Some news from Spain XCIX

And here on a bright sunny cool day in my neck of the woods I come back to you with news of my beloved Spain. It has been difficult periods and not much desire or opportunity to go out and enjoy as we can go out but most is closed. Let me tell you a bit more on what is my 99th post on my series Some news from Spain, Roman numerals XCIX! thanks for reading me over these years, appreciated.

As the world turns so is my Spain. Something in this pandemia governments try to hide but pros are saying loud and clear is the fact tourism is hurting badly and represent large portion of revenue for the regions and country. The number of tourists who arrived in Madrid until December 2020 was around 1.71 million, compared to the 10.4 million visitors the previous year, according to the National Institute of Statistics!!! . So that it stops being a pending subject, and on the occasion of the International Tourist Guide Day, They will tell us a little more about the History of Madrid to learn from it.

Madrid is home to the oldest restaurant in the world certified by the Guinness Book of Records, and legend has it that Francisco de Goya worked in its kitchens as a young man. It was inaugurated in 1725 and is called Restaurante Sobrino de Botín.yeah!

Madrid has the largest Royal Palace in Western Europe, doubling the size of the famous Buckingham, for example. Yeah! The oldest building in the city is the Temple of Debod, brought from Egypt at the end of the 60s. The oldest indigenous building is, however, far from the tourist focus: in the heart of the Carabanchel neighborhood stands the Hermitage of Santa María La Antigua, built in the 13C. Go see it

In Madrid’s Berlin Park you can admire remains of the famous wall that divided the German capital for decades. The shortest street in Madrid is perpendicular to the most famous one: its name is Rompelanzas, it is barely twenty meters long and is located halfway along Calle Preciados between Callao and Sol. Yes indeed!

At the Puerta de la Torre de los Lujanes (15C), the oldest civil building in Madrid, there are stonemason marks, symbols that identified the artisans or workshops that carved the ashlars that were placed in homes or churches and that they facilitated the collection of the work carried out, in addition to publicizing them.

There are rarely seen views, such as those enjoyed from the Cuña de O’Donnell park, similar to those enjoyed from the better-known Cerro del Tío Pío park or the Siete Tetas park, but with a different perspective. You can also visit housing colonies from the end of the 19C and the 20s and 30s of the 20C outside the center. For example, what remains of the Madrid Moderno neighborhood, located in La Guindalera, is an authentic and surprising marvel of style neo-Mudejar and modernism. The Cuña de O’Donnell park is a new extention very nicely done and located at Cemetery Nuestra Señora de La Almudena, bounded by the extension of Calle O’Donnell street to the north, by Calle Doctor García Tapia and Calle José Bergamín to the south, to the east by Calle Fuente Carrantona and to the west by Calle Arroyo de la Media Legua. Enjoy it

The vast majority of the time they look for good, beautiful and cheap places, both for informal meetings and for work meetings or hangouts with friends, now that the afternoon is taking so much, or even an appointment – whichever has one. Now in crisis we look more at our pockets, but we do not resign ourselves to stop going out, because socialization with restrictions has become, more than ever, a moment of evasion where we can forget the coronavirus, always respecting security measures and with the utmost care. Yeah life goes on and these two are great places enjoy it.

To create a gourmet space with a shop, restaurant and cafeteria where quality products reign in Chamberí district of Madrid. You can go to breakfast and go out having bought the bread, tomatoes from the garden, sausage or smoked oil made by them with their own machine, have some incredible wines with mussels and anchovies, which come out of the can to your mouth whole, and finish with a bite of homemade torrijas or Pão de Ló following the traditional Portuguese recipe. D.Origen Calle Gaztambide, 62, Madrid. Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/d.origengourmet/

Various differentiated and minimalist environments to be at ease with interpersonal distance and a renewed Spanish cuisine menu, with starters such as black pudding fritters with honey tears, confit artichokes or grilled foie with caramelised onion and low-temperature egg. To continue, fish, meat and healthy and current dishes such as avocado and tomato tartare. Its winery stands out, with the main Spanish denominations of origin, and the house wine especially, a selection from the Martínez Lacuesta winery, in Rioja. En Recoletos. Calle Recoletos, 13 Madrid.Their webpage: https://www.enrecoletosrestaurante.com/

They are the restaurants with the best wine cellars’s lists in Spain. My favorites are:

ATRIO (Cáceres) . More than 4,000 references, including 42 vintages from Mouton-Rothschild, 27 from Latour, 23 from Petrus … and 80 from the mythical Château d’Yquem, the largest collection in the world outside the winery, which can be visited in a small chapel and which started in 1806. Every year, the restaurant’s updated wine book is published, a bibliophile gem.Yes indeed; have it! Webpage: https://restauranteatrio.com/en/the-wine-cellar/

