Some news from Spain, CXLIV

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 on the end tail of a mild 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 CXLIV is old Roman for 144, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

“I couldn’t afford to have so much money hanging from a nail,” admitted the Madrid painter and politician Aureliano de Beruete in 1908. So he sold for $120,000 to American billionaire Henry Clay Frick El Greco’s Expulsion of the Merchants from the Temple (1600). But he was not the only one who exchanged art for money ,the first patrimony law would not arrive until 1916, because many other private collectors did the same with eight more paintings by Goya, Murillo and Velázquez, which allowed the coal steel and railways magnate to have nine masterpieces of Spanish painting to complete the so-called Frick Collection, museum pride of the city of New York , Now, the nine paintings return to Spain for the first time in more than a century and are exhibited until July 2, at the Museo del Prado. The Spanish national museum recalls that these are “exceptional works” that “make the Madrid exhibition a unique and unrepeatable occasion”, since the paintings are exhibited, in some cases, together with others from the Prado with which they are closely related. The Prado exhibition is made up of the portrait of Vincenzo Anastagi (1575), The Expulsion of the Merchants from the Temple (1600), Saint Jerome (1590) all three by El Greco, Philip IV in Fraga (1644), by Velázquez, Self-portrait (1650), by Murillo, portrait of Pedro de Alcántara y Téllez-Girón, ninth Duke of Osuna (1790), Portrait of an officer (1804), La forge (1815) and Portrait of a woman (1824), the last four from Goya. Webpage :

The Prado Museum extends its hours on the first Saturday of each month with ‘El Prado at night’, which will open the art gallery from 20h30 to 23h30, through the Jerónimos entrance with the aim of encouraging visits and approach the citizenry. You can visit the Central Gallery and the last access will be at 23h, Admission will be free until full capacity is reached The museum will keep the cafeteria service open during the initiative.

Next to the bay, by the car park, at the back of a building with balconies overlooking the port, a rusty steel door, without any sign or advertisement, welcomes a journey through the five continents thanks to a collection of tribal art that includes some 400 pieces of a set of 800. The Indo-Forcada Other Cultures Collection, located in an old fisherman’s house in Pasaia (Gipuzkoa) More info here :

It is believed that there are about 20,000 castles in Spain, although the Spanish Association of Friends of Castles has counted more than 10,000. Jaén is the province that hosts the largest number (237), but it is in Córdoba where the fortress with the highest tower is located. It is located in the Los Pedroches region, in Belalcázar, in a strategic position on a high-altitude hill that completely controls the town and its surroundings and is located in the middle of a communication hub between Toledo, Seville and Córdoba. Also known as the Sotomayor y Zúñiga or Gafiq or Gahete castle, this military-Gothic style fortress features excellent granite stonework and its unique quadrangular keep, which at 45 meters is the tallest in Spain. This monument dates from the 15C and was built on the remains of a Roman fortress, continued in Arab times, of which an important testimony still remains in the outer fence, which was maintained as the first line of the wall with watchtowers over the Caganchas stream. In the 16C, the Renaissance palace of the Zúñiga-Sotomayor family was added on its eastern side. The 2.5-hectare complex is surrounded by a wall. the corners and the other four, hollow, located on the flanks. Between the first and second tower is the only access, the Puerta de Hierro or Iron Gate, which has a semicircular arch and on it is a blue jasper tombstone. The keep, with six floors and walls 4.4 meters thick, is square up to two thirds of its height and from there to the top with rounded edges. In the upper part there are eight ornate sentry boxes with the coat of arms of the Sotomayor family name. The fourth and fifth floors still retain their vaulted ceiling and remains of coats of arms. Webpage :

The province of Ávila, beyond its imposing capital, keeps numerous secrets perhaps not sufficiently known by travelers, and I agree ! . To the south of the province, on the northern slope of the Sierra de Villafranca and flanked to the west by the Sierra de Peñanegra, is the town of Piedrahita. In addition to walking through its streets and discovering its porticoed Plaza Mayor or sitting on one of its terraces to taste the typical dishes of the area, you must admire the Palace of the Dukes of Alba, French Baroque in style, this U-shaped building was built where the old castle of the Álvarez de Toledo family stood between 1755 and 1766. Attached to this is the Torreón, known as the clock tower to which Gabriel y Galán dedicated his well-known poetry ‘Los dos nidos’. Other essential points are: the Church of Santa María la Mayor, built in the 13C, the house of Gabriel y Galán, residence of the poet during his teaching in the town; the convent of the Discalced Carmelites, which, founded by María de Vargas y Acebedo around 1460, preserves the Gothic-style church; the hermitage of the Virgen de la Vega, scene of traditional festivals of the Valley; the theater, which preserves its historic façade in perfect condition; the ruins of the Santo Domingo convent, of which there are some remains that give an idea of its former splendor, such as the main chapel of its 14C church, the ribbed vaults in the side naves, the façade and the main door, and the Plaza de Toros, Also, Madrigal de las Altas Torres represents a unique case of a fortified medieval town located on a plain, in an area without any natural defense. Its walled enclosure, declared a historical-artistic monument, is an exceptional example of medieval military architecture and a relevant testimony of the Mudejar construction system. Located in La Moraña, 74 km from Ávila, this town is linked to great personalities, such as Isabel la Católica or Bishop Don Vasco de Quiroga, both born here, and Fray Luis de León, who died in these lands. The Church of San Nicolás de Bari, a fantastic representation of Romanesque-Mudejar art ;built in the 13C and renovated in the 15C of which its enormous 65-meter-high bell tower and the baptismal font in which it was baptized stand out Isabel la Católica is one of its most representative buildings, but not the only one. The palace of Juan II, the royal residence that housed the itinerant Court of Castile from 1424 to 1497 and which currently houses the convent of Nuestra Señora de Gracia; the Church of Santa María del Castillo, a temple built under the architectural influences of the Mudejar style that also combines Romanesque and neoclassical styles incorporated in later reforms ; and which has a precious Baroque altarpiece; the Real Hospital de la Purísima Concepción, which currently houses the Quiroga Basque Museum, the nature interpretation center and the tourist office and in whose chapel is the most revered image of Madrigal; the Santísimo Cristo de las Injurias, and the remains of the Agustino de Madrigal convent, which rise outside the walls among the cereal fields, are other points of interest in the town. The Avila province tourism webpage :

