Some news from Spain, CXXXVI

This is yours truly with another episode of some news from Spain !!! thanks to you all. There is lots of things going on in my beloved Spain, and Fall is on the half way point ! I am eagerly looking forward to be back to Spain too!! Let me tell you the latest tidbits of news chosen by yours truly, By the way CXXXVI is old Roman for 136, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

Archaeologists have found in the town located next to the Irulegi castle, in the Navarrese valley of Araguren, a bronze hand with a four-line text, from which one word has been identified, an exceptional find, since it was the oldest text in the Basque language. This four-line text, in which only one word could be translated, sorioneku, which would come to mean good luck, the experts explained during their presentation. The hand, dated to the first quarter of the 1st century BC, has a small hole to be hung on the entrance door of a house, as a protective ritual object of the home. The piece has been found within the framework of the excavations that are being carried out in the town of Irulegi (Valle de Aranguren), inhabited between the mid-Bronze Age (15th to 11th centuries BC) and the end of the Iron Age (1st century BC) and destroyed by an attack by Roman troops. The piece is a sheet of bronze, whose patina contains 53.19% tin, 40.87% copper and 2.16% lead, something that is common in ancient alloys. The object is cropped to represent the shape of a somewhat schematic, but life-size right hand ! Location webpage : https://www.aranguren.es/ruinas-de-un-castillo-medieval-laquidain/

The first churches arose with the Visigoths during the High Middle Ages (5C to 8C). They were small rural temples, destroyed or abandoned after the Arab arrival in 711. The Christians who remained in Muslim territory (Mozarabs) fled when king Alfonso III repopulated the north of the Duero in the 9C and the monks occupied the abandoned churches. remaining Visigothic churches were reformed. These are some of the oldest standing ones in Spain and my favorites ! San Juan de Baños, in Baños de Cerrato (7 km from Palencia) San Juan de Baños stands in what used to be Campos Góticos, today Tierra de Campos. It is considered the oldest standing church in Spain and in its vicinity there was a temple to Esculapio, Santa Comba, in Bande (province of Orense), Visigothic, from the second half of the 7C, and pre-Romanesque, from the 9C. With horseshoe arch and Roman capitals. Restored in 872, by order of king Alfonso III. Santa María, in Quintanilla de las Viñas (province of Burgos) Visigoth hermitage, from the end of the 7C isolated in the countryside in which Roman ashlars were used, Santa María, in Melque (province of Toledo) Visigoth ,and Mozarabic. Built between the 8C and 9C on a Roman temple. Isolated in the countryside with an apse in the shape of a horseshoe arch. It was, among other things, a haystack until the beginning of the 20C.

Located in thetown of Esgos, in the heart of the Ribeira Sacra, is what is the oldest monastic complex in Galicia, San Pedro de Rocas temple carved into the rock, already closed to worship, is one of the main tourist attractions in the area. . According to the founding tombstone found in this place, this monastery was inherited in the 6C or about 573 by seven hermit monks who chose this setting to retire to an austere and prayerful life. The plaque is kept in the Orense Provincial Archaeological Museum. The monastery was abandoned at the beginning of the 8C due to continuous Arab incursions until in the time of king Alfonso III, at the end of the 9C or beginning of the 10C, the knight Gemodus found, during a hunting day, these chapels carved into the rock and he decided to stay to lead a life of prayer and penance. San Pedro de Rocas was highly favored by the monarch Alfonso III himself, who endowed this monastery with large donations that would be confirmed by Alfonso V and other monarchs such as Alfonso VII, Fernando IV and Enrique III. Since the 10C it was a monastery dependent on Celanova, although part of the 12C it was linked to that of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil. At the end of the 15C, the Benedictine reform led to the grouping of monasteries through which this temple would be incorporated as an administrative priory to San Salvador de Celanova. After the confiscation of Mendizábal in 1836 (state vs church), it became a parish that was finally closed at the beginning of the 20C due to numerous landslides and a fire Webpage :https://turismo.ribeirasacra.org/en/san-pedro-de-rocas

Let me showcase Córdoba, the Spanish city with the most World Heritage Sites,yet less known than the other big cities in Andalucia, Here you have the Fiesta de los Patios, the historic center, the Mosque-Cathedral and Medina Azahara make up the list of recognitions by Unesco,

The Mezquita or Mosque of Córdoba, declared a World Heritage Site in 1984, is the most important monument in the entire Islamic West. With more than 23,000 square meters inside, in this building you can see the complete evolution of the Umayyad style in Spain, as well as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of Christian construction. In the first place, under Visigothic rule, the Basilica of San Vicente was built, on which the primitive mosque was later built. It was in the year 785 when the construction of the primitive Muslim oratory began by Abderramán I, which consisted of eleven longitudinal naves in a north-south direction. Between the years 833 and 848 the first extension was carried out in which Abderramán II added eight new naves to the south and expanded the ablutions patio. From the year 962 to 966, Alhakén II not only enlarged the prayer room, but also built the new maqsura and quibla, all under an aesthetic of great richness. The great Mosque consists of two different areas, the patio or sahn, the only intervention of Abd al-Rahman III, and the prayer room or haram. Cordoba tourism webpage : https://www.turismodecordoba.org/the-mosque-cathedral-of-cordoba-spain

You have on the bank of the river Guadalquivir opposite the Mosque to include the Roman Bridge and the Torre Fortaleza de la Calahorra tower, by Calle San Fernando street, to the north to the limit of the commercial area and to the west to the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the neighborhood of San Basilio. Thus, within these limits there are many monuments to visit. Therefore, the Torre de la Calahorra should not be missed, an enclave of control and defense since antiquity that currently houses the Living Museum of Al-Andalus, the Roman bridge, the columns of the temple of Claudio Marcelo (1st century) and the synagogue, unique in Andalusia and one of the best preserved from medieval times in all of Europe. In addition to all this, there is the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, a fortress and palace that encloses a large part of the architectural evolution of Córdoba with Roman, Visigothic and Arab remains. Of all the rooms, the Mosaic Hall stands out, in which Roman pieces of this type are exhibited from the subsoil of the slide. You also have to visit the Jewish quarter and stop at the Plaza de la Corredera and Calleja de las Flores a street, Cordoba tourism on its heritage : https://www.turismodecordoba.org/places-to-visit

Located 8 km from Córdoba, at the foot of the Sierra Morena, is Medina Azahara, the mysterious city that Abd-al Rahman III ordered to be built in the year 936 as a symbol of power of the Umayyad dynasty and for which he spared no expense. The royal Alcázar is located in the intermediate and upper areas, while the lower area was reserved for houses and the mosque, built outside the walls in just over a month. Among the different rooms, the Alto Room stands out, arranged in five naves with arcades, and the Rico Room, which is divided into three naves with red and bluish marble arches, the side ones being blind and the central one open. In addition, the High Garden, which is developed in four zones, the intersection point being occupied by a pavilion and four pools, and the great portico, which is reached by a complex of streets on a steep ramp and through which the great embassies that the caliph received were acceded, Museums of Andalucia webpage :https://www.museosdeandalucia.es/web/conjuntoarqueologicomadinatalzahra/propuestas-de-recorrido

The workers who work on the construction of the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona have begun to place the pieces that will culminate the towers of the evangelists Lucas and Marcos, which will each be 135 meters high. On December 16th,2022 the figures of the ox and the lion that will crown these two illuminated towers for the first time will already be visible. Specifically, the tower of Lucas ends with a sculpture of an ox, and the tower of Marcos with that of a lion, This coinciding with the departure of the traditional Christmas Concert from the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia , As part of the set of central towers, the four towers of the evangelists will surround the tower of Jesus Christ and will reach 135 meters in height once finished, thus They are the third highest towers in the temple, after that of Jesus, which will be the highest and will measure 172.5 meters. Official webpage : https://sagradafamilia.org/en/news

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid is hosting Naturaleza encendida or Nature Ignited, a new light adventure that, in this case, will review the origin of living beings through mycology in a walk of approximately 1.5 km. The exhibition, which recreates a magical and dazzling landscape in which the visitor will be able to discover living organisms that until now have remained very hidden, reproduces the bioluminescence processes of some fungi and mushrooms, which are capable of lighting up, giving rise to scenes of great beauty. Until January 15 2023. The Royal Botanical Garden entrance at Plaza de Murillo, 2, webpage :https://planletsgo.com/naturaleza-encendida/

From November 18 to January 7,2023 an interactive space will be installed in the tent located in the Magical Christmas venue at the Torrejón de Ardoz Fairgrounds with a tour of a frozen world where several giant ice sculptures made by 11 teams from all over the world will be exhibited, who have previously participated in the first international level competition of this type held in Spain. International Ice Festival will be exhibited under a 2,000-square-meter tent at 6 degrees below zero. from November 18 to January 7.2023 Fairground of Torrejón de Ardoz. Webpage : https://magicasnavidades.ayto-torrejon.es/plano-oficial-magicas-navidades

Tenerife in the open sky: en route through the most amazing landscapes of the Teide island ! My ancestral home Tenerife anichech, call me Guanche ! The sensation is magical, like every stride you take in the Anaga Rural Park, where one fears getting lost in the thickness of the forest and becoming one of its unusual plant relics. roads that go into the mist. One of them follows a stretch of the old route that linked the city of La Laguna with the Anaga farmhouses. It is the Sendero de los Sentidos.( road of the senses), At the Pico del Inglés,(English peak) , the buses stop to see the entire massif up to the sea. In the background, the Taganana rock completes the postcard. This is Tenerife, which stretches from sea level to 3,715 meters at the top of Teide.(highest in Spain),You have to be on your guard. If the bus takes us to Tegueste, we immediately enter a land of vines and guachinches. These are the improvised establishments that, between November and January and while the wine they produce lasts, they serve their own and others a glass accompanied by a tapa. If Anaga is another world, Teide is another planet. The bus enters the valley of La Orotava. The plan is to enjoy the sunset at about 2,000 meters. For that you have to be in the right place at the perfect time. By 20h02 the sun sets ! Reaching the top requires seven hours on foot or a few minutes in the cable car that leaves the visitor 200 meters from the summit. An unforgettable experience is watching the sunrise from up there , Whether you go up by bus, 4×4, bike or whatever, the postcard changes exactly at 1,000 meters above sea level. Civilization disappears and we enter the zone of the protected space. From 1,000 to 2,000, the island appears upholstered by the Canarian pine. It is here that the sea of ​​clouds stagnates. From 2,000, welcome to Mars !! The festival of lava, volcanic ash, coladas and rocks begins. The textures and colors multiply. The first thing that falls silent is the gigantic caldera (crater 16 km in diameter) through which we are advancing and on which Mount Teide rests. The landscapes follow one another, each one more enigmatic: the San José Mines, where NASA tested one of its rovers. Los Roques García, where everyone wants the most emblematic photo of the park: the famous Roque Cinchado that appeared on the old 1,000 pesetas bills (old money of Spain) . The plain of Ucanca and the Narices del Teide (noses of the Teide) would be missing, as the two craters are called that are just below the Pico Viejo, (old peak) the second highest volcano in the Canary Islands. look for the Roque Caramujo viewpoint on the map. Once there, we will see Teide in front of us, and behind, the Izaña telescopes, the best solar observatory on the planet. The trip can continue to the Los Gigantes cliffs, a black wall that falls into the ocean from a height of up to 600 meters. Sublime amazing my dear Tenerife, By car or bus is great, we climb on foot when was 17 yrs old ,nowdays the cable car is a great alternative, The Tenerife tourist office on the Teide : https://www.webtenerife.com/que-visitar/parque-nacional-del-teide/

One of the most beautiful towns in the interior of Guipúzcoa is Tolosa,me think, Almost to the border with Navarra, on the banks of the Oria river, is located what was the capital of Guipúzcoa (from 1844 to 1854), hence its enormous historical heritage. It stands out mainly for its medieval core, made up of narrow streets and numerous squares. One of its greatest monuments is the Church of Santa María from the 17C, a temple of the so-called Basque Gothic, with three high-rise naves, ribbed vaults and a baroque façade of great beauty. The Church and Convent of Santa Clara, the Baroque City/town hall, the Idiakez, Atodo, Aramburu and Diputación palaces, the Provincial Archive, the Plaza Euskal Herria square and the colorful Tinglado Market are some of its most important enclaves.Euskadi Basque tourism on Tolosa : https://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/towns/tolosa/aa30-12375/en/

One of the Autonomous Communities that has raised its culinary level the most in recent times is Castilla-La Mancha. The pioneer, fighting against all the elements, in not easy times, was Manolo de la Osa, precursor of what is now called ‘rural cuisine’ ‘. In that Las Rejas, in Las Pedroñeras, when the current Spanish cuisine was still taking its first steps, he surprised with dishes inspired by the recipes of his land, to which he contributed his peculiar touch of modernity and creativity. I can attest to the improvement in the cuisine and wines of this region over the many years of visiting while living in Spain as well, Some of my favorites are :

In Albacete :Maralba, in the town of Almansa. There, Fran Martínez is inspired by the traditional Manchego recipe book which he submits to an intelligent review, Also very important is the work of his wife, Cristina Díaz, in charge of the room and the winery, In the town of Casas Ibáñez, is Cañitas Maite, where two young chefs just 24 years old, Javier Sanz and Juan Sahuquillo, have revolutionized the Castilian-La Mancha cuisine. In the town of Villarrobledo, Teresa Gutiérrez is one of the very few women who excel in Castilian-La Mancha cuisine, Continue in Torre de Juan Abad, in the City of Ciudad Real, in a rural hotel frequented by hunters, is another of the community’s stars: Coto de Quevedo.,the stars of José Antonio Medina’s dishes. In Guadalajara, the best offer is concentrated in Sigüenza, with two Michelin stars: El Doncel, with Enrique Pérez, and El Molino de Alcuneza, with Samuel Moreno. Once in Toledo we pass through the town of Illescas, where the El Bohío de Pepe Rodríguez Rey is located. In the same town it has begun to sound with ancestral force. Víctor Infantes, who was head chef at Clos in Madrid when it obtained the Michelin star, revisits, like so many other of his regional colleagues, Mancha’s roots from a current perspective, without renouncing ‘ancestral’ techniques prepared in clay pots. In Talavera de la Reina, two opposite proposals: the good traditional cuisine of the Taberna Mingote, Antonio Mingote, which gives it its name, and the most current and provocative vision of Carlos Maldonado, winner of Master Chef, who holds a star. Our favorite in the Toledo province is in Ocaña: Palio, by the Gómez-Monedero brothers. Jesús trained as a cook mainly in El Bohío, and this is reflected in his cuisine, open to all influences but focused on the Castilian-La Mancha tradition, and especially on hunting, The town in the province of Cuenca you have two we love at Mesón Nelia, Carretera Cuenca- Tragacete, km. 21. in Villalba de la Sierra, and Seto, Carretera de Madrid, 54 in Motilla del Palancar. Here they are most in Michelin guide : https://guide.michelin.com/us/en/castilla-la-mancha/restaurants

One more year, Entre Panes arrives in Madrid to offer a different gastronomic experience thanks to Mahou.(the beer of Madrid ! ) Until November 31,2022, 50 restaurants from the Community of Madrid will participate in this event. Goiko on the Glorieta de Bilbao venue will offer La Pitufina, New York Burger with La Nolita or Bentley’s with the five-star Bentleys hamburger, Mahou entre panes webpage : https://www.mahoudrid.com/planes-y-guias/entre-panes/

Until March 12 2023 ,and thanks to Las Mejores Barras de España,(the best bars of Spain) leading restaurants in Spain will create some gastronomic experiences that have Mahou as the common thread. Las Mejores Barras de España is an initiative to enjoy in the Club Matador, the experience going to the other side of the bar and learning to shoot the perfect rod. Among the restaurants that will participate in this unique initiative are the Ganbara restaurant (November 28-December 2) in San Sebastián, the Taberna Mercedes de Soria (January 30-February 3), the Abastos 2.0 restaurant in Santiago de Compostela (February 13-17), Tapas 2.0 Gastrotasca (February 27-March 3) in Salamanca and the Granja Elena restaurant in Barcelona (March 10-12). The Club Matador webpage : https://clubmatador.com/

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! We have reach the mid point of Fall season and the leaves change , the clouds darkern and the weather cooler just enough 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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