Archive for May 21st, 2021

May 21, 2021

Wine news of France XII !!!

And here I am coming back at you with my other love wines! And France does it better still… I have written over the past few years several posts on wines, and could be more. However, like to keep the blog in travel, and anecdotes and then wines. I am delighted to bring you another post on wines news of France and hope you enjoy it as I.

Let me start off the bat with some repeated stories that I have told many times in my blog and this is another example of French excellence anywhere.

The story of the Chandon Garden Spritz, which is set to hit the terraces this summer, began in the last century. The Chandon epic in Argentina began in the 1950s with Count Robert-Jean de Vogüé. The president of Moët & Chandon, also a figure of WWII then largely involved in the Champagne inter-professional institutions, is convinced that the know-how of his house can serve other causes than just Champagne. And why Argentina? In the middle of the 20C, the United States had barely emerged from prohibition. In the southern hemisphere, there are still very few vines in countries like Australia or New Zealand, and Chile does not consume wine. Argentina, with its long wine-making tradition, is a form of obviousness. Robert-Jean de Vogüé will get closer to his nephew by marriage, Baron Bertrand de Ladoucette, who lives in Latin America. Invited to Buenos Aires by the latter, he notes that, in popular bars, Argentines drink white wine to which they add large ice cubes and a little sparkling water … A kind of sparkling wine before the hour. What to convince him for good. He went there, with his 2 CV equipped with 4 wheel drive for off-road exploration. The first three hectares are planted next to Mendoza. Today, Chandon Argentina operates over 500 hectares and also employs around 150 suppliers. On the Argentinian model, other fields have emerged. In Brazil and California in 1973, Australia followed in 1986, then India and China in 2013. With its six sites, Chandon has more than 2,000 hectares. The group LVMH on Chandon webpage: https://www.lvmh.com/houses/wines-spirits/chandon-argentina/

And the primeurs keep coming out! Released yesterday morning, Tuesday May 18, the latest vintage from the Barton family: Léoville Barton, Langoa Barton and Mauvesin Barton met with enthusiastic reception on the British market. Proof of this is that Jancis Robinson, English wine critic, was full of praise for the emblematic wine of the house, Léoville Barton, giving it a score of 18/20, and willingly acknowledging its “excellent vinification” . The 2020 came out at 70.60 euros a bottle (France prices), which is 17% more expensive than the previous vintage , but it is potentially the best vintage for this wine so far. Two Saint-Emilion Grand Crus Classés “A” have also joined their comrade Cheval Blanc released last week: Angélus, announced on the market at 295 euros per bottle, followed closely by Pavie, at 280 euros per bottle. And among the other outings of the week, we also note the Marquis d´Alesme, Labégorce, Coutet, Guiraud, Pavie-Decesse, Bellevue-Mondotte and Monbousquet. The créme de la créme!!

In the heart of the Médoc vineyards. Near Saint-Estèphe, new owner Michel Reybier dreams of founder Louis-Gaspard of Estournel of this 19C adventurer, who created the estate. After buying the Cos d´Estournel vineyard, a second classified growth from 1855, he added Château Pomys, the personal residence of the same Estournel. Transformed into a hotel, the residence faces the Château Saint-Estèphe, in the hamlet of Leyssac. To reach this address located on the Gironde estuary, you have two options. From the south via Bordeaux as we have. Or by taking the ferry to Royan as we have not. The crossing takes 25 minutes. Just enough time to imagine yourself on your way to the Americas, and here you have landed at Verdon-sur-Mer, at the tip of the estuary. Mr Reybier skilfully mixed neo-Art Deco and contemporary art around warm velvet furniture. Chosen by an antique dealer from Bordeaux, the objects give life to the place. On the garden side, the spaces are on an open layout. In total relaxation, we go from the dining room to the library lounge or the kitchen without having to go through a door. You can have an aperitif or eat there while Emilien Deschamps, Gordon Ramsay’s ex-assistant, cooks the dishes with his team. La Maison d´Estournel is located opposite the Château Saint-Estèphe, in the hamlet of Leyssac. Webpage: https://lamaison-estournel.com/

