Archive for ‘Madrid’

March 4, 2021

Church of Santa María la Mayor in Alcalà de Henares!!!

And going back to my beloved Spain and a nice town we like with lots of memories of our passing by there until time to go back again. This is an update on the Church of Saint Mary the Major in  Alcalà de Henares; hope you enjoy as I ,and thanks for reading me over the years!

Let me tell you about a nice church with a nice anecdote for us while visiting Alcalà de Henares in the Comunidad de Madrid. I will be talking about the Church of Saint Mary or Saint Mary the Major.  This is a smallish city but it is pack with monuments of a rich history and great architecture compact in the city center. We have always arrived by car into an underground parking San Lucas (Plaza San Lucas)  outside the old town and just walk in very easily to see all on foot. The best combination possible anywhere.

 The Church of Saint Mary or Iglesia de Santa María or of Santa María la Mayor is the denomination that has had two buildings throughout history in the city of Alcalá de Henares. Of the old Church of Santa Maria, located south of the Plaza de Cervantes , in front of the city/town hall, there is only the design of its plant marked on the ground and two parts that have been restored: the tower and a chapel. This, called the Capilla del Oidor or Chapel of the Listener, of Mudejar decoration, contains a baptismal font specially celebrated for being in which Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quijote writer author) was baptized.

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It is currently destined for temporary exhibitions and the Universes of Cervantes Interpretation Center , sort of a museum to understand the work of Cervantes (see post) . This Chapel was built at the beginning of the 15C by King Juan II of Castilla, in what was then a hermitage under the patronage of San Juan de los Caballeros (Saint John of the Knights) or of Letran. And that in 1454 Bishop Carrillo made the Church under the patronage of St. Mary. For centuries, the towers of St. Mary and the Holy Children (Santos Niños) represented the duality institutional of City Hall and University. The first as a parish Church and the second as Magisterial. The Stork’s Nest of the tower is protected, which obliges to restrict the scaling visits in breeding season. This Church was destroyed at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War by 1936.

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After the war, the denomination of Church of Santa Maria La Mayor was applied to the Church of the former Jesuit college: the Colegio Maximo of the Company of Jesus, current Faculty of Law of the University of Alcalá, in the Calle Libreros (booksellers). This building, started in 1567, interrupted its construction until 1602-1620, when thanks to donations from the Mendoza family was terminated, in the absence of the façade. Its style is the conventional of the Jesuit churches of Italian influence. Four statues of Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier stand out on the façade. The connection to the Mendoza is attested by the presence of its heraldic shield. The main altarpiece, baroque, is the work of the Jesuit Francisco Bautista; His paintings were destroyed in the Spanish Civil War and were replaced by new ones, of the Parishioner Manuel Palero.

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First, it testifies to the early splendor of the company of Jesus founded by Ignatius of Loyola in the transit of the Renaissance to the Baroque, in that city that attracted the founder on his return from the Holy Land and, in whose Hospital of Antezana at Calle Mayor, still remains the Kitchen where he prepared his meals. As usual, the architectural model of the Gesu in Rome is omnipresent; a Latin cross plant with a large presbytery, a cupola on the transept and a side chapel connected to each other. For the façade, the Roman Church of San Giacomo deli Incurable   was taken as a reference. The temple is a symbol of the reformation and served as an example for successive  Jesuit Churches. Like other conventual spaces in Alcalá de Henares, the collegiate building became a cavalry barracks until the 80’s of the 20C when it was rehabilitated to host the Faculty of Law, inaugurated in 1991.

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Well , this is an unique Church of Santa Maria with a lot more history that is actually available online ,but I hope gave you enough to get a more complete picture of it, the Tower of St Mary ,remaining of old Church, and the Chapel as well as the Hospital Antezana (where Cervantes father was a surgeon doctor) and the Cervantes interpretation center.

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

The costasur webpage on Alcala de Henares and the church: https://alcala-de-henares.costasur.com/sites/parroquia-de-santa-maria-la-mayor/es/index.html

The Calle Mayor webpage as Alcalà de Henares leisure and cultural site on the church: https://www.lacallemayor.net/turismo/lugares-de-interes-alcala-de-henares/religiosos/parroquia-santa-maria-la-mayor/

The Alcalà de Henares tourist office on the main Chapel Santas Formas of the Church of Santa Mariahttps://www.turismoalcala.es/turismo/santa-maria-la-mayor-capilla-santas-formas/

The Alcalà de Henare tourist office on the tower of St Mary of the Church of Santa Mariahttps://www.turismoalcala.es/turismo/monumento-torre-de-santa-maria/

The Alcalà de Henares tourist office on the main Chapel de los Oidor of the Church of Santa Maria: https://www.turismoalcala.es/turismo/monumento-capilla-del-oidor/

The Center of Interpetration of Cervantes on the Church of Santa Maria: https://cvc.cervantes.es/artes/ciudades_patrimonio/alcala_henares/paseo/iglesia_compania.htm

Enjoy the visit to the wonderul Church of Santa Maria la Mayor in glorious Alcalà de Henares. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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March 1, 2021

The Gates of my Madrid!!!

So going over these older posts and having a thrill to do so and of course, thank you for following me along these memorable roads again! I am taking you back to my Madrid, many posts on this sentimental city. I like to revise the text and links, pictures etc on my post the gates of my Madrid!!! or Puertas de mi Madrid! Hope you enjoy it as I. I have to say, many of these sights already have a separate post and more pictures in my blog.

On a tranquil Sunday and my puppy Rex already out and done, slight rain cloudy cool humid day I sat to continue the sage of historical Madrid, my beloved Madrid. I will not stop telling you the wonderful experiences as a young men of me living in Madrid for four years and visited zillions more; Madrid in my heart. Let’s talk today about the gates and walls of Madrid, those still visible and those already gone, that made part of this vibrant , on the go city of modern Europe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There are several gates to parks or gardens that are worth mentioning me think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fence of  Philip IV or Cerca de Felipe IV  was ordered by the king to be built in 1625  with bricks and dirt.  The construction was motivated by fiscal and vigilance motives as it was not a defensive wall; what was looking is to tax all products entering the city as well as look after the persons entering the city. The Ronda de Segovia with about 500 hectares ( 1236 acres) that is about the current districts of Centro, Retiro park, and Jeronimos neighborhood. It stood there limiting the growth of the city until 1868. The only remains that have reach our days is in the current Ronda de Segovia. The narrow pass or Portillo de San Bernardino, called initially as  San Joaquín  for the nearby convent of the same name on the Calle Princesa, facing the Calle del Rey Fernando. Later was change to San Bernardino  for another nearby convent of the same name that was moved to the Calle de Quintana. demolished in 1868. The  narrow pass or Portillo del Conde Duque at the intersection of Calle Amaniel and Calle Conde Duque . The name comes from the nearby Palace of or  Palacio del Conde-Duque (where today you see the Palacio de Liria, and HQ of the Conde-Duque cultural center). It was also called the Portillo de los Guardias, for being of the body guards, and was demolished in 1868.

