Archive for ‘Madrid’

June 15, 2019

Monasterio de Uclés, Uclés, Province of Cuenca!

And again in my beloved Spain, and favorite region of Castilla La Mancha, of Don Quijote dreams and stories! One can never have enough here in the my Spain, everything under the Sun! I have written bits on Uclés before but needs a special attention and this is it. I will tell you a bit on the Monastery,castle of Uclés in the province of Cuenca.

In our tours as road warriors in Castilla La Mancha region we stopped at a wonderful in country off the beaten path hilly and countryside Monastery of Uclés. This is located in the Province of Cuenca on the cutoff almost of the A3 highway to Madrid-Valencia.

We did the trip by car and did it across sunflower fields of dirt/stone terrain to reach it by the south side where it can be seen in its entire splendor.  However, for the less daring….you can come here on the A3 autovia Madrid-Valencia if coming from Madrid exit/salida 90,and from Valencia exit/ salida 91,  You can do so easier by the road from the A40 taking exit or salida 244. Follow the first two traffic circles direction Carrascosa del Campo. On the third traffic circle take the first exit towards Uclés, continue for about 12 km, crossing the town of Rozalén del Monte. Once you reach Uclés, take a right road bordering the town until you see the access road to the monastery.



A bit of history I like

Founded in pre Roman times, was part of an important Arab/moors enclave with castle, mosque, and spas. It went several times changing hands between Arabs/Moors and Christians until 1057AD; and finally in 1174 under King Alfonso VIII the city is given to the Order of Santiago (as in St James the way a military order to protect Christian lands) that made it their principal house.  In 1493 the Catholic Kings (Fernando y Isabel I) asked the Pope to declare them administrator of the Order and which Fernando the Catholic held from 1494 to 1516 at which time king Carlos I unified the military Christian orders as there were no further needs to fight the Arab/Moors after the conquest of Granada in 1492. In 1528 the works begins on the Monastery and by 1548 the refectory is already built. In 1577 king Felipe II spent Holy Week here as well.



That is a bit of history on the city. Many battles were held the most important and with a nice plaque in the patios of the Monastery today was the one held in January 13 1809 known as the Battle of Uclés between the invading Napoleonic troops and those of the Spaniards in what is known as the war of Independence; the French after winning the battle committed many atrocities to the city and monastery and the homes were sacked and many burned in the Church.




On the site of the Monastery, there was a castle from the 11C of Arab/Moors design. The Monastery is built from 1529 under the reign of king Carlos I and finished in 1735 under the reign of king Felipe V. Due to the long period of construction, the monastery is dotted with three periods of Spanish architecture known as Plateresque, Herrerian, and Churrigueresque; the Church is done in the Herrerian style in 1602 is  similar to that of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

After the end of the Reconquest, the buildings underwent a radical remodeling, which ended with much of the defensive elements of the castle and gave it the current aspect. Not so with the walls, which are still preserved: A first wall protected the old orchard, irrigated with the waters of the Bedija river; a second, currently in a very bad state, still reveals its disposition in the form of serrated teeth. From the old fortress of the order of Santiago are three towers remaining. The three towers, in north-south direction  are: The tower of the Pontido, joined by a bridge with the tower of the Palomar, then a moat dug in rock, which was conquered by means of a drawbridge and that with elevated with a wall leading to the Tower Albarrana.




During the Spanish Civil War it was used as a Republican hospital and later prison (until 1943) where recently on a well were found the remains of more than 300 persons. In 1949, the seminary menor of the bishops of Cuenca under the name of  «Santiago Apóstol» was established. The bishopric of Cuenca now uses it for several functions such as encounters, camping, group meetings, educational activities amongst some.

There are rooms dedicated to the local founding on Roman and pre Romans artifacts and remains of the old Arabic castle as well as the history of the Order of Santiago.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

More info in official page of the Monastery of Uclés  in  Spanish here:

and more in Spanish from the region’s Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha here:

The city of Uclés tourist page:

It is a wonderful side in country Manchego of Castilla La Mancha and a historical place. There are findings of pre historic excavations here too and many Roman artifacts found. In all it is fun for a day of sightseeing and driving on country road, the real travel ! Enjoy the Monastery of Uclés as we did!

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



Tags: , ,
June 14, 2019

The Gate of the Virgin in Cañete!

And back running to my beloved Spain, I come. This is again in my fav region of Castilla La Mancha and the dreamers of Spain. I have been all over here sometimes not enough pictures but been there, road warrior , or family trips it has been many over the years.

I like to tell you a bit on an off the beaten path area of it. This is Cañete in the Province of Cuenca, a very old place, that needs to be discovered for the uniqueness of my Spain. Let me tell you a bit more on the Gate of the Virgin or La Puerta de la Virgen in Cañete.

This is the kind of town visitors should head first to really feel Spain; its hard without the language and not used to driving, but it is all worth it for the experience. Try it!

The Puerta de la Virgen or  Gate of the Virgin, 12-13C to see it you go parellel to Calle Padre Lorenzo. The Gate of the Virgin is of direct access to the old Muslim wall and the opening is made in the wall itself!


The medieval Muslim wall was departing from the Castle and completely ringing the population. It is in good condition and has interesting entrance gates. This fortress of Cañete lends that intimate and cozy character of all the walled towns. In some sections you can see some windows of the houses open to the outside of the wall. The gate of the Virgin is a small arch of half a point with trim kit, Romanesque type of the 12-13C. Next to it there is a small statue of the same time and belonging to the hermitage of the Virgen de la Zarza, although the rest of this temple is more modern.