The very first re opening of the Champagne Wine and Regional Archeology Museum should delight all on Saturday May 29th with a route built around an original common thread: chalk. The Musée du vin de Champagne et d’Archéologie régionale d’Épernay will finally open its doors. The place is simply magical!!. Housed in the former home of Charles Perrier, built in a neo Louis XIII style in 1855 and opening onto an English garden, it alone embodies the luxury and excessiveness of Champagne. On the ground floor, the reception rooms, which notably include the ballroom, do not accommodate any display cases. They will house future events, conferences and exhibitions which should once again make the château a major center for the cultural life of Champagne. The museum is broken down into three groups, linked by an original common thread: chalk. The route begins with the rooms devoted to geology. Champagne wine lovers know that their extraordinary minerality owes a lot to the chalk of Campanien and Turonien. The reconstruction of a Lutetian beach discovered in Fleury-la-Rivière allows us to understand the genesis of this wonderful terroir. The second pole focuses on archeology. Chalk has indeed conservative virtues, which probably explains why the Marne is one of the departments that has provided the most prehistoric remains. Virtual reality headsets offer the opportunity to discover the interior of a hypogeum, a cave dug out of chalk that was used as a tomb in the Neolithic period. The third pole focuses on the wine of Champagne itself. It opens with an evocation of the role of the Church and the monasteries in its development. A digital terminal allows you to leaf through the Ebbon evangelary, a relic of those medieval times when the Abbey of Hautvillers was as renowned for its hillsides as for the quality of its copyist workshop. webpage: https://archeochampagne.epernay.fr/

The Château de Fontenay is a pioneer of the Touraine Chenonceau appellation. This investment materializes quickly with the creation of the Touraine Chenonceau appellation. The new appellation saw the date recently just in 2011. To be able to claim the appellation, you must have vines on the slopes of the Cher within 10 km of the famous Château de Chenonceau and comply with strict specifications. webpage: http://lechateaudefontenay.fr/

And a very nice grape that is becoming more in use at least in France and we love it. Very planted in Provence and in Languedoc, Cinsault calms the power of southern wines. Late, drought resistant and insensitive to disease, it defies global warming. Typically Mediterranean, cinsault can be recognized by its large, black, juicy berries with little sugar concentration. What’s interesting about this plant is its ability to resist diseases, like downy mildew and powdery mildew, and drought. In the blends, the Cinsault calms the “fire” of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. All in delicacy, with its discreet notes of fresh fruit, it brings an airy side to rosés but also to red wines, which it makes supple and delicious. A grape to watch closely for generations to come. For the note, in South Africa the plant was muted with the Pinot Noir to create the Pinotage very popular there. We buy it here exclusively on the Rosé wines from Provence such as Château de Cazeneuve and Chateau Puech Haut.  The wines of Languedoc webpage: https://www.languedoc-wines.com/en

With the Tour de France bicycle race you can learn a lot about the wines of France. For example, over the 160 km between Carcassonne and Montpellier, the Languedoc vineyard offers 20 appellations spread over more than 245,000 hectares. The team of red wines, the majority of which is produced in the region, with, for example, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Cabernet-Sauvignon grape varieties. The rosé wine team which shares grape varieties similar to red wines with, for example, the use of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah. The team of white wines whose reputation is well established in the region with for example the grape varieties Grenache Gris and Blanc, Macabeu, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Vermentino, Muscat à Petits Grains, Muscat d’Alexandrie, Marsanne, Roussanne, Piquepoul, Chardonnay, Mauzac, Chenin, or Ugni Blanc. The sparkling wine team, which has some nice surprises in store with, for example, Mauzac, Chardonnay and Chenin grape varieties.

