Some news from Spain CVII

And why not my other love in my dear Spain. Well things there are a bit strained due to the covid19 with worries in Barcelona and Burgos as per govt figures here: The weather hotter in Madrid high of 34C today sunny with some clouds, along the coast will be hotter! Now let me tell you some news from Spain in my 107th post, thanks for reading it!

This summer the pilgrims return to the oldest and most trodden route in Europe. After a few months in silence, the Camino de Santiago is in celebration for being the Holy Year, also extended until the end of 2022 due to the pandemic. But the Compostela experience has been digitized and the pilgrim will find many novelties. These are some of them.

Pilgrims who cannot live without their cellular/mobile already have an app that allows them to certify their pilgrimage and obtain the credential in digital version. They will only have to scan the QR codes that they find on their way at the different points of the itinerary. La Compostela is granted only to those who make the pilgrimage to the Apostle’s tomb, making at least the last 100 kilometers on foot or on horseback, the last 200 kilometers by bicycle or 100 nautical miles, ending the rest of the Way from the port on foot. Disembarkation.

An escape room to test the pilgrim’s ingenuity. The famous escapism games help walkers and their neighbors to learn about the history, heritage and towns of the route, through tests, clues and riddles. Baptized as The Escape Way, the initiative also has elements of traditional yincanas and geocaching. After opening in Astorga (León), urban escape rooms will be available in a handful of towns on the Camino Francés (French Way): Arrés (Huesca), Los Arcos (Navarra), Santo Domingo de la Calzada (La Rioja), Belorado (Burgos) and Palas de Rei (Lugo). Webpage:

Based on this premise, a credential has been created that can be downloaded on the Camino Lebaniego website and that offers pilgrims to add stamps in the affiliated establishments to win products and stays based on indigenous gastronomy and foods, historically linked to the pilgrim tradition. . Webpage:

Due to the current difficulties created by the covid19, the Association of Municipalities of the Camino de Santiago updates the open shelters on its website every week. In addition, another novelty this year is Albergue LoT, a tool that reflects in real time the available places in these accommodations. amcsantiago webpage:

And Albergue LoT webpage:

On the occasion of the celebration of the Jacobean Year (Holy year) and within the framework of the commemoration acts of the VIII Centenary of the Cathedral, this year a special edition of The Ages of Man is being held. Under the title of LUX, which refers to the light inherent in Gothic cathedrals, the exhibition takes place in the provinces of Burgos, Palencia and León and has five exhibition venues: the Burgos Cathedral, the Churches of Santiago and Santa María del Camino, in Carrión de los Condes and the sanctuary of La Peregrina and the Church of San Tirso, in Sahagún. The exhibition addresses the origin and meaning of cathedrals and has as its common thread the figure of the Virgin Mary, a constant presence in so many cathedrals, churches, hermitages and monasteries that mark the Way. Webpage:

This Jacobean has invested more time and imagination than ever in climbing the path to the 21st century. The Xunta’s Safe Passage program also includes measures such as capacity limitations and Covid insurance to cover the expenses derived from a possible contagion during the visit to Galicia.

Let me tell show you the way to Avilés, the city where the founder of St Augustine in Florida USA (oldest city in USA 1565) was from Pedro Menéndez de Avilés!

Avilés is the third city in Asturias in terms of inhabitants after Gijón and Oviedo and has one of the best preserved old quarters in the Principality, declared in part a Historic-Artistic Site, as well as an interesting commercial past with still visible examples such as its medieval market of Mondays, which continues to be celebrated in the Plaza de los Hermanos Orbón since the Catholic Monarchs themselves allowed it in 1479. The Brazilian architect Óscar Niemeyer, responsible for the center that bears his name (Centro Niemeyer), which was inaugurated on the edge of the estuary just one year before his death in 2012 at the age of 104. It is also the only building of his in Spain and “his best work of him in all Europe”, as he himself said. The follower of Le Corbusier gave the project to the city on the 25th anniversary of the Príncipes de Asturias Awards after he himself received it in the field of the arts in 1989.

