Archive for June 13th, 2021

June 13, 2021

The Vuelta de España at Cuenca!!!

This is a memorable little post I did a while back during our vacations to my beloved Spain. Many memorable moments over my life and very special at Cuenca, province of Cuenca, autonomous community of Castilla La Mancha, Kingdom of Spain. Let me tell you about an event I like.

We were having our vacation in Las Majadas (see posts) and would come down always to Cuenca  (see posts) on our way out as my road warrior instincts tells me. While passing by city center Cuenca we notice preparation for a bike race…it turn out to be the stage of the Vuelta de España or the tour of Spain bicycle race! Therefore, we splash on this opportunity and the first for my sons!


We cruise,walked and climbed by several sites to get in the flavor, the air, the beauty of this in country place. The best travel is often off the beaten path and this we know well.  We set out from Las Majadas up into the mountains by the site of Los Callejones. on the CUV 9113 road and panels lead you there; passing by it, this is a place of nature walkers with plenty of mountain terrain and rock formations from another era ! high mountain and wild animals such as deers abound and were seen!

We came back to Cuenca and saw the preparations and ending of the 7th stage of the Vuelta de España or tour of Spain bicycle race! The whole town was mobilize, really an spectacle to see.


On the way back to Las Majadas we were to see a herd of brave bulls leisurely eaten on the prairies, dare not go in lol!!! We saw a stray young deer on the A40 and needed to zigzag around it !!!no time for a picture yikes!


Another great day in back country Cuenca, and Castilla La Mancha. Really a great vacation time and so hard to think we must come back to work yikes!!!

The Cuenca tourist office in Spanish on the nature wonders including the wonderfully huge Serrania de Cuenca (see post) where we stayed up 1400 meters!(about 4620 feet).

The same Cuenca tourist office on the road and nature trails such at the above mentioned Los Callejones:

The Cuenca province tourist office on trails to see better on foot/bike but car were ok by us!

Cycling news journal on the “historic” stage 7 of the Vuelta de España we saw in Cuenca

There you go folks, a dandy short post on a wonderful family experience. We are missing one a big one ,but looking forward to be back to the area as soon as possible. Cuenca has become a memorable point of many family happy times and we love it. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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June 13, 2021

Some news from Spain CV

And back to Spain everything under the sun, and things are getting hotter. All is out and most booked in most places already, the hunger to travel is big in the 2nd most visited country in the world (UN-WTO). I am waiting for the stadium Bernabeu to back to my Madrid so will hold on past August for this. In the meantime, here are the latest some news from Spain already in its 105 edition. Thanks for reading me since Nov 2010!!! aprreciated.

Something enormously historical is happening… The National Heritage releases the codices of the Cantigas de Alfonso X. The manuscripts of the wise king kept in El Escorial, the only ones so far inaccessible to the public and researchers, will be available online before the end of July 2021. The two codices of the Cantigas de Santa María ,a collection of more than 400 songs in Galician produced by King Alfonso X the Wise in the 13C  inaccessible until now. The Codex Rico and the Codex of the Musicians have slept a secular dream, kept in the Royal Library of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Webpage:

This in Càceres I had mentioned before, this is an update. It was not enough for it to be a UNESCO World Heritage City or to have one of the best preserved medieval historic centers in Europe, full of palaces, large houses, churches and crenellated towers. Cáceres never tires of hoarding claims. The last (but not the only one) is the new building with a garden at the Helga de Alvear Museum of Contemporary Art. This space is added to the existing one known as Casa Grande, on Calle Pizarro. A total of 8,000 m2 where the most complete private collection of contemporary art in Europe is exhibited, belonging to the gallery owner Helga de Alvear (Germany, 1936). Of all the corners of the palace open to the public, the Sala de Armas ( Weapons room on the first floor) with grotesques decorating its walls and a spectacular polychrome alfarje (carved wooden ceiling), both from the 16C, attracts attention. While on the upper floor there is one of the palace’s greatest treasures: a selection of 9,000 documents and codices from the Foundation’s Historical Archive, with jewels such as the account book of Queen Isabel la Católica written by her waiter, Sancho de Paredes Golfín.  From the Palacio de los Golfines you have to head to the Torre de los Sande (15C), which rises with power although it is topped-like so many others in the city, by order of the Catholic Monarchs. In the Plaza de San Mateo, occupying one of the corners of the Palace of the Saavedra. webpage:

The esplanade in front of which the reception opens gives a glimpse, a little further away, of the magnificent façade of the monastery of Santa María de la Vid. It was in 1140 when Sancho Ansúrez and Domingo Gómez de Campdespina, two noble students at the then recently inaugurated Sorbonne University in Paris, returned to their Castilian fiefdoms to found the first two premonstratensian monasteries on the Peninsula: Santa María de Retuerta. (today Abadía Retuerta winery, with its luxurious Le Domaine hotel, in the Ribera del Duero) and Santa María del Monte Sacro, moved two decades later to the other bank of the Duero with the name of the Vid. In 1516, Abbot Íñigo López de Mendoza ordered the erection of a new cloister and a church under the current Renaissance moldings that welcomed other Baroque reforms undertaken during the 18C. The only bestiary in Castilian that exists in the world, written in 1570, is preserved here. Anecdotes and stories are not lacking in the monument, so many as to justify the transformation of the old monastic inn into a modern hotel opened in 2020, in full pandemic convulsion. The first floor is dedicated to the bedrooms. The stairs, or the elevator, are left to contemplate, on the right, the library and the private area of the monks of the order of San Agustín, who since 1856 have inhabited the monument after the ineffable confiscation of Mendizábal (state vs church). To the left are the rooms, whose windows overlook the cloister. Monasterio de la Vid, Calle del Camino Real, 3. La Vid (Burgos) webpage :

Las Chorreras del Cabriel  , wonderful memories as we stayed nearby couple of summers, this is near Las Majadas (see posts). They are waterfalls, and pools of crystalline water, declared a Reserve of the Biosphere of Valle del Cabriel. This incredible natural setting is similar to what we can find on paradisiacal islands, so it is well worth a visit in summer. Of course, it must be borne in mind that it is only allowed to bathe in the pools and it is totally forbidden to step on the tuff formations and slide down the stromatolite ramps since they are very valuable as they are considered one of the best representations of these geomorphological elements of  the Iberian Peninsula. Webpage:

Hondarribia, a day in the territory of the Vikings (as the locals are call). The medieval and marine town dazzles with its traditional architecture, the views of the bay of Txingudi. The best way to enter Hondarribia is by descending Mount Jaizkibel. The sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe refers us to the traditional Alarde (civic-religious parade to fulfill the vow made by the people to the Virgin during the siege of 1638), which is celebrated every September 8. From here, the Bidasoa river is a water scar that separates it from Irun and Hendaye, a neighbor with a truly irresistible beach. In view are part of the medieval wall that borders the old city.  Before crossing the Santa María gate and entering the walls, the sculpture of the Hatxero (sapper), symbol of the city, welcomes you.

It is impossible not to recall the slow steps of Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen, convicted prisoners in Papillon, shot here in 1973. The City/Town Hall and the Zuloaga palace both from the 18C or the Church of Nuestra Señora del Manzano , where on June 3, 1660, Maria Teresa of Austria and Luis XIV, the Sun King, were married by proxy, before staging the formal wedding six days later and at full speed in Saint Jean de Luz France.  The Plaza de Armas , the usual meeting point, is dominated by the parador Carlos V, from the 10C. Half castle, half palace, its monumentality controls, from the top of the promontory, the bay of Txingudi and explains its old function of fortress and watchtower. Continuing along San Nikolas, you reach the Plaza de Gipuzkoa where the brick creaks with the traditional architecture in wood and stone. There is a monument of a bear and a strawberry tree in Plaza Javier Ugarte as a courtesy to the many visitors from Madrid. It is essential to know the essence of the chacolí, cultural heritage of the Basque Country. Nothing like a visit to the Txakolineria Hiruzta, on the outskirts, which thanks to the oenologist Ana Martín has recovered the centuries-old tradition of production and elaboration of versatile, gastronomic and first-rate chacolís. Webpage:

There are two nearby excursions from Hondarribia. You can go to Saint Jean de Luz and see what remains of the original La Pérgola casino , or visit the fishing villages of Pasaia, crossing by boat from Pasai Donibane to Pasai San Pedro and remember Orson Welles reading only in the historic Casa Cámara restaurant and visit the house where Victor Hugo lived during his stay in 1843. To see what inspired him this place just have to open his book Journey to the Pyrenees and the Alps. More on the house of Victor Hugo here:

The Casa Camara resto of the readings of Orson Welles:

And the Spring 2021 has arrived with all kinds of gifts at the store that forever changed the wine trade in Spain, Lavinia. Thierry Servant, a French businessman living in Spain, founded Lavinia in Madrid 22 years ago, before those of Paris and Geneva. Following Servant’s death in an unfortunate accident, he was succeeded by his daughter Charlotte. And, in Spain, its director has been Juan Manuel Bellver, a journalist with deep knowledge of wine who has become one of the first merchants in Spain.  The good news is that there is a new  opening of the new Paris headquarters on Avenue Victor Hugo (after closing Madeleine as too big too expensive), better equipped for tasting its thousand most special references, while another 5,000 are sold online. The timing could not be better if it were intentional: The Wine Spectator, the world’s leading wine magazine, has just informed Lavinia Madrid, in this case as a restaurant, that it has been awarded the Best of Award of Excellence, an award for the extraordinary quality of the wine list and the cellar.  The French webpage already has the new addresses:

And to finish with something off the beaten path but worth the detour. The story of Juan de Goyeneche and José de Churriguera who created the town of Nuevo Baztán from scratch, a town that served to house the workers of the luxury factories that settled there.  Its streets have been filled every weekend with curious eyes that came and went from the palace to the church, and from there to the nearby houses. A place created from scratch. The history of an era. Nuevo Baztán is between 40 and 50 km from Madrid, depending on the starting point. And there, in effect, an industrial complex with factories was built at the beginning of the 18C where luxury objects were made for the European market. An innovative development not far from Alcalá de Henares. Webpage on how to reach Nuevo Baztàn:

There you go folks, another episode of my long running series Some news from Spain. Hope you enjoy it and give you some ideas to better spend your time in my beloved Spain.

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

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June 13, 2021

Plaza Mayor of Cuenca!!!

And I bring you back to a sentimental town of my beloved Spain. This is Cuenca in the province of Cuenca and Castilla de La Mancha region in the kingdom of Spain. We walked all over here already is like our town; but spent most of the time in the wonderful quant Plaza Mayor of Cuenca. Another dandy main square of my Spain.

The plaza Mayor is the meeting place and communication hub between the various routes in the old part of the city. The Cathedral, the City Hall building and the Convent of San Pedro dominate the landscape. From the Plaza Mayor part of the Calle Pilares, which leads us to the Ermita de las Angustias, the Calle San Pedro and Ronda de Julían de Romero, which lead to the Castle, the Canónigos and Calle Clavel to the Casas Colgadas (hanging houses) and the Puente de San Pablo (bridge of Saint Paul).


The land is so small that if we access the square through the Calle Alfonso VIII , we will see that once inside it is a continuation of the street that widens. The main road crosses the square until starting the ascent to the ruins of the Castle, along Calle San Pedro. It is the center of city life, an ideal place to take a break on the terrace, to capture the atmosphere of the city and see its most important architectural works. You can also buy traditional crafts from the region.

In the Plaza Mayor you will find as emblematic buildings the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Grace (see post) from the 12C, the City Hall, a baroque style building from the times of Carlos III; that is raised by three semicircular arches. In the 20C it had to be rebuilt to obtain the appearance it has today, and the beautiful facade of colorful buildings. On one side of the cathedral we find a street that leads us to the statue of Alfonso VIII, (see post) the most important king for the city of Cuenca, since it was he who liberated the city from Muslim occupation in 1177. This monument was built in 2009 and it shows Alfonso VIII on the back of his horse. It is a bronze sculpture on a stone base that exceeds 3 meters in height.


I like to give you some webpages to help you plan your trip here and especially around the Plaza Mayor; hope it helps.

The city of Cuenca webcam on the Plaza Mayor

The Cuenca tourist office on the Plaza Mayor

The province of Cuenca tourist office on the Plaza Mayor of Cuenca

The region of Castilla La Mancha on the Plaza Mayor of Cuenca

There you go folks, another dandy in my beloved  Spain. This one very close to the heart in memorable Cuenca and its quant nice Plaza Mayor. Enjoy it as we did.

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

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June 13, 2021

Calle de la Princesa of Madrid!

I have done several posts on streets, squares, etc in my blog on several cities and especially my beloved Madrid. Streets of always with memories walking them and enjoying their surroundings. Each time there brings about family memories of old and always. One very important street as it passes by several monuments is the Calle de la Princesa or Princess street in Madrid. Let me tell you a bit more on it ok.

The Calle de la Princesa or Calle Princesa begins in the Plaza de España and ends in the Plaza de la Moncloa (see posts). It is the dividing line between the Centro and Moncloa-Aravaca districts (up to the intersection with Alberto Aguilera and Marqués de Urquijo streets) and Chamberí and Moncloa-Aravaca (between Alberto Aguilera and Melendez Valdés streets).


The Calle de la Princesa receives its name dating from 1865 from the Infanta Isabel de Borbón y Borbón, known as “La Chata”, (hollow nose) so beloved by the people, and an object of ridicule among the intelligentsia. She was twice Princess of Asturias and died in exile in Paris.

When the left Second Republic was proclaimed in Spain. Doña Isabel decided to accompany her relatives and left for France. Five days after she left Spain, she died of natural causes in a convent in Auteuil, Paris. She was buried in Paris. On May 23, 1991, by order of King Juan Carlos I, her remains were transferred to Spain and deposited in the Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity of the Royal Palace of La Granja in near Segovia together with those of King Felipe V and his wife Isabel de Farnese. Next to the Parque del Oeste stands a sculptural group in memory of her, in the Calle del Pintor Rosales (painter Eduardo Rosales) at No 30.

The street Calle de la Princesa, before taking the name that it conserves at the beginning of the 21C, it was called Calle del Duque de Liria, because it was located around the palace of Liria, (see post) in the old stately estate of Moncloa (Real Sitio de la Moncloa and before Real Sitio de la Florida).


The Calle de la  Princesa is one of the busiest shopping streets in Madrid. You will find the most trendy brands there, aimed at a young clientele: Zara, Mango, Benetton, Tintoretto and Massimo Dutti. It is a residential and commercial area that has a few important buildings, in particular the Palacio de Liria, an excellent example of the typical 18C neoclassicism, the residence of the Casa de Alba.(see post)

The Madrid tourist office on shopping by Calle de la Princesa

The Madrid tourist office on Calle Princesa

There you go folks another dandy walk in glorious Madrid. The calle de la Princesa we walked and walked , saw the sights and shop and ate see the above sights in other posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

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June 13, 2021

Arradon by the coast of Morbihan!!!

I will do a mix here, this is an older post on Arradon that I was going to update the text/links. However, I stopped by the town yesterday mid day with the boys and took new pictures of its main monument and port. Therefore, I will put a revise text update the links and the pictures will be new from 2021! How about that to tell you about Arradon by the coast of my beautiful Morbihan!!!

Of course, I have several posts on Arradon in my blog as it is near me about 20 minutes by car; you take the expressway free N165 and get off at exit Plescop/Arradon and get on road D127 to Arradon There is no train station,and the bus no 4 takes you here from the gare de Vannes to the mairie d’Arradon. The town is literally next to Vannes.

See the bus schedule on the city of Arradon webpage:

They do have nice beaches , such as plage de Kerbilhouet, plage de Penboch, and plage la Carrière (best). It has a nice marina harbor, the Pointe d’Arradon is a small peninsula of 700 meters long by 200 meters wide at its widest point and it serves as a boarding terminal for passenger boats visiting  for the nearby island of l‘Ile-aux-Moines (Monks island but there are no monks now), and great seafood!! Also, next to the Carriére beach as above.

arradon plage la carriere by pointe d'Arradon sep20





My fav plages tv on the plage la Carriére beach in French:

There is a beautiful Church of St Pierre at the city center, a Chapelle du bourg (for cultural events , expo etc) , and we had lunch. 

