Archive for January 12th, 2022

January 12, 2022

Westminster Abbey of London!!

On our trips in Europe lucky we have been able to visit several countries and of course England would have been on the list and it was. I have visited many times on business trips but had one visit with the family. One of the nice things to see there is the Westminster Abbey, and like to give you a glimpse.

Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous religious buildings in London or the UK for that matter. Its construction dates mainly from the 13C, under king Henry III. It is the burial place of most of the kings and queens of England and also of famous men and women. The Poets’ Corner honors the writers of the kingdom. Almost all of the coronations of English monarchs took place in this abbey.  The abbey’s real name is St Peter’s Collegiate Church. Westminster means West Abbey because it was located west of the City as opposed to Eastminster, a Cistercian monastery which was to the east, beyond the Tower of London, (see post) on the site of the current Royal Mint. In ancient French, Westminster Abbey was called Ouestmoustier or Latin, monasterium.(Monastery).

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A bit of history I like

According to legend, the Westminster Abbey was founded in 616, on the site of an old islet of the Thames called Thorn Ey   or Thorn Island. A fisherman named Aldrich is said to have witnessed visions of the Apostle Peter there. Then, in the middle of the 11C, the Anglo-Saxon king Edward the Confessor had his palace built on the banks of the Thames near the monastery which he then decided to build with larger dimensions and which he dedicated to Saint Peter. The abbey was consecrated on December 28, 1065.  In the 13C king Henry III decided to rebuild the church in the Gothic style. Between 1503 and 1519, under the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII, the Lady Chapel was built, today called the Henry-VII Chapel. In 1540, the Benedictine monks had to leave the monastery during the Anglican reform. Twenty years later, Queen Elisabeth I re-founded the monastery by giving it a different status. There is no longer an abbot, the chapter is chaired by the dean of Westminster.

Since William the Conqueror,(Duke of Normandy, France and King of England)  all the kings of England, then of the United Kingdom are crowned in Westminster Abbey, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII. The King Edward’s Chair, also known as the Coronation Chair , which has been used for the enthronement of British sovereigns since Edward I, is today stored in the Edward the Confessor Chapel.  More than 3,000 people are also buried in the church, including 16 British monarchs, some of them accompanied by their spouses, and many other notable personalities, including six British Prime Ministers, writers, poets. , scientists, actors or explorers.

The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located near the western gate, buried among kings because he had acted for good, for the cause of God and his home. There are also two French people there: Benjamin de Rohan, Duke of Frontenay and Baron de Soubise , brother of the Duke of Rohan,(Bretagne) he is the last military leader of the Calvinist resistance in France. And François de La Rochefoucauld, Marquis of Montendre (La Rochefoucauld-Doudeauville branch). Huguenot, he had to flee to England where he enlisted in the army and finished Field Marshal of Great Britain and chief of staff of the English armies.

The official Westminster Abbeyhttps://www.westminster-abbey.org/visit-us

The London tourist office on Westminster Abbeyhttps://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/610825-westminster-abbey?ref=header

There you go folks, can’t missed while visiting London. Even if travel will be made more difficult there from Europe, if you go, one that cannot be missed. Hope you enjoy Westminster Abbey as we did.

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

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January 12, 2022

St Paul’s Cathedral of London!!

On our trips in Europe lucky we have been able to visit several countries and of course England would have been on the list and it was. I have visited many times on business trips but had one visit with the family. One of the nice things to see there is the St Paul’s Cathedral, and like to give you a glimpse. Also, one of my favorite areas of London to hang out when on business trips.

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is the cathedral of the Diocese of London of the Church of England. It was built after the destruction of the old church during the Great Fire of London in 1666. It crowns Ludgate Hill, a site which housed four shrines before the current cathedral and is located in the City of London, the historic heart of the city that has become today the main business district. It is considered to be the masterpiece of the famous English architect, Sir Christopher Wren. The Dean of Saint Paul is the head of the chapter of Saint Paul Cathedral. He is an important dignitary of the Anglican Church.

