Some news from Spain CXXI

And here I am back at you with my series of some news from Spain, already in its 221st edition thanks to you all. There is lots of things going on in my beloved Spain,and it seems we will have a wonderful spring/summer season. I am eagerly looking forward to that!! Let me tell you the latest on the things to see, do and enjoy in Spain, everything under the Sun!

The number of palaces,and old mansions in Madrid is enormous. Some remain private, while others have become the headquarters of public institutions. Many of them can be visited, I have told you on all of them in posts here is a recap for future visits, Enjoy them all !!!

Palacio de Liria. This magnificent 18C building is one of Madrid’s architectural gems. Also known as the “little brother of the Royal Palace”, the private residence where the 19th Duke of Alba, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, currently lives, has more than a dozen rooms that can be accessed, located on the first floors and downstairs from the neoclassical palace, calle de la Princesa, 20. webpage :

Palacio de Fernán-Núñez. This palace with a sober façade and neoclassical style from the mid-18C has a spectacular interior decorated with carpets and tapestries from the Royal Factory of Santa Bárbara, some based on Goya cartoons, Murano glass lamps and Baccarat , silks and other luxury items. It is currently the headquarters of the Spanish Railways Foundation, but it was one of the centers of Madrid’s social life in the mid-19C, when its then owners, the Dukes of Fernán-Núñez, decided to reform the mansion and turn it into the Romantic-style palace that is currently preserved, Calle Santa Isabel, 44. webpage :

Palacio de Cerralbo. This beautiful 17C mansion, belonging to the Marquis of Cerralbo, houses the homonymous museum, one of the most important in Madrid, with more than 50,000 pieces of great value that the family collected over the years, and including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, tapestries, furniture, coins, watches, weapons, armor, archaeological objects… In a classicist style, the interior of the building is decorated with neo-baroque and rococo elements and it preserves the original setting of the home, a reflection of the splendor and lifestyle of the Madrid aristocracy of the 19C. Calle Ventura Rodríguez, 17 . webpage :

Palacio de los Marqueses de Linares. In the heart of Madrid opposite the Palacio de Cibeles, this palace is one of the best preserved ensembles of 19C architecture in Spain, The elegant and pompous building is today Casa América, an institution that promotes Ibero-American culture, and was commissioned by the Marquises of Linares in 1877. Its four floors have a varied decoration inspired by different styles (including rococo). Tapestries from the Gobelins Factory, abundant gilding and mythological paintings, murals, exotic wood and marble floors, French lamps, rugs from the Royal Tapestry Factory or silks from China decorate its numerous halls, Plaza Cibeles, s/n webpage :

Palacio de Duques de Santoña. This small Madrid mansion, built in 1730, with a Baroque-style main portal carved in granite, stands out mainly for its interior, decorated in an eclectic style by the Dukes of Santoña, who acquired the property in 1874. The spectacular marble staircase,and the rooms on the main floor with mural paintings, in which mixed environments of the Italian Renaissance, French Rococo or Oriental style appear, are still impeccable. It is currently one of the headquarters of the Madrid Chamber of Commerce, Calle Huertas, 13. guided visits webpage :

Palacio de Buenavista.This palace was built as the urban residence of the Dukes of Alba in 1777 in neoclassical style. However, since 1816 it has been linked to the Army: it is currently the headquarters of the General Headquarters of the Army. Among the personalities who have occupied this building are, apart from the 13th Duchess of Alba, are General Espartero, General Prim, Primo de Rivera and Manuel Azaña. Its halls are decorated with tapestries and rugs from the Santa Bárbara Tapestry Factory, as well as paintings by great masters, with lamps from the Royal Factory of La Granja and Louis XV, XVI and Empire style furniture. Also noteworthy is the impressive collection of watches. The visit is free, but it is necessary to apply with a waiting list, Plaza de Cibeles, s/n.webpage :

Palacio de Cibeles. It is one of the emblems of the capital. The iconic building, designed and built by Antonio Palacios and Joaquín Otamendi to house the Spanish Post and Telegraph Society in 1909, is today the seat of the City Council. Its spaces include the Operations Courtyard, the Auditorium, the exhibition halls, the Crystal Gallery, the Mirador… The guided tour consists of a tour of the rooms, emphasizing the original architecture of the early 20C, its old functions as Palace of Communications and the socio-historical context in which it was built. One of the biggest claims is to go up to the Mirador, from where you can enjoy beautiful views of the city. Visits are free, but it is essential to book in advance Plaza de Cibeles, s/n.webpage :

