Archive for April 4th, 2022

April 4, 2022

Curiosities of Alarcon!!!

Doing my road warrior way thru Castilla La Mancha was awesome, we spent several summers here and always in our minds to come back. Memories flashing in my mind hard to come up with words but we still remember those gone from our lives but not our minds. Alarcon is one memorable town. Of course, I have written more in my blog. It is about 87 km from Cuenca, the province capital city. Let me tell you about the curiosities of Alarcon!!

The Church of Santa María is located in the center at No, 25 Calle Doctor Tortosa, The church as built between 1520 and 1565. It was erected in Plateresque style with tracery vault in the Gothic way. The cover is from the middle of the 16C, the altarpiece with scenes from the life of the Virgin and the sacristy. It is a large church, built in ashlar masonry, in the corners, buttresses and door and window lintels, being able to include them within the Renaissance style, although in the Diocese of Cuenca is spoken of in the Plateresque style. It is a work of transition, in which the passage from the forms of the Gothic to those already fully Renaissance is observed.


It is a columned church, with a hall floor plan and three naves covered with a ribbed vault. In the central nave, the ribs of the vaults form radiated stars, while in the lateral ones are simpler. It has a five-sided polygonal apse, flanked by columns that present a curious ornamental motif, a large shell ,a motif linked to the Order of Santiago, located at the intersection of the base and the shaft of the column. Said apse contains an important altarpiece dated around 1572, in which notable carvings can be found and where the main altar is located. On both sides of it there is a chapel and the sacristy.


The main entrance opens on the south side of the Church of Santa Maria. Outside, a large triumphal arch shelters the portico. This semicircular arch protrudes from the façade and reaches the height of the cornice of the building The temple is accessed through a semicircular vain door, with voussoirs and flanked by a pair of Corinthian columns between which there are two niche floors with a niche of shells, In the second body on the separating impost, corbels support a richly decorated balustrade, The north door is flared, with a lowered arch divided into quadrangular form and circular mirrors on the spandrels. On the west side of the church there is a small door in a semicircular vain with four attached ribbed archivolts.


The city of Alarcon on its churches, see Santa Maria :

The Castilla La Mancha region tourist office on the Church Santa Maria

We, also, got to see the 13C  Church of Santa Trinidad  at Calle de Santa. Trinidad, 1, as you entered the town after the castle. It is the oldest church in Alarcon with Roman and Gothic elements. The church is in a rectangular laidout with two naves, one from the 13C and one from the 16C, although the vault of the oldest nave is from the 15C. They emphasize in her the fajones arcs and pointed formeros, a triumphal arch of entrance to the presbytery, and a Renaissance altar. The cover is typically plateresque; It exhibits the shields of the Marquis de Villena, Diego López Pacheco, and of which he was bishop at the time, Diego Ramírez de Villaescusa. The tower stands on the so-called Arco de la Villa. The current apse is rectangular and replaces another circular Romanesque.  The square tower has three bodies: the first open with a semicircular arch on which there is a split triangular pediment that houses a mirror and a stone cross in its center; the second rectangular with a square window in the center; the third destined to be a bell tower with a bell hole on each side with a semicircular arch, topped by an entablature cornice; on the cornice there is a perimeter parapet of ashlar masonry, carved as a balustrade.


The Church of Santa Trinidad has two naves and three adjoining chapels. It is the result of various constructive interventions, from its origin, as a church with a single nave erected in the 13C, to which another smaller width was added at the beginning of the 16C. In this last century, the current portal, two chapels and the tower were also erected, while in the 17C a chapel was created next to the head of the second nave. Between 1964 and 1967, the church was restored.

The City of Alarcon on its churches, see Santa Trinidad:

There is another interesting church that of Church of Santo Domingo de Silos in late Romane style from the 12C which we had no time to see on this trip. However, will tell you some as the history I like. The Church of Santo Domingo de Silos still maintains architectural elements from the 15C and 16C, such as the transverse arches, the former walls and the transitional Proto-Gothic portal, as well as a Renaissance-style tower. It preserves some of the treasures found in Alarcón, such as the Gothic vault in the shape of a triangle that still preserves part of the 15C polychromy.