And another road ride, the cyclists will continue their immersion in the 3rd French wine region ; the Loire valley starting from Saumur. The white jersey is awarded… to the Chenin grape variety, known and renowned for its white wines! The Chenin grape variety offers dry white wines at the start of the harvest and sweet and syrupy wines at the end of the harvest. The red and pink jerseys are worn … by the Cabernet Franc grape variety, very present on the Angevin and Saumur lands. The Cabernet Franc grape is also associated with Cabernet Sauvignon to offer a wide variety of wines. The bubble jersey goes back … to the excellent fine bubble wines produced in the region which will perfectly accompany a stage victory. Made in cellars carved from tufa, the region’s emblematic white stone, these wines will surprise you. Yes my second choice region ! see posts. The wines of the Loire webpage: https://www.vinsvaldeloire.fr/en

Along these routes, the Tour de France, goes thru 32 appellations share the vineyard between Angers and Saumur. White side: We find in particular the Savennières, very aromatic, complex, fresh and mineral dry white wines, but also the Coteaux du Layon and the Coteaux de l’Aubance, mellow white wines with a golden color and fruity and gourmet aromas. . Red side: We can cite prestigious appellations such as Anjou-Villages Brissac, with a dark color and aromas of red fruits and liquorice, or even Saumur-Champigny, offering rich aromas while retaining finesse in the mouth. Rosé side: The beautiful days of the Grande Boucle can be accompanied by a Cabernet d ‘Anjou, tender and fruity rosé, or a Cabernet de Saumur, slightly drier than Cabernet d’ Anjou. Rosé d’Anjou and Rosé de Loire will also be good teammates for the summer. On the fine bubble side: The Tour De France promises great victories to be celebrated around a Crémant-de-Loire or a Saumur-Brut. Sublime wines indeed!

And there you go folks, something extra from the wines of my belle France. By the way, Unesco World Heritage Immaterial site for gastronomy and wines, the first!!

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

May 21, 2021

Plaza Mayor of Madrid!!!

This is a must for me to update this older post in my blog. One of the emblematic squares of Madrid, the world comes here yes, but still a lot of flavor to find the little niches in and around it. I have been coming here since a child and as a teen came to eat in one of its institutions still open. Let me tell you a bit more of the Plaza Mayor of Madrid!!!

Coming to Madrid and not the Plaza Mayor you will not be able to tell much if not had visited it. I am coming to it and see its transformation since childhood and always amazes me to see it. It is part of the quinssentional Madrid. And  a great spot to look down on it or as we say, from Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day. Best to walk but if far than use public transports taking you here from many sites in Madrid. The more popular are by metro lines 1,2, and 3 at Sol and even better by bus as above you see more are the lines  17 ,18,23,31,35, and 65.

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I have written bits on it , more on the touristic side, will dwell on this post on the historical/personal side I like.

Located in the district of the Centro and in the neighborhood  of Sol, near the Puerta del Sol, the square is in the form of a rectangle of 129 by 94 meters. Fully pedestrianized, it is accessible by ten entrances, several of which connect it to Calle Mayor, in the north.  The Plaza Mayor, the center of it all rivaling the Puerta del Sol. Mayor is older and wonderfully decorated on its façades with a great equestrian statue of king Felipe III done in 1616 but place here since 1848. It dates from the 1580 until finished by 1619, when it was one of the limits of the city.

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When at the confluence of the roads (today Streets) of Toledo and Atocha, on the outskirts of the medieval village, was celebrated in this site, known as Plaza del Arrabal, the main market of the village, building at this time the arcaded  house , or Lonja, to regulate the trade in the square . Named Plaza de la Villa, it then houses the main municipal market and undergoes first transformations which aim to equip it with a hall or market. In 1580, King Felipe II ordered plans to redevelop it. The work begins from 1590 with the construction of the House of the bakery (Casa de la Panadería), to replace the old Hall. In 1617, Felipe III continued the project, which was completed two years later.