LAVINIA (Madrid); the favorite still in my Madrid.   In its more than a thousand square meters, the largest wine store in Spain houses more than 4,500 wines from all over the world and from all price ranges. All, absolutely all, can be consumed in the local bistro ,which has a pleasant urban terrace at store prices! webpage: https://www.lavinia.es/es/paginas/tiendas-7

REKONDO (San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa). Unanimously recognized as one of the best wineries in the world, it responds to the passion for wine of Txomin Rekondo, who comments on the restaurant’s website: “In 1964, I decided to turn my hobby into my way of life and that’s how the Rekondo winery was born. Since then we have continued to buy wine from all over the world and improve our offering. ” In that time, it has collected thousands of bottles from more than 20 countries, among which the old vintages of great Rioja classics stand out. Another historical and great town too. Webpage: https://www.rekondo.com/en/the-wine-cellar/

I told you in previous post and the work continues as the Prado Museum reinvents its future with more social painting, more history and more women. The gallery is preparing the rearrangement of a good part of its exhibits. This is ongoing and when re open it will be a new Prado.To be seen a must!

And great news in this mess of the pandemia!  The great dream of the gallery owner Helga de Alvear is finally a reality; she opens her new museum of contemporary art in Cáceres after an investment of 10 million euros, almost half supported by institutional support from the Junta de Extremadura.

Nestled in the heart of the monumental city, with an area of 5,000 m2 (8,000 with a garden and provision for storage), the first exhibition – which will be inaugurated today Thursday by the Kings of Spain. It houses 200 works selected from the nearly 3,000 that the collector of German origin (Rhineland, 1936) since she settled in Spain in 1957. A new building with wide ceilings that houses the most complete private collection of contemporary art that currently exists in Europe. The new building houses a selection of works by artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Pablo Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Wassily Kandinsky, Helena Almeida and Ai Weiwei, among others. Another room has also been designed for Francisco de Goya, through the first edition of Sus Caprichos (whims), to disseminate his influence on modern and contemporary art. A first phase of rehabilitation of the so-called Casa Grande, of 3,000 square meters, where until now the Helga de Alvear Foundation has exhibited. The building of the Museum of Contemporary Art; subsequently, a construction of another 15,000 m2 was projected for this new one. Part of the garden has yet to be completed and a warehouse and offices have been prepared. The building will have three entrances. The idea was to join the old city of Cáceres in a corridor, from Calle Pizarro street, to the extension that represents the access through Calle Camino Llano. The webpage of the Helga de Alvear Foundationhttp://fundacionhelgadealvear.es/en/expositions/helga-de-alvear-collection/

Some drawing from Dali found!! The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955) is one of Dalí’s most popular works. It is in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington. It is a vast representation of the Last Supper in which an ethereal torso with outstretched arms, possibly the risen Christ, hovers over the seated figures of Christ and the apostles. An alleged unpublished sketch of this work has come to light, along with two others related to the artist’s religious-themed works: ‘Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)’, in which he painted Gala as a devotional figure before a crucified Christ, and ‘Calavera de Zurbarán’, his homage to the 17C Spanish master. Yesterday, the Gala-Salvador Dalí de Figueras Foundation did not want to comment on these unpublished items as it had not been able to see them yet. Keep an eye on it as this can be a great find and more reason to visit when possible. The foundation webpage: https://www.salvador-dali.org/en/dali-foundation/

Somthing to keep in mind for when will be possible to travel again in my beloved Spain. Some fortresses and castles of architectural and historical value I like, many with individual posts in my blog. Enjoy it

Most impressive fortresses in Spain, me think are

The Alcazaba of La Alhambra, (Granada) is, together with the Torres Bermejas, the oldest part of the Granada monumental site. Built in the 9C, it was dedicated to the surveillance and control of the city as well as the habitual residence of the elite army. It served not only for defence against enemies but also against internal uprisings. This great wall allowed that, even with the fall of the protected city, the citadel resisted during a long period. In the enclosure you can visit the Quebrada towers, the Homage towers and the famous Torre de la Vela.

The Alcàzar de los Reyes Cristianos (Cordoba). Stands next to the impressive Mosque which Alfonso XI restored this fortress that was part of the Caliphal palace and that, after being destroyed by the troops of Fernando III el Santo, in 1328. It preserves the keep and rooms with Roman mosaics and furniture old, as well as some beautiful gardens with Mudejar pools and fountains.