We head to railways and markets in search of more fascinating examples of Spain’s industrial heritage. Two worth mentioning here are :

The Camino de Hierro is a colossal work of engineering. A succession of 20 tunnels and ten bridges, some from the Eiffel school, which runs alongside the impressive perforated cliffs of Salamanca’s Arribes. It was two years ago when these last 17 km were recovered. of the mythical Duero Line created at the end of the 19C and abandoned since 1985. Since then it has been open to the public who dare to walk the tracks and enjoy this wonderful border landscape. The starting point is the old La Fregeneda station within the Las Arribes Natural Park.Webpage :

One of my favorite markets is the Mercado Central of Valencia, Inaugurated in 1928, this stunning food market is one of the masterpieces of modernism in the city of Turia. It combines stone, glass, ceramic and iron in its façade. The light that sneaks inside is magical. The meeting and exchange environment is also. With nearly 1,200 stalls with the best of the Mediterranean Diet, it is known, declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Mercado Central of Valencia is the largest active market in Europe. Webpage :

A couple of towns with less than 100 inhabitants, which despite the fact that the diagnoses lead them to disappear, resist against all odds, welcoming visitors with open arms.Quant nice of my dear Spain !

Barcena Mayor (Santander province)- 84 inhabitants, Located 495 meters above sea level, in the Argoza river valley, It is the only population center included in the Saja Besaya Natural Park and stands out for its traditional architecture and the clarity of its limits, marked by the rear facades of the rows and the density of the built plot, its Church of Santa María, dating from the 17C, its large houses and its open arcades, which reflect life in the mountains of Cantabria. It is also part of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Webpage :

The Cantabria region tourist office on Barcena Mayor :

San Andrés de Teixido (province A Coruña) – 49 inhabitants. Over the centuries, peasants and sailors from all over Galicia have gone on a pilgrimage to the hermitage dedicated to the Apostle San Andrés, located in this village in the parish of Régoa, in the east of the town of Cedeira, in the Sierra de Capeladas. A popular belief weighs on it: the souls of those who did not go to the pilgrimage of the living are reincarnated in the body of a lizard, toad or snake. In addition to the sanctuary of San Andrés, a Gothic temple of a marine type, the Fonte do Santo and the natural viewpoint of Vixía de Herbeira, above the cliffs, are also interesting. Galicia tourism on San Andrés de Teixido :

The great tragedy of Manolete and why even Churchill sent his condolences to his mother Manolete’s death was a shock. He was only 30 years old the afternoon the miura Islero picked him up in Linares (Jaén). He was his second bull. When entering to kill, the right python of the morlaco -black, bragado and with arrests- enters the right thigh of the bullfighter, There went what many me included considered the greatest bullfighter of all times, More about him in the Cordoba tourist office :

The European Commission announced last January 31 2023 an initiative to support pilot projects for new cross-border rail services in Europe. As for the Barcelona project, two things are known so far: the approximate launch date (spring 2025) and its stops. In the afternoon, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and Lille (connection from London); in the morning, Avignon, Montpellier, Perpignan, Figueras and Gerona. However, this certain current euphoria does not reflect -according to experts- the railway situation in Europe. In an Investigate Europe report, data such as these are handled: in the last 20 years, 6,000 km of railways have been dismantled; there is still no uniform signaling and control system in Europe; national companies order trains that can only be used on national networks; To date, there is no way to check travel times and buy tickets for a trip across Europe on a single website. And more a bit of trivia me like: By 1848, Brassey and his partners had built three-quarters of all the mileage of French railways yet constructed. These were built in accordance with best British practice, with the trains running on the left. And that is why French railways run on the left to this day. Investigate Europe webpage :

And the EC on train pilot projects webpage :

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! We are getting out from harsh Winter and nice 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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