Archive for October 9th, 2021

October 9, 2021

Nuevos Ministerios of Madrid!!

I have mentioned it briefly in several posts but feel needs a post of its own. Perhaps the most important connection coming to Madrid on public transports for many years. I like to tell you a bit more on Nuevos Ministerios or new ministries of Madrid!

The Nuevos Ministerios constitute a government complex that houses the headquarters of several ministries in the Chamberí district of Madrid. It is located in the block delimited by Paseo de la Castellana, Raimundo Fernández Villaverde and Agustín de Betancourt streets and San Juan de la Cruz square.

On this site there was the racecourse of Madrid and the Republican government at the time decided to do a complex of several government buildings in the same spot. The construction began in 1933 and, although it was paralyzed during the Spanish Civil War, the entire complex was completed in 1942 (already under Franco). The construction styles consists of a large clear spaces with squares, fountains and ponds, around which the different ministries are arranged, as well as a large arcade on the side facing the Paseo de la Castellana.


Today it houses the headquarters of the Ministries of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Labor and Social Economy, Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations and the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. The entire architectural complex is fully integrated into the so-called AZCA center (see post) , one of the most important business and office centers in Madrid. Also, a shopping mall.

Next to these buildings and facing Paseo de la Castellana street you have a multimodal transports station, If you come from the Adolfo Suarez Inter Airport you probably come by here as I do most of the times too. This is done on metro line 8, as well as Cercanias suburban trains C1 and C10, From a tourist view me think C1 is better, Another thing have done on the metro line 8 you can stop out at Colombia and take line 9. Once in Nuevos Ministerios you can take as I line 6 or more often line 10 to Santiago Bernabeu stadium of Real Madrid CF (see posts) if raining as you can also walk to it.

The Nuevos Ministerios Station interchange you can reach the government complex through Cercanías Lines C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, C-7, C-8 and C-10 , Metro Lines 6, 8 and 10, and Bus lines 7, 14, 27, 40, 126, 147, 150, C1 and C2. Which either directly or indirectly can take you anywhere in the city.

I have come often to this area and in fact on my way out stop by the stores for last minutes shopping as near just across the street there is a big  El Corté Inglés department store (see post).

The Madrid tourist office on Nuevos Ministerios

The official Metro of Madrid on Nuevos Ministerios (nice picture) :

The Renfe on cercanias trains at Nuevos Ministerios

There you go folks, feel better now. Hope you find it useful and visit my Madrid. The area of Nuevos Ministerios is good for walks up or down paseo de la Castellana and shopping is good. And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 9, 2021

How to come and get around Madrid!!!

This is my Madrid , a city that I came to know in 1970 and have not stop visiting whenever and wherever I am, I first drove on the city in 1982 , and then with what would be my wife took her for a spin in 1990 to show off ! She was impressed ! . Yes you can drive in Madrid as in any other major city if you are used to coming from driving in big cities. Madrid is no different than any others. I know,,,,,As I have plenty of pictures on single out posts about Madrid, will do this one in my black and white series, no pictures, Hope you enjoy it as I.

I hear many tall tales of folks fear of driving in Madrid. However, if you have driven in similar size and traffic city or worse like in Paris, London, Rome, Brussels, Frankfort, New York, Jakarta, Sao Paulo, Mexico DF, just to name a few than driving in Madrid will be easier. If you have experience driving in smaller towns like Ronda, Samsula, Vineland, etc than you might as well be aware, it will be different….

To start, Madrid has grown enormously since my time living there and it has been literally an explosion, Newer arrivals tell of the trafic and maze of roads but an old timer like me can tell them the growth has been huge ! Madrid has several major roads coming out from it such as the A1 Madrid-Aranda de Duero-Miranda de Ebro-Vitoria-San Sebastian, and the A2 Madrid-Guadalajara-Zaragoza-Lérida-Barcelona-Gerona-PortBon-Frontier France, A3 Madrid-Valencia, A4 Madrid-Aranjuez-Cordoba-Sevilla-Jerez-Cadiz, A5 Madrid-Talavera de la Reina-Navalmoral-de-la-Mata-Mérida-Badajoz-frontier Portugal; A6 Madrid-Medina del Campo-Tordesillas-Benavente-Astorga-Ponferrada-Lugo-La Coruña. Other highways with origins in Madrid of major impact are the A42 Madrid-Toledo, M607 Madrid -Puerto de Navacerrada to service to Colmenar Viejo and Tres Cantos. The city ,also, has several beltways roads that have grown since living there such as the M30 (finished with me living there), This beltway below or above ground practically goes around Madrid inner ring; you have the M40 going further out into the residential areas and the M45 again further out, the M50 further out on a big huge circle and then again maybe more needed. Yes , already working on the M60!