Between 1631 and 1790, the square is ravaged by three fires that impose its reconstruction every time. The last of these is the work of Juan de Villanueva, which was pursued by the architects Aguado and Moreno on his death. It was only at the completion of the project, in 1854, that the place took its present form, notably marked by lower buildings (three floors instead of five) and a series of arcades.  In 1848, the equestrian statue of king Felipe III, produced by Jean de Bologna and Pietro Tacca at the beginning of the 17C, was placed in the center.

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Originally known as Plaza de la Villa, it then takes the one of Plaza Mayor. In 1812, by decree, the most important squares in Spain were all renamed Plaza de la Constitucion in honor of the new constitution. The place thus bears this name until the restoration of king Fernando VII in 1814, when it became the Plaza Real, before becoming the Plaza de la Constitucion three times (1820-1823, 1833-1835 and 1840-1843). Renamed Plaza de la Républica in 1873, and then again in the Constitution after the restoration, it retained this last name until the beginning of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. The proclamation of the Second Republic provokes a new change in favor of the Plaza de la Constitucion, but at the end of the Spanish Civil War it takes over the name we know today, as Plaza Mayor.

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Delimited by a set of granite arcades, the square is surrounded with three-stories apartment buildings and 237 balconies. Under the arcades, galleries house a set of traditional shops, as well as specialized shops. These are my favorites and long patronized them!

Casa de la Panaderia or House of the bakery ,first seat of the royal administration of weights and measures, it shelters from 1745 to 1774 the Royal Academy of Fine Arts San Fernando, then until 1871 the Royal Academy of History. Since then it has been hosting various municipal services.  After the second fire suffered by the square, in 1672, the Casa de la Panaderia  is redecorated and adorned with frescoes designed by Claudio Coello and José Jiménez Donoso. In 1988, the municipality organized a competition to modify these frescoes. Mythological figures (Cybele, Proserpine, Bacchus, Cupid, etc.) and imaginaries are then carried out. The last of the performances in the Plaza Mayor, carried out in 1992, consisted of the mural decoration, work of Carlos Franco, of the Casa de la Panaderia, representing mythological characters like the goddess Cibeles. The tourist office of the city is also on the square, in the famous Casa de la Panaderia!

In the centered upper part of the Casa de la Panaderia  is carved in stone a blazon with the weapons of king Carlos II. Given the absence of Portugal’s weapons, it can be deduced that the shield was styled at a later date than 1668, when the Spanish Crown recognized the independence of Portugal, which was de facto from 1640. The shield is composed of the arms of Castilla and León , in the first quadrant; the arms of Aragon and Sicily, in the second; the weapons of Austria and modern Burgundy, in the third; those of ancient Burgundy and Brabant, in the fourth, those of Flanders and Tyrol in the escutcheon below and the symbol of Granada in the center of the Shield .

Casa de la Carniceria or house of the butchers located on the south side, it is originally built on an unknown date. After the fire of 1631, it is rebuilt on the model of the Casa de la Panaderia or house of the bakery. It owes its name to the fact that it first served as a general store for meat.

Arcos de Cuchilleros or Arch of Cutlers located at the southwest corner, it is the work of Juan de Villanueva, who designs it with an important difference in level in order to connect it to the edge of the square. It owes its name to the old calle de Cuchilleros, a corporation that provided the butchers of the market square. Below the staircase there are many typical restaurants. The Arcos de Cuchilleros is perhaps the most famous of the ten accesses of the Plaza Mayor  ( like Calle 7 de Julio, Arco de Triunfo, and Felipe III to the north; Sal, Zaragoza and Gerona to the east; Botoneras, Toledo and Cuchilleros to the south (the official name of this access is Calle de la Escalerilla de Piedra (ladder of stone); and Ciudad Rodrigo to the west, and located in the southwest corner of the square:Plaza Mayor. There is another entry by the left of the Casa de la Carniceria  that has no exit to the square, and another arch on the left of the facade smaller that also has no exit to the square. This is my most memorable part of the square.

