Some news from Spain C

And here I am back to my lovely Spain, never too far! I have great sunny weather with temps going to 26C or about 79F. In my beloved Madrid it is now 55F and cloudy and we have 56F and some clouds. The times still sad with more complication of confinement. More info on this tirinig and repeated news can be found in the Foreign Relations Ministry of the Kingdom of Spain or in Spanish Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores , Union Europea, y Cooperacion.(the official news and rules).

Now things are going on of course. Let me tell you my favorite news from Spain; and hope you enjoy the reading as this is my 100 posts on the series. Thanks for reading me over these years!!!

The ‘Moroccan Trilogy 1950-2020’ brings together 250 works from the time of independence to the present. It can be seen until September 27 2021 at the Reina Sofía museum in Madrid. It is limited to three temporal stages: until the seventies, the lead years until 1999 and finally Generation 00 from 2000 to the present. And it sticks to the three cities with the greatest cultural effervescence at this time: Tangier, Tetouan and Casablanca. This exhibition, on the other hand, has been possible thanks to the National Foundation of Museums of Morocco, the Mohammed VI Museum, from which some paintings have emerged, the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art – Qatar Museums in Doha, from which they have Checked out others and the Qatar Foundation.

The Italian architect Francesco Sabatini (Palermo, 1721-Madrid, 1797), who spent most of his professional career in Spain at the service of the Crown and which this year marks the tricentennial of his birth, planned in 1771 the extension of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez with two wings attached to the towers of the main facade, due to the large family of Carlos III. At the western end of the south wing the new chapel would be built. On the main floor of the north wing, the new theater or coliseum was arranged. The National Heritage of Spain shows until April 4,2021 the campaign ‘Extraordinary National Heritage’: an opportunity to visit the Carlos III theater in the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. It has a tempera painted vault, which Mengs left unfinished!!

It was the first opera known in the Spanish language. The libretto was written by Lope de Vega. And the play papers burned forever among the embers of the fire that struck down the Real Alcázar of Madrid in 1732. But the opera has just been resurrected at the initiative of the singing and composition students of the Madrid Conservatory to bring back to life ‘La selva sin amor’ the jungle without love. Lope de Vega theatrical proposal explored all the possibilities of machinery and special effects. The cannon salutes and the fireworks shook the aristocracy as much as did the simulation of the waves, the beehives of the castles, the lighting devices and the liturgical apparatus that transported Venus aboard a carriage drawn by a pair of swans (fictitious). We know all these details from the documents that survived the fire and even from specific references to which Lope de Vega alludes. The play was reborn last March 24 and 25 at the Theater of the Higher School of Singing in Madrid. Now looking to expand it to other mediums and countries when possible.

The King Felipe VI and Queen Leticia have visited Fuendetodos (province of Zaragoza, region of Aragon), Goya’s hometown, on the occasion of the 275th anniversary of the painter’s birth, which was celebrated , March 30. Goya represents a precursor icon for modern art in many of its expressions and disciplines, from painting itself to the most contemporary creations in the cinematographic field, through literature, theater, the performing arts or sculpture itself. Well said by the Monarchs.

The Paseo de México, in the Retiro park, will open to the public tomorrow after a year and a half of works. The gate that gives access from the Plaza de la Independencia, next to the Puerta de Alcalá, reopens from 6h to 22h for those who want to walk and enjoy this restored space of more than 10,600 square meters of surface. Wonderful one of my entries living and visiting my Madrid! They have recovered historical, environmental, patrimonial and accessibility values. The restoration works of the great avenue that connects the city with the Estanque or big pond of the park have pursued the objective of returning the garden to its original characteristics, while at the same time providing it with the latest technical advances in environmental engineering. The fountains and flooring have been restored, new benches and furniture have been included so that the spaces can be enjoyed by citizens, evoking the image of the installation as it was in the first half of the 20C. Wow!! Can’t wait to be back!!

They find in Toledo a section of wall from the Umayyad Caliphate from the first third of the 10C. There is evidence that this set of structures, a total of three new towers and a section of wall of about 30 meters, are from Al-Hizan, that Abderramán III built.  The restoration works of a section of the medieval wall of Paseo de Cabestreros, which is being carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, have allowed the discovery of an Umayyad wall from the 10C. From this first discovery and incorporating the studies of archeology of architecture and archeometric analysis, it has been possible to detect how, embedded in later phases, there are two more towers that were amortized by modern constructions, mainly by the construction of the Hospital de Santiago!