It is one of the three major accesses of the population open on the Islamic wall. Muslim work of the 10C, had several reforms after the Castilian annexation of the population, perhaps in the 12C or beginning of the 13C. It takes its name from the immediate hermitage of the Virgen de la Zarza, located next to the square where the pious tradition places the miraculous appearance of the patron Saint of Cañete in an imprecise moment on horseback between the 13C and 14C. It is the south gate of the wall and it facilitated the access to the west of the population, on the other side of the hill of the castle, as well as to the mountainous paths and cattle trails that were heading to the upper basin of the Guadazaón river. The gate, of modest dimensions ,only 2.5 meters of light by 4 meters of height to the key of the arc, was closed with two double-leaf gates, with exterior and interior, whose ranges are still preserved.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Cañete on things to see

Tourist office of Province of Cuenca on Cañete

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Cañete in English

And there you go another off the beaten path wonderful place in my beloved Spain Cañete is old and nice and the Gates there are all wonderful and especially the Gate of the Virgin. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

Tags: , ,
June 14, 2019

Church of Our Lady of the Assomption, San Clemente:

And I bring you down to my beloved Spain again, this is going south of Madrid into my fav region of Castilla La Mancha, of Don Quijote dreams and stories. The land is arid and long but the views natural and men made are spectacular. One area I was on my road warrior trips to Spain is San Clemente.

I like to tell you a bit more on a nice monument there ,that again needs more showing in my opinion. The Church Monastery of Our Lady of the Assomption or Iglesia Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion in San Clemente!

San Clemente is a town located in the province of Cuenca, in the Autonomous Community of Castilla-La Mancha. Historically the region was known as the Mancha Alta, within the Mancha de Montearagón, a place name that would come from the fact that the Castilians who traveled to Valencia (which had already been conquered by Jaime I of Aragón in 1238) rode more so climbed  towards Aragón, when passing through this territory, located at a higher altitude. It is located at 110 km from Cuenca, and 80 km from Albacete, on the banks of the Rus River and at the convergence of the A-43 and AP-36 highways. You can get here on the A-3 (autovia de Valencia-Madrid) taking the regional road CM-3112 and crossing the villages of El Cañavate and Villar de Cantos until you reach the town. The national road N-310 crosses the urban nucleus, a link between the towns of Manzanares (Ciudad Real) and Villanueva de la Jara. All lovely country.

A bit of history I like

An important fact in the history of San Clemente lies in the war that the Catholic Monarchs maintained against the followers of Juana La Beltraneja, aspiring to the throne that Queen Isabel (I) la Católica held between the years 1476-1479, among whose followers was Don Diego Pacheco, Marquis de Villena  In this confrontation, the town of San Clemente decided to support Isabel the Catholic and reveals herself against the power of the Marquis of Villena. Once the war ended with victory for the Isabelite’s side, the support that San Clemente gave her helped the Catholic Monarchs to decide to incorporate the town of San Clemente into the crown, making it a kingdom and granting it independence from the town of Alarcón. It received the visit of the Catholic Monarchs on August 9, 1488, a visit in which, as a symbol of gratitude for the support given, they confirmed the privileges that had previously been granted to them, swearing to save and make order to keep all things and mercies and privileges that said town had . During the War of Succession, it was the headquarters of General Duke of  Berwich, showing with remarkable armed help to show its loyalty to king Felipe V, who granted the town the title of Very Noble, Very Loyal and Faithful Villa. Already in the 19C, during the War of Independence (1808-1814), it was a town very worked by the French, since here Napoleon ordered the Frère division, with orders to reinforce the Moncey detachments that operated in Valencia and of Dupont, who was in Andalusia. However, as several mails and offices intercepted by the French testify, the Frére division was unable to carry out its mission due to the magnitude of the routes and the difficulty of communications as well as the suffering inflicted by the inhabitants of San Clemente, among which the local hero Bibiano Hellín, whom  the writer Pérez Galdós cites in the National Episodes. During the Spanish Civil War, an airfield  was built in San Clemente. The 3rd squadron of Bombers group  12 of  Russians Tupolev SB-2 (katiuska) and some biplane fighters Polikarpov I-15, the flat ones were established there.

And now on the Church Monastery of Our Lady of the Assomption.

The Monastery Church of Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion  was founded in 1523 as a convent belonging to the order of Santa Clara. The last Clarisse sisters left it at the beginning of the 21C. It is currently occupied by a small congregation of Carmelite sisters of the Sacred Family (Sagrada Familia). Its interior keeps the most beautiful cloister of all the convents of the town.

San Clemente

It has an irregular floor building consisting of church and convent around a high quality cloister, of which only two sides remain. The façade is composed of a large masonry factory where four ashlar buttresses are visible. The main doorway is a semicircular arch between pilasters that holds a niche. The most beautiful Cloister inside although only two lateral ones remain. Made in masonry, highlight the ashlars of its buttresses, as well as the cover, whose niche can be seen a carving of San Francisco de Asis.(St Francis of Assisi).

San Clemente

The Convent Monastery of Our Lady of the Assomption was born of the devotion of a mysterious local  widow, known by Melchora, who was followed in her ministry by two devout women, called the Toledanas (of Toledo). It has been told of this adventure, with the support of the Provincial of the Franciscans, who sent a religious from Villanueva de los Infantes,  Ana Sánchez, to form the trio of the pious in the Franciscan Observance. The decision was wrong. Well because of differences in interests or because of temperament between the Melchora and the religious of Villanueva, the first cohabitation ended with the expulsion of Ana from the house of Melchora, the first place of residence of the Beatas. A new settlement was sought, this time, without the temperamental Melchora, in the houses ceded by Martín Ruiz de Villamediana, a knight who arrived from Tierra de Campos. In spite of this lodging and some income , the walking of the convent was very difficult. The disagreements continued later; perhaps that was the reason for the departure twenty years after of. Ana Sánchez to Villanueva de los Infantes. The convent would only be consolidated by the retirement and inheritance provided by Mrs. Isabel de Pedrola, which allowed the construction of the convent church in the last quarter of the 16C. Always a nice story behind these old wonderful monuments.

San Clemente

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and its worth the detour are

City of San Clemente on religious monuments

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Church Monastery

And there you go ,another dandy in my Castilla La Mancha, Kingdom of Spain, or Spain everything under the Sun. A nice stop at San Clemente indeed , more written in my blog on nice experiences here. Enjoy the Church Monastery of Our Lady of the Assomption.

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





Tags: , ,
June 14, 2019

Museum of the Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo ,Alcalá de Henares!

So let me swing back at my beloved Spain, and tell you a bit on a highly cultural city near my beloved Madrid. I have several posts on Spain, Madrid, and even  Alcalà de Henares but darn have not written a deserving post on this museum. Therefore, here is my take on it.