The Portillo de Fuencarral, name as is even if the true name was that of Portillo de Santo Domingo. Located in the calle de San Bernardo, by the level of calle de Santa Cruz de Marcenado. Built in 1642 , and demolished in 1867. The Portillo de las Maravillas, given the name from the nearby convent of Maravillas, that was situated at the intersection of Calle de Ruiz, and Calle del  Divino Pastor. The Puerta de Bilbao, known initially as the Puerta de los Pozos de la Nieve (gate of the snow wells)  for been nearby ; built in 1625  by the level of Calle  Fuencarral and Calle del Divino Pastor  to be moved in 1690  to the north in the current Glorieta de Bilbao.  Later, it was named Puerta de San Fernando until 1837  it was adopted with the name of Puerta de Bilbao in memory of that city and its defenders. It had a panel that can be read  “A los heroicos defensores y libertados de la invicta villa de Bilbao, los habitantes de Madrid”, or to the heroic defenders and liberators of the undefeated city of Bilbao, by the people of Madrid. The Portillo de Santa Bárbara, located in the square of same name at the end of Calle Hortaleza. Both adopted the name of the nearby convent of Santa Bárbara.

The Portillo de Recoletos, located first in front of the National Library or Biblioteca Nacional on the  Paseo de Recoletos , and later change in 1756, when king Fernando VI  built the fence or cerca de las Salesas Reales, by a new gate that was considered the best of the existing ones until that of Puerta de Alcalá was built. IT was dismantled in 1863  to be moved to another location but later abandoned, damage and in bad shape so never rebuilt and the parts used for other constructions. The Portillo de Valencia, aka as Puerta de Lavapiés located at the beginning of Calle Lavapies that today is call Calle Valencia facing the Calle Doctor Fourquet. In 1778, a new side gate was built that takes the name of Portillo de Valencia for being in the beginning of the road to Levante; later demolished in 1868.

 The Portillo de Embajadores from the 17C ,and in 1782 when the Ronda de Toledo was built ,its position was advance until the current Glorieta de Embajadores and as in the previous one , was demolished in 1868. The Portillo del Campanillo del Mundo Nuevo built in 1856 to avoid that the way of the cattle as it entered the city to the slaughterhouse of the Plaza del General Vara de Rey. The Portillo de Gilimon, located at the end of the Calle San Bernabé, the Portillo de las Vistillas name for the views you can have from it; the Puerta de Segovia built by the middle of the 17C near the Puente de Segovia (bridge) from which it took the name of Puerta del Puente; demolished in 1849 and re built the following year until finally demolished for good in 1868.

The Puerta de la Vega, originally demolished and rebuilt a new one in 1708 that was as well demolished in 1830 and replaced by a side gate or Portillo in wood until determine what to do. Finally, demolished in 1850 and change the lands into a series of ramps that we still have today. Here ,it is worth mentioning the story of the Virgin of Almudena or Virgen de la Almudena ,that according to tradition was hidden since the Arab occupation in 712 until the conquest of the city by king Alfonso VI in  1085.  The image of the Virgin was found in a bucket at the Puerta de la Vega and once fallen a second time the Virgin was place in a niche on the ramp or Cuesta de la Vega.  The one you see there today was done in 1941.

There, I hope you like as I do the fascinating stories of gates or puertas and especially the ones in my beloved Madrid. Or as the old saying says, From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! yes!!!

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

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March 1, 2021

The bridges of Madrid!!!

Oh yes Madrid has bridges as any city with a river going thru such as the Manzanares. I like to update this memorable post on the bridges of Madrid! Hope you enjoy it as I.

My beloved Madrid is no exception to this, and I would like to introduce you to some of my favorites over the years of living and visiting there.  Madrid has the Manzanares river. And life more and more evolves around it.  There are about 33 bridges (last I count them  ) some are pedestrians , others for trains transport, and even fewer are for automobiles.  All going and coming from the Manzanares river. 

Let me give you a brief introduction to some of my favorites over the years :

The puente de la Culebra , a work of art from the 18C  built in the park of the Casa de Campo, over the creek of  Meaques, affluent of the Manzanares river and in turn of the  Jarama river. The bridge is over the small lake or Estanque Chico, that is created by the water creek of Meaques. It was built in 1782,upon request of king Carlos III. Initially called the narrow bridge or Puente Estrecho, on a shape looking like a snake.  The architect was the famous Francesco Sabatini, (who also did the Royal Palace) that designed as it is to stop the passing of the wagons to the Casa de Campo , only zone given to the Royal Crown of Spain. Another popular bridge on a popular park is the  puente de hierro  inside the park of El Capricho located in the Alameda de Osuna.  It was built in 1830,and is the oldest steel bridge  in Spain with a technique not yet seen in the country.

You  have the French bridge or puente de los Franceses  as a train viaduct located in the district of  Moncloa-Aravaca . It was built in the second half of the 19C to allowed the trains to the north over the Manzanares river. The bridge was done between 1860 and 1862, along the lines of the railroad line to the North of Spain. It is near the old north station or the  Príncipe Pío,  where the long line trains were going. The terminal began built in 1859, but now only service the suburbain trains of  Cercanías. During the Spanish Civil War the bridge was the scene of fierce fighting for the defense of Madrid and was the fire baptism for the international Brigades in the battle of the University city ( Ciudad Universitaria). We walked long to see from centro or city center even taken a bus!46. The Madrid tourist office even have a page on it here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puente-franceses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madrid puente-de-toledo side

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

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

Not least as I mentioned several times the beltway M-30 who was finished shortly after I left while living in Madrid, let me give something on it.  This is a beltway done like a expressway and today mostly underground going around the city of Madrid; this was the first beltway,now there are several lol!  It is 32,5 km long and a radius of about 5,2 km from the Puerta del Sol (marking the center of Spain) and it is the most traveled road in Spain!! And the only expressway that is own by a city in Spain ; Madrid. The authorized speed limit is 90 KPH above ground and 70 KHP underground! This  is a map you can print and guide you on its many exits of the M 30http://micro.fa.uam.es/plano_M30_M40.html

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

There, I hope you like the post, many of these bridges are special in my youth and came back like a pilgrim to them each time, and on each occasion introduce them to a new member of my family down to my sons. And hoping the tradition continues, I think I am in good hands! Madrid is awesome and its bridges beautiful and historical.

