Archive for ‘Madrid’

April 21, 2018

Just information post!

Ok so just for a temporary hold on my posts in my blog. I will delete after my return.

I will be away to an East Central African country and back next Saturday April 28; exciting trip first time in that country. I will not able to write as internet is very limited and sporadic me think.

Therefore, until next time and hopefully better news keep cool, healthy and keep on traveling, life is beautiful even if for some too short.

On a sad note my wife is sick but will see how she does in my return for now appointment with the American hospital in Paris (Neuilly sur Seine). Hoping for the best; thanks ahead for your prayers and well wishes.

Salut, chau, hasta la vista baby; ciao, a bientôt, Saludos.

April 19, 2018

In Aranjuez there was a Prince, Palacio de Aranjuez!

Reading about palaces, another blogger mentioned liking Aranjuez. It gave me an inspiration to write something about the town which is the palace. I know about Aranjuez since a small enfant, my mother would sing sing to me the concerto of Aranjuez, that has been even turns into operas and zarzuelas in my beloved Spain. The best I heard was played by Paco de Lucia ,the great Flamenco guitarist. This concerto song was composed in Paris (always love) by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo in 1939 on his last year living there. He was inspired by the love to his wife Victoria. Many versions tells of a love between a Prince and a lady that was not possible to be, this one I like it better but both are not proving yet.

Aranjuez is about 44 km from Madrid on the left bank of the Tajo river. Here at the palace were signed many treaties over the years, my two favorite ones were the Treaty of Aranjuez of 1779 between France and Spain where Spain entered the War of Independance of the United States as an ally of France; and the Treaty of Aranjuez of 1793 , a protective defense between Spain and the United Kingdom in face of the defeat and execution of king Louis XVI during the French revolution.

The National Heritage sites of Spain has a bit on it in English : Patrimonio Nacional on Aranjuez

The tourist office of the Comunidad de Madrid, region of Madrid where Aranjuez is located. Turismo Madrid region on Aranjuez

On the city in general and a bit on the Palace I wrote before in my blog here: Aranjuez more than a concerto

Now, let me give you more on the palace. The place is big and right in city center, easy parking up the main street for free was easy to find along Calle de la Florida; we always walk all over town and into the garden and forest. We found the best places to eat away from the center around the palace, less authentic, lot of tourist influences, best to walk away  like by Calle Postas after the covered market, if you want the real taste of Aranjuez.

On my last trip here we just wandered about without going into the Palace. Well seen it before and so many of them; better be more nostalgic next time. However, for all visitors to Spain and especially from Madrid, it is a must to visit me think.  The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is one of the residences of the King of Spain located in the town of Aranjuez, part of the Comunidad de Madrid autonomous region.

Aranjuez

arriving under Arch Calle de la Florida NIV Aranjuez

A bit of history I like.

When Holy Roman Emperor Carlos V or King Carlos III became interested in developing Aranjuez as a Royal site for hunting came to used as in 1501 was already done by Felipe the Beautiful on the old masters palace of Santiago. It eventually was ordered built by king Felipe II to architect Juan Bautista de Toledo ,he died during the construction and it was finished by Juan de Herrera. During the 17C the work was completely stop until the times of king Fernando VI and enlarged during king Carlos III that ordered built the wings on back as you can see today.  a smaller Palace was done called Casa del Labrador or house of the labrador outside the limits of the castle and forming part of the Prince’s gardens or Jardin del Principe. The huge gardens were done to create bigness in the palace and were irrigated with the waters of the Tajo and Jarama rivers, been the most important gardens of the Habsburgs period.

In 1808, the ceremony held in the Royal Chapel of the Palace the Supreme central council and kingdom government was created; been part the deputies from the supremes council of the main capital cities of the old kingdoms. In 1971, the lower level of the palace was created the Historical Court Costume museum. In 1997 ,the museum reopened as the Palace lifestyle museum that included the uniform of the King Juan Carlos I from the date of his proclamation in 1975 as well as the dress of queen Sofia of the same day; you can see her dress as bride as well as those of queen Letizia, infanta Elena and Cristina. From 1977 to 1983 it served as residence of the foreign chief of States visiting Spain by 1983 this function was transfered to the Palacio Real de El Pardo.

The Palace of Aranjuez is exactly located between the avenida del Palacio, and the plaza de las Parejas on the south, garden or jardín del Parterre by the east, stream of water by the north and the plaza del Raso de la Estrella by the west.

Some of the best from inside are:

The dining room  (Comedor) is the center of the Palace and decorated as conversation piece since 1748 under king Fernando VI and later dining room per se under king Carlos IV. You will see lots of decorations here , meaning several dictums such as justice, prudence and charity, faith etc in rococco style, and the four corners of the world . You have several paintings here , as well as huge clocks from the times of Carlos IV, furniture, from Fernando VII and porcelains.

The Arab office or Gabinete Arabe; was inspired by the room of the two sisters in the Alhambra of Granada, and built between 1848 and 1850 by the same architect that restored the  Nazari palace in Granada, Rafael Contreras.  It is decorated in ceramic tiles walls and sculpture chalk polichrome with arabic symbols. The Andalucian decoration is completed by a transparency of the Lions patio of French making done with damascus of silk and candles in bronze and porcelain plaques painted in 1835 created at the manufacture of Sévres , France as a gift of king of the French Louis Philippe of Orléans to the regent queen Maria Cristina de Borbon Dos Sicilias of Spain.  There is a huge neo gothic lamp in golden bronze with 81 lights in two levels gift of infante Don Francisco de Paula to his consort king Francisco de Asis de Borbon.

The Porcelain office or Gabinete de Porcelana (my favorite);  was the first work of the Royal Factory of Porcelain in the Buen Retiro Palace finished in 1765 here. Later it was the inspiration for the homogenous stand on the  Royal Palace of Madrid on a style closer to the neo gothic.  You have around seven big mirrors and other portraits with a oriental figures, dragons, monkeys, fruits, and diverse objects . There is a porcelain lamp resembling a palm tree with open arms and a Chinese holding its edge with a monkey doing the same.  The work is with golden painting on the windows, glass enclosures and doors to match the decoration of the office. There are six chairs in ceramic lacquer on the English model of queen Anne. This office served as a room for the office of king Carlos III and later as a music hall for the queen Isabel II with a piano of Collard & Collard, now in the bedroom of the queen.

And the gardens are wonderful indeed. I think the best.

Next to the facade of the Royal Palace there is the lawn garden or Jardin del Parterre ordered built by king Felipe V to the French gardener Bouteloul in 1727 and done in 1746.  On the northern  part you will see the Tajo river and from the bridge or Puente Barcas you see the arches of the Royal Palace that are divided from view by  jars of  flowers , a well, created in 1762 by king Carlos III.

This garden has several fountains amongst them the Fountain of Hercules and Anteo and Ceres and Nereidas. The fountain of Hércules and Anteo, is the most espectacular ordered built by King Fernando VII in 1827.  On the extreme western of the garden you have a small square facing the Royal Palace and you have there the Statues garden or Jardín de las Estatuas, due to its fourteen busts in marble of roman emperors, kings of Spain, and personages from antiquity place in niches on the wall. It is also, known as Kings garden or Jardín del Rey as it was king Felipe II who ordered it built in the second half of the 16C , the garden is enclosed on the south side of the Royal Palace next to the Clock tower  on the renaissance style.  The garden of islands or jardin de las Islas was called as such for been surrounded on three sides by the Tajo river and on the south by an artificial stream, and it is on the north of the Royal Palace.  Its origins go back to the order of Santiago between 1387 and 1409 that was a masters palace build here before the Royal Palace.  When in 1487, king Fernando the Catholic became Master of the Order, the Queen Isabel the Catholic took it for her and became known as the queens garden or Jardín de la Reina. Later on, kings Carlos I and Felipe II decided to change the area into a natural priviledge forested area.

Aranjuez

Jardin de las Islas

You only need to enter the garden over the ramp bridge and you see the fountain of the pharmacist or Fuente de la Boticaria, a circular glass with children with shells and rocks figures . At the back there is the room of the Catholic Kings or Salon de los Reyes Catolicos, a promenade of 300 meters with plantains trees next to the levy of the Tajo river. The fountain or Fuente de Hercules e Hidra is the first to find here after crossing the stream by a small stairs on a pedestal you see the figure of Hercules killing the Hydra. The fountain was ordered built by king Felipe IV  to replace a former fountain dedicated to Diana in the times of king Felipe II. The sculptures on the pedestal around the fountain were purchase by king Felipe V and originally located in the gardens of La Granja (Segovia).  Later moved to the columns at the entrance to the Jardin del Principe by ordered of king Carlos IV and finally are now resting in the Prado museum of Madrid.

The fountain of Apollo or Fuente de Apolo  from the 16C is just next to that of Hercules on a marble pedestal on which center there is a cup with the figure of Apollo with the foot on a dragon; the small square was called previously Puerta del Sol de Aranjuez next to the street or Calle de la Galeria with water  pumps reaching hip high call the Burladero (sort of the barrier where the torero hides in the arena). This walk takes you to the Fuente del Réloj or Watch fountain also known as hours or rings that is in square flank by six benches in stone and the fountain in the middle. When is working the shadows of the water spouts marks the hours of the day! We moved on to the Spines Children fountain or Fuente del Nino de la Espina also known as the spines or witches ordered created by king Felipe III with a round stone and corinthian column in each corner ;in the center there is  there a personnage in stone trying to take a spine out from his left foot.  In each corner of the fountain there is a column on which top there is a figure of an witch throwing water to the center of the fountain of a witch.  The Fountain of Venus or Fuente de Venus is also known as the Fuente de Don Juan de Austria as it is believed the stone was taken from the battle of Lepanto.  It is located in the center of a square with a figure of Venus in bronce trying to dry its hair with the hands; it was sent to Spain from Florence in 1571.