The Church of Saint Pierre (see post) at city center is at 2 rue Louis Quilleré.   It is of gothic style begun in 1885 and finished in 1888.  It has inside a painting representing the holy cross or “Sacré-Coeur de Jésus entouré d’angelots”  from the 18C in the south transept, another the deploration of Christ dead or  “La Déploration du Christ mort”,dating from  1847  and located in the ambulatory, yet another the virgin taking care of her sons in crucifixion or “la Vierge tendant son fils aux enfants et une Crucifixion”, located in the baptismal room. The church, also, houses a statue in wood from the 17C of Saint Vincent Ferrier (that visited Arradon in 1419 while evangelizing the area coming from Valencia Spain, his body lies in the Cathedral Saint Pierre at Vannes) , also the statues of Saint Pierre and Saint Roch. The clock in the south nave dates from 1895. The church is in granite rubble, tower and steeple in freestone and the vaults in Saint-Savinien stone.

The Diocese of Saint Pierre in Arradon webpage:

Chapelle du Bourg, at pl de l’église (see post) in city center, now exhibits contemporary art, sculptures, artists arts, concerts, photo expos, themes and history in an educational manner. It was the previous Church of St Pierre from the 15C, and until the 17C it carries weddings and baptismal ceremonies there . It became what it is today from 1889; however, it is still a sacred building!!!

We had our lunch at the Créperie Les Logoden, (breton for laughs)  20, rue Albert Danet  tel +33  02 97 46 79 03. Where the food was great with galette arradonaise with local breton sausages, cafe gourmand with expresso coffee and small pots of creme brulée,far breton, and apple crêpes, a 50cl house red wine(2/3 bottle), and similar faires for the gang all for 18,40€ per person!!! the service was a bit slow but this is a small town, once we got going the lady started talking more lol! To emphasize the food was fantastic, the welcome a bit cold. No web but a Facebook page:



Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and nice by the coast/beaches are

The city of Arradon on its heritage:

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on Arradon:

The Bretagne tourist board on the plage la Carriére in Arradon:

There you go folks, another dandy in my beautiful coastal Morbihan. Enjoy the trip its another gem off the beaten path ,Arradon of my Morbihan Breton and you are all degemer mat or Welcome!!!

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

June 13, 2021

The Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo!!!

Ok so this is new but it has briefs notes in my other posts on Madrid. I just took the text out and creating a single post on it here. This is the spot of the other team of Madrid so enough said. However, the square is very nice and in the middle sits the Fuente de Neptuno fountain. Let me tell you a bit more about the Plaza de Cànovas del Castillo ok.

The Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo is a large, almost circular roundabout located on the border of the Cortes district and the Retiro district, occupying the heart of the old Prado Hall and centered on the Neptune Fountain since 1898. The Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, the headquarters of the Cortes (Spanish parliament) and the monumental buildings of the Westin Palace Hotel and the Ritz Hotel are very close. Since 1895, a municipal agreement baptized it with the name of the 19C politician Antonio Cánovas del Castillo.

The square is framed by the Paseo del Prado, with the Palacio de Villahermosa, and the landscaped space of the Plaza de la Lealtad and the Ritz hotel, which facing diagonally has the Westin Palace hotel (stayed here!) occupying the plaza to Poniente in the confluence of the Carrera de San Jerónimo with the Plazuela de las Cortes streets. You have the Calle de Felipe IV, with the entrance of Murillo to the Prado National Art Gallery, the continuation of the walk to the neighboring Glorieta de Atocha, and the entrance of the Calle de Cervantes.


The whole of the Westin Palace Hotel and its services were seized, looted and mistreated by the French occupation army in the course of the Spanish War of Independence (May 1808). Half a century later, in 1857 part of the land was urbanized to extend Calle Lope de Vega to Paseo del Prado; A similar process was carried out at the beginning of the 20C so that Calle de Cervantes reached the Prado and Calle Jesús reached the Cortes (parliament). After the death of the fiftieth Duke of Medinaceli in 1873, his widow moved to the new ducal palace on the Paseo de Recoletos corner of the Plaza de Colón. The old palace was demolished in 1910 to build part of the estate of the Westin Palace Hotel you see today.


The Neptune fountain in the middle (see post) was designed in 1777 and built between 1782 and 1786. Although originally it was located at the descent of the Carrera de San Jerónimo, later, in 1898 it was moved to the place it occupies today.

mad fuente de neptuno side may16

The Madrid tourist office on the Neptune fountain in English:

There you go folks another dandy combination in my beloved Madrid; never ceased to amazed me on its architecture and historical beauty. Hope you enjoy the Plaza Cànovas del Castillo and the Fuente de Neptuno.

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

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