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

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February 25, 2021

Some news from Spain XCIX

And here on a bright sunny cool day in my neck of the woods I come back to you with news of my beloved Spain. It has been difficult periods and not much desire or opportunity to go out and enjoy as we can go out but most is closed. Let me tell you a bit more on what is my 99th post on my series Some news from Spain, Roman numerals XCIX! thanks for reading me over these years, appreciated.

As the world turns so is my Spain. Something in this pandemia governments try to hide but pros are saying loud and clear is the fact tourism is hurting badly and represent large portion of revenue for the regions and country. The number of tourists who arrived in Madrid until December 2020 was around 1.71 million, compared to the 10.4 million visitors the previous year, according to the National Institute of Statistics!!! . So that it stops being a pending subject, and on the occasion of the International Tourist Guide Day, They will tell us a little more about the History of Madrid to learn from it.

Madrid is home to the oldest restaurant in the world certified by the Guinness Book of Records, and legend has it that Francisco de Goya worked in its kitchens as a young man. It was inaugurated in 1725 and is called Restaurante Sobrino de Botín.yeah!

Madrid has the largest Royal Palace in Western Europe, doubling the size of the famous Buckingham, for example. Yeah! The oldest building in the city is the Temple of Debod, brought from Egypt at the end of the 60s. The oldest indigenous building is, however, far from the tourist focus: in the heart of the Carabanchel neighborhood stands the Hermitage of Santa María La Antigua, built in the 13C. Go see it

In Madrid’s Berlin Park you can admire remains of the famous wall that divided the German capital for decades. The shortest street in Madrid is perpendicular to the most famous one: its name is Rompelanzas, it is barely twenty meters long and is located halfway along Calle Preciados between Callao and Sol. Yes indeed!

At the Puerta de la Torre de los Lujanes (15C), the oldest civil building in Madrid, there are stonemason marks, symbols that identified the artisans or workshops that carved the ashlars that were placed in homes or churches and that they facilitated the collection of the work carried out, in addition to publicizing them.

There are rarely seen views, such as those enjoyed from the Cuña de O’Donnell park, similar to those enjoyed from the better-known Cerro del Tío Pío park or the Siete Tetas park, but with a different perspective. You can also visit housing colonies from the end of the 19C and the 20s and 30s of the 20C outside the center. For example, what remains of the Madrid Moderno neighborhood, located in La Guindalera, is an authentic and surprising marvel of style neo-Mudejar and modernism. The Cuña de O’Donnell park is a new extention very nicely done and located at Cemetery Nuestra Señora de La Almudena, bounded by the extension of Calle O’Donnell street to the north, by Calle Doctor García Tapia and Calle José Bergamín to the south, to the east by Calle Fuente Carrantona and to the west by Calle Arroyo de la Media Legua. Enjoy it

The vast majority of the time they look for good, beautiful and cheap places, both for informal meetings and for work meetings or hangouts with friends, now that the afternoon is taking so much, or even an appointment – whichever has one. Now in crisis we look more at our pockets, but we do not resign ourselves to stop going out, because socialization with restrictions has become, more than ever, a moment of evasion where we can forget the coronavirus, always respecting security measures and with the utmost care. Yeah life goes on and these two are great places enjoy it.

To create a gourmet space with a shop, restaurant and cafeteria where quality products reign in Chamberí district of Madrid. You can go to breakfast and go out having bought the bread, tomatoes from the garden, sausage or smoked oil made by them with their own machine, have some incredible wines with mussels and anchovies, which come out of the can to your mouth whole, and finish with a bite of homemade torrijas or Pão de Ló following the traditional Portuguese recipe. D.Origen Calle Gaztambide, 62, Madrid. Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/d.origengourmet/

Various differentiated and minimalist environments to be at ease with interpersonal distance and a renewed Spanish cuisine menu, with starters such as black pudding fritters with honey tears, confit artichokes or grilled foie with caramelised onion and low-temperature egg. To continue, fish, meat and healthy and current dishes such as avocado and tomato tartare. Its winery stands out, with the main Spanish denominations of origin, and the house wine especially, a selection from the Martínez Lacuesta winery, in Rioja. En Recoletos. Calle Recoletos, 13 Madrid.Their webpage: https://www.enrecoletosrestaurante.com/

They are the restaurants with the best wine cellars’s lists in Spain. My favorites are:

ATRIO (Cáceres) . More than 4,000 references, including 42 vintages from Mouton-Rothschild, 27 from Latour, 23 from Petrus … and 80 from the mythical Château d’Yquem, the largest collection in the world outside the winery, which can be visited in a small chapel and which started in 1806. Every year, the restaurant’s updated wine book is published, a bibliophile gem.Yes indeed; have it! Webpage: https://restauranteatrio.com/en/the-wine-cellar/

LAVINIA (Madrid); the favorite still in my Madrid.   In its more than a thousand square meters, the largest wine store in Spain houses more than 4,500 wines from all over the world and from all price ranges. All, absolutely all, can be consumed in the local bistro ,which has a pleasant urban terrace at store prices! webpage: https://www.lavinia.es/es/paginas/tiendas-7

REKONDO (San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa). Unanimously recognized as one of the best wineries in the world, it responds to the passion for wine of Txomin Rekondo, who comments on the restaurant’s website: “In 1964, I decided to turn my hobby into my way of life and that’s how the Rekondo winery was born. Since then we have continued to buy wine from all over the world and improve our offering. ” In that time, it has collected thousands of bottles from more than 20 countries, among which the old vintages of great Rioja classics stand out. Another historical and great town too. Webpage: https://www.rekondo.com/en/the-wine-cellar/

I told you in previous post and the work continues as the Prado Museum reinvents its future with more social painting, more history and more women. The gallery is preparing the rearrangement of a good part of its exhibits. This is ongoing and when re open it will be a new Prado.To be seen a must!

And great news in this mess of the pandemia!  The great dream of the gallery owner Helga de Alvear is finally a reality; she opens her new museum of contemporary art in Cáceres after an investment of 10 million euros, almost half supported by institutional support from the Junta de Extremadura.

