Some news from Spain CI

And that sunny time again which reminds me of my beloved Spain, everything under the Sun! I like to bring you with some tidbits of information to come and see when possible and wonderful information on the traditions of the kingdom of Spain. Hope you enjoy reading it as me telling you!

Ten Spanish towns aspire to become, on May 18, 2021 the Rural Capital 2021, within the initiative that for the fifth year organizes the website specialized in rural accommodation (my rental home place in Spain!).  https://www.escapadarural.com/

Of those mentioned my favorites are:

Aia ( province of Gipuzkoa  Basque Country region) In this area the baroque Church of San Miguel Arcángel stands out, in Laurgain (3 km away); the Andra Maria de Aizpea hermitage, documented in 1530 and occupying a natural rock shelter, where, it is said, the Virgin appeared; or the San Pedro hermitage, with an altarpiece attributed to Andrés de Araoz. A walk through the historic center of Aia contemplates numerous samples of traditional architecture such as Casa Gilisagasti, Casa Garagorrienea, and Casa Ostatu-Berri, and, as if that were not enough, the wonderful beach of Zarauz is 20 minutes away by car.

Cuacos de Yuste (province of Cáceres , Extremadura region).  Beyond its main monument, the nearby Monastery of Yuste, where Emperor Carlos I of Spain lived his last days, the historical complex of Cuacos de Yuste , in the Extremadura region de La Vera, invites you to a quiet walk through its winding streets, in which you can admire the well-preserved popular architecture of its mountain houses, built with masonry, adobe and wooden frameworks, and have cantilevers and porticoed facades like those of its main square.

Olvera ( province of Cádiz , Andalusia region). Its whitewashed houses and steep streets that lead to two of the claims that the town boasts the most: the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación  18C and the castle built at the end of the 12C, was part of the defensive system of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada. he Peñón de Zaframagón natural reserve, which is home to the largest nesting colony of griffon vultures in Western Andalusia and one of the largest in Spain.

Daroca (province of Zaragoza , Aragón region).  Induces a journey through time through the Lower Gate, escorted by high towers, but also through the old wall to the Mayor Castle, erected on top of what was an Arab fortress where remains have been found of Muslim plasterwork from the 11C, or visiting the Palacio de los Luna, a noble residence around the 15C that preserves its wooden roofs. The Casa del Diablo, dating from the 15C, also deserves a stop in Daroca, so named because in the mid-19C it welcomed an anticlerical revolutionary nicknamed “El Diablo Rojo.”(red devil)

Ortigueira (province of A Coruña , Galicia region). In walking its streets should lead to a visit to the Barrio do Ponto, in the old town; the conventual complex, which houses the City/Town Hall, the Benefit Theater and the parish church; the food market, from the early 20C, and a walk through its port. Ortigueira is famous among Celtic music lovers, since the Ortigueira Celtic World Festival has been held here since 1978. Since 2000 its name is the Ortigueira Festival, and every second weekend in July hundreds of fans of folk music camp on Morouzos beach to attend the event. One of the most attractive options is to discover the Loiba cliffs about 10 km away by car. There is a signposted route that allows you to cross it from Esteiro beach (Mañón) to the Ribeira do Carro beach (Ortigueira). A stretch of coastline that is, for many, the best bank in the world.

Sepúlveda (province of Segovia, Castilla y León region).  This town founded in the Iron Age of just over 1,000 inhabitants is part of the association The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain. Some of the unavoidable visits go through its Plaza Mayor, its nerve center and partially arcaded; the Church of El Salvador, one of the paradigms of Castilian Romanesque; the Lope Tablada de Diego Museum; the sanctuary of the Virgen de la Peña; or the Puerta del Azogue or Arco del Ecce Homo, one of the seven gates that the Sepúlveda wall had. In addition, it is the perfect base camp to enter the Hoces del Duratón natural park, where the main protagonist is the griffon vulture. To its imposing scenic beauty are added historical attractions, such as the Romanesque hermitage of San Frutos 12C and the cave of the Seven Altars, whose interior houses a Visigoth religious monument from the 7C.

