Some news from Spain CXXXII

And back at you with my series of some news from Spain !!! thanks to you all. There is lots of things going on in my beloved Spain, and Fall is already here ! I am eagerly looking forward to be back too!! Let me tell you the latest tidbits of news chosen by yours truly, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

Eight festivities, five bullfights, two bullfights with bullfighters and the final of the Road to Las Ventas make up the Autumn Fair in the Madrid arena, which will be held from this past Saturday, October 1, until Wednesday October 12, 2022, the date on which the season will close. This cycle, which is dedicated to the figure of Antonio Bienvenida on the centenary of his birth, begins with two novelties: an increase in the number of subscribers and the opening of the Venta del Batán, closed for 18 years to the exhibition of cattle announced on the posters. During the fair, various cultural activities will also be held that revolve especially around the figure of the Madrid bullfighter Antonio Bienvenida. The room that bears his name will host an exhibition of historical posters by the collector Ángel Sonseca Rojas, who will offer an extensive tour of some of the afternoons that made history in the career of the bullfighter and members of the dynasty. On the other hand, the plastic artist Mariano Cobo will exhibit a monograph on some of the best works with Antonio Bienvenida in the Antoñete room. And until October 12 you can visit an exhibition of the plastic artist Jesús Solano on the ground floor,webpage :

The area of Sobrarbe ( province of Huesca) feeds its people and shapes the landscape of the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, in the Huesca Pyrenees. A diverse place made up of ravines, canyons and glacial valleys that has attracted more and more visitors since the Bielsa parador was opened in 1968, the tunnel connecting France with Spain was built in 1976 and the protection of the national park was extended in 1982, The parador is located in the Pineta Valley, very close to the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, where you can see the calcareous massif of Monte Perdido at 3,335 meters. The HU-V-6402 road ends at the parador. Beyond there is nothing and that is everything ! An element of the landscape that has already disappeared are the iron mines The gates of the monastery of El Escorial were built with iron from Sobrarbe, You should stop by Aínsa, the largest city in Sobrarbe and one of the most touristic for its medieval quarter, Lovely region we road warrior so many times over the years. Tourism webpage:

As usual in these posts , let me give you a tour of my dear Spain with some excellent spots for visiting/vacationing many of which we have already.

Land of legends and impossible loves, the province of Teruel, a paradigm of empty Spain, makes up for its low population density with endless delights for the senses, which increase when the leaf begins to fall. I will take you first to Matarrañala served as a link since historical times with the Mediterranean coast and as a border between the neighboring communities of Catalonia and Valencia. The old house of the Marquis of Santa Coloma, built in 1703, is one of them. Unmoved by the passage of time, it was built on a 120-hectare farm in the middle of Mount Monroyo, a village of just 385 inhabitants that instantly invites you to disconnect. While the facade still resonates with its stately past with the original door of the time, the interior and surroundings reveal one of the hotel enclaves with the greatest projection in the area, the Torre del Marqués hotel. In this area you have the world emblem of Garnacha Tinta, a different grape varieties grown on its fertile lands, which are processed and marketed by a large number of family wineries in the area. Traveling the six round trip km of the Parrizal de Beceite natural route will be the best way to lighten the gastronomic days offered by the region. Recognizable by the wooden walkway that leads to the Matarraña River, the sound of its emerald waters serve as a guide between wooded paths and gouges, a needle-shaped geological formation resulting from erosion. After an approximate hour’s walk, Els Estrets del Parrissal rises up, a canyon about 200 meters long that takes your breath away due to the verticality of its walls. If you undertake the route on a hot day and its crystal clear waters, not suitable for swimming the desire to take a dip, one can recover in the nearby pools of Las Pesqueras. These natural pools of warm water are accompanied by viewpoints such as the Racó de Sant Antoni, where you can glimpse the beautiful landscape that the Ulldemó River fosters.