Something for everyone, the underground lovers! In the province of León is the Cueva de Valporquero, an underground cathedral that water erosion has created for thousands of years. It has impressive galleries that can be explored on foot to contemplate the various rock formations. An enclave located next to a privileged natural environment: the Valporquero beech forest, very close to the Hoces de Vegacervera, which has various hiking routes for lovers of active tourism. This Leonese enclave in the district of Valporquero de Torío opened its doors to the public in 1966. The cave has various galleries open to the public, such as the Great Rotunda, the largest room; speleothems such as the Tower of Pisa, the Twins and the famous Madonna and Child; or the Gallery of the Fairies in which, in the rainy season, the water rushes into a waterfall 15 meters high. Outside the cave you will find the Valporquero beech forest, one of the best shady forests in the Cantabrian Sea. Among its undergrowth, animal species such as roe deer and vegetables such as hawthorn and holly are sheltered. An unforgettable landscape located in the middle of the Los Argüellos Biosphere Reserve, which is perfectly complemented by the monumentality of the Hoces de Vegacervera. There you go get down under!

When was the last time you dropped by Alcalá de Henares? (me in august 2019 can’t wait to be back!) This UNESCO World Heritage gem often goes unnoticed, even by locals themselves, despite being a stone’s throw from Madrid, yes indeed. You can explore all the essential places, such as the university of 1499, the birthplace of Cervantes or the Jewish quarter. There is no lack of a walk through Calle Mayor and Calle del Imagen, always with a lot of atmosphere. You can go to the Roman city of Complutum, origin of the current Alcalá de Henares , you will discover one of the most important archaeological sites in the Community of Madrid. The imperial forum, the market, the hot springs, and the famous fish mosaic in the House of Hippolytuslos. That explains the enormous relevance that Alcalá had in the times of the Old Roman Empire thanks to its strategic location between Mérida and Zaragoza. Starting with the story of the legendary witches of the city accused of causing misfortunes and incomprehensible events. From the Plaza del Padre Lecanda to the Archbishop’s Palace to remember what the inquisitorial processes were like passing through the Jewish quarter and the Antezana Hospital, this route is full of disturbing moments. In addition to the Cervantes’ s birthplace or the Chapel of the Oidor, among other stops linked to the biography of the writer, you will also visit places of the time, such as the Old Prison or the Hospital de Santa María la Rica. In the Plaza de San Diego, in front of the beautiful Plateresque façade of the University in whose auditorium the Cervantes Prize is awarded each year. You will see /notice know how the coexistence between Muslims, Christians and Jews in the city of Alcala was centuries ago. The walk takes you to the old walls and the Puerta de Madrid, which in the 18C allowed access to the historic center. You also discover the courtyard of the Museum of the Society of Condueños, the old Hospedería de Pobres Estudiantes. A way to explore the old town in a surprising way. Lovely Alcalà de Henares , a must to visit while in Spain.

Much progress has been made in terms of conservation and awareness since the Casa de Fieras (zoo now closed) was founded in 1774 in the Retiro Park of Madrid. Animals are no longer considered a spectacle but a unique window to get closer to nature and learn from it. Some of the better zoos/parks now in my opinion are:

In Faunia of Madrid, a nature theme park which allows you to travel to Antarctica or feed the sea bears without leaving Madrid. Located in Vicálvaro, it has more than 3,000 animals of 300 different species distributed in thematic areas with their own habitat, temperature, light conditions and humidity. In its 16 hectares dotted with lakes and ponds, visitors can enjoy the largest polar ecosystem in Europe, the tropical heat of the Amazon rainforest or the elegance of the kingdom of butterflies, among other facilities. The park has several restaurant areas, a children’s play area and a route that shows reproductions of different dinosaurs. My fav wonderful!

In the Loro Parque of Tenerife, penguins, gorillas, otters, sharks and killer whales , and many other animals will delight visitors who come to this unique space, named by Unesco and the Canary Government «example for all zoos in the world » due to its projects for the protection and reproduction of gorillas and other endangered species. A Thai village; the largest in the world outside of Thailand, welcomes Loro Parque, which has set several hard-to-beat records: its collection of parrots is one of the most extensive on the planet with 4,000 birds and some 350 species and subspecies .

The Bioparc in Valencia recreates the equatorial forest, the habitats of Madagascar and the great wetlands of Africa. The great merit of this natural park, which is not a zoo, is that the animals, the vegetation and the landscape coexist faithfully recreating the original ecosystems.

