Archive for ‘Madrid’

April 5, 2020

Manchego Cheeses that is Huete!

And here I am in sublime monumental territory of my beloved Spain, Castilla La Mancha region and especially the province of Cuenca, and more precisely the quant town of Huete. Again, I have written before on the area and town but feel not enough on the most famous food from there, the manchego cheeses!!!

First a bit on what Manchego cheeses are all about! And we love them at home!

The Manchego cheese is one of the most famous in Spain and in all of Europe. These cheeses are known worldwide and historically have won numerous gastronomic awards for their quality and inimitable flavor. Manchego cheese is made from the milk of La Mancha sheep and has a minimum cure of 30 days and a maximum maturity of 2 years. These cheeses, if you have not yet tried them, are usually characterized by having a hard crust and free of plastics, a firm and compact paste and with a color that varies from white to ivory yellow.

The Manchego cheeses have a very pleasant, slightly acidic, tasty and strong flavor that evolves to spicy in the most mature cheeses. Its characteristic and intense smell varies according to the cure, as does its flavor. However, it should be noted that they do not only stand out for their flavor. They also have important benefits for our health.

The Regulatory Council of this Protected Designation of Origin. The requirements that all Manchego cheeses must have to be recognized as such are:

The cheese making, maturing and production process must be carried out in the area protected by the Denomination of Origin and which includes the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Toledo and Cuenca. The milk must come exclusively from La Mancha sheep and be free of drugs and impurities. Minimum maturity of 30 days for cheeses of 1.5 Kg or less and 60 days for heavier weights. Cylindrical shape, with flat faces and marked with a line drawing that divides it into four parts. The side is also marked with a zigzag pattern reminiscent of traditional esparto molds or ties. Hard crust, firm and compact paste, intense odor and slightly acidic flavor, strong and tasty.

For their corresponding badges endorsed by the regulatory council: A Manchego Cheese Denomination of Origin label must appear. The term Denomination of Origin Manchego Cheese must appear on the commercial label of the cheese. If it has been made with raw milk, the word “artisan” will also appear. Numbered and serialized case in plaque: On the opposite side to that of the commercial label, it will appear embedded in the bark with the terms “D.O.P. Queso Manchego and a series of five digits and two or three letters. Against numbered label: we will find it attached to the commercial label, with the Denomination of Origin logo. In the case of small-sized cheeses or wedges, this back label will be marked in its upper right corner by a blue or green band, respectively. European logo. Badge with which the European Union distinguishes quality figures. This is the one corresponding to the Denominations of Origin. They are raw milk note that if the cheese has been created from raw milk on the label, the term “artisan” will appear. If done with pasteurised milk the qualification of “artisan” will not appear on the label, since it will be considered to be an industrial cheese.

Depending on their curing time, Manchego cheeses can be semi-cured, cured, old or aged. The maturation of the cheese is the time that the elaborated product is resting at the appropriate temperature and condition for the necessary physical changes to be made so that we can consume it. To be La Mancha, as said above it indicate you must have at least a 30-day rest time. Fresh or tender cheeses usually spend a maximum of 15 days drying. From here we can already talk about Manchego cheeses that have a maturing process and, as we indicated before, depending on the time we will classify them as semi-cured, cured or old cheese.

Semi cured Manchego Cheeses are the least mature, they only need a maturation of three and five months, depending on their size. Cured Manchego cheeses are those that have matured for half a year. Old or Old Cheeses when the curing is over this period, it is already considered an old cheese. The old ones mature between 7 months and a year. If a cheese matures for a period of more than a year, it is already considered an aged cheese, also known as reserve cheeses, and which stand out for its firm and dry texture and its more intense and spicy flavor.

Now let me tell you a bit about our incursion into the motherland of Manchego Cheeses, the La Mancha and especially in the Alcarria area of Huete!  While visiting the area by car , which is a must we had visited a couple of Manchego cheese outfits recommended by local friends. So now you the best !

The Lacto Ganadera OPTA produces very good manchego cheese from the sheep young goat, we had the El Ermita brand from the supermarket before and we went to Opta on site, very good black label=etiqueta negra.These are the Manchego cheeses of world fame .They make them all, and sell them at the store in the factory.

Huete

Huete

Lacto Ganadera Río Mayor is a company that specializes in cheese making. It was created in 1965 and is located in Huete, located in the province of Cuenca. They are manufacturers and suppliers of high quality cheeses. A wide range of products, such as Manchego cheese, black label, red label and blue label. They have sheep cheeses cured in butter, rosemary, oil, etc. As well as mix cheeses and goat cheeses.

Huete

We went out outside city center into the Rio Mayor, these are the Manchego cheeses of  Oveja or sheep!! They make them all, and sell them at the store in the factory.  Here they also gave us a tour of fabrication halls, awesome!. Just magical. They are at Ctra Carrascosa Km 101 Huete. They have another factory at Carretera Caracenilla, between Huete and Cuenca, closer to Huete.

Huete

We shop always for the etiqueta negra or black label, queso mezcla tierno or young mix cheese with goat and milk as well as sheep blend, and the Romero or Rosemary. Just great still enjoying it!!

Now you know the basic information to come down and get the best of the Spanish cheeses for me of course. They are absolutely awesome and I get them even from Paris! When not in Spain. Hope you have enjoy the tour.

The webpages are for Rio Mayor Caracenilla : Quesos la Ermita Caracenilla Rio Mayor

And OPTA at closer to HueteQuesos de Huete

And this OPTA have a Facebook page here as sometimes their main webpage does not work: Facebook page of OPTA manchego cheeses

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

 

April 5, 2020

The Church Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Merced at Huete!

And moving on in my beloved Spain, this time back to the emblematic Castilla La Mancha and the little pretty town of Huete. Again, have written before on the town and its monuments but feel left this out and needs attention. This is the multiuse Church Monastery of Saint Mary of Mercy or Santa Maria de la Merced in the Province of Cuenca!

Huete

The Church Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Merced , or Mercy monastery is a Church from 1648-1684 and a cloister from 1645-56. The story goes fray Marcos de Salmerón, born in Buendía in 1588 but resident since childhood in Huete, where he studied and professed in the Order of Mercy in 1603, becoming master general of the order in 1642. Deceased in Madrid, his corpse was transferred to the Monastery of Huete and was buried in the chapel of San José, which he himself had built. The monastery is located at number 1 of Calle de San Esteban around Plaza de la Merced.

