Archive for June 25th, 2021

June 25, 2021

Some news from Spain CVI

And I am coming back at you with my Spain, as said everything under the sun! Things are moving quickly and the spaces are open people out and fun is back. I am waiting for the stadium to be done to be there in my dear Madrid, oh yes the stadium ,the only one, the Santiago Bernabeu home of the Real Madrid CF! Ok ok so now let met tell you some nice news of my beloved Spain. Thanks for reading me since Nov 2010 and on my 106th edition of some news from Spain!

A brief getaway through Castilian lands to visit jewels such as the beautiful Cloister of Santa María la Real de Nieva, in the province of Segovia; the incredible Monastery of Santa Clara, in Tordesillas province of Valladolid, and the unique charm of the Basilica of San Juan de Baños, in Palencia. The proposal supposes an itinerary of 250 km by road from Madrid, which is feasible to cover by car in one day. Just leave early and take advantage of the time! Enjoy the architecturally and historically stunning road warrior tour.

The first stop is in Santa María la Real de Nieva, a peaceful town half an hour from Segovia. The construction of the Gothic church began in 1393 and, once completed, it was handed over to the Dominicans. Shortly after the monastery began to rise and in the following years the church would be expanded, demolishing the apses of the original head.  About 80 km from Santa María la Real, in the direction of Valladolid, awaits Tordesillas, which owes part of its fame to the treaty signed on June 7, 1494 between the representatives of the Catholic Monarchs (Fernando and Isabel) and those of John II of Portugal, for the one that both crowns divided the territories of the New World. In addition, Juana I of Castile, nicknamed La Loca (crazy) and mother of Emperor Carlos V, was locked up in this town for more than 40 years. The Royal Convent of Santa Clara, which hosted the body of Felipe el Hermoso from 1509 to 1525, has been six centuries watching the waters of the Duero flow at its feet. It was originally a Mudejar palace that King Alfonso XI ordered to be built around 1340, as evidenced by the lace decoration and Arabic inscriptions, as well as a charming courtyard with lobed and horseshoe arches reminiscent of the Alhambra in Granada. At  70 km north of Tordesillas is the third architectural landmark of this route: a stone diamond erected by the Visigoth king Recesvinto in the Palencia plain of Venta de Baños. The secluded Basilica of San Juan de Baños, one of the few buildings of this type in Spain, resembles a small chest whose dating is not the slightest doubt as in the front there is a Latin inscription that cites the year 699 , and that corresponds to 661 of our era. Built with large ashlars joined together with little mortar, the temple measures 20 meters long by 13 meters wide. Wonderful!

The rebirth  of Mayte Commodore, the restaurant that was the center of the political intrigues of the Franco regime. In this luxurious premises, the appointment of Juan Carlos de Borbón as successor to the title of King was forged and Manuel Fraga celebrated the wedding invitation to his son. This summer it reopens its doors renovated but with the essence that made it an icon of Madrid. The new space that will open this summer has dispensed with the name of Mayte. It’s going to be called Commodore. Many international actors, such as Anthony Quinn, Charlton Heston or Ava Gardner, and Spanish politicians and artists, such as Juan Domingo Perón and Lola Flores, spent long evenings there. The restaurant opened in 1967, at No 5 Plaza de la República Argentina, in an emblematic brick building. Mayte was born in Santander. She was the only girl of 14 siblings, she studied at the Lausanne School of Hospitality and at 18 she went to Madrid to earn a living in the hospitality industry. She was a tavern server from Cantabria who set up a canteen near the Bronston studios, at the end of calle General Mola, today Calle Principe de Vergara, and dazzled the great stars. From that first space she moved to what we now know as Commodore, the center of the political intrigues of the moment. There, for example, the appointment of Juan Carlos de Borbón as successor to the title of King was forged. Manuel Fraga, then Minister of Information and Tourism, officiated in one of his four private festive evenings, burned in hand, proclaiming his long-awaited openness. There, in 1987, he would celebrate the wedding invitation with his son, Ignacio Fraga, along with Margarita Pedroche. During those years, political personalities such as Felipe Gonzalez, Adolfo Suarez, Santiago Carrillo or Alfonso Guerra would make an appearance. Pure history of Madrid and Spain reborn to visit as soon as possible. Webpage pending.