Nestled in the heart of the monumental city, with an area of 5,000 m2 (8,000 with a garden and provision for storage), the first exhibition – which will be inaugurated today Thursday by the Kings of Spain. It houses 200 works selected from the nearly 3,000 that the collector of German origin (Rhineland, 1936) since she settled in Spain in 1957. A new building with wide ceilings that houses the most complete private collection of contemporary art that currently exists in Europe. The new building houses a selection of works by artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Pablo Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Wassily Kandinsky, Helena Almeida and Ai Weiwei, among others. Another room has also been designed for Francisco de Goya, through the first edition of Sus Caprichos (whims), to disseminate his influence on modern and contemporary art. A first phase of rehabilitation of the so-called Casa Grande, of 3,000 square meters, where until now the Helga de Alvear Foundation has exhibited. The building of the Museum of Contemporary Art; subsequently, a construction of another 15,000 m2 was projected for this new one. Part of the garden has yet to be completed and a warehouse and offices have been prepared. The building will have three entrances. The idea was to join the old city of Cáceres in a corridor, from Calle Pizarro street, to the extension that represents the access through Calle Camino Llano. The webpage of the Helga de Alvear Foundationhttp://fundacionhelgadealvear.es/en/expositions/helga-de-alvear-collection/

Some drawing from Dali found!! The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955) is one of Dalí’s most popular works. It is in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington. It is a vast representation of the Last Supper in which an ethereal torso with outstretched arms, possibly the risen Christ, hovers over the seated figures of Christ and the apostles. An alleged unpublished sketch of this work has come to light, along with two others related to the artist’s religious-themed works: ‘Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)’, in which he painted Gala as a devotional figure before a crucified Christ, and ‘Calavera de Zurbarán’, his homage to the 17C Spanish master. Yesterday, the Gala-Salvador Dalí de Figueras Foundation did not want to comment on these unpublished items as it had not been able to see them yet. Keep an eye on it as this can be a great find and more reason to visit when possible. The foundation webpage: https://www.salvador-dali.org/en/dali-foundation/

Somthing to keep in mind for when will be possible to travel again in my beloved Spain. Some fortresses and castles of architectural and historical value I like, many with individual posts in my blog. Enjoy it

Most impressive fortresses in Spain, me think are

The Alcazaba of La Alhambra, (Granada) is, together with the Torres Bermejas, the oldest part of the Granada monumental site. Built in the 9C, it was dedicated to the surveillance and control of the city as well as the habitual residence of the elite army. It served not only for defence against enemies but also against internal uprisings. This great wall allowed that, even with the fall of the protected city, the citadel resisted during a long period. In the enclosure you can visit the Quebrada towers, the Homage towers and the famous Torre de la Vela.

The Alcàzar de los Reyes Cristianos (Cordoba). Stands next to the impressive Mosque which Alfonso XI restored this fortress that was part of the Caliphal palace and that, after being destroyed by the troops of Fernando III el Santo, in 1328. It preserves the keep and rooms with Roman mosaics and furniture old, as well as some beautiful gardens with Mudejar pools and fountains.

The Alcàzar de Jerez de la Frontera (Càdiz). Located opposite the cathedral, this 11C Arab fortification preserves seven towers (of the twelve it originally had) as well as two gates, the Ciudad (City) and the Campo (Country). Inside, the Chapel of Santa María stands out, a Christian transformation of an old mosque, as well as some Arab baths and a Renaissance palace.

The Alcazaba de Màlaga.(Màlaga) This defensive citadel is the main Arab monument in Malaga. Of the three original wall canvases ordered to be built by the Abderramán de Córdoba, two remain, set with defensive towers and with several access gates. The fortress is completed with three palaces whose workmanship recalls that of the Alhambra in Granada. Inside is the Archaeological Museum of Malaga.

The Alcàzar de Molina de Aragon (Guadalajara). This town with an intense border history between Castile and Aragon, and sensational natural landscapes preserves as its most representative monument a fortress with a castle, walls and the so-called Tower of Aragon. A spacious and elegant complex built by the Andalusians on an old Celtiberian fort between the 10C and 11C and which served as a bastion for the important Señorío de Molina, almost an independent nation of Castile and Aragon- in the 14C.

The Alcàzar de Segovia (Segovia). Between the Eresma and Clamores rivers, this imposing fortress dates back to pre-Roman times. It was rebuilt in the 13C as a royal palace, expanded in a Gothic style and endowed with a Herrerian air with Central European touches by king Felipe II. Completely restored in 1951 after the fire that ravaged it at the end of the 19C, its imposing location is joined by a spectacular interior: the Patio de Armas, the Throne Room, the Galera room or the Kings room, adorned with a luxurious frieze that recreates the original.

The Alcàzar de Toledo (Toledo). Erected at the wish of king Carlos V on the remains of previous fortresses, it was the architect Alonso de Covarrubias who gave the fortress its current plan in 1537. A quadrangular shape with four powerful towers. Successive fires and an underground charge of dynamite during the Spanish Civil War almost led to its destruction. After successive interventions it regained its splendor and in recent decades it has hosted the Army Museum and, more recently, the Library of Castilla-La Mancha, considered the second most important in the country behind the National Library!

You might have read heard or visit them and should know ,Spain has one of the richest palace heritages in Europe some of my favorites are:

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Madrid). It was practically destroyed after being destroyed by fire in 1748, but this residence of the Spanish royalty remains so spectacular that many guides refer to it as “the Spanish Versailles”. It was king Felipe II who entrusted the task of building the palace (as he did with the El Escorial Monastery) to his trusted architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo. He devised a beautiful French-style complex where its dazzling gardens and fountains stand out.

The Nazari palaces of Granada (Granada). In the list of the most beautiful palaces in Spain, the Nasrid Palaces (Comares and Los Leones) located inside the Alhambra in Granada, one of the wonders not only of Spain but of the whole world, could not be missing. These two Andalusian complexes with patios and gardens so impressed the Catholic Monarchs that they established their residence here after the conquest of the Nasrid kingdom.

The Granja de San Ildefonso of Segovia (Segovia). About 13 km from Segovia is the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, a majestic residence built by order of King Felipe V (born in Versailles). The first Bourbon monarch brought a taste for elegant palaces from France and decided to apply it to this architectural jewel , entrusting the project to the architect Teodoro Ardemans. Often call the Little Versailles.

The Palace of the Infantado (Guadalajara). The Palace of the Dukes of Infantado is a 15C building ordered to be built by Íñigo López de Mendoza y Luna, second Duke of Infantado, in Guadalajara. It is an Elizabethan Gothic style palace with Renaissance elements, such as the diamond points that decorate its façade. The exterior beauty of the palace is sublime, but the interior has nothing to envy. Its rooms are arranged around a splendid patio with a beautiful Gothic balcony.

The Royal Palace of Madrid (Madrid). Located where the Alcázar used to be, the Royal Palace of Madrid was ordered to be built by king Felipe V. The gossip then said that it was the monarch himself who caused the fire that destroyed the old Alcázar, in order to build this elegant palace in the French Baroque style . However, the king never came to live in it, since he died before its construction was completed. On the other hand, the Royal Palace is not only one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain: it is also the largest royal palace in all of Western Europe (double the area of Buckingham Palace and Versailles Palace).

And there you go folks a bit on my beloved Spain, some news and some must visit sights when possible. As you know if read my blog, an advertising campaign from the 80’s read and I like it, Spain , everything under the sun!! Enjoy Spain as we do! And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 24, 2021

Madrid, it’s a love affair from childhood and forever!!

