decoration. In the year 1902, there was the collapse of the Giraldo or giro tower that caused huge damage to the facade so there was to rebuild it, in neo-Gothic style. The cathedral is a Latin cross plant and has three naves with a large headboard that ends in a polygonal apse with seven sides and flanked by two naves on each side that serve as entrance to the Giro, made in 1448. Right on the cruise, a central vault is erected. The central nave is separated from the sides by means of large pointed arches that support on solid pillars of different thickness. Its triforium is unique in Spain, product of Anglo-Norman influence and more than its ornamental function highlights its original solution to counteract the thrust of the vaults. On the transept of the cathedral stands the Angel Tower, conceived as a lantern to give light to the cathedral. It receives the influences of the lanterns of square plant of Laón, Braine and many Burgundian churches.  The triforium of the Cathedral of Cuenca is a false triforium, as its nave has been reduced to a narrow corridor and its gallery has been fused with high windows to create a unique structure in Spain that serves as a transmission of forces from the vaults to the buttresses.  

I will take you to a very brief description of the Chapels in this magnificent and seldom seen Cathedral but a must to visit. Couple pictures not to  overwhelmed the post you got the picture!

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Our journey begins on the right side we can enter the Chapel of Pilar. This chapel was founded in the year 1769 ,it has a polychrome wood altar that imitates marble and Jasper. The gate is from the 17C. On the walls there are six reliefs of was representing Saint Julian and the Virgin, Apparition of the Virgin to Santiago, Virgin with the Child, miracle of calender and imposition of the chasuble to San Ildefonso. The Crown of the Virgin is painted in the vault of the lantern. Inside it is preserved the burial of Bishop Wenceslas of Sigüensa.

The Chapel of the Apostles It was founded in the 16C. The work of the chapel began in 1528 the cover is organized in the purest Renaissance style. Its entrance portico is majestic and is made of carved stone with plateresque style grille. The main altar has a central altarpiece with sculptures of polychrome carving and paintings, from the 16C .

The Chapel of San Antolin ,it was made at the beginning of the 16C and is located at the angle of the nave with the cruise. It has a wooden gate and a decorative frieze of full mudejar style. It has a baptismal font located in the centre, also made in the 16C. On an altar appear paintings on another altar appears a sculpture of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the altar of St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist comes from the chapel called the Annunciation with two paintings from the 16C.

The Bishop’s Chapel , This stay owes its name to the function it represents. It serves as a private residence of the prelate and was founded by Cardinal and Bishop of Cuenca Jacobo de Veneris at the end of the 15C. It has a beautiful grille of the middle of the 16C, in which the Baptism of Christ is represented, the altar is of wood and alabaster polychrome The paintings of the altarpiece of the main altar are dedicated to San Julián, patron of the city. The altar of Santa Ana has an altarpiece made in the 17C and comes from the hermitage of Santa Ana.

Saint Martin Chapel was done in the middle of the 16C. It has a forged grille and made in 1548. The altarpiece of this chapel is dedicated to San Martín in Plateresque style with medallions made in alabaster, which combines polychrome wood, painting on board and Alabaster. Under the Arcosolio are the graves of the Montemayor that present statues of naturalistic style and a more evolved Gothic. The altar of the Angel of the guard is circumscribed to the Baroque style and has a Calvary made at the end of the 15C and early 16C, on a beam carved with plateresque motifs. Right on the chamfer of the wall lies the altar of the Immaculate. In front of these two altars is the altarpiece of San Fabián and San Sebastián, in Polychrome wood and with a varied iconography.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Tabernacle , It was founded by the Cabildo in the year 1629  The works continued in the 17th century. It has three altarpieces-reliquary. The central dedicated on the right to San Julian and the left to the birth of the Virgin.

The Chapel of St. Helena ,It was founded as seen in the stone façade from the 16C and its grating dates from the year 1572. The altarpiece of its interior is made in the 16C  It is wood without polychrome. It emphasizes its predela by the deep animalistic study of the same one.

