Archive for February 11th, 2021

February 11, 2021

Téléferico de Madrid!!!

Oh I am so glad to look at this post again, and revise/updated it from 2018 post. This is really memories of youth where it was a challenge taking this téléferico or cable car of Madrid over from parque del oeste to casa de campo!! I was very happy to bring my girlfriend and then dear wife here and later with the boys and last in 2017 as my dear late wife Martine passed away from the terrible cancer in 2018. We must fight more against it.

Moving right along in my beloved Madrid, let me tell you about a ride I enjoyed since childhood and probably one of the first persons to tried it…. My dear late mother Gladys was always looking for inexpensive ways to entertained me and as we lived in Madrid for several years , just after the cable car opened, we certaintly was there right away. The ride is short the thrill of a boy huge, and the experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

Like said, the Téléferico or cable car is a must for me while in Madrid, even if now older and my boys older it is the memories that count and the thrill is still there even if sadder it is a must. I have to say here that is not the same visiting than living, and if lived, the memories are forever as I had a great time each time in Madrid. Or Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! I think for my memories and all those families coming ,thinking of coming or repeat a show of it is worth it me think. So here it is, the Teleferico de Madrid!

The Teleférico of Rosales aka of Madrid starts from the Paseo del Pintor Rosales to arrive at the Plaza de los Pasos Perdidos of Casa del Campo at  a spot call Cerro Garabitas. In this terminal there is a restaurant-cafeteria and a car park and in the Paseo de Rosales another car park, with 350 places, and a restaurant, EL Balcon de Rosales, which unfortunately has closed and there is talk of doing a library there now by the city.

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A bit of history I like

The company Teleférico de Rosales, S.A. was created in 1967. After the city of Madrid had granted it a lease for 35 years on a parcel of land of 1500 meters in the park of Casa del Campo for its installations.   The cable car was built in one year by the Swiss company Von Roll. The Cable was inaugurated in 1969. Since March 2012, it has a digital planetarium which, on the first Sunday of each month, offers simulations encompassing the sky from day to night.

The cable car is a bicable system. It has 80 cabins, each of which has a capacity of five persons, and runs a distance of 2 457 meters, at a maximum height of 40 meters. The engine station is 627 meters above sea level as from Alicante and the twin train station at 651 meters. It has a capacity of 1 200 passengers/hour and its speed is 3.5 meters per second. The journey lasts 11 minutes in direct sunlight, above a desert park.

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You , also, can see on clear days , just begun the journey, the parque de la Rosaleda and parque del Oeste, which in spring will find very florid and colored. As we move away from the point of embarkation, the view towards Madrid improves. Soon we will be struck by the photograph that can be made of the Royal Palace and the Cathedral of the Almudena. If you look a bitn we will also see the triangular roof of the Royal Theater protruding from the left side of the palace. Nearby are also the tower of Madrid and the Edificio (building) España (Spain), which emerge from the Plaza de España. When the thickness of the trees allows it, one can also distinguish the temple of Debod.

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Looking down we will find the train station of Príncipe Pio, the hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida and the Manzanares River. When we cross the M-30, a few meters from the entrance of the cars to the tunnel, we begin to fly over the Casa del Campo. Its silhouette shows the platform of the Moncloa lighthouse (Faro), the Picasso tower and the inclined gate towers of Europe(Puerta de Europa). A little more to the left we see the complex of the four towers (Cuatro Torres), the highest skyscrapers in Madrid. Here my old home of the sports city or Ciudad Deportiva de Madrid old training grounds of the Real Madrid CF!

Upon arriving at destination ,looking to the front, we have the Casa del Campo. To the right, the large expanse of the park, with its immense grove mainly of holm oaks and pine trees accompanied by countless shrubs. And in the background, the relief of the Sierra de Madrid. On the left side the lake is hidden among the trees, but sometimes it can be located because a large stream of water tends to emerge from its central point. A little further ahead we will see the amusement park (Parque de Atracciones), easy to distinguish by the structure of the roller coaster.

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You get to the cable car or Téléferico on metro Argûelles lines 3, 4, and 6, as well as bus lines 21 , 62 , and 74 or walking from Gran Via thru Plaza de España.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The official Téléferico webpage: https://www.telefericomadrid.es/

The tourist office of Madrid on the Téléferico: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/madrid-teleferico

And the story is told , in prime time , memories forever. Hope you and your family enjoy this wonderful cable car ride in Madrid.

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

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February 11, 2021

Palacio de Fomento, Madrid!

Ok so here I continue in my update/revise mode of my older posts in my blog , again from 2018 and an off the beaten path monument of my beloved Madrid. Actually, it is in a very popular square facing a famous train station but folks seldom go in thinking it is a government building. It is but it can be visited! This is the old Palacio de Fomento or agriculture ministry of Spain!

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Well hold on , this is not your usual palace! It is located very centrally by the Atocha train station and had passed many times for its magnificent architecture. However, this Palacio de Fomento is actually the seat of Spain Ministry of Agriculture, Foods, and Environment! And another beauty of my beloved Madrid.

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I am sure many has seen it traveling in and out of Madrid by Atocha and marble of the structure on the top center of the building, wondering what it is and if it can be visited. Only accessable to the general public on guided visits in normal times…  I think it is worth a detour and think it deserve a single post of its own. Therefore, here is a primer ,hope you enjoy it as I.

The Palace of Fomento, current headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Madrid , one of the most beautiful and emblematic buildings in Madrid, began to be built in the 1890’s. The project took place, because the former headquarters of the Ministry of Development (Convent of the Trinity in Calle Atocha) ,the current Teatro Calderón was small and decided to create a nice ministerial headquarters. To raise it was chosen some land that once belonged to the botanical garden (Real Jardin Botànico) and to separate them from it, had to open a new street, the current Cuesta de Moyano (where the book fair has been held for several years now).  The new building was inaugurated in the year 1900 by the Queen Maria Cristina and combined the tasks of Ministry of  Agriculture and Public Works.The plot of land in 1886 was originally destined for the Faculty of Sciences and the Central School of Arts and Crafts and Commerce, but the project was dismissed. Although it initially housed the headquarters of the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Education and Fine arts, it is currently the main headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Foods and Environment.

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 A bit on the architecture I like

It has a setback rectangular plant and is organized by two interior courtyards of equal proportions with iron and glass cover. The highlight of the building is the central body of the facade, composed of a central portico of equal height that the ground floor, which serves, at the same time, as a basement  to four pairs of giant columns of Corinthian in order that support a architrave and an attic of notable proportions.

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Also noteworthy are the decorations of tiles and enamels of Daniel Zuloaga, the paintings of Ferrant, the caryatids of the entrance portico that represent the industry and commerce, and the colossal sculptures of the front summit that Agustín Querol made in stone, and then they were replaced by identical bronze ones. Once past this staircase of the hall is when the wonderful monumental staircase of the palace comes. Because of the size and beauty of this staircase it is understood that it is truly a palace. In the front, the stairs, and the balustrades are of Italian polished marble. But then the budget failed short and they were made with stone of Robledo de Chabela. It is surrounded by the Ionic order and is also repeated here the architectural structures of the facade, as will happen in the courtyards, which  provides great harmony. The patios of lights are divided into three main bodies: two with galleries of arches and the last sculptures, following the same disposition as in the facade. The interior of the building is greatly changed by its use over time. It maintains however, the staircases with iron shelves and the elliptical plant library, with its green wood shelves and its staircases with cast iron on both sides.

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The building counts on its main façade with a bronze copy of a sculptural ensemble by Agustín Querol, known as the Glory and the Pegasus. A bronze copy, encrusted in the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the original group, in marble, in the Plaza de Legazpi and the Glorieta de Cádiz.  In 2005, on the occasion of the works of the M-30 (beltway of Madrid, the original one I knew when lived in the city that passes under the Plaza de Legazpi) jeopardized its stability, the two groups of the Pegasus were withdrawn. After the end of the underground work, only one of them was re-placed.  The one located to the left of the Glory symbolizes material progress. A female figure (agriculture) carries a plow in the right hand while taking with the other one the reins of the Pegasus (symbol of the speed), which appears resting on its hind legs and in gesture to undertake the flight. In it,  is mounted a male figure (the industry) extending his left arm exhibiting a duce (own attribute of Mercury, a Roman god associated with trade). Under the winged horse, one can appreciate a sheaf of wheat and two sprockets, in clear allusion to Agriculture and the Industry respectively.

Many years closed to the general public and it finally opened in 2014 , organizing guided tours and dramatized plays inside the building. Inside it houses works of arts  from National patrimony and from the Prado Museum. I have passed by it many times and been on its grounds but never taken a tour.  Guided tours are free and take place on Saturdays and Sundays, not public holidays, at 12h noon. OF course, this info needs to be verify once getting there as with today’s virus time who knows! There is a telephone  91 347 50 68.  Mondays to Fridays  from 12h to 14h or write email to : entradaspalaciodefomento@mapa.es  the booked tickets must be collected at the entrance of the building desde  11h15 to 11h30 . Bookings will not be valid after 11h30.  In the case of dramatized visits, these have a cost of 8 euros per person and take place on Fridays and Saturdays, not holidays, at 20h (8pm). To book the tickets you have to call the same telephone above and or email at the same times.

Some orientation for the Palacio de Fomento as it is surrounded by emblematic buildings and places as well as important cultural centers.  As said, it is in front of the Atocha train station only a few meters from the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V (emperor Charles V square), in which center there is replica of the Fuente de la Alcachofa (as fountain in the Retiro Park) , and very close to the Paseo del Prado, Real Jardín Botánico (Royal Botanical garden),  Parque del Retiro (Retiro park),  Real Observatorio de Madrid (Royal Observatory of Madrid) , and the museums of Anthropology , Reina Sofia, and Prado.

How to get here is easy , Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente( Palacio de Fomento) at  Paseo Infanta Isabel nº1 Metro: Atocha Renfe líne 1 Atocha Cercanías trains C-1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C7, C8, and C10.  Bus lines 10, 14, 19, 26, 32, 37, 85, 86 and Circular .

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The official Ministry of  agriculture ;fishing and alimentation on visits in Spanish: https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/ministerio/palacio-de-fomento/visitas-guiadas/default.aspx

The Madrid tourist office on the Min Agro, fishing and alimentation/foods in English: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/ministerio-de-agricultura

Hope you enjoy my Madrid. An immense city with so much to offer the visitor/tourist and for locals as well. You never stop learning on Madrid. And of course, the off the beaten path wonder of the Palacio de Fomento!

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

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February 11, 2021

Plaza de Oriente, Madrid

Now I need to update/revise this post of 2018. Not only is for my beloved Madrid but the Eastern square or Plaza de Oriente is smallish yet surrounded by wonderful buildings not the least the Teatro Real or Royal Theater of Spain. Therefore, let me update/revise my post Plaza de Oriente in Madrid! Hope you enjoy it as I.

This is heavens territory or as we said, To Madrid to heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday. This is all Spain in one city, you have, see it and do it all here. Except the beach !

We come to the more old and glitzy area of Madrid, this is an area you come when young to cool chasing girls and impressed them; not the one for cheap thrills, and even today a bit touristic pricey in my opinion. Nevertheless, the Plaza de Oriente is a must to come , especially if first time. Not to be confused to going to the Royal Palace or Almudena Cathedral or the Royal Theater; just talking about the walks around here!!

The Plaza de Oriente has a nice garden around it too. Located in front of the Royal Palace, these 1.60 hectares of garden are part of one of the most touristic ensembles in Madrid. These gardens were built on the initiative of Joseph Bonaparte, in order to enhance the Royal Palace and the Royal Theater. Since then they have experienced numerous and important renovations. The current design of the gardens, created in 1941, still takes as a reference point the equestrian statue of Felipe IV, but distributes the gardens squarely. They are composed of seven parterres, populated by shrubs of boxwood, ,cypresses, and magnolias of  small size, as well as floral plantations, of temporary character. They are bounded on both sides by rows of statues, popularly known as the Goths Kings, who act as the dividing line of the other two quadrants.

In the middle of the square, the equestrian statue of Felipe IV work in bronze done between 1634 and 1640.  It is done looking  east  towards the Royal Theater (see post) following the calculations of Galileo, is escorted by a large part of the collection of statues of the Spanish kings who should have crowned the Royal Palace. The gardens follow geometric shapes that air and give visibility to the façade of the Royal Palace.  Until 1941, they were circulated around the monument to Felipe IV, which occupies the center of the enclosure. Around the statue of the monarch, were located 44 sculptures, corresponding to different Spanish kings, but in 1927 was reduced its number to 20. The 20 statues of the monarchs are located longitudinally, in two rows of ten, on both sides of the central monument. The Calle  Bailén was banished, which separates the square itself from the eastern facade of the Royal Palace, in such a way that the square arrives directly to this building. Other pedestrian spaces were also won on the outskirts of the Teatro Real, while a new paving was made.

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Moreover, they are at the center of an important monumental ensemble including not only the Royal Palace, but also the Monasterio de la Encarnación. It is presided over by two of the most important buildings of the capital: its Western outline is the Royal palace and the Oriental the Teatro Real. Its north face is formed by the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation, which was expropriated by the orchard of the priory to integrate it into the square.  A series of small bars and typical terraces border the Royal Theater side in the form of a semicircle. Under the square was built an underground car park, within a project that initially contemplated the creation of a mall in the basement, an idea that was finally dismissed. The remodeling works, concluded in 1996.

There are further subdivision of gardens alongside the Plaza de Oriente, that sometimes makes you think you are in the same but they are not.  The gardens of Cabo Noval, composed mainly of banana plantations, occupy the northern part of the Plaza de Oriente, next to the street of San Quintin, for which the traffic is allowed.  The gardens of Lepanto are located in the southern part of the square. They are defined by Calle de Bailén, which runs to the west, in parallel with the archery of the Plaza de la Armeria; and by the Calle de Vergara, which appears to the south, through a ramp, built to save the slope of the terrain. To the east is the Calle de Lepanto, which lends its name.

You get here easily on the Metro Opera line  2 and 5 ,and bus lines 25 and 39; parking best by Cuesta Santo Domingo 5 near Royal Opera Theater.  Walks here are classic and upper, with the before mentioned historical monuments. The Monastery of the Encarnacion, and the La  Bola (best cocido madrileno in my opinion) restaurant are tops. The Cuesta Santo Domingo where there is a good parking has been totally redone from my days living here, it was narrow crowded old, now it is more flexible and the parking is very good underground.

The city of Madrid on the gardens and Plaza de Orientehttps://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/El-Ayuntamiento/Parques-y-jardines/Patrimonio-Verde/Parques-en-Madrid/Jardines-de-la-Plaza-de-Oriente-Lepanto-y-Cabo-Noval

The Tourist office of Madrid on the Plaza de Orientehttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/jardines-de-la-plaza-de-oriente

There you go another wonderful square in my beloved Madrid, and a great place to walk at any hour. Hope you enjoy the Plaza de Oriente, and see you around Madrid , eventually

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

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February 11, 2021

Cathedrale St Pierre et St Paul , Nantes!!

In a wonderful historical city of the west of France , there are many monuments to see, many wonderful properties. I believe that this one is a must to visit in beautiful Nantes, Loire-Atlantique dept 44 of the region of Pays de la Loire, even if old Bretagne! Let me update/revise this old post from 2018 on the  Cathédrale St Pierre et St Paul de Nantes!

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And I continue with my in-depth tour, of things that I have posted before in a general sense of a city, I feel that they deserve a single entry on their own.  I like to tell you about a wonderful Church Cathedral with lots of architecture and history inside. You can always do search in my blog ot find more about Nantes. Here is the latest entry on the Cathédrale de Saint Pierre et Saint Paul.

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The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul , has some remarkable features, such as the presence of a well inside the building. In the past, water was to be fetch from this well in the Cathedral. To build the base of the pillars, granite, sturdier and more resistant to moisture than the Tufa stone, was used. The black spots are not due to the fire of  1972 but to the upwelling of the water. .  St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral (also locally known as St. Peter’s Cathedral   It is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Nantes, seat of the  Bishop of Nantes. Bringing this up as folks saw this post and maybe overlook that in the morning of July 18 2020 ,there was a fire at the Cathedral for  malicious intention, with three different fires. Luckily , the fireman came in quickly and the fire was put out. Nevertheless the beautiful organs were gone completely burned as well as a portrait of the 17C. The Fondation du Patrimoineor heritage foundation has started a collection of funds to rebuild the organs. There still way to go to get it done: Webpage: https://www.fondation-patrimoine.org/les-projets/cathedrale-saint-pierre-et-saint-paul-de-nantes

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Now a bit of history I like

The site would have been initially occupied by a Druidic temple dedicated to Janus or “BouljanusSubsequently, three Christian religious buildings preceded the present Cathedral on the same premises:  A basilica built in the 4C, A first Cathedral, built in the current of the century and a second Romanesque Cathedral, built in the 11C. The current Cathedral is built on the site of the latter, gradually absorbing it.  The construction of the present Cathedral is under the impetus of the Duke of Brittany Jean V and Bishop Jean de Malestroit, who lay the first stone in 1434. The central gate that adorns the façade is completed in 1481, for the great masses. King Henri IV crossed it in 1598, when she passed through Nantes to sign the Edict of Tolerance or Nantes.   If the façade was completed at the end of the 15C, the towers were only in 1508; The nave and the collateral were also done at the beginning of the 16C, but the Gothic vault of the nave, the southern arm of the transept and the buttresses were completed in the 17C .

During the French revolution, the Cathedral was used as a military observation post at the Siege of Nantes in 1793. A 10-meters-high wooden tower is built on the south tower, and surveillance is ensured by means of a telescope. Military decisions are made based on the information obtained here. During this period, it was transformed into an arsenal and a stable, then a departmental decree of 1794 formally devotes it to the celebration of public feasts The cathedral is threatened with destruction in 1796, and it is envisaged to extend the Rue du Département (now Rue du Roi-Albert) straight line to the Rue Brutus ( now Rue Prémion) facing the castle. The intervention, as an expert, by Mathurin-Julien Grolleau, avoids the destruction of the Cathedral.  The demolition of the walls to the east of the city allowed the completion of the Cathedral in the 19C;: the north arm of the transept and the bedside were undertaken in 1840, the old Romanesque choir was shot down from 1876 and the old tower of the transept crusader in 1886. The Chandeliers of the nave are made around 1870. After 457 years of work, the Cathedral was finally inaugurated on 25 December 1891.

A bit of a description on the Cathedral…

The Cathedral St Peter and St Paul has the following dimensions:  A height:of 63 meters, interior mength: 103 meters; height of the nave under vaults: 37.5 meters. The facade of the Cathedral of Nantes is framed by two quite massive towers, at the top on the terrace. It presents some remarkable peculiarities, such as the presence of an external pulpit intended to preach to the crowds assembled on the square, or the organization in five gates to the richly decorated covings, three central and two lateral. The portals are dedicated, from north to south, to the affluent children (the Donatien and Rogatien martyrs), to Saint Peter, to the Last Judgement, to Saint Paul and finally to Saint Yves. 

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The Crypt is an 11C Romanesque style dating from the time of the second Cathedral. Endowed with pillars, it reveals the origins of Romanesque architecture. Objects of worship are exhibited there: Ciboriums, chalices, censers. A Crypt of Bishops, evokes the Bishops of Nantes by their tomb. Below, four open rooms of the 19C retrace the history of the Cathedral. he great Organ the documents testify to the presence of an organ in the Cathedral as early as the 15C, when the building was erected. The organ at the origin of the present instrument for the central part and dates from 1619. Ordinary ceremonies are usually accompanied by the choir organ, also known as the “small organ”, which is nevertheless the largest accompaniment organ of France.

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A must to see inside the Cathedral of Nantes:

It is possible to admire the tomb and the recumbents of Duke Francis II of Brittany and his wife Marguerite de Foix (parents of Anne of Brittany) executed at the beginning of the 16C. Considered a masterpiece of French sculpture, it establishes a link between the eras (from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance) and the regions (the Italian style meets and harmoniously blends with the French style). This marble tomb, took five years to achieve (1502-1507), is decorated with the Twelve Apostles and four women who represent strength, prudence, temperance, and justice. It is installed in the Cathedral in 1817. The Cathedral also houses the Cenotaph of General de Lamoricière, a monument erected in 1878 in papal homage to the services rendered by this child of the wealthy country.

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An event of note with the Cathedral were that in front of the Cathedral, place Saint-Pierre, Nicolas Fouquet was arrested by d’Artagnan on September 5, 1661 by order of king Louis XIV. After having built Vaux-le-Vicomte and after some accusations of mishandling of money and jealousy.

Further, the Cathedral of Nantes is reach by line 4 of the Busway de Nantes at the station “Foch-Cathedral” in public transport. I would do it by Parking Cathedrale at Rue Sully.

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and visit is a must to this wonderful Cathedral are

The official webpage of the Cathedral of Nantes: http://cathedrale-nantes.fr/

The Nantes tourist office on the Cathedral: https://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en/heritage/cathedral-saint-pierre-and-saint-paul

There you go, do visit Nantes ,you will be glad and do come over to the Cathedral of Nantes!

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

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