Deeper into the garden you come to the Fuente de Baco, or Bacchus fountain; located in a hexagonal square with stone benches and at the center you see the god Baco, crown with grape branches sitting on a barrel with a wine cup in his right hand. The main body of this fountain was a gift of king Felipe III to the Duke of Florence and designed in marble by Giambologna. It was originally designed to house the Fountain or Fuente de Sanson el Filibustero giving by king Felipe IV to king Charles I of England in 1623 and today it is at the Victoria and Albert museum of London. Since 1656 it is crown by the figure of Baco done by Jacobo Jonglinck. Continue on the walk with the Fountain or Fuente de Neptuno located far from the entrance to the garden, representing god of Neptune done in a shell type thrown by the right hand on two marine horses, around it in four pedestals you have the goddess of Cibeles, and Ceres each with a crown in the form of a castle and carriages thrown by lions held by children. On the third pedestal you have god Jupiter on an eagle over a globe of the world held by titans with the legend written as ” The king his majesty Felipe II ordered made this fountain while governor Don Francisco Brizuela, year MDCXXI = 1621.”
 This jardin de Narciso garden is the most extensive on the Tajo river and Calle de la Reina, in Aranjuez. A perimeter of 7 km and over 150 hectares of which only about half are to be visited. Great varieties of trees, and a dam of stone call Malecon de Solera. It has a port or fortified embarcadero ordered done by king Carlos IV , and very much used during the kings visit to Aranjuez.  It shows a fountain or Fuente de Narciso next to his dog almost fallen off while holding on are four Hercules. It was damaged during the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt in 1827. Continue to the fountain of the swans or Fuente de los Cisnes inspired by the one at La Granja palace (Segovia). It has a stone with two children figures in marble holding a swan from which the peak water comes out. It was damaged in the War of independance (c 1808) partially destroyed but in 2009 there is a renovation done on the figures of the Children and swan. The Apolo fountain or Fuente de Apolo in carrara marble shows the god on the high of the pedestal, ordered by king Carlos IV was not finished until his son king Fernando VII reign. It has a semicircular shape with six columns crown with guardians ducks; on each side two square columns and the statue of Apollo purchased by king Felipe V and located at La Granja (Segovai), king Carlos IV ordered brought to Aranjuez. The current statue in the Jardin del Principe is a replica as the original was sent back to La Granja in 2000.
Aranjuez

jardin del Principe fuente de Apollo

Aranjuez

jardin del principe Fuente de Narciso

The lake or estanque de los Chinescos or shadow plays is an artificial lake with small fence around it on three isles on which there is a temple or kiosk of greek style, other shadow plays and an Egyptian mausoleum in granite. The Greek pavillion is the work of Juan de Villanueva (escorial) with eight columns of ionic order holding the ceiling crown with an pineapple in bronce painted like marble color.  The shadow plays temple was heavily damaged during the War of independance (C 1808) and rebuilt by king Fernando VII as a kiosk on the Turkish style with colorful greens, red, and golden colors. Nearby there is a rollercoaster or Montana Rusa even if the true name is Swiss mountain crowned by a temple in wood from where you have great views of the garden. Finally, on the extreme western part of the garden you have the Casa del Labrador ordered built by king Carlos IV and a great collection of statues and clocks. In this garden , you have pheasants and royal turkeys as well as squirrels and other animals.

The Isabel II garden or Jardin de Isabel II is the last garden to be built in Aranjuez from the 19C when queen Isabel II was still a girl. It is a square garden located next to the Plaza de San Antonio and the Paseo del Brillante,created in 1830, while four years later it was put in the middle on a marble pedestal a bronce statue of the girl queen; it has eight benches in stone and eight flower pots. It is very nice as a last stop before leaving the city.

Aranjuez

jardin Isabel II and statue

 

There you go a nice castle in a nice town of old Madrid, maybe not a love story for you or me but nevertheless its a very romantic place especially in the gardens. Enjoy the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

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April 17, 2018

The Royal Palace of Madrid, Palacio Real de Madrid!

Let me take you back to my Spain, always memories and wonderful times of old and new. When I lived in the city going to the Royal Palace was a treat, coming from Quintana working class neighborhood. We had no money to go in back then in the old regime.  It took me to leave Madrid and Spain , spent some years in America; and finally come back to it in 1990 to see it inside. It was a treat I will always cherished for me and for the fact that I was there with my girlfriend , today wife of 27 years!!! and 3 wonderful young men.!!!

Oh yes this is the Palacio Real or Palacio de Oriente as some locals might call it.  I have written bits of it in other posts on Madrid (too many to mention, just search in my blog) ,but decided to do one for it alone. After all, it is all worth it me think. Therefore ,here is my story on it.

It is the official resident of the king of Spain even if only uses it for protocole functions and the rest is open to the public as a museum. Located in the Plaza de Oriente, right along Calle Bailén with metro Opera station lines 2 and 5 , as well as Bus lines 3, 25, 39 and 148.  The walk from Puerta del Sol takes approximately 15 minutes. The current king Felipe VI and queen Letizia and children live in the Palacio de Zarzuela. The Zarzuela palace was built in the 17C by king Felipe IV about a dozen km from city center Madrid to served as a residence for hunting and pleasure. You can find out more of the Palacio de la Zarzuela at El Pardo webpage in Spanish here: http://www.elpardo.net/palacio-de-la-zarzuela/

The current Royal Palace was built between 1738 and 1755 on orders of king Felipe V and lived by the king Charles III in 1764. The Royal Palace was built on the site of the former Royal Alcazar fortress destroyed by fire in 1734, and the king wanted to rebuilt it at the same spot to mark the continuity of the Spanish monarchy.

Madrid

court parvis back of Royal Palace

Madrid

left side of court parvis back of Royal Palace

Madrid

on Calle de Bailén Royal Palace

Madrid

gates back court parvis from Cathedral Almudena

In 1735, he call upon Filippo Juvarra, considered at the time the best architect in Europe to Madrid. Juvarra suggest a huge castle  with four courts to allow housing the Royal family, aristocracy, ministers, and necessary services of the palace sort of like the work done in the Chateau de Versailles. However, Juvarra died in 1736 before the palace work was to begin so the king call upon a disciple of Juvarra, that was working since 1736 in the La Granja Royal Palace near Segovia, another Italian name  Giovanni Battista Sacchetti with instructions to minimize the cost of construction. Sacchetti suggest a palace with one court that is approved in 1737 and he is name architect of the palace in 1738. He worked there with the help of Ventura Rodriguez( amongst his work is the Royal palace of Aranjuez) , and Francesco Sabatini (that designed the wing that gives out to the street Calle de Bailén ,stables, and imperial stair) , and the garden by his name as well as Fray Martin Sarmiento with the Marquis de Balbueno as treasury administrator of the construction.

 

Madrid

Entrance to Jardines de Sabatini

The building was to be square around a huge court and done with granite, white stone of Colmenar and marble for the details. The building is higher on the façade on the street with three floors, it has an interior floor and two with windows link by a colossal ionic stone; a large cornice with a baluster on top the superior area. The façade to the garden has a lowering position with lots of windows. The Royal palace is one of the biggest in all of western Europe after that of the Louvre, taking about 135K square meters and having 2800 rooms with 50 open to the public!! On its three floors and three mezzanines under the ceiling of each floor. The facades measure about 130 meters on the side for 33 meters high; and has 870 windows and 240 balconies that open ups over the facades or to the patio. It ,also, has 44 stairs and more than 30 main salons or big rooms.

Worth mentioning me think, the statues of the Visigoths kings that decorate the Plaza de Oriente were to be put up in the Palace above roof but been too heavy with the risk of falling, they were put in the square now. The main elements you should look for when visiting are the Throne room or Salon del Trono, also called Salon del Besamanos or kissed hands room as it is here where the reverence to the king are done. The patio and gate of the prince or Puerta del Principe, the area living of king Charles III (Carlos III); the hall of mirrors or Salon de los Espejos; The columns room or Salon de las Columnas; the room of Halbardiers or alabarderos; the Porcelains room or Saleta de Porcelana; Royal Chapel or  Capilla Real; and the Royal armory or Real Armeria.

The Royal Palace is richly decorated with portraits done by painters such as Goya, Velazquez, El Greco, Pierre Paul Rubens, Tiepolo, Mengs, and le Caravage. Several Royal collections of great historical significance are also in the Royal Palace including the Royal Armory with weapons and armor dating from the 13C, and the world’s biggest collection of Stradivarius, as well as collections on tapestries, porcelain, furniture, and other works of arts of great importance. Starting in 1636, the Flemish painter Frans Snijders painted several potraits of hunting scenes for king Felipe IV to be put in the hunting pavilion of the tower of Parada and the Royal Palace.

The change of the Royal guard in the Royal Palace is done every Wednesday from October to July and at 11h; need to check before going as this can be change without notice due for official acts or weather conditions.

You have two gardens around the Royal Palace, these are the  Campo del Moro (moors) on the west and Manzanares river, and the Jardines of Sabatini on the north of the Royal Palace next to it. The Royal Palace is bordered on the east by the Plaza de Oriente separated by the Calle de Bailén; on the south or Armories you have the wings of the Palace; on the south of this square you have the Cathedral of the Almudena,one of Madrid’s patron Saint.

To help you plan your visit here is the official site of the Royal Palace by the National Heritage Monument organization. http://www.patrimonionacional.es/real-sitio/palacio-real-de-madrid

And from Madrid tourist office;  https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/royal-palace

And for a closer look at the Spanish Royal Family here is the official link: http://www.casareal.es/ES/Paginas/home.aspx

The current king of Spain, Felipe VI:  name as his Majesty the King, Don Felipe de Borbón y Grecia,(Bourbon and Greece) is the third child of the former kings Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía. Born in Madrid January 30 1968 in the clinic of our Lady of Loreto. He was baptized with the names of Felipe, Juan, Pablo ,and Alfonso of All Saints in memory of respectively, the first Bourbon that reigned over Spain (grandson of Louis XIV of France and born in Versailles, Felipe V); of his paternal grandfather chief of the Royal House of Spain, of his maternal grandfather king of Greece,and of his great grandfather Don Alfonso XIII, king of Spain. His godparents were his grandfather Royal Highness Don Juan de Borbón, Count of Barcelona, and his great grandmother king  Victoria Eugenia. Curiosities of life, the current pretender to the throne of France as legimirate king Louis XX is named Alfonso also a Bourbon and born in Madrid. The current king’s Father Juan Carlos is a cousin of queen Elizabeth II of UK, and great (or is it another great ) Grandson of queen Victoria of UK, nephew of Emperor Frederick II of Germany and 5th in line to the throne of France ! blue blood….

Hope you enjoy the bits of history here, and a fine tradition I like. Have a great week with plenty of happy travels, good health ,and many cheers!!!

 

 

 

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March 25, 2018

The Gates and Fences of Madrid; Puertas y Cercas de Madrid!

On a tranquil Sunday and my puppy Rex already out and done, slight rain cloudy cool humid day I sat to continue the sage of historical Madrid, my beloved Madrid. I will not stop telling you the wonderful experiences as a young men of me living in Madrid for four years and visited zillions more; Madrid in my heart.

Let’s talk today about the gates and walls of Madrid, those still visible and those already gone, that made part of this vibrant , on the go city of modern Europe.

Puerta de Hierro or Steel Gate lies outside the city, at the end of the beltway to the Pardo forest. It was erected in 1751 during the reign of king Fernando VI. On a baroque style architecture following French and Italian ideas of the time, which got the gate done in an circular arch and an original wrought-iron lattice. The Puerta de Hierro is located in Monte del Pardo, close to the Ciudad Universitaria. Today, the location lies between two highways (beltway M-30 and the A6 to Coruña)   and difficult to reach,just passing by car. More info on Madrid tourist office webpage here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-hierro

Madrid

Puerta de Hierro credit Mirador Madrid

Puerta de Moncloa or Arco de la Victoria built between 1950-1956 , and is located in one of the main entrances to Madrid on the A6 expressway to Coruña/Galicia right on the Avenida del Arco de la Victoria in the district of Moncloa-Aravaca, with 49 meters high on a rectangular base of 130 by 42 meters. The location of the  Arco de la Victoria or Puerta de Moncloa is surrounded by history and relative meaning as it was here that the battle of universtiy city (which is next door) or Battle of Madrid took place during the Spanish Civil War . This battle lasted 858 days from November 17 1936 to March 28 1939 with the most bloody moments happening a few meters from the gate . The gate is of a Roman style usually done to commemorate the victory at war and thanks the victorious armies entering the city. This is the reason why the Arco de la Victoria is the only one built right on the field of battle. Some historical debates to change its name has settled on the more peaceful Puerta de Moncloa. You reach it on Metro Moncloa lines 3 and 6 crossing Plaza Moncloa into the Avenida de la Memoria. You can see in the picture below a tower behind the gate well this is the Faro de Moncloa where you can climb the top and see the city with paid admission. More on Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/arco-victoria

Madrid

Puerta de San Vicente or Saint Vincent gate was ordered by king Carlos III about the same time as the Puerta de Alcalà and done by architect Francesco Sabatini (also of the gardens and Royal Palace) been finished in 1775.  In order to create more space for traffic the original structure was dismantled in 1892. At that time some suggested to recycle the stones the gate was built from and use them for the gigantic street lanterns at the Glorieta de Cibeles. In the second half of the 20C Madrid’s city hall decided to rebuild the historical gate. The authorities started the reconstruction in 1994, using the old photographs. Thus, the Puerta de San Vicente once again appeared in one of Madrid’s most central squares, close to the Royal Palace. More on it from Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-san-vicente

Madrid

Puerta de San Vicente credit Mirador Madrid

The Puerta de Toledo commemorates the arrival of  king Fernando VII to Madrid.  It was built close to the current La Latina neighborhood.  And the flea market or rastro of Madrid . The construction used granite and stone from Colmenar to build the gate that was inaugurated in 1827. On the side facing the  Manzanares river,  the Puerta de Toledo features a sculptural group that was supposed to represent the power of the Spanish monarchy on both hemispheres. On the opposite side of the gate ,looking north ,you can see Madrid’s official coat-of-arms with on each side, angels. It is 19 meters high and is comprised of three archways. The central arch is the tallest. It has a rounded semicircular arch and was the main gateway on the road towards the city of Toledo in past centuries.. Each of the two arches on either side of the central arch is also adorned with sculptures. These are representations of various military victories of the era. To get to Puerta de Toledo you can take the Metro on line 5, getting off at Puerta de Toledo station. Alternatively, you can take a bus; numbers 3, N3, 60, 17, 18, 23, 35 and 148 will all take you there. More from Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-toledo_45

Madrid

Of course, the last standing and the best for me as it was the closest to my neighborhood and right on my street Calle de Alcalà yeah!! yes it is the Puerta de  Alcalà!

The Puerta de Alcalá is in my biase opinion the best known and the most beautiful of them all. It was built in 1769 by the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini (same as the garden and Royal Palace etc) as a part of the city embellishment promoted by king Carlos III. The king commissioned the construction as a reminder of accession to the throne in 1759. The gate was built at the city entrance, next to the road leading to the city of Alcalá de Henares, hence the name. The designed structure consisting of five arches. In addition to the openings, there are ten Ionic columns crowned by an attic. The Puerta de Alcalá is located right in front of the Retiro park, from which it has a wonderful entrance, my favorite. However, the original Puerta de Alcalá, which stood nearby, was built in 1599 as a welcome gesture to doña Margarita de Austria, who was the wife of King Felipe III. When Carlos III came to the throne of Spain one and a half centuries later, he entered Madrid in great style on December 9th, 1759. He was not at all pleased with this city gate, thinking it quite unsuitable for an important royal appearance. In 1764 the original Puerta de Alcalá was demolished and work started on the grand new gate. The new Puerta de Alcalá was completed in 1769 and its official inauguration took place in 1778. It is in the middle of Calle de Alcalá, one of the oldest streets in Madrid, and which runs from the Puerta del Sol in the city center outwards to the town of Alcalá de Henares, lying to the northeast of the city.  The closest Metro station to Puerta de Alcalá is Retiro; the gate is within a few meters of the main entrance to the Retiro Park.  Metro station,Banco de España, lies slightly further away to the west, just past the Cibeles Fountain on Calle de Alcalá. More on the Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-alcala

Madrid

Madrid

There are several gates to parks or gardens that are worth mentioning. One is the Puerta de Felipe IV that gives entrance to the Retiro Park by the street or Calle Alfonso XII , the gate located in front of the Cason del Buen Retiro (annex to the Prado museum) between Calle de Felipe V and Calle de Felipe IV. It is built in baroque style , and was done in 1680 as an triumphal arch for Mary Louise of Orleans first wife of king Carlos II and again in 1690 for the same reasons to Marianne of Neoburg the second wife of the king. For which there is an inscription on the gate that is also known as.  On the site of Madrid tourist Retiro park you can find the location and picture. https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

The other gate is that of Puerta Real which gives entrance to the Royal Botanical garden (Real  Jardin Botànico) on the sidewalk of the Paseo del Prado; another designed by Sabatini in the 18C in a classical style, that was officially opened in 1781.  It is also known as the Puerta Carlos III, that is part of the enclosure of the Royal Botanical garden.  It was done as the principal entrance to the garden but years later lost out to the Puerta de Murillo, in the square of same name and next to the facades of the Prado museum  done by architect Juan de Villanueva that gave the final touch to the Royal Botanical Garden. The Puerta Real is closed now. Read and see more on the tourist office site https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/real-jardin-botanico

Madrid

plaza murillo ent to Prado annex

There is one major and beautiful and popular gate that today is not really a gate or Puerta but still call this way. You guess it, Puerta del Sol, the center of wonderful Madrid. It was named for a gate that stood at the site until about 1510 and had a representation of the Sun. Now you have an equestrian statue of king Carlos III here since 1997 looking out into the 18C brick building that houses the post office house or Casa de Correos, built itself between 1766 and 1768. In front of the Casa de Correos, on the pavement, is the “kilometer 0″ plaque, from which all road distances in Spain are measure. There you a symbol of Madrid the Bear and the strawberry tree or the  Oso and the Madroño. Thi is a 20 tons statue of a bear eating the fruits from the tree. According to legend the original name of the city was “Ursaria” (“land of bears” in Latin), due to the high number of these animals that were found in the adjacent forests, which, together with the arbutus (“madroño” in Spanish), have been the emblem or symbol of the city from the Middle Ages.  After pointing out the giant “Tio Pepe” sign dominating one end of the square,on top of El Corte Inglés dept store building. You get to this gate on metro lines 1,2, and 3;  Sol station. More on Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-del-sol

Madrid

Madrid

casa de correos on right

Madrid

Oso y Madroño

Madrid

tio Pepe

Now let me take you back in time to another eras of Madrid and its many previous gates, walls and ramparts, a bit of history I like. Let me introduce to you this site in Spanish that I take my inspiration for Madrid and writing about it, and this post. The old historical information was translated from the Spanish by yours truly from the webpage below of Lourdes Maria Morales. https://www.unaventanadesdemadrid.com/murallas-cercas-y-puertas-de-madrid.html

Madrid

model of the walls of Madrid from VdM

The first wall and maybe the foundation of Mayrit (Madrid) we can place it in the 9C when the Emir Mohamed I ordered the construction of a high overlook tower where today sits the Royal Palace. The second wall was built by king Alfonso VII in the 12C and about triple the size of the first one, with about 35 hectares (about 86 acres) and four gates that do not exist today such as the Puerta de Valnadú, Puerta de Guadalajara, Puerta Cerrada ,and Puerta de Moros. Today ,there are still traces of this wall in the following sites.

Calle de los Mancebos. No 3-5 as an old wall a bit damaged.  Calle del Almendro no 15-17 with a bout 16 meters long by 11 meters high also damaged in a patio. By the area of Cava Baja you can see the following traces at No 30 19 meters long by 11,5 meters high in an interior patio; No 22 remains of foundation and a circular small tower not visible to the public. No 10 under an stair of a building there is a piece of about 7 meters long and 1-4 meters high with a small semicircular tower and can be seen. At the Plaza de Puerta Cerrada no 4-6 inside private homes there is a piece of the wall to the crowning above.

You have the Arrabal fence or Cerca del Arrabal, probably built in 1438 after a plague epidemy ,which due to it a hospital was built with a fence to unite the suburbs of the city. This hospital was next to the Puerta de Guadalajara and it will be later the Hospital del Buen Suceso that stayed by the Puerta del Sol until 1854 when it was demolished. The Puerta (Gate) de Santo Domingo, was at the square (Plaza) of same name coming both from the convent of Santo Domingo the Royal founded by Santo Domingo de Guzman in 1212. The side gate or Postigo de San Martin , name after the nearby convent was in the crossing of the streets Calle San Martin and Calle Navas de Tolosa; later moved to the now Plaza de Callao. The gate or Puerta de Atocha was actually in the now Plaza de Jacinto Benavente. The side gate or Postigo de San Millàn named after the Chapel that was in what is today the Plaza de Cascorro. The gate or Puerta de La Latina in the Calle de Toledo in front of the Plaza de la Cebada, initially called the Puerta de San Francisco to take you to the convent of the same name in what is today the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, and later the neighborhood of La Latina with a hospital nearby with the same name. The Puerta de Moros with a Christian wall, and the Puerta de la Vega which survived the Arab wall.

The fence of Philip II or Cerca de Felipe II in the Calle Bailén. In 1566, king Felipe II ordered built a new fence for fiscal and sanitary reasons, not defensive. It took about 125 hectares ( about 309 acres) and that was unknown until found in 1991,while doing expansion work on the Spanish Senate building in the Calle Bailén which by some experts should belong to the previously mentioned Cerca del Arrabal , and for others that of Cerca de Felipe II. The Puerta de Santo Domingo on the Cerca del Arrabal , postigo de San Martin as the previously mentioned too. The Puerta de la Red de San Luis next to the ways to Hortaleza and Fuencarral , taken the name from a network of a bread market to it wont be stolen and the Church of  San Luis Obispo, located in the Calle Montera; no longer in existance.  The Puerta de Anton Martin located in the square of the same name, took the name from the Hospital of San Juan de Dios,better known by the name of the founder  Antón Martín.  The Puerta de la Vega, on the old Arab wall was replaced in 1708, and finally demolished in 1814.

The fence of  Philip IV or Cerca de Felipe IV  was ordered by the king to be built in 1625  with bricks and dirt.  The construction was motivated by fiscal and vigilance motives as it was not a defensive wall; what was looking is to tax all products entering the city as well as look after the persons entering the city. The Ronda de Segovia with about 500 hectares ( 1236 acres) that is about the current districts of Centro, Retiro park, and Jeronimos neighborhood. It stood there limiting the growth of the city until 1868. The only remains that have reach our days is in the current Ronda de Segovia. The narrow pass or Portillo de San Bernardino, called initially as  San Joaquín  for the nearby convent of the same name on the Calle Princesa, facing the Calle del Rey Fernando. Later was change to San Bernardino  for another nearby convent of the same name that was moved to the Calle de Quintana. demolished in 1868. The  narrow pass or Portillo del Conde Duque at the intersection of Calle Amaniel and Calle Conde Duque . The name comes from the nearby Palace of or  Palacio del Conde-Duque (where today you see the Palacio de Liria, and HQ of the Conde-Duque (Count Duke)). It was also called the Portillo de los Guardias, for being of the body guards, and was demolished in 1868.
The Portillo de Fuencarral, name as is even if the true name was that of Portillo de Santo Domingo. Located in the calle de San Bernardo, by the level of calle de Santa Cruz de Marcenado. Built in 1642 , and demolished in 1867. The Portillo de las Maravillas, given the name from the nearby convent of Maravillas, that was situated at the intersection of Calle de Ruiz, and Calle del  Divino Pastor. The Puerta de Bilbao, known initially as the Puerta de los Pozos de la Nieve (gate of the snow wells)  for been nearby ; built in 1625  by the level of Calle  Fuencarral and Calle del Divino Pastor  to be moved in 1690  to the north in the current Glorieta de Bilbao.  Later, it was named Puerta de San Fernando until 1837  it was adopted with the name of Puerta de Bilbao in memory of that city and its defenders. It had a panel that can be read  “A los heroicos defensores y libertados de la invicta villa de Bilbao, los habitantes de Madrid”, or to the heroic defenders and liberators of the undefeated city of Bilbao, by the people of Madrid. The Portillo de Santa Bárbara, located in the square of same name at the end of Calle Hortaleza. Both adopted the name of the nearby convent of Santa Bárbara.

The Portillo de Recoletos, located first in front of the National Library or Biblioteca Nacional on the  Paseo de Recoletos , and later change in 1756, when king Fernando VI  built the fence or cerca de las Salesas Reales, by a new gate that was considered the best of the existing ones until that of Puerta de Alcalá was built. IT was dismantled in 1863  to be moved to another location but later abandoned, damage and in bad shape so never rebuilt and the parts used for other constructions. The Portillo de Valencia, aka as Puerta de Lavapiés located at the beginning of Calle Lavapies that today is call Calle Valencia facing the Calle Doctor Fourquet. In 1778, a new side gate was built that takes the name of Portillo de Valencia for being in the beginning of the road to Levante; later demolished in 1868. The Portillo de Embajadores from the 17C ,and in 1782 when the Ronda de Toledo was built ,its position was advance until the current Glorieta de Embajadores and as in the previous one , was demolished in 1868. The Portillo del Campanillo del Mundo Nuevo built in 1856 to avoid that the way of the cattle as it entered the city to the slaughterhouse of the Plaza del General Vara de Rey.

The Portillo de Gilimon, located at the end of the Calle San Bernabé, the Portillo de las Vistillas name for the views you can have from it; the Puerta de Segovia built by the middle of the 17C near the Puente de Segovia (bridge) from which it took the name of Puerta del Puente; demolished in 1849 and re built the following year until finally demolished for good in 1868. The Puerta de la Vega, originally demolished and rebuilt a new one in 1708 that was as well demolished in 1830 and replaced by a side gate or Portillo in wood until determine what to do. Finally, demolished in 1850 and change the lands into a series of ramps that we still have today. Here ,it is worth mentioning the story of the Virgin of Almudena or Virgen de la Almudena ,that according to tradition was hidden since the Arab occupation in 712AD until the conquest of the city by king Alfonso VI in  1085.  The image of the Virgin was found in a bucket at the Puerta de la Vega and once fallen a second time the Virgin was place in a niche on the ramp or Cuesta de la Vega.  The one you see there today was done in 1941.

There, I hope you like as I do the fascinating stories of cities and especially one my beloved Madrid. Or as the old saying says, From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! yes!!! Have a great Sunday, happy travels, good health and enjoy life. Cheers!

 

 

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March 23, 2018

The bridges of Madrid!

Well you might know most of the most known, best tourist attraction cities in the world have a river going thru it and bridges! My beloved Madrid is no exception to this, and I would like to introduce you to some of my favorites over the years of living and visiting there.

Madrid has the Manzanares river. And life more and more evolves around it.

There are about 33 bridges (last I count them they built always ) some are pedestrians , others for trains transport, and even fewer are for automobiles.  All going and coming from the Manzanares river.

Some of my favorites over the years are:

The puente de la Culebra , a work of art from the 18C  built in the park of the Casa de Campo, over the creek of  Meaques, affluent of the Manzanares river and in turn of the  Jarama river. The bridge is over the small lake or Estanque Chico, that is created by the water creek of Meaques. It was built in 1782,upon request of king Carlos III. Initially called the narrow bridge or Puente Estrecho, on a shape looking like a snake.  The architect was the famous Francesco Sabatini,(who also did the Royal Palace) that designed as it is to stop the passing of the wagons to the Casa de Campo , only zone given to the Royal Crown of Spain.

Another popular bridge on a popular park is the  puente de hierro  inside the park of El Capricho located in the Alameda de Osuna.  It was built in 1830,and is the oldest steel bridge  in Spain with a technique not yet seen in the country.

You the French bridge or puente de los Franceses  as a train viaduct located in the district of  Moncloa-Aravaca . It was built in the second half of the 19C to allowed the trains to the north over the Manzanares river. The bridge was done between 1860 and 1862, along the lines of the railroad line to the North of Spain. It is near the old north station or the  Príncipe Pío,  where the long line trains were going. The terminal began built in 1859, but now only service the suburbain trains of  Cercanías. During the Spanish Civil War the bridge was the scene of fierce fighting for the defense of Madrid and was the fire baptism for the international Brigades in the battle of the University city( Ciudad Universitaria). You can read more on the tourist page in English : Puente de los Franceses 

The puente de Praga cross the Manzanares river extending the street Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza towards the highway to  Toledo, connecting the districts of Arganzuela and Carabanchel.  While it was built got the name of Prague bridge because nearby was the Church of the Child Saint of Prague . It was built in 1952,and it was an important bridge to go out of Madrid towards the south and connecting with the road to Toledo, that came to the center of Madrid by the extention of the Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza over the new bridge. Originally you needed to go to the Toledo bridge exit which is today the street;calle de Antonio Leyva.

The puente de la Princesa (aka puente de Andalucía or puente de Legazpi) is also over the Manzanares river by the Plaza de Legazpi. It began to be built in 1901  over the railroad tracks been not for trains in the farm of Santa Catalina. The bridge was of steel and opened in 1909 by king Alfonso XIII, connecting the Paseo de las Delicias with the road to Cádiz.  In 1929 ,the bridge was demolished and replaced by a another of cement with three parabolic towers,and 18 meters wide.  In 2006 ,this bridge was demolished again on the project of Madrid Río, and replaced by a platform in cement with two support pylons.

And we continue with the puente de la Reina Victoria, (queen Victoria bridge) known popularly as the Queens Bridge, and built early in the 20C with some modernistic touches. It, also crosses the Manzanares river, connecting the streets of calle de Aniceto Marinas, (parallel on the left bank) and Calle de la Ribera del Manzanares,(parallel on the right bank). It creates an important viaduc traject in the urban area of  San Antonio de la Florida (where you have a beautiful Church of same name and a replica of the Virgin),it connects the neighborhood of  San Antonio de la Florida to that of  Manzanares, forming part of the popular district of the la Bombilla. It was built between 1908-1909, and opened on June 13 1909.  The opening took place at the same time of the festival of  San Antonio de Padua (St Anthony of Padua),which is name the Church, and on which dome and windows were painted by  Francisco de Goya in 1798.  Under the II Republic the name was changed to  Puente de Galicia, and at the end of the Spanish Civil War got its original name back which was given in honor of the Queen Victoria Eugenia,of which was married Alfonso XIII  in May 31 1906.  Up the stream you have the cables of the cable car or  Teleférico de Madrid,that connects Paseo de Rosales with the Casa de Campo,and all its attraction parks.

Madrid

above cable car ahead Puente de la Reina Victoria

The Puente del Rey (Kings Bridge) is in the district of  Moncloa-Aravaca over the Manzanares river, connecting the square glorieta de San Vicente  with the Casa de Campo and the avenida de Portugal, the road that later gave in to the autovía(expressway)  to Extremadura (A-5).  It was begun to be built early in the 19C  for the used of Nobles given access to the Royal Palace to the Casa de Campo. In 1931 when the Casa de Campo was opened to the public the bridge was known as Puente de la República (Bridge of the Republic),it was widen and became one of the principal points of access to the new park. In 1970 it was given a exchange capacity on the new beltway of the M-30. By 2007 , the M-30 here goes underground and the bridge becomes pedestrian. You now go around the traffic from the expressway A-5 to the M-30 and to the center city of Madrid by the glorieta de San Vicente, and Plaza de España, where I have parked on the underground parking there. In 2010  the Spanish football/soccer team came here to celebrate winning the World Cup. More on the Madrid tourist page: Puente del Rey

Madrid

around the curve on Manzanares is the Puente del Rey

The puente de San Fernando is ,also over the Manzanares river in an area near the Monte de El Pardo and Hipódromo (racecourse horses)de la Zarzuela,next to the expressway  A-6 km 7, and the exchange traffic circle of the Puerta de Hierro, by which you connect the expressway to the beltway M-30.  There was a isle in the middle of the river and the bridge is done in two segments.  The heavy traffic around here makes it difficult to come but you do the crossing better on foot.  The bridge was built in 1749 during the reign of king Fernando VI . The name was given due to the fact that the king later was a Saint.  Until the last period of the 20C the bridge connected the  M-30 and the A-6 (road to Galicia).  Once a viaduc was built nearby the access to automobiles is prohibited. Today the Puente de San Fernardo is part of a green belt of bikers in Madrid.

The puente de San Isidro  is a bridge linking over the Manzanares river and the park Madrid Río, in the district of Carabanchel with that of Arganzuela from the now old stadium Vicente Calderón (former home of Atlético de Madrid). The bridge was finished and opened to the public in 1974. It has two lanes each way and one bike lane; done part of the construction of the beltway M-30 to pass the avenida del Manzanares. It is 289 meters long by 26 meters wide, and brings together the Paseo de los Pontones,on the left bank to the Paseo de la Ermita del Santo, on the right bank of the Manzanares river.

One of the mosst emblematic bridges of Madrid ,and one of my most favorite is the puente de Segovia, renaissance style located in the crossing of calle de Segovia with the Manzanares river, that historically one of the access to the city.  It was first known as the «puente segoviana»,with first reference of it’s construction dates from the 14C when king Alfonso XI of  Castilla ordered the construction in writing letters dated in 1345  and 1346.  The first drawing found of the bridge (16C) tell us it had nine arches or maybe 13.  The Segovia bridge is the oldest surviving bridge in Madrid.  Again, the ordered to built one was given by king  Felipe II  to his architect  Juan de Herrera,(same of the Monasterio de El Escorial , and Royal Palace of  Aranjuez, among others).  The work extended between 1582 and 1584.  In November 1936, during the  Spanich Civil War the bridge was blown up by the Republicann side to stop the entry to Madrid of Nationalist forces under General Yagüe.  After the war, it was rebuilt introducing new variations to its original design.  In the 1960’s it was again renovated to allow for the construction of the beltway  M-30.  In 2007 ,this road went underground  ,M-30. More on theh Puente de Segovia from the tourist office here: Puente de Segovia

Madrid

Puente de Segovia

Another of my most favorite bridges together with the above is the puente de Toledo built on a barroque style between 1718 and 1732. It spans both banks of the Manzanares river crossing the Glorieta de Pirámides, on the east side and the Glorieta del Marqués de Vadillo,on the west side.  The origin of the construction dates from the 17C when king Felipe IV had in mind connect Madrid with the road to Toledo by building a bridge over the Manzanares river . The first project was done between 1649  and 1660, when it was known as the Puente Toledana. However, flooding in the river destroyed the bridge a bit later and a new one was schedule from 1671. By 1680, recently finished the new bridge another flooding destroyed it.  This time the design for rebuilding it was done in 1682 with the basic lines of the project done in 1684.  The new bridge was finally ordered built in 1715.  However, the project really did not started than on  1718  and work began in  1719 until completion in  1732.  In  1972, under the project of the beltway M-30, worked began on two lateral bridges that allowed to free the puente de Toledo from the heavy traffic that was supporting.  This new lateral bridges have a central area compose of nine arches on half point with solid columns .  The central frame has 4,95 meter wide and on it you find decorated templates in churrigueres elements having statues in chalk stone of the patron Saints of Madrid ,San Isidro Labrador ,and Santa María de la Cabeza, done in 1723. On each extreme of the frame you have ramps that connect on each side and on the Glorieta de Pirámides ,you have obelisks from the 19C on the north side as well as two fountains on the closest side to the city.  More on the bridge from Madrid tourist office here: Puente de Toledo

Toledo

Puente de Toledo

We continue our tour with one very near my old home in Madrid; this is the puente de Ventas (right by the bullfight arena Monumental de Ventas) , this bridge brings together the districts of  Salamanca and Ciudad Lineal (my old district , neighborhood of Quintana) crossing the M-30 on foot and automobile.  This bridge was done on a mix structure of cement and steel  forming tables frame rather of two lateral sides with a pedestrian way ,and a central table frame with six cords or columns in parallel. It weights 1160 tons!!! and 60 meters long, and was done in four steps so not to stop traffic of the beltway M-30 and Calle Alcalá (my street!!!). You can walk to the Monumental bullfight arena just next to it.

Madrid

Puente de Ventas on M30 towards Valencia…

Last but not least is the Puente del Principado de Andorra (previous Puente  ”Y” and name in honor of the Principality of Andorra).  It is very closed to the stadium Vicente Calderón, crossing the  Manzanares river by a passarelle for pedestrian and bikes designed like the old train bridges of the 19C. It is a tree shaded area of the Salón de los Pinos (or pines halls).  The passarelle connects the Calle de San Ambrosio ,and Calle San Conrado,in the district of  Latina,with the Calle del Mármol,in the city center and it is integrated to the project of  Madrid Río  that extends onwards to  Monte de El Pardo on the north and the Caja Mágica on the south.

Not least as I mentioned several times the beltway M-30 who was finished shortly after I left while living in Madrid, let me give something on it.  This is a beltway done like a expressway and today mostly underground going around the city of Madrid; this was the first beltway,now there are several lol!  It is 32,5 km long and a radius of about 5,2 km from the Puerta del Sol (marking the center of Spain) and it is the most traveled road in Spain!! And the only expressway that is own by a city in Spain;Madrid. The authorized speed limit is 90 KPH above ground and 70 KHP underground!  This  is a map you can print and guide you on its many exits; Map M 30 beltway

A picture map of the central Madrid and the M -30 by Softguides  here:

Madrid

softguide map of central Madrid and the M 30 beltway

 

Another popular area now , and mentioned several times above is the new renovated banks of the Manzanares river called Madrid Rio. 8 km long and 1,2 million square meters space! 32 bridges and passarelles, planting of 33K trees of 47 different species, and 460K shrubs of 38 different species. It has  24 fountains with urban beaches and four recreation of old laundries with a water spout looking like the one in Bordeaux with three ovals of 500 meters each. You can play football/soccer, basketball, padel, tennis on their own fields as well as BMX circuits ,one skatepark, and a climbing wall as well as canoë-kayak on the Manzanares river ! It’s a huge entertainment complex au naturel. More here from the tourist office; Madrid Rio

There, I hope you like the post, many of these bridges are special in my youth and came back like a pilgrim to them each time, and on each occasion introduce them to a new member of my family down to my sons.

Enyoy your weekend, TGIF is here. Happy travels , good health and remember life is beautiful. Cheers!

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March 11, 2018

Castilla la Mancha and it’s Don Quijote!

And back to the travel stories with a region dear to me as well. The part of the Spanish which is immortalized by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and the dreamers story of Don Quijote. The land has reminiscent of this all over and even the windmills. We ride the car here to all the small corners of the region from its wonderful mountain ranges or serranias to the valleys of the windmills, the monasteries, and heritage places, even in non asphalt country roads. The food is fantastic and inexpensive. This is Castilla La Mancha or CLM!!

Well ,will try to keep it short but have many posts in my blog on this region. I will post them here first;  I think should be a wealth of information for the visitor to this region.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/10/the-wines-of-la-mancha-castilla-la-mancha-that-is/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/31/san-clemente-province-of-cuenca-castilla-la-mancha/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/31/road-warrior-passing-by-the-province-of-cuenca-castilla-la-mancha/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/29/cuenca-we-are-here-again-the-casas-colgadas-of-castilla-la-mancha/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/29/the-little-mountain-town-of-las-majadas-cuenca-province/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/28/and-vacation-time-is-overcoming-home-from-the-castillas-of-spain/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/27/clm-and-comu-de-madridtorrejon-de-ardozhuetesegobrigaand-belmonte/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/25/chinchon-colmenar-la-oreja-and-villarejo-de-salvanes-comunidad-de-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/27/fortified-alarcon-and-the-serrania-de-cuenca/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/21/our-home-base-las-majadas-casa-pitu/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/21/how-about-getting-to-home-destination-in-spain-las-majadas/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/07/back-to-huete-province-of-cuenca-and-the-machegos/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/23/the-mythical-beautiful-toledo/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/06/cathedral-santa-maria-primada-de-toledo/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/05/toledo-the-magical-blend-of-spain/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/03/province-of-cuenca-tragacete-canete-tarancon-cuenca/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/02/monasterio-de-ucles-province-of-cuenca/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/02/castillo-de-belmonte-the-montijos-of-france/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/28/and-one-more-time-in-cuenca-our-main-city-home-base/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/22/cuenca-is-quaint-and-an-unesco-world-heritage-site/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/29/the-little-mountain-town-of-las-majadas-cuenca-province/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/09/01/from-las-majadas-back-to-france-the-long-journey-of-memories/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/25/chinchon-colmenar-la-oreja-and-villarejo-de-salvanes-comunidad-de-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/31/villanueva-de-la-jara-province-of-cuenca-castilla-la-mancha/

And of course ,my usual ramblings on the area.

Castilla La Mancha is in the center of Spain, the historic region of Nueva Castilla from where it was detached from the Province of Madrid to become Castilla La Mancha after the Constitution of Spain in 1978; however, it was added the Province of Albacete that belonged to the region of Murcia. It is surrounded by the regions of Castilla y Léon, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalucia, and Extremadura. Currently, it is divided into five provinces, those of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, and Toledo. The capital is Toledo and the biggest city in population is Albacete.

It is in this area that the worldly story of Don Quijote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was done and putting this region on the world map.  La Mancha is a wide huge area of wind swept battered plateau, it remains a symbol of Spanish culture with its vineyards, sunflowers, mushrooms, olive plantations windmills and ewe milk manchego cheeses. And of course, Don Quijote. The highest altitudes are in the  Montes de Toledo with peaks of La Villuerca at 1601 meters (5253 ft), and Rocigalgo at 1447 meters ( 4747 feet). The Serrania de Cuenca or sierras ranges of Cuenca are where we base ourselves high in the mountains at 1400 meters, and even if not into walks and mountains areas I have to admit this is heaven! highly recommended to all. More in Spanish here: http://www.turismocastillalamancha.es/caza-y-pesca/reserva-nacional-serrania-de-cuenca-5599/descripcion/

Las Majadas

Toba

Reservoir of Toba Serrania de Cuenca

Main autovias or highways/motoways are the A3 going east to west and into Madrid and Valencia. The A2 Madrid Barcelona, A41 Ciudad Real , AP41 Madrid Toledo; Cordoba, A42 Madrid Toledo, CM42 Toledo to Tomelloso pasing by Consuegra. The car is king still here!  You have national train service  RENFE mainly from Madrid to the major towns in the region like Toledo, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara,  etc High velocity trains or AVE takes you to from Madrid to Ciudad Real, Toledo, Guadalajara, Cuenca, Albacete, etc.Local trains or commuter /Cercanias go out of Madrid into the region. The C-2 stops at Azuqueca de Henares ,Guadalajara and the city itself. The airport have a small one at Albacete but the folks comes to the Madrid or Valencia airports and connects here. In each of my posts I have detail routing on how to get around in this region, heavens!

Las Majadas

road CV9113 brave bulls relaxing by las Majadas

Las Majadas

road CM2105 going to Toledo and the cows

Las Majadas

road CV9113 sheep’s on the early morning

Las Majadas

entering Las Majadas and welcome by a horse off the roadside

The history is long and grand  , to keep it short. By the 4C BC the Iberian and Celtic were here, and the end of the 2C BC the Romans came to stayed. The decline of the Roman empire saw many Germanic tribes coming ,and the Visigoths takes over the lands choosing Toledo as their political an religious capital. By 711 AD, the Moors/Arabs came up and stayed for a long period mixing cultures, religions, and languages here. Once they were began to expands in early the 11C or 1031AD, the caliph of Cordoba starts with several caliphs including that of Toledo; of which territory is almost identical to the one you find today. By 1085, king Alfonso VI takes Toledo, followed by king Alfonso VIII taking Cuenca in 1177,and king Alfonso X taking Villa Real in 1255 (became Ciudad Real). Eventuall, all fitted into Spain by 1492 and the Catholic kings of Fernando and Isabel reuniting the Spain as we know it today.

Segobriga

Roman city of Segobriga Archeological park

The region is dotted with the most beautiful of Cathedrals such as the ones in Toledo, Sigûenza, Cuenca, Albacete, and Ciudad Real . The castles are many (like the name Castile) too numerous to mention my favorites are those of the Alcazar of Toledo, castle of Alarcon, Almansa, Chinchilla, Consuegra, Garcimuñoz, Orgaz, Sigûenza, Uclés and Zafra.

Cuenca

Cathedral Santa Maria y San Julian Cuenca

Toledo

Cathedral primate pardon gate entrance Toledo

Alarcon

Castle of Alarcon going up

Belmonte

Castle of Belmonte

Garcimunoz

Castle of Garcimunoz

Ucles

monastery of Ucles

Some webpages to further help you plan your trip is here:

The region tourist office:

http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/

Spain tourism on Castilla La Mancha : http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/ciudades-pueblos/comunidades-autonomas/castilla-la_mancha.html

Hope you enjoy the ride, and do visit this region, it is wonderful. One of my places to settle down for retirement eventually, still working on it. A vast land of many wonderful heritage and still to be discovered by many. Enjoy your Sunday. Happy travels and good health. Cheers!

 

 

 

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March 9, 2018

The Comunidad de Madrid ,oh yes!

On a nice day still waiting for Spring, cloudy but rain stop and not cold around 10C or 50F in my neck of the woods, and hoping to get our puppy Saturday. I would like to speak about an area dear to me.

I have written on a few times in my blog with concentration in Madrid of course (lived there for glorious 4 yrs and visit every year for upteem times)so, to tell you I will be biased. Well this is the Comunidad de Madrid or the autonomous region of Madrid, it includes Madrid but will leave out as much as possible to tell about the other beautiful towns and history of it. The blog posts are here:

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/30/valle-de-los-caidos/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/30/a-masterpiece-monastery-of-san-lorenzo-de-el-escorial/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/25/the-sierras-around-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/04/alcala-de-henares-madrid-with-a-touch-of-cervantes/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/24/aranjuez-is-more-than-a-concerto/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/27/clm-and-comu-de-madridtorrejon-de-ardozhuetesegobrigaand-belmonte/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/25/chinchon-colmenar-la-oreja-and-villarejo-de-salvanes-comunidad-de-madrid/

The Comunidad de Madrid is the province of Madrid; the capital and as well capital of Spain. The province is surrounded by the provinces of Guadalajara, Cuenca, and Toledo in the region of Castille La Mancha, Avila and Segovia in the region of Castilla y Leon. In 1981,Madrid was separated from Castilla La Mancha heir to the old Nueva Castilla of which Madrid belongs since the 19C . By 1983,the Comunidad de Madrid was finally established.

The comunidad or community has a beautiful landscape especially in mountain range of Guadarrama and at Ayllón ,the most westernmost area of the mountain range of Somosierra, as well as Gredos , the easternmost part. You have wonderful mountain tops of Peñalara at 2428 meters, Peña Cebollera at 2129 meters, and at Alto del Mirlo at 1700 meters. In my wonderful Guadarrama you have also the peaks of La Maliciosa at 2227 meters and the Siete Picos at 2138 meters. The Jarama river runs for 190 km,and is the longest river here on the borders of the Tajo river ; it is by here that you can go to Guadarrama , Somosierra and the wonderful peak station of Puerto de Navacerrada.

As you can imagine the transports here are big and excellent. You have the Barajas Adolfo Suarez international airport just outside the city of Madrid in the proper town of Barajas; the best way to reach the area. Of course, if you are like me ,you come by car if in Europe I do it every year! The road network is free except the radials highways or Radiales mark with an R like R-2, R-3, R-4 and R-5. There are too not radiales but do charge these are the AP-6 ,and the M-12. From Madrid, you have all the roads or all the roads lead to Madrid!!, from Kilometer zero at the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. The highway/motoways or as here call Autovías, you have the wonderful A-1 going to Burgos Basque country and France! ,A-2 the way to Barcelona, A-3 the way to Valencia , A-4 going south to Andalucia, A-5 go west to Badajoz and Portugal, and the A-6 to Galicia, and the great A-42 to Toledo. The wonderful M-30 (completed as I was leaving Madrid) is managed by the City of Madrid ; the M-40 and M-50 beltways are managed by the State; and the M-45 is by the region. Alongside, you have the M-21 and M-31 that connects them in axis all the beltway autovias. The roads passed by good views mountain passes like the Navacerrada at 1858 meters , Guadarrama/Los Leones,at 1511 meters and the Somosierra at 1434 meters.

Madrid Madrid

It also has a railroad since 1851 opened by Queen Isabel II on the line Madrid-Aranjuez; the oldest in Spain. There is the fast speed train or AVE with service like to Madrid-Córdoba-Sevilla, Madrid-Córdoba-Málaga, Madrid-Zaragoza-Lérida-Tarragona-Barcelona,Madrid-Toledo, Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid,Madrid-Cuenca-Valencia, and the Madrid-Albacete-Alicante. There are suburban trains call Cercanías ;which are the busiest in Spain. It has 10 lines from the Capital to the suburbs and with correspondance in Atocha Cercanías, except the C-9,that runs on the sides of the mountains or Sierra de Guadarrama, passing by mountain passes such as Navacerrada ,and Cotos. This line has a unleveling descend of about 60%, one of the most penpendiculars in Europe ; opened in 1923 by the King Alfonso XIII. There is a metro/subway/tube in Madrid run by Metro de Madrid.

This comunidad de Madrid part of the historic Castilla has three Unesco world heritage site such as Monasterio de El Escorial , the University and city center of Alcalá de Henares, and the cultural center of Aranjuez.

Alcala de Henares Aranjuez San Lorenzo

Webpages to help you plan your trip are here:
Tourism comm Madrid :  http://turismomadrid.es/en/

State Community of Madrid tourism :  http://www.madrid.org/cs/Satellite?c=Page&cid=1273687122273&idTema=1142598781409&language=es&pagename=ComunidadMadrid%2FEstructura&pid=1273078188154

Province tourism ofiices major cities:  http://www.spain.info/en/consultas/ciudades-y-pueblos/madrid.html

The Comunidad de Madrid celebrates its main day on May 2 as the independence Day (from Napoleon’s  France in 1808). The enclosures of bulls such as those at San Sebastián de los Reyes (going back to the 16C) are second only to Pamplona. The gastronomy here is diverse and plenty, the one not to missed is the Cocido Madrileño , the little soldiers of Pavia or soldaditos de Pavía, the besugo a la madrilène (red sea bream fish ), the potage or potage de vigilia. Wines are plenty with DO Vinos de Madrid, located at Arganda del Rey, Navalcarnero ,and San Martín de Valdeiglesias. Also the wonderful anisette or Anís de Chinchón;the beef from the Sierra de Guadarrama;olives from Campo Real; and Olive oil of Madrid; also the cheese or queso de Campo Real. The sweets are best from the convent in Alcalà de Henares or the big strawberries of Aranjuez.

I like to tell you a bit of history I like:

During the Roman Empire the region was integrated to the province of Citerior Tarraconense, except the southwestern part, belonging to Lusitania (Portugal).The region was connected by two important Roman ways such as the Via XXIV-XXIX (from Astorga to Laminium), and the Via XXV (from Emerita Augusta to Caesaraugusta). The city of Complutum (Alcalá de Henares) reached high relevance in the empire while Titulcia and Miaccum at the foot of the mountains. The city of Madrid came about between 860 and 880AD, as a walled town where a religious and military community lived. This push the contruction of fortifications for the defense of cities like Toledo,above the Talamanca de Jarama and Qal’-at’-Abd-Al-Salam (Alcalá de Henares),as the most importants. In 1083, king Alfonso VI takes the city of Madrid ,and two years later he entered in Toledo. While Alcalá de Henares felled in 1118, on a new annexation of the kingdom of Castilla.

The Castilian monarchy begins to expand on the center of current Spain for its excellent hunting grounds and forest lands ; El Pardo was a preferred site frequented by the kings on hunting trips since king Enrique III (14C). The Catholic kings pushed for the construction of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. In the 16C, San Lorenzo de El Escorial was added to the list of Royal sites. Madrid was one of 18 towns with the right to vote in the Cortes or Court of Castilla. As well served as residence to various monarchs such as Emperor Carlos I, that enlarged and renovated the Alcázar. In the 16C ,also, came about the university or Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, opened in 1508,while residing the Cardinal Cisneros. By 1561,king Felipe II established Madrid as the Capital of his empire that can considered the big push to create a province of Madrid. In 1833 ,Spain creates the provinces and one of them was Madrid( feat that was carried out into the Hispanic Americas). In this new division the province was put in the region of Castilla la Nueva (new Castile); eventually the provinces of Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara , and Toledo were added. These changes made that the small town of Valdeavero, before part of the province of Guadalajara now passed to Madrid in 1850. The status of Autonomous Community of Madrid was approved in 1983. The province of Madrid became in 1983 the Comunidad de Madrid.

And this is it, Comunidad de Madrid, a bit condense story of a beautiful region and many memories of youth with my mom, and now souvenirs of visiting with my family, so lucky to be able to do it every year. Enjoy it as I do, it is magical. Have a great weekend ! Cheers!!!

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March 9, 2018

The Cradle, Castilla y Léon, Spain

So moving right along in my showcase of Spain, my other love… On a tranquil Friday evening at home with rain and cool temps of course nothing new in lovely Morbihan. I need to tell you more about a region of Spain that has given birth to a country and more, in Europe and the Americas. I will tell you more about Castilla y Léon autonomous region of Spain.

First, let me start you off with my previous blog posts on this wonderful region of Spain.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/14/segovia-the-castilian-of-spain/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/30/segovia-aqueduct-alcazar-catedral-and-memories-of-always/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/30/la-granja-de-san-ildelfonso-a-palace-in-the-mountains/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/08/28/and-vacation-time-arrived-going-to-the-castillas-of-spain/

The autonomous region of Castilla y León is in the northwest of Spain and surrounded by other communities such as Galice,Asturias,Cantabria, Basque country, Rioja , Aragon, Castilla y La Mancha, Comunidad de Madrid, Extremadura and Portugal. The region is the result of the union of 9 provinces in 1983, three already there since the alignment in 1833,where provinces were created and joined the region of Léon, and six belonging to Castilla la Vieja (old Castile) except the province of Santander(today Cantabria), and Logroño (today the Rioja). The current nine provinces of Castilla y Léon are Avila, Burgos, Léon, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia Soria Valladolid and Zamora.

We find in Castilla y Léon over 60% of the architectural, artistic, cultural , etc of Spain! Which we can break it down as 8 Unesco world heritage sites such as the Cathedral of Burgos ,Old town Avial and Churches inside the wall), the old town and aqueduct of Segovia, the old town of Salamanca, the way of Santiago in Spain (Route Franco-Navarra and route Franco-Aragonesa),the Médulas, archeological site of Atapuerca, and the rupestre arts sites prehistorical of the Valley of Côa and Siega Verde. Also, the distinction memories of the World by Unesco to the treaty of Tordesillas ,and the General Archives of Simancas. Almost 1800 cultural sites, 112 historical sites, 400 museums, more than 500 castles including 16 of historical value designation in Spain , 12 Cathedrals, a concathedral Church, and the biggest concentration of Roman arts in the world. With the 8 Unesco heritage sites Castilla y Léon is the world region counting the most cultural sites given by UNESCO.

You, also,have on the nature site the forest or Montes de Valsaín and the ranges of Béjar and Francia,in the Central plateau, the valleys of Laciana, Omaña, and Luna ,as well the peaks or Picos de Europa and peak of Los Ancares,in the Cantabrian chain, the Iberian plateau in the frontier with Portugal, also, all declared part of the Biosphere by Unesco,as well recognizing the geoparque of La Lora. Castilla y León is strongly related on the programs of Memories of the World by Unesco in the the edict of the Cortes of León of 1188, considered the birth of the world parliamentary form of government and the before mentioned treaty of Tordesillas.

I like to tell you a bit of history I like:

The Roman period was non stop building here, and even to our days you see it all around you. Especially the Aqueduct of Segovia, the salted well and the Silver route or Salinas de Poza de la Sal and vía de la Plata, originally from Astorga (Asturica Augusta) crossing the region until the capital Mérida(Augusta Emerita) of Extremadura. With the fall of Rome, these lands were taken over by the Visigoths and later the Moors/Arabs ,and eventually the reconquest by the Catholic kings in 1488-1490. The Middle ages gave rise to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (St James).The way of Santiago passes by this region and help spread the European culture.

In 1188, the Basílica de San Isidoro of León was the seat of the first courts or parliaments in the history of Europe. The king Alfonso IX called for these. Then a county of this Christian kingdom of León begins to have autonomy and expansion, this is the beginning of the county of Castilla, that will grow to become a kingdom. The first Couint of Castilla was Fernán González. The base of the union of the kingdoms of Castilla and León,was put in place by 1194; when king Alfonso VIII of Castilla and king Alfonso IX of León signed the treaty for the union of the lands in Tordehumos in 1230 with king Fernando III el Santo(the Saint); at the court of Valladolid in 1295,king Fernando IV is recognized as king of Castilla y Leon. There is a portrait work of María de Molina representing the son of of king Fernando IV in the court of Valladolid in 1295 where today the Congress of Deputies is shown next to a portrait of the courts of Cádiz, emphasizing the importance of the parliamentary form of government that was developed in Castilla y León. This reach the union of these lands to the reconquest of Moors in Andalucia at Granada; the Catholic kings share the maritime ways and the new world with the Portuguese crown in the Treaty of Tordesillas.

As far as transport, the train is good, and the roads are excellent. Love that A-1 and A-6. The Autovía de Castilla or A-62, connecting cities like Salamanca, Valladolid, Palencia ,and Burgos. The A-2 ok but the others are better to the areas I like most. You have an airport at Salamanca about 17 km from the city and the airport of Valladolid in the town of Villanubia but still the one in Madrid can be taken too. The train network of course comes out of Madrid towards the corners of Cantabria and Galicia with stops in Astorga, Burgos, León, Miranda de Ebro, Palencia, Ponferrada, Valladolid , and Venta de Baños. There is a line between Irun and the Portuguese frontier at Fuentes de Oñoro, part of the line París-Lisbon.

The goodies of gastronomy here are the wonderful wines of D.O. Ribera del Duero, D.O. Toro ,and D.O. Rueda. The foodies are the ham or Jamón de Guijuelo, Lechazo de Castilla y León (lamb), Cochinillo de Segovia (pigs), Cecina de León or Chorizo de Cantimpalos (sausages). The roasted lamb or lechazo asado, cochinillo asado or roasted pork, sopa de ajo or garlic soup, judiones de La Granja (big white beans), gallina en pepitoria (chicken in a sauce), morcilla de Burgos (blood sausage),morcilla de Aranda (blood sausage). The sweets are the egg yolks or Yemas de Santa Teresa to kill for them lol!!!

This is a huge wonderful part of Spain, with lots to see and do. However, I will try to condense to give you my favorites.

The cities of Unesco heritage sites are Ávila, Salamanca and Segovia; The way to Santiago that crosses the provinces of Burgos, Palencia and León,the ducal town of Lerma. You have, also, winter sports with the ski stations of La Covatilla in the Sierra de Béjar; San Isidro and Leitariegos in León ,and the La Pinilla in Segovia.The Basílica de San Vicente of Ávila. The Alcazar of Segovia , castle of Peñafiel, castle of Frías, castle of Simancas, Castle of Coca, castle of Cuellar. The moors style still are there such as the Monasterio de San Miguel de Escalada (monastery), the Real Monasterio de Santa Clara of Tordesillas. On the renaissance style we have the palace or Palacio de Santa Cruz,now the rector of the University of Valladolid residence. The¨Palacio de Pimentel(where was born king Felipe II) now house the regional government in the province of Valladolid , also in Valladolid, the Palacio de los Vivero, that was the old chancellors residence and here the nuptial ceremony of the Catholic kings (Fernando and Isabel). The shells house or Casa de las Conchas in Salamanca with renaissance, gothic, and plateresque styles of architecture. The Palacio de Monterrey,own by the Casa de Alba (dukes). In Burgos you have the Casa del Cordón and the Cartuja de Miraflores. Also, the Monasteries of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, and inside the Codex musical de Las Huelgas. See the Herrenian style of architecture at the Palacio Ducal de Lerma.

Segovia

There are equally many museums here so again will tell you only my favorites. The Museum of Human evolution or Museo de la Evolución Humana in Burgos. Here in same building you find the Royal Academy of fine arts or the Real Academia de Bellas Artes. Palacio Real de La Granja at the Real Sitio de San Ildefonso (near Segovia) one of the residences of the Royal family of Spain. The house museum of Cervantes or Museo Casa de Cervantes in Valladolid; it is by the calle del Rastro ,however the gardens are on another entrance grille on the Calle de Miguel Íscar,by which you entered on a passage named Pasaje de Dulcinea ;this is the authentic house where Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra lived in 1605. In Astorga you find the Casa Botines, that is one of the works of Gaudi done outside Catalunia, and was built between 1889 and 1915, and now dedicated to the Way of Santiago. You have the museums of Museo de Segovia, and Museo Zuloaga as also good ones.

San IldefonsoSegovia

The National festival of the Jota or Festival Nacional de la Jota is celebrated each year since 1968 in the town of Cuéllar. The dance of the Jota castellana (Castilian) can be accompany by guitars, bandurrias (plucked chordophone), lauds, dulzaina (double reed instrument), and tamboril (tabor).

And to help you enjoy all of the above, here are some tourist sites to check them out before coming over; always helpful to all.

Historical heritage in Castilla y Leon : http://www.santamarialareal.org/que-hacemos

PNatural Heritage in Castilla y Leon :  http://www.patrimonionatural.org/paginas/casas-del-parque/las-casas-del-parque

Locator tourist offices in Castilla y Leon: http://www.turismocastillayleon.com/en/services/tourism-information-center

Tourism of Castilla y Léon:  http://www.turismocastillayleon.com/turismocyl/en

Enjoy your weekend; Cheers!

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February 27, 2018

The bulls and at Ventas, what about them…..

I will speak about perhaps a controversial issue, not fully understood or traditions gone out the window in our current world. The bulls corridas and especially those at the Monumental de Ventas in Madrid.

This is a great tradition with bulls that are giving the best care and upbringing in the world today, they are pampered.  I have written two posts before on them in my blog, here they are:

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/10/madridthe-bulls-of-san-isidro/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/09/madrid-ventas-and-the-bulls/

For official ticketing to the Ventas bullring, the San Isidro festival and Autumn season, here it is for you: https://www.entradastorosmadrid.com/Bullfight-Madrid.htm

The monumental Ventas official link is here: http://www.las-ventas.com/

The plaza of Ventas opened in 1931 with a capacity for 23 798 persons, and a neo mudéjar architecture;  been the biggest in Spain for the size and the fame, as well as the third in the world. The plaza is composed of a main bullring  diameter measuring 60 meters , and the callejon or alley of 2,20 meters.  The resting place of the bulls is divided into three sections. the left gate are where the first three bulls come out and the two replacements if needed .The Central gate where they come in and out the cabestros or bell ax  and the right gate where come out the last three bulls.

The arena belongs to the neighborhood of  Guindelera in the district of  Salamanca. The metro line 2 and 5 Ventas is right in front.

Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid

A bit of history I like. Upon request of king Felipe IV ,the count of Olivares built an arena in 1630 at the place Buen Retiro (Retiro park)  to give replacement to the Plaza Mayor where many corridas were held. Another arena was built in 1737 on the location of Soto de Luzon. Later, king Felipe V ordered built another arena that give  management to the  Sala de Alcaldes de la Casa y Corte in 1743; this is the Puerta de Alcalà arena. On the same spot ,king Fernando VI ordered built another arena that gives the hospitals the management of it! It was in 1875, near Calle Aragon that another arena was built under the name of Las Ventas , the name that today we know as the Monumental de Madrid.

There is ,also, a fine museum about the art call Museo Taurino with interesting objects and architecture that will bring many even if no interest to the corridas; the museum is in the back of the Monumental , you walk around it. It, also has a chapel devoted to the Virgen de Guadalupe and to the Virgen de la Paloma, patrons of Mexico and Madrid, respectively. The museum tour here: http://lasventastour.com/el-museo-taurino/

During the Spanich Civil War between 1936-1939 the arena was closed and open again in May 1939. The first bull to participate in the arena was called Hortelano, and the bullfighter name was Aguililla (little eagle).

The arena is used as a concert hall events as well. Best to see the stables of the horses, the bulls resting barns, the Arena itself of course, the Big gate or Puerta Grande, the stands, and the statue dedicated to  El Cordobés outside facing Calle de Alcalà.

 The Festival or feast of San Isidro is enormous and a must see at least once in  your life. In 2018 there will be a corrida internacional, with bulls from different countries so far accepting are Juan Bautista (France), Juan del Álamo (Spain), Luis David Adame (México), Joaquín Galdós (Perú), Jesús Enrique Colombo (Venezuela), and maybe Luis Bolívar (Colombia) , and the horse swordmen  Joao Moura(Portugal). All of San Isidro is this year from May 11-15.  The official site still do not have the 2018 activities but it is here: http://www.sanisidromadrid.com/

More from the Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/search?text=san+isidro+2018&sort_bef_combine=search_api_relevance+DESC&items_per_page=20

My recollection as a young boy in Madrid was been taken at Las Ventas to see the rajoneros or the men on horse poking the bulls and taken into the arena itself. I lived not far from here in Quintana, two metro /subway stops. It was the boys hangout in an other era.

One area where my Mom shopped was at the now call Mercado de las Ventas  (before the Canillas) almost across from the Monumental. Here you get your good groceries, fruits etc. http://www.mercadoventas.es/

Down the street straight out of Las Ventas you come to the Tablao Flamenco La Quimera, Calle Sancho Davila; here is the site in English: http://www.tablaolaquimera.com/en/

Continue the Tablao on Calle de los Peñascales and reach the wonderful park of  Quinta de la Fuente del Berros. Further, at Calle de Eduardo Aunos, the city edge of the park you have the Casa del Reloj or Watch house, a historic building.

Out of Arena turn right towards Plaza Manuel Becerro and see the Eva Duarte de Peron park at Calle del Dr Goméz Ulla, the park makes like a triangle in the square.  Out of the arena left and you pass the beltway M-30 Avenida de la Paz and you are in Calle de Alcalà , metro stop Carmen and then Quintana on line 5 and you are in my old neighborhood; unfortunately all change now.

 Madrid

To eat around the Arena, you have the Casa Toribio restaurant very nice food and great prices. Here they serve rabo de toro de Liria, the lidia bulls oxtail stew, omg delicious, my favorite; lucky my father makes it too ::)  http://www.restaurantecasatoribio.com/

Another nice one across is Los Clarines Restaurant, here they have smaller versions call raciones and the same bull oxtails stew, love it. try it !!! http://www.restaurantecasatoribio.com/

There is an inexpensive good chain cafeteria just across the Ventas call VIPS, Calle de Alcalà, 200. https://www.vips.es/restaurantes/vips-alcala-200?utm_source=directorios&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=estatica_directorios&utm_content=sitio_web

Another good one over the years is Quinta la Candela, Calle Julio Camba, 5 ; for those bellota hams delights. http://www.quintalacandela.com/

And at Calle de Alcalà 227 you have a masterpiece of bullfights history and tradition. still going strong Los Timbales, went there with my Mom as a boy and repeat repeat… Very Madrileño, more tips on yelp search page with comments. https://www.yelp.com/biz/los-timbales-madrid

Even with a Facebook page ::) https://www.facebook.com/restaurantelostimbales/

Now hotels abound, but you can understand never needed one by there. I have family by aluche and on the way to Toledo or a business trip. However, some well known hotels in the area are the Hotel Ibis Madrid Centro Las Ventas across the street, and the Rafaelhoteles Ventas by metro Carmen on Calle de Alcalà 269 and very nice chain.

Hope you have enjoyed the ride, and can understand the world of bullfights, heck I have seen cow fights as well, but they get extra treatment and well fed, we end up having some later too.  In Spanish, but see the amateurs enjoy the tradition of bullfights in a world of bulls or Mundotoro here: http://www.mundotoro.com/

Until next time on the written waves of wordpress by pedmar10. Enjoy your week, happy travels, good health, and Cheers to all!

 

 

February 22, 2018

Madrid is more than a city to me.

So here I am again to speak about the city of Madrid this time. See previous post on the Real Madrid. I have several posts on it ,but some are older ,from my beginning blogging and figure they should be showcase more. This is their story, my story.

There are so many posts already even from this year, I am not going to go into full lenght on what is Madrid to me. It was simply a early teen view of a new surrounding, once told by grandparents and now visually upon me back in 1971.

I grew up there at Calle de Alcalà 331 , 2do A ,Buzon 67, metro Quintana line 5 just out of the metro. Nearby was/is Plaza Quintana, and our closest park was Parque el Calero. Going to the sports complex Elipa (still there!!) was fun on the bus P13 now name 113. Docamar the best patatas bravas de Madrid since 1963 are still there!

Calzados Victor at 238 Alcalà my mom purchased my first shoes in Spain there, and ever since, I stop by and already got my boys shoes there too. The beltway or first one the M30 was finished by 1974 when I left Madrid. It was nice to walk all the way to the Monumental Ventas bullring.

It was a nice quiet working class neighborhood part of Ciudad Lineal, and now drastically change, almost beyond recognition even thus I do stop by for memories’s sake.

I still remember the elevator/lift in my piso/apartment you could take it up but not down, it was from the belle epoque era very nice but old and rusty. We were only on the second floor (3rd US).

Anyway, I get very sentimental just talking about the city. Therefore, here are the old posts just the earlier ones; there are many others in my blog on Madrid. As the saying goes; From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!!! yes!!

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/09/22/madrid-madrid-walking-and-memories-of-teenager-always-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/04/13/my-madrid-alcala-how-can-i-forget-you/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/03/28/nostalgic-madrid-to-heaven-and-a-hole-on-the-sky-to-look-down-on-it-every-day/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/11/04/my-latest-encounter-with-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/26/the-temple-of-debod-in-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/25/the-sierras-around-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/10/wax-museum-of-madridmuseo-de-ceras/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/from-madrid-to-heaven-and/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/10/madridthe-bulls-of-san-isidro/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/14/the-districts-of-madridneighborhoods/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/01/madrid-sights-and-smells/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/21/madrid-puerta-del-sol-y-cibeles/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/21/madrid-other-plazas-and-fountains/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/12/madridpuerta-de-alcala-and-fuente-de-cibeles/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/09/madrid-ventas-and-the-bulls/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/26/best-shopping-my-shopping-in-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/18/my-restaurants-and-bars-of-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/18/getting-in-and-around-madrid/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/28/my-life-in-madrid-spain/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/28/37/

Enjoy the posts and just one photo on this post ok. Have a great week everyone. Cheers!

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