Archive for January 14th, 2022

January 14, 2022

Some news from Spain CXVII

And here is Spain everything under the Sun! Winter can be harsh but even with the pandemic things are moving right along. I see crowds coming back even if still behind pre virus numbers. Hope you enjoy this latest episode of some news from Spain!

The commitment to contemporary art of the Prado Museum. The gallery is committed to continuing with the deployment of the permanent collection in 2022 and will have as its main exhibition the meeting of El Greco and Picasso, as well as reopening the doors to 20C artists. Three of them will be present this year: Picasso, Philippe Parreno and Fernando Zóbel, Picasso and El Greco exhibition between November 2022 and February 2023. As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death, in November the Prado will show a selection of works by the Malaga-born artist alongside the work of the Cretan, In the work of Picasso, which appears as a copyist in the records of this museum, the influence of authors such as Velázquez and Greco himself is evident, the latter capital to understand the first stage of the career of the painter from Malaga, between the blue period and the cubism. Then will come Fernando Zóbel and the history of art (from November 15, 2022 to March 5, 2023), around the author’s sketchbooks in which, starting from the classic copy, he ends up building his own abstract imaginary.
Frenchman Philippe Parreno will recreate in a virtual room the Quinta del Sordo, Goya’s house on the banks of the Manzanares on whose walls he developed the black paintings. It will be in May 2022. The official Prado museum :

The Teatro Real presented its 2021-2026 strategic plan this Wednesday 12 January 2022, which had to be reformulated (initially, it was planned until 2024) due to the covid pandemic, In more practical matters, the strategic plan contemplates the creation of a digital historical archive of all the material of historical and musicological interest, as well as the renovation of the floor of the stage box after 25 years of maximum and uninterrupted use, In addition, within the The ‘Cerca de ti’ (Near you) program provides for the permanent installation of a screen on the Teatro Real’s façade facing Plaza de Isabel II. The official Teatro Real or Royal Theater :

An anecdote!! Christian Franzen, the Danish photographer who ended up at the court of king Alfonso XIII, At a time when up to twenty portrait studios were kept open in the limited space between Carrera de San Jerónimo, Puerta del Sol and Calle de Sevilla and Calle del Príncipe, Franzen opened his studio in the latter direction. His future was sealed when one day the sister of King Alfonso XIII, the Infanta María Teresa, entered the door, ready to be portrayed. It was so satisfied with the result that, a short time later, it was the monarch himself who decided to also use hos services, at a time when these commissions were a symbol of social distinction. By 1907, Franzen was already well known in the city. From the RTVE documentary collection, which acquired the archive of this photographer after his heirs put it up for sale in the early 1970s, they assure that Franzen’s importance as a photographer is twofold: firstly, as a reporter for the first illustrated magazines, photographing the cultural life of Madrid, the social gatherings, the theaters and the salons. We owes him the technical improvements to the magnesium flash, which makes it easier to shoot indoors and at night. And, secondly, as a portrait painter. Franzen stands out for his clientele , he is the most beloved photographer of the Royal Household and the aristocracy , and for the treatment of the figure and light in his portraits of members of the aristocracy, the upper bourgeoisie and the most important figures of political life , social and cultural of the time dedicated their best poses: from Joaquín Sorolla to Mateo Sagasta,and the mysterious woman that Franzen portrayed so much was his daughter María.

The history of Madrid with postcards is the title of the original exhibition that opens today, Thursday, January 13,2022, at the Moda Shopping Mall: a journey through the visual history of the capital since the end of the 19C. The sample is made up of more than 500 illustrated postcards dated from 1892 to 1970 that reflect the daily life of old Madrid, the emblematic buildings and streets and some great events, such as the coronation of Alfonso XIII, among others. Transport, especially the tram, occupies a prominent place in the exhibition, with postcards of the first section between Sol and Goya of the electric tram, of the construction of infrastructures such as the San Luis network or of the buses circulating through the Plaza de Cibeles, Calle Alcalá or Puerta del Sol. Moda Shopping Mall ,Avenida General Perón, 38-40. from January 13 to February 13 2022. Free entry. The official Moda Shopping :