A few kms away awaits Valderrobres, a medieval jewel of Bajo Aragón that has earned its place on the list of The Most Beautiful Towns in Spain. When exploring its historic center, the best access is given by the Gothic bridge raised over the Matarraña River; without a doubt, the most characteristic photo of this villa. From there and between the remains of the urban wall, you can access the Plaza Mayor, presided over by the Renaissance-style City/Town Hall. The ascent to its monumental castle will reward you with a walk through narrow streets dotted with climbing plants, with houses dyed with an indigo pigment for its disinfectant effect.

On the hunt for the treasures of the Maestrazgo , entering this area bordering Castellón means stopping time suddenly, mimicking its stone villages and exploring its forests without telephone coverage in search of the great treasures of Teruel soil: mushrooms. Cantavieja, the capital of the Maestrazgo, with its intense aroma impregnated on the palate, it is time to explore the historical arteries of this town perched on a rock at 1,300 meters of altitude, with interesting examples of Aragonese architecture such as the exterior of the Casa de los Osset, the remains of the crenellated wall or the castle of Templar origin. About 13 kms by road, Mirambel competes in historical beauty, the town that served as the setting for the film Tierra y Libertad (land and liberty 1995), by Ken Loach. In memory of the filming of this film set in the Spanish Civil War, in which many neighbors acted as extra actors, a wide promenade bears the name of the British filmmaker. Barely altered since the Middle Ages, its town center is a delight for lovers of the past with a large succession of churches, convents such as that of the Augustinian Nuns ,with its fantastic portal with mud and plaster lattices, Renaissance palaces and popular houses not to be missed.

On the other side of Cantavieja, the small town of La Iglesuela del Cid has taken an unexpected turn in its morphology. It has an increase in travelers attracted by its hiking trails ,such as the Senda de la Piedra Seca or dry stone path that leads to the sanctuary of the Virgen del Cid, good food and good sleep, especially since the inauguration last June of the Palacio Matutano hotel- Daudén. This 18C building declared National Heritage symbolizes the union of the two richest families in Iglesuela, who amassed a great fortune from the wool trade with notorious clients such as the former King of Naples. This cozy palace has now been converted into accommodation with the luxury preserves part of its original structure and furniture , such as the rococo staircase where the town’s children used to played, while on the floor it replicates the original cobblestone floor through which the horses used to passed or the family’s private chapel is now an elegant living room. Through the main door you access Calle Ondevilla street, where the town was founded, bearer of some of the most beautiful stately homes. Our exit leads to the Plaza Iglesuela square, contained by the 17C parish church and the old dungeons , open for daily guided tours along with other buildings of interest such as the Casa Aliaga.

The province of Teruel tourist office:

The city of Teruel tourist office:

The richness and diversity of its landscapes make Burgos a travel attraction that redoubles its charm in autumn. We follow the course of the rivers to explore some of my favorite Burgos enclaves. Lovely indeed!

We come to Frias, next to the Ebro, although this time as it passes through the Merindades, Frías holds several titles to tempt the traveller, such as being one of the members of the Association of the Most Beautiful Towns in Spain. Although technically it is not a town, but the smallest in Spain. Its strategic location makes it unique. Also the taste of its medieval streets, the set of hanging houses that defy gravity and its imposing rock castle, undoubtedly one of the most spectacular in all Castilla. Another of the most beautiful enclaves is found before reaching the town: a bridge with nine arches and 143 meters long over the Ebro of Roman origin although fortified in the 14C with a defensive tower used to collect the pontazgo.

We leave the Ebro and head for the Arlanza River, which runs through the south of the province, opening up a gap in that serene and essential landscape that we know of Castile. In fact, Covarrubias is the homeland of popular Castilian architecture thanks to its half-timbered houses and wide arcades. Doña Sancha’s house is possibly the best example. It has many other jewels. Walking through the historic center you can find up to seven monuments declared of Cultural Interest. An essential visit is the Torreón de Fernán González, the 10C fortification where, according to legend, the Infanta Doña Urraca was imprisoned. Another is the former Collegiate Church of San Cosme and San Damián. The temple hides, among other treasures, the oldest functioning organ in Castilla, tables by Berruguete and Van Eyck, and the valuable triptych of the Adoration of the Magi. Without forgetting the tombs of the counts and princesses of Castile, and that of the infanta Cristina of Norway.