The Alcàzar de Jerez de la Frontera (Càdiz). Located opposite the cathedral, this 11C Arab fortification preserves seven towers (of the twelve it originally had) as well as two gates, the Ciudad (City) and the Campo (Country). Inside, the Chapel of Santa María stands out, a Christian transformation of an old mosque, as well as some Arab baths and a Renaissance palace.

The Alcazaba de Màlaga.(Màlaga) This defensive citadel is the main Arab monument in Malaga. Of the three original wall canvases ordered to be built by the Abderramán de Córdoba, two remain, set with defensive towers and with several access gates. The fortress is completed with three palaces whose workmanship recalls that of the Alhambra in Granada. Inside is the Archaeological Museum of Malaga.

The Alcàzar de Molina de Aragon (Guadalajara). This town with an intense border history between Castile and Aragon, and sensational natural landscapes preserves as its most representative monument a fortress with a castle, walls and the so-called Tower of Aragon. A spacious and elegant complex built by the Andalusians on an old Celtiberian fort between the 10C and 11C and which served as a bastion for the important Señorío de Molina, almost an independent nation of Castile and Aragon- in the 14C.

The Alcàzar de Segovia (Segovia). Between the Eresma and Clamores rivers, this imposing fortress dates back to pre-Roman times. It was rebuilt in the 13C as a royal palace, expanded in a Gothic style and endowed with a Herrerian air with Central European touches by king Felipe II. Completely restored in 1951 after the fire that ravaged it at the end of the 19C, its imposing location is joined by a spectacular interior: the Patio de Armas, the Throne Room, the Galera room or the Kings room, adorned with a luxurious frieze that recreates the original.

The Alcàzar de Toledo (Toledo). Erected at the wish of king Carlos V on the remains of previous fortresses, it was the architect Alonso de Covarrubias who gave the fortress its current plan in 1537. A quadrangular shape with four powerful towers. Successive fires and an underground charge of dynamite during the Spanish Civil War almost led to its destruction. After successive interventions it regained its splendor and in recent decades it has hosted the Army Museum and, more recently, the Library of Castilla-La Mancha, considered the second most important in the country behind the National Library!

You might have read heard or visit them and should know ,Spain has one of the richest palace heritages in Europe some of my favorites are:

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Madrid). It was practically destroyed after being destroyed by fire in 1748, but this residence of the Spanish royalty remains so spectacular that many guides refer to it as “the Spanish Versailles”. It was king Felipe II who entrusted the task of building the palace (as he did with the El Escorial Monastery) to his trusted architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo. He devised a beautiful French-style complex where its dazzling gardens and fountains stand out.

The Nazari palaces of Granada (Granada). In the list of the most beautiful palaces in Spain, the Nasrid Palaces (Comares and Los Leones) located inside the Alhambra in Granada, one of the wonders not only of Spain but of the whole world, could not be missing. These two Andalusian complexes with patios and gardens so impressed the Catholic Monarchs that they established their residence here after the conquest of the Nasrid kingdom.

The Granja de San Ildefonso of Segovia (Segovia). About 13 km from Segovia is the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, a majestic residence built by order of King Felipe V (born in Versailles). The first Bourbon monarch brought a taste for elegant palaces from France and decided to apply it to this architectural jewel , entrusting the project to the architect Teodoro Ardemans. Often call the Little Versailles.

The Palace of the Infantado (Guadalajara). The Palace of the Dukes of Infantado is a 15C building ordered to be built by Íñigo López de Mendoza y Luna, second Duke of Infantado, in Guadalajara. It is an Elizabethan Gothic style palace with Renaissance elements, such as the diamond points that decorate its façade. The exterior beauty of the palace is sublime, but the interior has nothing to envy. Its rooms are arranged around a splendid patio with a beautiful Gothic balcony.

The Royal Palace of Madrid (Madrid). Located where the Alcázar used to be, the Royal Palace of Madrid was ordered to be built by king Felipe V. The gossip then said that it was the monarch himself who caused the fire that destroyed the old Alcázar, in order to build this elegant palace in the French Baroque style . However, the king never came to live in it, since he died before its construction was completed. On the other hand, the Royal Palace is not only one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain: it is also the largest royal palace in all of Western Europe (double the area of Buckingham Palace and Versailles Palace).

And there you go folks a bit on my beloved Spain, some news and some must visit sights when possible. As you know if read my blog, an advertising campaign from the 80’s read and I like it, Spain , everything under the sun!! Enjoy Spain as we do! And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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