Archive for February 26th, 2023

February 26, 2023

The other Mercados or Markets of Madrid !!

I was thinking mercados or markets and looking back at this post ,needs update text, links etc still in my black and white series, no pictures, A great talk topic and we love them, cannot be in any town without checking them out, Madrid is nostalgia, the City that took me in ,nurtured ,care for me ; it has been with me ever since that date in 1971,

The update came about talking with my previous collegues on a boat and talking about this great past time, Therefore, got to work and took this post for a ride, See my post on the main markets with pictures elsewhere in my blog. I needed to say, my dear late wife Martine got me to come to all of them, well most of them, she loves them. Hopefully, this will stay with me for the memories, This post will be on the unusual ones, those been maybe once and quickly but nevertheless nice markets, Hope you enjoy the post as I

Let me tell you about some of the less known markets of Madrid, as visiting goes by yours truly.

The Mercado Municipal de Chamberí is located in the district of Chamberí. The market dates from 1876, but after a deep reform was inaugurated in 1943. It has a rectangular plant in a single dimension, in which fifty food stands are distributed. During the celebrations of the Virgin of Carmen celebrated in the neighborhood, the market carries out days of open doors with tasting of typical products of the region.  Smaller but quaint and part of the history of the neighborhood. Official webpage :

The Mercado de Maravillas.  It is a market located in Calle Bravo Murillo,122. In 1942 the market is inaugurated. It was intended to be in the 1950s one of the largest in the city. It was built on the site that left the school of Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of the Wonders) after the fire that suffered in 1931 in the neighborhood of Cuatro Caminos. The market finished  in the post civil-war period has an area of 8700 square meters and more than 250 stands. It is done in the  Rationalist architectural style. At the beginning of the 21C it is one of Tetuan’s district largest markets. It is a building built on two floors; the ground floor dedicated to the collection and service inside the market, while the second is dedicated to the commercial area. The commercial plant is located at 2 meters of elevation on the main entrance in the Calle Bravo Murillo. The main facade in the Calle Bravo Murillo is of brick seen placed with barebone no cement, with an important canopy in cantilever of reinforced concrete, and the ground floor arcaded with pillars veneered with crystal grey granite. It stands out the large built area of the building of approximately 20,000 m2, of which almost half, 8.800 m2, are dedicated to commercial use and on a single floor.  On the first floor the pillars are steel.  The Sierra tooth-shaped roof, with glazed windows facing north, is highlighted, so that the zenith light gives a unique atmosphere to the interior of the big commercial building. Official webpage :

The Mercado de San Ildefonso . It is a favorite among residents and frequenters of Malasaña and Chueca district, due to its location on Calle de Fuencarral, right between the two neighborhoods. The market is situated just a few meters from the site of the first covered wholesale food market in Madrid, which was demolished in 1970. The stalls mainly offer ready-made dishes, although they also sell raw ingredients which you can take home or ask to be cooked for you there and then. The food can be eaten at the stalls themselves or, if you fancy a stroll in the sun, you can take it with you.  A strategic stop for neighbors, tourists and regulars between Malasaña, Chueca and Tribunal. The Mercado de San Ildefonso distributes its spaces in three differentiated levels where we find different provisions and possibilities. Complementing the gastronomic stands with three bars, one for each floor, the market also has two terraces, both half covered and perfect to enjoy the outdoor facilities. Official webpage :

The Mercado de Las Ventas (we lived not far but it was not built yet!, we came as visitors!) . It was built in 1995 to replace the old Canillas (quill) Market, founded in the 1940s. Located in front of the bullring of Monumental de Las Ventas. The market has a renowned reputation for the excellent value for money offered to the buyer. A special highlight is the wide range of fresh products of high demand, mainly fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. Among the novelties that it presents with respect to other markets is a gastronomic project through which one will be able to taste the most recognized dishes of all the kitchens of the world thanks to several stands specialized in international cuisine, healthy food and a wine bar with numerous wines with denomination of origin.  Currently has 100 commercial stands spread over two floors of more than 2,000 m2, and the market is equipped with underground parking, banks ATMs and total accessibility (impaired mobility folks) to its facilities. All this, completely refurbished and adapted to its two major projects. One of them, a gymnasium  DreamFit of 4,500 m2 facilities, and a supermarket Ahorramas, opened in December 2016. Official webpage :

The decade of the 1870’s when the City Council began to build covered markets, of which at the end of the century there were already four, all with iron structure. These were the markets of the Mostenses (built in 1875), Cebada (1875), Chamberí (1876) and La Paz (1882). Despite the construction of these new markets, there was still not enough to meet the demand for a growing city, so there continued to be open-air markets in public squares. Madrid has a total of 46 municipal markets and others of private ownership.  Of course, I am not in my wildest dream going to tell you all, too many and long….but will tell you briefly the ones my family and I remembered fondly.