I would like to tell you a bit more on the Museum of the Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo for the long official name, simply for short a Religiuos Arts museum. It is located in Alcalà de Henares, in the region of the Comunidad de Madrid.

alcala de henares

alcala de henares

The Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo in Alcalá de Henares was founded in 1613 by Cardinal Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas. The Plaza de las Bernardas (square) formed by the Convent of the Mother of God, the Archiepiscopal Palace and the Convent of San Bernardo constituted during the rebirth an engine of urban transformation of this zone of the city, that previously was the Arab district during the Middle Ages.

Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo, was destined to a Cistercian community of nuns, popularly called “Bernardas “. The patron of the work was the Cardinal and Archbishop of Toledo Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas, a great reformer of artists and writers of fame such as Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Góngora and Miguel de Cervantes. The works began in 1617, in the old Plaza de la Verdura (vegetable), inside the Moslem district of the medieval Alcalá. Leaving the old Puerta de Burgos(gate) inside the garden of the convent and making disappear the old Calle de Segovia; So it had to build the current gate of Calle Santiago , which also has a statue of St. Bernard (San Bernardo).

The convent suffered many malfunctions in the fire of 1939, so several restoration works were carried out in the following decades. The closing of the Bernardas nuns was finished in 2000, leaving the building today as a Museo de Arte Religioso (religious art museum). In 2013 the Casa de la   Demandadera (house) and the lesser Cloister of the Convent of San Bernardo was restored, hosting an exhibition hall and the diocesan residence.

A bit on the construction

Its main facade, of curtain type with a central line decoration from top to bottom, separated in three bodies and finished in red brick, corresponds to the classic model of the Complutense Baroque, in which the use of the brick is combined as constructive material with the cover stone. In the central niche, on the door, appears the image of the titular Saint Bernard of Clairvaux surrounded by large shields of the founder Cardinal Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas and mirrors. The different bodies are traversed by an impost with three parallel and horizontal inscriptions describing the historical characters of the moment and the dedication of the convent. The church, with elliptical floors and six side chapels, of which the diagonals repeat the model of the great central space, covered by a superb dome with a false vault , equally oval, the largest in its kind made in Spain. The exempt Baldachin, where the tabernacle is located, is located in front of the main altar. At the closing there are two cloisters, the convent file and the chapter house.

In January 1997 the Museum of the Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo of Alcalá de Henares was inaugurated, with headquarters in the Convent of the Bernardas. It consists of an important collection of Italian paintings from the 17C, the work of master Angelo Nardi. It stands out in the Presbytery of the church an exempt altarpiece or baldachin made of wood stewed and polychrome, raised by Francisco Bautista, at the time the architect of the Collegiate Church of San Isidro in Madrid. The silver and ebony ark of Emperor Carlos V, ordered done by his son king Felipe II, with beautiful embossments representing victorious scenes of the emperor. The armchair of Cardinal Sandoval is a unique piece of its kind, in which the carpentry is mixed with the jewellery, enriched the piece with the inlay of rock crystals decorated as if they were gemstones. In the closing is guarded a beautiful size of the immaculate, by Antonio de Herrera Barnuevo.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Alcala de Henares on the Plaza de las Bernardas

Tourist office of Alcala de Henares on the convent museum

Tourist office of Comunidad de Madrid on the convent museum

And there you go, all set for a nice visit on a beautiful architectural building and in a very nice square with full of things to see some already mentioned in my blog. Enjoy the Museum of Religious Art of Alcalà de Henares!

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



Tags: , ,
June 13, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXX

And here i come back to you with news of my beloved Spain. Many as the good weather is coming there and all sort of things pops up in my Spain, everything under the Sun! Not so much good chance weather here as cloudy and damp rainy and 61F or about 15C however, Madrid much better at 79F or about 26C and sunny. Here then the latest news from Spain.

Best pools or aquatic parks that I know and are good to recommend are

Puerta de Hierro Sports Park in Madrid (No 1!). With its three hundred thousand square meters this sports park is by far the largest in the capital, including a gigantic adult pool of 6,500 square meters in addition to another for children. It is the direct heiress of the Playa de Madrid, also known as the Lido Chulapo, designed  between 1932 and 1934. It was the first artificial beach in Spain, located in the Manzanares river on its way through El Pardo. It had spaces for rowing, swimming and other water sports. After the Spanish Civil War, at the end of the fifties, the area was reconverted into the trade union park, building the immense pools that have survived to this day. The entrance costs 4.50 euros. Memories still of my youth in Madrid still there!

Playas del Vicario in Ciudad Real.  In the surroundings of this Castilian city of Castilla La Mancha, very close to the reservoir of the same name, there is a spectacular complex of municipal swimming pools that represent the best kept secret of La Mancha during the summer. Although they are usually very busy, they are so big that you do not feel overwhelmed. They have very complete facilities including a spa with an interesting menu of treatments. Tickets between 1.50 and 4.40 euros.

In my beloved DNA Canaries Islands, we have

Santa Cruz Maritime park in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The posthumous work of César Manrique (it was inaugurated in 1995) and the most modest of its maritime projects (22,000 square meters) has, however, very special characteristics as it forms part of an extraordinary landscape with the emblematic Auditorium of Santiago Calatrava as a backdrop, and being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in all its splendor and the Palmetum botanical garden. All this in the urban center of the capital of Tenerife. The use of volcanic rock further enhances the turquoise color of its two main pools. And this paradise is accessible to everyone, with a maximum rate of 2.5 euros.

Costa Martianez at Puerto de la Cruz, with its nearly 100,000 square meters and its sets of volcanic islands immersed in a gigantic lake, this leisure complex that includes the queen of Spanish swimming pools is an iconic place. Its origins go back to the mid-fifties, when a small pool complex was built, under the name of San Telmo, which would later be transformed, in the 1960s, into Los Aliseos, before Cesar Manrique took over the project, opening in 1977 . Its influence has been enormous and still attracts many ‘pilgrims’. Tickets from 15 euros.