Taramundi (Principality of Asturias).  A knife of more than seven meters and 1,500 kilos welcomes the Museum of Cutlery, in the village of Pardiñas, just 3 km from Taramundi. A quiet walk through the town leads to Os Castros, one of the most important forts in Asturias and a decisive enclave of the Bronze Age as a place of passage and trade. And in Mazonovo, very close to the town, one of the largest mill museums in Spain awaits: it has no more and no less than 19, as well as a rudimentary hydraulic power station. The Taramundi Loom Museum, the Os Esquíos Ethnographic Museum, or the Bres craft center also transport us to that world of trades and crafts so deeply rooted in this part of Asturian geography.

Yeste ( province of Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha region. The silhouette of its castle, from the 13C in Gothic-Renaissance style, dominates the panoramic view of Yeste. Located in the middle of the Segura mountains, within the urban complex of this Albacete town, the Renaissance City/Town Hall stands out. And outside the town, the fortified towers of Islamic origin and Christian use during the Reconquest are worth a visit. On the last weekend of October, the entire town throws itself into the celebration of its Fair of Popular Traditions, with samples of artisan trades, a traditional market and the celebration of a traditional slaughter.

The Thyssen Museum presents Georgia O’Keeffe’s first retrospective. From April 20 to August 8 2021, the museum will show a selection of 90 works, considered one of the greatest representatives of North American art  by this pioneer of abstraction, five of which were already in the Thyssen, which is the museum with the most works by the artist outside the United States. O’Keeffe was a traveler who used colors and shapes “to express what she could not with words.” Flowers, barns, religious crosses or landscapes are some of the themes that captured the author’s attention over six decades. The retrospective begins with watercolors and drawings in which she renounces color to capture personal experiences in an abstract way. Almost a hundred works that are burning different stages, such as ‘Gray, blue, black, pink, circle’, an abstract representation to represent the dances of the Native Americans or ‘New York Street with the moon’, a mixture of modern architecture related to the sky and nature. O’Keeffe did not leave the United States until she was over 60 years old, and her first trip outside of it was precisely to Spain in 1953! webpage:https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection/artists/okeeffe-georgia

It is 50 years since the birth of the association that rescued 18 unique temples from the 10C and 11C from ruin and which can be visited on a route distinguished with the Seal of Excellence in Tourism in Aragon. Fifty years ago, in 1971, the Amigos de Serrablo Cultural Association was born, based in the province of Huesca town of Sabiñánigo, in the Alto Gállego region, the gateway to the Pyrenees and the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. The association, in addition to recovering popular architecture and intangible heritage (stories, legends, toponymy, gastronomy and customs) and contributing various publications, has created the Ángel Orensanz Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of Serrablo. Located in Casa Batanero, the museum is an example of the popular architecture of the area and is considered one of the best in Spain of its kind.The Church of San Pedro de Lárrede is considered the prototype of the complex and is the first of the route . Located in the urban area of the town, it has a Latin cross plan, formed by a rectangular nave and two arms as a transept and a semicircular apse. The bell tower enhances the complex due to its slenderness and sobriety. In addition, on the way we find the churches of Arto, Basarán (which was taken to Formigal), Busa, Espierre, Gavín, San Bartolomé de Gavín, San Pelay, Isún, Ordovés, Lárrede, Lasieso, Oliván, Orós Bajo, Otal, Rasal , Satué and Susín.

The castle of Larrés, a district of Sabiñánigo, has housed the National Drawing Museum since 1986. It is named after Julio Gavín, draftsman and ethnographer, his mentor and founder of the Association. It is a square-angular building with two opposite towers, consolidated in its current format at the beginning of the 16C. In 17 rooms, 350 works of the more than 4,000 that currently make up its collections are exhibited. Rooms 1 and 2, located on the ground floor, are reserved for temporary exhibitions, such as one dedicated to graphic humor with originals by Mingote, Forges, Gallego and Rey, Ricardo and Nacho, López Maturana, Serafín, Peridis, Chumy Chúmez, Oli, El Roto or Cano, among others.  The rest of the ground floor is dedicated to Aragonese drawing from the end of the 19C to the present, and the rest of the building is devoted to contemporary Spanish drawing, both figurative and avant-garde, graphic humor and comic, in various techniques, from pencil to ink. , watercolors, washes, waxes, graphite powder to collage.

