Some news from Spain, CXL

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 Winter is here already! 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 CXL is old Roman for 140, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

Ian Gibson wins the 2023 Comillas Award, with the work ‘Carmen in Granada. Memoirs of an Irishman’, in which the historian tells how the city has conquered him, has been chosen by the jury, Born into a Methodist family in very Catholic Dublin in the forties, he tells of the tensions and frustrations of a home marked by puritanism, as well as his sentimental education in various boarding schools, where he dealt with colorful characters who over time became relevant in the Anglo-Saxon world. In addition, he has also highlighted the role of restoring Spanish history. He had an unwavering commitment to the recovery of decisive figures in Spanish culture of the 20C. One of these characters is Federico García Lorca, (see post) whose tragedy fascinated the Hispanist. In these memoirs, which will be published next March by Tusquets publishing house, Gibson narrates the life of a wealthy Irish family, with its advantages and its demons, especially in the emotional field of jealousy, countless disagreements between a bitter mother and a self-conscious father, distrust and a frustrating repression due to the Methodist religion, Gibson traveled to Spain in 1965 with the mission of finishing his doctoral thesis on the roots of the work of Federico García Lorca, of whom he has written an endless number of works. . The text became a book in 1971, although the Franco regime banned it in Spain. For this work he received the International Press Prize in Nice. Dedicated to remembering and recounting the lives of others from that moment on, he obtained Spanish nationality in 1984. Over the years, the historian has published numerous books, including The Night They Killed Calvo Sotelo (1982), Paracuellos, how it was (1983), I, Rubén Darío (2002) and the novel La berlina de Prim (2012). I read them all !! webpage :

Twenty years after the Picasso Museum, the art gallery that sparked cultural tourism in Malaga, the doors of the Picasso Museum in Malaga opened for the first time to change the city from top to bottom. It is now all over on his 50th anniversary, See it at its best in Malaga : webpage :

The Fallas bullfighting fair returns to normality in Valencia, From Saturday 11 to Sunday 19 March, 2023 , there will be six bullfights, two bullfights with picadors, a bullfighting celebration and a bullfight without horses with students from different bullfighting schools. Webpage :

The Cirque du Soleil breaks the ice with ‘Crystal’, The Canadian company is set up in Barcelona until January 22 2023 with its first show on the frozen rink of the Palau Sant Jordi , At its feet, the 25 by 15 meters ice rink begins to fill up of filigrees and arabesques, of tiny grooves generated by the constant friction of the blades, while a small army of Cirque du Soleil workers adjust pulleys and check gears. If there were a thermometer handy, I’m sure it would confirm that the track remains at 11 degrees below zero. A risky stunt that mobilizes a hundred people, including 43 artists, to explore the artistic limits of ice and expand the company’s repertoire of acrobatics and stunts with new milestones such as extreme skating and ice juggling. The production, which premiered in 2017 only in the United States, now says goodbye to Spain after passing through Malaga and Pamplona, webpage :

Announcing Irene Pardo, until now director of the Spanish Network of Public Theatres, Auditoriums, Circuits and Festivals, has been chosen as the new director of the Almagro International Classical Theater Festival. Webpage :

Some numbers as Spain is the 2nd most visited country in the world (UN-WTO),

The Prado museum received 2,427,718 visitors last year, 115.43% more than in 2021, when there were 1,126,897. If we compare it with 2019 (3,203,417) it is below, but it must be taken into account that that year it celebrated its bicentennial, with a record number of audiences. The origin by nationality of the visitors to the Prado changed in 2022: there was a majority of foreigners (50.2 compared to 26% last year). On the other hand, the national visitor decreased. The Reina Sofía museum, during 2022 received 1,171,367 visitors at its headquarters in Sabatini and Nouvel, 86% more than in 2021. Figures still far from the 1,714,049 it had in 2019 and the 1,694,296 in 2018. add the 1,318,823 visitors to the Palacio de Cristal and the 491,086 to the Palacio de Velázquez in 2022, headquarters of the art gallery in the Retiro Park. In total, 3,063,092, far from the figures for 2019 (4.4 million) and 2018 (3.9 million). As for foreigners, those who have come to the museum the most are, in this order, French, Italian and North American. For its part, the Thyssen Museum closed 2022, the year of its 30th anniversary, with 1,072,003 visitors, a figure that represents an increase of 59.7% compared to 2021, with 671,078, and 3.6% compared to 2019, in which 1,034,873 were counted. On the other hand, more than 7.2 million people visited the centers and exhibitions of the Foundation La Caixa during 2022, which represents an increase of 1.18% compared to 2019, before the pandemic. CaixaForum Madrid reached 695,797 visitors, more than double that of 2021 , the Guggenheim Bilbao had a total number of visitors in 2022 was 1,289,147, making it the third best year in its history, behind 2017 (20th anniversary celebration) and 1998 (first year of activity). It represents an increase of 43% compared to the previous year (still affected by the pandemic) and an increase of 10% compared to 2019. The royal palaces, monasteries and green spaces managed by National Heritage received 5,232,728 visitors during 2022, 36% more than in 2021. Some Royal Sites such as the Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, the Royal Palace of La Almudaina and the Monastery de Yuste exceeded the pre-pandemic figures for 2019. The most popular monument was again the Royal Palace of Madrid (1,092,978 people), followed by the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (374,775 people) and the Royal Palace of Aranjuez (206,149 people). A bit lagging but catching up should be big in 2023 !

The Prado museum is organizing the largest Guido Reni exhibition to date and will exhibit works from the Frick Collection that are returning to Spain for the first time, works that will be shown to the Spanish public for the first time along with other iconic ones such as the recently restored ‘Hippomenes and Atalanta’ or the version of San Sebastián that has influenced subsequent art so much will be exhibited this spring at the Museo del Prado..More info webpage:

The castle of Baños de la Encina, in the province of Jaén, was built in the 10C and the Council of Europe recognizes it as one of the best-preserved Muslim fortresses in Europe by maintaining its original outer enclosure, just 9 km from Bailén and a little less from the southern highway, the Bury Al Hamman Castle, also known by the name of Burgalimar Castle, stands on the rocky Cerro del Cueto hill, which is one of the best-preserved military fortresses on the admire one of the best works of military architecture in Muslim times, dating from the 10C, and be amazed at the perfect condition of its walls that were built using adobe, lime, small stones, water and straw dried in the sun. You can still see on these walls the squared traces that were used to install the scaffolding of the time and build walls still protected by 15 square towers that form almost a perfect oval in this unique watchtower. It was Caliph Al-Hakam II, son of Abderramán III, who ordered the construction of this Muslim fortress, but much earlier, in the Copper Age, the first traces of occupation of this site appear. Inside you can see some walls of Iberian origin and a Roman mausoleum of a sacred nature, but it is the passage of the Almohads that determines the stability of the building by providing it with very high protection, an entrance door with two Caliphate horseshoe arches and a large cistern, rectangular in plan. This cistern or well was used to store water and was divided into two separate rooms and covered by a barrel vault. The Castilians conquered it for the first time in 1147 by Alfonso VII, it was recovered by the Almohads and won again by the troops of Alfonso VIII and Alfonso IX, the latter in 1189. Finally, the fortress was taken three days after the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) and finally conquered in 1225 by Fernando III the Saint who incorporated it into the city of Baeza, on which it depended until 1626, the year in which Felipe IV granted Baños the title of town. Andalucia tourism webpage :

More in Spanish on El Encina town :

Sadly, part of the wall of Toledo collapses at dawn. The causes of the collapse of this area of the wall located a few meters above the Puerta de Bisagra and next to the Puerta del Sol on Calle Real, below the Puerta de Alarcones, are unknown. The wall has collapsed at dawn this past Tuesday January 10th 2023, without causing damage and for reasons that are being analyzed. To be continue ,,,

And there is now 100 years with the eternal light of Joaquín Sorolla,2023 marks the centenary of the painter’s death and several exhibitions will vindicate his legacy. Valencia will be the epicenter (despite the forgetfulness of the IVAM) and the Royal Palace of Madrid is preparing a surprising anthology. The French have Claude Monet, the English have John Singer Sargent and the Spanish have Joaquín Sorolla, the painter of the Mediterranean. None stood out as much in his time as Sorolla, who conquered the United States in his 1909 retrospective More in Madrid tourist office :

Go up to Cercedilla, the ‘capital’ of Madrid’s Sierra de Guadarrama,The beautiful valley of La Fuenfría is the entrance to the heart of the sierra from its southern slope. Something that has been going on for two millennia. This is demonstrated by the layout of the Roman road that runs through it, one of the best preserved in the Iberian Peninsula. Another road was built on part of the Roman road in the 13C. It was the path of the Bourbon kings from Madrid to La Granja de San Ildefonso, where they spent the summer. The routes of both roads, Romanesque and Bourbon, make up an extraordinary route that gives walkers a return that is difficult to forget. The most comfortable can choose to get on the Eléctrico del Guadarrama, the rack railway has been happily recovered today, after three seasons in dry dock. It leads to the port of Navacerrada, a historic mountain place that was the first place to ski in Spain. From there you can go down the best route in the mountains: the Schmid path, which leads to Fuenfría and Cercedilla. In its Plaza Mayor stands the statue of the town’s most distinguished son: Francisco Fernández Ochoa, winner of the first Olympic gold medal in Spanish sports, at the 1972 Sapporo Olympics. It is at the gates of the Ski Museum, which despite its small dimensions offers a complete journey through the history of skiing and mountaineering in the mountains. The Luis Rosales cultural center, dedicated to the poet of the Generation of 1936, winner of the Cervantes Prize and who spent part of his life in Cercedilla, is another landmark in the town. The Fàbrica de la Luz or Light Factory shows the facilities of the old hydroelectric power station from 1925 ; a jewel of industrial architecture, it supplied energy and light to this town for more than half a century. City webpage :

For a few weeks now, the small town of Alquézar, perched at an altitude of about 660 meters on a hill in the Pre-Pyrenees mountains, in the Somontano of Huesca, has added another more international one to its well-deserved title of one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. The World Tourism Organization (UN-WTO) has designated it as one of the best towns for tourism in 2022. The beauty of this quiet medieval town, with about 300 inhabitants, whose origins seem to date back to the 9C with the construction of an Arab fortification (current Collegiate Church) that dominates the landscape, is indisputable and a claim for everyone who comes to the area. From the road that leads to the town, its perfect integration into the limestone environment can be seen, and the canyons, cliffs and caves modeled by the Vero river that surround it are a statement of intent for hikers and lovers of active tourism. At the top of the town is the majestic Castle-Collegiate Church of Santa María la Mayor, built in the Romanesque style in the 12C on top of the old Arab fortress under the auspices of the kings of León. From it comes a double wall with battlements, a watchtower and other towers that protect the historic center of the town The cloister (16C-18C), which houses the Museum of Sacred Art, with pieces from the 12C to the 15C, and the main altarpiece and a magnificent Romanesque Christ from the 13C inside the temple are worth a stop. The porticoed Plaza Mayor (today called Plaza Rafael Ayerbe), Plaza Cruz de Buil, through which the walled enclosure of the castle-collegiate church is accessed, through an emblazoned door built between the 15C and 17C, and the Mirador Sonrisa al viento or smile to the wind lookout, with incredible panoramic views of the town and the deep canyon of the Vero river, are other places of interest in Alquézar. Another beauty up my road warrior roads between France and Spain, More info from Aragon tourism :

From hundred-year-old shops to luxury brands, craft workshops or alternative venues. Madrid attracts all audiences and budgets. There is a reason why it holds first place among the best cities on the planet to go shopping. And much better, on sale.OF course, but I told you so in several posts, now here is more of my dear Madrid,

For a reason this year it has been chosen the best city in the world to go shopping, according to the prestigious British consultancy Wethrift, ahead of others such as Paris, London, Tokyo or New York. With a score of 75.89 out of 100, among the reasons its “safety index” stands out, in addition to the good quality/price ratio, the attractive discounts, the ease of getting around on public transport, the climate to walk along the main roads commercial or the great variety of options. Other aspects such as the presence of international firms, sales campaigns or service are also taken into account by The Globe Shopper City Index, a study carried out by the research unit of the English publication The Economist, which also always ranks the Spanish capital in the top positions of its annual rankings of the best cities to burn the bank card. From hundred-year-old businesses to artisan workshops, luxury product boutiques or alternative venues only suitable for modern people. There is everything until reaching the figure of more than 76,000 retail commercial establishments throughout the community of Madrid.

Now here are some and some are my favorites told you so in my posts on shopping in Madrid ! These are : The Casa de Diego, in the heart of Puerta del Sol. It began its journey as a shop-workshop of fans, umbrellas, parasols, parasols and walking sticks in 1858. And the successors of Don Manuel de Diego, the founder, continue with their “royal fans”. Even Queen Letizia wore one of them at her own wedding. Other hundred-year-old businesses are Guantes Luque (Espoz y Mina, 3), opened in 1886; Guitarras Ramírez (at Calle de la Paz, 8, since 1882) or the bookstores Casa Vales (at Fernando VI, 14, since 1909) and San Ginés (in the alleyway of the same name since 1650!). La Favorita continues, the hat shop that has been dressing the heads of Madrid residents and visitors, as the fourth generation of the Enguitas, the owners, points out, with top hats, caps or bowlers in the Plaza Mayor since 1894. The list of shops continues with Capes Seseña (calle de la Cruz, 23), where characters such as Pablo Picasso, Luis Buñuel, Rodolfo Valentino, Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper, Bruce Springsteen or Hillary Clinton have passed since 1901 in search of the perfect cape. Sublime !!!

Camilo de Blas, the favorite confectionery of chef José Andrés (fame chef) who invented the ‘carbayones’, Founded in 1914 and run by the fourth and fifth generations of the same family, it is a benchmark for traditional Asturian confectionery. But before José Andrés, this pastry shop -next to the old El Vasco train station- was already an obligatory gourmet stop in Oviedo (and also in the rest of Spain, because through its online store they ship to the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands). In it was born, in 1924, one of the emblems of traditional Asturian confectionery: the carbayones.(how the local Oviedo folks are colloquially known) It consists of a three-fold puff pastry filled with a mixture of egg, ground almonds, cognac or sweet wine and sugar, basically, and covered with a syrup made from water, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon ! The shop is located at Calle Jovellanos 7 street (in 2009 they opened another store in Calle Santa Susana, 8) However, the brand was not born on Asturian soil, but from Leon. Their great-great-grandfather founded the confectionery shop on Calle Ancha de León, in 1876. He decided to expand and set up a shop for each of his three children. One stayed with him in León; he opened a pastry shop for another in Oviedo, in 1914 [today the mother house], and the last one, in Gijón, in 1915 , The one in León ended up closing and today is a Pans & Company, just like the one in Gijón, since my great-great-uncle had no children and passed to his wife’s family; It worked for a while, but it also closed. Sublime webpage :

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! We are in Winter and cold weather and snow are showing up, and will be colder from now on ; 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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