Benicalap Pool in Valencia.  Among the public pools of the capital of th Turia,  the most attractive is undoubtedly opened in 1983 that is part of a large park located in this neighborhood north of the city, accessible by metro. It is very busy but it is very large and there is abundant vegetation. Its normal schedule is from 12h  to 18h30 but on Fridays it lasts until 01h  in the morning and thematic evenings are also scheduled. Tickets between 1.65 and 3.25 euros.

Oira Outer Swimming Pools in Orense, Galicia. The Ourense capital has no access to the sea, but its water supply is overwhelming. Its thermal offer is undoubtedly the most complete and accessible in Spain, including several outdoor centers of the highest level, with very cheap rates. It is also possible to paddle in Miño river itself, as in the many pools that dot the riverbanks. The best and most unique is the one found in the surroundings of the Oira sports complex that includes its own fluvial beach. And the most surprising thing is that its access is free.

The configuration of many of its streets, such as Barrio de Santa Cruz, attracts shade and causes drafts. In its many parks the fountains and shady corners abound. And at nightfall, there is no corner of the city that does not have any kind of cultural event. Nobody be alarmed, to enjoy Sevilla  with heat you only need a fan, organization and a lot of common sense. Indeed!! Some places for the shade and the fun.

The magnificent Museum of Fine Arts located in the former Convent of La Merced Calzada. An extraordinarily beautiful place conformed by numerous patios full of flowers where the air runs and that would be worth knowing by itself. But its great treasures are inside its rooms, protected by a perfect climate. Its collection of paintings by Murillo, Zurbarán or Valdés Leal is unique but they also feature works by Velázquez, El Greco or a chilling sculpture by Torrigiano. And at the moment access to all these wonders is free

Isla Magica, the Andalusian theme park par excellence that, in addition to a multitude of attractions related to the New World and discoveries around a large lake, has two immense swimming pools. One of them, Arrecife, dedicated to families, and another with waves, in a Caribbean environment with sand beach included. The rates include all types of offers, from 10-14 euros. .

After cooling off in the Patio de las Abluciones of the old Great Mosque of Sevilla, today magnificent Collegiate Church of the Divine Savior, lunch with tapas (do not forget one of snails) in the square covered with awnings of the same name where they say that it was invented to liven up the terraces with water spray

On July 21 and 26  2019 you can have one of those extraordinary experiences offered by this unique city. It is the verbena that the neighborhood of Triana dedicates to Santa Ana and the Apostol, on the left bank of the river, with the Calle Betis as reference. An opportunity to get to know this charismatic neighborhood, based on the most authentic flamenco, grilled sardines and many surprises. There is a pottery market, a flower offering, although the classic is to witness the Contest of the Cucaña in which a barge is placed with a fat-smeared pole crowned with a pennant that the participants have to reach before falling into the river!

The Nights in the Gardens of the Real Alcázar, which this year celebrates its XIX edition with 75 performances between June 14 and September 8 2019. Between the splendid gazebo of Carlos V and the Gallery of Grutescos you can enjoy flamenco, jazz, swing, blues and all kinds of ethnic as well as classical music. A real luxury that must be booked in advance.

The Guadalquivir river are protagonists of the summer nights and even more so since the old pier of New York has been rejuvenated and has already been filled with chiringuitos (food stands) and chill out terraces such as Muelles Nueva York ( Docks) and Mojitos Lounge from where you can see the sunset , mojito in hand but also have a drink with good music, already at dusk. Very close in the surroundings of Parque María Luisa, you can dine in great restaurants.

Although part of its structure is covered with scaffolding, the Giralda remains the irreplaceable reference of Sevilla and the image that is always engraved in our retina. That’s why there is no better way to end the day than having a drink in one of the privileged terraces overlooking the ancient Almohad minaret. If you are lucky, the perfect plan is to enjoy the Atico Dos Fuentes de la Marquesa de las Torres (Two Fountains Attic of the Marquis). But there are other alternatives such as the terraces of the Doña María, Fontecruz or Eme hotels. It is also worth consulting the concert schedule on the roofs of Sevilla site at

You can always check the latest at the city of Sevilla tourist webpage here:

The festival celebrates its 19th edition betting on the mixture between avant-garde and tradition From the Greek tragedies to the verses of Shakespeare or Cervantes, Clasicos de Alcalà (classics in Alcalá de Henares)  fills the city of theater with flavor to tradition . More information here:

William Klein. Manifiesto. First great retrospective in Spain of one of the fundamental figures of 20C photography. The New Yorker accurately portrayed the postwar society, helping to build our own vision of the world. The exhibition brings together 245 works and documents that make up the kaleidoscopic work of the creator, who also approached painting, cinema and graphic arts. The exhibition can be visited until September 22 2019. Where: Fundación Telefónica. More information  :

And the trivia question/answer of the post is:

The menu of the day, so common in the most modest restaurants and pubs , and in some that are not so much  has its origin, according to the most widespread version in Spain, in that ‘tourist menu’ imposed by the Ministry of Information and Tourism of the Franco regime in 1964, when the owner of that portfolio was none other than Manuel Fraga. But the reality is a little more complicated and it seems that some inspiration came to the Ministry technicians from the neighboring country of France (of course) who knew a very similar menu from a century ago. Among the promotional measures to attract more and more foreigners was that offer of an economic menu, which was initially mandatory in all restaurants, and at a price set by the Administration, according to the category of the establishment such as the most expensive, in the luxury restaurants, it was 250 of those pesetas from half a century ago! (166.386 pesetas = one euro !) And it was specified that specialties of the region should be offered. But, in any case, the reality is that from 1854 the concept had spread throughout France and, therefore, many Spaniards knew it. Initially it was not a daily menu, but simply a ‘plat du jour’, dish of the day, different every day, formula introduced that year by a chef who had been working in the United States, Pierre Fraysse, when he returned to Paris and opened his restaurant Chez Peter’s. It was a dish, yes, very abundant, often with vegetables and potatoes accompanying a meat or fish. In present-day France that tradition still exists, but throughout the 19-20C other establishments switched to a more complete ‘menu du jour’,or menu of the day like the one we have now! There you go a bit of Franco-American cooperation and now Spanish too :J

And now another trivia as we know most like hot sauces but not so much in Spain,however, lately immigration does its course and hot sauces are found in many supermarkets in Spain today. These are some popular ones

Tabasco Pepper Sauce.  Created in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny in Louisiana (USA), this famous hot sauce is prepared with red tabasco peppers  hence the name , macerated with water, vinegar and salt in oak barrels . Its pungency according to the Scoville scale is between 2,500 and 5,000 SHU. My favorite :J

Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce is  Sriracha or fermented chili is the name used to name this Southeast Asian dressing, very popular in Thailand. Take tomato, ripe chili, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt and score around 2,000 SHU.Mild..