The Amigos de Serralbo webpage in Spanish: https://www.serrablo.org/

A wonderful nostalgic area for me is the Albufera. There thousands of birds and fans of them meet at the Albufera lake, one of the most important wetlands in Europe and a pure Mediterranean landscape just a few minutes from Valencia. Among the star stops is the island of Palmar, which condenses the fishing essence of the landscape. It is there where you can enjoy a boat trip to watch the birds and the rice fields originals of the paella dish). Then you can continue to El Saler (visited as child home of late aunt Maria Elena) to admire its virgin dunes and marvel at the native flora, as well as the views of its beach and the Mediterranean Sea. You can book a guide tour to see this webpage: https://www.civitatis.com/es/valencia/excursion-albufera/?aid=12629&cmp=viajes

One of the inescapable spring events for wine fans has been, for eleven years now, the release of the annual Tío Pepe En Rama sack on the market, the most special bet of that icon of Spain that is the Tío Pepe of the bodega González Byass. Without filtering, without clarifying and without stabilizing, directly from the boots where the soleras rest to the bottles that will reach consumers, Tío Pepe en Rama is Sherry wine in its purest form, as it was drunk in the past (tradition heaven!). That is, in each of them the Atlantic Ocean, the west and east winds, the flower veil (the natural yeasts that help to mature the Sherry wine) and the mineral soil of marine origin (albariza) must be present. in which the palomino grape that is capable of bringing together all these essences is grown. The result is a gold-colored wine in which a certain turbidity can be seen, produced by dead yeasts ‘in service’, and which on the nose is quite a festival: pungent, with an overflowing minerality, a lot of salinity, notes of chalk and talcum powder, nuts, chamomile and even a touch of citrus. The passage through the mouth is very long, full, very, very dry, almost astrigent, (we are talking about a wine with less than one gram of sugar per liter, one of the driest in the world), iodized and very fresh. The cost of Tío Pepe in Rama is 15 euros in Spain. Gonzalez Byass webpage: https://gonzalezbyassuk.com/our-brands/gonzalez-byass-sherries/tio-pepe-en-rama/

The Comarca de la Sidra  (the region of cider) is preparing to receive a unique natural phenomenon: the flowering of apple trees, or as the “Floriar del Pumar” is known by those lands. From mid-April to early May, the green meadows and slopes of the Mountains in this southeastern area of the Principality of Asturias are dyed in white and pink and are impregnated with a sweet smell thanks to the flowers that grow from the thousands and thousands of apple trees that dot the place, offering a magical picture that has become a true tourist claim. It is a sign that spring has already arrived in the region, comprised of the towns of Bimenes, Cabranes, Colunga, Nava, Sariego and Villaviciosa, some 30 km east of Gijón. The route involves a little more than 70 km that travel through less frequented roads and secondary roads and passes through charming villages and towns, gentle hills, bucolic valleys and enclaves with incredible panoramic views over the Cantabrian Sea, Villaviciosa, the Manzanera (apple) Capital of Spain, and a one of the largest towns in the region. It is advisable to park your car to walk through the beautiful old town, full of sculptures, palaces, emblazoned houses and plenty of places to taste the local cuisine and, of course, cider. webpage: https://www.lacomarcadelasidra.com/

Read these names: Familia Torres, Vega Sicilia and CVNE (tops)  are at the top of the ranking of the 50 most recognized brands of the prestigious British publication ‘Drinks International’, which includes five other national wineries. The Familia Torres has been elected once again the most admired wine brand in the world according to the ranking The World’s Most Admired Wine Brands 2021 that is produced annually by the prestigious British magazine Drinks International. Of the 11 editions of this ranking to date, it is the fifth time that the Penedès family winery, which has just celebrated its 150th anniversary, has obtained this first place. The renowned Vega Sicilia (Ribera del Duero) occupies the third place in the ranking,the winery founded in 1864 in Valbuena de Duero (Valladolid), currently owned by the Álvarez family, rises six places compared to last year’s list. The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE), in eighth place in the ranking, is the third most admired Spanish brand in the world. The family winery, which was born in 1879 in the Rioja town of Haro, has risen 15 places this year to be in the top 10. If the complete list of 50 brands is taken into account, the countries that contribute the most wineries are France (with 11 mentions), Spain (with eight) and Italy (with six). The list of Spanish wineries is completed by the Riojan Campo Viejo (32), the Catalan from the D.O. Pla de Bages Bodegas Abadal (37), the centenary Ramón Bilbao (43), founded in Haro (La Rioja), which has been included in the ranking for three consecutive years, the Catalan Raventós Cordoníu (47), one of the oldest wineries in Spain, founded in 1551, famous for its cavas (sparkling wines), and La Rioja Alta, which debuts on the list. Yes Spain is moving up in wines folks take a look around you.

Las Ventas Monumental bullring prepares a festival for Dos de Mayo with Ponce, El Juli and Manzanares as performers (and how would I pay to be there!).The Las Ventas bullring will open its doors again on Dos de Mayo if the weather and, above all, the pandemic do not prevent it. The Center for Bullfighting Affairs of the Community of Madrid, in collaboration with Plaza 1, wants to open its doors closed from October 12, 2019 on May 2, a bullfighting date par excellence linked to the traditional Goyesca, according to the news advanced by Mundotoro. Yes Dos de Mayo is portrait by Goya on an event of Spain independence war so call from France’s Napoleonn dictatorship. And Mundotoro webpage with the president of the comunidad de Madrid fully supporting the opening viva Madrid! https://www.mundotoro.com/noticia/ayuso-festival-celebrara-seguro-toros-madrid-afan-liberticida-pedro-sanchez/1570593

A great meeting looks forward to every year starts a very special week today for all those who love literature. Although this year’s celebration, like that of the past, will have a certain bittersweet flavor, as there will not be the traditional delivery of the Cervantes award in the Auditorium of the University of Alcalá de Henares due, in part, to the pandemic and, also, to the delicate state of health of the winner, the poet Francisco Brines. In it, which will take place at the headquarters of Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, six writers and three publishers will leave their respective legacies in the Caja de las Letras. The guests are the authors Antonio Muñoz Molina, Manuel Rivas, Bernardo Atxaga, Carme Riera, Luis Alberto de Cuenca and Cristina Fernández Cubas, who summarize the cultural diversity and unity of our different languages, and, as representatives of the publishing houses, Pilar Reyes (director of the Literary Division of Penguin Random House), Valeria Ciompi (director of Alianza Editorial) and Manuel Borrás (director of Pre-Texts). It is the first time that the Instituto Cervantes has organized such a large collective transfer, which will bring to 79 the number of legacies held by the Caja de las Letras, (the vaults of letters)the old vault of its headquarters in Madrid. The next day, Wednesday 21st April , in the Soto del Real Prison an act for the inclusion and promotion of culture will be held. That same day the Espacio Cervantes will be inaugurated at the University of Alcalá. In addition, during that act the bulk of the acquisition of the library of the editor and poet Jesús Munárriz, founder of Visor, who has donated it to Cervantes, will be announced. It consists of more than 7,500 books, many of them first editions and most of them dedicated, that cover 20C poetry. On Thursday April 22nd, a poetic anthology by Francisco Brines will be presented at the University of Alcalá, and in the streets of that city the ‘Poetry in the Plaza’ will start, which seeks to involve all citizens. And, for the April 23rd, the big day, the Day of the Book, Sant Jordi, an institutional act is planned at the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute in Alcalá de Henares with the presence of the Kings, Don Felipe and Doña Letizia, and Minister Uribes. The act will contain dramatized readings of classic texts by members of the Young National Classical Theater Company; The actor José Sacristán will read Antonio Machado and Miguel Delibes and, as a culmination, the Cervantes 2021 prize winner, Francisco Brines, will recite some of his poems in a connection via video conference. At the end of this act, the exhibition of homage to Francisco Brines. The certainty of poetry. ‘ Without forgetting, of course, the continuous and virtual reading of Don Quijote at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. It will begin at 13h on April 23 and it will be precisely inaugurated by Francisco Brines.

And there you go folks, some news from Spain again ,thanks to all of you for following me on these long posts since my blog started back in 2010. It has been a thrill to do it and enjoy it very much , thanks again for keeping me company. Hoping always you enjoy the post

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

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