I have truly enjoyed updating these old posts in my blog, and thank you for reading me. This one ranks up there as memories flash back as I write. It was a very moving moment in my life and plenty of anecdotes in my blog on it. For now let me bring back again my dear Madrid, it’s a love affair from childhood and forever!

Ok , as the nostalgic season is continuing and I am on the mood of remembrance, I need to tell you about Madrid. I arrived on December 30 1970 and left on May 10 1974, it was a shocking beautiful experience, still very much in me.

After years been told by my grandparents that were from Tenerife and speaking to me about Spain that elusive far away country I came to dwell on its customs and food and tradition, finally I was on the land of Cervantes. Lucky enough in life to be able to come back and visit often, and from 2003 every year at least once. Never enough.

So here I am again to speak about the city of Madrid again. I have several posts on it ,but some are older ,from my beginning blogging. This is their story, my story.  I am not going to go into full lenght on what is Madrid to me. It was simply a early teen view of a new surrounding, once told by grandparents and now visually upon me back in 1970.

I grew up there at Calle de Alcalà 331 , 2do A ,Buzon 67, metro Quintana line 5 just out of the metro. Nearby is Plaza Quintana, and our closest park was Parque el Calero. Going to the sports complex Elipa  was fun on the bus P13 now name 113. Docamar the best patatas bravas of Madrid since 1963 are still there! Calzados Victor at 238 Alcalà my mom purchased my first shoes in Spain there, and ever since, I stop by and already got my boys shoes there too. The beltway or first one the M30 was finished by 1974 when I left Madrid. It was nice to walk all the way to the Monumental Ventas bullring.

It was a nice quiet working class neighborhood part of district Ciudad Lineal, and now drastically change, almost beyond recognition even thus I do stop by for memories’s sake.  I still remember the elevator/lift in my piso/apartment you could take it up but not down, it was from the belle epoque era very nice but old and rusty. We were only on the second floor (3rd US).

Anyway, I get very sentimental just talking about the city.  As the saying goes; From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!!! yes!!

There, now do enjoy Madrid to the fullest, as in Spain, everything is under the Sun.  Plenty of pictures on Madrid elsewhere in my blog, I leave you with my passport id photo for arriving in Madrid !!!!

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Hope you enjoy the short introduction, there is a lot more on my doings and goings there in my blog. Madrid is more than just a tourist city for me, it is like home! Capital of the kingdom of Spain and everything in Spain can be found there.

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

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February 15, 2021

Museo Cerralbo , Madrid!!!

Here we all go to the big ones first, then we try the others, and many times the others look feel better. In my beloved Madrid, where I lived did not was into museums been a young men of other persuasions however with time continue visiting grew older and wiser me think and did get to see the museums of Madrid. This one is very nice and recommended and would like to update an older post on the Museo Cerralbo!

And here we have a museum a bit away from the mainstream but worth the detour. I must said the last time here was way back probably in the 1990’s. However, as visited wanted my boys to see it too and continue the family tradition.  We came to the Museo Cerralbo at Calle Ventura Rodriguez 17 right off the Plaza de España! yet on a small street Calle Ferraz. You can get here on the metro Ventura Rodríguez , line 3 or Plaza de España line 3 and 10Príncipe Pío  lines 6 and 10 as well as Cercanais trains at Príncipe Pío, lines C1, C7 , and C10.

Madrid

The Museo Cerralbo is a Spanish national museum and it houses the old private collection of works of art, archaeological objects and other antiques gathered by Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, 17th Marquis de Cerralbo, who practiced politics, but, above all, is remembered for his role as historian and promoter of various archaeological excavations. The Cerralbo is considered an environment museum, that is, it presents the uniqueness of being one of the few 19C palaces of Madrid that still retains its original decoration.  The marquis died in 1922 and, in his will, bequeathed the vast majority of his archeology pieces to the National Archaeological Museum and the National Museum of Natural Sciences, as well as the rest of his collection and the palace built between 1883 and 1893 to the State, which accepted the testamentary legacy. The building, opened as a museum in 1944.

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Inside, more than 50,000 objects are preserved, including antiques, sculptures, furniture, various decorative arts, drawings and prints or paintings, where great names such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Bronzino, Tintoretto or Van Dyck stand out. The garden, based on sketches by the Marquis himself, evokes the romantic English-style gardens. Nowadays, the decoration of the main floor is conserved almost completely which includes, among others, a sumptuous ballroom – while the most private rooms underwent successive changes due to use. They have finally been recovered with their original furniture and other antiques acquired recently.

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Above all the schools, the Spanish painting collection stands out, since of the pictorial ensemble that is preserved in the museum, almost half corresponds to works due to Spanish artists. The Immaculate of Francisco de Zurbarán, La Piedad de Alonso Cano, a copy of an original by Van Dyck, or Jacob with Laban’s herd from the workshop of José de Ribera whose original is preserved in the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, as well as, from the Renaissance, a San Francisco in ecstasy of El Greco.  Within the foreign collections, Italian painting has a special role, with relevant examples ranging from the 16C to the 18C. They highlight a portrait of Alejandro de Médici, revealed as an original by Bronzino or La Resurección de Cristo (resurrection of Christ) , an unpublished piece, to date, of Corrado Giaquinto. One of the most valuable pieces in the collection is precisely the Portrait of a Gentleman from Tintoretto, acquired by the marquis, probably, back in 1884. The other European schools have a practically testimonial presence. However, works such as La Virgen con el Niño, (the Virgin and the Child) the work of the Genoese school by Anton van Dyck stand out and were revealed, after a restoration process, as the painter’s original in December 2017.

The Cerralbo Museum also has a valuable set of drawings, which includes outstanding examples of the Spanish, Italian, Flemish and French schools. This museum houses sculptures from Roman times, Greek ceramics, Meissen porcelains, European and Eastern weapons and armor, numismatics from Greco-Roman times, etc.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Madrid tourist office on the Cerralbo Museumhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/cerralbo-museum

The official Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain on the Cerralbo Museumhttp://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/mcerralbo/home.html

And voilà, you have another dandy monument to visit in Madrid. The city is awesome , always vibrant and plenty of architecture, history and the arts to keep you busy forever. Enjoy this Cerralbo Museum of Madrid

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

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February 15, 2021

Casa de America, Madrid!!

In my continuing saga of updating older posts in my blog I bring you back to my beloved Madrid! Yes culture and history are part of any society and without understand it, you are doom for errors or least more of them. This is a cultural center of the Americas in Madrid where all countries of Latin America can meet and exchange culture, arts, theater, and conditions; it is a must while in Madrid to understand the whole of the American conscience (American is the sense of the continent). Let me tell you a bit on the Casa de America of Madrid!

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A place to visit for the culture and understanding  a lot more than just a tourist sight, even if many things will help you understand the things you see as a tourist/visitor of my Americas. I have touch briefly before, but I like to tell you a bit more on the Casa America.

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The Casa de America is a consortium created in 1990 and integrated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  the community of Madrid and the city of Madrid. It is coordinated through the Governing Council, the upper management body of the Consortium and the delegated commission of that Governing Council formed by a representative of each of the three institutions plus the Director General or General Manager.

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A bit of the history I like

This consortium has the headquarters of the Palacio de Linares in Madrid.  It is located in the district of Salamanca, in the northeast corner of Plaza de Cibeles, on which opens the main entrance, between the Paseo de Recoletos and the Calle de Alcalá (my street!).  The Murga family’s fortune declined after the Marquis ‘ death in 1902, and the palace, damaged during the Spanish Civil war, was about to be demolished when it was classified as a historic monument in 1976.  It escaped destruction but remains abandoned for many years.  This palace built in 1873 for the Murga family is impressive. Baroque style, it was completely renovated in 1992. One of the peculiarities of this palace is the Casa de Muñecas, or the house of dolls; located in the interior patio of the palace, it was built by the Marquis de Linares for his adopted daughter Raimondita.

Casa de America is a public consortium that aims to strengthen ties between Spain and the Americas, especially with Latin America. This approach is encouraged through the organization of seminars, conferences, roundtables, exhibitions, lectures, projections, concerts, symposia, presentations, workshops, etc.

The Casa de America Consortium was founded in 1990, on the occasion of the preparations for the celebrations of the 5th centenary of the discovery of the Americas (by Europeans)  by Columbus.  The headquarters of Casa de America hosted the 2nd Ibero-American Summit in July 1992. S.M. King Don Juan Carlos I and the Heads of State and Government who participated in the summit inaugurated the institution.  The Casa America has since received the most important personalities of the continent: leaders, politicians, economists, authors, sociologists, artists, etc

The activity of the institution is divided into two areas: American Tribune and American Athenaeum.  American Tribune: It focuses on the diplomatic and institutional sphere by emphasizing political-social, economic, scientific, technological and general thinking issues. American Athenaeum: Focuses on the cultural field, and its activities revolve around cinema, literature, music, the visual arts and scenic.

Some webpages to help you enjoy this place fully are:

The official webpage of Casa de Americahttp://www.casamerica.es/

The Madrid tourist office on Casa de Americahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/casa-america

During the visit you can see the different rooms of the palace accompanied by specialists in history and art, and you can, also discover the stories and legends related to the building. Visits can be made in English, Spanish and in mixed groups. Saturdays and Sundays at 11h, 12h ,13h. Buy your tickets directly at Casa de América information point from Monday to Friday from 11h30 to 14h30 and from 16h30 to 19h30.  General admission: 8€. There is now a nice Raimunda restaurant on site.

There you go another jewel in a very nice area of Madrid, not far from my old home when living there. Its a cultural center in a cultural city, enjoy it

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

February 13, 2021

Some news from Spain XCVIIII

And this is my latest news from my beloved Spain. Still in the unfortunate situation of not traveling, and even if do most will be closed. Hopefully next summer all will be back to some normality everywhere. As for now, some items to help us plan for the future and enjoy Spain, everything under the sun!

The prettiest train stations in Spain me think

The Atocha Station of Madrid. Known as the Estacion del Mediodia ( midday station)  or Estacion del Sur (south station) in the mid-19C, as a result of a fire that ravaged the original building, the current Atocha station was built, made in 1892. It is a large 152 meter long nave with a curved roof and a glass facade. A classic see post.

Estacion del Norte in Bilbao (North station).  Also known as Abando Indalecio Prieto, inside the station stands out the large window with motifs from the life and customs of the town, which summarizes the history of Bilbao: it contains references to the Basilica of Begoña, the bridge of San Antón, the hamlets, the iron and steel industry, fishing, sports etc.

Canfranc Station, Huesca. Like a gigantic Titanic stranded in the mountains, with its more than 241 meters in length, its 365 windows and its 156 double doors, the Canfranc International Station was the second largest in Europe. To build this modernist-style pharaonic work, the workers removed millions of cubic meters of earth and planted thousands of Albares pines. They also channeled the Aragón river and made a tunnel almost six km long: the Somport.(see post) It has been closed for more than half a century. Passed by it crossing into Spain see several mentions of it in my blog.

Cartagena station, Murcia. The Cartagena train station dates back to the beginning of the 20C, when the city experienced a true boom in modernist architecture due to the Indianos (Spaniards coming back from the Americas) who returned with great fortunes from America. In the building as a whole, the columns and decorative ceramics stand out, as well as the large clock on the arch of the main facade. Currently on its four tracks, with three platforms in total, the Talgo and Altaria trains circulate, as well as medium-distance services.

France Station,(França)  Barcelona. Inaugurated in 1929 on the occasion of the Barcelona International Exhibition, the France station is one of the most important exponents of modernist iron architecture in Barcelona. Located in the Born neighborhood. The double metal canopy with stained glass windows that makes possible the spectacular effect of natural light on the twelve routes that compose it stands out. Walked by it but never inside

Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz. Its construction at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the following decade recreate a neo-Renaissance Andalusian mansion, in a combination of Mudejar and Plateresque styles. Was by there but missed going in to see will have on my list.

Toledo station. This beautiful monumental station built at the request of king Alfonso XIII in 1917 on the old station of the city of 1858 stands out for its neo-Mudejar architecture and elements such as the clock tower. Inside, coffered ceilings, plasterwork and baseboards and the chiselled the locksmith, lamps and wall lights. In 2005 the station was restored on the occasion of the arrival of the high-speed train. Wonderful pretty station see post.

Estacion del Norte, (North) Valencia Inaugurated in 1917 after ten years of work, the Valencia station is one of the best examples of our civil architecture. Modernist in style, within the current Vienna Secession. See the numerous handcrafted details: the lobby with a meticulous design of the wooden lockers and wainscoting, mosaic inlays and ceramic decorations with an abundance of Trencadís, tiles … while the roof and the delicate geometric shapes of its façade show the effort so that all objects were a work of art in themselves. Very nice station see post.

Zamora Station. Considered one of the most beautiful stations in Spain, its works began in 1927 but due to successive interruptions it was not inaugurated until 1958, a year after the Medina del Campo-Zamora-Orense-Vigo line was put into service. Its façade hides a caricature of the Catholic Monarchs and is a jewel of Renaissance inspiration, whose arcades and openwork windows are reminiscent of the late Gothic style.

The tourist activities platform Musement has developed a ranking with the most popular towns in each Spanish province. All Spanish towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants were taken into consideration according to the INE and the data from the search volume in Google for the term “what to see in [town’s name]. A good idea to have in mind now for when will be possible to travel again.

For travelers who prefer to visit small towns but with much to offer, Guadalest (Alicante), Pedraza (Segovia), Miravet (Tarragona) and Medinaceli (Soria) are the ideal option, since they do not reach 1,000 inhabitants and have numerous places of interest.

Among the most popular towns, it is worth highlighting Peñíscola, the beautiful coastal town in the province of Castellón. Although it is not the only town by the sea that conquers hearts. Llanes, the beautiful fishing village of Asturias or Hondarribia (Guipúzcoa), with the colorful balconies of its typical houses, also triumph inside and outside its provinces.

Mountain and outdoor lovers will be happy to see on the map Jaca (Huesca), yes! Cervera de Pisuerga (Palencia), Albarracín (Teruel)  yes! or Cazorla (Jaén), destinations that allow combining cultural visits and activities in nature. Following in the footsteps of the ingenious gentleman Don Quijote de La Mancha in Consuegra (Toledo),yes!  discovering the Ruta de los Conquistadores in Trujillo (Cáceres) yes! or savoring the best wines in Cambados (Pontevedra), Haro (La Rioja) and Laguardia (Álava) are just some of the plans and experiences that can be enjoyed in the most popular towns of each Spanish province.

More on the Musement webpage here:https://blog.musement.com/es/50-pueblos-bonitos-en-espana/

Some late wines to recommend and hopefully you can get where you are !

Juan Gil Etiqueta Plata 2018 (Jumilla, about 11 € in Spain). Viñas Familia Gil  in recent decades, it has been one of the main reasons that Jumilla has become a thriving appellation of origin, far from the days of bulk. El Nido is there to prove it, one of the best Mediterranean wines made in this country. And, playing in another league, that of the most affordable prices, Juan Gil Label Plata, an infallible monastrell monovarietal, balsamic and balanced, which is the perfect companion for any type of winter stew.

El Regajal Seleccion Especial 2018 (Vinos de Madrid,14,50 € in Spain) . The finca El Regajal, located in the historic Madrid province town of  Aranjuez, it is unique in the world, since enology and entomology coexist in it. As it sounds: its 14 hectares of vineyards inhabit 77 of the 225 species of butterflies identified in the Iberian Peninsula (hence its label, which represents a lepidopteran). It began to make wines in 1998 and this Special Selection is the crown jewel, with a coupage whose proportion varies depending on each vintage, which includes the five varieties grown on the estate, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot. and Syrah and it is perfect to accompany callos ( tripe) . He has a little brother, Las Retamas, less complex and cheaper (8 euros).

And now the modern version of tasting wines in restaurants. I admit my selection is a blend of the old and the new, taken the best from each in my opinion. Choosing the right wine for lunch or dinner in a restaurant can make the difference between success and failure. If you are in charge of doing it, the Metropolis section of El Mundo newspaper has some suggestions that do not fail and warn you against some very common mistakes to avoid.

Before launching into the wine menu selection, it is convenient to estimate a budget. Neither the cheapest wine is the worst nor the most expensive is the best. You always have to ask the rest of the guests about their tastes. If someone does not like white wine or red wine, as much as it is the one that best goes with the ordered dishes, there is no point in ordering it. The solution is to reach a consensus that each one takes the one they prefer. (yes we do from red to rose).

Don’t get obsessed with harmonies. The white with fish and red with meat is a thing of other times. The recommendation in these cases is to opt for a base wine to accompany the meal. (yes we do). That reds are drunk at room temperature is an outdated urban legend. If a red is too hot (which causes the alcohol to stand out and become unbalanced), there is no qualms about demanding that they be put to cool in an ice bucket. Similarly, an excessively cold white tastes practically nothing. (indeed)

Be careful with the glasses. One wrong glass can spoil a great wine. Refuse to be served in catavinos, flutes, pompadour, and the like. Do not be afraid to talk about prices. If the sommelier proposes a “great wine off the menu”, ask how much it costs. Then , there will be no surprises at the last minute. (we know our wines so no need to ask for the price ..)

Ask that they leave the bottle at hand to regulate consumption. If it could not be for reasons of local protocol, unless it is always in sight, to know how much is left and not be surprised that it has finished in the middle of a meal. Yes indeed anyway if order a bottle it will be in your table.

The experiments are done at home and with soda. Maybe you want to try an exotic wine that you do not know and have not even heard of, but even if your companions (unless they are also irreducible cenotaphs), for one day they go out, they prefer to play it safe. (we do tried by the glass first , and if good we ask for the rest of the bottle!) And most importantly: enjoy, enjoy and enjoy your meals.

There you go folks .something to think about from my beloved Spain; hope you enjoy the post as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 13, 2021

Vuelta a España 2021!! One of cycling’s best!!

And here I give you an ahead news on one of cycling triple courses we enjoy over the years. Due to the fact in my wife’s family they were/are avid followers , and of course, I join in with the family. As said before we usually used to go by Pau to catch the French Tour de France, and by Castilla La Mancha and Cuenca for the Vuelta a España. Lately this has stopped due to losses in the family and the virus.

However, the 76th edition of the tour of Spain or Vuelta a España is back next August if all goes well as our times tells us lately. Here is the planned lineup.

Two time trials, seven mountain stages, six flat … These are the profiles of the 21 stages of the 76th edition of the Vuelta.
The 2021 Vuelta will have 21 stages with profiles for all types of runners and without losing the essence that has been forged in recent years. However, many unfamiliar places and do not know if the effect will be the same. Here are the stages with day of the week, date, itinerary , distance and type of race.

Stage 1 (Sat. 08/14). Burgos-Burgos. 8 km. CRI
The 2021 Vuelta will start with an individual time trial starting and finishing at the Burgos Cathedral.

Stage 2 (Sun 08/15). Caleruega-Burgos Gamonal. 169.5 km. Flat
Stage 3 (Mon. 08/16). S. Domingo Silos-Picón Blanco. 203 km. High end

Picón Blanco from Espinosa de los Monteros finally made his debut in La Vuelta after years in the plannings. First contact with the mountain for the favorites, with a practically one-port stage, although the end is demanding on a 9 km ascent of around 9% and with ramps that reach 17%.

Stage 4 (Tue. 17/08). El Burgo de Osma-. Molina de Aragón. 163.6 km. Flat
Stage 5 (Wed 08/18) Tarancón-Albacete. 184.4 km. Flat
Because the day between Tarancón and Albacete, despite its completely flat profile, could be decisive if a strong wind rises that could cause fans.
Stage 6 (Thu. 08/19). Requena-Alto de Cullera. 159 km. High end
Stage 7 (Fri. 08/20). Gandía-Balcony of Alicante. 152 km. Mountain
Stage 8 (Sat. 08/21). Santa Pola-La Manga del Mar Menor. 163 km. Flat
Stage 9 (Sun 08/22). Puerto Lumbreras-Alto de Velefique. 187.8 km. Mountain
Stage 10 (Tue. 08/24). Roquetas de Mar-Rincón de la Victoria. 190.2 km. Half mountain
Stage 11 (Wed 08/25). Antequera-Valdepeñas de Jaén. 131.6 km. Half mountain
Stage 12 (Thu. 08/26). Jaén-Córdoba. 166.7 km. Half mountain
Stage 13 (Fri. 08/27). Belmez-Villanueva de la Serena. 197.2 km. Flat
Stage 14 (Sat. 08/28). Don Benito-Pico Villuercas. 159.7 km. Mountain
Stage 15 (Sun. 08/29). Navalmoral de la Mata-El Barraco. 193.4 km. Mountain
Stage 16 (Tue. 08/31). Laredo-Santa Cruz de Bezana. 170.8 km. Flat
Stage 17 (Wed 09/01). Unquera-Lakes of Covadonga. 181.6 km mountain.

Lagos de Covadonga, return to the tour as the outcome of a pure mountain day. But the stage will have another novel element: a circuit prior to the final ascent that takes two laps and in which a new pass is climbed in both: La Collada Llomena, with 14% ramps.

Stage 18 (Thu. 02/09). Salas-Alto del Gamoniteiro. 159.2 km. Mountain
Stage 19 (Fri. 09/03). Tapia-Monforte de Lemos. 187.8 km. Half Mountain
Stage 20 (Sat. 04/09). Sanxenxo-Mos (Castro de Herville). 173.6 km. Mountain
Stage 21 (Sun 05/09). Padrón-Santiago. 33.7 km. CRI

Seven years later, La Vuelta returns to live in Santiago de Compostela its last stage in the form of an individual time trial.

The official Vuelta a España webpage in English: https://www.lavuelta.es/en/

Cycling news journal on the Vuelta in English: https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vuelta-a-espana-2021-sees-return-of-full-length-final-tt-after-20-years/

There you go now be ready plenty of advance notice, this is planning and hopefully we will be able to enjoy in August/September 2021. Maybe see you there, La Vuelta of Spain!

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

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February 11, 2021

Téléferico de Madrid!!!

Oh I am so glad to look at this post again, and revise/updated it from 2018 post. This is really memories of youth where it was a challenge taking this téléferico or cable car of Madrid over from parque del oeste to casa de campo!! I was very happy to bring my girlfriend and then dear wife here and later with the boys and last in 2017 as my dear late wife Martine passed away from the terrible cancer in 2018. We must fight more against it.

Moving right along in my beloved Madrid, let me tell you about a ride I enjoyed since childhood and probably one of the first persons to tried it…. My dear late mother Gladys was always looking for inexpensive ways to entertained me and as we lived in Madrid for several years , just after the cable car opened, we certaintly was there right away. The ride is short the thrill of a boy huge, and the experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

Like said, the Téléferico or cable car is a must for me while in Madrid, even if now older and my boys older it is the memories that count and the thrill is still there even if sadder it is a must. I have to say here that is not the same visiting than living, and if lived, the memories are forever as I had a great time each time in Madrid. Or Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! I think for my memories and all those families coming ,thinking of coming or repeat a show of it is worth it me think. So here it is, the Teleferico de Madrid!

The Teleférico of Rosales aka of Madrid starts from the Paseo del Pintor Rosales to arrive at the Plaza de los Pasos Perdidos of Casa del Campo at  a spot call Cerro Garabitas. In this terminal there is a restaurant-cafeteria and a car park and in the Paseo de Rosales another car park, with 350 places, and a restaurant, EL Balcon de Rosales, which unfortunately has closed and there is talk of doing a library there now by the city.

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A bit of history I like

The company Teleférico de Rosales, S.A. was created in 1967. After the city of Madrid had granted it a lease for 35 years on a parcel of land of 1500 meters in the park of Casa del Campo for its installations.   The cable car was built in one year by the Swiss company Von Roll. The Cable was inaugurated in 1969. Since March 2012, it has a digital planetarium which, on the first Sunday of each month, offers simulations encompassing the sky from day to night.

The cable car is a bicable system. It has 80 cabins, each of which has a capacity of five persons, and runs a distance of 2 457 meters, at a maximum height of 40 meters. The engine station is 627 meters above sea level as from Alicante and the twin train station at 651 meters. It has a capacity of 1 200 passengers/hour and its speed is 3.5 meters per second. The journey lasts 11 minutes in direct sunlight, above a desert park.

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You , also, can see on clear days , just begun the journey, the parque de la Rosaleda and parque del Oeste, which in spring will find very florid and colored. As we move away from the point of embarkation, the view towards Madrid improves. Soon we will be struck by the photograph that can be made of the Royal Palace and the Cathedral of the Almudena. If you look a bitn we will also see the triangular roof of the Royal Theater protruding from the left side of the palace. Nearby are also the tower of Madrid and the Edificio (building) España (Spain), which emerge from the Plaza de España. When the thickness of the trees allows it, one can also distinguish the temple of Debod.

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Looking down we will find the train station of Príncipe Pio, the hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida and the Manzanares River. When we cross the M-30, a few meters from the entrance of the cars to the tunnel, we begin to fly over the Casa del Campo. Its silhouette shows the platform of the Moncloa lighthouse (Faro), the Picasso tower and the inclined gate towers of Europe(Puerta de Europa). A little more to the left we see the complex of the four towers (Cuatro Torres), the highest skyscrapers in Madrid. Here my old home of the sports city or Ciudad Deportiva de Madrid old training grounds of the Real Madrid CF!

Upon arriving at destination ,looking to the front, we have the Casa del Campo. To the right, the large expanse of the park, with its immense grove mainly of holm oaks and pine trees accompanied by countless shrubs. And in the background, the relief of the Sierra de Madrid. On the left side the lake is hidden among the trees, but sometimes it can be located because a large stream of water tends to emerge from its central point. A little further ahead we will see the amusement park (Parque de Atracciones), easy to distinguish by the structure of the roller coaster.

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You get to the cable car or Téléferico on metro Argûelles lines 3, 4, and 6, as well as bus lines 21 , 62 , and 74 or walking from Gran Via thru Plaza de España.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The official Téléferico webpage: https://www.telefericomadrid.es/

The tourist office of Madrid on the Téléferico: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/madrid-teleferico

And the story is told , in prime time , memories forever. Hope you and your family enjoy this wonderful cable car ride in Madrid.

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

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