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The square is one of the most active centers of the 17C Madrid. Shows of all kinds are held there such as bullfights, trials of the Inquisition, lumberjacks, etc. The crowd attends these public acts from the balconies overlooking it.  Nowadays it is an indispensable site of Madrid tourism and one of the emblems of the capital. Summer and end of year holidays are the most lively times.  And it was time for the anniversary, happy birthday Plaza Mayor! (by now 403 yrs old)  Plaza Mayor celebrated as the beating heart of Madrid. The exhibit showed how the square has taken on the character of each new era in Spanish history. Large portion of the second half of the exhibit, which shows Plaza Mayor’s metamorphosis from 1843 to 2018, is devoted to the photographs of Martín Santos Yubero. With good reason, Santos Yubero was renowned for his documentary coverage of Madrid, which spanned the better part of the 20C. The History Museum does tourists and locals a favor with its detailed account of one of the capital’s main thoroughfares. Just as Madrid has become a center for government, art, nightlife and football, Plaza Mayor is all at once,market, park, cafe and stage. Don’t let the pricey drinks fool you: underneath all the gaudiness lie 400 years of la vida Madrileña (Madrilene lives). The history museum from the Madrid tourist officehttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/museo-de-historia

One of the favorite of mine for year is the store La Favorita for its hats, could not leave there without fitting one for my paternal grandfather an avid hat wearer and he love it when I came back with one lol! Another favorite that came years later with what is now my wife is Las Cuevas de Luis Candelas resto in calle Cuchilleros just past the Arco de Cuchicheros arch. This is a typical Castilian restaurant a bit overrun over the years with tourists but still hanging on to the past; my first formal restaurant visit in Madrid in 1971! (see post). A favorite for hats, umbrellas , caps etc is Casa Yustas another legendary store in the square. There is a great Christmas market there for several years now, and the adjoining streets of Toledo, Mayor, and Atocha are full of shops and restos to last a lifetime tastings.And to eat in the square, or Plaza Mayor, you have the famous Museo del Jamon there ,super .And the Cerveceria Plaza Mayor or brasserie restaurant wonderful.

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip to the Plaza Mayor are:

The Madrid tourist office on the Plaza Mayorhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/plaza-mayor-madrid

The Comunidad de Madrid tourist office on the Plaza Mayor: https://turismomadrid.es/es/descubre/madrid/de-inter%C3%A9s/5089-plaza-mayor.html

There you go folks, now you are all set to visit this wonderful old square ,only in time as it is always young and vibrant, the heartbeat of Madrid 17C to 21C ; the Plaza Mayor!!!

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

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May 21, 2021

The Prado museum of Madrid!!!

Surprise! I just found an older post of  my entry on the Prado museum of Madrid and would love to updated it for you and me. Be aware ,that when lived in Madrid I was too poor to go into these museums and it took me several years afterward coming back as a visitor to start seeing them. Eventually, I saw it in 2004 and been back several times last in 2018. Therefore, this my historical take on one of the world’s greatest museum, the Prado of Madrid, and Spain.

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Let’s tackle this huge institution, not an easy task lol! So will be as brief as possible,just for a taste to bring you in to a fascinating world of the arts. This time from the Spanish angle sort of speaking. The Prado museum in Madrid was big then and it is bigger today.  The Cason del Buen Retiro as it was then part of the Retiro park,(see posts) now part of the Prado museum, and even then was just a way to hang around the area with friends.  The museum came much later , when in 2004, visiting the city with my family, and passing by walking , on a whim , we decided to go in, and lucky tickets were had easily then.  Well, it was an eye opener and have come back later several times. The Prado encourage me to visit the Louvre later on and also catch up with me.  I am a friend of both museums today!!

