Archive for August 18th, 2022

August 18, 2022

My other parks of Madrid !!!

It’s time to update this older post and tell you again my other love, Madrid and it’s parks. Let’s take you on a brief tour of several parks, that I have been to, played in them, chase for my first love, and oh well many other things even introducing them to my dear late wife Martine and boys. Madrid is invigorating to the soul, active, modern, no taboos, free, open, lively, enthusiastic even in the worst economic situation, so what, its Madrid, all worth it a million times.  I will show you here the others parks in my dear Madrid. Hope you enjoy them as I.

The park closest to my old home in Madrid was the Parque El Calero, on Metro Line 5 Quintana or Carmen, it has nice promenade and an open air auditorium for concerts and cultural events. Also a petanque field and bike paths. You can easily go from the metro Quintana in Calle de Alcalà (where I lived) up avenida del Sagrado Corazon to it. My last trip the area has change ,but still a good walk into the real Madrid at day time….And no pictures for souvenirs but always remembered.

The Parque Roma is another of my memorable parks and one that have been several times, It is a large arch located on the edge of Calle 30 or the beltway M30.  A recreational area created in 1980 with an area of 11 hectares or about 112,052 m2 , It is ideal for strolling through its trails delimited by large trees. It has 4 playgrounds, a circuit for the elderly, a lake, sports facilities and a climbing wall. In it ,there is a garden for the blind and a large shield or coat of arms of Madrid made with seasonal flowers stand out as spaces. A hillside space that has views of the beltway M30. A 12-meter-high climbing wall with an integrated bouldering area completes the activities. The park main entrance is at Calle Juan Esplandiu, 4, in the barrio or neighborhood of Estrella, Retiro district, If far you can take metro lines 6 or 9 stop Saínz de Baranda or the Bus on lines 30, 56, 143,and 215, However, I always walked off Calle del Dr Esquerdo into Calle del Pez Volador, there is a street vendor kiosk and across there is an entrance to the park,yeah!!! And no webpage for it too bad!

madrid parque Roma jul15

The next park is the Parque Quinta de la Fuente del Berro. Early on it was a farm or Quinta de Miraflores ordered by king Felipe IV as a new royal site with more than 13 hectares (adding the gardens or Jardines Sancho Davila). It is on the limits of the Calle Enrique D’Almonte, Avenida de Alcalde Saenz de Baranda, and the M-30 (first beltway of Madrid) until reaching the Calle de Alcalà and the bridge or Puente de Ventas parallel to the M-30 to join up with the Jardines Sancho Davila; all total about 53K m2 of green. It is not far from the Monumental Ventas bullring (see post). The main entrance is by Calle Enrique D’Almonte with two small towers in brick; and you can see the old palace remaining of what it was before.  The park is well designed with several slopes with prairies and rustic stairs of stone. One of the things to see here is the Monument to Bécquer ,and the statue to the Russian writer Pushkin, a fountain with a stone jar next to the main entrance, a cascading waterfall, and two small lakes. You can see more on the Madrid tourist office on the Fuente del Berro:

This is a bit off the beaten path for most but it is Madrid at it local best. Come to the Parque del Cerro del Tío Pío in the neighborhood of Numancia, district of Puente de Vallecas, and extending over neighborhoods or colonies of residences  Colonia de Fontarrón, Colonia de Santa Ana , and Colonia de los taxistas.  It is locally known as the park of the seven tits or Parque de las Siete Tetas because of its peaks or hills.  You come here to see the city sunset or sunrise and see most of the city. The park is bordered by the Calle Benjamín Palencia, Calle Camino de Valderribas, Calle Sierra de Cuerda Larga , and Calle Maruja García Romero.  It is recommended for a panoramic view of the city from this park as well as the mountains outside of Madrid.  The park has 3 entrances and on the highest there is a lookout , bar, and game zone for children as well as machines to do outdoors sport.  There is ,also, a bike trail. On the lower part of the park you find sports complexes for indoor football/soccer, basketball, and ping pong. You reach here by metro light line 1 stations Portazgo and Buenos Aires as well as buses lines 54 , 141 , and 143 .   More from the Madrid tourist office on Parque del Cerro del Tio Pio:

Another park ,known later in life is the Parque Quinta de Torre Arias located in the neighborhood of Salvador, district of  San Blas-Canillejas; the old home of my maternal aunt !(which in those days we came by electric tramway!)  It is located between the Calle de Alcalà, Calle Rodríguez Ayuso,  Calle Eduardo Terán, Calle de Fernando Mijares , and Calle Marquesado de Sta. Marta. This was the old farm of Torre Arias with 17 hectares with very nice garden to find 51 species of trees some of more than 300 years old.  It belongs to the nobility of Madrid from 1600 until our days today.  The park is created after the passing of the last owner. In 1986, the owners signed an agreement to give it to the city as a donation that finally become owned in 2013 by the city of Madrid. You can reach here on metro line 5 Torre Arias, and buses lines 104, 77, 140, and 153. More from the Madrid tourist office on the Parque Quinta de Torre Arias

Another mythical park of Madrid for me is the Parque de la Quinta de los Molinos located in the neighborhood of Salvador, district of San Blas-Canillejas .  It is considered a historic park located in between my Calle de Alcalà , Calle Miami, Calle de Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena ,and the Avenida del Veinticinco de Septiembre.  It has 25 hectares and in the park includes great lawns and prairies of trees with lots of olives, pines eucaplyptus, and figs trees, even thus the start of the park of the almond trees that flowered every spring offering a wonderful spectacle.  You can find here at the extreme north of the park a palace from early 20C , gardens and lawns, there is ,also a lake, windmill (why the name of the park) and a building known as the watch house or Casa del Reloj.  The park has trails of dirt and pavement bordered by plantains trees from the main entrance  in my Calle de Alcalà to the palace.  During the summer, there are many activities here with concerts on the Summers of the city activity or Veranos de la Villa. Due to its location by Calle de Alcalà the access is easy from anywhere in the city; next to the main entrance there is the metro Suanzes, for line 5  (my line!) and also by Calle de Alcalà (my street !) you get the buses lines  77  and  104.  By the Calle Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena you can catch buses lines 114  and 146, where there are two entries to the park. Other access to the park are at the Calle Miami on metro line 6  O’Donnell , and buses lines  2, 56, 69, 71, 143, 15, and 28. The Madrid tourist office on the parque de la Quinta de los Molinos:

And last ,but not least for this post I like to tell you about the Parque de la Bombilla, on 13 hectares running parallel to the Parque del Oeste (see post) by which can communicate with Passarella’s trails. The park is located between the Avenida de Valladolid, Ciudad Universitaria, and the old North Station (see post principe pio) that is bisected by train of the cercanias lines C7  and C10. Each June 13 the park is host to the festivities of Saint Anthony  as well as the circus in winter and the summer cinema showing in summer.  It has a tracing from the Royal Palace (see post) where in the old days royal carriages took the nobility by the Calle Bailén, to the forest of  El Pardo. This tree lined road was given the name of the Senda del Rey  and part of it can still be done inside the park.  At the end of the 19C it was changed into municipals garden center and the tramway cars.  In the interior of the park there are benches, prairies, stair terraces where water runs,a lake and a fountain. You can reach it on metro lines 6 and 10  Príncipe Pío ,and buses lines 41, 46, 75,  and N20; also cercanias lines  C1, C7, C10 ,and regional at Principe Pio. The Madrid tourist office on parque de la Bombilla


There you go folks, wonderful walks and rides into my Madrid parks/gardens.A great memory lane post, hope you enjoy this ride into the other parks of Madrid, my favorites of course , and there are others parks of Madrid. Glorious awesome not enough words; my only regret not have taken more pictures; need to be back….. Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!

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

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August 18, 2022

Plaza de las Cortes of Madrid !!

I have walked and stayed over the years alone and with the family in the Letras barrio (see post), and this is one memorable square of my dear Madrid. Let me update this older post for your and me and tell you a bit more on the Plaza de las Cortes of Madrid!

The Plaza de las Cortes makes the junction between Sol and the Prado, along the Carrera de San Jerómino. The most notable building is the Congreso de los Diputados. On the main facade a staircase leads up to the neoclassical portico, with six imposing striated columns, of Corinthian order, on which rises the triangular pediment decorated with reliefs. The iconic lions flanking the entrance were cast with iron from cannons captured during the Moroccan War. The Congress of Deputies is the Spanish representative congress.

Here you see the imposing Palacio de las Cortes, the name of the building that houses the Congreso de los Diputados, that was built between the years 1843 and 1850. This is one of the two chambers of the Cortes Generales, the Spanish parliament. It is very close to Paseo del Prado, and is one of the emblematic buildings of the 19C, in neoclassical style.  In this spot was before the Convent of the Holy Spirit, inside which, curiously, some sessions of the Cortes were held. The favorite of the Plaza de las Cortes, the great Miguel de Cervantes statue facing the Congress of Deputies. This sculpture, from the year 1834, keeps a curious fact and that is that it was the first public tribute that a person who did not belong to the field of politics or royalty or religion received in Spain !!



Also, down the street you will see the white facade of the Groupama building carillon (see post) that, thanks to its mechanism and automatons, piles up a huge handful of tourists every few hours. These figures represent king Carlos III, the Duchess of Alba together with her poodle, Goya, the bullfighter Pedro Romero and a ‘manola’, the typical Madrid castiza native woman. The five, dressed according to Goya’s paintings, have been greeting, at least twice a day, anyone who stands at the foot of the balcony since 1993.  You can see ,and I was lucky to stayed there once, the most illustrious Westin Palace Hotel (see post). This is one of the most famous and reputable hotels in Madrid. It was built in record time, between 1911 and 1912, taking advantage of the noble plot that previously inhabited the Palace of the Dukes of Medinaceli. World-class figures such as Picasso, Pavarotti, Orson Welles and Einstein have passed through its 400 rooms. Even a spy like Mata Hari. I encourage you to come in one day and admire its magnificent dome.

Advancing along it, looking at the Neptune Fountain (see post) and the Jerónimos Towers on the horizon invites all to continue walking through this city. Showing emphasis and willingness to continue reeling off the benefits of Madrid !! The best way to get here if far is on Metro line 2 Banco de España, and bus lines 14 and 27 as the closest. You ; also, can easily drive here as I have and use the wonderful Parking Las Cortes.



The Madrid tourist office on the Congress of Deputies

The official Congreso de los Diputados de España

There you go folks another dandy spot in my dear Madrid. Wonderful area in the Barrio de las Letras , and close to wonderful monuments many told in my blog already such as the Prado museum, the Puerta del Sol, and Neptuno fountain. Hope you enjoy the Plaza de las Cortes of Madrid !!

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

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August 18, 2022

The Royal Basilica Our Lady of Atocha of Madrid !

Back to my dear Madrid. I have written so many posts on my Madrid and always something is missing, as now. Briefly touch before, need to update this older post to tell you more of the wonderful story of this huge monument call the Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha or Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha of Madrid.

I have passed several times and finally saw the Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha , very nice, on Avenida de la Ciudad de Barcelona, 1. but main entrance of the parish is at Calle Julián Gayarre 1. It is in the neighborhood of Pacifico, and district of Retiro of my dear Madrid. Very centrally located very near the Atocha Renfe train metro station on the Alfonso XII exit and Menéndez Pelayo metro station on the Gutenberg exit, of metro line 1, Cercanías. Atocha Station and bus lines 10 and 14 are good too.


The image of Our Lady of Atocha, is the oldest in Madrid. The legend traces the devotion to apostolic times, attributing its accomplishment to Nicodemus and its polychromy to Saint Luke, being transferred by Saint Peter’s disciples from Antioch to Spain. It is the chronicles of the 17C that began to provide more realistic data, citing a document where the first reference to the cult of Our Lady of Atocha appeared. It would be a 7C writing by San Ildefonso in which he claimed to have prayed before an image in Madrid whose characteristics would correspond to the current image.  The first documents that mention the existence of a hermitage in which Our Lady of Atocha (Notre Dame of Atocha) is worshiped, date back to 1162, and are some Bulls of the Cathedral of Toledo where the archbishop of that city grants ownership of the hermitage to the Collegiate house of Santa Leocadia de Toledo. And finally, the irrefutable document that shows the existence of an important cult to Our Lady in her dedication to Atocha,was in the 13C, in the Cantigas de Alfonso X el Sabio, where direct reference is made to two miracles of Nuestra Señora (Our Lady= Notre Dame) from “Tocha” from “Madride” in Cantigas 289 and 315. The Dominican friars have been custodians of the image since 1523, the year in which, through fraile Juan Hurtado de Mendoza, confessor of King Carlos V, the hermitage becomes property of the Order of Preachers. Illustrious friars have passed through it such as confessors of kings, theologians, writers, musicians etc. Fr. Bartolomé de las Casas, defender of the Indians (Americas), spent his last years of his life, and here he died and was buried , although the exact place of his grave is not known.


There was always a close relationship between the Royal House and the image of Our Lady of Atocha. According to the chronicles, the kings soon began to visit the Virgin of Atocha: Alfonso VII, Alfonso IX, Sancho IV el Bravo, Enrique II, Enrique III, Enrique IV, Juan I, Juan II and the Catholic Monarchs (Fernando e Isabel). It is said of Felipe II that he never left Madrid without going through the Basilica. Felipe IV visited it 3400 times, as a friar of the house noted patiently. Carlos II wanted his first outing as king of Spain to go to Atocha, and there he went after his wedding with María Luisa de Orleans giving on that occasion a cloak and a diamond crown. Alfonso XII, restored the throne, moved from the Atocha station to the Basilica where he prayed a Te Deum and Salve.  From a very early age it became customary for kings to present princes and infants to their children before the image of the Virgin. So they did, for example, on December 7, 1629, Felipe IV and his wife presenting Prince Baltasar Carlos. Felipe IV brought Prince Carlos before the image a few days after his birth. The relationship between the Royal House and the Basilica has also been maintained during the 20C. The current kings Felipe VI and Doña Leticia approached the temple after their wedding to present the bouquet to the Virgin, and on two more occasions in 2006 and 2007 to present to their Patron Saint their current daughters Princess Eleanor and Infanta Sofia.

In 1808 Napoleon’s troops violently entered the Convent and Church, turning it into a barracks and causing terrible damage. It was then that the historical flags were lost, a memory of Spain’s triumphs throughout history, which decorated the walls of the temple in gratitude. They stole all the gold and silver from the Virgin, burned the library books and demolished many parts of the convent. The friars took the image of Our Lady of Atocha and took it to the Descalzas Reales and later they transferred it to the Convent of Santo Tomás where the religious stayed. The confiscation of 1834 was the second hard blow to the temple, when the Dominicans were expelled and the convent converted into a barracks for invalids and the temple guarded by the Royal Chaplain. With the passage of time the temple threatened ruin and the image was transferred to the parish of Buen Suceso.

On November 12, 1863, Pope Pius IX granted the Church of Atocha the title of Basilica, by means of a Brief pontificate signed in Rome. Thus, it became the first temple in Madrid to receive this title and one of the top ten in Spain. It had been Queen Isabel II who had raised the request for such dignity to the Nuncio to Her Holiness in Spain. The Queen was a faithful devotee of Our Lady of Atocha, and in her temple she had celebrated the Mass of vigils after her marriage, and she frequently went to pray and sing Salve before the image of the Virgin. The Pope, aware of the Queen’s devotion to the image, responded promptly granting the title of Basilica.

In 1924 the Dominicans, who could not forget the Virgin of Atocha who had guarded with so much devotion and affection for four centuries, asked King Alfonso XII to grant facilities to restore the Convent and Church Basilica of the Virgin of Atocha. The works were carried out with the greatest speed and on the first Saturday of November 1926 the solemn transfer of the Virgin was made, from the parish of Buen Suceso to its new church, where she was received by His Majesty the King Alfonso XIII ;and his mother Queen María Cristina, resuming a new era in the cult of the Virgin of Atocha.

The worship was interrupted again in the eventful years of the Spanish Civil War, when the Convent and the Basilica Church of Our Lady of Atocha were assaulted and burned down on July 20, 1936 by Republicans forces; and the religious who could not escape that tragic day were martyred. Everything of value kept in the compound was lost, but God wanted only the greatest treasure in the house to be saved, the image of the Virgin of Atocha that had been removed days before her throne and had been handed over her custody to a family friend of the Community.

The current Royal Basilica fo Our Lady of Atocha was inaugurated on Christmas 1951. In 1963, the Virgen de Atocha School was built, which the Atocha community managed for more than 40 years until it was transferred to the Santo Domingo Educational Foundation, although the friars of the convent continue to participate in pastoral care. Of the college. In 1965 the parish of Our Lady of Atocha was erected, which was a great pastoral impulse in the neighborhood that continues today with intensity.


The official Real Basilica Nuestra Señora de Atocha

The Madrid tourist office on the Basilica

A wonderful story indeed and a beautiful basilica on an area that is grand for walks; see my other post on the street Paseo de la Reina Cristina. The Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha is very much part of the history of Madrid and Spain , hope you have the time to see it, after all walking distance from Atocha train station !

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

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