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A bit of history I like

The first known,church incorporated in the Roman enclosure, was built out of wood, under the reign of Æthelbert, king of Kent. It is this first church which will know in the year 604 the consecration of Mellitus, first bishop of London, by Augustin of Canterbury. It was destroyed by the Vikings in the 9C and rebuilt in 962. The Saxon church was destroyed by fire a second time in 1087 and the construction of a fourth cathedral began almost immediately under the aegis of William the Red (or le Roux French name), son of William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy, France and then King of England)  to whom he had just succeeded. The “old Saint Paul” as it was called this 4th church was, with its 586 feet (179 m), the third longest cathedral in Europe and its spire reached 164 meters!. It stood on a large area surrounded by walls that followed Creed Lane and Ave Maria Lane to the west, Paternoster Row to the north, Old Change to the east and Carter Lane to the south. This enclosure was then pierced with six gates.

The fifth cathedral was done following the fire of 1666, the reconstruction of an equally impressive cathedral was therefore essential. This task was entrusted to Sir Christopher Wren on July 30, 1669. The first stone was laid on June 21, 1675, the choir opened to the public on December 2, 1697, the last stone crowned the building in 1710. The cathedral of Wren is a mixture of Classical and Baroque architecture.  The study of the dome began in 1685. Wren was inspired by the dome of Michelangelo, designed for the Saint Peter’s basilica in Rome, and also that of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, designed for the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris.

On the west side of the St Paul’s Cathedral are the two clock towers. The northwest tower has space for a clock, which has remained empty. The southwest tower contains four bells. The largest is called “Great Paul”, manufactured in 1881, and was until 2012 the largest bell in Great Britain (16.5 tons). Another bell, called “Great Tom”, rings on time, and also on the announcement of the death of a member of the British royal family, a bishop of London, or a lord mayor of London during his tenure. The last occasion when this bell rang to announce a death was in 2021, for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The northwest tower contains twelve bells, one of which, called “The Banger”, rings for services at 8h.

An anecdote I like: During the bombing of London in 1940 by the Luftwaffe, Saint Paul’s Cathedral was for Nazis aviation one of the hotspots of the English capital and, therefore, a privileged target for the latter. But on the night of the bombing, while most of the city’s buildings were in flames, the cathedral received only one projectile; the latter only damaged the roof only superficially thanks to the mobilization of civilians who were responsible for putting out the fire caused by the bombs. The next morning, while the city was suffocating because of the event of the previous day, Saint-Paul Cathedral rose, with its immaculate whiteness, above the blackish smokes which rose to the sky. It is partly because of this event that the cathedral has become a strong symbol for Londoners.

The official St Paul’s Cathedralhttps://www.stpauls.co.uk/

The London tourist office on St Paul’s Cathedralhttps://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/284990-st-pauls-cathedral

There you go folks, can’t missed while visiting London. Even if travel has become more difficult, a must while there. Hope you enjoy St Paul’s Cathedral as as we did. 

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

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January 12, 2022

The streets of my Madrid!!!

I have several posts on the streets of Madrid in my blog and even if cannot cover them all, I try to give you all of my nostalgic favorites. This time will show some very well known streets and some less; hope you enjoy the post as I. Therefore, here are more of the streets of my Madrid!!!

The Paseo del Prado, from Plaza de Cibeles, you’ll catch one of Madrid’s best-known boulevards ,Paseo del Prado, which shares the same name as the world-famous art museum. Other than the prominent Prado, the boulevard stretches past Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, almost reaching Museo Reina Sofia in an area known as “The Golden Triangle of Art”. Other notable highlights along the way include the vertical garden at the Caixa Forum, the Royal Botanical Garden and the Fountain of Neptune, and Cibeles. Paseo del Prado ends at the Atocha train station, which is famous for its interior rainforest. a few of Madrid’s most famous hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton Madrid and Westin Palace Madrid.  When walking, make sure to stay in the green area in the middle, where you’ll spot plenty of monuments, statues, fountains and people walking their dogs or enjoying an afternoon stroll. The Paseo del Prado is the oldest historical urban street in Madrid  It runs north-south between the Plaza de Cibeles and the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V (also known as Plaza de Atocha), with the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo (the location of the Fuente de Neptuno, and of the Ritz and Palace five-star hotels) lying approximately in the middle. The Paseo del Prado forms the southern end of the city’s central axis (which continues to the north of Cibeles as the Paseo de Recoletos, and further north as the Paseo de la Castellana).