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Now, let get into the history of it that I like a lot as the portraits description etc will take a book lol!

The Prado Museum ( Museo Nacional del Prado) is one of the largest and most important museums in the world. It presents mainly European paintings (Flemish, Spanish, French, Italian and German) from the 14C to the beginning of the 19C, collected by the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. The museum also holds collections of drawings and prints (some 6 400 drawings and 3 000 prints), a fund of a thousand sculptures (including an important collection of Greco-Roman sculptures) and a large number of decorative objects and historical documents. It permanently exhibits a collection of 1 300 works in its site, plus 3 000 lent to be exhibited in other galleries and official institutions.

The original, neoclassical-style central building, which now serves as a seat at the Prado National Museum, was built on the initiative of José Moñino y Redondo, count de Floridablanca and chief minister of king Carlos III. It is designed by the architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785 as a natural science house. Because of the events of history, however, the construction will only be completed under king Fernando VII, grandson of Carlos III. Driven by his wife, Queen Maria-Isabel of Portugal, the king took the decision to make this building a Royal museum of paintings and sculptures.

The museum initially feeds on Royal collections, hence its first name as a Royal museum. It was soon renamed National Museum of Painting and Sculpture and, subsequently, Museo Nacional del Prado, it opened for the first time to the public in 1819. In 1868, after the fall of Queen Isabel II of Spain, the works of art of the monarchy became the heritage of the Spanish nation. In 1872 , it was closed the Museo de la Trinidad,(Trinity museum) enriched with Works of arts and nationalized due to the laws of Mendizábal 1836, and its treasure was transferred to the Prado.

After this merger, the Prado was renamed the National Museum of Painting and Sculptures, a designation that had hitherto had the Trinity Museum. This denomination remained until 1920, year in which by Royal decree officially received the current name of National Museum of the Prado, which was as it was known habitually already before, for having built the building in grounds of the old meadow(prado) of the Jerónimos. The Museum of Modern Art (M. A. M.)  went to the National museum dedicated to the arts of the 19C and 20C as opened  from 1894 to 1971, the year in which its collections of 19C art  were absorbed by the Prado, while those of the 20C remained in the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Arts (MEAC) , predecessor of the current Reina Sofía Museum.

In addition to the Royal collections, the museum receives many works of art as a result of the interpretation of the before mention law of 1836 which forces the Church to sell a large part of its possessions. In addition, the museum benefits from the very important donations of private collectors, including Francesc  Cambó, Pablo Bosch and Ramón Errazu, as well as the works brought by the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado (The Friends of the Museum Foundation). Spanish webpage: https://www.amigosmuseoprado.org/   And it has an American counterpart webpage: https://www.afpradomuseum.org/

Its main attraction lies in the wide presence of Velázquez, El Greco, Goya (the most widely represented artist in the museum), Titian, Rubens and Bosco, of which possesses the best and most extensive collections that exist worldwide, to which we must add outstanding ensembles of important authors such as Murillo, Ribera, Zurbarán, Rafael, Veronese, Tintoretto, Van Dyck , and Poussin, to name just a few of the most relevant.  The museum has the largest collection of Spanish paintings in the world. It includes works that extend from Romanesque art from the 12C to the end of the 19C. The collection of Italian paintings is the second collection of the museum, although it is relatively poor in works prior to the 16C. But it is from the 16C that the Italian collection of the Prado takes its full dimension. Italian Baroque painting is certainly one of the main points of interest of the Prado collections by the variety of artists and the quality of the works that can be admired.