Sharma Climbing Madrid, the largest center in Spain, measuring 4,000 square meters and a benchmark in the world. You have different paths with colors and levels of difficulties, so the challenges are increasing. on walls up to 19 meters high (with about 160 tracks and around 150 blocks). It is a large-scale climbing wall. Here the Spanish National Team trains, Olympic athletes because it is approved for international competitions. At the climbing wall they rent climbing shoes and harness, the necessary equipment for those who do not have it. You only have to bring liquid magnesium to avoid sweating from your hands . For the courageous a new fashion all over. See it at Sharma Climbing Madrid. Calle Julián Camarillo, 55. Open until 22h. Webpage:

For the outdoor lover and daring, I have only done parts of the first one below for the historical value. The Sierra de Madrid has many challenges and one I know a bit this one. The route of the Spanish Civil War of the Frente del Agua or water front is an itinerary to discover the different fortifications used by the Republican side and the Nationalists side in the Sierra Norte. The old Paredes de Buitrago washhouse serves as the starting point of a path where milestones and explanatory panels allow a visitor who will need about four hours to travel its 12 km. From the beginning of the war, the defense of the El Villar and Puentes Viejas reservoirs was vital to control the water supply to Madrid. This caused this front to remain in permanent tension, which can be verified by making a route in which more than twenty elements of defensive architecture can be identified between trenches, bunkers, shelters and machine gun nests.

Another one that begins in the Las Lagunillas recreational area, located about 400 meters before reaching the port of Navafría, on the M-637 road that connects the Segovian town of the same name and the Madrid town of Lozoya. The objective is to crown the Nevero peak, one of the most important and highest mountains in the Sierra de Guadarrama, with a height of 2,209 meters. It is located on the border between both regions and, before reaching it, the path offers places of great beauty, such as the Peña Cuervo. This is an outstanding rocky tusk that rises in the middle of the slope with a beautiful viewpoint or the Hoyos de Pinilla lagoons; vestige of the glacial past of the Carpetanos Mountains.

And the one, also, known as the Bosque de Finlandia or the Finnish forest (its original name is El Potario), it receives its name from its great resemblance to the forests of the Nordic country. Located on the outskirts of Rascafría, the Monastery of Santa María de El Paular, the first Cartuja of Castile, serves as the gateway to this 13-km, four-hour route, which continues through the Puente del Perdón until entering an area rich in poplars, firs and birches. All this until reaching a beautiful jetty, next to which stands out a small wooden hut with red windows that, according to what is said, was used at the time as a sauna, thus increasing the Finnish reminiscences of the place. In addition, to get to this point you have to go through the Camino de Papel or paper road, baptized in this way because it leads to an old paper mill, today in ruins, from where it is said that the first printed edition of Don Quijote came out in 1605, thanks to the paper that the monks of the monastery produced.

The traditional recipe of Paco Pastel, a bakery in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, has won this year the title of best torrija (yummy love it! )in the region. The jury of the Association of Artisan Pastry and Bakery Entrepreneurs of the Community of Madrid, chose it from among 18 participants. Paco Pastel is at Calle Pozas, 181. San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid).webpage :

At number 11 of the Plaza de la Cebada, Madrid ,venue for concerts in the early days of Alejandro Sanz; you have El Viajero here since 1995, the former Bar Musel founded in 1926, a meeting place and promotion of culture in La Latina where Alejandro Sanz, then a much less known young Alejandro Magno, gave one of his first concerts. Ignacio Ventosa, the current owner of this 19C palace with eclectic furnishings, steep stairs and a roof terrace with views will tell you stories of this bar the lung of La Latina neighborhood. Especially since Dolores Posadas and her husband, Uruguayan travelers, hence the name, rescued the place. It has been frequented by such relevant figures as Jean Paul Gaultier, Lindsay Kemp, James Hunt, Pedro Almodóvar, Javier Mariscal, Miquel Barceló, Santiago Segura, Ceesepe, Carlos and Jorge Berlenga or the Carmona, including King Felipe VI. It has hosted live shows by artists such as Paco and Pepe de Lucia, painting and photography exhibitions by Luis Asin, Ceesepe or Guillermo Fornes and film screenings, talks, literary gatherings, radio programs, interviews, communions and even a funeral. webpage :

How about those Spanish whites? Well they are up and coming along just fine thanks to Peynaud a pioneer French wine experts from Bordeaux. Long old history. Now you have CVNE ,the centenary bodega of Rioja presenting their newest Monopole Gran Reserva blanco 2014, a wine of limited production with grapes Viura and Palomino. A traditional house in Rioja for many years followed by yours truly. And if a less famous but equally good you like to try , I recommend this one. The Remelluri blanco 2013 Rioja with a bright lemon yellow, without hints of oxidation. It came from a cool area that reflects an equally fresh vintage, with flint above the white flowers on the nose. Very tasty on the palate, vertical, with elegance and silkiness. Very careful and delicate elaboration, it still denotes youth. The bodega of   Granja Nuestra Señora de Remelluri (Our Lady of Remelluri Farm) . Done with White Grenache, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Roussanne grapes. Go for it!!

And there you go folks, for now, some news from Spain is going strong thanks to you all. Looking forward to better times for travel and visiting again my beloved Spain. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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