The Construction Board of the Temple of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona plans to finish this year 2022 the two towers of the evangelists Lluc and Marc, which will measure 135 meters in height, if the virus situation evolves positively. They have reported that this year they also plan to climb three more levels of the tower of Jesus Christ, so that it is completed in 2026, which “will depend on the progress of the forecast of visitors. In addition, for this 2022 they have planned to start the conservation and cleaning of the Nativity façade, the oldest of the expiatory temple, which has been darkened by the effect of time and contamination on the stones. If the forecasts of the builders of the basilica, the most visited monument in Catalonia, are fulfilled, by the end of this year three of the five central towers will be finished, after that of the Virgin was completed on December 8 2021 with the lighting of the illuminated star that the crown. The two towers of the evangelists Mateu and Joan, the tower of Jesus Christ and the four towers of the Passion façade will still be missing. Again, stay tune,for now book your tickets here:

The new urban lungs of the 21C make Madrid, the city with the most km2 of green areas in Spain. Some of these ara not new but most already mentioned in my blog such as the Jardines del Buen Retiro gardens, Casa de Campo Park, Plaza de Oriente square, Jardines de Sabatini gardens, Campo del Moro, Quinta Torre Arias farm, Quinta del Berro farm , Huerto de las Monjas, Royal Botanical Garden, Patio of the Reina Sofia Museum , Jardin del Capricho, Palacio de Anglona, Quinta de los Molinos, and Jardines del Templo of Debod gardens, Enjoy Madrid ! The Madrid tourist office on parks/gardens :

Sigüenza , medieval tapas, donceles, ghosts and … the shortest marriage in the history of Spain. This is a nice town in Castilla La Mancha. Worth the detour me think. The story goes that as a maiden and Sigüenza he had little, but the nobleman Martín Váquez de Arce, killed in an ambush during the conquest of Granada, has gone down in history with this nickname. Badly done because, in other times, the doncel (male of Docellas) were young men between 12 and 16 years old close to the nobility who had not known a woman. And he had a wife, a daughter, and a quarter of a century when he died. Be that as it may, the culprit of the name is the poet, novelist, playwright, literary critic and philosopher belonging to the generation of 98, Miguel de Unamuno who, when contemplating his alabaster coffin in the Cathedral of Sigüenza, could not avoid comparing it with that of the young maidens due to the delicate features of the recumbent statue. Earlier, the essayist José Ortega y Gasset had described it as “the most beautiful funeral sculpture in the world.” But there is much more among its labyrinthine cobbled streets of medieval court such as palaces, museums such as the Diocesano del Arte Antiguo (with works by Zurbarán and Francisco Madrazo), the Casa del Doncel, handicraft shops where they dispense wine casks as well as mirrors in gold leaf, etc.

Calle Mayor , and specially No 9, hides a curious medieval craft themed shop, La Edad Media or the middle ages (awesome place), which in addition to jewelry inspired by that time, tapestries, engravings, Celtic art, ancestral recipe herbarium or leather goods, also organizes workshops for the reproduction of medieval art and painting. Not forgetting the medieval pinchos (local for tapas) route, which has its own contest and offers delicacies such as migas, Castilian soups, roasts of lamb or kid, pickled game and drunk honey sweets. Another essential gastro: conventual pastries such as the truffles of the Hermanas Clarisas or Poor Clare Sisters. The tour continues in the 12C Church of Santiago, home of the Rural Romanesque Interpretation Center. Destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, it hides jewels such as an Andalusian watchtower, whose remains were found in the latest archaeological investigations, The castle, converted into a Parador. Not only does it offer one of the best views of the city, but it was the scene of one of the shortest marriages in our history, that of Blanca de Borbón with Pedro I el Cruel, who broke the link on their wedding night when he found out about that the King of France, his wife’s uncle, would not pay the agreed dowry. Doña Blanca was disowned and confined in the castle. Hence, according to her own and strangers, her ghost swarms in the rooms on cold nights,,,,,

The Sigüenza tourist office on its heritage see it in 3 days :

Some interesting proposals that do not require any expense in Madrid. Enjoy them!

Mirador de la Cornisa del Palacio Real, or the Royal Palace corner lookout, Located in the Plaza de la Armería, between the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral, is this new lookout from which you can enjoy beautiful views of the Campo del Moro gardens and of the Casa de Campo is framed in the improvement and adaptation works of what will be the welcome area and main access of the future Museum of the Royal Collections, whose inauguration is scheduled for the end of 2022. The Madrid tourist office on the mirador/lookout:

Estacion fantasma de Chamberi ghost station, Closed in 1966, the ghost station was designed by Antonio Palacios. After decades of neglect, the movie Barrio de Fernando León de Aranoa brought it back to the present day in 1998. Now the curious can enjoy its brilliant finishes and its colorful and luminous just as they were decades ago. Capacity is limited, so to visit it it is necessary to request an appointment on the webpage: Museums of Madrid on Chamberi:

The Temple of Debod,(see post) In the Parque del Cuartel de la Montaña, near the Plaza de España, is this Egyptian temple from the 2nd century BC. built by order of the king of Meroe Adijalamani, who wanted to dedicate a chapel to the gods Amun and Isis. In the 6C, after the conversion of Nubia to Christianity, the temple was closed and abandoned. Already in the 20C due to the construction of the Aswan Dam, the Egyptian government gave it to the city of Madrid and it was transported, rebuilt stone by stone and opened to the public in 1972. The Madrid tourist office on Debod:

The Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida,(see post) or St Anthony of Florida Hermitage, With a sober appearance, the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida surprises us with the great pictorial ensemble that Goya painted at the end of the 18C. In this masterpiece of Spanish art, the Aragonese artist always kept in mind that he was decorating one of the most popular temples in Madrid, famous for its pilgrimage on June 13. The Madrid tourist office on the hermitage:

Palacio de Abrantes or Palace, Built between 1653 and 1655 as commissioned by Don Juan de Valencia el Infante. Subsequently, the building successively changed hands until, in 1842, the Dukes of Abrantes bought it and commissioned a thorough remodeling in order to adapt it to the aristocratic tastes of the mid-19C. It then became the headquarters of the newspaper Correspondencia de España until, in 1888, its owners sold it to the Government of Italy, which established its embassy there. Then a new reform was carried out. Today it is the headquarters of the Italian Institute of Culture, the cultural embassy of Italy in Madrid, which promotes Italian arts and sciences, and annually organizes a wide variety of cultural activities, such as exhibitions, cooking courses and conferences. The Madrid tourist office on the palace:

The Museo de la Escultura al aire libre de la Castellana or the Castellana Open Air Sculpture Museum, located under the overpass that joins the Calle de Juan Bravo and Calle Eduardo Dato, contains an excellent collection of Spanish abstract sculpture. The museum was opened to the public in 1972 occupying an area of ​​4200 square meters and its purpose was to recover an urban space for common use, turning it into an area of ​​passage, rest and recreation and to bring Spanish abstract art closer to the public. To save the unevenness of the land, the museum is structured in three levels that descend from Calle Serrano to Paseo de la Castellana. The Madrid tourist office on the open air museum:

Aleix Puig, winner of MasterChef 7, opens his delivery resto in Madrid after having conquered Barcelona, where in a week they dispatch 12,000 hamburgers , Located at Calle Divino Pastor,9 of the Malasaña neighborhood they have been rushing the hours for days so that everything is ready, They bet on Classic and simple burgers. Good meat, with a more toasted and somewhat smoky flavor and brioche bread. And it is important not to scatter at the first bite. He boasts that American maxim that a hamburger must be eaten in seven bites.I want people when they want a good hamburger to think of Vicio, Their webpage is coming soon :

Quintoelemento, or Fifth element , the restaurant on the seventh floor in the well-known Kapital nightclub (previous cinema), located at Calle de Atocha 125. A new futuristic space that has revolutionized this terrace previously used for drinks before the dances. In Quintoelemento, which follows the trend of reconverting or expanding the gastro offer in discos and clubs after the closures and restrictions due to the covid virus, they have wanted to merge world flavors with traditional Spanish , They want to separate itself from Kapital, even though it is located in the same building, and show its concept of integral leisure for another type of public. First they have advanced the time in which we eat and have dinner, we make the so-called late, and, on the other hand, there is more and more demand for more complete experiences that go beyond the gastronomy. They are committed to a long consumption, from 13h to 14h from Monday to Sunday, where you have a unique audiovisual show, a quality gastronomic proposal, signature cocktails and from Thursday to Sunday, there is a DJ and a show, define sources from the Group Kapital. On the sixth floor, the old “cinema” of furtive kisses between young people, today a spectacular winery is located with 150 interesting references and some reserved for more privacy and events ,It has an area of ​​180 square meters where ultra-definition content is projected 4K Quintoelemento Calle de Atocha, 125. Seventh floor of the Kapital building,For the 18 and over, webpage :

There you go folks, another dandy some news from Spain! Thanks for reading me on this series and hope it helps you expand your horizons or get to know better my beloved Spain. Stay safe and have fun, life is too short.

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

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January 14, 2022

Church Notre-Dame de l’Assomption of Sainte-Marie-de-Ré!

Let me take you to an island off continental France in the Atlantic ocean, Another wonderful spot in my belle France, Let me update this older post on the Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption in Sainte Marie de Ré  for a change of scenery. Here the sea its at its best and you are in an island! My wandering road warrior trips took me to this church and is worth the detour. Therefore, let me tell you about one of its beacons, the off the beaten path Church Notre Dame de l’Assomption in the town of Sainte-Marie-d-Ré, the main one on the island. First a bit on the town and then the Church ok

Sainte-Marie-de-Ré is located on the Ïle de Ré (island), in the Charente-Maritime dépt 17 of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. The coast is lined with beaches and small cliffs , where the remains of many fish locks are discovered at low tide. The presence of many blockhouses of the Atlantic Wall on the coast reminds us of the dark hours that the town experienced during WWII. On December 27, 1888, Sainte-Marie took the name Sainte-Marie-de-Ré.

The parish of Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, quoted as early as the 12C, is known as probably the oldest of the island. The present Church Notre-Dame de l’Assomption was inaugurated in 1864. With its simply bleached interior walls and its apparent framing, it shows the sobriety of a barn; But, by its imposing proportions, its large nave with three ships, the refined decor of its choir and its beautiful brightness, it is nonetheless majestic. Besides, some visitors, from the first glance, find it as a cathedral appearance! Its steeple, dating from the 15C, once painted in black, served as a bitter. The platform of this steeple is equipped with a parapet on crows forming machicolations that have been blocked during restorations and even partly reconstruction in the 19C in the Church Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption ,there are ex-votos in the form of beautiful models of boats that are exposed.



In 1467, the Church was fortified and surrounded by a ditch. Undoubtedly the ambient insecurity, of the Hundred Years War, led the inhabitants to fortified the Church. It served as a refuge for the population, and thus it allowed to withstand external assaults. The Church then had a belfry, but still no steeple; the Gothic octagonal spire dates from the 14-15C. In 1870, the bell tower was black, to serve as a bitter vessel. Until 1950, it was painted regularly. The base of the steeple testifies to what remains of the edifice of the medieval period if you ascend to the bell tower at 19h , at the time of the Angelus, you will hear the bell ringing very closely in your ears! The steeple of the Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption has 47 meters in height with 91 steps to climb it and reach a walkway; 20 meters is this walkway above the ground. The more you go up, the more the steps are reduce and become quasi straight!



The smallest bell date 1775; it comes from a Swedish boat probably shipwrecked. The bell has no name. The middle one, done in 1853, is called Marie-Françoise Xavière. The biggest, in bronze, dates from 1818, it is called Magdeleine. It is worth to climb these 91 steps, the panorama on the village of Sainte-Marie de Ré is splendid. Once the promontory was used as a maritime surveillance station. During the week, the bell tower is visited by registering at the Sainte-Marie tourism office. Otherwise, on Sunday morning, members of the Association of Friends of the Church are there. Lovely!


The parish of Ïle de Ré on the Church in Sainte Marie de Ré

The city of Sainte Marie de Ré on tourism info

The Ïle de Ré tourist office on Saint Marie de Ré

There you go folks, another dandy town in beautiful Ïle de Ré island, this is Sainte Marie de Ré, lovely, worth the detour.  Enjoy the Church Notre Dame de l’Assomption, and as this is an island,get to enjoy its beaches ,laidback ambiance,and lovely side streets especially in Summer months. Hope you have enjoy the tour as I.

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

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January 14, 2022

Church Saint-Martin of Saint-Martin-de-Ré!

Let me take you to an island off continental France in the Atlantic ocean, The beautiful tranquil Ïle de Ré and its wonderful main city of Saint-Martin de Ré. We had a cold weather spell but we went anyway as a taste of the island, This is an update of an older post and I have others in my blog on Saint Martin de Ré. Let me tell you about it and the Church Saint Martin.

Saint Martin de Ré is located on the Ile de Ré (island), in the Charente-Maritime dépt 17 of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. This small town has agglomerated the hamlet of the Noue stretching continuously along the south coast of the island of Ré, from the pointe de Chauveau to the Grenettes beach, facing the ïle d’Oleron. The coast is lined with beaches and small cliffs , where the remains of many fish locks are discovered at low tide. The presence of many blockhouses of the Atlantic Wall on the coast reminds us of the dark hours that the town experienced during WWII. During the French revolution, the town bore the name of the L’Union.

The parish Church of Saint-Martin in Saint-Martin-de-Ré still draws its gothic ruins in the heart of the city. Ravaged several times by conflicts, it was eventually rebuilt more modestly in the 17-18C, reusing what remained of the Gothic edifice. In fact, the construction of a new building in the 14C, which seems to have continued in the 15C after the troubled period of the Hundred Years ‘ War, began. In view of the surviving ruins, the Church had to be spacious and very bright, with a perfectly respectable vaulted height. It was also fortified ,and it took the name of “Grand Fort”, in view of the remains of machicolations still present today on the medieval ruins. It is a complete system of machicolations on arches on the facades that overflow on the walls.



The Ïle de Ré, with a Protestant majority, was sacked in 1586 during disputes on the territory against the Catholics. The church collapses in large part; however, there will remain only the base of the walls of the nave and the lateral chapels and the high walls of the transept, preserved because of their military importance, being fortified. In the 17C the cult was able to resume in the devastated edifice, after the victory of the Catholics over the Protestants. In 1629 the actual reconstruction work begins. They will last for several years. But the building was again ravaged in 1696 during the bombardment of the stronghold of Saint-Martin-de-Ré by a fleet consisting of English and Dutch ships. In the French revolution, the cult is momentarily closed.

The bell tower now serves as a panoramic terrace on the city and its surroundings. The steeple formed by a square tower is now visitable and contains three imposing bells: Marie Thérèse ,the biggest one ; Charles Catherine ;the middle one; and Marie Pierre Michel Samuel Augustine, the little one. The oldest parts date from the 15C: These are the walls of the two crosses of the transept, still in elevation, endowed with a path of round and endowed with their gates to the mutilated statuary. The chapels of the present choir ,and those of the aisle also subsist in the medieval building. You can also see a window of flamboyant style and now obstructed on the north hole wall. The building of 1628 was also vaulted with warheads and followed the orientation of the medieval church. However, it was strongly shaken by the collapse of the bell tower in 1774, and only the clipped columns and the high sides of the aisles and the nave seem to remain. The orientation of the choir was altered after the collapse of 1774, and a new steeple was built at the site of the medieval shrine. The church was then covered with a roof.  The 18C bell tower, of neo-classical style, built during the reconstruction of the Church when its orientation changed. Previously, it was the choir that was in that place. The Church of Saint Martin has a rare characteristic with five altars side-by-side along the apse!. From left to right you see the Altar of the Holy Rosary, the High Altar, the Altar of St. Martin and the Altar of the Sacred Heart. The Altar of St. Radegonde, is hidden. Stained glass on the right aisle of Saint Augustine and his mother, St. Monique, are in meditation in Ostia. The Chapel of the Sailors with its traditional ex-voto of models of boats and paintings.



The parish of Ïle de Ré see Saint Martin Church :

The Saint Martin de Ré tourist office info:

The Ïle de Ré tourist office on Saint Martin de Ré :

There you go folks, a wonderful sea life off the beaten path for many visitors but a find by locals, just another wonderful spot in my belle France. The Church Saint Martin in Saint Martin de Ré is worth the detour, Hope you enjoy the post and see my other posts on the Ïle de Ré

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

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