Palacio de Cristal. Located in the Retiro park, on the banks of a pond, this beautiful glass construction is one of the best examples of the so-called iron architecture in Madrid. It was built in 1887 as a gigantic greenhouse to house tropical plants for the Philippine Islands Flora Exposition, held that same year. It is currently one of the headquarters of the Reina Sofía Museum and hosts various temporary exhibitions. Free entrance. Paseo República de Cuba, 4. webpage :

Palacio Real. On a route of palaces in Madrid, you cannot miss the most beautiful and important in Spain: the Royal Palace. Ordered to be built by Felipe V (born in Versailles) in the French Baroque style in 1738 in a place where the city’s Alcázar used to be, it was lived there from Carlos III to Alfonso XIII. It is the largest royal palace in Western Europe (double the size of Buckingham Palace and Versailles), with more than 135,000 square meters and 3,418 rooms. Among the rooms that can be seen and amazed by the staff are the Throne Room, the Royal Armory (one of the most important collections of its kind), the Hall of Columns, the Royal Chapel and the kitchen. A must see are also the beautiful gardens, Calle Bailén, s/n. Webpage :

Pablo Picasso returns to the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts 125 years later, The institution exhibits drawings, prints and sculptures of who was its student. The exhibition has been carried out with the support of the Beyeler Foundation. Pablo Picasso was 16 years old when he decided to spend a course in Madrid studying at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts. It was 1897. The young man from Malaga was already an extraordinary draftsman and a mediocre student who enrolled in landscape and clothing. It is not known for sure what he learned. It is known that his attendance was irregular and that he preferred to be inspired by the classic looks of the masters of the Prado Museum. From that year his works are not preserved in the institution. webpage :

The collection of works by Goya in the Prado museum, the largest in the world, is now spread over the three floors of the museum. For now, and taking advantage of the fact that many of Goya’s works traveled to the Beyeler Foundation in Basel for a major monograph on the painter, part of the rooms that house the collections of the Aragonese master (specifically, from 34 to 38) in the building have been rearranged on the Villanueva building. The first thing that stands out is that it has gone from a chronological route to a thematic one. Thus, room 34 brings together Goya’s religious painting: seven works, made from 1772 to 1816. webpage :

It is the last chance in the world to buy a Velázquez”, warns Richard de Willermin, a specialist in ancient painting, enthusiastically, while holding a ‘Portrait of a Knight’ of the Sevillian genius. We are in the Abalarte gallery in Madrid, where this work will be auctioned on March 2 2022. Your starting price? In the catalog it appears: «Consult department». We consulted Gonzalo Mora, director of the room. Its estimated price is around 2.5-3 million euros. Do not loose pledge on the starting price. Already in 2017 Abalarte auctioned another Velázquez, ‘Portrait of a girl’ or ‘Young Immaculate’, from his Sevillian stage, which was auctioned off at 9.7 million euros (the starting price plus commissions).Webpage :

These days the famous Chueca neighborhood market, San Antón, shines more than ever and there are plenty of reasons for it, because it is brand new: the image has been renewed, the space has been renovated and new stalls have been added, 16 hoteliers/traders to be exact, some with a long history with Hevia, La Ancha or Café Comercial. the roots of this establishment that has had quite a few lives. The first, in its origins in the 19C, as an open-air market for boxes, next to the parish of San Antón. The second, in 1945, when the market was built. The third, in 2011, when it resurfaced ,after its demolition as a modern building with a supply and restoration area. And the one that concerns us now, with the modernized space without losing that classic and endearing air of the market and where granite, steel, striking and fun neon lights and 3D elements share existence with white tiles faithful to the tradition of a food market. Mercado San Anton, Calle Augusto Figueroa, 24. webpage :

The German supermarket chain Aldi today occupies the spaces left by some of the most emblematic theaters (cinemas) in Madrid. There was also a time when Fuencarral and Luchana streets were home to up to 14 cinemas. Today only three survive. The Cine Paz, in Calle Fuencarral, 125, is one of these last strongholds. Just a few steps away, an Aldi supermarket whose space was previously occupied by another cinema: the Roxy A. Its neighbor, the Roxy B, is now a BM supermarket. From the Glorieta de Quevedo roundabout to the Glorieta de Bilbao roundabout, in just 700 meters in a straight line, it is also possible to locate a Mercadona, a Carrefour and a Lidl, In addition to the Roxy, the now-defunct cinemas Lido (Calle Bravo Murillo, 200), Victoria (Calle Francisco Silvela , 48) and Canciller (Calle Mayor López Casero, 15) also today display an Aldi poster, I must add similar examples can be found in Barcelona, ​​Malaga or Granada. Currently, Aldi is carrying out a strong expansion plan in Spain and, among the strategic areas for the chain, the town centers and urban centers of the main Spanish cities stand out, such as the case of Madrid, where the availability of space for new openings is limited, Well, there you go from cinemas to supermarkets !!! What a mind !!! webpage Aldi with stores in Madrid city :