The collection of Flemish paintings is also among the very first in Europe, since Flemish primitives, Flemish painting of the 17C is also particularly well represented with a considerable collection of paintings.  The collection of French paintings consists mainly of works of the 17C and 18C. The ténèbrisme is also represented of the portrait makers of the Court of Spain, also of the Masters of the Rococo the museum presents finally some 19C painters.The collection of German paintings is reduced but of high quality, as well as a small collection of English paintings is also presented most were acquired by the museum in the years 1950.  Even more reduced, hardly testimonial, is the presence of paintings of the rest of the schools: Hispanic-American (more than twenty, but deposited in the Museum of America), Filipino, Swedish, Danish , American, Central European etc. With regard to the Portuguese school, despite the geographical proximity and the close relationship between the Spanish and Portuguese  monarchies, especially in the early Habsburg era, the presence of paintings from that country is negligible, reducing to six works, almost all of the 19C or early 20C.

The Prado museum architecture look that I like, briefly describe.

 Edificio Villanueva , a building designed by Juan de Villanueva, in its original conception, is formed by a central body finished in apse, which flank two elongated galleries that end in square pavilions, one at each end. Representing an allegory of King Fernando VII as protector of the sciences, the arts and the technique. In its posterior facade, the central section ends in a semicircular form or in an apse, in such a way that its plane adopts a basilical form.

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Edificio Jerónimos (Building). This enlargement did not make substantial changes to the Villanueva building, and it was reflected in an extension to the Jerónimos cloister so that the museum would have enough space for its growing needs. The increase of the available surface was 15 715 square meters, a 50% more . The connection between both buildings is underground (on the side of the Jerónimos building), because it takes advantage and covers the height between the Jerónimos (Calle Ruiz de Alarcón) and the Paseo del Prado. The most visible improvements of this intervention affected the attention to the visitor (vestibule, bar-restaurant, lockers, shop), the extension of the exhibition spaces, with four new rooms for temporary exhibitions on two floors and the habilitation of the Cloister as sculpture display room; a new auditorium and a conference room, as well as other spaces for internal use (restoration, warehouses and the cabinet of drawings and prints.

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Cason del Buen Retiro is one of the dependencies of the old palace of the Retiro park that have come to our days(my hangouts around as youth nice area ok). Conceived as a ballroom of that palace, it was very much damaged after the war of Independence (1808-1814), after being occupied and partially destroyed by the French troops. The subsisting part, already as an autonomous building and separated from what was the former palace, was the subject of several renovations throughout the 19C. It was then endowed with monumental neoclassical facades, of which the western side with a scenographic colonnade, opposite the Retiro Park in the 20C, was used as an exhibition hall, hosting several of the most important events (what I remember living in Madrid was used). Already decided its museum use, it was attached to the Prado in 1971 (was there with my mother Gladys for the opening lol!), until 1997 the section corresponding to the art of the 19C, after the reorganization of the State collections of painting and the creation of the Reina Sofía Museum, was thought in as ideal space for the temporary exhibitions of the Prado. Finally, these functions and the painting of the 19C have been transferred to the expansion of Moneo(architect) and the historical building, respectively. After being subjected to a profound reform at the beginning of the 21C, which included the restoration of the vault painted by Luca Giordano in the central hall (allegory of the Golden Fleece ), it is since 2009 the headquarters of the museum’s Study Center, the so-called Prado school , which, following the model of the Ecole du Louvre, is dedicated to research as well as to the training of specialists in the various fields of art history. In this way, the Cason del Buen Retiro currently houses the library of the Prado Museum, with the reading room installed in the main hall under the frescoes of Giordano.

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Salon de Reinos, (Kingdom’s hall) ,correspond to the main wing (north) of the old Palace of Retiro Park, it receives its name for having originally housed the hall of Kingdoms or of ambassadors, where the king received the foreign dignitaries; This space was conceived as a scenographic  scene of the Spanish monarchy, with large paintings commissioned by king Felipe IV to the principal painters of the time, will endow the Museum of 2500 m² of exhibition space, 16% more, with a total of 5400 m²  of useful space.