Huete

The whole of the Monastery of Saint Mary of Mercy constitutes a large construction structured on a roughly rectangular floor plan, the church occupying the northern half of said floor plan. Baroque in style, its facade is divided into three orders, two of them with balconies and one with bars. Inside it has two courtyards, the largest with the same style as the facades and the smallest, from the 17C with a closed cloister alternating between brick and stone. From the Monastery complex stands out its great chapter hall in which, being one of the best the Order had, several general chapters of the Mercedarian Order were held. The church has a Latin cross plan, with a transept topped by a large dome, side chapels and a high choir at the foot.

Huete

The main nave, the arms of the transept and the chancel are covered with a barrel vault. Along these vaults there are lunettes pointed at their intersection with the arches of the lateral hollows. The chapels are covered with a groin vault. The nave is topped by a dome supported on pendentives. At the bottom of the presbytery there is a dressing room that, originally, was located higher than the level of the presbytery, to emphasize the situation of the image located there, leaving below a small crypt that served for years as a cemetery for the monks of the monastery.  On the first two arches of the nave, at the foot, is the choir, which is supported on low arches. From the right lateral arm of the transept there is access to a chapel that, in principle, was the sacristy. This was then moved, in what was the connecting hall, with a staircase, on the way to the monastery. Above the right side chapels there are rooms for the sick, which have a south orientation and open a window over the interior of the temple.

Huete

Here is preserved the image of the Virgin or Virgen de la Merced of which festival is done in the month of September also known as the festival of Huete or of Merced that was before an important cattle fair. Founded by the end of the 13C,and currently the oldest part kept are the the central facade from 1639. the facade was renovated in the neo classic style in 1867 and the south corner next to the city hall entrance  renovated end of the 19C.  The cloister is one of the best baroque patios in the province of Cuenca done as said between  1645 and 1647, done with different materials. The Church was done from 1668 and in 1754 the sacristy was built that currently has a retable altar coming from the abbey of Caracena del Valle done in the second half of the 16C. In the last part of the 18C the Monastery was enlarged; the facades and wrought iron windows were done .Today, there are inside the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Florencio de la Fuente ( a contemporary arts museum). Also, the city hall, and several administrative services such as the Tourist office upon entering, and the library.

Huete

The city hall of Huete showing it is the city hall: City of Huete city hall

The tourist office of Huete in Spanish on the Monastery of the MercyTourist office of Huete on the Monastery

The library of Huete on the city of Huete webpage: City of Huete on the Library

The museum of contemporary Arts Florencio de la FuenteTourist office of Huete on the museum

There you go a huge monument of great architectural and historical value right in a off the beaten path town of the Province of Cuenca, Huete. See it, very nice indeed, many memorable moments for my family there.

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

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April 4, 2020

Teatro Real Carlos III, Aranjuez!

So let me stay in royal Spain and tell you a bit more about the wonderful monuments of the princely city of Aranjuez, Comunidad de Madrid, and the wonderful  Teatro Real Carlos III. Of course, you can browse my previous posts on Aranjuez but I feel this theater was not mentioned enough in blog. This post will remedy that me think and I thank you for reading.

The Theater building was built in 1768 by King Carlos III. Therefore known as the Teatro Real Carlos III. The theater had a porticoes façade with five brick arches, and an engraving was placed on the frontispiece with the inscription translated as in Aranjuez the delights of the countryside are combined with the pleasures of the city, the king who built it and the year of its inauguration. The text comes from the official Theater webpage as below.

Aranjuez

The interior vault featured frescoes by great artists. The theater was divided into four floors: the audience, the boxes, the amphitheater and the upper floor, and also had a stage and two meeting rooms. It had a capacity for about 500 persons and there, for years, operas, comedies and dramas were performed.  Its inauguration took place on May 14, 1769, attended by King Carlos III, Doña María Luisa de Borbón and the entire royal family, occupying the corresponding Royal box. Later in the years 1828 and 1847, various restorations were made.

Entered already in the 20C, this theater passed into private hands and was renamed Gran Teatro Maestro Guerrero. Theatrical works were exhibited in it, until in its last years it became a cinema, and even movies were shot. Its ended closing its door in 1989.

This Teatro Carlos III, an architectural jewel of the 18C, has already been recovered and is now call Teatro Real Carlos III de Aranjuez. The recovered theater has those original elements that had been preserved, such as the frescoes on the ceiling or the wooden beams on the roof of the theatre. The room has been made up of the original materials restored in the way also confirmed by the original foundations themselves. The halls and rooms between walls have been the subject of an “architectural paraphrase” that aims to outline the timelessness of the materials themselves and their union, in construction and systems, without any mimetic or stylistic adventure. Architecture in its purest form. It also has two levels of boxes on the ground floor and an intermediate level of continuous seats, and an underground floor where the cafeteria has been located. The Teatro Real Carlos III de Aranjuez reopens its doors on June 5, 2014.

The official webpage of the Teatro Real Carlos III of Aranjuez in Spanish: Teatro Real Carlos III of Aranjuez

The tourist office of Aranjuez on the Teatro Real Carlos III in Spanish: Tourist office of Aranjuez on the Teatro Real Carlos III

Another wonderful architectural and historical monument in princely Aranjuez. Hope you enjoy the tour and brief introduction on the Teatro Real Carlos III or Royal Theater Charles III in Aranjuez. Ah yes walking is better with the Palace on your back turn right into plaza San Antonio ,passing on your left the jardin de Isabel II, continue until turning left at Calle San Antonio to Theater on your righ hand side,about 10 minutes delightful walk!

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

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April 4, 2020

The Church of Alpajés ,Aranjuez!

So let me stay in royal Spain and tell you a bit more about the wonderful monuments of the princely city of Aranjuez, Comunidad de Madrid, and the wonderful Church of Alpajés. Of course, you can browse my previous posts on Aranjuez but I feel this Church was not mentioned enough in blog. This post will remedy that me think and I thank you for reading.

The Church of Alpajés ,also known as the Church of the Virgen de las Angustias (sorrows Virgin church) is a church located in the city of Aranjuez on the banks of the Tajo river. Its construction began in 1681, however, the execution of the works would take time, having to be ordered by king Felipe V its completion.

Aranjuez

It was in 1690 when the inscription of its facade was placed indicating that its plant had been completed, remaining to build the main chapel. It has a Latin cross laidout. It was located in the old medieval neighborhood of Alpajés that was absorbed during the expansion of Aranjuez in the 18C.

The Church of Alpajés has a sober Baroque style façade with elements of classical architecture, with a brick façade and white apiary stone. The octagonal dome on the outside shows the heraldic shield of Carlos II with the date 1690. Inside is the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The church, completed in 1749 and modified in the 19C, would suffer a fire during the Spanish Civil War that would force the reconstruction in the late 20C of the dome, the choir, the roofs and the body of the sacristy, configuring the current volume that we can see today.

