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: https://www.patrimonionacional.es/coleccion/real-biblioteca-del-monasterio-de-el-escorial

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: http://fundacionhelgadealvear.es/en/art-visual-centre/

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 :https://hospederiamonasteriodelavid.es/

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: https://www.chorrerasdelcabriel.es/es

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: https://www.hiruzta.com/en/home/

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: http://www.oarsoaldeaturismoa.eus/en/explore-oarsoaldea/our-museums/victor-hugo-house.html

The Casa Camara resto of the readings of Orson Welles: https://www.casacamara.com/index_english.html

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: https://www.lavinia.fr/fr/pages/nos-magasins

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: https://turismo.ayto-nuevobaztan.es/#

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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