Edificio Aldeasa( building)  located next to the Jerónimos cloister, it is a building of contemporary style in which were the offices of the company Aldeasa, until it was acquired in 1996 by the direction of the patrimony of the State, which was attach to the Prado for to install in it the offices of the museum, until then located in the South attic of the Edificio Villanueva. On the other hand, in the premises of the adjoining building, at no  21 Calle Ruiz de Alarcón, is home to the foundation Friends of the Museum.(Fundacion Amigos del Museo del Prado).

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Sala Prado , the Abulense building known as the House of Miguel del Aguila, by whom it was built in 1546, or, more commonly, as the Palace of the Eagle,(Palacio de las Aguilas)  was bequeathed with all its contents to the state by its last private owner, María Luisa Narváez and Macías,  Duchesse of Valencia, deceased in 1983, for the installation in it of a museum. Initially, in 1992,  was attached to the Museum of Avila, but through a new collaboration agreement between the then Ministry of Education and Culture and the Junta de Castilla y León was changed the assignment, going to the Prado Museum. In this way, this former palace of typical Abulense quarry became the first seat of the Prado outside Madrid, destined to host the center of Deposit Management.

Edificio Calle Pérez Ayuso at no 20  was partially attached to the museum in 2012 by the Ministry of Education, Culture and sport to install in it the new warehouse of portraits.

There you go folks, just a brief description of the Prado museum really needs two full days to see at least, you might get hook on it too and stay longer. Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are:

The official Prado museum webpage: https://www.museodelprado.es/en

The Madrid tourist office on the Prado museumhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/museo-del-prado

The Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain on the Prado museumhttp://www.spainisculture.com/en/museos/madrid/museo_nacional_del_prado.html

Hope you enjoy the visit or ride or passing by all there is nice, worth a detour, for a few days lol! Enjoy Madrid and Spain’s Prado museum, a must stop.

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

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May 21, 2021

Huete and it’s cucumbers!!

Well here again one of those briefly mentioned before in older posts but needs a post of its own me think. One of the nice tradition of my beloved Spain is to come to Huete during the Dia del Pepino or  Cucumber Day festival. We were going there for the cheese but got into it rather nice and it remains a nice memory of Huete. Hope you enjoy it as I.

We came down to Huete and the manchego cheese factory we got in on time for the cucumber festival! There was a pepino de Huete festival on August 9th, and we had a blast with the cucumber tasting and local white wines, on a market festive ambiance.

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The Dia del Pepino or Cucumber Day is done in early August before the 15, this year 2021 will be on the 10th. It is a day that Huete dedicates it to one of his highest quality products, Huete’s Cucumber. A day full of activities: a market is held, as is traditional, preferentially dedicated to Cucumber from Huete, in which other crops from its gardens will also be marketed. Also, a gastronomic recipe contest is held in which the Cucumber from Huete is the main ingredient. And even special activities for children.

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The English gin brand Hendrick’s Gin, in the worldwide search for the most select and quality products, has installed its first official cucumber garden in Spain in Huete (province of Cuenca). Hendrick’s, which uses this vegetable as a key ingredient in its gin, has joined the pepino de crystal or glass cucumber, a variety highly appreciated thanks to its light, fresh and smooth flavor, which does not repeat and above all does not camouflage the taste of foods, but harmonizes them. The sculpture of the Cucumber measuring more than 3 meters recently given to Huete by Hendrick Gin’, which will have its own stand, where it will serve Gin Tonic with Cucumber from Huete to whoever is encouraged to consume this drink. At the Plaza Fray Ambrosio Montesino (square).

The Huete tourist office on sights many already with a post in my blog : https://www.turismohuete.com/que-ver/#monumentos

The city of Huete on the Dia del Pepino activities of 2019 (2020 cancelled due to the virus): http://huete.org/wp/?p=10046

There you go folks, a nice family event very educational and tasty.. to say the least. Great food recipes and a nice glass of Gin Tonic!!! Hope you enjoy the event at Huete, province of Cuenca, autonomous community of Castilla La Mancha.

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

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