It is currently the parish Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (Alpajés) , patron Saint of Aranjuez.

There is a bit more in the city of Aranjuez on the Church of Alpajés in Spanish: City of Aranjuez on the Church of Alpajés

The Comunidad de Madrid region tourist page has more with the name of Church of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias in Spanish: Comunidad de Madrid tourism on the Church

There you go a nice church to stop by very near the Jardin del Principe or Prince’ garden of the Palace of Aranjuez. With your back to the palace walk up Calle del Principe in about 10-15 minutes depending longer if like us you are curious on your walks. Anyway hope you enjoy the brief post on the nice Church of Alpajés or de las Angustias in Aranjuez

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

 

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April 4, 2020

The Plaza de Cervantes , Alcalà de Henares!

So here I am again on a sunny day, and remembering the places I have been and really not given them the full credit in my blog. This is one beautiful town of Alcalà de Henares which we have enjoyed over the years even from my eternal Madrid. Walking this rich architectural and historical town is a must even if not into walking. The main street here is the Plaza de Cervantes and is gorgeous ; let me tell you a bit more on it ok. Hope you enjoy as we did.

The Plaza de Cervantes (Cervantes square)   is the center of the social life of Alcalà de Henares. This urban space connects directly with Calle Mayor and Calle Libreros, forming one of the main axes of the historic city. Initially it was the Plaza del Mercado , then the Plaza de la Constitución and, since 1879, it is the Plaza de Cervantes in memory of his favorite son Miguel de Cervantes. However, it is also popularly called Plaza Mayor, as it is the main and largest of Alcalá de Henares.

Alcala de Henares Plaza de Cervantes

In it the market of the town was celebrated and the annual fair of the same, granted by the Castilian king Alfonso VIII in 1184, for which it received the name of Plaza del Mercado. In the 15-16C, it was fully integrated into the urban area, by the expansion of the walls, first, and by the urban development of what would be the university neighbourhood, later. In this way the plaza became the main space of the town, the scene of all kinds of public celebrations, in addition to serving as a border between the jurisdiction of the town and that of the University. The Council headquarters were located there from the 16C. In the 19C the square underwent numerous changes. It received its current name Plaza de Cervantes   and several works were carried out for its beautification; such as the erection in 1879 of the statue of Cervantes that presides over it, and the construction of the Music Kiosk in 1898. The current appearance of the Plaza de Cervantes is due to the semi-pedestrianization process of its north and west sides, works carried out between 2018 and 2019.

Alcala de Henares

The Calle Mayor, Calle de los Colegios and Calle de los Cerrajeros (blacksmiths) end in the west; and that of Calle Libreros, Bustamante de la Cámara and Pedro Gumiel streets to the east with this last one leading to the Plaza de San Diego. To the south it borders Plaza Rodríguez Marín and communicates with Calle de los Colegios through Callejón de Santa María. In the center of it are walks and garden areas, in addition to the statue of Miguel de Cervantes 1879 and the Kiosk of Music 1898. Rectangular in shape, it has an area of11,900 m² (200 meters long, 60 meters wide) Its north and west sides are supported. Currently, the Plaza de Cervantes has 72 exempt vertical supports: 16 are columns and 56 are stone pillars.

Alcala de Henares

In the Plaza de Cervantes are some of the most important monuments and institutions of the city, such as: Círculo de Contribuyentes (restaurant casino and events); Hotel Cervantes Ayuntamiento   (city hall) Corral de Comedias (theatre) and and the ruins of the Church of Santa María, destroyed in 1936 at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War , of which its bell tower and its Oidor Chapel are preserved. In her numerous cultural, sporting, political, social and religious activities are celebrated. For example: The Book Fair, Horseback Riding in August and the Three Kings Day, Cervantino Market and Easter Processions. Also, the Municipal Tourist Office is in Callejón de Santa María, 1.

Alcala de Henares

It is indeed the center focus of the city of Alcalà de Henares and a must to visit. Lovely architecture and historic buildings all around it. Some webpages to help you enjoy further the Plaza de Cervantes are

The Calle Mayor webpage on the Plaza de Cervantes in Spanish: La Calle Mayor webpage on the Plaza de Cervantes

The tourist office of the city of Alcala de Henares in Spanish on things to see: City of Alcala de Henares on tourism

The tourist office of Alcala de Henares unofficial: Tourist office of Alcala de Henares unofficial on the Plaza de Cervantes

The tourist office of the Comunidad de Madrid on Alcalà de Henares things to see in Spanish: Tourist office of Comunidad de Madrid on Alcala de Henares

There you go a wonderful square in a wonderful city of my Madrid and Spain. Hope you enjoy the tour on these awesome places such as the Plaza de Cervantes in Alcalà de Henares.

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

 

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April 3, 2020

The Calle Mayor of Alcalà de Henares!

So here I am on a sunny day, and remembering the places I have been and really not given them the full credit in my blog. This is one beautiful town of Alcalà de Henares which we have enjoyed over the years even from my eternal Madrid. Walking this rich architectural and historical town is a must even if not into walking. The main street here is the Calle Mayor and is gorgeous ; let me tell you a bit more on it ok. Hope you enjoy as we did.

The main street of Alcalá de Henares is the Calle Mayor, as said,  one of the most important in its historic quarter, both commercially and socially. It is a supported street, on both sides. It owes its origin to the old Jewish quarters of the city, around the 12C, which was built following the layout of the Caesar Augusta Roman road that passed through Complutum (Alcalà de Henares). Like today, it was the commercial street of Alcalá de Henares par excellence during the Middle Ages, so it was supported almost entirely, to locate the shops at street level, while the houses were on the upper floor with a gallery that communicated to the inhabitants of the different homes without having to descend onto public roads.

Alcala de HEnares

The archbishops Tenorio, Carrillo and Cisneros changed the wooden right feet for round stone columns between the 14C and 16C, of which there are still enough copies even with remains of the painting in red and blue colors, as they were decorated at parties during the Siglo de Oro (Golden Age). Most were replaced by square pillars in the 19C. Six peepholes are preserved above the entrance to old Jewish houses. Today, Calle Mayor has 242 free or isolated vertical supports with 29 been columns and 213 are pillars and three pilasters.

Alcala de Henares

With a rectilinear and flat layout it goes from one of the corners of Plaza de Cervantes to Plaza de los Santos Niños, site of the Cathedral of Santos Justo y Pastor. It is 396 meters long, the longest preserved in Europe and its width measures 8 meters. In 1986 the Calle Mayor became pedestrian and, among other transformations, the asphalt was changed to cobblestone.

Alcala de Henares

It is currently a pedestrian street, and remains one of the main axes of the city.  There you find from hospitality venues such as bars, restaurants and ice cream parlors, to bookstores, fashion stores, banks and real estate offices. The interesting monuments some of which have written in other posts are: Casa Natal y Museo of Cervantes (birthplace and museum): A reconstruction of a typical 17C house on the site where Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s birthplace was built. It is one of the most visited museums in the Community of Madrid for its representation of daily life and the high-value furniture it contains. The Antezana Hospital: Founded by order of the Antezana couple in 1483, it is one of the oldest operating hospitals in Europe. Having less than 20 beds they called it hospitalillo (little hospital). Since 2006 the nuns gave way to the NGO of the Messengers of Peace. The Corral de la Sinagoga: In medieval times, when the street was located in the Jewish quarter, a synagogue was built that was destroyed in a fire. Only two entrances were preserved, one facing Calle de la Imagen, which has the old door with which the inner courtyards and small squares were closed at night, and another entrance around number 37 of Calle Mayor that conserves the original floor. . These entrances end in the Plaza de los Irlandeses,(Irish square) which was the center of the synagogue and a place of prayer.

And there you go we did shopping here and eat out so much beautiful architecture and history all around you, a pleasant spot for a nice family walk in Calle Mayor at Alcalà de Henares, Comunidad de Madrid! Hope you enjoy the tour and see some nice webpages on it here

A great webpage in Spanich La Calle Mayor on the Calle MayorLa Calle Mayor on things to see at Calle Mayor

And of course, the tourist office of Alcalà de Henares on Calle Mayor in Spanish: Official tourist office of Alcala de Henares on Calle Mayor

The city of Alcalà de Henares on things to see in Spanish: City of Alcalà de Henares on tourism

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

 

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April 3, 2020

Some streets of Alcalà de Henares!

So here I am going back to my beloved Spain and memorable Comunidad de Madrid region, where i spent most of my time in Spain and even lived in Madrid! This is one of the historical cities and even thus written many posts on it left out the wonderful walks in it and some of its streets so therefore ,here are some streets of Alcalà de Henares!

Let me tell you a bit more on the Calle de los Colegios and Calle Libreros of Alcalà de Henares. Two wonderful streets for you to walk fully and see architecture and history before your eyes.

The Calle de los Colegios or colleges street came out from the story of two bishops. A young student at the Madre de Dios School of Theologians commented on this street: ‘Famous place to build schools’, to which a colleague replied: ‘In this place we have to found two, each one of them.’ So it was. They were Archbishop Loaysa and Bishop Moscoso. Once called calle de Roma for the belief that the old road that linked Emérita Augusta (Mérida) with Caesar Augusta (Zaragoza) ran through it ; the name de los Colegios (streets of colleges) is due to the many who were founded in this axis of the old university city. Some disappeared and have not reached us, such as that of Santiago or the Manriques, that of the Military Orders or of the Maltese, that of Mercedarios Calzados, that of Bernardos Cistercienses and that of Trinitarios Calzados ,later a nursing home. Others have resisted the passing of the centuries and offer a beautiful urban landscape.

Alcala de henares

Some of these monuments, I have written before ,but now they are on this street and they are the remains of the Church of Santa María la Mayor. From the 15C, it was destroyed in July 1936. In one of its chapels there is a replica, with some original fragments, of the font where Miguel de Cervantes was baptized on October 9, 1547. Old College of San Ciriaco and Santa Paula de Malaga. It was founded by Juan Alonso de Moscoso, Bishop of Málaga. After its closure, it was a San Bernardino asylum and the Nuestra Señora de la Paloma school. Currently it is a Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. The legend of the lion’s mouth is famous at the source of one of the two courtyards, which are separated by an imperial-type staircase. Old College of Santa Catalina or Los Físicos y Artistas. Located in the Callejon Santa María alley, it was founded by Cardinal Cisneros. It has a Castilian patio with Tuscan columns on the ground floor, and a wooden balustrade on the upper floor.   Old College of Theologians of La Madre de Dios. Founded by Cardinal Cisneros, it enjoyed great prestige. After its closure, it was the headquarters of the Civil Guard. It is currently the headquarters of the Bar Association. The testimony of the errata of the first edition of Don Quijote de la Mancha was made in this school in December 1604.   Former Royal College-Convent of Agustin Calzados de San Agustin. Current seat of the courts. The name of ‘Real’ is due to the patronage of Juana de Austria, sister of Felipe II. The cover preserves the image of Saint Augustine and coats of arms of the Order and the House of Austria. Old College of San Jerónimo or Trilingual. It was founded for the study of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. There may also have been an Arabic study. Its Renaissance cloister is the work of Pedro de la Cotera. On two of its sides is the Hostería del Student, the second oldest establishment in the network of hostels in Spain (it was created in 1929). On another side of the cloister is the entrance to the Auditorium, the place where the Cervantes Prize for Literature was presented.

A fine city webpage on the Calle de los Colegios in Spanish: LA Calle Mayor tourism on Calle de los Colegios

The Calle Libreros of Alcalá de Henares is a commercial street located in the historic center of the city. An important part of the Complutean history is reflected in its buildings. Its initial name was Calle de Guadalajara. But due to the large number of printers and bookstores that were installed in it from the 16C, it changed its name in the 17C. It is the extension of Calle Mayor. It begins in the northeast corner of the Plaza de Cervantes, and ends in the Plaza de Los Mártires or de los Cuatro Caños.

Alcala de henares

From the 16C, several minor colleges of the University of Alcalá were installed on this street. In 1551 the Colegio del Rey (current headquarters of the Instituto Cervantes) was founded, in 1563 the Colegio de los Vizcaínos, in 1567 the Colegio de los Jesuitas (current Faculty of Law), in 1568 the Colegio de Mena, in 1586 the Colegio de Leon y de los Verdes. This intense academic activity was accompanied by an important editorial activity, which was mainly located on this street. In 1585, La Galatea, the first novel by Miguel de Cervantes, was printed in Juan Gracián’s workshop. The decline of the University of Alcalá began in the 18C, an event that dragged the city’s publishing industry to the point that no original building that has been a typographic workshop is currently preserved.

Again have written before on some of these monuments but these are on this street and they are: Old College of León or Santa María de la Regla and of Saints Justo and Pastor. Founded in 1586 and closed in 1781.It is currently the Graduate School of the University of Alcalá. Old College of the King or of San Felipe and Santiago. Built during the reign of Felipe II, it was inaugurated in 1551. It was attended by the children of the employees of the Royal House, such as Francisco de Quevedo (son of the assistant to the Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia). Since 1991 it has been one of the two main headquarters of the Instituto Cervantes. The Church of Santa María la Mayor. Parish located on the old chapel of the Jesuit College. Its granite façade features four sculptures carved in 1624 by Manuel Pereira. Inside, its baroque altarpiece, the work of Francisco Bautista, and the decoration of the vault of the chapel of the Santas Formas (Holy Forms) , painted by Juan Vicente Ribera in 1699, stand out. Former Máximo Colegio de la Compañía de Jesús or de los Jesuitas. Founded in 1545, and with that location since 1620. It highlights inside, the imperial-style staircase. After the confiscation of the University of Alcalá in 1836, it would eventually become the Mendigorría barracks. Since 1990 it houses the Law School of the University of Alcalá. Former Colegio Menor de San Cosme y San Damián, or Colegio de Mena, founded by the doctor Fernando de Mena in 1568 and closed in 1759. Today they are private homes.

A fine city webpage on Calle Libreros in Spanish: La Calle Mayor webpage on Calle LIbreros

The tourist office of Alcalà de Henares in English: Tourist office of Alcala de Henares

And this is the tourist office of the Comunidad de Madrid on Alcalà de Henares in Spanish: Todo Sobre Madrid tourist office on Alcala de Henares

There you go a wonderful way to get lost in history with beauty and old world charm all around you; this is Cervantes’s town, this is Alcalà de Henares! Hope you have enjoy the tour.

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

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March 21, 2020

The roads of my Spain!!

Ok this is a daunting task but always wanted to write something about it. As you have been reading my blog , you know I  love the road, the car is my second home! Road warrior all the way or we used to say in my good old Daytona Beach, put your pedal to the metal and rock!!!

Wait a minute! I have moved about the globetrotter in me and been around to so many countries, regions, and cities I lost count lol! Well in my beloved Spain I started out not driving at all , too young! but then did do it back in 1982 and it has never stop afterward!

Therefore, let me tell you a bit about the roads of Spain and my favorites and some photos to show. Hope you enjoy the freedom of the ride and Spain!

A generation or so ago, travelling around Spain was a time-consuming business; while the main roads radiating out from Madrid; numbered in Roman numerals from N I to N VI, were well surfaced, they were both dangerous and cluttered with slow-moving trucks/Lorries.  I remember driving into France on dirt roads, and the folks guiding me to follow the snow capped mountain to reach the border lol!!! and the EU came and the rest well even the younger Spaniards won’t know. All that is history, and today Spain has perhaps the best domestic transport infrastructure of any country in Europe… and thanks to Europe. Since Spain joined the European Union, it has benefited from major  development funds to help transform its isolated and impoverished regions into part of the modern Europe. The Spanish highway/motorway network is the third largest in the world, by length. Yes indeed!! A long way !!!

Highways in Spain come into two categores; the busy to very busy ones, hehehe! often toll roads , most of them radiating from Madrid, and along the Mediterranean coast: and the others, most of them carrying only light traffic. Nearly all of these are free. Spain’s toll highways  known officially as Autopistas are designated by the letters AP, as in AP8. Spain’s free highways, usually known as Autovias, are generally designated by the letter A, as in A66.

However, around the capital city of my Madrid, the system is different, and complex. Madrid is a maze of highways, yes not well managed at first and can be confusing to the many visitor counts I received…  with in addition to the A designated highway, the M highways for Madrid and R Radial highways (tolls). The highways  M30 (first finished in 1974 my sentimental as it passes near where I used to lived in Madrid!), M40, M45 and M50 , and even a short M55 nowdays are the main orbital routes round Madrid.  M50, the outermost, runs 80% of the way round Madrid, and connects all the main national A highways, from A1 to A6. The missing section is the northwest, from the A1 to the A6 – for which the A40 should be used. Orbital M highways are free, the radial R highways are toll roads (which i always avoid).

Madrid

The traffic moving southwest from the French border on the Atlantic coast at Irun can both avoid most of the tolls and take a shorter route between San Sebastian and Vitoria, by using the N1 and A1 autovia, rather than the AP8 and AP1 autopistas.  The same goes for traffic heading for Zaragoza and Madrid, from Barcelona. Leave the AP7 (which is free round Barcelona) at exit 26, and follow the free A2 as far as Fraga, after Lleida. For examples.

The ranking if you will of highways or motorways in Spain runs as follows

Highways or dual carriageway: Spain is full of this type of road. Highways are the roads that can be identified by the letter “A” followed by the corresponding number of the motorway / highway. The letters and numbers are white on a blue background. Within this type of roads we can make a subdivision:

Nationals: are those identified with the “A” followed by the number.

Toll: they are identified with the letters «AP» and as their own name indicates, they include tolls.

Autonomous: when the road belongs to the community.

Local: when they are under local jurisdiction and belong to a municipality.

Roads of General Interest of the State: the roads of General Interest of the State, also known as national highways, are the roads that are marked with the letter «N» and with the corresponding number after the letter. Letters and numbers appear in white on a red background. These roads are single carriageways and are one of the roads that have the most kilometers.

First-level autonomous: these are the roads identified with the letters «CL» and behind the corresponding road number. The letters are black on an orange background. Second level autonomous: its letters are «CM» followed by the numbers that correspond to the road. Both letters and numbers are white on a brown background. And they are now even CU roads in a similar manner. Third-level autonomous: third-level autonomous roads are those identified with the following letters: «CR» followed by the numbers that correspond to the road itself. The letters are black on a yellow background.

Roads of General Interest of the State in European Itinerary: they are the roads that belong to European itineraries and are identified because they carry a prefix with the letter “E”, followed by numbers. The signage has a green background.

The normal speed limits are as follows:   Motorways (autovias and autopistas) : 120 km/h;  Main roads : 80 km/h,  90 km/h or 100 km/h as indicated; and  Built-up areas : 50 km/h or 70 km/h as indicated. There are now plenty of speed traps, or radars, on main roads in Spain, and police can and do issue on-the-spot fines. Advance warning of speed traps tends to be given,  However, the boxes are hard to tell so you must be alert if do not know the road or first time by it.

The Six radial toll roads which connect Madrid with its coasts and its borders divide the Spanish continental territory into 6 radial sectors. These radial roads are enumerated in clockwise fashion as follows

A 1 from Madrid to France as Madrid, Aranda de Duero, Burgos, Vitoria, San Sebastiàn, Irùn to the French French border.

A 2 from Madrid to France  as Madrid, Zaragoza, Lleida, Barcelona, Girona and French border.

Zaragoza

Calatayud

A 3 from Madrid to Valencia or Carretera de Castilla La Mancha. I must say never pay toll on this road

Valencia

A 4 from Madrid to Cadiz or Carretera de Andalucia as Madrid, Cordoba,Sevilla, and Càdiz

A 5 from Madrid to Mérida, Badajoz, and Portugal or Carretera de Extremadura

A 6 from Madrid to A Coruña or Carretera de A Coruña as Madrid, Medina del Campo, Benavente, Ponferrada, Lugo, and A Coruña.

La Granja

Some other roads that I count as my favorites over the years and the list is not inclusive are

N110 Soria San Esteban de Gormaz , Segovia, Avila, Plasencia.

N240 Tarragona, Lleida, Huesca, Jaca, Pamplona, Altsasu.

N310 Manzanares, Villanueva de la Jara.

N320 La Gineta, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Venturada.

N330 Alicante, Almansa, Requena, Utiel, Teruel, Zaragoza, Huesca, Jaca, French border at Somport tunnel.

jaca

Canfranc

N400 Toledo, Aranjuez, Ocaña, Tarancon, Cuenca. My all time favorite a pleasure to drive on it!

Toledo

paredes

A402 Madrid, Toledo, Ciudad Real, After about 78 km of the A42 it splits into two roads the N401 and Autovia de los Viñedos

N420 Montoro, Ciudad Real, Puerto Làpice, Alcàzar de San Juan, Cuenca, Ademuz, Teruel, Montalbàn Valdealgorta, Reus, Tarragona.

Belmonte

N521 Trujillo, Càceres, Valencia de Alcàntara, to Portugal

N550 A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, Pontevedra, Vigo, Tui

N634 Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo, Torrelavega, Bilbao, San Sebastiàn

There is now  beltways or rocade or periphérique roads  full or partial, and they have originated from the upgrading of one or several roads reaching the town to the autovía level, as the several  variant choices looping around the town were joined in a single beltway that received a new naming such as TO-20 or Z-40 (the Zaragoza beltway coming from France!). Other very popular ones around Madrid takes you to the international airport such as the M11 and M12 . My always nostalgic M30 first beltway finished in 1974. And the all the new ones making the area around Madrid messy to drive for the uninitiated such as the newer ones M40, M45, M50, and M55!

Huesca

madrid

And some mountain roads in Castilla La Mancha;enjoy them as I do

Tragacete

Albarracin

Las Majadas

Some webpages to help you drive in my beloved Spain are

The General Directoire of Traffic information in Spain: Official DGT on traffic in Spain

Highway maps, handy from the Royal Automobile Club of SpainOfficial RACE on highways

Repsol guides on itineraries and route maps, the Spanish Michelin: Official Guia Repsol of Spain

And the weather in Spain from official agency AEMET! AEMET official weather reports on Spain

Just enough info for the smart road warrior, and then off you and enjoy it as we do. The roads of my Spain!

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

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March 21, 2020

The Serranias of my Spain!

So here I am making you read me 360 degrees back to my beloved Spain, the one of dreams and stories, architecture and history, and food and wines! This is another story, the mountains of the Serrania of Cuenca and its smallist towns done several times by yours truly in my road warrior mode!

This is my story on Tragacete, Cañete and Tarancon, follow me if you dare! The towns are so small but quant that will put them in one post ok, enjoy it.

We were driving all over Castilla La Mancha as our road warrior habits are known! And we realized were running short on gas/petrol so we were on the back roads of the Serrania de Cuenca and headed for Tragacete, another small mountain town pop of less than 500 folks but has a Repsol gas station !! yupeee! and the old Church of San Miguel, passing by was nice. This is real countryside and we love it!!!

Tragacete

Tragacete is of course in the Province of Cuenca and the already mentioned region on the high plateau of the mountains or Serrania Alta. It is part of the Natural Park of the Serrania de Cuenca. And we rented a house around here for several years which was memorable, great souvenirs with the family see my posts on Las Majadas especially.

Tragacete

Tragacete is a mountain town hahaha really! that starts at the valley formed by the Jucar riverbed. In its outskirts you will be on hills of considerable height, like Mogorrita with 1,866 meters and San Felipe with 1,840 meters (yes and we rented at 1400 meters). Tragacete’s natural environment is quite diverse, including valleys and canyons. Numerous trails marked as “Pequeño Recorrido” or short trails will let you get to know this gorgeous setting ,especially for the walkers in us. The historic quarter exhibits the main characteristics of the local architecture, namely balconies with grilles and wooden beams. One of the most beautiful examples is the Church of San Miguel Arcángel, built in masonry, with ashlar stones in its corners. Its marble ornamental screen on the wall at the back of the altar built after the Spanish Civil War of 1936.

Tragacete

City hall of Tragacete on its history in Spanish here : City Hall of Tragacete

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Tragacete: Tourist office Castilla La Mancha on Tragacete

Cañete  is another small mountain town in the same area province of Cuenca in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha, located about 70 km east of Cuenca, the provincial capital. We went to visit it a really old town on the CM 2106 road with lots of canyon, ramparts and old castle ruins way up town. The best here is the El Postigo canyon with old world laundries by the river , a water fall and escalation to the castle ruins but we did not went all the way, this is for the real outdoorsman aficionado!!! High up!

Cañete

The town was the birthplace of Álvaro de Luna, a Castilian nobleman of the Luna family at the end of the 14C. He was Constable of Castilla, Grand Master of Santiago and worthy servant of King Juan II of Castilla. He is buried in the Santiago chapel, in the ambulatory of the Toledo Cathedral.

During the Spanish Civil War of 1936, the Republican militias who arrived from the Levantine region devastated the parish church, the Chapel of San Julián and the Sanctuary of Our Lady or Nuestra Señora de la Zarza, destroying   the images that the Christian piety   safeguarded and as far as worship existed in its sacred precincts , and which later they dedicated to warehouses or garages ; likewise, in the last moments of the war they destroyed the two beautiful bells of the parish Church.

Cañete

The town of Cañete has areas such as the Hoz del Postigo, recovered as a tourist recreation area, with a picturesque landscape of waterfall, river, view of the hanging houses of the town, hermitage of the Patron Saint Virgen de la Zarza, vestiges of the walled compound, etc. The Cañete castle is accessible on foot and is of Andalusian origin, it had several extensions, especially after the Castilian conquest. The last reforms are from the 19C, from the Carlist Wars. It stands on top of a steep, narrow and long hill, dominating the town, next to the Mayor del Molinillo river. Yes way up long march. There is a nice Puerta de las Eras gate, in a bend, domed, with a horseshoe arch, and of Andalusian origin. Among the temples of Cañete are the Church of Santiago, the Chapel of San Julián and the hermitage of the Virgen de la Zarza.