Both Woody Allen and Brad Pitt stayed in the best suite at the NH Collection Palacio de Avilés, a 17C building owned by the Marquis of Ferrera. That was what it was called until it was transformed in 2003 into a five-star hotel with 78 rooms, a monumental spiral staircase made of marble and mahogany and original furniture from the 16C. We must mention its French garden, in which Woody Allen shot several scenes of Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona in 2008. In the culinary section, the Sunday brunch at La Capilla restaurant stands out, with northern specialties.

The Calle Galeana street, famous for its arcades, and in the heart of Plaza de España, an area known as El Parche since the 19C. With the hotel starts the route of palaces through the center such as those of Valdecarzana, Camposagrado or Balsera, current headquarters respectively of the Municipal Archive, the School of Art or the Conservatory of Music.  The Valdés Theater, one of the buildings with the best acoustics in Spain. Its inauguration at the beginning of the 20C confirmed the cultural interest of the town, for which it is known as the Athens of the North. You can see in Avilés  the workshop of the luthier Roberto Jardón Rico ( Calle Domingo Álvarez Acebal, 4), one of the most prominent in Spain. There he makes violins for clients like artist Ara Malikian with a two-and-a-half-year waiting list. “We work with highly selected wood and own-made varnishes using natural resins, like centuries ago, so we can only make four or five a year, “he says surrounded by jewels like that Klingenthal cello from 1760 or that 1860 Mattias Neuner viola. The tour of Avilés ends in the medieval fishing district of Sabugo and the marina, once separated from the walled area by the estuary through a wooden bridge. This was where the burly whaling sailors lived, of which the local Avilesinos were also an institution.

It is one of the most deeply rooted traditions in Spain, and also one of the most famous among those who visit our country. We are talking about tapas, which has become an everyday thing, a way of life, of socializing and enjoying gastronomy. This art, proposed to be Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, is mandatory especially in some cities, which have entire streets and neighborhoods full of establishments in which the pincho is king. Holidu, the vacation rental search engine, has just published a study to establish which ones are the best to go for tapas. Of course most in Andalucia from where the idea originated. The cities of Sevilla, Granada, Santiago de Compostela, Cadiz, Malaga, Salamanca, Toledo, Almeria, La Coruña , and Pontevedra are tops as big cities goes.

In this return to the origins, Cruzcampo returns to rescue his roots in the same place where, in 1904, it brewed its beers for the first time. A venue full of history where Factoría Cruzcampo is now located, a renovated cultural space in Sevilla in which innovation and experimentation are the mantra of its young brewers Juan and Irene. In addition to tasting the seven craft beers that are made here, those who come to Factoría Cruzcampo can carry out a series of beer experiences, which include guided tours with blind tastings or tasting of pairings. Some words that implies Spanish way of life are arrejuntarse or getting together is synonymous with spending time in the company of family or friends, but it also implies joy and gratitude for being with those we love. It goes with the word fetén ,  pronounced when a meal is good or when we have a memorable moment. Not to mention duende or elf, that power that is born from within us in an almost magical way, that turns our emotions into forms of expression and that makes our creations come alive. Arrejuntarse, fetén and duende are three words with roots, character and, above all, a lot of accent, because they are closely linked to our way of being. Along with arte or art, fiera or beast, jaleo or fuss, flama,or flame, coraje or courage, pellizco or pinch, poderío or power, ojalá or hopefully and reliarse or reliance .Six young Andalusian artists have illustrated these words and used Cruzcampo’s most powerful beer bottles and cans as canvas: Cruzcampo Especial.

The Ribera de Curtidores is always a brilliant idea, but it might be best to avoid the late hours of the morning so you don’t die trying to find a nice heirloom at a good price. But they are right. Madrid in summer is transformed. For good. The festivities of San Cayetano, San Lorenzo and the Virgen de la Paloma in August are a summer gift, although the health situation does not allow the crowds characteristic of such celebrations. Even so, in the middle of the walks through the streets of La Latina reaching Plaza del Alamillo, going up Calle de la Morería until reaching Calle Bailén, crossing Caños Viejos , you can see the Almudena Cathedral. In search of a better view of the Cathedral, descending the stairs of the Segovia Viaduct and crossing the street of the same name, the heated passerby comes face-to-face with what will be his best discovery to date. The Emir Mohamed I park where, camouflaged among the infinite cultural offer of Madrid, the Arab Wall of the city has stood for centuries. There it is. An escape with more than 1,100 years of history. To this wall, from which new finds have been discovered over the years – as following the excavations of the 50s in the Cuesta de la Vega –, the legend of the nickname of ‘cat’ is also attributed to the people of Madrid . Already in the 11C, with the troops of King Alfonso VI waiting on the outskirts of Mayrit to conquer said Arab territory, a Castilian soldier scaled the wall – with the agility of a cat – raising the Christian flag over it. From its initial feat, the city became part of the Kingdom of Castile. It is said that since then the citizens of Madrid adopted this peculiar term. In the enclosure the fortress and the almudayna stood out, built between 850 and 886. The walled Madrid, although later a large part of the population settled in the suburbs. Today, it is the neoclassical Royal Palace that rests on the foundations of Arab origins. The same happens with the main mosque of which there are no vestiges as such, but there are remains of the Church of Santa María, built a posteriori on the Muslim temple and located between Calle Mayor and Calle Bailén. Although there are other stone footprints that reveal the Muslim passage through the city – such as the Watchtower in the parking of the Plaza de Oriente , the fortified wall is the greatest cultural expression of the Andalusian period in Madrid. And the heat is carried in another way: because it is already eight in the afternoon and because if a wall has withstood the pains and glories of the city that does not sleep for more than 10 centuries, it will be bad to endure a hot summer in Madrid. Perhaps the opinion that the capital in summer is a jewel is not unfortunate and the problem lies in not knowing where to look. As the designer Óscar Mariné used to say in times of the Movida, Madrid Me Mata. Or Madrid kills me, yes Summer are great we have tested several times!!

And Picasso finally hangs in the Prado, the museum of which he was appointed director on September 19, 1936. Although he accepted the appointment, he would never take formal possession of the position. He is in room 9B of the Villanueva building, where he shows’ Bust of a woman 43 ‘(painted in a single day, on October 7, 1943, in his studio on rue des Grands-Augustins in Paris, where he painted the’ Guernica ‘).This is a five-year loan, made by the American Friends of the Prado Museum, to which the Aramont Art Collection of the Arango Montull family has donated. After five years, it is expected that, as with Velázquez’s ‘Portrait of Felipe III’, it will end up being donated to the Prado. Bust of a woman 43 is a sample of Picasso’s response to the violence of World War II. In many of the female images painted in this period, the artist deformed the features of the figures in a radical way.

Picasso couldn’t be in better company. On one side, Velázquez and his ‘Bufón Calabacillas’. It was one of the two paintings that Picasso copied, at age 14, in his notebook during his first visit to the Prado in 1895 (the other was ‘Francisco Lezcano, the boy from Vallecas’). The drawings, made in lead pencil, are in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. On the other side, a group of portraits by El Greco: ‘The gentleman with his hand on his chest’, ‘Jerónimo de Cevallos’, ‘Portrait of a young gentleman’, ‘Old gentleman’ … In the room, in addition to the splendid paintings by El Greco for the altarpiece of Doña María de Aragón, there is a nod to the donors of Picasso, ‘El Calvario’ by Luis Tristán is exhibited, which he donated to the Plácido Arango museum, who he was president of the Board of Trustees of the art gallery. In 1897 Picasso registered in the Prado copyists’ book to study the work of Velázquez. That year he also copied ‘The Annunciation’ by Murillo and a Venus by Titian. Picasso used to say that Velázquez “is first class” and El Greco “has magnificent heads.” Prado webpage:

There you go folks, some news of my dear Spain. Hope you enjoy the readings, and serve for ideas for a future visit as I do. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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