MAD Gourmets, located in the exclusive Food Hall macrospace of Galería Canalejas, 17 of its 20 stalls have already opened their doors with very different proposals: from the highest-end products to signature sandwiches or cuisines from half the world , First, the location , in what some are already calling Madrid’s new golden mile: next to Puerta del Sol next to the exclusive Four Seasons hotel; in Galería Canalejas (macrospace dedicated to haute cuisine and luxury shopping) and inside its Food Hall, called to be the gastro icon that opened its doors on December 1st 2021. 650 square meters, a capacity of 290 people and an interior design of an open and common space, an elegant cosmos where nothing is out of place and everything exudes a market air in a modern key. Third, a gastronomic offer that is always open (from appetizers to drinks) and with very different concepts, as many as there are stalls in this market: 20 stalls. And what can you try here, in the heart of Madrid? From top-of-the-range products such as caviar and champagne to signature sandwiches, pintxos and tapas, going through street food proposals and cuisines from around the world. MAD Gourmets: Calle de Alcalá, 12. Webpage :

Addresses specialized in rice dishes and paellas that bring novelties in Madrid. We have the Saint James in Galeria Canalejas as above, They have been working with rice for more than half a century. First in the Salamanca neighborhood (Calle Juan Bravo, 26), then in Chamartín (Calle Rosario Pino, 14-16) and, since December 1, 2021 ,in the very center of Madrid, in the luxurious Food Hall of Galería Canalejas, The backbone of the proposal is 17 classic-style dishes (from the abanda, the sweet and the black ones to the paellas) and four called 2.0, created exclusively for this new St. James and based on rice (bresse pigeon; matured cow steak, cod cheeks and scallops). Calle de Alcalá, 12 webpage :

Paellitas Tradicion. Behind this new banner in the Cuatro Caminos neighborhood, dry rice recipes are displayed on the tables of its charming dining room and terrace: vegetable, abanda, black, field, with cheeks and garlic sprouts, or the Valencian paella made with the rice from L’Albufera de Valencia and the Molino Roca brand . They have delivery in the Alcobendas area and within the M-30, and they are sent on the paella itself and in a box! Calle San Germán, 11. webpage :

Tria Restaurante Cuatro Caminos. Rice dishes are the great attraction of this dining room with Mediterranean cuisine and Asian winks that, after five years of success in Valencia, opens a branch in Madrid, at the foot of the iconic Cuatro Torres. Its menu includes 13 different preparations, all served for at least two people. The Valencian paella with rabbit and garrofó is essential; monkfish with artichokes and prawns; the abanda rice and the senyoret rice, .Paseo de la Castellana, 259B. The Fork webpage on the restaurant :

Vega Sicilia will build a new winery in Rías Baixas to produce Albariño wines, The great luxury brand in Spain, which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the purchase of the winery by the Álvarez family, will produce two wines whose first vintage will come out in 2023 and will be for sale in 2025. It has recovered a large part of the vineyard that Eloy Lecanda ,founder of the winery in 1864 planted at the end of the 19C; he has created four wineries (Alión, Ribera de Duero; Oremus, Tokaj, Hungary; Pintia, Toro and Bodegas Benjamin de Rothschild & Vega Sicilia, Rioja)… And now he is founding a new one in Galicia, in Rías Baixas, with the idea of making Albariño wines. To do this, they will launch Bodega y Viñedos Deiva, which will be built in Crecente (Pontevedra) and will be finished in 2023. The new brand already has 24 hectares of old vineyards -the goal is to reach 55 or 60 hectares- and land mainly in the County of Tea (upper part of the Miño); in Salnés, around Cambados, O Grove and Sanxenxo, and also in Crecente itself, Today 70% of the group’s sales are made outside of Spain. webpage:

And last but not least on this post, another memorable area of my beloved Spain, to see it without moderation! The province of Soria in the autonomous region of Castilla y León,in the kingdom of Spain, It brings back a lot of memories as passing by it on my way to France and staying overnight there (see post).