Medina Azahara, the great scene of the Umayyad power that succumbed in 73 years. In the year 1000, there was no more dazzling city in Europe than Madinat al Zahra, 8 km west of Córdoba, the capital of al-Andalus and the royal home of the self-proclaimed Caliph Abd al-Rahman III. Madinat al Zahra, Castilianized as Medina Aza .A must to see in my Spain. Webpage:

Manuel Escribano,  the first from Las Ventas of Madrid is going to help me so they can count on me as hell he says for the first corrida there since the pandemic. The Sevillian bullfighter will be the first matador de Luces to fight a bull in the Monumental almost two years later. More info here:

At 41, surrounded by his wife Kirenia, his children Axel and Chloe, and all the Real Madrid legends, Felipe Reyes said goodbye to basketball through tears. An unrepeatable player who left unique moments. He was the expected and unexpected goodbye of one of the greatest who wore the shirt of Spain, the third in caps ;236 , only behind Navarro and Epi. He finished with the greatest number of matches played under the Real Madrid  1,046! in 17 seasons where he won  23 titles: 2 Euros cups, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 7 overal playoffs ACB championships, 6 King’s Cup, 6 Super Cup of Spain and 1 ULEB Cup.  3 eurobasket  Cups, 2 Olympic silver and 1 bronze 1 world championship ; 2 Silver eurobasket and 1 bronze; 1 bronze eurobasket junior, 1 gold europe junior. Thank you Felipon and well deserve rest good luck in your future. Hala Madrid!!!!

Madrid wants to open the Retiro park bomb shelter to the public in 2022. The construction of this building began in 1936, in the context of the Spanish Civil War. A document certifies that the work was completed in 1938 and, after the war, it was used for mushroom cultivation due to the little light and humidity it offered. Subsequently, it remained closed for more than thirty years. It had three entrances , two in the park and one in Calle Menéndez Pelayo. In addition, it lacked weapons to defend itself, which indicates that it was intended for the use of the civilian population shelter with an approximate capacity of 275 people. The dimensions of its corridors were from 1.10 to 1.15 meters wide and 1.60 to 2.48 meters high, the galleries were straight and every 25 meters they broke at a 90º angle to avoid for the shock waves to reach more people. To be follow as would be very interesting to go under; to be continue…..

The boats in the El Retiro pond and the Casa de Campo lake can be booked through the ‘Madrid Móvil’ application or the ‘’ website as of this Saturday, June 26, according to made public by the Madrid City Council The ticket gives the right to the use of a boat with a maximum number of four occupants for 45 minutes from the moment the boat starts to be used. The price is 6 euros for weekdays and 8 euros for Saturdays, Sundays and holidays The number of boats available to citizens is 20 in the Casa de Campo (another 30 new boats will be added at the end of the year) and 100 in El Retiro. Great my favorite time when young boy in Madrid and first girlfriend taken there! Webpage in Spanish:

La Barraca will be portable. A wandering and free theater that will travel the torrid roads of Castile, the dusty roads of Andalusia, all the roads that cross the Spanish countryside.  It will penetrate into the villages, towns and villages, and will set up in the squares his tablados and guignol huts. Resurrection of the traveling entertainment of the past times. These are the words of Federico García Lorca about the mythical university theater company that he himself directed together with Eduardo Ugarte between 1932 and 1936.  The last trip of ‘La Barraca’ was on June 14 1936, just two months before his murdered. -He had the support of the then Minister of Public Instruction, Fernando de los Ríos, and intended to take classical theater throughout Spain. The Madrid Theater Institute, dependent on the Complutense University will carry on , bravo chapeau!!! To be able to see it!!!More info here:

The most popular European island in 44 European countries as survey by Musement. The Greek Santorini takes the ‘likes’ of a large part of Europeans, but as we can see in 11 of the countries present in the infographic, the favorite island is a Spanish one. After Tenerife, the second most popular island is Mallorca, the favorite of Germans and Belarusians. But this is not all, Ibiza, Menorca and Lanzarote have also earned a place on the map. The study was carried out by analyzing Google search volume data from 200 European islands (excluding island countries). Source webpage :

And yes Madrid has metro works and stoppage too.  The Metro de Madrid will cut-off Line 6 and the bus entity EMT will connect the Pacífico and Sainz de Baranda stations during the works. The stops of this special service will be located very close to the entrances of the stations affected by these works, which will last from July 1 to July 31 2021. In the vicinity of the Pacífico metro station, there will be a newly created header (stop 4874), at Avenida Ciudad de Barcelona, 83. From there, the buses will travel along Calle Doctor Esquerdo, making an intermediate stop next to the station. Conde de Casal metro (stop no. 1434) and they will continue their route along this street until they reach the Sainz de Baranda station, where the descent stop no. 4614 will be enabled. In the opposite direction, users must go up at the head again creation no. 4962 to make the route in the Pacific direction along Calle Doctor Esquerdo , with an intermediate stop (no. 1,433) at the Conde de Casal metro and final descent stop next to the Pacífico station (stop no. 1,437). This special service will operate every day of the week between 6h05 and 02h09, with frequencies of two to six minutes at peak hours and on weekdays. The frequencies on Saturdays and Sundays will vary between 6 and 16 minutes depending on the time slot.  This was my route when visiting Madrid on business trips!

For the first time, the prestigious EVOOLEUM Guide rewards the most beneficial groves for health according to their amount of phenols. According to scientific evidence, extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest there is.(I knew that since birth !!)  Among the many benefits of regular and moderate consumption are reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, having an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antitumor effect, and regulating glucose metabolism. Experts believe that, to take advantage of these healthy benefits, it is necessary to consume 20 grams of extra virgin olive oil daily with a phenolic content of at least 250 ppm (parts per million), that is, two tablespoons. According to the prestigious publication, three extra Spanish virgins are among the 10 healthiest: the Cordovan blend of picuda and hojiblanca Parqueoliva Serie Oro, from Almazaras de la Subbética (position no 3), Al Alma del Olivo Cornicabra PDO Montes de Toledo Ecológico, Olinexo ( no. 9), and Pagos de Toral Selección Gourmet, Pagos de Toral (no 10). This ranking by the hand of the EVOOLEUM Guide will be published in September and will be included in the next edition of The 100 best virgin olive oils on the planet 2022, its annual publication. More info webpage;

Xiringuito by Casa Mono, the dining room with the beach of Madrid. Located in the X-Madrid shopping center in the neighboring town of Alcorcón, it has a dining room, terrace and beach and sand area, and offers a kitchen with contemporary touches. Behind it are well-known names in Madrid’s restaurants, those of the creators of the aforementioned New York-style bar-restaurant in the Argüelles neighborhood -Casa Mono-, Martinete (Salamanca district), Ateneo (in the center of Madrid) and Los Pérez (Boadilla del Monte).  Located at Calle Oslo, 53. X-Madrid Shopping Center, local 061.  webpage:

And there you go folks, another dandy informative post from my humble personal some news from Spain! Hope you enjoy it and again thanks for reading it. Enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!!

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June 25, 2021

The Wax Museum of Madrid!

This is a novelty in my travels, do go into museums but a wax museum? Well this is Madrid after all and after living and visiting for many years never had stopped in until coming with the family from France. Curious for the historical wax figures in it went in. Pleasant surprise something different indeed and nice history. We enjoy the visit to the Wax Museum of Madrid!! or Museo de Cera de Madrid!!

When it comes to museums we go to some different museums and we like our first visit ever to the Wax Museum of Madrid. I do not recall been there , well maybe as a boy believe my mother mentioned to me took me here when it opened in 1972 , but took a long time before coming again with the family , and thereafter a couple times and as it is in one of the best areas of Madrid and the one we stayed in the Fénix Hotel by Plaza Colon (see post) when I took my then girlfriend and later dear late wife Martine in 1990 on our first trip together to Madrid.

Just wonderful memories I like to share with the world.  The Museo de Cera de Madrid shows over 450 wax figures in over 2000 square meters of space on two floors and over forty rooms in which the visitor can travel back in time accompanied by the corresponding historical figures. It is located at Paseo de Recoletos, no 41 right across from the Plaza de Colon square and get there on metro Colon line 4 , as well as buses  21, and 37.  It opened on February 14 1972.


To build the museum, a research, selection, and reconstruction of scenarios and characters was carried out, in which Oscar award-winning professionals participated. Sculptors, make-up artists, costume designers, decorators and illuminators of the moment, belonging to film production teams, collaborated in this project. Finally, the first figure, that of the navigator Cristobal Colón, saw the light, and after it many more until the 450 that occupy the scenarios that recreate the environment in which each one of them has lived and lives. These figures come from illustrious personages of the history of Spain, and also international, of different fields: history  such as king Felipe VI, the Arts like Pablo Neruda,  and Pablo Picasso; Sciences like Ramón y Cajal, and  Margarita Salas, Spectacles like Plácido Domingo, and  Lola Flores, Terror  like Dracula, and children like Mortadelo and Philemon, among other representations.

Almost all the contemporary characters that are exhibited in the galleries of the museum are dressed in costumes belonging to each one of them, from the General Franco to the master composer Joaquín Rodrigo passing by the actress Lina Morgan, the writer Camilo José Cela, the actress Carmen Sevilla or Cleopatra, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Kings of the Dynasties of Austria (Habsburg) and Bourbon. The museum has made a special interest in reflecting the children’s world with the presence of the Simpson familyHarry Potter, Mortadelo and Philemon and Snow White in addition to Frodo of The Lord of the Rings. You can see that one of the galleries is the crime and horror room with characters such as Count Dracula, the Mummy or Freddy Krueger.

I had personal pictures with the royals that made Spain what it is today from the union of old to the union of today! The Catholic kings of Fernando and Isabel and the new bourbon Juan Carlos I.



The museum also has three attractions: the simulator consisting of icy tunnels, the center of the Earth and space; The train of terror, which transports the visitor to the Jurassic Park, to the Galactic Tavern, passing through famous murders and other surprises; And finally a multivision that offers a glimpse of the history of Spain. Fascinating indeed.

Nearby you have some of my all time favorites eateries such as Restaurante El Espejo now call the New Espejo done with lots of mirrors all around a classic in Madrid at any time but in the terrase is sublime, just a bit south of the museum on the same side street.  For a more literally mindset and very chic Madrid come to the Historical Café Gijon since 1888. This one still a bit south than the other but close enough on same side street. 

The Madrid tourist office on the wax museum

The official webpage of the Wax Museum of Madrid

There you go folks, another dandy in my beloved Madrid. Enjoy the history in one single spot in the Wax Museum of Madrid, right in marvelous Paseo de Recoleto and near the Plaza de Colon.

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

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June 25, 2021

Villa Borghese, heaven in Rome!!!

I arrived in Rome with the family, finally. After several business trips and telling them of the opportunities to see here , they wanted to come. Therefore, I obliged and took them all here by airplane Nantes, Roissy CDG, and  Rome’s Fiumicino. It was a very nice family trip and we packed a lot of sights into it. However, one of the best if not the best was the visit to Villa Borgnese a heaven in Rome!! Let me tell you a bit about it and hope you enjoy it as I.

I am back nostalgia sets in on our family trip to Rome ,Italy.  We walked a lot and came by airport bus right into our rental apartment by Nomentano, near metro Bologna. One of the most pleasant trips was to the Villa Borghese park a wonderful ,and a must visit while in Rome for all

The Villa Borghèse  is a municipal park of 80 hectares or about 198 acres in Rome.  It has a large group of buildings on the cultural nature as well as museums i The gardens of Villa Borghese were done following the plans of Cardinal Scipione Borghese to enhance the town and to house his art collection. In 1605 he ordered transformed a vineyard into luxurious gardens fed by several fountainsL This is the most important park in Rome since the Antique period.   The whole of the Villa Borghese was finished in 1633 . The current gardens dates from the 19C and done in the English style. The park was purchased by the Italian government in 1901 and given to the city of Rome in 1903 to be open to the public.




As it is a long story as I go along will post the relevant webpages. First, the area we stayed Nomentana

It houses numerous institutions of great renown and value such as the French Academy of Rome since 1803 and known as Villa Médicis The Villa Médicis was done around 1564 replacing the old gardens of Luculius . The villa is acquired in 1576 by the Cardinal Ferdinand de Médicis that until 1587  (when he becomes the Grand Duke of Tuscany) had done  to house his collection of antique arts, several bronces and several portraits. webpage:



Other important building and center , to me the main one is the Galeria Borghese, a museum exposing great work of art going back in time from the collection of Cardinal Scipione Borghese. The casino ,the main building of the villa, has lost most of the stucco decoration which framed ancient statues and reliefs. In 1807, Prince Camillo Borghese sold or was invited to sell to Napoleon I his brother in law, the collection of antiquities which decorated the interior and exterior of the building. webpage:

You have, also, the National Etruscan Museum of the Villa Giulia , you guessed works of arts before Roman times or Etruscans. ; the Villa Giulia adjoining the Villa Borghese gardens was built in 1551 – 1555 as a summer residence for Pope Julius III now it contains the Etruscan Museum. webpage:

The National Gallery of contemporary and modern arts, the largest of its kind in Italy. webpage:

Animal biodiversity in a zoological civic museum .webpage:

Pietro Canonica Museum , sculptor and composer, housing his collection. webpage:

The Carlo Bilotti Museum , an Italian American collector who gave his collections to the city of Rome and is house in the Orangery of the Villa Borghese. webpage:

The Bioparco, one of the oldest zoo in Europe inside Villa Borghese. webpage:

Villa Lubin inside Villa Borghese at Via di Villa Lubin, 2 it open in 1908 and until 1945 was the seat of the international institute of agriculture that is now FAO or the United Nations Food and Agriculture organisation ; Since 1959 is the seat of the National Council on Economy and Labor or CNEL. Rome tourist office on Villa Lubin

The Silvano Toti  Globe Theater  was built identical to Globe theatre of London  the most famous of the Elizabethian period, the theatre here was built in 2003. webpage:

The Church Santa Maria Immacolata at the piazza di Siena inside  Villa Borghese . Built end of 18C for orders of Prince Marcantonio Borghese. Part of the complex of Casina di Raffaello; renovation were done in 1826. webpage:

The Casina di Raffaello with lots of kids activities in a renovated old mansion. webpage:


You see the wonderful Pincio Water clock , still going strong from 19C engineering. The Pincio is a hill on the north of the Quirinal that dominates the Campo di Martes with several villas including Villa Borghese where you have the clock.  The clock has four quadrants ideally recalling the trunk of a tree and allowing it to show the time in four different directions, to note his hands in the shape of tree branches to make this structure an architectural element almost natural in perfect harmony with Villa Borghese.



The temple of Diane is a small circular kiosk in the neo classic style and built in 1789 upon orders of prince Marcantonio IV Borghese. By Viale della Casina di Raffaello. All over the park you find wonderful creeks, and flower decoration, . Some of the more remarkable in my opinion are the one honouring Umberto I, son of king Victor Emmanuel II the first king of an unified Italy. King Emmanuel III succeeded but abdicated in 1946 and was follow by Umberto II but he abdicates a month later so becoming the last king of Italy. There is a monument to Goethe, the poet novelist and drama writer , and politician of Germany. Also a statue to George Gordon Byron or lord Byron done in the 19C. OF course, not all on pictures.  From the French Academy on the viale del Belvedere you have a wonderful view of Rome on the Campo Marzio, and perpendicular to the viale della Magnolia with a nice park for children and a magnificent restaurant I had tried on a business trip to dream in Rome , La Casina Valadier. Resto webpage




The Rome tourist office on La Casina Valadier restaurant in English:

The Rome Tourist Office on Villa Borghese park:

There you go folks as said a wonderful park in a huge historically renown city of Rome. I told you, it is huge we could not walked all and came back twice to it while there, so many monuments and buildings to see. My next trip will stay close to it and go at it again.  Enjoy it and do visit when in Rome.

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

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June 25, 2021

The Basilica Saint-Willibrord of Echternach !!!

And let’s get you and I back to wonderful small pretty Luxembourg! Many memories of my road warrior trips zigzagging the country. One of the highlights was finally getting out of Luxembourg city and into the countryside. We visited Echternach and great times there. Let me tell you about its main thing to see me think and the town. The Basilica of Saint Willibrord is awesome!

My dear late wife, Martine , love the road to travel as I and it is great pleasure to update this memorable post in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as I. I am recounting all the wonderful spots we have visited in the past.  We had decided to go further into Luxembourg rather than just visit the Capital city,and this is one of the town we decided to see coming from our base south of Trier, Germany.(see posts) It was a pleasant surprise and easy parking at the entrance of town.  We follow road 419 along the Moselle river crossing at Grevenmacher (see post) and going up along the other side of the river on the road 1/10 to Wasserbillig and then on the curve of the Sure river to the parking at Rue du Pont in Echternach.

Echternach is in the valley of the Sure on the frontier with the State of Rhineland Palatine of Germany, and known as the oldest town in Luxembourg. It is part of the region of Luxembourg known as the Little Swiss Luxembourgeois and part of the district of Grevenmacher in eastern Luxembourg. The town grew up around the walls of the Abbey of Echternach which was founded in 698 by Saint Willibrord an English monk from  Ripon in Northumbria i(in present-day  North Yorkshire England), who became the first bishop of Utrecht and worked to Christianize the Frisians. As bishop, he was the Echternach  monastery abbot  until his death in 739. It is in his honour that the notable Dancing procession of Echternahc takes place annually on Whit Tuesday.

Very old history, just to note ,in 1940 the nazis invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to face later France and UK.  It is here that the 10th panzer division came thru with the objective of crossing the Meuse river to reach Sedan.

The Basilica of Saint-Willibrord was built in the 11C on the spot of a Caroligian Church of which she preserved the crypt. Destroyed in great parts in 1944 during the Battle of the Ardennes but later rebuilt on the identical. In the Crypt there is a neo gothic coffin on a sarcophagi in stone with the relics of Saint Willibrord. On hte vault there is in the choir paintings showing the scenes of teh life of the Virgin. There is a beautiful museum in the Abbey part of the building also the Basilica.  This is a site to be seen, a must me think!




The city of Echternach on things to see:

The Echternach tourist office in English:

The Luxembourg tourist board on Echternach Basilica Saint Willobrord

There you go folks, hope you enjoy the post on Echternach, and its wonderful Abbey St Willibrord, worth a detour in Luxembourg.  And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

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