In Lerma, we continue on the banks of the Arlanza. This villa with perfect baroque skyline is the product of one man’s ambition. You guessed it: the Duke of Lerma, the most powerful man in the court of Felipe (Philip) III. De Lerma wanted to do something like the first branch of the kingdom. Hence, he did not hesitate to build up to six convents, in addition to the collegiate church and the ducal palace with the invaluable help of the best Herrerian architects. As an example, the Parador Nacional or old palace, stationed on one of the flanks of the Plaza Mayor.

The province of Burgos tourist office:

The Community of Madrid town of Alcalá de Henares celebrates its Cervantes Week, a festival in honor of the author of Don Quixote with storytellers, sewing workshops, period costume contests, traditional music, recreations of the Campamentos de Tercio…The Cervantino Market: a six-day trip to the Golden Age between parades, knight tournaments and a prize for… Sabina. More than 350 artisan stalls, Cervantine sewing or historical dance workshops, period costume contests, parades inspired by the exemplary novel by the jealous Extremaduran, storytellers, cannon salvos… These are some of the proposals of the traditional Cervantino Market that next week (from October 7 to 12 2022) will transfer the Golden Age to the main streets of Alcalá de Henares. The Cervantes Week gives for more, since the Book Fair will also take place in parallel on Calle Libreros with 19 stands, as well as the VI Cervantino Poetry Encounter, the Cervantes train, the representation of hors d’oeuvres on the Escolapias staircase , the Alcalá Gastronómica and Ancient Music contests in Gilitos and the public reading of Don Quixote in the Corral de Comedias.

The city of Alcalà de Henares on the Cervantes Week:

Let me take you now to the walled cities of my dear Spain, my favorites of course. Travel to the past through the most beautiful, and best preserved, walled towns in my dear Spain.

I passed several times by Albarracin in the province of Teruel (see above for more) . Perched on a rock, almost entirely surrounded by the Guadalaviar river, to the south of the Sierra de Albarracín, its charming old quarter, whose origin dates back to the 11C, has the title of National Monument. The town, with an irregular layout adapted to the difficult topography of the land, is protected by well-preserved 14C walls, inside which are also the Alcázar (11C) and the Cathedral of El Salvador (16C).

Moving on to visit coming down as well from home. Alquézar in the province of Huesca. “The most beautiful town in Huesca”, as this town is known, which was born in the shadow of a castle of Islamic origin converted into the Collegiate Church of Santa María after the Reconquest. Declared the town a Historic-Artistic Site, the wall comes out of the fortification with some sections from the 11C are still standing , that surrounds the historic center of the town with luxury viewpoints, such as the Sonrisa del viento or smile of the wind. As important enclaves: the Albarrana tower, the ruins of a quadrangular tower and some fragment of the Romanesque church, integrated into the impressive 14C cloister.

We go to my childhood hangout with Mom. Buitrago del Lozoya in the province of Madrid. Located on a promontory on the banks of the Lozoya river, at the foot of Somosierra and 75 km from Madrid, the beautiful town is also known as “The Wall of Madrid”, due to the good degree of conservation of the wall, of Muslim origin (11C), which protects its historic center with a perimeter of more than 800 meters. Some sections of the wall, which contains numerous defensive elements, such as towers, a barbican, a moat, a corach, an albarrana tower and a fortress, reach 16 meters in height and 3.5 meters in thickness. Intramuros, you must not miss the castle, linked to the Mendoza family (14C), the Church of Santa María del Castillo (or castle 14C), the Clock Tower and the Picasso Museum, (another one !) in the square of the same name next to to City/Town Hall.

And I let you breathe by reaching Ciudad Rodrigo in the province of Salamanca. It is on the west side of the province of Salamanca, next to Portugal, and irrigated by the waters of the Agueda river. The city whose walls, witness to numerous sieges due to its strategic location, were built by order of the king Fernando (Ferdinand) II of León in 1160. The 2.5 km of wall perimeter, taking advantage of the remains of a Roman wall, enclose the town, declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1944. Intramuros, you should not miss strolling through the medieval streets full of palaces and stately homes , such as the Marqués de Cerralbo, the Miranda and the beautiful Palacio del Águila, or the Plaza Mayor with the City/Town Hall , a Renaissance building from the 16C. In the highest part, the Castle of Enrique II de Trastámara (b.1372), with its three-story Homage Tower, today houses the Parador de Turismo. Another of the jewels of the town is the Cathedral of Santa María, from 1165.