The City of Alarcon on its churches, see Santo Domingo de Silos

There was another surprise inside a former church! The Center for Contemporary Arts on mural paintings sits right in the former church of San Juan Bautista, located at Plaza Infante don Juan Manuel, s/n,  The current construction dates from the 16C and replaced another of Romanesque style. It has a single nave covered with a barrel vault, a cover of Juan de Herrera (Herrera style) and a tower that has endured from the primitive church. The side walls are stiffened by buttresses that, contrary to the usual, are manifested by the interior delimiting spaces that pretend to be small chapels.


Ruin, abandonment and desolation invaded the church of San Juan Bautista for centuries, a beautiful Herrerian building erected at the end of the 16C in the main square of Alarcón, In 1994 the young Spanish painter Jesús Mateo initiated the project to cover the entire old building with a set of wall paintings, The work is defined as other worlds prior to the presence of man on Earth, at the same origin of life, to the world of dreams, in which anguish, life and the end are mixed among many others, a plastic language full of drama. This contemporary work has been officially sponsored by UNESCO since 1997 for its high world artistic interest, It is considered one of the high peaks of contemporary world art. 

The official Mural of Alarcon webpage:

The Cuenca province tourist office on the center for mural paintings

The Castilla La Mancha regional tourist office on the center for mural paintings

There you go folks, a dandy pretty old town of Alarcon in the province of Cuenca, Castilla La Mancha autonomous community of the kingdom of Spain. The town is conveniently in the direction of Valencia and the beaches from Madrid along the A3 expressway worthy of a stop. Hope you enjoy the post on the fortified town of Alarcon.

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

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April 4, 2022

The culinary delights of Jaca !!!

I have come to this town several times as always falling in my road warrior routes between France and Spain. Many memorable family eating places here that have become very nostalgic for me. I like to update this older post and take you back north to the wonderful town of Jaca, Province of Huesca in the Autonomous Region of  Aragon, Kingdom of Spain. One of the best kept off the beaten path towns of my dear Spain.

Well, one of the fun part of visiting a town is to try the local specialties and as we are renown foodies this is heavens, We like the food choices here and we did well a feast for my nostalgic memories of my beloved Spain. Let met tell you a bit more on two memorable spots in Jaca.

We did our walking in the town and came upon a nice busy restaurant overlooking the Cathedral so we sat in to eat lol! This is Casa Fau, Plaza Catedral 3, Ideally located in front of the magnificent portico of the Cathedral. The tapas are really excellent, we prefer the tapas and raciones to share, and the Enate Crianza red wine excellent! The reception is correct and fast service.  An unbeatable situation in front of the Cathedral of Jaca, terrace under the stone arcades, a bar full of tapas and skewers … Casa Fau is a classic in the world of tapas.  You  have a loyal clientele eager to try these delicacies in one of the most emblematic spots of the city. My oldest son entering the resto below!



We had our lunch right across it while seeing the world go by at Plaza de la Catedral in Casa Fau, very nice folks , fast service, good food. We will be back! There is no web for it but a Facebook page on them with more pictures :



We really had seen the bakery before and opted to come here for the dessert and what a great decision that was, and continues. After much wandering to the side streets having cheese breads from the local bakeries and did went shopping for sweets to take home at Confiteria/Pasteleria Etcheto , right next to Casa Fau. My fam entering the place below!!


Pasteleria Etcheto , Plaza Catedral 5.  The confectionery Echeto is one that you can come all your life and to enter it is to go back in the past. Everything was delicious, but in particular the ice creams (homemade) and especially the chocolate ice cream are very good. La Pastelería Echeto, is one of the great  confectioneries, famous for all the great traditional sweets of Jaca, such as the Besos (kisses) , the coronettes (crowns) and the bows of Santa Orosia. If you come to Jaca to visit , do not forget to visit this bakery. It’s really is a must. Enjoy it ,webpage :


For references:

The city of Jaca on its heritage :

The Huesca province tourist office on Jaca

The Aragon region tourist office on Jaca

There you go folks, a short but memorable eating places that we shall return one day hopefully, and enjoy them again, recommended in off the beaten path Jaca, in the valley just before reaching the Pyrénées on your way to France.  There are the sweets as my dear late wife Martine adores them. We had a great one two combination right next to each other in beautiful Jaca. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

April 4, 2022

The Former Church Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Merced of Huete!

This time back to the emblematic Castilla La Mancha and the little pretty town of Huete. Again,I like to update this older post for you and me, as have written before on the town and its monuments, but feel left this out and needs attention. This is the multiuse former Church Monastery of Saint Mary of Mercy or Santa Maria de la Merced in the Province of Cuenca!


The Church Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Merced , or Mercy monastery is a Church from 1648-1684 and a cloister from 1645-56. The story goes fray Marcos de Salmerón, born in Buendía in 1588 but resident since childhood in Huete, where he studied and professed in the Order of Mercy in 1603, becoming master general of the order in 1642. Deceased in Madrid, his corpse was transferred to the Monastery of Huete and was buried in the Chapel of San José, (St Joseph) which he himself had built. The monastery is located at number 1 of Calle de San Esteban around Plaza de la Merced.


The whole of the Monastery of Saint Mary of Mercy constitutes a large construction structured on a roughly rectangular floor plan, the church occupying the northern half of said floor plan. Baroque in style, its facade is divided into three orders, two of them with balconies and one with bars. Inside it has two courtyards, the largest with the same style as the facades and the smallest, from the 17C with a closed cloister alternating between brick and stone. From the Monastery complex stands out its great chapter hall in which, being one of the best the Order had, several general chapters of the Mercedarian Order were held. The church has a Latin cross plan, with a transept topped by a large dome, side chapels and a high choir at the foot. The main nave, the arms of the transept and the chancel are covered with a barrel vault. The nave is topped by a dome supported on pendentives. At the bottom of the presbytery there is a dressing room that, originally, was located higher than the level of the presbytery, to emphasize the situation of the image located there, leaving below a small crypt that served for years as a cemetery for the monks of the monastery.  On the first two arches of the nave, at the foot, is the Choir, which is supported on low arches. From the right lateral arm of the transept there is access to a chapel that, in principle, was the sacristy. This was then moved, in what was the connecting hall, with a staircase, on the way to the monastery. Above the right side chapels there are rooms for the sick, which have a south orientation and open a window over the interior of the monastery.



Here is preserved the image of the Virgin or Virgen de la Merced of which festival is done in the month of September also known as the festival of Huete or of Merced that was before an important cattle fair. Founded by the end of the 13C,and currently the oldest part kept are the the central facade from 1639. the facade was renovated in the neo classic style in 1867 and the south corner next to the city hall entrance  renovated end of the 19C.  The cloister is one of the best baroque patios in the province of Cuenca done between  1645 and 1647, with different materials. The church was done from 1668 and in 1754 ,the sacristy was built that currently has a retable altar coming from the abbey of Caracena del Valle done in the second half of the 16C. In the last part of the 18C the Monastery was enlarged; the facades and wrought iron windows were done .Today, there are inside the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Florencio de la Fuente ( a contemporary arts museum). Also, the city hall, and several administrative services such as the Tourist office upon entering, and the library.


The city hall of Huete (former monastery):

The Huete tourist office on the Monastery of the Mercy:

The Huete tourist office on the museum of contemporary Arts Florencio de la Fuente in the former monastery:

There you go folks, a huge monument of great architectural and historical value right in a off the beaten path town of Huete in the Province of Cuenca. See it, very nice indeed, many memorable moments for my family there.

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

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