The Ruda and Technical Chipotlera . Recipes of the Mexican chef Roberto Ruiz (Punto MX restaurant Madrid), these sauces are made from mature serrano chili peppers manually destemmed and fermented for two years. La Ruda has a semi-liquid density and is aromatic, intense in flavor and medium spicy or hot.

Salta Picante Espinaler. agressive version of the mythical Catalan salsa created in 1950 by Ventureta Roldós, wife of Joan Tapias when he was in charge of Espinaler. Its main ingredients are vinegar, spices (a secret combination, never confessed) and red paprika.

Veneno del Bueno con Mango (poison of good with mango). This Spanish firm based in Granada specializes in spicy seasonings of all kinds. Among all of them, I take this  version of Veneno del Bueno, a free interpretation of Tabasco, with strong habanero chile flavor and citrus notes, with the addition of large quantities of mango from Motril , which provides texture and an excellent point between spicy , sweet and fruity. Eye, your scale reaches 350,000 SHU: it is not for everyone, indeed!

Frank’s Redhot Wings Buffalo Sauce. The secret ingredient of the recipe for Buffalo chicken wings (originating from Buffalo in the State of New York, USA) was always its sauce: different cayenne peppers crushed with spices, vinegar and garlic (but get the real texture, you have to mix it with a pinch of butter).

And to finish on a smoother note! Here are some wonderful museums gardens in my beloved Madrid to visit and enjoy them especially during the hot Summer months.

Museo del Romanticismo (Museum of Romanticism) at Calle San Mateo, 13). The Garden of the Magnolio that hides this 18C  palace, inside which recreates the daily life of the upper middle class during Romanticism, is one of its corners with more personality. After several years closed, last summer reopened, giving away to the public a postcard distributed in four streets with a circular fountain that dominates its intersection. Your Garden Café seems like a more than valid excuse to enjoy a snack spiced with one of the homemade cakes that appear in your menu. Although the cafeteria schedule coincides with that of the Museum, it is not necessary (although it is advisable) to visit it to access it.

Sorolla Museum  at Paseo del General Martínez Campos, 3. Planned and designed by the artist himself, Sorolla took care of the tonalities of his garden with the same determination as those of his canvases. In fact, several of his paintings are inspired precisely in this space. Under the influence of his travels in Spain and Italy, this colorful oasis that beats in the heart of Madrid is divided into three different spaces and distributed in an L shape. In them converge box hedges, geranium pots and an amalgam of styles in the one that is possible to recognize from winks of the Andalusian gardening until details of Florentine airs.

Casa Museo Lope de Vega(house museum) at Calle Cervantes, 11. Like Sorolla, Lope de Vega also spent many hours of his life taking care of the garden that adorned his home with taste and care, and which today hosts performances and concerts. According to his own verses, he even received orange trees, laurels, pomegranates and a fig tree. The roses, tulips, hyacinths and jasmines rounded the picture with the arrival of each spring.

Palacio de  Linares  at Plaza Cibeles, s / n , corner with Paseo de Recoletos. Famous for being the current headquarters of the Casa de América, it houses a space in its back where green is the main color. The summer nights are especially animated in this enclave, whose touch of mystery is in charge of the numerous and ghostly legends that, for centuries, circulate around the building.

Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum at Calle Santa Isabel, 52. Splattered by sculptures by Alexander Calder, Joan Miró and Eduardo Chillida, the Sabatini Garden shares its name with the building that gives it shelter. The Italian architect was in charge of designing the General Hospital of San Carlos, the first destination of this site. Today your parterre proposes a complementary way to enjoy the Museum.

There you go another go at my beloved Spain. Hope you are enjoying these news posts of mine own creativity ::)

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

Tags: , ,
June 13, 2019

Convento de San Pablo, Parador at Cuenca!

So back into my lovely and sentimental Cuenca. I have spent several vacations in the area with the family over the years and we love it. Castilla La Mancha region of Spain of Don Quijote fame! There is so much to see here and Unesco site that have taken me several posts and still not done ! Today ,let me introduce you to an off the beaten path visit even thus you can stay in it ::) Let me tell you a bit of history on the Convent of San Pablo or parador lodging of Cuenca, Spain.

The Convent of San Pablo ,in Cuenca, is an old convent of the order of the Dominicans, is outside the urban walls, in a place of a great natural beauty, since it rises in a promontory on the sickle of the Huécar, to quite a height on the channel of the river and in front of the Hanging Houses (Casas Colgadas). The architects of the church were the brothers Juan and Pedro de Alviz and their architecture responds to some of the ideas of the first years of the 16C; Gothic structure and Renaissance decoration. It is popularly known as “los Pablos”. Since 1993 the convent functions as a national tourism Parador.


A bit brief on its construction tells us that the Convent of San Pablo is composed of the church, built in the bow, as advancing in the Huécar’s sickle, the cloister on its right and another series of buildings that have been growing attached to the main body according to the needs of the different orders that they have lodged in the convent. The church and the cloister are from the 16C, with the rest of buildings from a later period. The building is perched on a prow or promontory over the Huécar sickle (river). This unique building that emerges between the rocks and rocky shapes that festoon the Hoz del Huécar, between orchards and hanging houses that overlook the abyss, which has served as a monastery, convent, school, seminary, nursery, special education center and many projects that were not carried out, in addition to numerous celebrations of all kinds, both in the beautiful church, which was the concert hall of Religious Music, and now Espacio Torner, as in the convent building itself through which the Dominicans passed, the Redemptorists, the Josephites and the Vincentian fathers, and since 1993, the visitors who stay at the Parador.


