Archive for April 13th, 2022

April 13, 2022

The Principe Pio of Madrid !!

This is the extreme points from central Madrid, I was cruising with the family on bus no 46 all the way out and decided to walked back to the center! A long walk but worth it, as I said walking is best in a city. In doing so, we passed by the shopping center and train station of Principe Pio. This Principe Pio is a very nice airy big train station and very clean facilities a wonderful place to spend some time and recharge for our walks, we had a nice shake yougurt ice of banana and mango here at Illallao store on the Cercanias station side upper level.



My boys walking on the left!!

The official Principe Pio shopping center

The Madrid tourist office on Principe Pio shopping center

A bit of history I like. The Estacion del Norte was a train station in Madrid. Now a extinct company built it in 1861 provisional facilities in the place where the station was later built, due to the inauguration of the railway that went from Madrid to Irun (French border). The definitive station was inaugurated in 1882, becoming one of the most prominent of the North network as well as the Madrid stations. After the inauguration of the Chamartín station, its decline began when the rail traffic was transferred to the new station. In 1993, it was finally closed, being rehabilitated as an exchanger and a commercial center and renamed as the Principe Pío station.


For the anecdote, who is the Principe Pio? well , he is Francisco Pío de Saboya y Moura was an Italian aristocrat and military men, in the service of the Crown of Spain. He held the titles of Marquis de Castel Rodrigo with Grand of Spain, Duke of Nocera, Count of Lumiares and Prince Pio (principe pio) and of San Gregorio.

The new Principe Pio ,which we took a peek , is a completely modified  station with  an opening dome in the center of the station under the canopies to accommodate the new metro lines 6 and 10, modifying the tracks to adapt the facilities to the Cercanías train service, as well as expanding the capacity of the railway ring road that was reformed, buried and fully integrated in the city under the action known as the Green Rail Corridor. With this action, the Cercanías service from the northwest corridor was allowed to pass through the station and continue south on the way to the Atocha station. Finally the new station was inaugurated in 1995, with its new name of Principe Pío.



The Madrid tourist office on the Principe Pio trains station

The Metro de Madrid on the Principe Pio station (360 degree view)

The RENFE train network on the Principe Pio station

This is now very popular as there is a big train/metro connection here as well as a very nice shopping center of Principe Pio. A great opportunity to leave the tourist center and see a bit more of my dear Madrid. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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April 13, 2022

The CaixaForum of Madrid!!

Oh well so much arts and so many choices in my dear Madrid, I have left out this wonderful spot and should be in my blog. Therefore, let me tell you a bit on the CaixaForum of Madrid!!! It is right in the golden triangle area!

The CaixaForum is at Paseo del Prado, 36, and was built between 2001 and 2007. The spot of the former Electricity factory of the mid day or Central Eléctrica del Mediodía whose construction was done in 1899. The building, located between Calle del Gobernador, Calle de la Alameda, Calle Cenicero and Calle Almadén in Madrid, in 2008 became at the headquarters of the CaixaForum Madrid. In addition, it is integrated into the cultural landscape called Landscape of Light, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO!

The La Caixa Foundation converted the former powerplant, one of the examples of late 19C industrial architecture into the CaixaForum-Madrid, its new social center and cultural site, It is located opposite the Botanical Garden and next to the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid CaixaForum-will be added to the important cultural events focused on this area.


Ancient, modern and contemporary art exhibitions, music and poetry festivals, multimedia art, current affairs debates, social days, educational and family workshops: these are some of the activities offered by Caixa Forum Madrid. A reference cultural center which also has the first vertical garden in Spain, made up of 15,000 plants !

mad caixa forum on prado may16

CaixaForum-Madrid retains the original facade of the former factory,and will occupy a total area of ​​approximately 8,000 m2 divided into different levels, two of which are underground. The new building seems to levitate over a large public square open on all four sides that will run across the Paseo del Prado and occupy an area of ​​over 2,500 m2. The main entrance will be by the no, 36 Paseo del Prado. The building will preserve the image of the old factory and the definition of a new volume.  CaixaForum have more than 2,000 m2 of exhibition halls, a 322-seat auditorium, a media center, several multipurpose rooms for conferences and other activities, conservation and restoration workshops and an art shop. The large reception hall, a café, a shop and a bookstore and a restaurant in the center will complete the offer. These areas will be distributed on the following levels: Level -2 parking lot, access to works of art, lobby auditorium and Level -1 multipurpose rooms, maintenance workshop, storage, the hall and the room also occupy part of level -1. Level 0 Plaza public access to downtown Level 1 Lobby, cafe, shop and bookstore Level +2 Showroom Level 3 Exhibition and media room Level 4 restaurants, offices.

The official Caixa Forum of Madrid

The Madrid tourist office on the Caixa Forum

There you go folks, a dandy place of the arts to visit in my dear Madrid. The CaixaForum is a wonderful addition to the choices , all within walking distance of the Golden Triangle of the Arts of Madrid, and a great area to walk and visit the others as well as eating establishement of good reputation. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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April 13, 2022

The Carillon of Madrid!

The first time several years back, I really did not notice or understood what it was. By the third time I dwell into its history and was fascinating. I like to update this older post on something unique in my dear Madrid. So much to see and enjoy, many over the years ,and I am sure a lot more to come. If in Spain, need to past by Madrid. Now here is the unique thing I like to tell you today, a carillon of singing figures in Barrio de las Letras neighborhood! The Plus Ultra building singing figurines!

The Plus Ultra building was built in 1913, and is located in the Plaza de las Cortes 8, next to the Westin Palace hotel, in front of the Congress of Deputies and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, closely watched by the Statue of Cervantes. One of my latest favorite area to stayed, see posts. It was acquired in 1941 by the insurance company Plus Ultra (formerly Groupama), 100% owned since 2015 by Catalana Occidente (one of my former business partners..).  It occupies part of the site of the former palace of the Dukes of Medinaceli (most of the site is occupied by the Hotel Westin Palace-see post) and was built as a rental house for the Marquis of Amboage. Although the Plus Ultra building dates from the early 20C c. 1913, ordered to be erected by the Marquis of Amboage, the Carillon was inaugurated on December 20, 1993 by the Infanta Pilar de Borbón, Duchess of Badajoz.

On the balcony of the first floor there is a carillon that in addition to giving the hours at specific times of the day presents a small spectacle of mobile figures, the only one in Spain at the time of its inauguration. The carillon plays the anthem of MadridLa Marseillaise, the Radetzky March, Libiamo ne ‘lieti calici of La Traviata, the Ritirata of Madrid and the Boccherini minuet, among many others. With the holidays, the list expands to universal Christmas carols like White Christmas. The Goyesco (as a Goya style)  Carillon looks out from one of the balconies on the first floor of the Plus Ultra building. When it comes into operation, it captures the attention of pedestrians, who for a few minutes stare at the movements of the figures.


The Carillon consists of five figures designed by cartoonist Antonio Mingote, all of them from the Goyesque era: the painter Francisco de Goya, the Duchess of Alba accompanied by a dog, King Carlos III, a Madrid Maja (local women) and the bullfighter Pedro Romero. During the more than three minutes that the small show lasts, the figures perform a series of movements limited to the sound of a music performed by the 18 bells installed on the sides of the clock. This music varies as we hear it at different times.  Each of the five figures performs a different movement: the bullfighter Pedro Romero tempers his crutch before the onslaught of an imaginary bull, a manola (women) greets with her fan, Carlos III of Spain , the mayor king of Madrid  shakes his head, the Duchess of Alba will greet with a handkerchief and the painter Francisco de Goya draws in the air with a brush. They are only 1.40 meters high, but from the street you cannot see that they are mounted on the rails.

The Carillon was manufactured in the Netherlands by a company specialized in such rare gadgets. Although the technical realization is complex, the resulting spectacle is very simple and at the same time unique in Madrid. The clock is another jewel. The dial, 112 centimeters in diameter and with Roman numerals, was made of silver-plated red copper. It is covered by a stainless steel outer frame and its hands are plated with 24-carat gold. This was a renovation from the one manufactured in the Netherlands. Indeed, a marvel worth the detour to see it and of course something different in wonderful Madrid. To see the Goyesco show there are several sessions a day, at 12h, at 15h, at 18h and at 20h. On December 24 and 31 ,it also works at midnight. It is recommended to be very punctual since its entire duration is short.

The official Plus Ultra insurance company (owners):

The Spanish Guia Repsol tourist guide on the Carrillon (with pics) :

There you go folks, a unique visual entertaining arts in the famous Golden Triangle of the Arts of my dear Madrid. The Carrillon is nice, historical, and worth the detour for sure. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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

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