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The Madrid tourist office on Paseo del Pradohttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/paseo-prado

The Paseo de Recoletos is a wide boulevard leading from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Colón. The center part of the boulevard is a pedestrian walk, lined with gardens, trees, statues, fountains and varied street furniture. The first and largest stretch of the boulevard (from Plaza Cibeles to Calle de Prim) has a row of eight ponds lined with white double doric columns;an equatorial sundial are nearby. The second and shortest stretch (from Calle Prim to Calle Almirante/Recoletos) contains the Café Gijón (number 21), an historic literary café founded in 1888 with an outdoor terraza on the boulevard.  On the fourth and last stretch (from Calle Bárbara de Braganza/Villanueva to Plaza de Colón) is the Café El Espejo (number 31), another quant café with an impressive glass pavilion influenced by Art Nouveau.

madrid paseo de recoletos to plaza colon statue aug17

The Madrid tourist office on the Paseo de Recoletoshttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/paseo-de-recoletos

The Paseo de la Castellana , commonly known as La Castellana, is one of the longest and widest avenues of Madrid. It is named after an old fountain that used to exist in Plaza de Castilla. It starts at Plaza de Colón, passes through the Nuevos Ministerios, Plaza de Lima, Plaza de Cuzco, Plaza de Castilla, and ends near the Nudo Norte (North Junction), connecting with the M-30 and the road to Colmenar Viejo. The Paseo de la Castellana is the continuation of Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado, and these three avenues vertebrate the north-south axis of the city. And of course, right up is the magnificent Estadio Santiago Bernabeu home of the greatest football/soccer club in history, the Real Madrid CF! 

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The Madrid tourist office on the Castellana neighborhood:https://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-neighbourhoods/castellana

At the quant Calle Cava Baja,if you’re hoping for an authentic Spanish street, this is it. The small, curved pathway (part cobblestone too) of Cava Baja is lined with some of Madrid’s most typical Spanish restaurants and bars. The street was once a jumping off point for postmen to take the mail from Madrid to the smaller villages outside the city back in the 17C. Today, it does retain a certain old-city charm, where you’ll find plenty of tapas bars, some with caves down below where you can eat and drink.

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The Calle Carretas , it is said that, in order to defend the watchtower of Puerta del Sol, the rebels built a barricade with carts. This street was one of the first streets in Madrid that had sidewalks in 1834. Later, at the end of the 19C, the street became famous for the number of shops specializing in orthopedic devices. Pedestrian since 2018, it is true that nowadays, the establishments on this street are more and more franchises from the world of fashion and textile and fewer traditional shops, but this is the irremediable trend that is pushing the world, The name came from the revolt that was unleashed, which is known as the War of the Communities. Toledo, Guadalajara, Valladolid, Zamora … the rebellious spirit spread like wildfire and that uprising ended up arriving in Madrid. In the case of this street, they used numerous carts to as barricades and, therefore, it began to be known as the “street of the carts”. Name that continues to be used to this day.  Some historical anecdotes on businesses there tell us of a certain Café Pombo ,a Madrid café located at Calle Carretas 4. Meeting place for artists who would become famous when, from 1912, the writer Ramón Gómez de la Serna decided to hold his literary gathering on Saturday nights, called La Sagrada cripta del Pombo, and which remained until 1942. Another place, historical in its own way, was the Café La Juventud, opened in the early years of the 20C, and which had, like many similar places at that time, a stage; in it, comedians such as Loreto Prado and Enrique Chicote made themselves known. Later, the building became the Romea Theater, which was demolished shortly before the Spanish Civil War.