Let me tell you extensively about a great region of my dear Spain, Galicia. And its most precious sights on the Way of Santiago de Compostela and two of its most emblematic Caminos. I have gone by here on my road warrior trips by car; anyway you come is most reassuring an enjoyable travel.

The Camino del Norte or way of the north route allows the pilgrim to cross the river Eo, the natural border with Asturias to the north, to get rid of everything that his senses have accumulated and fill himself with the purest Galicia. It enters through Ribadeo, on the coast of Lugo, but quickly plunges inland for almost 200 kms to Santiago de Compostela. Galicia is intertwined with corredoiras, deep and narrow paths whose tunnel-like shape derives from the continuous passage of cars, animals and people through them for centuries. Open between groves, fragas and old oak groves, covered with branches, stones and moss and varnished with shade, pilgrims on the Camino del Norte still have to pass through these paths today on their journey to Santiago. One of the most famous is the Corredoira de Cimadevila, deep and green, located in the parish of Castrofeito (province of A Coruña). A few meters from the Camino there is also another one that crosses the carballeira da Casa do Gado, a forest located in Sobrado dos Monxes. There is a voice timbre that all the residents of Mondoñedo recognize, that is the one from Paula, the main of the seven bells of the cathedral of this town of 3,500 inhabitants located in the Mariña Central de Lugo, 150 km from Santiago. Its touch, serious and profound, has been calling Mindonians to prayer for more than a century and a half, announcing the celebrations and informing of the deaths. The pilgrim who finishes the stage in Mondoñedo can get lost in this cobbled city, with white houses and slate roofs and one of the most beautiful towns in Spain, according to the Association of the Most Beautiful Towns in Spain, which evaluates the natural heritage and history of populations of less than 15,000 inhabitants. You will learn about the origin of this Jacobean route, as old as the Primitive and a World Heritage Site, at the Camino del Norte Interpretation Center, located in an old church, The statue of Álvaro Cunqueiro, who attentively observes the bell tower with a relaxed gesture , from his sculpture in the plaza de la catedral square. Next door, at number 13, stands the museum house of this writer, journalist, chronicler and indispensable figure of Galician and Castilian letters.

Its visitors say that the silence in the Monastery of Santa María de Sobrado is impressive, especially in the church ,occupied only by the benches and the altar and empty of images and altarpieces, and in its kitchen, in which only its columns remain. and its gothic ceilings. In the building, founded in 958 and abandoned from the beginning of the 19C to the last quarter of the 20C, you can also visit two of the cloisters and the chapter house. The soil of the parish of Argomoso, 5 kms from the city of Mondoñedo (Lugo), hides a set of intricate galleries of more than 6 kms that make up the Rei Cintolo cave, the largest in all of Galicia. Its name comes from the legend that once explained its origin, and that tells how the sorcerer Manilán, after not being able to marry the daughter of King Cintolo, condemned the kingdom to be devoured by the earth on the day of his death. On the banks of the Madalena River, passing through the town of Vilalba, ( Lugo) , runs a path drawn by nature and described in literature. A 3 km route between old mills and wooden bridges known as Paseo dos Soños or walk of dreams, with which the walker can discover other names of Galician literature. The end of the trail offers a gift: the river beach of the Madalena recreational area, a tiny island full of vegetation to cool off before continuing on the Camino. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela keeps in its main entrance, the Portico de la Gloria, sounds from almost a millennium ago. In the central tympanum, above Christ and the apostles, there is an orchestra made up of the 24 elders of the Apocalypse, representatives of the church, according to the Bible, of which 22 carry medieval musical instruments ,the other two carry flasks called phials. They prepare, according to tradition, to interpret with them the melody of the end of time. Sublime !!!

