Some news from Spain CXX

And here I go again on my series of some news from Spain. It has been a nice ride indeed thanks to all my readers and followers. The winter is here and the water shortages in the dams continue, but the covid is loosing up and we are eager awaiting the moment to be back to my beloved Spain. In the meantime, here is some news and info on places to visit in Spain, everything under the Sun!

The 36th edition of the Goya Awards 2022 gala! The film El Buen Patron or the good boss sweeps away the main prizes at the gala of Spanish cinema par excellence and surpasses another of the great favorites of the night, Las Leyes de la Frontera or the laws of the border. The negative surprise has been for Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Madres Paralelas or parallel mothers, who leaves empty-handed. Best leading actor to Javier Bardem. The award for Best Leading Actress went to Blanca Portillo for her role in Maixabel. The actress Cate Blanchett has been the first person to receive the bobblehead for Goya International, a category that debuts tonight, and José Sacristán has received the Goya of honor.

Eslava,since its opening in September 1871, the mythical space has seen live a piece of Spanish history, from the sexual openness of zarzuelas to Sabrina’s tits. The next March 22 , 2022 reopens its doors after a deep remodeling, My memorable hangout of youth as a theater and discothéque by Calle Arenal near the Puerta del Sol, webpage : https://madridlux.com/en/club/joy-eslava-madrid

My ancestral land of Tenerife boasts a fantasy landscape thanks to the volcanic rocks in which erosion has created extraordinary shapes. To the south of the island, in the town of Vilaflor de Chasna, the rocks and volcanic chimneys have come into view to the final surprise of a signposted trail PR-TF 72. Erosion on its delicate texture has caused fairy chimneys, formations that they hold harder rocks at the end of long pinnacles in a fragile balance. The result is a unique panorama of stone waves and rock pinnacles that looks like another planet. Do not miss. From Vilaflor, you can access the volcanic star of the island, the Teide National Park, through the Cortada del Diablo, which gives way to the Llanos de Ucanca, a vast panorama of volcanic caldera in which the conical summit of Teide stands out. For the nature lover’s thrill, The Tenerife tourist office : https://www.webtenerife.co.uk/what-see/

Arriving from the south, the road that takes us to the Roncal Valley twists between curves winding along the Esca River, watched over by the Mesa de Los Tres Reyes (3 kings plateau 2,424 meters), the highest peak in Navarra. We start in the Foz de Arbayún, 50 km from Pamplona. They say that she is the queen of the foces of Navarre (foz means sickle or cannon). The road that goes from Lumbier to Ezcároz leaves us at the Iso viewpoint, a large cement balcony from which the gorge, some 6 km long, with walls up to 300 meters high, produced by the ancient erosion of the Salazar River. This narrow area, declared a Nature Reserve in 1987, has one of the largest colonies of griffon vultures in Spain. We continue to Burgui, in the heart of the Roncal Valley. It is interesting to make a stop at the Quesería Larra (roncal cheese maker) since 1985 raising menhaden sheep with whose milk it makes one of the most appreciated Roncal cheeses. If we say Rioja, we think of wine; if we say Jabugo, in ham; and if we say Roncal, in cheese. Its characteristics are a cylindrical shape and a solid crust. Cut has a yellowish ivory white color with small holes, consistent texture, strong and buttery flavor. In 1981 it was the first Spanish cheese to receive the Denomination of Origin. Among them is the craft beer Xorta , which is manufactured in the same area, a stone’s throw from the cheese factory. Xorta in Roncal Basque means ‘sip’. We continue going up the Esca River and 7 km later we arrive at Isaba. Its interest is considerable thanks to the abundance of typical Roncal houses built of stone and wood with very sloping gabled or hipped roofs to avoid the accumulation of snow in the winter. Very close to the town, on the Belagua plain, stands the hermitage of Arrako, which they say was built in the 16C to neutralize the magical pagan rites that were performed there around a dolmen that can still be seen. But the most attractive thing about Isaba may be its two Romanesque bridges, very close to each other and located next to the road that runs parallel to the Belagua River. The most photogenic is located parallel to the current highway bridge. A little further up, after the mountains, is France. The Navarra tourist office : https://www.visitnavarra.es/en/web/guest/you-like/nature-based-tourism

In a small section of the N-122 road, near Peñafiel (province of Valladolid), there are wineries, hotels, Michelin star restaurants, castles and a great wine museum, The province of Valladolid, in a stretch of just over 20 km, between Sardón de Duero and Peñafiel, on the N-122 road that connects Aranda de Duero with the capital of Valladolid. The most ambitious of the three is Refectorio, in the magnificent hotel Le Domaine, one of the best in Spain, a restored 12C monastery nestled in the vineyards of Abadía Retuerta, a winery that, by the way, is not covered by the D.O. Ribera del Duero The second, the only one without a hotel, is Ambivium, in the Pago de Carraovejas winery, in the town of Peñafiel. Lastly, in Quintanilla de Onesimo, in the Arzuaga winery, with a hotel included, is Taller, the hunted hunt at the La Planta estate, cradle of Arzuaga wines. Located in a unique environment with views of the vineyards and the interior of the winery, the dining room is accessed through an interactive corridor, The Valladolid tourist office : https://www.info.valladolid.es/en/enoturismo

Located in the Serranía Gaditana, 97 km. from Jerez and 74 from Antequera, Olvera is considered the gateway to the Route of the White Towns of Cadiz. It stands between olive groves on a promontory crowned by a 12C rock castle and the 18C neoclassical Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, which looks more like a cathedral than a parish church. Going up Calle Llana and then along the pedestrian street of La Calzada you reach the church, of cathedral proportions and neoclassical style, built on the site of a larger Gothic-Mudejar church, of which only its apse remains. On the other side of the church square is the Cilla building, an old barn in the times of the Duke of Osuna Pedro Girón a winery, a women’s prison, and today a historical-ethnographic museum of the Border and the Castles. and Tourist Office. This fortress, from the 12C, is the other symbol of the town and shares space at the top of the Olvera silhouette. It was part of the defensive system of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada. Its neatly restored homage tower is the highest point in Olvera, standing more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Just 2 km from the town center is the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, dedicated to the patron saint of Olvera. A 17C temple that attracts many devout Catholics from all over the province of Cádiz, especially on the second Monday after Easter Sunday, the date on which a popular pilgrimage called Quasimodo Monday is celebrated to thank the rains that put an end to to a prolonged drought in 1715. The word Quasimodo comes from the Latin introit of the second Sunday of Easter: “Quasi modo genti infantes…” As well as newborn children…. Next to the sanctuary they have built the Capilla del Arte or chapel of art with neoclassical patience, a 250 m² building with a barrel vault covered with mural paintings in which 400 residents of Olvera appear as protagonists of stories from the Old Testament. Some call it the Sistine Chapel of Olvera, Cadiz province tourist office webpage : https://www.cadizturismo.com/en/municipios/olvera

Cercedilla and its surroundings, Cradle of Spanish skiing and place that conquered Luis Rosales or Sorolla, the Madrid province town is the ideal enclave to tour the Fuenfría Valley, Olympic champion and gold medalist, Francisco Fernández Ochoa. A monument with this inscription and the sculpture of Paquito celebrating his victory in Sapporo 72 welcomes us in the Plaza Mayor. In the same square, the Ski Museum opens, illustrating the origins of this sport in Spain, when in 1904 Manuel González de Amezúa and four more crazy people began to skate (so they said) in the place of Ventorrillo, halfway between Cercedilla and the port of Navacerrada. In the second, the protagonist is Paquito: photos, cards, numbers, medals… and the hat with which he won in Sapporo. A kilometer further on are the tirolean lines and Tibetan bridges of the Aventura Amazonia park ,But nothing like snowshoeing along the Camino Schmid, which goes from the Fuenfría valley to the Navacerrada pass, skirting the shady side of Siete Picos. The Route of the Veil of Memory allows you to get closer to the towns that Ramón y Cajal and Sorolla frequented. The painter bought the house for his daughter, sick with tuberculosis, and ended up taking refuge in it for three years after suffering from hemiplegia. She died there in 1923. Another option is to take a walk around the Colony of Camorritos. Where César Manrique (Una de las Casas), Pedro Caba (Pasionaria’s doctor), Emilio Botín or the Koplowitz sisters have lived or worked in this centennial urbanization, 2 km from the town center. City of Cercedilla on its ski museum : https://www.cercedilla.es/museo-del-esqui/

And more in the Sierra Guadarrama on Cercedilla and its heritage : https://sierraguadarrama.info/en/cercedilla/

Madrid three great museum jewels ,Reina Sofía, Prado , and Thyssen-Bornemisza, respectively were ranked in 2021 as undoubted favorites. These merits and other resolutions are those given by 358 professionals and experts who, consulted by the Foundation’s Observatory of Culture, dependent on La Fábrica, value the best of the annual artistic program since 2009, both nationally and regionally. Madrid, obviously, with its density and institutional concentration, takes the top spot ahead of the Basque Country, Catalonia, Andalusia and Valencia, The Madrid Community can boast of almost dominating with the 10 of the first 15 and standing out with up to 33 cultural projects in the national category. The professionals opted for the Royal Theater -fifth-; PHotoEspaña -seventh-; CaixaFórum -ninth, with several venues in Spain-; Matadero Madrid -climbs five positions to tenth-; ARCO, Círculo de Bellas Artes and the Centro Dramático Nacional -tied, they are twelfth-, in addition to the three museums, where the Thyssen, with special mention to its retrospectives on Georgia O’Keeffe and Magritte, displaced the San Sebastian Festival to the fourth place. Madrid museums webpage : https://museomadrid.com/

The La Fàbrica Foundation Observatory of Culture: https://www.lafabrica.com/observatorio-de-la-cultura/

Carmen Cervera, the Minister of Culture Miquel Iceta, on behalf of the Government of the Spanish State, and Borja Thyssen-Bornemisza proceeded to sign the lengthy agreement that allows the permanence in Spain of the Mata Mua and an important part of the collection of Baroness Thyssen-Bornemisza. The most famous painting by the French post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin already hangs in the halls of the Madrid museum. The lease agreement ensures the permanence of the painting in Spain, together with 320 works belonging to the Carmen Thyseen-Bornemisza collection, a quarter less than the current guarantee, for 15 years. Mata Mua, which is usually translated as Once upon a time, also, In the past is dated 1892 and belongs to the Tahitian period, the most appreciated of the French painter. When Gauguin presented it in public, it had no prestige, it was too avant-garde for that time. It has become a symbol of the Madrid museum, since before it was exhibited to the public, the primitivism of Mata Mua has displaced the mannerism of El Paraíso by Tintoretto and the realism of solitude in Hotel Room by Edward Hopper, the two jewels that in recent years have reign in the Thyssen, The Thyssen Bornemisza museum webpage : https://www.museothyssen.org/en

The Real Fabrica de Cristales or Royal Glass Factory of La Granja, in Segovia, celebrates the International Year of Glass. A perfect excuse to come and see the art of blowing live, here with female protagonism, before losing yourself in the majestic gardens of the palace and the lively streets of the fashionable town in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The Real Fábrica de Cristales, the other jewel of La Granja de San Ildefonso, is the only place in Spain where glass masters have pupils interested in breathing life into an art that in the 18C gave enormous fame to this enclave of Segovia. to the shelter of Guadarrama. The best glass in Europe was made in these furnaces. Here the most desired chandeliers of the time were created and set. And from here also came the largest and most lustrous mirrors on the continent, the first to reflect their distinguished and vain monarchs, not just full-length, but mounted on horseback. The best way to unravel the secrets of this trade is to sign up for the guided tours offered by the royal factory. Real Fábrica de Cristales. The spectacular building houses the Technological Museum, the ovens and workshops where you can see the artisans live, exhibition halls and a shop where you can buy La Granja glass pieces. The San Ildefonso tourist office webpage: https://www.turismorealsitiodesanildefonso.com/punto-de-interes/real-fabrica-de-cristales/

The Camellias arrived in Galicia at the end of the 18C, coming from China and Japan. Its good adaptation to the land and its beauty made the Galician nobility install plantations of this flower in the gardens of their country houses and stately homes. Later, they filled other private and public venues. Currently, the Galician Community treasures up to 80 different species and nearly 30,000 varieties of camellias, of any size and color. Let me tell you some of the best places, me think, to see them ok.

Pazo de Oca, in the Pontevedra province ,town of A Estrada. Considered the Galician Versailles, it is one of the oldest country houses in Galicia. Of medieval origin and rebuilt in the 18C with an imposing tower with battlements and several coats of arms, it has one of the most beautiful gardens in the area, with hedges, balustrades and bridges over the two large ponds. Webpage : http://en.fundacionmedinaceli.org/monumentos/oca/index.aspx

Another botanical and architectural jewel is located 6 km away: the Pazo de Santa Cruz de Rivadulla, in Vedra (La Coruña province), an old farm next to the Ulla River. In its gardens there is a great botanical diversity, with centuries-old olive trees, boxwoods, magnolias and, of course, up to 200 different varieties of camellias, some of them planted before 1850. webpage : http://www.pazoderivadulla.com/visitas-2/

On the way to the south, about 45 km away, the route stops on the outskirts of the town of Vilagarcía de Arousa (Pontevedra province), at the historic Pazo de Rubianes, a stately home whose origin dates back to 1411, rebuilt in the 18C. In the enclave there is a 15C winery, with the largest vineyards in the region, and a historic French-style garden with more than 4,000 specimens of camellias, including the jewels of the place: a 19C group resulting from the Donation of the Duke of Caminha (Portugal). More than 800 varieties of this flower coexist in this beautiful botanical garden with magnolias, calocedars, cryptomerias, eucalyptus, camphor trees, ash trees, araucarias, oaks or cork oaks.. Webpage : https://www.pazoderubianes.com/visitas/visita-guiada-pazo-de-rubianes/#horariosdevisita

Nearby, less than 10 km away, the Pazo Quinteiro da Cruz (Ribadumia), in the heart of the O Salnés region, is actually a beautiful winery surrounded by vineyards that produces Albariño whites. In the middle, a spectacular French-inspired garden designed at the end of the 19C, where some 5,000 camellias of more than 1,500 varieties flourish. Webpage : http://pazoquinteirodacruz.es/en/

Four minutes by car is the Pazo de A Saleta, an old Galician farmhouse from the 18C surrounded by one of the most important private gardens in Spain. There are two hectares of park designed in 1970 in a typically English style, with one of the most varied botanical collections in Galicia, which houses species from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, the United States, Asia..etc, . Among them, there are more of 300 specimens of camellia. Although it is a private manor and family home, it can be visited during the months of February and March by appointment. webpage : https://www.pazodelasaleta.com/la-visita/

The Castillo de Sotomayor castle, in O Rial, 20 km from Vigo. This medieval fortress with a military structure from the 12C, to which a double walled enclosure was added in the 15C, was owned by the Marquis de la Vega de Armijo in the 19C, who transformed part of the building into a neo-Gothic palace . The park and gardens of the castle date from this period, which replaced the cornfields in its gardens are nestled with 800-year-old chestnut trees and a large collection of camellias, with more than half a thousand specimens ,some from the 19C, in addition of redwoods, cypresses of the swamps and other botanical gems, webpage : https://www.castelodesoutomaior.com/tarifas

The end of this Camellia Route is in Vigo, specifically in the Parque Castrelos park, in the center of the Galician city. There, surrounding the Pazo Quiñones de León, a stately building from 1670 that today houses the Municipal Museum of Vigo, there are gardens dating from the end of the 19C, in French and English styles. In them, a great variety of camellias, among them the specimen of Japanese camellia known as the “methuselah of the camellias” due to its antiquity, webpage : https://www.museodevigo.org/informacion_es.php

The ‘Milla Cervecera’ or the beers mile of the neighborhood of Las Letras in Madrid. The characteristics of these places make it possible to go through several of them and not repeat food or drink, The favorites are Brew Wild, Calle de Echegaray, 23, Be Hoppy ,Calle Fúcar, 1 , Peninsula Centro, Calle Echegaray, 11 , Fogg Bar, Birras & Cheese, Calle Moratín, 5, La Maripepa, in a place that housed one of the oldest karaoke bars in Madrid Its philosophy is “50% beer, 50% music” Calle de Jesús, 7, CLBM Bar , Calle de las Huertas , 59 , Màs que Cervezas, Calle de León, 32 , Pez Tortilla, a place with good beer and good tortillas , Calle de Espoz y Mina, 13, Enjoy them all !!

Madrid has an interesting offer of good pizzerias, here is a sample of the latest fads, Fratelli Figurato , Calle Alonso Cano, 37. San Paolo Pizza Bar, Calle Juan Ramón Jiménez, 37. Araldo , Calle Los Madrazo, 5. Roostiq , Calle Augusto Figueroa, 47 , Trattoria Manzoni , Calle Rosario Pine, 6(my favorite and not far from Bernabeu stadium).

There you go folks, a wonderful collections of things to see in my beloved Spain, and dear Madrid. Get ready we are coming!!! Hope you enjoy the post as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!!

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