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A pedestrian street, Calle de Preciados is located between Puerta del Sol and Plaza Callao. Department stores, brands of various standings, and above all a lively atmosphere! The locals rub shoulders with tourists, who come as much to shop as to stroll. One of my favorite streets even today we shop there a lot.

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Calle  de Preciados is named for two brothers who were civil servants in the 15C, working as almotacenes. That means they were in charge of monitoring the use of different measurements and coins by the different tradesmen operating in the neighbourhood.  at the end of the 19C, the Centro Numismático Matritense, a bureau de change, was established here.

Calle de Preciados begins at Puerta del Sol and ends at Plaza de Santo Domingo, passing through Callao, where it makes a jog. It is a street with various commercial premises and it occupies the fifth position of the streets in the world where the rent is more expensive. It is famous for the presence of El Corte Inglés and other international franchises. However, with my Mom Gladys we came to know it first by this anecdote!  In 1943 the businessman Pepín Fernández began his commercial activities in this central street by opening the Galerias Preciados, which took the name of the street. It’s considered to be Madrid’s first shopping center. It was eventually absorbed by El Corte Inglés, in 1995, but the building that was home to the galerías is still one of the most distinctive ones in the area. In fact, it’s served as a set for plenty of adverts and films, like ‘The Day of the Beast’ by Álex de la Iglesia. 

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One of the most notable buildings on the street, where it joins the Plaza de Callao, is occupied by FNAC. The acronym stands for the Fedération National d’Achats des Cadres, a French company specialising in cultural merchandise. Here you can buy everything from books and CDs to paraphernalia related to photography, computing and high technology.  

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On the Calle de Preciados was the Varela café, an emblematic place from the 19-20C, frequented by Miguel de Unamuno, Emilio Carrerè and the Machado brothers, among others. In 1973, it was one of the first pedestrian streets in the capital before the year 2000 and decided to open a hotel (Hotel Preciados) and recovers the Café Varela, which functions as a hotel cafeteria as well as for clients from outside.

The Calle del Carmen is in the Centro district of Madrid. It begins at Puerta del Sol and ends at Plaza del Callao. Currently it is one of the most commercial streets of the capital, highlighting among its shops the famous lottery administration of Doña Manolita,at No 22,  being a custom on the eve of the Christmas draw, its long queues to acquire a lottery ticket. It has intersections with Plaza del Callao ,Calle Salud, Calle Tetuán, Calle Galdo, Calle Rompelanzas, and Calle Mesonero Romanos.

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Also, my most frequented Real Madrid store is here at No 3.

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The Madrid tourist office on Doña Manolitahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/shopping/dona-manolita

The official Real Madrid on the store in Calle del Carmenhttps://www.realmadrid.com/en/santiago-bernabeu-stadium/stores/el-carmen-store?pid=139016521119

It is known the existence of a church of Carmen Calzado that would give the name to the street. The convent of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, calzado of San Dámaso, was located at the beginning of the street that intersects with Puerta del Sol is found the gate that gave rise to its name.  The statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree was located at the entrance to this street, and in 2009 it was relocated at the entrance to Calle de Alcalá. The painter Juan Gris was born in 1887 in the building at number 4 facing Calle Tetuán. The street was peatonise in 1993.

You can get to these areas of Madrid easily, walking or public transports. For info. Metro: Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3), Callao (lines 3 and 5) and Santo Domingo (line 2) stations. By train: Cercanías (commuter lines) C3 and C4, Sol station.  By bus: 1, 2, 46, 74, 75 146. 

For info work has started on the Puerta del Sol where things will be moving around including the Madroño bear, the idea to make it more pedestrian sort of what they already did with the Plaza de España.

The Madrid tourist office on shopping Preciados :https://www.esmadrid.com/en/sol-preciados-carmen-compras

There you go folks, a wonderful tour of the sublime streets of my Madrid, on foot is better I said! Hope you enjoy this bit of a tour of different sections and streets of my Madrid....And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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