A bit of history I like, it’s nice from my old books, so bear with me please.

He was a canon born in Almodóvar del Pinar (same province of Cuenca), Juan del Pozo, who was the promoter of this colossal building when on April 24, 1523 he requested the census from the Chapter Corporation.The primitive bridge of San Pablo (wooden bridge), that he himself cost to unite the convent with the old Basin commanded to begin the works of the convent and church that put under the trusteeship of the Apostle San Pablo (St Paul), supporting of his money the construction of both, and endowing the foundation with huge rents to attend the maintenance of the same.

So it was and in 1836 the Dominicans had to leave the convent and it was the Bishopric of Cuenca who later bought the building in public auction to install the Minor Seminary of San Pablo. In 1885 ,it was ordered the rebuilding of the College of San Pablo at the expense of the bishopric itself for diocesan studies. At the end of the 19C the PP. Redemptorists destined the house for the Apostolic School; but they did not fit easily. A few years after their entry they left leaving a bitter memory. In the early 20C the Seminary of San Pablo was ruled by the Sons of Mosén Sol, Diocesan Operatives, who were vulgarly known by the “Josefinos” (josephs). On January 3, 1912, the seminarians of San Pablo, and with them those of the Seminary of San Julián, rebelled against the superiors, who had to flee at night through the Huécar sickle and through the tunnel of the garden that gave to the San Pablo seminary . Faced with the events produced, the Seminars, expelled the students and intervening the Vatican itself. The “Josefinos” left Cuenca and the Seminary of San Pablo remained closed again.

On July 3, 1922, the concession of the Convent of San Pablo to the Community of Padres Paúles (pablos=pauls) was confirmed. The seminarians did carpentry, masonry and electricity and in September they started the course. On July 25, 1936, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic sent a letter to the bishop of Cuenca stating that the Provincial Council requested the seizure of the building and transfer to the Provincial, in order to install a provincial sanatorium, after having been evicted by the community of Father-Parents. But during some months during the Spanish Civil War it was left without activity and the building suffered some looting.  In 1962 it was determined that the Internal Seminary resided in San Pablo and this required an improvement of the building, extending it with a floor. With this extension the Seminary could receive up to 200 seminarians.  In 1973 the Seminary closed its doors, handing over the keys two years later the Bishopric. On July 30, 1977, in the Church of San Pablo, which had to be opened for the occasion, the singer from Cuenca José Luis Perales (very famous and good singer we love!) contracted with Manuela Vargas, before a great expectation, and in the surrounding area hundreds of people gathered, almost as many as on April 19, 1903, the date on which the present iron bridge of San Pablo  was blessed and inaugurated.


On July 3, 1986, the Summer Course of the Catholic University of Santo Domingo was inaugurated. It was planned to permanently establish a series of Faculties in the Convent of San Pablo, which did not take place either. In  October, 1983 the news that prepared the signing of an agreement between the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the bishopric for the installation of the Faculty of Fine Arts in the Convent of San Pablo; this project did not work out either. The great building was still empty and the people crossing the bridge of San Pablo returned after walking before a closed and gloomy place at dusk. In November 1988 the Bishopric agreed to cede to the State the Convent of San Pablo for a tourism lodging Parador, and a few months later, on July 11, 1989, the cession of the property to the Spanish State was signed for a period of fifty years, with an extension clause and an exclusive destination for Parador de Turismo, except for the church with its front part or body of the sacristy, which years later it would become, through another agreement, in the Torner Art Space.  The works of transformation and restoration of the Monastery or Convent of San Pablo began in December of 1990 adapted the building for 63 rooms, two of them suite. The dining room was located in the old refectory that preserves the reading pulpit and the main hall bears the name of Vincentian hall in memory of the Vincentians(Vicenciano), also with a large pulpit for reading or speeches. The inauguration of the Parador took place on Thursday, April 1, 1993, on the eve of Holy Week and from the first day its occupation was full. The Parador can tell many stories, although the most impressive was the overnight stay of the Princes of Spain, Felipe and Letizia, on their honeymoon trip through Spain, with the first nuptial stop in Cuenca on Sunday, May 23, 2004.I said all a great monument and story,now we can try to stay there in the Parador!


Now as usual from me, some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Province of Cuenca tourism on the Convent

Region of Castilla La Mancha tourism on the Convent

Official Paradores of Spain on the parador San Pablo of Cuenca

Espacio Torner next to Convent

There you go, now you are loaded to come and enjoy this marvel of architecture and history in the comforts of a modern lodging building,a Parador of San Pablo in Cuenca. Hope you have enjoy the story!

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





Tags: , ,
June 12, 2019

Parque Eva Duarte de Peron,Madrid!

And here I come on the left jab at you; something different and off the beaten path of my beloved Madrid. You will need to come out a bit from the Centro or city center to a more Madrileno area, the real thing if looking for culture, and ambiance. I ,again, lived off the main street here Calle de Alcalà but not in the tourist central but away in the Madrilenos area after the M30! Right!

So coming over into the center on Calle de Alcalà you can pass several monuments on your way including the big well known Retiro park, my childhood kicking ground or playground. Lately in life as I continue to visit the city, now every year at least, I have come to get to know more this Eva Duarte de Peron park which you should know was a famous actress and politician from Argentina.

The Parque Eva Duarte de Perón (Park), located next to Plaza Manuel Becerra (Square), occupies the old Nogueras estate, also called Quinta de los Leones or Quinta de Nogueras.(farm of lions or Nogueras).

These gardens have large spaces with shaded plantain alignments and various sports facilities: paddle tennis courts, football, basketball, sporting elements for the elderly, children’s areas and a canine area. A mythical park for its dog meetings, during rush hour rides. They can be found in all breeds and sizes.  My Rex would love it here!!! A very nice place to walk and talk. Above all, in the spring sun.

The Eva Duarte de Peron Park has two ornamental fountains of great singularity and a bust in honor to Eva Duarte de Perón, known as Evita, political leader and Argentine actress. The main Fountain or Fuente Principal. Although the Eva Duarte de Perón Park dates back to the middle of the last century, this fountain is much older, and once adorned the Paseo de las Delicias, from where it was moved in 1913 to the Plaza de Cascorro. The round fountain or Fuente Circular belongs to the original design of the park, which follows a classic scheme of boxes and axes bordered by hedges, with a cruciform trace dominated by a longitudinal axis with two fountains, and another transversal with the monument to Eva Perón.


