Some news from Spain, CXLVIII 

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 we are in Spring !! 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 CXLVIII is old Roman for 148, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

And this bit of news just in , My Madrid leads the reception of foreign tourists in April 2023 with 22.3% of the total, As for the rest of the Communities, the following positions are occupied by Catalonia (20.1%) and the Balearic Islands (15.7%). All this with Catalonia registered the highest year-on-year growth (21.9%), followed by Valencia (21.4%) and Madrid (20.4%), My dear Spain received 8.1 million international air passengers in April 2023, 16.9% more than in the same month of 2022. In the first four months of 2023, more than 25.2 million people arrived, 34.9% more than in the same period last year, according to data released this Friday by Turespaña. In the month of April, passengers to Spain from all the main countries increased with 57.6% of all passengers were from the European Union, experiencing a rise of 15.2%, while the flow from the rest of the world, which accounted for the remaining 42.4%, grew by 19.2%., In terms of countries, and comparing with the figures for April 2022, the markets that registered the highest growth are Portugal, with 31.9% more, followed by Italy and the United States, with 28.8% and 22, 9% respectively. In volume, the United Kingdom was the leading issuer of passengers in April 2023, with 1,794,841, and growth of 12.1% per year. The United Kingdom represents 21.1% of the total share of arrivals. The arrival of British passengers affected all the autonomous communities, but especially the Canary Islands, which was the destination of 25.7% of its passengers, its the new British invasion lol !!. After the United Kingdom, Germany remains the second country of origin for international passengers. Passenger arrivals from Germany (14.5% of the total) increased by 4.8% in April, especially benefiting the Balearic Islands (37.3% of passengers). Also, 9.4% of the flow of passengers received in April arrived from Italy, registering an interannual growth of 28.8%, which particularly benefited Catalonia (30.3% of passengers) and Madrid (25.9%), For its part, France issued 8.6% of all passengers in April, showing growth of 16.8%, which mainly favored Madrid and Catalonia. In the case of the Netherlands, international passengers experienced an increase of 5.2% in April, with the Valencian Community, Catalonia and Andalusia as the main destinations. In total volume, Madrid Adolfo Suarez Barajas airport added 1,811,380 international passengers in April 2023, compared to 1,549,890 from Barcelona airport. In third place was that of Palma de Mallorca, with 1,034,958 international passengers in April. There you go folks, Spain is everything under the Sun !!! The official TurEspaña Spain national tourist office:

Theodor Kallifatides, the Greek writer living in Sweden, visits Andalusia with the Fundación Tres Culturas and the Centro Andaluz de las Letras. He tells the story « I was at the doors of a theater waiting for the girl I liked to arrive, who never did. Then the theater doorman, seeing my waiting and my loneliness, said to me: “Why don’t you come in? They are representing a play by a Spanish poet named Federico García Lorca.” I thanked him for the invitation, but I told him: “I’m waiting for a girl.” And he replied: “You don’t know if she’s going to arrive, but the best thing you can do is wait for her inside ” I listened to him. They were representing Boda de Sangre or Blood Wedding and from the first moment I was spellbound by the text. Federico was not a poet. He was a supernatural force that trapped me forever ». Theodor Kallifatides remembers that afternoon sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Seville while answering questions from Publishers Weekly in Spanish « . His visit to Spain coincides with the tribute that the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid paid him by awarding him the Gold Medal.

The book Los mundos infinitos de Lorca, written by Luis Antonio de Villena and illustrated by the artist Juan Vida, participates in something new and original, in a different look at the life and work of a major poet, whose legacy lives up to Lope de Vega, Quevedo or Juan Ramón. The infinite worlds of Lorca, edited by the exquisite Tintablanca, was presented at La Mistral, in one of the most beautiful bookstores in Spain, a short walk from Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Sitting in Lorca’s little theater that the bookstore has in its basement, recalled that in the past century there was not a poet more tied to love and desire, to that norm that agitates flesh and star alike, hunger, carnality, omen and pain. Federico Garcia Lorca was born into a wealthy rural family. He knew social inequalities since he was a child and without losing the innocence with which he did theater and puppets at his house, he went to Madrid, to the Student Residence. There he met Dalí and Buñuel, Madrid was the center of a world that Federico extended to New York first, where the genesis of some of his best works is found, Cuba later and Buenos Aires last, where he triumphed, made money and, of course, he felled in love again. A first-rate poet, someone who, when assassinated in a terrible and fratricidal war, becomes the violated and pure image of a historical drama. The injustice of crushed innocence. The green destruction of the generous olive tree Federico, instead of for that bullfighter, wrote for himself the verses in Alma Ausente (absence soul) that said: “It will take a long time to be born, if he is born, / an Andalusian so clear, so rich in adventure.” Indeed ! Webpage:

Do get a hold for those book lovers the .Una muchacha en el Alcázar or a girl in the Alcazar of Ana Cardenas, The scene Segovia 1808. A love story during the war of Independance or Peninsular war In the Segovia of 1822. The same day that Pedro turns fourteen, he is rejected as a cadet at the Segovia Artillery Academy. Marita, the woman who raised him, then confesses some of the secrets she kept, knowing that by revealing them their lives will change irremediably. They need to find the boy’s parents and this search, which will be as risky as it is bitter, will lead them both on a single path towards the truth, from the towers of the Alcázar to the home of Don Alfonso, a potentate, who is surrounded by mystery. and that he lives obsessed with the disappearance of his only daughter. Buy it on Amazon, El Corté Inglés, FNAC and Casa del Libro, Very good book me think, webpage:

Magical Segovia !! Take a look at the Royal College of Artillery possibly the oldest active officer training center in the world. It was founded in the Alcázar in 1764 where it remained until the fire of 1862. The curriculum was already very ambitious when in 1792 it was inaugurated a large chemistry laboratory that would go down in history as the place where the famous Louis Proust enunciated the Law of Definite Proportions , The fortress was a royal palace, institutional and military building, archive headquarters, artillery school, and prison status and also had his golden minute on the screen. In 1965 Orson Welles filmed scenes from Chimes at midnight here and more contemporary is the cameo of the Alcazar in a chapter of The Simpsons. Walt Disney was inspired by its peaked towers to recreate Cinderella’s castle and if you are looking for that, see the Alcazar like a fairytale castle and you will be breathless, you have to distance yourself from it and admire it from the Pradera de San Marcos or the lookout of the valleys. Inside, the fortress is like an open jewelery box: baseboards, stained glass windows, coffered ceilings, armor, and up to six rooms full of treasures, such as Los Reyes, with its sculptures of Spanish monarchs from Don Pelayo to Juana la Loca and of course, paintings of great value such as the work The Holy Family of the Master of Santa Anna Hofje, from the 16C. In the rooms dedicated to the College, you can also see the famous El Galopo canyon, Sublime a must to visit in my dear Spain !

Whoever goes to Sevilla for the first time (not just for a barber) has to make a stop at the Cathedral, the Torre del Oro, the Giralda, the Reales Alcázares, the Casa de Pilatos, the Maestranza, the María Luisa Park, the Plaza de España, the palaces of San Telmo or Dueñas, the Archivo de Indias, the Basilica de la Macarena and the museums of Fine Arts and Contemporary Art. Just to mention some of the must-see monuments and spaces. It would be necessary to take a walk through neighborhoods as emblematic as Santa Cruz or Triana. At Calle Sierpes , from Plaza de la Campana to Plaza de San Francisco, one of the most commercial streets in the city and where most of the well-known brands (and others not so much) are found,so shopping come here ! Those with a more alternative profile have the surroundings of the Plaza de la Encarnación , where shops selling artisanal products (such as Buffana Hats) or organic (Verde Moscú or Zapata) are concentrated. The area has been called Soho Benita ( Calle Benito Pérez Galdós is one of the epicenters; hence the name) and also brings together cafes, art galleries, taverns, restaurants and cultural centers. If the idea is to enjoy a flamenco tablao, there are many interesting options. Like Los Gallos, El Palacio Andaluz or El Arenal, to name just a few.

Well you and I know about ranking , everybody has one but anyway here is another from the booking platform Musement, based on 200 cathedrals and churches in Spain, La Sagrada Familia The spectacular basilica, which has been under construction for more than 140 years, has become one of the symbols of Barcelona, and once when finished it will be the tallest church in the world, The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela Presiding over the Plaza del Obradoiro, it is the most outstanding work of Romanesque art in Spain, and the final goal of the Camino de Santiago, one of the main pilgrimage routes in Europe , The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia of Barcelona is located in the Gothic Quarter . The construction of this temple ended in the 15C and it is an excellent example of Catalan Gothic architecture. The Cathedral of Sevilla with its five naves, it is the largest Gothic-style cathedral in the world. Its bell tower, the famous Giralda, has the classic structure of the Almohad minarets and with its 104 meters high it is one of the most emblematic monuments of the urban profile of the city, The Cathedral of Mallorca , located in the old town of Palma de Mallorca , this Mediterranean Gothic jewel is one of the tallest cathedrals in Europe, since its central nave is approximately 44 meters high. The Monastery and the Basilica of Montserrat are located in the spectacular enclave of the Montserrat Natural Park, famous for its abrupt rock formations. Every year, thousands of people come to this sanctuary to venerate the Virgin of Montserrat, the current patron saint of Catalonia, better known as the ‘Moreneta’ for the dark color of her face and her hands. The Cathedral-Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, is one of the two cathedrals present in Zaragoza. It is said that this jewel of Baroque art was built around the column (the pillar) on which the Virgin leaned when she appeared to the Apostle Santiago on the banks of the Ebro River. The Basilica of Santa María del Mar,14C, it was the temple of the shipowners and merchants of Barcelona. Currently, it is considered one of the best examples of Catalan Gothic architecture. Its three naves and 33 chapels are located at almost the same level, thus accentuating the impression of space and spaciousness. The Cathedral of Santa María de Regla of León, also known as the ‘Pulchra leonina’, is in the French Gothic style. One of the highlights is the huge collection of stained glass windows built mainly between the 13C and 16C, which occupy an area of 1765 square meters. Having reduced the walls to their minimum expression to replace them with stained glass windows is precisely one of its most valuable characteristics. The Cathedral of Burgos began to be built in the 13C following the French Gothic style, although it underwent numerous modifications in subsequent centuries. On both sides of the main façade, inspired by the cathedrals of Paris and Reims, rise two towers crowned with openwork spires, which are already part of the urban skyline of the city. Wonderful monuments indeed.

From May 19 i2023 n the Patio de La Casa Encendida (Ronda de Valencia, 2) it will be possible to visit Picasso: Sin Título or Untitled. The exhibition covers a total of 50 works from the painter’s last period (1963-1973), through the eyes of 50 international artists. A total of four rooms will be used for this contemporary exhibition that commemorates, for the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death, 50 years of his renowned professional career. Webpage :

The Teatro Barceló theater has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) by the Governing Council of the Community of Madrid. In 1930, this building was designed to be used as a cinema, but currently, it acts as a nightclub on Calle Barceló , close to the Malasaña neighborhood. The building constitutes a relevant example of Spanish rationalist architecture from the first half of the 20C, it functioned as a cinema until 1974, (I did saw movies there ! ) ; the year in which the last film was shown. Between 1975 and 1979 it was used as a theater, while in 1980 it opened as a discotheque, under the Pachá brand, becoming one of the most famous nightlife venues in Madrid. In addition, it originally had a party room in the basement, a use that is maintained today. The architect of the Teatro Barceló, Luis Gutiérrez Soto, is also responsible for projects built in Madrid such as the Zurich Building (1925), the Callao Cinemas (1926), the Europa Cinema (1928), the Renoir Retiro Cinemas (1939) or the La Unión y El Fénix (now Mutua Madrileña) in the Paseo de la Castellana (1965). Webpage:

The next season of the Teatro Real delves into the myths of Medea and Orlando, season 2023-2024, which will start on September 19 2023 with the premiere of a new production of Medea de Cherubini by Paco Azorín and with Ivor Bolton in the pit , The infanticidal myth of Medea will serve, on the one hand, as a tribute to Maria Callas on the centenary of her birth and, on the other, as a thematic thread around violence and revenge together with the homonymous score that Charpentier composed at the end of the 17C. In the case of Cherubini’s Medea, it is an absolutely novel recovery, since Heiko Cullmann’s critical edition prepared from the original French edition will be used, which is the one that everyone knows and that gave Callas fame The concert version of Haydn’s Orlando paladino in the hands of the specialist Giovanni Antonini and the musicians of Il Giardino Armonico and, finally, La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina by the baroque composer Francesca Caccini, who will raise the curtain in a concept stage by Blanca Li co-produced by the Teatros del Canal and Tenorio with music and text by Tomás Marco, who has brought together various texts around Zorrilla’s Don Juan. The work, which begins with verses that Lorenzo da Ponte wrote for Don Giovanni, will have four performances (May) in a stage proposal, this time in the main room, by the Agrupación Señor Serrano Teatro Real has taken stock of the numbers of the institution, which will offer 119 opera performances and a total of 455 shows throughout the next season, Webpage:

This have a post on my dear Madrid but recently celebrated its most important date and have this from one of my blooks on it so here it goes again,worth to be there on its time and see the real Madrid and Spain, The Madrid of San Isidro: a route between miracles, chulapos and dumb and smart donuts, some chickens and a concert in the Pradera cannot be missed. Nor a session of chotis and pasadobles in the gardens of Las Vistillas, with two contests included. And all, of course, dressed up with the chulapo (-a) suit, the parpusa and the carnation all typical folklore Madrileño ! They are some of the classics of the San Isidro festivities that are repeated May after May. This year marked by the fourth centenary of the canonization of the patron Saint of Madrid, whose Holy Year concludes next Monday May 15 2023 with countless special acts related to the figure of the man from Madrid. Thus, in addition to the traditional procession on the 15th, you can enjoy exhibitions, conference cycles, dramatized performances about his life on the Puente de Toledo and the Pradera, instrumental and lyrical concerts, zarzuela shows or cultural visits to places that marked their trajectory. Also joining the anniversary are mythical pastry shops such as La Duquesita or Viena Capellanes, which cannot cope with the preparation of the classic donuts, divided into silly (without sugar icing), ready (with it), French (well covered with almonds) and from Santa Clara (with meringue on top). In the case of La Duquesita, it is part of the new Madridulce project, which brings together several hundred-year-old pastry shops such as El Pozo or Casa Mira to value the city’s confectionery, focused these days on donuts. Of course, on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, most have prepared new recipes inspired by the saint. Viena Capellanes, for example, with 150 years behind it, adds meringue flavored with violet and small pieces of violet candies, so traditional in Madrid. The Holy Year will close at the Colegiata de San Isidro (Calle Toledo, 37), in the heart of the La Latina neighborhood, on Monday with a closing mass at 11h. The incorrupt body of this saint with a dark complexion and a 1.80-meter statue (an outrageous height for the time!), which was previously in the Church of San Andrés, located in the homonymous square, is kept on its main altar. And before, in the Bishop’s chapel, in Plaza de la Paja, 5. It was ordered to be built by the Vargas family, one of the most powerful of the time, for which San Isidro worked in order to house his mortal remains. The wonderful San Isidro Museum. The Origins of Madrid (Plaza de San Andrés, 2). This is one of the key corners on the route of the farmer’s patron through the city. In it, not only is the history of the city rescued over 500,000 years through archaeological objects from the Paleolithic to the 16C, but it is also believed that the saint died in this building, since it was the house of the lords to whom that served, the aforementioned Vargas. The document was discovered in the Church of San Andrés in the year 1504, when an inventory of ecclesiastical assets was being carried out. For example, it is believed that he could have been born on April 4, 1082, shortly before Alfonso VI of Castile reconquered the city after more than 200 years in Muslim hands. He came into the world at number 4 Calle del Águila, where the Chapel of San Isidro is now located. As a tribute, it opens on the 4th of each month. It is also known that the saint used to stop at the Atocha basilica on the way to his farm work. Returning to the museum, here is the famous 27-meter-deep well in which he saved his son Illán from drowning, one of the nearly 438 miracles attributed to him. The chronicles say that he prayed so much to the Virgin of Almudena that, suddenly, the water level rose and the child came out of the well as if nothing had happened. In the current Paseo de la Ermita del Santo, on his side, he managed to make water sprout from the ground after sticking his hoe into it to quench the thirst of his patron, Don Iván de Vargas. In his honor today stands the San Isidro Fountain, next to the Ermita del Santo, the cemetery with his name and the Pradera. Some of the miracles he performed are detailed in scenes painted on leather in the Ark of San Isidro in the Almudena Cathedral. The route would continue in the Capilla de la Cuadra (Pretil de Santiesteban, 3), where the man from Madrid kept his oxen, the same ones that plowed alone when he dedicated himself to prayer. The Puente de Toledo bridge is not far away, decorated with two Churrigueresque niches of both the farmer and his wife, Santa María de la Cabeza, whom he met in the town of Torrelaguna, when his family had to take refuge there after an Arab offensive. The relics of his wife were kept for a time in the Casa de la Villa, the former seat of the City/Town Hall. Now, they rest next to those of her husband in the Collegiate Church of San Andrés ro St Andrews in Madrid. A wonderful story indeed, must see me think !

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! We are in Spring !!; just enjoying our veranda again, now sunny day. 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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