This is the beltway road M-30 that was done when living there (has a pretty arch bridge while you cross Calle de Alcalà by the Plaza de Toros Monumental! ) and thereafter I use a lot to get around points in the city without going thru the center : the webpage has more info in Spanish :

Madrid has becomes a huge metropolis. Heavy traffic are encountered on a daily basis and need to know the rush hours to have it easier. Know that on weekends it is heavier on Saturday going out between 10h and 12h mid day and on Sundays coming back between 18h and 21h, Rush hour weekdays is in the morning like folks going to work and school are between 7h30 and 10h30 while in afternoons is between 18h and 20h , Statistics show the heaviest trafic day are Mondays,

The highway Directorio General del Trafico watchdog with cameras, and heavy traffic points to avoid per road is here in Spanish. Webpage :

The Comunidad de Madrid has a map in pdf file format on highways that can be magnified and printed for info webpage:

The wonderful metro/tube/subway of Madrid, openned in 1919 and already with 301 stations and 13 lines. The network has 12 regular lines and the section Opera to Principe Pio as well as 3 lines of light metro with 38 additional stations. Of the current total of 301 stations, 200 are single line and 27 are double and 10 have on three lines and the station of Avenida de America with four lines  correspondances. It connects in 21 stations with the suburban train network Cercanicas of Madrid managed by RENFE. The beltway lines are MetroSur (Line 12) passing by Alcorcón, Móstoles, Fuenlabrada, Getafe, and Leganés; MetroNorte (Line 10) passing Alcobendas and San Sebastián de los Reyes; MetroEste (Line 7) reaching to  Coslada and San Fernando de Henares; TFM (Line 9)  connecting  Rivas Vaciamadrid and Arganda del Rey, as well as Metro Ligero Oeste (Lines 2 and 3), there is a tramway network at Pozuelo to Boadilla del Monte.

Some of my nostalgic metro lines are the line 5 stop Quintana where my apartment was and a must visit each time, The metro line 8 coming from Adolfo Suarez Barajas international airport to Nuevos Ministerios by paseo de la Castellana, The line 10 to Santiago Bernabeu stadium, The circular line 6 stopping at Sàinz de Baranda where my usual hotel lately have been, etc etc, The Metro runs from 6h to 01h30, with trains departing every 2 minutes in the morning rush hour and every 15 minutes in the early hours (after midnight). At weekends, trains are less frequent during the day.

The metro of Madrid webpage:

The Madrid tourist office on the Metro:

There is a huge bus network runs by CRTM (comunidad) and the EMT(Madrid city) with 2000 buses and 200 lines . The principal terminals are at Avenida de America, Mendez Alvaro, and Plaza de Castilla, there are other smaller ones such as Moncloa, Principe Pio, and Plaza Eliptica. CRTM webpage :

Madrid city transports service or EMT has a well define network with bus lanes . The vast majority of these buses work from 6h to 23h30 at 4-15 minutes intervals and the weekend and holidays from 7h to 23h. There is a night bus or Bùhos lines known by their N number from N1 to N27 from their terminal at Plaza de Cibeles.  EMT webpage:

I took a lot the old P13 today 113 bus from Quintana to Elipa for my baseball times while living there, Upon returning years later rode again for the nostalgia this route, Also, did the 14,27, and 46 buses. Nice rides and if a bit more complicated than the metro, you ride above ground for wonderful views of the city.

The main airport is the Adolfo Suarez Barajas at 12 km from city center connecting with the city on line 8 at Nuevos Ministerios to T4 airport in about 20 minutes and about 12 minutes on the other terminals.  The airport is the one used the most and by now it could my second home, so many trips over the years by it, Saw its growth from a simple terminal airport to the mega complex is today, OF course, have come on Air France, Air Europa, Velotea, and most on Iberia where I am a frequent flyer member, Official AENA airports of Spain on the Madrid airport:

The Madrid tourist office on the airport :

There is a express bus line 203 from the airport T1, T2, and T4 terminals to stops in 0’Donnell, Cibeles, and Atocha (where I have taken it and gone) , There is a regular bus line 200 from T1, T2, and T4 to Avenida de America connect Canillejas on metro line 5 (my line!) and the interchange terminal at Avenida de America to connect with metro lines 4 6 7 and 9, See schedules on the 200 and 203 buses or any other bus at EMT webpage:

Two main line train station, one at Atocha and the other at Chamartin . I have only visited Chamartin but have used trains and visited at Atocha, (see post).