The park, of 3 hectares of extension, has been remodeled throughout 2018. It has renewed the system of drainage and conditioning the roads and estates areas. New fences protect the landscaped areas and the meadows have been replaced by shrub areas. The canine area has been extended and the fencing renewed.

How to get there, Metro: Manuel Becerra lines 2 and 6; as well as bus lines 12, 43, 56, 143, and 156. The main pedestrian entrance is on Calle Doctor Gómez Ulla, 9, but it can be access by other streets such as Calle Francisco Silvela, Calle Florestan Aguilar,  and Plaza Manuel Becerra, which is from where I always go in right on Calle de Alcalà.(photo).

The city of Madrid on the Parque Eva Duarte de PeronCity of Madrid on the Eva Duarte de Peron Park

Ok so this is a side kick for leg stretching and coming to know the real local life which you should. Away from glossy tourist books, if you are curious about history, customs, language than the Eva Duarte de Peron Park is for you. It has been for me for many years.Hope you can enjoy it

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




Tags: , ,
June 12, 2019

The Royal Observatory of Madrid!

Let me show you another gem that is a must to visit if you are into architecture, history and especially the stars as I am. This is again in my beloved Madrid, very nice area and a bit hilly but worth it.

Let me tell you a bit or lot more on the wonderful Royal Observatory of Madrid!

The Real Observatorio is a scientific institution located in Madrid. The national astronomical observatories are one of the oldest institutions for research that the governments of the world created with a defined and important purpose.  The Real Observatorio of Madrid is perhaps the part of the Retiro Park less frequented by the public. It is located in the southwest corner of the enclosure, the closest to the Atocha train station, a few meters from the National Museum of Anthropology. The Royal Observatory is located on a small hill, the San Blas hill. Here was the hermitage of San Blas. This place was chosen precisely because of its elevated location, then on the outskirts of Madrid, a secluded spot ideal for astronomical observations and for study. To visit the Real Observatorio (Royal Observatory), it is necessary to register in advance. The visits are made in groups of maximum 25 people and last approximately one hour and a half. On the tour, visitors access only three buildings. The address main entrance is at Calle Alfonso XII, 3. Located in the Cerro de San Blas, next to Retiro Park. You can also reach it from Atocha up the Agriculture Fishing and Environment ministry building on Calle  Dr Velasco.


A bit of history I like

As Spain needed astronomy for its application to navigation, having to control a huge overseas empire. The art of sailing became the science of navigation, Jorge Juan being one of the main architects of this transformation. It was precisely he who suggested to King Charles III the establishment of an Astronomical Observatory of the Navy in southern Spain, founded in 1753 and dedicated to solving the problem of longitude at sea, teaching modern methods of astronomical navigation and maintaining the hour.  The French invaders of 1808 (Napoleon I) destroyed the observatory, burned the Herschel telescope and spoiled the books, although a part of the collection of instruments, which had been purchased in specific commissions in Europe, was saved. The purely astronomical activities were later transferred to a new institution, the Real Observatorio of Madrid. The main building of the Real Observatorio of Madrid begins to be built in 1790 in the old San Blas hill. located next to the current Parque del Retiro in the Calle Alfonso XII, and at the same time, the astronomer William Herschel is responsible for the construction of a reflector telescope with a mirror of 60 cm in diameter. However, this initial push ends with the war against Napoleon’s France, which involves the dispersion of personnel and the destruction of equipment, libraries and temporary buildings. In 1834 the Queen María Cristina de Borbón-Dos Sicilias appointed Director of the Royal Observatory of Madrid to the illustrated Domingo Fontán, author of the first map (of Galicia) made in Spain with scientific methods. The activities in the Royal Observatory are resumed in 1845, and the construction of the building is completed the following year. In 1865, the official name of the institution will be that of the Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory of Madrid, until 1904, the year in which the Observatory is integrated into the National Geographic Institute (IGN), forming part of it since then and continuing to this day today.

The reservations and information are done here: IGN official site for the reservations of the Royal Observatory

The various buildings and pavilions of the Real Observatorio is detail below as briefly as possible.

Edificio Villanueva (building). Of neoclassical style, the Villanueva building is the main one of the enclosure and also the oldest one. Inside, you will enter the library, with antique furniture and a collection of more than 6,000 books mainly on astronomy and geography. Next to it are several old measuring objects, as well as two original Herschel telescopes from 1796.

The Pabellon Herschel (Pavilion) is a recent construction with a more modern design. exclusively to house the replica of the large telescope 60 centimeters in diameter that William Herschel designed and built for the Observatory around 1798. Ten years later it was destroyed during the Napoleonic occupation.


The Sala del Circulo Meridiano or Room of the Meridian Circle, which receives the name of the instrument that presides over it in the center, just up some stairs. It was built by the German astronomer Johann Georg Repsold in 1853 and acquired by the Royal Observatory the following year, thus being one of the most important elements of the institution and the main one of this type when measuring the position of the stars and fixing the hour

The Edificio Gran Ecuatorial (Great Equatorial Building), completed in 1855, besides being able to accommodate the homes of the astronomers and their assistants, had to have a rotating tower in its center to install the telescope equipped with equatorial mount from Merz. In 1922, having been outdated this equatorial telescope; it is replaced by another more modern from the house of Grubb.  At present, both the National Astronomical Observatory and the Central Geophysical Observatory have their headquarters.

The Pabellón del Astrógrafo (Pavilion of the Astrographer) is another of the buildings that you will find in the tour of the Royal Observatory. The name, logically, it takes from the fact of having housed an astrograph inside, having been made from its dome systematic observations of asteroids. For some years it was used as accommodation for several atomic clocks.

The Sala de Ciencias de la Tierra y del Universo (Room of Sciences of the Earth and the Universe). This room is also a recent building and was designed to house a museum. Inside and divided into four different themes such as Astronomy, Cartography, Geodesy and Geophysics, we can see a sample of the valuable collection of instruments used by the Royal Observatory and the National Geographic Institute over the 19C and 20C.