The Camino de Santiago on the Camino del Norte:

The Camino de Invierno or the way of winter is a telluric route: a route that adheres the pilgrim, like no other, to the earth. It does so through the epic of its vineyards, which cling to the ground hanging from the deep Sil and Miño canyons. They make up the wine territory of the Ribeira Sacra and deliver exclusive wines. A Camino dotted with museums, accommodation of all kinds, with authentic tributes to yeyé psychedelia, and pioneers who bring Galician olive oil, which seemed forgotten, back to life. Some of the largest chestnut trees in Europe grow here and it is the place that inspired Lorca’s poems that, immense in his talent as he was, he wrote in Galician. A journey of 239 kms, opened by the first pilgrims to avoid the icy peaks of the Camino Francés or French way, which crosses the most atavistic Galicia where the land is so alive that it feels. On this Camino, the pilgrim can savor a different wine from the moment the grapes are picked. Because the harvest can only be done manually, with hardly any mechanization, and it is a real effort given the conditions of the land where they are grown: the vertiginous walls of the Sil and Miño river canyons. A peculiarity that has earned it the name of heroic viticulture. The Sil river accompanies the pilgrim during the first 60 kms of the Camino de Invierno in Galicia, marking the route through villages, fields and forests and telling the story of the Ribeira Sacra not only from the water, but from its Roman origins , its illustrious characters and the tragic lyrics that it has inspired . A tragic event connects the Sil with the poetry of Federico García Lorca (see post) from Granada. In 1935, during a trip with his popular theater company La Barraca, one of the stagehands drowned in the river after the performance in Puente de Domingo Flórez, a Leonese border town. Three years later, the writer immortalized the event in Noiturnio do adoescente morto,( nocturne of the dead child) one of the six poems he wrote in Galician!

The pilgrim can turn the Camino de Invierno into a sensitive journey through art, astronomy or engineering if he decides to visit some of the museums that dot it. The Geological Museum, exhibits fossils of prehistoric mammoths and brown bears and a realistic reconstruction of the first Neolithic woman. When the pilgrim enters Quiroga (Lugo), he is entering one of the oldest places in Galicia. A privileged territory of almost 600 kms that makes up the Geoparque de las Montañas do Courel ,which has belonged, since 2019, to the UNESCO World Network of Geoparks due to its unique geology and biodiversity. Amenities, such as the first public hostel on this route, and accommodation with an extra in which to enjoy the best fusion cuisine or a psychedelic experience abound in this Camino de Invierno. An gustative way to Santiago indeed!

The Camino de Santiago Galicia on the Camino de Invierno:

And I finish as usual with some wine recommendation to get wherever you are and they are available these are great price/quality deals me think.

Blas Muñoz Chardonnay Vineyards and Bodegas Muñoz. Under the umbrella of the D.O. La Mancha make a chardonnay fermented and aged in French barrels that is elegant and powerful. A real treasure that comes from a small town in Toledo .Price in Spain 12.50€. webpage:
Malahierba the Malahierba Vinos winery, and the D.O. Sierra of Salamanca. Made with old vines from different towns in the Sierra de Salamanca, the diversity of the soil makes us find a fresh wine, easy to drink, but with an interesting complexity. It is very fruity with light touches of wood due to aging in 3,000-litre vats Price in Spain 12.90€ reference webpage:
Fuerza Bruta, a red wine from the Comunidad de Madrid from the A Pie de Tierra winery -obtained from a vineyard located in Aldea del Fresno and cultivated organically with vines between 50 and 90 years old. It is a light, fresh and mineral Garnacha, which comes from granite floors and rests 12 months in chestnut wood Price in Spain €13.50. webpage:

Albamar Albariño ,a white made in Rías Baixas by the Albamar winery with grapes from vineyards settled on sandy soils very close to the Ría de Arosa. It is an Albariño with a lot of identity, citrus and floral notes, whose acidity and salinity are reminiscent of the Galician coast. Price in Spain 14.80€. Best reference their Facebook page:

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! As said Fall season is here with all those shades and cool evenings to be cozy and homey again. Time to enjoy my dear Spain once again, and we are gear up for it! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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