The ADIF transports webpage on Chamartin train station Madrid :

The Madrid tourist office on the Chamartin train station :

The ADIF transports webpage on Atocha train station Madrid :

The Madrid tourist office on Atocha train station :

Cercanías is a service of Renfe on suburbian train service having 9 lines . They connect all the lines by the Atocha train station that allows you to go to San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Aranjuez, mountain towns in the Sierra de Guadarrama (C-8 and C9 to Cercedilla and Cotos) ,and Alcala de Henares  as well as reaching rapidly the T4 terminal at Adolfo Suarez Barajas airport  The C-2 and C-7 to Alcala de Henares and C-3 to Aranjuez and El Escorial. The line C-1 is the one very fast from T4 to the city as well as connecting Atocha with Chamartin main train stations. 

The cercanias have used the C1 from the Adolfo Suarez inter airport as well as the C3 to El Escorial. Nice rides clean fun for the experience !

The RENFE Cercanias Madrid train info webpage :

The Madrid tourist office on Cercanias trains :

The taxis of Madrid are white with a diagonal red and  white line on the front door and the city coat of arms.  If the roof is green the taxi is free to take passengers, you simply signal for them the usual way.  If the trip is from the airport there is a fix price of 30€ as long as the trip is inside the beltway M30 (the old central beltway). This price does not include any other service added as long as the place of pickup and the hour are respected. I have used them several times over the years and good service always, Now even better with the airport fixe price.

The Madrid tourist office on getting around by taxi in Madrid :

There is a bike network but just putting it for information here as never used it, The city BiciMad network with electric bikes that last count were 1560 with 3216 bornes to pickup and dropoff at 124 stations. The city of Madrid has several technological innovations such as application Don Cicleto, and Donkey Republic allowing you to find your bike and others such as Ofo-Smart Bike Sharing available in itunes, google play or Bike as well. 

The BiciMad network webpage :

I won’t go into details with pricing and choices for metro/bus transports as these are change often, and on different needs , you need to check the official sites before your trip to be sure. IF I go for a single trip like football watching I get the single ticket, and if on vacation than the tourist pass . All are now on magnetic card call Tarjeta Multi costing a one only time of 2,50€, you can recharge it and they last 10 years credit, It is free if you purchase the 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7-day Tourist Travel Pass, and once the pass expires, you can top up the smartcard with pay-per-ride tickets (single or 10-ride tickets). This tourist travel pass are valid for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 days and for two zones (A and T). If you do not wish to acquire a Tourist Travel Pass, you can buy the Tarjeta Multi and simply top it up with pay-per-ride tickets.

You have plenty more info on Madrid tourist office on the Tourist Travel Pass :

The Zone A  allows you to go to all the lines of the metro, airport (with supplement of 3€ included) , all the bus lines in town like the blue buses of EMT except the Express line Airport, the zones 0 and A of the Cercanias network of Madrid and the line M1 of Metro LIgero. The  Zone T  is recommended for those willing to go outside the city such as to go to El Escorial, Alcalá de Henares, Aranjuez etc and includes the entire metro network such as zones A, B1, B2 ,and B3, all the lines of city bus blue EMT and intercity green bus of the comunidad de Madrid , the Express Airport bus is included as well as the services to Guadalajara and Toledo,as well as the Cercanias trains of Madrid , and lines ML2 and ML3 of the Metro Ligero,as well as the tramway ML4  to Parla.

You have plenty of tourist information points throughtout the city that helps you with all questions (really a big improvement for the visitors) including security issues. These are

Tourist Information centers at Cuesta de Moyano Plaza Mayor ,Plaza Mayor, 27 (Casa de la Panadería), Info kiosk Paseo del Prado  , info kiosk Atocha Ronda de Atocha, s/n (next to Museo Reina Sofía), info kiosk Plaza de Callao, Plaza de Callao, s/n; info kiosk Paseo de la Castellana, 138 (next to  Santiago Bernabéu stadium) , info kiosk CentroCentro, Plaza de Cibeles, 1 (Palacio de Cibeles), Royal Palace, Calle Bailén, info kiosk at Adolfo Suarez Barajas airport T2 between halls 5 and 6; info kiosk airport as well at T4 hall 10 and 11; , and SATE  Calle Leganitos, 19 (police).  More from the Madrid tourist office on the Foreign Tourist Assistance Service (SATE) webpage:

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip and enjoy the transports of Madrid:

The Madrid tourist office on a pdf file map of Madrid:

To find an underground secure parking garages in Madrid, OnePark :

How to plan your trip on streets and help find your way around use callejero or street finder in Madrid:

There you go folks, a brief ,general overview of the many transports option in my beloved Madrid, Of course, if you have questions let me know, Hope it helps make your visit a more enjoyable one to a great city very close to my heart . And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 9, 2021

Curiosities of Auch!!