The Pabellon del Sol (Pavilion of the Sun)  is a construction from 1901 The purpose of its construction was to have a building where to place the two glasses of the house of Grubb bought to be able to follow the total eclipse of the Sun that occurred in 1900. Currently, this instrumental has been removed from the domes and taken to the Room of Sciences of the Earth and the Universe for exhibition.

The webpage of the tourist office of Madrid: Tourist office of Madrid on the Royal Observatory

And there you go another gem, and why not while passing by Atocha transports hub which I know many do, and take a hilly but nice area walk up to the Real Observatorio? And if you give yourselves time, you can come and see this marvel ,come back and get your train,ideas for an off the beaten path fantastico de mi Madrid. Enjoy it

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



Tags: , ,
June 11, 2019

Metropoli of Madrid!

And now let me tell you about another emblematic building of my beloved Madrid and even if on a popular street and a very popular photo, it is off the beaten path trip. This is the case of the Metropoli building just at Calle de Alcalà (my street) but many thinks it is in Gran Via; I will explain,and tell you a bit more of this emblematic building of my Madrid.

The Metropolis is a French-inspired building, located at the corner of Calle de Alcalá  and Gran Vía. It was inaugurated on January 21, 1911, and was awarded by competition and designed by French architects Jules and Raymond Février for the insurance company La Union y el Fénix ( Phoenix). The final work was carried out by the Spaniard Luis Esteve Fernández-Caballero, who finished it in 1910.


It was built on the land liberated during the construction of the Gran Vía, when the popularly known as “Casa del Ataùd” (house of the coffin) collapsed, so named because of the narrowness of the lot where it was located, between the streets Calle de Alcalá and Calle Caballero de Gracia. It is commonly assumed that Gran Vía begins in the Metropolis building. However, its exact address is Calle de Alcalá ,39. The first building at the beginning of Gran Vía at nº 1, is the Edifciio Grassy (building).

There is an austere ground floor, but  the upper floors, in neo-Renaissance style, are adorned with Corinthian columns and entablatures that serve as a pedestal for allegorical statues of Commerce, Agriculture, Industry and Mining. The circular tower is crowned by a slate dome with gold inlays, which due to its resemblance to the firemen helmet is called “Firemen style”(Bombero).it is adorned with 30,000 24 carat gold loaves. In the sunlight it shines more than any other building in its surroundings and at night, 205 spotlights give it spectacular lighting. Originally, it supported the company’s symbol, an allegorical bronze statue of the Fénix (Phoenix) on which there was a human figure with the raised arm representing Ganymede, the original Fénix(Phoenix) is ​​now in the garden of the headquarters of the Mutua Madrileña (insurance co.), at Paseo de la Castellana, 33. The figure that we can see today is a Winged Victory.

The interior of the Metropolis building is little known by the general public since it is not visited. All its space is destined to offices of the insurance company Metropolis. From inside you can admire the stained glass windows of the prestigious firm Maumejean. The structure of the building consists of six floors and two basements. The interior of the dome is empty and the roof, with a privileged location, also has no assigned use.

Some webpages to know a bit more of the Metropoli building and just walk by it is one of the highlights of an architecture tour of Madrid.

Tourist office of Madrid on the Metropoli

Official site of Metropolis ins co nice picture

There you go another gem for your leisure walks of gorgeous Madrid, my Madrid mind you. The Metropoli area is full of shops,restos, bars well its Madrid. Enjoy it

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


Tags: , ,
June 11, 2019

Bank of Spain, Madrid!

And I need to rush quickly to my beloved Madrid and to tell you about a symbol yet an off the beaten path place. As a child I lived not far from it in my Madrid and now each time need to pass by it and pay my reverence to this wonderful architectural gem.

I like to tell you a bit more on the Banco de Espana or Bank of Spain in Madrid. A bit of history and architecture I like

The headquarters of the Bank of Spain shows its facades to the Plaza de Cibeles, Calle de Alcalá, Paseo del Prado, Calle de los Madrazo and Calle del Marqués de Cubas. The Bank of Spain, as an institution, was created in 1856, following the merger of the Banco de Isabel II with the Banco de San Fernando in 1847, and its first headquarters was the building of the Five Major Guilds(cinco Gremios Mayores), located on Calle de Atocha.


On July 4  1884, the first stone of the Bank was placed, in a solemn act, with the presence of King Alfonso XII. The finished building will be inaugurated on March 3, 1891 by King Alfonso XIII and his mother Queen Regent Maria Cristina.

The building  is distributed in parallel bays to a series of patios aligned with the axes of Paseo del Prado and Calle de Alcalá, articulated by the diagonal section of the chamfer. The facades reflect an eclectic decorative repertoire, although the sobriety of baseboards and ground floors accentuate the idea of solid ​​representation that corresponds to the institution that it houses.

In the year 1927 the construction of the later half of the facade to Calle de Alcalá was approved, demolishing the Palace mansions known as Santamarca. Finally, the closing of the block was completed from 2003 to 2006. At the corner of Calle de Alcalá with Marqués de Cubas where the Palacio de Lorite was located, the former headquarters of the García-Calamarte Bank building that was added.

You can see the most notable elements such as the stained-glass windows, as well as the stonework, in classicist style, as well as its golden dome that culminates in the façade that opens onto Plaza de Cibeles. A symbol of Madrid and my gearing point each time going home in my beloved Madrid of the 1970’s. A must stop now when lucky to visited every year.

As you know,if reading my blog, that I lived at Calle de Alcalà in Madrid and the bank at the corner of institutions such as Prado, Thyssen and Cibeles fountain/square and the Retiro park are a must while in Madrid. I am again lucky to be able to see these gems every year and sometimes more. Enjoy it

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official Bank of Spain

Tourist office of Madrid on the Bank of Spain

And there you have another gem and because it is a bank, an off the beaten path lovely architecture of my Madrid.  Bear in mind that the inside of the building may only be visited by university and educational groups, or by cultural non-profit organisations. Just a look under the Madrid sun is enough for me!

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


Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: