Some news from Spain CII

Well there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for start traveling again. Here in my belle France all eyes are on May 3rd, and see some eating places are beginning to relax from this weekend! Can’t wait as I am sure my readers are. For me especially, Spain is dear and yearning to be back, especially to my nostalgic Madrid. As in between let me give you the latest scoops of my favorites in my series some news from Spain! Hope you enjoy it as I!

La Biblioteca General Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca or the General Historical Library of the University of Salamanca was created in 1254 and currently has 2,774 manuscripts, 483 incunabula and some 62,000 volumes printed between the 16C and 18C. The General Historical Library of Salamanca is the oldest university library in Spain. The Salamanca University was founded in 1218 by the will of King Alfonso IX of León, although it was in 1254 when Alfonso X ‘El Sabio’ granted it its first constitutional charter, and in 1255 when Pope Alexander IV granted universal validity to the titles imparted. by the new University. The oldest inventory of the Library, with a nominal list of authors and titles, dates from the early 17C or about 1611 and it contains 879 works, between manuscripts and printed matter. Amongt them, these little treasures are exceptional. The manuscript ‘De materia medica’, popularly known by the name of its author, Pedanius Dioscorides, was the botanical work with the greatest diffusion during the Middle Ages and collects extensive knowledge of medicine, botany and pharmacology that lasts over time as axes of traditional medicine. The one preserved here is a copy written in Greek sometime in the 15C in Italy. It also guards the codex ‘Armorial’ by Steve Tamborino, which was owned by Agustín de Torres, King of Arms of the Catholic Monarchs, and considered as the jewel of the Spanish armories of the 16C by collecting a multitude of coats of arms of different people or lineages, mainly from the Aragonese area. The Terrestrial Globe , it is made of paper and plaster and rests in a wooden cradle formed by a circular bowl for the compass in which the months and the zodiacal signs are outlined. Made in London in 1757 by Johan Senex and Benjamin Hardon, it presents, surrounded by floral motifs and angels, the same legend in Latin and English. The translation reads “Globe of all parts and regions explored, according to the latest astronomical navigational observations and reliable inventories.” Awesome!! More in Spanish from the Library here:

A retreat of the monks in the Middle Ages opens to tourists in a town in León. The seventeen cavities of Villasabariego have been recovered.  A new walkway allows a comfortable view of the caves excavated in Villasabariego in the Middle Ages .These artificial caves are found in the Cerro de Villasabariego, in the town of the same name, about 20 km to the southeast of León, and it is believed that they were excavated during the High Middle Ages as the home of hermit monks who sought solitude, away from the population centers, to meditate and live. The first study of these cavities was carried out at the University of León in the 1920s. Then, in full fashion of discoveries related to prehistory. More in local newspaper in Spanish:

A rock treasure in La Rioja with one kilometer cave with galleries, pillars and niches. The Cueva de los Cien Pilares opens to the public, after extensive rehabilitation, in Arnedo (La Rioja) with the recreation of a monk’s room next to the niches that were used as columbariums. More from La Rioja tourist office:

After more than five months closed to tourism due to the health crisis, the Cathedral of El Salvador of Avila has just announced the opening of its doors to visitors who want to know the wonders of the first Gothic cathedral in Spain. The tourist visit to the Cathedral can be done in full, except for the climb to the bell ringer’s house, which will remain temporarily closed. At the moment, conservation works are being carried out in the antechrist, which is about to be completed. Until then, you can visit the entire Cathedral and, through the cloister, access the museum and the Chapel of San Bernabé (Sacristy of the Cathedral).  Next to the cathedral, the Basilica of San Vicente will also open to tourists this past Friday. As with the wall, the Cathedral of Ávila has a confusing start date of construction. There are those who point to the year 1091 and those who place it in the twelfth century. Even so, enough is known about this temple to be considered the first of the Gothic style built in Spain, in dispute with that of Burgos. It has French features, with similarities to that of the Basilica Saint-Denis France. “The interior of the temple is overwhelming for its past shadow embedded in its walls and for its quiet darkness, which invites meditation on the supreme,” wrote Federico García Lorca.(see post). Its famous Portal de los Apóstoles, bas-reliefs in which the Apostles guard the Pantocrator under whose watchful gaze the faithful enter the interior, on the north portal of the seo, is striking. More on webpage Cathedral of Avila official:

As told before on my previous some news from Spain, now more light. The supposed painting by Caravaggio that was discovered at an auction of the Ansorena house belonged to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (RABASF), but was exchanged for a work by Alonso Cano to an ancestor of the current owners, three heirs of The Pérez de Castro family from Madrid, linked to the world of culture and politics, is the owner of the supposed Caravaggio that was going to go up for auction a few weeks ago for 1,500 euros!!!. The Royal Academy of San Fernando has issued a statement today in which it assures that, according to the research of Dr. Itziar Arana, Coordinator of the RABASF Center for R + D + I Studies, a “caravaggio” called “Ecce-Hommo” with two saiones (executioners) of Caravaggio “belonged to the institution”. The politician Evaristo Pérez de Castro, ancestor of the owners and honorary academic of this Royal Academy since 1800, would have proposed to the institution in 1823 the exchange of this work for another from its collection, a “San Juan Bautista” by Alonso Cano. The painting was declared unexportable by the Ministry of Culture and it is speculated that it could have been tried to sell outside of Spain before it went up for auction. Official webpage of RABASF:

The National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) in Madrid has just inaugurated Deserts of Spain, a visual walk through the driest Spanish geography by photographer and traveler Luis Sáez (Murcia). The Biodiversity building of the Museum of Natural Sciences , Calle José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, Madrid. Open until June 13 2021 .Admission 7€. Yes indeed we have deserts too lol! Some of favorites are Los Coloraos Gorafe (Granada),  Mahoya Desert (Murcia) Also known as Abanilla desert, name of the Murcian town in which it is located. It is a huge area of land made up of badlands  that ten million years ago was the seabed. And Bardenas Reales (Navarra) The head of Castildetierra is the best known formation of the Bardenas Reales.And yes this one I have even passed by car back in 1991!!! Awesome!! More from the MNCN in Spanish:

I am going to give you an imaginary trip of my beloved Segovia. Of course, best done by car as yours truly road warrior.  Anyone who visits Segovia in the spring will find an image that contradicts that of the writers of the generation of 98, that endless plain in which, according to Azorín, the entire history of Spain fit and that some have compared with the Australian Outback with high mountains, pine forests, deep canyons and a rolling green sea dotted with yellow flowers and early poppies. This is a route of art, nature and gastronomy through the less trite places of the Castilian city and its province. Enjoy it and plan ahead I am coming too!

We start from my beloved port of Navacerrada (first and last tried of skiing! see post). The road descends unruly through the forest to the beautiful palace and the Versailles gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso, (see post) refuge of the first Spanish Bourbon, Felipe V (born in Versailles and grandson of Louis XIV). From Madrid through the Alto del León or the Guadarrama tunnel, the road soon leaves the pine forests behind to run through a wonderful  landscape, all heavenly yours. To the left of the road you can see the pink palace of Riofrío, an old royal hunting lodge that stands alone in the middle of an old forest of ash, oak and holm oaks limited by a stone wall and populated by herds of deers. The city of Segovia is immediately visible!!!

About Segovia they have written from Cervantes and Quevedo to the American Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow (The Gonzaga manuscripts). Beyond the inns, the aqueduct, the cathedral and the fortress, there are many other places that the fast or voracious tourist will miss. The Castilian city has more than 20 Romanesque churches, (see posts on many) all of them built in a period of only 70 years, between 1180 and 1250. Among the most beautiful are that of San Martín, in the Caballeros neighborhood, and that of San Millán, in the district of the witches. Among the less known, that of San Justo, in the old suburb of El Cerrillo, with a unique set of 12C wall paintings discovered by chance after some works. Outside the walls is that of Vera Cruz, the most eastern and enigmatic of the Segovian churches, built on a dodecagonal plan and attributed to the Templars.