I was roaming my photo vault on something unique to post and found out the nice city of Auch which we have been a while back and have already posts in my blog came up nicely, I have some pictures left that were not in previous posts and this is as good a time as any to tell you a bit more on Auch, Do read my other posts on the city, rather nice stories and sights,

Let me give you some introduction to the city of Auch,. The city is the prefecture of the Gers department 32, in the Occitanie region, It is renowned for its gastronomy, its rugby team which has long evolved into the elite, its cathedral, (see post) its pousterles and its monumental staircase from the top of which the statue of d’Artagnan (see post) dominates the course from the Gers river, which separates it into upper town and lower town, Auch is considered the historic capital of the old regime province of Gascony or Gasgogne. The city is 69 km from Toulouse, 86 km from Pau, 530 km from Nantes, and 595 km from Paris, We always have come here by the road and the wonderful RN 124 connecting Toulouse to the RN 524 towards Bordeaux.

A bit of history I like

In 333, the Anonymous of Bordeaux, on the road to Jerusalem, stopped there and mentioned on his itinerary the name of Civitas Auscius. During medieval times, the city of Auch was for a time the capital of the Counts of Armagnac 10-11C. After the Battle of Lectoure in 1473 which marked the final fall of the dynasty of the Counts of Armagnac, the city was invested by the troops of the King of France, Louis XI. More particularly under Louis XV, the intendant Antoine Mégret d’Étigny transformed the city by giving it its present face with the construction of most of its remarkable buildings ,such as the city/town hall, Intendance hall, promenade, etc, It was the golden age of Auch.

We many times take a moment to see these government buildings which in many occasions looks fantastic such as this one in Auch.

The Palais de Justice or courthouse in Auch, which was inaugurated in 1864,had a facelift. While keeping intact its superb courtroom. The courthouse was inaugurated the same year as the monumental staircase (see post), The Palais de Justice is located in the historic city center. It is surrounded by various historical and cultural monuments such as the Cathedral of Saint Mary (see post) , in front of the tribunal and which at the same time represented religious power. In this historic center, we find the City/Town Hall, erected in 1777, the Tourist Office located in a 15C corbelled house, as well as the Jacobins Museum which was founded in December 1793. Culture and education are also present in one and the same place, located not far from the court, the University Institute of Technology Paul Sabatier.

The Palais de Justice was built in 1863, during the Second Empire. The architectural style of this building is undetermined. The main entrance is distinguished by stairs, then by an arch delimiting the latter. Above the central door, two columns support the inscription « Palais de Justice ». On the sides of the stairs, there are two statues of the goddess Themis, which means law, in Greek and who was the deity of Justice. These statues are placed on a pedestal, so as to show the importance of the law, even before entering the precincts of the court. On the right statue, the goddess is represented holding a sword, with which she punishes those who do not have not obeyed the law. On the other hand, the one on the left is represented with the Codes (civil and penal …), on which it is based. Before entering the courtroom of the courthouse of Auch, there is an antechamber between the entrance door to the courtroom and the latter, The courtroom is organized into three very distinct spaces: the public space, the space reserved for lawyers and their defendants , and the last part of the Audience room is raised above the rest of the room, as if to show the power of judges, supreme representatives of Justice. The cases dealt with in this court concern the family, in particular marriage, divorce, filiation, adoption or the settlement of inheritances. It can also respond to civil actions for defamation or insults, in the criminal court. It has the right to dissolve an association and it concerns requests for rectification of civil acts.

Auch hotel de ville jul10

We did our walks as usual just to soak in the wonderful architecture and history we have in my belle France. One place we love to be in was the Place de la Liberation, this is the old regime name Place Royale , and was Place de la Liberté after the French revolution of 1848 (we had a few lol) , it took the name of Place de l’Hotel de Ville, the regime being then a Republic. Enclosed by the median of the Allées d’Étigny, the Place de la Liberation constitutes the center of animation of the upper town. It has uniform facades and two pillars surmounted by lions which separate it from the Place de la République. Very close to the Sainte Marie Cathedral.

Auch pl de la liberation to promenade prefecture de Gers jul10

While walking around , of course we have great memories of this restaurant which unfortunately has closed a while back before the covid virus, This was the nicely appropiately name La Cave D’artagnan , was at 4 rue de la République, Now has a new business resto there name Lou Troket, I have it here because need to have it in my blog, for the memories’s sake ! See us!!!

Auch la cave d'artagnan jul10

The city of Auch on its heritage

The Auch tourist office

There you go folks, it seems to me, maybe just me, that everywhere you turn in my belle France ,there is always something nice to see and enjoy! Hope you get the chance to enjoy visiting Auch, for a true gascon experience! and maybe meet D’Artagnan……sort of.

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

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