Let me tell you a bit more to see here, The natural park of Laguna Negra and Circos Glaciares de Urbión, the landscape of forest and aborrascadas rocks from the romance La Tierra de Alvargonzález, by Antonio Machado: “The murderers arrived / as far as Laguna Negra, / transparent and mute water / what an enormous stone wall, / where the vultures nest / and the echo sleeps…”. It is always a good time to return to this Castilian-Leonese land, and for those who do not know it, these are just some of its wonders to discover. Caracena, a small town about 26 km from El Burgo de Osma, on which more than 30 villages depended at the beginning of the 12C. A quarter of an hour from Caracena, along the SO-135 road, are the ruins of Tiermes, a Celtiberian population that the Romans conquered in the year 98 BC, when Tito Didio was consul, and turned it into a lively city with a theatre, baths and multi-story houses. Move on to Medinaceli, with an arch from the 1C, the only one with a triple arcade that is preserved in the Iberian Peninsula, and from which a magnificent panoramic view of this town of less than 1,000 inhabitants can be seen, The Ruta del Cid and the Camino de Santiago are obtained, were scene of battles between the Christian and Muslim kingdoms. Impressive defensive complexes survive from that time, such as Berlanga de Duero, the Caracena castle or the 10C caliphal fortress in Gormaz, where El Cid was governor after reconquering it. 3 km from Calatañazor, where Almanzor fought more than a thousand years ago his last battle against the Christians, on the lonely road that goes to Muriel, a juniper forest is discovered with specimens over 300 years old that can measure 14 meters in height and up to five in diameter, Vinuesa is in the heart of in the Pinares region, in Soria Verde, highlights include the Casa de los Ramos, a building from 1778 that is one of the best examples of architecture, the palace of Don Pedro de Neyla from the 17C, the laundry from the 15C on the banks of the Remonicio river and the Roman bridge over the Duero river, most of the year submerged by the waters of the Cuerda del Pozo reservoir. On top of a hill near Casillas de Berlanga stands the marvelous Mozarabic hermitage of San Baudelio. It is believed that its austere quadrangular construction is what remains of an 11C monastery attached to a grotto that was a place of worship. From the center of the nave, barely 80 square meters in size and cube-shaped, a cylindrical column emerges from which eight palm-shaped ribs emerge that extend into the horseshoe arches that support the vault. Its paintings were removed using the rag technique in 1922. Its murals, including the famous camel that can be seen in The Cloisters, the Harlem headquarters of the New York Metropolitan, are spread across several American museums. In 1956, the MET gave six of these paintings to the Prado Museum, in exchange for the Romanesque apse of the Church of San Martín de Fuentidueña (Segovia). San Miguel, in the nearby Soria town of Gormaz, the first Romanesque construction to add the porticoed gallery, which preserves its traces of the 11C. Strange animals, warriors and dancers can be seen on its Arab-influenced capitals, and on the corbel of the door a monk holds an open book with the name of the stonemason and the engraved date: 1081. In 2009 the primitive plaster was recovered on its walls , painted with human figures, animals, stars and mysterious graffiti with dates and symbols. Nuestra Señora de la Asunción or Our Lady of the Assumption Church, in Castillejo de Robledo, narrates in her late-Gothic frescoes the episode of the Corpes Affront of the Cantar de Mio Cid and her corbels are carved with suggestive erotic scenes. In the city of Soria, the 12C Church of Santo Domingo stands out, with its great western façade, the most representative element of one of the most valuable monuments of the Castilian Romanesque.

Antonio Machado arrived in Soria on October 28, 1907 to occupy the chair of French at this old institute. Here in Campos de Castilla he wrote and met (and buried) his beloved Leonor, almost 20 years younger than him. “Five years in the land of Soria, today sacred to me,I got married there; there I lost my wife, whom I adored, they oriented my eyes and my heart towards the essential Castilian”, he would write much later in the prologue to La Tierra de Alvargonzález, The Calle Zapatería , in the center, to the arches of San Juan de Duero after crossing the bridge over the river, one of the author’s favorite walks and which inspired one of his best-known poems: “I have seen the golden poplars again, / poplars along the riverbank path / del Duero, between San Polo and San Saturio (…) Poplars of love that you had yesterday / your branches full of nightingales / poplars that you will be lyres tomorrow / of the scented wind in spring…”. Next to the hermitage of San Saturio is the Poet’s Corner, which the city dedicated to him in October 1932, shortly after granting him the title of adopted son. When Machado arrived in Soria, the German archaeologist Adolf Schulten was unearthing the ruins of Numancia. The site can be visited 10 km north of Soria, in the town of Garray. The Province of Soria tourist office :

There you go folks, another wonderful tour of my beloved Spain. Plenty of info for a great return to Spain everything under the Sun. Hope you enjoy the post ,and gave you ideas for future visits to enjoy.

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

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