You will see the most Saracenic style reflected in the beautiful alfarjes of the Monastery of El Parral, the fortress or the Monastery of San Antonio el Real (now converted into a hotel) in which the Moorish masons, master builders and carpenters who lived in the neighborhood worked, considered the best in Castilla. Last Friday, April 23, it was 500 years since the battle of Villalar (Valladolid), which ended the autonomy of the Castilian towns and cities represented by the town and court councils, against the imperial and absolute power of Carlos V.  In the most beautiful of the Segovian squares, that of the Sirenas, next to the Romanesque atrium of San Martín, stands the statue of the Segovian community member Juan Bravo, beheaded the next day along with his brothers in arms Juan de Padilla and Francisco Maldonado (also  many others). The memory of Sefarad survives in the main old Synagogue (today Corpus Christi Church) and the seven streets of the old Aljama, between the cathedral and the wall.

As we leave the city, you will see beautiful towns such as Coca, the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I the Great (347-395), and its formidable Gothic-Mudejar castle. You will arrive at Turégano, the Roman Toroda, with a square of porticoed houses on which the castle of Arias Dávila (1436-1497) looms, closed for restoration. Camilo José Cela writes in his book Jews, Moors and Christians: “Through the air of Turégano, still glued to the ghostly silhouette of its Castle”. You will follow and see the Cistercian Monastery of Santa María la Real, later named in honor of Bernard de Clairvaux when he was canonized, was removed stone by stone in 1925 on behalf of the American billionaire William Randolph Hearst, and which ended up in North Miami Beach Florida USA (also truly visited by yours ). A detour from the road near Arcones leads to Pedraza, another mythical town considered to be the most beautiful in Spain!
The webpage for the FLorida monastery is here:

Hope you enjoy the ride thru this magnificent Segovia landscape and town love it! Something worth going back for it!!

I have passed by here several times and know about the efforts to re start the train station. This is a historic occasion for Spain indeed and soon France. The inauguration of the new Canfranc train station for domestic travel is the first major milestone for the future reopening of the international line, closed for 51 years. Contacts continue to be maintained to convene the quadripartite meeting between the governments of Spain, France, Aragon and Nouvelle Aquitaine, and to materialize the momentum for the reopening of the international line. Looking forward to it, now this is one train ride I will take! For now you can visit the international train station building more info from Canfranc tourist office in Spanish:

And now let me give some flavor, Spanish flavor even with some international hint of the wonderful cuisine of Spain. Enjoy it all in Madrid! Buen provecho a todos!

In 2009, New York Burger opened its first restaurant in the capital with a proposal of gourmet burgers. Today it has five restaurants in Madrid and one in Barcelona and, for some time, it has also offered smoked meats.  Delicious place you must try it!  For example, the two burgers April 2021, on the occasion of the 12th anniversary: Liberty, with Parisian brown sauce (awesome!), and Nolita, with cured and smoked bacon “at home”, grilled on the grill and marinated in bourbon sauce. .Or the more than popular Angus Black Beef Rib, smoked for hours and glazed on the grill. The first store arrived, on Calle General Yagüe , today call San Germán (due to Spain memory lane changes].  And, shortly after, the expansion began: Recoletos in 2011; Castellana, 2013; Miguel Ángel, 2015; Moraleja, 2018; Barcelona, ​​March 1, 2020, on the eve of the pandemic. In 2019, the NYB of Moraleja Green was chosen the Most beautiful in the world, by Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, something like the Oscars of design in restoration! webpage:

One for the memories I told you about its possible sale due to financial problems due to the pandemic. Well it has happened.  The Grupo Urrechu finally stays with Zalacain thanks to the pandemic. After closing its doors during confinement and declaring bankruptcy last November, Zalacain will finally pass into the hands of the Urrechu Group. This has been decided by the Commercial Court No. 13 of Madrid. The emblematic establishment, the first Spanish restaurant to achieve three Michelin stars Considered one of the most luxurious restaurants in Madrid and where pages of the history of our country were written, Zalacaín opened Its doors in 1973. Its owner, a merchant seaman from Navarra converted to a hotelier, Jesús Oyarbide, managed to convert it, with his Basque-Navarrese cuisine with a lot of French influence and its elegant dining rooms, into the great benchmark of the capital’s international class. So long another that bite the dust in my Madrid.  Iñigo Urrechu began his career with Martín Berasategui, with whom he learned good taste in cooking, acquiring a passion for this trade.  He has worked in different restaurants, such as “Le Pain Adour et Fantasie” (France) with Chef Didier Oudill, who has two Michelin Stars. This is a union of several restaurants under his guidance and local chefs in charge.

The Madrid tourist office still gives a glimpse of this wonderful former Zalacain

And my grand finale on the culinary genious of my beloved Spain and still in my dear Madrid, let me tell you about what is cooking at Casa de Campo (see post).  The recent opening of restaurants such as Café del Lago, Villa Verbena, Contramar or El Ancla del Lago have revitalized the gastronomic offer of this natural enclave and Madrid’s green lung. The Casa de Campo is one of the green lungs of Madrid and, with its more than 1,530 hectares, the largest urban park in the city. We keep talking about its dimensions: five times bigger than Central Park (New York) and almost seven times bigger than Hyde Park (London). La Casa de Campo was the favorite picnic area of ​​Madrid before we coined the word picnic to go out to eat in the country and, today, it is again. How good I did it with my dear late mother Gladys, cheap and nice to eat. Memories forever and happy to read this, can’t wait to be back!!!!!!!!!!!

On the shores of the Lago (Lake), this terrace Café del Lago was started last March 2021 , created with the idea of ​​recovering the verbenero (neighborhood parties) spirit of the people of Madrid. The joint project of the TriCiclo Group and The Hat Madrid, two authentic brands, is a complete success. On weekends on the 600 m² terrace they hang the sign “in full”. The motives? Added to the impressive views over the Madrid skyline are the cuisine designed by Javier Mayor, Javier Goya and David Alfonso, founders of Grupo Triciclo (TriCiclo; Il Giro in Tándem trattoria, La Elisa tavern and Súa grill). As of May 4, El Cenador, the covered air-conditioned pavilion, will be operating with the same offer as the terrace. El Taller del Lago or the lake workshop. “It is a concept of world cuisines a bit street food style, harmonized with some 20 international beers . Location at  Paseo de María Teresa, 3. Does not close. Average price: 20-25 euros ( snacks); 30-35 euros (lunch and dinner at a high table) and 40-45 euros (at a table with a tablecloth). You know Spain! I have been to the one in Retiro park they have Terraza El Ancla! webpage:

The El Urogallo group is a classic in Madrid’s restaurants. In 1996 he opened his first place El Urogallo Casa de Campo next to the Lake and, almost 25 years later, his terrace and lounge, his traditional cuisine, his tapas and his rations are still there. Today, the brand which has three more Grouse at  Príncipe Pío, Pozuelo and Majadahonda  has just opened Contramar in the heart of Casa de Campo, with views of the Lake and a taste of the sea. Because the proposal revolves around seafood cuisine . Location is at Paseo de la Puerta del Ángel, 12. Closed Tuesday. Average price: 35 euros. webpage:

And the established one we have visited El Urogallo Casa de Campo

El Ancla del Lago or the lake anchor. A little over two months ago this restaurant opened its doors on the shores of the Lake and in the shadow of the Plátano gordo (a shadow banana more than 200 years old and 20 meters high awesome!!!). The house of Luis García, which is the name of the owner, has a conservatory where white tones are imposed and a large terrace with magnificent views. Its cuisine, traditional and timeless. Its menu is completed with a varied proposal of dishes to share. Located at Paseo María Teresa, 2. Closed on Mondays. Average price: 25 euros. No direct webpage yet but they have a branch here:

And there you go folks, a dandy page for your plans to visit my beloved Spain and nostalgic beautiful Madrid! Hope you have enjoy the ride and be there soon. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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