Cañete

Cañete

The city of Cañete with a map showing its things to see here in pdf file format: city of Canete pdf file on things to see

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Cañete things to see : TOurist office Castilla La Mancha on things to see in Canete

We came down on the N420 to take the A40 expressway to see a far away town of Tarancon on the intersection with the A3 that goes into Madrid. At Tarancon , you see the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion , (12C), but really nice was the Santuario de Riansares. Bombed in the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt in the 1950’s ; it had been in the family of the Duque of Riansares as well as built a castle next to it. The Duke and his family are buried inside.

Tarancón is another town from the area but lesser levels and a lot more accessable in the same province of Cuenca, in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. It is located between La Mancha and La Alcarria moutain areas in a valley. Tarancón is the second most populous town in the province, after Cuenca, so that it borders the provinces of Toledo, Guadalajara and the Community of Madrid, all of which are just a few kilometers from the town. For this reason, Tarancón is equipped with a network of state highways and roads, as well as rail and AVE routes, which connect it to the main cities in Spain. The A-3 or Autovía del Este (yes we know it very well) is one of the six radial highways in Spain and is the natural union between Madrid and the Mediterranean coast of the Valencian Community, more specifically with Valencia. It has three round-trip lanes respectively, on the Tarancón-La Almarcha section.  The A-40 or the Autovia Castilla-La Mancha (yes we do it !!), which starts in Ávila, passes through Toledo, Tarancón, Cuenca and ends in Teruel. The N-400 that connects Tarancón with Ocaña and Toledo. Tarancón has had a train station in its urban core since 1885, where regional trains on the Madrid-Cuenca-Valencia line stop. Tarancón has a bus station, with four docks, night lighting, café / bar, ticket office with ticket sales and information, etc a couple of lines does the run to Madrid but never use it.

In 1537 the town was given the status of villa, although it continued under the jurisdiction of Uclés. In 1591 it was included in the province of Castilla of the Order of Santiago. The town belonged to the province of Toledo until the territorial reform of 1833, by which it was incorporated into that of Cuenca. In 1973 the singer Nino Bravo (sad one of my favorites!) received first aid in Tarancón after suffering the traffic auto accident that took his life.

A bit more story on the above sites:

Sanctuary of the Virgin of Riánsares: located approximately 5 km from Tarancón. It was founded in the 12C. The palace was initially acquired by D. Fernando Muñoz, Duque de Riánsares where he built his pantheon and, next to it, a summer Palace in which to spend summer seasons with his wife, Queen María Cristina de Borbón. Later it was transferred to the Catholic Church and today is the Sanctuary that gives its name to the Patron Saint of Tarancón. More on a special site of the brotherhood of the Virgin of riànsares: Brotherhood of the Virgin of Riansares

Tarancon

Palace of the Dukes of Riánsares. It is the current headquarters of the Tarancón City/Town Hall. Restored building from the 19C, with a rectangular floor plan of two heights and an attic, it has a central courtyard with Tuscan columns, around which the rooms of the building are located. Outside you can see the remains of the original grid. The palace also had some beautiful gardens that in the 20C were transformed into the current Plaza del Mercado or market square. The home of the Dukes of Riánsares was also modified and few original elements have been preserved.

Tarancon

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Señora de la Asunción), from the 16C, with a magnificent Plateresque altarpiece that presides over the main altar.It is located in the neighborhood of El Castillejo, the oldest of the town, prior to its construction, since the 13C, there would be a temple of uncertain location, although probably in the same place where the current church is erected, and it would be in the Romanesque style or neo-gothic. The first church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption must have been built in the 15C. It was a Gothic building with a single nave, with attached side chapels and a ribbed vault, which persisted until the end of the 19C.

Tarancon

Arco de la Malena or arch is the entrance door to what was once a walled enclosure, becoming the most evident proof of this, and as far as its origin is from the 11C. It is currently the arch that gives entrance and precedes the Parroquia de la Asunción or Parish of the Assumption.

Tarancon

The city of Tarancon on heritage: City of Tarancon on heritage

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Tarancon: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Tarancon

There you a nice quant beautiful scenary ride in the mountain towns and into the valleys of the Province of Cuenca in Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of my beloved Spain. Hope you enjoy the ride and do try it , its great!

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

 

 

 

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February 5, 2020

And we have Key West!

And finally I got the idea to write about a very lointime and favorite city of my life’s travel and residency. As I lived in different points in Florida for 18 years and 13 years in NJ i have come here often. Family still have boats base there, and I last saw in 2002. Therefore , the pictures are before that. However, like to keep it in my blog for the souvenirs, memories, recuerdos of my life. Let me tell you a bit about Key West Florida.

There is plenty to see here other than museum , aquariums, and beach activities. My coming here was to do fish barbecues after boating and coming back to landfill in the mangroves to do the cooking, awesome. I did also scuba diving in those years and jet ski riding. Many folks comes for the beaches and the fact of its closesness to Cuba and the tropical party ambiance. Key West is special and worth the detour. I like to tell you more on the historical aspect of it as I am afraid for the tourist look you need to look up updated information.

Key West is located at the western end of the Florida Keys archipelago in the State of Florida USA. The city occupies the whole of the last of the islands from which it takes its name, as well as a set of islets surrounding it. The portion of Stock Island north of Federal Highway 1 (US 1 commonly call), Fleming Key and Sigsbee Park to the north (two military grounds with restricted access) and Sunset Key (formerly called Tank Island and with limited access to residents) to the west are part of the city of Key West , it is also the county seat of Monroe County. The city is known for being the southernmost point of the contiguous United States and the southern terminal of Highway 1. Located 207 km (about 128 miles) from Miami and 170 km (about 105 miles) from Havana, Cuba, it offers an incomparable strategic position on the Strait of Florida less than 150 km (about 93 miles) from the coast of Cuba.

key west

A bit of history I like

Before the Spanish arrived on the North American continent, the island was populated by the Calusa Indians. Spotted by Ponce de Leon in 1521, it was only sporadically occupied by fishermen and wreck hunters during the Spanish era. Originally called “Cayo Hueso”  (and still call in Spanish today) that is to say island of bones by the Spanish because of the many bones they found there when they arrived, vestiges of battles between natives or Spaniards, the name was changed by the English in Key West, according to some because the pronunciation of the Spanish word hueso was close to the English word west, according to others because of the geographical position of the island.

In 1763, when Florida came under British control (Treaty of Paris in exchange for Cuba), Spanish and Native Americans who occupied the island were expelled to Cuba. When Florida returned to the Spanish again twenty years later, the island was only sporadically inhabited without permanent colonization. Fishermen from Cuba or the Bahamas, then later after the independence of the United States, others from the Atlantic coast, used the island as a seasonal refuge. In 1815, the governor of Havana gave the island to Juan Pablo Salas, an artillery officer of the Spanish navy stationed in Saint Augustine, Florida (oldest city in the USA 1565) . Salas hastened to sell the island when Florida came under US control. In fact, he sold it to an American merchant, John W. Simonton, whom he met in a tavern in Havana, for a sum equivalent to $ 2,000 ,at the time a huge sum (the amount has not been corroborated) .

John Whitehead had spoken to Simonton, about the strategic position it occupied on the Strait of Florida when he had discovered it during a sinking in 1819. It was the deep-water port that had especially impressed and he compared to a West Gibraltar. On March 25, 1822, Matthew C. Perry arrived in Key West on the USS Shark and took possession of the island on behalf of the United States.

John Simonton subdivided the island into plots which he sold to: John Whitehead, a friend who had advised him to buy the island, John Fleeming, an English merchant of Mobile in Alabama, John Mountain and John Warner who resold immediately their plot to Pardon C. Greene. It was the latter alone who made Key West his permanent residence and who became a successful merchant and for a time mayor of the city. The names of these four “Fathers of the Modern City” as we like to call them, are found in Key West today and were given to the arteries of the historic district during the first cadastre established in 1829 by William Adee Whitehead, a younger brother of John Whitehead. This cadastre is still in force today and has undergone few modifications. Fleming Street is however spelled with a single “e”. The main street that crosses the historic district from north to south was named after the first governor of Florida, William Pope Duval, governor from 1822 to 1834 as Duval Street.

key west

During the American Civil War, while Florida joined Confederation in January 1861, Key West and its naval base remained under Union control. Fort Zachary Taylor, built from 1845 to 1866, played an important role during the conflict. Two other fortifications, the Martello East and West Towers, were built from 1861 to serve as a depot for arms and batteries annexed to Fort Taylor. They were later connected to the fort by a railway to facilitate the movement of ammunition. Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, located 110 km from Key West (halfway almost to Cuba), served as a prison at the end of the Civil War and his most famous prisoner was Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, accused of conspiracy for treating the Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

The term Conchs like the eponymous seashell applies to natives of the Bahamas of European descent. These are the “Conchs” who arrived in large numbers after 1830 and populated Key West. The term today applies to the inhabitants of Key West in general but distinguishes the clean natives or “Conchs” and the long-standing inhabitants but born elsewhere or “Freshwater Conchs” that is to say conch of fresh water. Towards the end of the 19C, the cigar industry replaced the salt works and the shipwreck trade. The arrival of many Cubans during this period of rebellion against Spanish domination (Ten Years’ War, then War of Independence) provided an expert workforce for this industry. In 1890 the population of Key West was close to 18,800, half of whom were of Cuban origin. Nearly 200 factories produced a hundred million cigars annually. José Martí, the father of Cuban independence, came to Key West several times to recruit volunteers for the cause and founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party there. It was from Key West that the battleship Maine left, which sank in the port of Havana and started the Spanish-American War. The Maine crew is buried in Key West Cemetery. The annex was renamed Truman Annex and still bears that name today. The Cuban revolution of 1959 breathed new life into the naval air base and Key West rediscovered the strategic role of wartime. In November 1962, John Fitzgerald Kennedy visited Key West a month after the Cuban missile affair was resolved. Key West remained a base for the many Cuban exiles arriving by sea from 1960 to 1980.

key west

There are typical neighborhoods such as the New Town on the eastern part of the island (mistakenly referred to as the north), most of which has been reclaimed from mangroves and lagoons, constitutes the new districts for the most part residential and commercial along Roosevelt Boulevard with the centers shopping, many hotels, sports fields and the airport.   Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States and one of the city’s most photographed attractions is the landmark that marks this geographic point. In addition, the legend on the terminal indicates that the Cuban coast is “90 miles” according to the famous phrase of President Kennedy during the missile crisis, when it is actually 93 miles, or 150 km. And of course  ,do not miss Mallory square!!!and that is me!!!

key west

key west

One nice way to see the city main points and come back for more and something we have followed in many cities and countries is the little train ride and of course Key West has a good one !

key west

key west

There is also a nice small aquarium which I found one photo here

key west

In 1931 the house on Whitehead Street that you could visit today was a wedding present for the couple Hemingway who had previously occupied a room above the Ford garage on Simonton Street. The swimming pool Hemingway built there would have cost $ 20,000, an extravagant sum in the 1930s.

Charles Thompson, a hardware store owner, and Joe Russell, a bar owner – the famous owner of Sloppy Joe’s , introduced him to big game fishing. Joe Russell would have inspired the character of Freddy in To have it or not, a novel also strongly inspired by the Key West of the years of crisis. It was also during this period that Ernest Hemingway acquired the nickname “Papà”. It is estimated that it is in Key West that almost 70% of his works were written, in particular The Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, The Snow of Kilimanjaro, The Green Hills of Africa or For Whom the Bell Tolls. After his divorce in 1940 and the loss of his house, he rarely returned to Key West, preferring Havana. The polydactyl cats that surround the Hemingway house are believed to be descendants of Snowball, Hemingway’s cat. Like the novelist’s home, they are a typical Key West attraction.

Another famous imprint here was that of Tennessee Williams who came to Key West from 1941 and around 1947 reportedly began sketching A Streetcar Named Desire while he was staying at the La Concha hotel on Duval Street. In 1949, he bought the house on Duncan Street and made it his legal home until his death in 1983. Tennessee Williams’ house is a modest new town bungalow with no particular appeal. Today it is a private residence which is not open to the public. While Hemingway and Williams frequented Key West concurrently, they only met on one occasion in Havana, on Hemingway’s property, Finca Vigia.(west of Havana today controlled by the government).

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must are

City of Key West on heritage

Tourist office of the Florida Keys on Key West

Tourist office of Florida on Key West

Tourist office of the USA on Key West

There you go , there is a world to discover at Key West a small space full of history, tropical architecture, and just plain tropical fun , and this is just one tip of the wonderful Florida keys! Hope you can enjoy it one day.

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

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