There you go folks, wonderful places, should see as much as you can. It will give you not only the thrill of Spanish foods and drinks but the real feel of the local people and their colorful ways of mingling with the crowds even if there is a language barrier.  Hope you enjoy the other mercados or markets of Madrid as I

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

February 26, 2023

Off the beaten paths shopping in Madrid !!

I saw this old post and it was so nostalgic for me that decided to update text and link and bring it back to live, This is the AZCA business center a bit off the center of Madrid and not known much but very nice off the beaten path shopping in Madrid !! Let me tell you a bit about AZCA ,and hope you enjoy the post as I,

In my later life I came here many times because it is where the 1) HI hotel closest to Santiago Bernabeu stadium I stayed, 2) a huge dept store El Corte Inglés is near, 3) The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium of Real Madrid, my team ok,is walking distance, Ok enough about my reasons, let me tell about AZCA.

AZCA ,has a long name ,in Spanish is Asociación Mixta de Compensación de la Manzana A de la Zona Comercial de la Avenida del Generalísimo ,(now Paseo de la Castellana since 1981) It is a financial and business district of Madrid with a rectangular superblock of 19 hectares of area composed of office buildings between the streets of Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde, Orense, General Perón and Paseo de la Castellana. Also, within the scope are the squares of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Carlos Trías Beltrán and Manuel Gómez Moreno.  It has several tall buildings or towers such as Torre Picasso, Building of BBVA ,and the Torre Europa.  In it, there is a huge department store of the chain El Corte Inglés (see post).

Its original conception ,and its name was approved in 1946; was finally won by architects in 1954 that were inspired by the Rockefeller Center New York. Their total and final approval did not occur until 1964. At the end of 1968 the urbanization of the area began, as well as the beginning of the construction of the first building on land belonging to the El Corte Inglés dept store. The last plot of land to be built was also of the El Corte Inglés in 2000. The shape square or manzana of AZCA has a practically rectangular shape, with dimensions of approximately 618 x 305 meters and an area of almost 19 hectares; inside this area under the ground is a ring of circulation that communicates and facilitates the traffic of the streets around it.

Madrid el-corte-ingles by Nuevos Ministerios

Some of the buildings of note are: Torre Picasso, 5th highest building in Madrid and 10th highest building in Spain. Torre Europa is the 7th tallest building in Madrid and houses offices of different companies.  The Castellana 81, under the building runs the tunnel of the railway, therefore, the entire structure supports two large pilasters of concrete on horseback on both sides. Torre Titania , the first six plants house the El Corte Inglés dept store and the rest is the headquarters of Ernst & Young Spain. It occupies the site of the Windsor building, destroyed after a fire in 2005.  The Mahou Tower, 17th highest in Madrid is the headquarters of Mutua Madrileña insurance company.

The area had its ups and downs for several years trying to bring activity business and folks into the area with increase security. The store Zara opened in April 2017 its largest store in Spain occupying 5000 m² in Castellana 79. As it goes for shopping ,and we love it. We have come here ever since it was open in 1988.  The shopping mall Moda (en. fashion) is located in the heart of AZCA, just between the emblematic buildings of Torre Picasso and Torre Europa very close to the Congress Palace and the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. This is very chic shopping with some big names in a grand modern building with many glass windows and a nice inner patio to unwind the walks in the city. The shopping is super; you can come into the mall by several street entrances such as Paseo de la Castellana,95, Calle Orense 22-24 in the Plaza Carlos Trias Bertràn, and Calle del General Péron, 38-40. The Plaza Carlos Trias Bertràn is the easier entrance to the Holiday Inn hotel above. You have classic eateries here, we love the Biaci,Mallorca Cafe , and Casa Carmen. As stores well the Chocolate Factory, Juancho Lujans, and Via Venetto. Nice indeed.


AZCA neighborhood is also home to several bars, pubs, restaurants and the occasional discotheque. Going past the buildings lining the streets that limit this area, and to the inner zone, several of these establishments can be found under the arches or on the ground floors of the buildings. In MODA you will find a shopping center for people who generally dislike shopping centers. It’s a small, glass-roofed, quiet and elegant place, with a delightful food court area, a terrace and a few places ideal for grabbing a breakfast. The little mall often hosts different exhibitions and fairs, which are one more reason to pay a visit.

Parking Hotel Holiday InnBernabéu (now new name Hotel Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana)  at 5 minutes on foot from the Santiago Bernabéu stadium (Real Madrid) and  7 minutes on foot from  AZCA . It has direct access to the hotel (my usual hotel for games when not staying with family) access pedestrian and vehicule by  Avenida del General Perón, 34. The new hotel webpage:

The nearest metro station is Nuevos Ministerios line 8 that also connects to the airport, and Santiago Bernabéu  Line 10 (exit AZCA), and bus numbers 14, 27, 40, 43, 120, 147 and 150 will also take you here too.

The Madrid tourist office on AZCA :

The AZCA association of merchants :

The official MODA shopping center :

The Madrid tourist office on MODA shopping center :

There you go folks, a dandy chic area of my Madrid often overlook by visitors but for me a must to visit while in the City, OF course, I have other reasons see above ,,,The area will be hopping I am sure once the Bernabeu stadium is completely finish and a more vibrant neighborhood is reborn, Hope you enjoy this updated post on AZCA and the side kick MODA of Madrid as I.

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

February 26, 2023

Some news from Spain, CXLIII

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 already way into Winter ! 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 CXLIII is old Roman for 143, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

The Corpus of Toledo already has protagonists. A stellar poster for one of the most important festivities in the bullfighting calendar. Julián López “El Juli”, returns to Toledo and Corpus to celebrate his 25 years as an alternative, an essential event in a square and a date where he has reaped great triumphs and which he could not miss in such a special year; Andrés Roca Rey as the world’s greatest indisputable figure and Tomás Rufo in his land defending his position as a new figure in bullfighting. A running of the bulls will be dealt with by the Toledo brand from Alcurrucén, a cattle ranch synonymous with the guarantee of great victories. the traditional date of Corpus Christi, Thursday, June 8, at 19h30 Webpage :

Let me now take you on a long nostalgic tour of my dear Spain, On one time or another I have been to these places some lointime and some as recent as 2020, Hope you take them as material for your future visits as I.

The beautiful medieval town of Picasso’s barber was at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama ,Buitrago del Lozoya, The Picasso Museum-Eugenio Arias de Buitrago Collection is one of the oldest in Spain dedicated to the painter from Malaga. Arias was the personal barber of Pablo Ruiz Picasso in his exile in the South of France. Joined by a close friendship with the master, Arias decided to open a museum in which he would display all the gifts he received from the artist. Drawings, ceramics, posters, books and objects as singular as the box of hairdressing tools, with the lid pyrographed by the Andalusian with bullfighting motifs and a dedication: “For my friend Arias”. A must to visit if for this alone, When Enrique II granted the Mendoza family lordship of the town and the lands and towns that surrounded it. The robust double walled enclosure, the most important and best preserved in the Community of Madrid, dates from that period. The so-called high wall of Buitrago del Lozoya has been enabled on its south side for visits. The Two Millennia of Artillery exhibition is also on display here, which shows siege engines and medieval weapons in its environment. Inside the enclosure, which is accessed through an arch under the wall and the Clock Tower, the monumental Gothic-Mudejar castle of the Mendoza family and the slender Church of Santa María del Castillo stand out. The intramural fabric and farmhouse have not lost the medieval atmosphere of yesteryear. A fortified wonderful small town of the mountains outside Madrid City, Webpage :

Another beauty of old is San Lorenzo de El Escorial, heading directly to the Court of Felipe II, Sheltered by the last eastern foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, the Madrid town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial did not achieve its independence until the 19C. Its importance shines from four centuries before. It began in 1558, when Felipe II appointed a commission to locate a place to erect a monastery, the monarch’s ‘excursions’ to the nearby area of La Silla de Felipe II, so called because of the seats carved into the rock, which tradition assures were for the king to settle down. From there he could see the progress of the works of what would be the largest building in Christendom, Above the historic houses stands the town of San Lorenzo, one of the liveliest in the Madrid mountains. The streets of Floridablanca and Reina Victoria and the Jacinto de Benavente and Constitución squares make up an obligatory tour in which the most difficult thing is to choose the place to stop for the inexcusable snack, the town treasures places that must be known. The first is the Bosque de la Herrería, at the top of which is the aforementioned Silla de Felipe II and which is reached by a path of just over a km, recommended hiking destinations. Like the climb to Rubens’ Cross, so called because the Flemish painter climbed up to where it rises to contemplate the Monastery and draw a picture of it. Sublime ! Webpage :

One of the jewels of the Comunidad de Madrid, Manzanares el Real between labyrinthine mountains and granite castles, Visit to the best-preserved medieval fortress in the Madrid region, hiking and climbing on the Pedriza cliffs and observation of aquatic birds in the Santillana reservoir, It is advisable to get up early, because the natural park, only 270 vehicles a day can enter and they immediately close the access barrier. A trick to avoid early mornings and queues is to forget about the car and walk from the same town of Manzanares el Real. You can visit the castle or the castles, because there are actually two: the new one, the palatial fortress that has presided over the town since the end of the 15C, and the old one, with whose stones the previous one was made and of which hardly anything remains, except for the vine that can be seen leaving towards Cerceda, just after crossing the medieval bridge over the Manzanares river. Of the first, what is most liked is the Paseador by Juan Guas, a loggia with lowered arches, with double pointed and lobed tracery, which is one of the most peaceful and beautiful galleries of Elizabethan Gothic, a viewpoint where one never tires of gazing the Santillana reservoir , From the second castle, the poetic memory of the Marquis of Santillana, who lived here and was inspired to write one of his famous serranillas: “For all these pine forests / nin in the Val de la Gamella, / I did not see a more beautiful mountain / that Menga de Mançanares”. Going down from the new castle to the old one, you pass through the Plaza del Pueblo where a craft market is held on the first weekend of the month. A few steps from the square are the tourist office and the Church of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, also the work of Juan Guas, in whose garden, a former cemetery, there are several discoid stelae, a sign that some of the first Christian settlers of Manzanares They came from the north of the peninsula, the Basque Country or Navarra, where they are abundant. A digestive walk along Calle de la Paz (the one with the cemetery) and along its extension, a road closed to traffic that borders the tail and the southern shore of the Santillana reservoir until reaching the closed gate of a private estate. In addition, on the opposite shore, a photo that is difficult to forget can be seen: the new castle standing out like one more rock on the bottom of La Pedriza, “castle dump by the hand of God” (as Unamuno called it) than the sun increasingly bass makes gold and the waters of the reservoir double as a mirror. Webpage :

A very culinary delight in my dear Madrid to get lost on its streets for the senses, The very particular gastronomic route begins next to the Plaza de la Villa , A few minutes later we are ringing the bell of the Convento de las Carboneras , Not far away, in the Pasajito de los Panecillos, bread was given to the poor in the 18C on condition that they went to Mass,. The Cuchilleros came almost all from Galicia, like the tradition of squid, although the term sandwich is already known to be Forgian vocabulary. In Botoneras is the bar of the generation of 27, The route passes by other hundred-year-old taverns such as Casa Paco and by inns where travelers arrived in horse-drawn carriages before the introduction of the railway , An important stop on this award-winning tour is the Museo de San Isidro tripe comes from the Romans and the Muslim invasion greatly enriched Iberian cuisine. The Patron Saint of Madrid (San Isidro) would know it very well because he grew up in Mozarabic Madrid. In front of the cenotaph of Beatriz Galindo, the finishing touch to a gastronomic tour , the mercado de la Cebada. Wonderful streets full of flavor,architecture and history, Sublime Madrid ! Webpage :

Let me tell you a bit about some incredible and tiny walled towns to travel back in time, Follow me if you like by car of course,

First, Ujué (Navarra) 53 km from Pamplona, located on top of the mountain range of the same name, dominating the land, this spectacular town of about 400 inhabitants preserves all the charm of its medieval legacy. The walls surround the old town, with steep cobbled streets and clustered houses that are arranged around and at the foot of the most emblematic enclave of the town, the Church-fortress of Santa María (11-14C), Webpage :

We go by near the Pyrénées to Roda de Isábena (Huesca), This medieval Aragonese jewel, with only 40 inhabitants, is located on a hillock in the Ribagorza region. Its wall still preserves arcades and ramps that give access to the old enclosure, drawn by alleys, squares and passageways. Among its most emblematic enclaves is the Cathedral of San Vicente, considered the oldest in Aragon (construction began in 956) and the smallest in Spain. Webpage :

Move down to Urueña (Valladolid), The spectacular walled enclosure (13C) of this town inhabited by almost 200 people has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site and is one of the best preserved in the province. The wall, most of which is still standing with two of its gates, is linked, at the southeast end, to the castle, built in the 11C on an old Roman stronghold. Its narrow medieval streets and its squares become spontaneous viewpoints from which to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Tierra de Campos. Webpage :

And going down to wonderful Maderuelo (Segovia) ,On a large hill, surrounded by the Linares reservoir next to the Hoces del río Riaza Natural Park, the 170 inhabitants of this walled medieval town, whose vestiges date back to the 10C, boast of having a declared urban area , Well of Cultural Interest, in which the Romanesque Church of Santa María del Castillo (former mosque) and the Hermitage of San Miguel stand out, noble stone houses and a tower that was the old castle. The Arco de la Villa is the emblematic entrance of its wall, which still preserves the locks, the postern and some thick wooden doors. Webpage :

And to finish this memorable post let me tell you a bit about my favorite centennial restaurants in my dear Madrid, Needless, to tell you over the years been to all of them, alone, married, with kids and with parents and friends,

The Botin Calle Cuchilleros, 17. The business founded in 1725 has an almost official certification as ‘the oldest restaurant in the world’, at least, according to the Guinness Book of Records. It is a destination to eat Castilian cuisine,

The Lhardy, Carrera de San Jerónimo, 8. When it opened in 1839, as a project by Emilio Lhardy, it was surely one of the most modern restaurants of the moment, because, in reality, it implied installing in the capital the trends of luxury catering imported mainly from France. This restaurant, with halls that resemble a palace, is one of the undisputed icons of Madrid, fortunate that it continues to operate almost two centuries after it opened.

The Posada de la Villa Cava Baja, 9. The historical archives seem to point to the fact that the only flour mill in Madrid operated right here in the 17C, which in 1642 became the first Posada de la Corte.

The Casa Lucio, Cava Baja, 35. It is not exactly a business that reaches one hundred years of life, but it cannot be missing from this list, this business was Mesón El Segoviano (which was one hundred years old) Since 1974 Casa Lucio is a kind of icon of Madrid , beyond the gastronomic sense,

The Casa Ciriaco Calle Mayor, 84. It was born as a wine warehouse in 1887 to later become a tavern as Casa Baliñas until the Segovian brothers Pablo and Ciriaco Muñoz Sanz went from employees to owners in 1929, in a business that was renamed Casa Ciriaco you can have a snack at the bar and the tables around it,

The La Bola Calle de la Bola, 5.Opened in 1870 and endorsed by four generations, the name of the street baptizes this restaurant with an offer specialized in Castilian cuisine, within which the star recipe is, indisputably, its Cocido Madrileño or Madrid stew

The Casa Alberto Calle Huertas, 18, Opened in 1827, it was born as a tavern for some Segovian innkeepers. It is said that, in its beginnings, wines were served with hard-boiled eggs as a cover.

The La Ardosa Calle Colón, 13. An essential tavern that serves as a recommendation for locals and tourists, because it is a guarantee to meet several objectives: discover a historical place, try a 100% Spanish offer, Opened in 1892 and located in the Malasaña neighborhood, Bodega de La Ardosa allows many options under a wide schedule with which you can have breakfast, have an aperitif, a snack between meals, lunch or dinner, around a bar surrounded by high tables and barrels, as well as an area that is accessed going under the bar

The Jai Alai, Calle Balbina Valverde, 2, As Jai Alai, which adds three generations of the Bustingorri family in the 100 years just completed by this Basque house. Its first headquarters was in a pediment in Calle Alfonso XI. It moved in the mid-60s to Calle Balbina Valverde, the current space, where dishes that have been on the menu for decades are still served.

The La Ancha Calle Zorrilla, 7, Four generations account for the surname and what is now called the La Ancha Family, a hotel group with other businesses in Madrid such as Las Tortillas de Gabino, Fismuler, La Taberna de La Ancha (Mercado de San Antón), the delivery Armando, The Omar bistro-bakery at Hotel Thompson Madrid (where it also has the Hijos de Tomás cocktail bar) and, starting in April, the management of Club Financiero Génova, in alliance with Azotea Grupo. We have to go back to 1919, the year in which La Estrecha started as the first business in this saga, under a tavern format, on Madrid‘s Calle Los Madrazo. In 1928, Santiago Redruello, Benigno’s nephew, took over that place, renamed La Ancha and which moved to Calle Velázquez in 1957, to move again in 1969 to Calle Príncipe de Vergara, where today one of La Ancha’s headquarters operates. The second, opened in 1988, is on Calle Zorrilla with a nice terrace in a courtyard. Castilian cuisine, they usually define; and it is, but also with Basque and even Asturian influence

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! We are fully in Winter and cold weather is still around; just enough to be cozy and homey again. Time to enjoy my some news from 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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