The Chapel of the Heart of Jesus or Capilla Honda , according to the chronicles this chapel was consecrated to the Virgin who carried Alfonso VIII when entering the city of Cuenca, where he was named Chapel of the Virgin of the Battles. It is also called the Honda Chapel because it is located well below the level of the cathedral floor. The current construction dates from the beginning of the 16C, although it still has magnificent mudejar doors made between the 12C and 13C . At the altar are two tables of the 16C and a copy of the table of the Savior, Gossaert. He has undergone several constructive modifications over time. The altarpiece of María Auxiliadora highlights the painting of the Virgin of Milk that dates from 1600 and is preserved in the auction. The main altarpiece is the work of the 18C and is dedicated to the heart of Jesus.

The Relief or help (Socorro) Chapel; was founded in 1486 and reformed in the 19C. It currently has three altarpieces, Our Lady of Socorro, San Antonio de Padua and Santa Maria. The Gothic altar is from the 15C and is clearly influenced by the Anglo-Norman style. In nine niches with Gothic background we see seventeen carvings in Polychrome wood.

The Chapel of the Assumption , it was founded in the year 1511. It has a magnificent grille, especially in the upright, made in the year 1571. At its main altar is the altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin,  from the end of the 16C.

The Chapel of St James or Santiago, this chapel was founded by Bishop Alvaro Martínez, Maestro and counselor of Henri III. It has several bars, the Communion rail and the choir are from the 16C and the entrance is from the 17C. On the side of the gospel contains two sepulchers of the late 14C, with sculptures of Toledo style, in honor of its founding bishop. Next to it is the Gothic style tombstone of the conquest of Cuenca by Alfonso VIII. The main altarpiece dates back to 1547. There is a minor altarpiece that combines the carving of Christ with images of the Virgin and oil-painted saints from the late 16C.

The Knights ‘ Chapel ,It was founded in the 13C and was restored between the years 1520 and 1531, in its current location. The chapel has two real masterpieces, from the previous chapel, the tombstone of Mrs. Teresa de Luna and several sepulchres with statues of alabaster, the father and brother of Cardinal García Alvarez de Albornoz and Alvar García de Albornoz, carried out in the 16C during the renovations of the chapel, were preserved. This one has three altarpieces called of the Crucifixion, the piety and the Adoration of the Kings, in which it emphasizes the Italianate influence of Leonardo Da Vinci; There are also several paintings of Orrente. The Calvary that crowns the altarpiece of the altar of the assumption from the 16C.

The Muñoz Chapel was founded in the 16C. It has one of the most beautiful stone façades of the cathedral The columns are formed by the overlap of two different shafts in which one can guess in the stone, the face and the arms of a man terrified and supported in a corbel in whose interior there is a deformed telamon distressed by the pressure of the cartouches Side. The sculptures represent San Juan Bautista and San Jerónimo with very marked traits; Two serene caryatids; San Roque and the Virgin with the Child and a San Rafael added to the work at the end of the 15C.

The Mayor Chapel , has three bars. The largest of these was made at the beginning of the 16C and is located on the main Altar. It is the most monumental of the bars that this cathedral contains. The other two side bars were made in Vizcaya in the year 1740. Its main altar is bronze and marble, according to Ventura Rodríguez project in the second half of the 18C.

The Covarrubias Chapel  was founded in 1611  The construction was started in 1613 in the Escorial style. It has a Renaissance altarpiece with a table of Jesus attached to the column.

The weight Chapel or de los Peso, was founded in 1524 . The gate is considered one of the most beautiful in the cathedral. The altarpiece depicting in its central scene “The Adoration of the Shepherds” In the upright stands the representation of the Visitation of the Virgin.

The new Chapel of San Julian , the Altar of St Julian’s, also called Transparent, was design in the 18C. The altar is made of marble, Jasper and bronze, with medallions in high relief and allegorical statues,, from the second half of the 18C, Baroque. In the year 1760 the remains of St. Julian were moved to the new altar. In 1936 was burned the body in one of the courtyards of the episcopal palace and was also stolen the silver urn where the saint rested.

The Chapel of Pozo or San Roque was founded in 1503, in the contiguous place of the transparent and moved to its current location in the 18C. It has a grille and a Gothic-style altar done  in 1511. The altarpiece is  from the beginning of the 16C. The central size of the altarpiece representing the Assumption of the Virgin was transferred to the Diocesan museum and was replaced by the San Roque. The altarpiece contains numerous oil paintings.

The Beard Chapel, was founded in the year 1967 .The gate and altarpiece was made in 1569 and restored in 1795. It contains several paintings.

The Chapel of Santa Catalina is located next to the so-called Arco de Jamete. It was built in the mid-15C and modified at the beginning of the 16C. There is an altarpiece in the interior with the martyrdom of the saint and an ordeal, from the second half of the 16C. Highlights the Plateresque framework of the altarpiece, refurbished and expanded in 1598.

The Chapel of St. Bartholomew, was founded at the end of the 15C. It has a magnificent altarpiece called the Christ of the Sacristans of the mid- 16C. It has a plateresque altar and a Gothic alabaster piety in a niche that is currently preserved in the museum.

The Chapel of Santa Barbara, was founded in the early 18C. It contains a baroque-style altarpiece that is surrounded by mural paintings with false architectures. In the center of the altarpiece there is a polychrome wood carving of the Saint and on the upper part a canvas allusive to the doubt of Saint Thomas. The whole of the eternal Father  finished it.

Other rooms of the Cathedral of Cuenca

The main sacristy ,It is of Gothic style and is located behind a very large canvas of the wall in which the burials of two bishops are found. The works were completed in the year 1509. On its cover there are blasons and religious images. The drawer for ritual robes, made in walnut . La Dolorosa and a Virgin of Bethlehem are inserted. There are also several 17C  paintings made by Bocanegra and Sebastián Conca, representing the doctors of the Western Church.

The Chapter Room, It was built at the beginning of the 16C. It has magnificent doors made of carved walnut wood of plateresque style that contain several circular medallions and panels decorated with renaissance motifs. The coffered ceiling of the room is in Renaissance style with tints of the first Plateresque. It is separated from the cathedral by a small enclosure that was open until the 18C. In the second half of the 18C was added the painting that today covers it, of clear French influence. The Twelve apostles of the sides  done in 1649 for the Sala de los Reyes (kings room), transferred to the chapter house in the year 1779. On the current chorus are preserved, in the warheads, paintings of prophets who were part of that ensemble. Especially the pictorial ensemble with the figures of Christ and St. Matthias.

The Arch of Jamete is of Renaissance style with the influences of the first  Plateresque and was probably done between 1545 and 1550. It is a monumental door that accesses the cloister and is considered one of the jewels of the cathedral and perhaps the most monumental of all the Spanish Renaissance in an interior.

The old chapel of San Julian is located next to the epistle and has a fence. In the second half of the 17C the door was closed inside, becoming a chapel. It highlights the fine work of rockery of the frontal of the altar. The door gate has an exceptional finish in embossed gold plate with the same scene of the altarpiece, anonymous work of the first half of the 16C.

The official webpage of the Catedral de Santa María y San Julián in English:http://www.catedralcuenca.es/en

The official tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Catedral de Santa María y San Julián in English: http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/catedral-de-santa-maria-la-mayor-o-de-nuestra-senora-de-gracia-28964/descripcion/

Ok a bit long but I think worth it. This is a jewel that needs to be seen and has direct train and bus from Madrid as well as only 2h30 by car along the A40/A3 expressways toll free. Enjoy the post and the Cathedral and Cuenca!!!

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

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February 2, 2021

The bulls and Ventas, what about them?

And here I am again updating and revising my older posts. I have a newer post on this one with pictures but as the first post will leave in my black and white series. This is an icon of Madrid and I lived walking distance from it, as visit at least by it every time in the city. Hope you enjoy the post and understand it.

I will speak about perhaps a controversial issue, not fully understood or traditions gone out the window in our current world. The bulls corridas and especially those at the Monumental de Ventas in Madrid. This is a great tradition with bulls that are giving the best care and up bringing in the world today, they are pampered.

The plaza of Ventas opened in 1931 with a capacity for 23 798 persons, and a neo mudéjar architecture;  been the biggest in Spain for the size and the fame. The plaza is composed of a main bullring  diameter measuring 60 meters , and the callejon or alley of 2,20 meters.  The resting place of the bulls is divided into three sections. the left gate are where the first three bulls come out and the two replacements if needed .The Central gate where they come in and out the cabestros or bell ax  and the right gate where come out the last three bulls.

The arena belongs to the neighborhood of  Guindelera in the district of  Salamanca. The metro line 2 and 5 Ventas is right in front. Even thus the bullring is name Ventas and the neighborhood with same name is just across the beltway bridge under passes the M 30 road. It is also, in the district of Ciudad Lineal! 

A bit of history I like.

Upon request of king Felipe IV ,the count of Olivares built an arena in 1630 at the site of Buen Retiro (Retiro park)  to give replacement to the Plaza Mayor where many corridas were held. Another arena was built in 1737 on the location of Soto de Luzon. Later, king Felipe V ordered built another arena that give  management to the  Sala de Alcaldes de la Casa y Corte in 1743; this is the Puerta de Alcalà arena. On the same spot ,king Fernando VI ordered built another arena that gives the hospitals the management of it! It was in 1875, near Calle Aragon ( now part of the calle de Alcalà) that another arena was built under the name of Las Ventas , the name that today we know as the Monumental de Ventas.

During the Spanich Civil War between 1936-1939 the arena was closed and open again in May 1939. The first bull to participate in the arena was called Hortelano, and the bullfighter name was Aguililla (little eagle). The arena is used as a concert hall events as well. Best to see the stables of the horses, the bulls resting barns, the Arena itself of course, the Big gate or Puerta Grande, the stands, and the statue dedicated to El Cordobés outside facing Calle de Alcalà.

Things to see, do and eat around it my favorites of course.

There is ,also, a fine museum about the art call Museo Taurino with interesting objects and architecture that will bring many even if no interest to the corridas; the museum is in the back of the Monumental , you walk around it. It, also has a chapel devoted to the Virgen de Guadalupe and to the Virgen de la Paloma, patrons of Mexico and Madrid, respectively. The museum webpage: https://lasventastour.com/es/la-plaza/el-museo-taurino/

The Festival or feast of San Isidro is enormous and a must see at least once in  your life. In 2018 there will be a corrida internacional, with bulls from different countries so far accepting are : Juan Bautista (France), Juan del Álamo (Spain), Luis David Adame (México), Joaquín Galdós (Perú), Jesús Enrique Colombo (Venezuela), and maybe Luis Bolívar (Colombia) , and the horse swordmen  Joao Moura(Portugal). All of San Isidro is this year from May 11-15. See next feast when possible at official webpage: https://www.sanisidromadrid.com/

My recollection as a young boy in Madrid was been taken at Las Ventas to see the rajoneros or the men on horse poking the bulls and taken into the arena itself. I lived not far from here in Quintana, two metro /subway stops. It was the boys hangout in another era.

One area where my Mom shopped was at the now call Mercado de las Ventas  (before the Canillas) almost across from the back of Monumental de Ventas. webpage: https://www.mercadoventas.es/

Down the street straight out of Las Ventas you come to the Tablao Flamenco La Quimera, Calle Sancho Davila, 34. webpage: http://www.tablaolaquimera.com/en/

Continue down the above street to reach the wonderful park of  Quinta de la Fuente del Berros.  Out of Arena turn right towards Plaza Manuel Becerro and see the Eva Duarte de Peron park at Calle del Dr Goméz Ulla, the park makes like a triangle in the square.  Out of the arena left and you pass the beltway M-30 Avenida de la Paz and you are in Calle de Alcalà , metro stop Carmen and then Quintana on line 5 and you are in my old neighborhood

To eat around the Arena, you have the Casa Toribio restaurant very nice food and great prices. Here they serve rabo de toro de Liria, the lidia bulls oxtail stew, omg delicious, my favorite. webpage: http://www.restaurantecasatoribio.com/

Another nice one across is Los Clarines Restaurant, here they have smaller versions call raciones and the same bull oxtails stew, love it. webpage: http://www.losclarines.com/index.html

Another good one over the years is Quinta la Candela, Calle Julio Camba, 5 ; for those bellota hams delights. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/quintalacandelarestaurante/

And at Calle de Alcalà 227 you have a masterpiece of bullfights history and tradition. still going strong Los Timbales, went there with my Mom as a boy and repeat repeat…webpage: https://www.restaurantelostimbalesmadrid.com/

There is an inexpensive good chain cafeteria just across the Ventas call VIPS, Calle de Alcalà, 200. webpage: https://www.vips.es/restaurantes/vips-alcala-200

The monumental Ventas official webpage: https://www.las-ventas.com/informacion-general.html

The servitoro webpage has info in English and ticketing as the season is from March to October when possible if virus control: https://www.servitoro.com/en/220-bullfight-tickets-madrid-las-ventas?svtaff=1n7ejq953l1724mtam75

Hope you have enjoyed the ride, and can understand the world of bullfights, heck I have seen cow fights as well, but they get extra treatment and well fed, we end up having some later too! Hope you enjoy this post on the Monumental of Ventas, Madrid, and fully understand this art is more than just the bulls, its a Spanish tradition the world comes over to see. And now for many years also in several Latin American countries as well as in France.

And if the post made you an aficionado, mundotoro or world of the bulls will tell you all the news about it in Spanish: https://www.mundotoro.com/

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

February 2, 2021

Paris and then there is Alma !!!

Let me go back to my eternal Paris and update this older post in my blog from 2017 with some same pictures. I have found many memorable moments doing these sequence of updates and has been much fun for me. So many posts on Paris but then again, never tired of it, love it. I had a much useful time in Paris on my last visit this past week, actually I think I walked a lot lol!

I came in as usual thru my Gare Montparnasse , and quickly moved by metro to the Place de l’Alma, then walked all over by its bridge and then the avenue des Champs-Elysées and of course the Arc de Triomphe areas. This is a bit of that walking trip of glorious Paris, the one you never get tired of visiting even if lucky enough to live in France

First, who does not come to Paris and not visit the avenue des Champs-Elysées (see post), even with all it’s tourist hordes all over ,it is still a wonder to see and feel and locals like it too.  However, I won’t tell nothing new, rather you taste it try it and see it, there is something for everybody there.

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Moving on away from it you can cut across avenue Marceau or ave George V to reach the wonderful Pont de l’Alma and its square of Place de l’Alma  . A magical place and bridge love by all locals and visitors alike.  The bridge is recent, built in 1969 to 1973 , and 143 meters long by 42 meters wide with an old soldier Zouave to keep an eye on the rises of the Seine river flood prevention. This bridge replaces one done in 1854 and it now links the Place de l’Alma on the rive droite or right bank to the Quai Branly on the rive gauche or left bank. There is a half size flame of the statue of liberty there and by it the memorial to Lady Diana.

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You will see the controversial Russain Orthodox Church been build on the quai Branly with Russian money and some says Putin’s money. The avenue Marceau is a wonderful street leading from the Place de l’Alma to the Arc de Triomphe passing by the Embassy of Spain, the Institut Cervantes, and the Yves-Saint-Laurent foundation Pierre Bergé amongst the notable buildings here.

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I stop by here to have my lunch at the simple but chic  Berts right next Alma-Marceau metro line 9 exit off the Avenue du Président Wilson. The Berts is a French chain of fast food restaurants proposing sandwiches and pastries etc à la Française of course. Webpage: https://www.berts.fr/o/nos-adresses/

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Right by here, you see the entrance to the Sewers tour of Paris, well not my cup of tea to visit sewers but it is popular, the Egouts de Paris. Passing the Place de l’Alma, further down on Avenue de New York, you can visit my old haunts visited many times the American Center of the Mona Bismarck Foundation. An American  contemporary arts center and exhibition place.  And see right across it the Bridge or Passarelle Debilly created for the Universal Exposition of 1900. And of course, the big Tour Eiffel across it.

The Mona Bismarck was for many years the home of many American organisations in Paris some of which I belong, and now it is totally dedicated to showcasing the American arts to the French public and of course all visitors to Paris.  Now call the American Center for Art & Culture (see post)

The Paris tourist office on the pont de l’Alma: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73139/Pont-de-l-Alma

The Paris tourist office on the Arc de Triomphe: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71396/Arc-de-Triomphe

The Paris tourist office on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73130/Avenue-des-Champs

You come in to see Paris, but rather Paris see you, there is much more to Paris than a blog or a post. Paris is a moveable feast you never stop loving it once bitten.

Hope you enjoy the short post on a grand city of our world, Paris. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!!

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