Archive for ‘Madrid’

September 11, 2020

Some news from Spain XCV

And here I am in my beloved Spain. And first, thank you for reading me! Today temps are sunny and 85F in my beloved Madrid! So, therefore, its time to tell you about some news from Spain!

The Madrid City Council converts the former Conde Duque Barracks into its cultural center of reference with a commitment to contemporary creativity and a daily program that challenges the pandemic depression a new chapter in the long history of walls built more than 300 years ago and which also house the Villa Archive and the Municipal Newspaper Library. Hence the new denomination of Center for Contemporary Culture Condeduque was born. And I have more in my blog, great wonderful place. More here: https://www.condeduquemadrid.es/

The doors of the Teatro Español reopened with an exceptional musical grotesque. The play Con lo bien que nosotros (Ferretería Esteban) has inaugurated the 2020/2021 season of public theaters in Madrid, which has a total of 80 projects. with the live piano performance of Néstor Ballesteros, it revolves around a couple of hardware dealers, Esteban and Marigel, who one day decide to leave their routine to go to the theater. From there their lives takes a turn because music owns Esteban, turning his days into a grotesque musical. Shown until October 4, 2020. More here:  https://www.teatroespanol.es/con-lo-bien-que-estabamos-ferreteria-esteban

Morante and Juan Ortega will fight a heads-up on October 12 in Córdoba . Morante and Juan Ortega will fight a bullfight by Jandilla and Vegahermosa, hand in hand as a tribute to Joselito el Gallo, according to the poster that has been made public. More info in MundoToro or world of bulls… https://www.mundotoro.com/noticia/morante-juan-ortega-mano-a-mano-en-cordoba/1561041

If the Atlantic archipelago of the Canary Islands were a country (not at all farfetched) , it would be the fifth with the most tourists in the European Union. Its climate, the best in the world according to several studies, is joined by its level of safety, its nature and its beaches as reasons to extend the summer season for the rest of the year. As an example, its 40.5% of protected territory stands out (it measures a total of 7,493 km2), its four National Parks, seven Biosphere Reserves, 1,583 kms of coastline, 500 beaches and 60 natural saltwater pools.

The largest island in the archipelago ,Tenerife, is home to the Teno Rural Park and Teide, the highest mountain in Spain (3,718 meters) and the third highest volcano in the world. The homonymous National Park can be discovered on foot along the established trails or by car on the only asphalt road that crosses it. Regarding the beaches, there are both familiar (Las Teresitas) and wild (Benijo). It would be necessary to know Los Gigantes, those vertigo cliffs. There are other islands such as Gran Canaria; Fuerteventura,   Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa, the smallest of the Canary Islands. The touirist office of the Canary Islands: https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/

And the tourist office of Tenerifehttps://www.webtenerife.co.uk/#prettyPhoto

For seven years, the users of the Tripadvisor portal have chosen Siam Park, in Tenerife, as the best water park on the planet, the complex located in Costa Adeje, in the south of Tenerife and inaugurated in 2008. Siam Park occupies a 85,000 square meter extension that accommodates all kinds of attractions that have water as the protagonist between slides, pools of all sizes and shapes, giant donuts in which to slide, meandering rivers, exotic forests, shops and different restaurants. And all inspired by the ancient Thai kingdom of Siam, from which it takes its name.   More info here: https://www.siampark.net/en/

As of Thursday 10 September (yesterday), Madrid will become a cultural fair with 48 galleries open while showing, in a unique tour, works by 75 artists. In September Madrid spent more on art than ever and for four days it becomes the great city of contemporary art by the hand of Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend 2020, a walk through the most current art. From Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 September, the 11th edition of this cultural festival is held, promoted by the Arte Madrid association, in which 48 Madrid galleries (from Albarrán Bourdais or Blanca Berlin to Xavier Fiol, passing through Juana de Aizpuru and Marlborough ) simultaneously inaugurate their exhibitions and present the work of 75 artists to the public for free, as if it were a unique tour. With long hours Thursday, from 12h to 22h; Friday and Saturday, from 11h to 20h., and check on site for Sundays to leisurely tour the exhibitions or follow itineraries devised for the occasion; dance shows (Dance is born in the galleries; thus, on the afternoons of Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th, September the venues will host eight young resident dance companies of the Centro Coreográfico Canal, and virtual visits of all the exhibitions. In addition, from September 14 to 24, Apertura has a varied program of free activities for the entire public (prior online registration): guided tours of the city’s galleries, art centers and museums; walks through streets, squares and buildings to get to know some of the artistic gems that the city offers to the curious passerby.

Official Arte Madrid on Apertura: https://www.artemadrid.com/apertura/

The tourist office of Madrid on Apertura : https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/apertura-arte-madrid

Official Centro Coreogràfico Canal: https://www.teatroscanal.com/centro-danza-madrid/

The new season will start off at Caixaforum Madrid on October 9 with “The American Dream”, a colorful journey through the collection of prints and drawings of the British Museum by Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Ruscha, Johns, Bourgeois, Warhol and De Kooning. More on Caixaforum Madrid and The American Dream: https://caixaforum.es/es/madrid/p/el-sueno-americano-del-pop-a-la-actualidad_a12643579

A wonderful town passed and visit several times in my visits to the serranias or mountain range of Aragon and Castilla La Mancha on my road warrior trips by car France-Spain. This is Albarracín, in the province of Teruel, Autonomous Region of Aragon, Kingdom of Spain.

Perched in the hills above a bend in the Guadalaviar River, the town of Teruel is one of the most beautiful in Spain. Former capital of a Taifa kingdom, Albarracín has preserved all its medieval flavor. Its old town is declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and the first thing that surprises when arriving at the town is its imposing fortified enclosure, whose perimeter far exceeds the surface of the urban area. At its highest point is the Torre del Andador, from the 10C, and in the old town, the castle ruins stand on a cliff. The Cathedral of El Salvador, dating from the 16C, includes a bell tower that was built on the remains of a Romanesque temple. The tourist office of the Sierras of Albarracinhttps://albarracinturismo.com/

The tourist office of Aragon on  Albarracinhttps://www.turismodearagon.com/en/ficha/albarracin/

And last but not least ,something I like to share. Vuelta a Madrid ( tour of Madrid) is the loyalty program of the city of Madrid with which you can enjoy advantages and exclusive offers in a selection of the best restaurants, shops, museums, nightlife shows and many more places.

I have used it even if know the city like the palm of my hand, and the programs are very good and the discount for real and available. Being a member is free and to enjoy your benefits and prizes you just have to return to Madrid. No matter the reason for your visit to Madrid, leisure or business. It will always be a great time to take advantage of the benefits that Vuelve a Madrid offers you. Only thing the site is only in Spanish and English. More info here: https://www.vuelveamadrid.com/en/

There you go for now on my news from Spain, always a wonderful place to be. Spain, everything under the Sun, and more. Hope you enjoy the post as me writing it.

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

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August 22, 2020

Some news from Spain XCIIII

Well it seems to be away from Spain quite some time. Things are happening even surviving a resurgence of covid19 cases, and fighting as always. Let me tell you the lighter side of events in my beloved Spain.

Benito Pérez Galdós summers in Santander!!!  In Cantabria, in his home San Quintín, where he went almost every summer of his life since 1871. The first 20 years he spent for rent in the city, but in 1892 he began to build his farm in San Quintín, from which he had the company and the soft bath for the view of the Santander bay. The estate became a kind of pilgrim mecca for contemporary Galdosians. The writer secluded himself there for at least three months a year with his sisters, Carmen and Concha, and his daughter María, whom he had, as single, with Lorenza Cobián. The place served as a profitable inspiring refuge for him: he produced eight novels, 14 national episodes, and 11 plays there. He went to bed early and got up a lot early. It was installed in furniture designed by himself, as he did with the house, which he designed together with the architect Casimiro Pérez de la Riva. The large tiled fireplace from England was imprinted with a legend from Shakespeare’s grave. On the walls hung pictures with motifs of the National Episodes and there he transferred the portrait made by his friend Joaquín Sorolla. In the library he had a border inscribed with phrases from the Litany of the Virgin and passages from the Psalms were read on the curtains. All this, contemplated by a reproduction of Voltaire’s death mask and a portrait of someone as un-Christian as Richard Wagner. This contrast gave an idea of ​​his radically contradictory spirit, taken to the maximum in his decorative expressions. San Quintín was the only house that Galdós owned. His house … To such an extent it was that he kept all his manuscripts there while he was alive. He set San Quintín as the starting point for his trips to the north and the region, which he reflected in travel books such as Four leagues through Cantabria. There he embarked on ships that transferred him to his continuous European itineraries. He often departed from the port of Santander for France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, and landed again at the same point. After his death, no one wanted to keep his legacy there. His body was extinguished and also his memory in the city. No one showed interest in claiming it. Their belongings were transferred to the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria House Museum in the 1960s. The property was sold to private individuals shortly after he died. They demolished the house. The retaining wall of the entrance to the farm is preserved, as well as a sign with blue tiles and Gothic letters that reads: San Quintín. No memory on the wall indicates that there, one of the greatest writers of world literature created much of his work and was reasonably happy. That is the sad part of history forgetfulness, we should not! Long live Benito Pérez Galdós!

The Real Alcàzar of Seville is a jewel to be visited. An intervention project will consolidate and restore the almost 1,600 square meters of tiling and tiles of the Sevillian monument from the 14C to the 20C!! The Patio de las Doncellas or Patio of the Maidens of the Mudejar Palace of the Real Alcázar of Seville, space in which are the 14Ctiles, the oldest in the complex. The tiled baseboards with star decorations in one of the rooms of the palace of Pedro I of Castile. Geometric compositions made by builders from the kingdom of Granada in the 14C. The Patio de las Doncellas, where the oldest ceramic wall tiles can be found. Intricate geometric shapes in one of the cloths in salón de los Embajadores or Ambassadors’ room. Each piece, in a single color, was cut with pliers, and had to fit right into the puzzle, without leaving a sore point. A divan in the Patio de las Doncellas, surrounded by the oldest tiles in the complex, from the 14C, contemporary with those of the Alhambra. The vaults room, part of the 13C Gothic palace that Felipe II ordered to be covered with tiles painted in the 16C. The set, the work of Cristóbal de Augusta, is the largest of the European Renaissance. Grotesque-themed panels in the sala de las Bóvedas or room of the Vaults. Next to the head can be read the date 1578 and below, the author’s signature: Augusta. Part of the sala de las Bóvedas, whose walls are covered with 243 square meters of tiles painted by Cristóbal de Augusta in the 16C. The ceramic wall tiles of the Gothic Palace, present in three rooms, have humidity problems due to capillarity, loss of enamel and as a result of the replacement of pieces that have been made throughout the last century. All will be renovated now!!! More info here: https://www.alcazarsevilla.org/en/

And for something for the true traditionalist Spaniards.

Can it be said that there has not yet been a decent bullfight in 2020? ”. It depends, of course, on the moral conception of each one, but, decent or not, what we have seen so far causes an alarming disappointment. It’s not this, no; this is not what bullfighting needs to stand tall in the 21C!!!  For the inaugural bullfight of the season in Andalusia, on August 1, in Osuna, Ponce himself included in the poster a friend of his, Javier Conde, a returned bullfighter, possessor of old wilted muses, gripped by a clamorous absence of technique and a heavy heart. In Huelva, eight bulls, two for the rejoneador Andrés Romero, and six for Juan Pedro Domecq, for Ponce, Castella and David de Miranda. The journalist Carlos Crivell wrote the following on his blog Sevillatoro.es: “The future of the Fiesta cannot be supported by bullfights as embarrassing as the second in Colombinas. When a renovation of the structures of the bullfighting network is requested, in moments in which an attractive bullfight is needed in which the bull is the real king to be fought by capable bullfighters, who are heroes, it is a disaster to witness the game of bulls without life, almost dead on the way out, that give more pity than fear, that come to give real pain, so that everything ends in a continuous embarrassment that there is no fan who can endure in a square. With bulls like those of Juan Pedro that were run in Huelva, the festival has no future ”.

As if that were not enough, a heated controversy has arisen over whether or not companies comply with the sanitary measures on the allowed capacity. The photos can be deceiving, but the impression is that in the celebrations held there was more public than allowed. The bull is the foundation of bullfighting; the only element with the capacity to excite and hook new fans. And until this axiom is apprehended by bullfighters there will be no solution for bullfighting. If this is the normality that bullfighting people and their journalists prefer, let them know that the bullfighting business will not give them for retirement. If this is the new bullfighting, the party has a short life left. The bull, only the bull, will save the party from certain death. Only the bull, the real one, and not the current cartoon. José Ortega y Gasset already said it: “The day the epic is lost in bullfighting and everything is aesthetic, the Fiesta will have its days numbered.” Indeed!

The Festival de Artes Digitales Mira or the Mira digital arts festival announced yesterday that it was postponing its tenth edition, which had to be held this November, until a year from now, in November 2021, in order to guarantee the health of attendees, artists and workers from the covid-19. The MIRA Festival is structured in three connected areas: exhibition, dissemination and education, and it takes place every year in the city of Barcelona since 2011 and in Berlin since 2016. Focused on the confluence between art and digital culture, the festival offers a programming proposal that includes audiovisual shows in classic formats, digital art exhibitions, immersive screenings and conferences and workshops. More info here: https://mirafestival.com/en/mira-postpones-tenth-edition-until-2021/

Those who go to the Prado Museum until September 13 2020 will not be able to visit all its rooms, but the ones they visit will provide a unique experience. For this, a spectacular assembly has been conceived in the Central Gallery and adjacent rooms, an emblematic space that, due to its architectural characteristics, guarantees compliance with the recommendations of the health authorities and provides a safe visiting model for the public and employees. The assembly, made up of 249 works, follows a preferably chronological order, from the 15C to the dawn of the 20C, but given its exceptional nature, it dilutes the traditional distribution by national schools and proposes dialogues between authors and paintings separated by geography and weather; associations that tell us about influences, admiration and rivalries and point out the profoundly self-referential nature of the Prado Museum collections.
The Prado National Museum Reunited. Madrid 06/06/2020 – 09/13/2020. See specially :The Annunciation by Fra Angelico and The Descent by Van der Weyden, brought together for the first time, welcome visitors on a generous tour of exceptional dialogues.  Goya and Rubens’ Saturns can be seen together, and Las Meninas and Las Hilanderas will share space in Room XII, along with an exceptional “altarpiece” made up of the jesters by Velázquez More info here: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/whats-on/exhibition/reunited/1027b51a-a7dc-4199-7ce6-5ff4a2710f74

And to brag of my beloved Spain here is some facts.

In addition to being the place with the most coastal spaces with this distinction blue flag beaches as 589 this year, Spain has such a varied coastline that it can hardly be seen elsewhere. Spain is the country with the most blue flag beaches in the world since 1987. A total of 8,000 kilometers of the Spanish geography are bathed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Cantabrian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The European Foundation for Environmental Education has awarded the blue flag to 589 of the 662 candidates (89% effective) for meeting the criteria that this organization requires in terms of information and environmental management, water quality, safety and services . It is the country in the world with more of these awards ahead of Greece, with 514; Turkey, with 508; and France, with 507, a ranking that Spain has led since 1987. Within Spain, the Valencian Community is the autonomous region with the highest number of blue flags (134), followed by Galicia (107), Andalusia (100) and Catalonia ( 95).
The Costa Blanca, which covers the entire Alicante coastline, in its 244 kilometers you can find more crowded coastal cities, such as Alicante and Benidorm, other smaller ones, such as Denia or Altea, and a total of 73 blue flags this season, the tourist destination of Spain that accumulates the most. In the province of Valencia, Gandía offers extreme measures in its six kilometers of beach both for visitors and for all the personnel who work there. In fact, it has come to be classified as the safest beach in Spain. The islands are the ones that are suffering the most from the consequences of the pandemic this summer, especially the Canary Islands, where currently reservations do not reach 15% of the figures they used to have at this point in other years, especially due to geographical distance. The Islas Canarias ski lift since, in addition to having a tropical climate that maintains a constant temperature between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, it has one of the widest coastline offers in Spain. Of particular note are the Playa de Maspalomas, on the island of Gran Canaria, bordered by the Special Natural Reserve of the Dunes of Maspalomas and with an area to the west for nudism, or the Playa de Telesitas, in Tenerife, a paradisiacal place with crystal clear waters and shallow waters that are always calm thanks to the breakwater that was installed, which makes it the ideal beach to go with children. Plenty to go around!

Spain is the third country with the most places declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, with a total of 47 and behind the 54 in Italy and 53 in China. The list ranges from the Alhambra palace in Granada, the Gaudí buildings or the archaeological complex of Mérida, to the Altamira Caves, the historic centers of Ávila, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela and Córdoba, the Mudejar architecture of Aragon or the Burgos cathedral. And without forgetting that Castilla y León  the region in the world with the most cultural assets included in this list. The mysterious atmosphere of the Romanesque Soria such as San Juan de Duero, Santo Domingo, the monastery of San Polo on the banks of the Duero ,etc etc!!! Today I am fascinated by walking the cobbled streets of many Aragonese towns: Alquézar, Alabarracín, Darosa, Tarazona. Its houses, its stone walls, its wooden gates remind us that we are beings of time. Awesome!!!

And I continue with my best most beautiful lakes in Spain to bathe this summer or any summer. 

The Laguna Grande de Gredos (Ávila). Hikers and people traveling with children go to this complex in the Circo Glacial or  Glacier Circus to enjoy the Sierra de Gredos Regional Park in all its splendor and end the day with a dip. El Tobar (Cuenca). This district located in the Alto Tajo region allows a charming rural getaway. This aquatic place that is reminiscent of island landscapes is known as the Laguna Grande or Big Lagoon, which together with the Little Lagoon and the now-disappeared Ciega are full of vegetation to breathe fresh air. They are accessed by a road at a distance of one kilometer from the town. The Sanabria (Zamora) With its 369 hectares of fluvial surface -one kilometer and a half wide by three long, approximately; it is the largest natural lake in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the largest in all of Europe (being the largest of glacial origin). It reaches 53 meters deep and has several sandy and stone beaches interspersed with trees and nature. The Lagunas de Ruidera (Castilla-La Mancha) This turquoise and La Mancha oasis is presented in one of the quietest and most secluded areas to enjoy the calm and forget all that name you don’t want to remember, paraphrasing Cervantes. In travel publications this panorama is compared with the Balearic Islands and even with the Plitvice Lakes of Croatia. And we have them here next door, between Albacete and Ciudad Real without going any further. Waterfalls and beautiful waterfalls worthy of Instagram. The Lagunar de Villafranca de los Caballeros (Toledo). Regional media report the worst drought in this wonderful place, with a minimal sheet of water. It is a protected area whose third part is reserved for bathing and the rest only for biodiversity. There are rural houses, hostels, spas … A beautiful wild natural site indeed!

How about French in Madrid if can come up to me! 

Lafayette made us learn the Camino de Las Tablas a few years ago, a new, remote and somewhat disconcerting neighborhood, but which became something like the Camino de Santiago for lovers of French cuisine in Madrid. He moved to a place next to the Glorieta de López de Hoyos roundabout, which is also much larger and has a shady terrace covered with vegetation that will become an irresistible magnet for the nights of next summer. Sébastien Leparoux is the soul of the restaurant, renamed Brasserie Lafayette .We remember the good work of the first chef from the founding era, 11 years ago, in Las Tablas: Vincent Huber. The move to the center, last summer, has marked the debut of a Spanish chef, Juan Suárez de Lezo, (not try yet) trained in Cordon Bleu and in stages in large French houses, and we think he is a good signing. Very interesting winery that Leparoux maintains and cares for, with a collection of French wines of great interest as few will see in Madrid. See it taste it at Brasserie Lafayette, Calle Recadero 2 .More info here: https://www.brasserielafayette.es/

And finish with a nice Summer dish of my beloved Spain: Salmorejo Cordobés!

The Salmorejo Cordobés is a very typical cold soup of Andalusian cuisine, specifically from the city of Córdoba, which has spread throughout the Spanish territory. These types of cold cream recipes are perfect for summer. The salmorejo recipe is very simple to make, we will only have to buy quality ingredients and use a good kitchen robot or blender since the traditional recipe for salmorejo was made in a mortar by hand, a bit heavy but in some Andalusian houses it is followed keeping the tradition.  Use tomatoes as being a raw dish you have to use high quality tomatoes. What bread does is give texture and soften the tomato while thickening it. The best bread is the Cordovan Telera or muffin type, with a lot of bread crumbs and soft crust.  The oil, always from Extra Virgin Olive, and garlic only one for garlic lovers but better half a head.  The eggs if it comes from raised chickens on better soil. It is best to finish the salmorejo by adding chopped hard-boiled egg.

The ingredients: 1 kilos (about 2,2 lbs) of ripe pear tomatoes, which are red but not overdone. 200 grams (about 7 ounces) of stale bread. It is best to use a very white and thin crust bread. Half a clove of garlic. 160 ml (less 6 fl oz) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we will always try to use a very mild one.  Water, a splash (optional for those who like it less thick). Salt to taste. 1 boiled egg, and Iberian ham in cubes or Serrano ham spread on top.

Ok so begin by washing the tomatoes, remove the peduncle and crush them.  Now pass it through a strainer to remove all the seeds and skins and thus be able to get a much smoother salmorejo. Add the bread to the beaten tomato and let it soak well for about 10 minutes.  You will do this so that when beating it more easily although we can beat directly if you have a powerful mixer. It is best to use a food processor for the salmorejo. Now add the half garlic without the core and the oil. it is better to add a drizzle of olive oil to emulsify. We do this so that the salmorejo emulsifies and takes on texture. Rectify the salt little by little until you reach your desired taste, and that’s it. It is served in a deep plate with ham and chopped hard-boiled egg on top. Enjoy, buen provecho!!!

And that is all for today on news from Spain, hope you enjoy my rants as well lol!!! Spain ,everthing under the sun! And we will resist, here is the youtube video of Duo Dinamico with the original song Resistere! 1989.

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

July 8, 2020

Some news from Spain XCIII

And here I am back on my beloved Spain. Even if times still are recovering and the healing will be long; all if not most is a go. There has been renew covid19 in Llerida Catalunya and A Mariñas areas of north Galicia as people still do not follow rules.

Some better news from my Castilla La Mancha region.

And this is Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of the Kingdom of Spain. One of my fav regions of my beloved Spain. There is so much to see as evidence by my many posts on it. However, let me tell you a bit more from the tourism pros.

The region is committed to natural spaces, charming towns and a great cultural offer in a safe environment for these coming holidays. Everything, led by a great kitchen that has seven Michelin stars as ambassadors. The third region of Spain in size has in its favor that national tourism is the one that leads the way because of the coronavirus. Hence, 90% of Spaniards plan to spend their holidays within their borders, according to the CIS ( Centre for Sociological Research).

For this reason, nature tourism gains strength with these jewels: two national parks, Las Tablas de Daimiel and Cabañeros; seven natural parks from the Alto Tajo to the Barranco del Río Dulce; six river reserves such as Sotos del Río Milagro; 48 micro-reserves, 122 natural spaces from the Lagunas de Ruidera, one of the most beautiful wetlands in Spain, at the source of the Río Mundo, and 26 natural monuments after adding the Chorreras del Cabriel (Cuenca). Archaeological sites such as Albacete from Libisosa should not be forgotten. There’s more: the Parque Minero de Almadén(mining park) or the black towns of Guadalajara.

On the cultural level, the biggest show in Spain stands out, Puy du Fou’s El Sueño de Toledo or dream of , which faces its second season on a five-hectare stage in the open air. Among the novelties is the appearance among the waters of the spectacular Crystal Palace of King Al-Mamún, as well as 15 Spanish horses that join the 35 already existing. The new Roberto Polo Collection museum a Center for Modern and Contemporary Art. In addition, the 46th edition of the Almagro Festival, the best in the world focused on the Golden Age, has been confirmed from July 14 to 26.

The Ruta de La Manchuela route, straddling Albacete and Cuenca, is dotted with charming medieval towns with treasures such as the Alcalá del Júcar Castle, the hermitage of Cristo de la Vida or the Iniesta Archaeological Museum. As a colophon, you must go to the Hoces del Cabriel, one of the best kept secrets in the area to escape to during this unusual summer.

And Castilla La Mancha has a new brand,Raiz Culinaria or culinary root, an axis to enhance visitor attraction by underlining the richness and gastronomic diversity. The ambassadors of this seal are the seven Michelin-starred chefs in the region: Fran Martínez (from the Maralba restaurant, in Almansa, Albacete), Enrique Pérez (from El Doncel, in Sigüenza, Guadalajara), Iván Cerdeño (from the restaurant of the same name in the Cigarral del Ángel, Toledo), Javier Aranda (from Retama, in Torrenueva, Ciudad Real), Jesús Segura (from Trivio, in Cuenca), Pepe Rodríguez (from El Bohío, in Illescas, Toledo) and Samuel Moreno (from Molino de Alcuneza, the second in Sigüenza). All of them have one star except the first, Maralba, who has two.

In the gastro chapter, the wine universe takes on special importance, with visits to wineries and vineyards on foot, by bike or 4×4, museums, exhibitions, festivals, tastings, contests and experiences for all audiences. Under this umbrella, Rutas del Vino de Castilla-La Mancha or the Wine Routes of Castilla-La Mancha offer the largest vineyard in the world, with 473,000 hectares, 50% of the total area of Spain. From them come references such as Finca Antigua Crianza Único, the Pago de la Jaraba 2018. Among the best in the world with ecological certification is the Ulterior Parcela 17 Graciano 2016, valued with 95 points in the Decanter contest. The La Mancha Wine Route discovers the heritage of this region that evokes the figures of Cervantes and Don Quixote, present in towns such as Alcázar de San Juan, Campo de Criptana, Socuéllamos, El Toboso, Tomelloso and Villarrobledo. Regarding the Valdepeñas, it is full of wineries, large and small, in the urban area or in the countryside, which combine tradition and modernity.

And for reference for my biking readers, Spain is tops for this and of course even I have done it even if many years back. This is more for the real aficionado! At least read the book!  Sergio Fernández Tolosa, author of the book “España en bicicleta or Spain by bicycle. 101 rutas ciclistas imprescindibles “ or 101 essential cycling routes (ed. GeoPlaneta), which has just gone on sale. The 35 main itineraries, unpublished and that have been created especially for this guide, add up to more than 7,300 kilometers! If cultural heritage appeals to you, it tells   you to go to Uncastillo, in the Cinco Villas region, to see its Romanesque churches , make the Vía de la Plata or the Cistercian Route. If you like volcanic landscapes, Lanzarote and La Graciosa are paradise. If you want to emulate the greats of cycling, the return to Las Ubiñas, with an ascent to Angliru included, or any of the routes that we propose through the Pyrenees are the perfect plan.

And something wonderful I use all the time even today! Extra Virgin Olive Oil!!!

In an extra virgin olive oil, the following will also be considered, among other aspects: legal quality, organoleptic quality (gastronomic-culinary), nutritional quality (health), therapeutic quality, differentiated quality (DOP) and also quality related to practical aspects of product use (type of container, price, etc.). Extra virgin olive oil must be fruity, that is, smell the fruit from which it comes, without making a sensory description of it, and must not have defects, which, from a technical point of view, is implemented as a median of defects equal to zero. Like any food that comes from the field, the quality of virgin oils will be influenced by agronomic factors, such as the variety of olives, cultural practices in the field, and the ecosystem in which the olive grove is located, and could even extend to collection and transport to the mill. Do not forget the processes related to obtaining the oil at the mill, and also those related to conservation, packaging and the degree of freshness.

Although all seem to have a common origin in wild olive or olive, there is great diversity and each olive will give it its own personality, always mediated by the ecosystem in which it is implanted. In Spain they deserve to be mentioned among others: arbequina, empeltre, mallorquina, picual, picudo, hojiblanca, cornicabra, manzanilla cacereña, farga, lechín from Granada, verdial from Vélez Málaga, verdial from Badajoz, blanqueta and morrut and for mesa manzanilla from Sevilla y Gordal from Seville as well as the Manzanilla from Cáceres.  Outside of Spain; in Portugal: galega, cobrançosa, cordovil and verdeal; in Italy: frantoio, lecchino, moraiolo, carolea, pendolino, coratina and taggiasca; in Greece: koroneiki, adramitini, mastoidis, valanolia, and konservolia and kalamata are highly valued for table; in France: picholine from Languedoc; and in the other Mediterranean countries: in Turkey: memecik and ayvalik; in Syria: sorani and zaity; in Morocco: Moroccan picholine; in Tunisia: chemlali from Sfax and chetoui.

For there to be a Denominacion de Origin Protegida or protected denomination of origin (DOP) the following requirements must be met: 1. Existence of a perfectly delimited region, place, region or locality. 2. Defined cultivation practices and the existence of an adequate raw material. 3. Uniform production methods of the highest quality virgin oil. In Spain, currently most DOPs only cover extra virgin olive oils.

In April 2020, Spain had 29 D.O.P. distributed as follows:

In Andalusia (12): Baena, Sierra de Segura, Priego de Córdoba, Sierra Mágina, Sierra de Cazorla, Montes de Granada, Poniente de Granada, Sierra de Cádiz, Antequera, Steppe Oil, Montoro-Adamuz, Lucena. In Catalonia (5): Les Garrigues, Siurana, Terra Alta Oil, Baix Ebre-Montsià Oil, Oil from l ‘Empordá or Olí de l’ Empordá. In Extremadura (2): Gata-Hurdes, Monterrubio Oil.   In Castilla-La Mancha (4): Montes de Toledo, Campo de Montiel Oil, La Alcarria Oil, Campo de Calatrava. In Aragon (2): Oil from Bajo Aragón, Sierra del Moncayo. In the Balearic Islands (1): Mallorca oil. In La Rioja (1): La Rioja oil. In Valencia (1): Valencian Community Oil.  In Navarra (1): Oil from Navarra. In addition, the two IGP, currently in the process of resolution in the European Union, as follows: Ibiza Oil and Jaén Oil, the latter a very good producing area and mention that will include other Jaén areas such as Campiñas de Jaén or Jaén Sierra Sur that preceded it. Love it Extra Virgin Olive Oil! From Spain ,the best!

And the arts are suffering too. The Madrid Art Triangle, made up of the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía museums, have experienced a sharp fall in June 2020 due to the reduced capacity and social distancing measures adopted to combat the pandemic.

The most pronounced fall is that of the Reina Sofía, which from June 6 to 30 of this year has had 13,133 visitors at its main headquarters, where the “Guernica” and the bulk of its collection is housed, while the same period in 2019 had 113,779 visitors. The museum reopened on June 6 with only part of its route, which houses the most important pieces, such as the central work of Picasso, and other reference rooms, such as those dedicated to Dalí. It has been adding spaces to its tour in recent weeks. The Prado has also gone from receiving 295,285 visitors in June 2019 (full month), to receiving 41,358 visitors from June 6 to 30. The gallery has reopened only a quarter of its length and has done so with “«Reencuentro»”, a unique exhibition that brings together its most important works. Last, Monday, it has announced that it is expanding its capacity from 1,800 visitors a day to 2,500, which will allow the exhibition to be seen by more people.   The Thyssen-Bornemisza is the one that falls the least. Unlike the other two, the museum reopened all of its facilities, albeit with reduced capacity as indicated by the government’s de-escalation program. Of the 63,378 visitors it received in June 2019, it has now received 25,079 (from June 6 to 30). This sharp fall is influenced, on the one hand, by the dry braking of international tourism, which in the case of the three museums accounts for more than half of its visitors, but also that of national tourism, which until the state of alarm ended June 22nd could not be reactivated and is still of little importance.

And another tradition to see in Spain that is hurting from the pandemic. “Of each and every one of the members of the Lidia Livestock Association (AGL), which is made up of more than 350 farms, with a total of more than 47,200 fighting bulls registered in the Genealogical Book. Understanding and suffering as mine, because I also have, such brutal economic losses. And I have also shared the sadness of having to make the tough decision to send bulls and steers to the slaughterhouse as the only way out. ? In view of everything that is happening, I think the time has come for the rest of the actors who live for and for the show to step forward. We need a large dose of imagination and courage to, maintaining the basic historical pillars of bullfighting, propose an adaptation to current times. Structural adaptation of the show, of values, of culture, of aesthetics, of the economy, etc. I understand that it must be a project made by specialist technicians, the best, who represent all sectors, and when I say all I say all: ranchers, slaughterers, bullfighters, bullfighters, silver bullfighters, picadores, businessmen, swordmen, doctors, veterinarians, owners of stable or portable bullrings, bullfighting schools, etc. But I repeat, made by specialists, all together yes, leaving aside personalisms and prejudices that have always given such a bad result. United and working side by side.” This a translation by yours truly from a speech by Víctor Huertas Vega BS Veterinary , cattle rancher of lidia bulls and president of the Asociación de Ganaderías de Lidia (AGL).

In better standing we have: The legendary stamp of Victorino Martín already has the date of his first “postcovid” bullfight: on August 15,at Herrera del Duque. Victorino has not had to send any bull to the slaughterhouse, although “he says have made more haste in the usual waste of cows and males; his is highly valued and the selection is very clear. In the town of Herrera del Duque, they will report on the sextet of the A crowned Manuel Escribano, José Garrido and Juan Silva “Juanito”, in a celebration organized by the businessman Joaquín Domínguez and that has been presented this morning at the Parador de Mérida. In Mérida, the Matilla house has closed two posters with the usual figures, with a luxurious combination in homage to Borja Domecq. Friday, August 28, homage to Borja Domecq with bulls from Jandilla for Morante de la Puebla, El Juli and José María Manzanares; Saturday 29, bulls by García Jiménez for Enrique Ponce, El Fandi and Miguel Ángel Perera. And the feast goes on!!

And there you go folks a bit of news blending as the situation goes. We will need to have patience but we will get out ok at the end; best wishes to all my readers!

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

June 23, 2020

Some news from Spain XCII

And back at you with my now regular series, Some news from Spain. The places we love are slowly getting back on even if painful losses are incur and many remained almost empty. Let me bring you the latest tidbits from my beloved Spain.

Something going on all over now, but an old tragedy that seems not to go away. However, the looting, destruction,and defacing of monument dear to many is not right. No cause will win by it to the contrary more differences. My five cents on the matter. Cervantes and Fray Junípero have nothing to do, much less Voltaire and Roosevelt. The wave of vandalism against statues in public spaces (and the removal of some sculptures and murals in institutions) in the context of protests against racial discrimination and the imprint of slavery, only responds to a simplistic and reductive logic. The attack against Cervantes ,a slave himself when he was held captive in Algiers  carried out in the Golden Gate Park of San Francisco has been the last straw, and has caused the rejection of institutions and personalities in the media and networks. The Royal Academy of History and the Fine Arts of San Fernando will address this issue in their next meetings.

And another serious matter, not to be taken lighly in my Spain. Bullfighters and fans crowd the Las Ventas esplanade in defense of bullfighting reading the manifesto the bullfighter and director of the Bullfighting Center of the Community of Madrid, bullfighting is the industry that reports the most money in fiscal terms to the State in terms of ticket sales, around 500 million euros in the last decade. One out of every ten Spaniards goes to a bullring every year, the same period in which more than 15,000 popular celebrations are celebrated in the streets and towns of our country. The act, in which a minute of silence has been observed, has concluded with the reading of the manifesto that has been common in the other thirty Spanish cities. During the march, numerous bullfighters have been seen such as Diego Urdiales, Emilio de Justo, Fernando Robleño, Julio Aparicio, Frascuelo, David Luguillano, Alberto Lamelas, Uceda Leal, El Fundi, Ortega Cano, Curro Vázquez, Adrien Salenc, Joaquín Galdós , Sergio Aguilar, Agustín Serrano, Chapurra, Rafael de Julia, Ignacio Olmos, Villita, Amor Rodríguez or the rejoneador Leonardo Hernández, among others. All attendees have put the finishing touch to the march by going around the Las Ventas arena, on the outside, and claiming for the last time, as the banner said, “Bullfighting is culture”. In Spain it is ,your choice to go see it or not as in any free country.

And now a new book on one that definitively enjoyed all Latin cultures even if not one.A new book is out 2020 ,and I got it, not read it all yet but fascinating. I will start with the title first, «Hemingway en otoño» or Hemingway in Autumn/Fall by Andrea Di Robilant ; essay and translation by Susana Carrale. Editor: Hatari! Books, 319 pages retail for 36 euros in Spain. Been so intricate related to the history of countries all dear to me and in which I carry a passport, Spain, Cuba, USA, and France. The Nobel Prize came to him in 1954, when many thought he was a finished writer. But the publication of The Old Man and the Sea (1953 from Cojimar Havana ,Cuba) stirred the old lion and returned to the lists of the best-selling books and to the columns of the most demanding literary critics, even, sometimes even rigorous, since a year later he was awarded what, even today, is considered by Andrea Di Robilant’s book the highest literary award . The book is published in an edition exquisitely cared for by Hatari! Books, with an excellent translation by Susana Carral and illustrated with a series of complementary photographs of the events that are narrated, is a moving story of the years that elapsed between 1948, the trip he undertook to Venice with his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, and 1961, the year the author of Paris is a Moveable Feast   committed suicide. Meanwhile he entertains himself, with trips to Paris, stays at the Ritz; Venice, and its wonderful Gritti hotel, hours and hours at the Venetian Harry’s Bar, witty dinners and unbeatable wines, mornings of eternal crazy conversation, duck hunts, the fights between Einaudi and Mondadori to acquire the rights to their editions in Italian, then return to Finca Vigía (his farm near Havana, Cuba now nationalised) , items sold for thousands of dollars, safaris in Africa (and serious injuries that will have fatal consequences), return to Pamplona, encounter with Dominguín and Ordóñez, and the running of the bulls, and with Ava Gardner in Madrid, his curious relationship of deep friendship with Marlene Dietrich. The roster of characters is endless stories forking. They all know him, they all chase him. Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir visit Havana and pay homage to him. Whatever the reader’s opinion about Hemingway’s excess and the value, or not, that he grants to his literary and journalistic work, Di Robilant has written one of the most exciting and definitive portraits of an author from the first half of the 20C, a faithful reflection of his time, his miseries and his greatness, that one can read without, in the end, understanding that a good part of a time of wine, roses and literature was melancholy left behind. Indeed a wonderful book on an icon of our times, Ernest Hemingway!

And something Mr Hemingway would vote for it and so do I!  Spain, is the country with the most bars and restaurants in the world, and have asked to make them a World Heritage Site. The Together for Hospitality platform, made up of the most prominent groups in the sector, requests that these establishments be declared Heritage as Spain is the country with the most bars and restaurants per person in the world: one for every 175 inhabitants, totaling 277,539 gastronomic establishments, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). The business organization Hospitality of Spain, the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors Companies (AECOC) and the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB), which represent the main pillars of the country’s hospitality industry, are responsible for the candidacy, as they themselves have expressed in a statement. Spain with 48 tangible and intangible assets recognized so far, such as the Alhambra, the Mediterranean diet, flamenco or the Fallas, is the third country in the world, behind China and Italy, with the highest Heritages. As for cities, Spain has 15 with that title, from Alcalá de Henares to Úbeda, passing through Córdoba, Salamanca and Santiago de Compostela. In addition, they ensure that significant events in the history of Spain have taken place in the counter of a bar, such as the drafting of the Spanish Constitution. On the other hand, many writers, musicians and comedians took their first steps in local restaurants. In short, they are very much ours. Indeed, no questions here, Spain is everything under the Sun!

The Prado Museum reopens last June 6. And the Prado National Museum has implemented a protocol whose consequences will not go unnoticed by visitors, whom they thank in advance for their understanding and collaboration. Those who visit the Prado Museum until September 13 will not be able to visit all its rooms, but those they visit will provide a unique experience. For this, a spectacular installation has been conceived in the Galería Central or central gallery and adjacent rooms, an emblematic space that, due to its architectural characteristics, guarantees compliance with the recommendations of the health authorities and procures a safe visit model for the public and employees. The montage, made up of 249 works, follows a preferably chronological order, from the 15C to the dawn of the 20C, but given its exceptional nature, it dilutes the traditional distribution by national schools and proposes dialogues between authors and paintings separated by geography and weather; associations that tell us about influences, admiration and rivalries and point out the deeply self-referential nature of the Prado Museum collections. Any time is worth seeing the Prado Museum!

Three centuries ago, the first stone of the Sabatini building was placed in that lusterless corner through which the workers with helmet and mask now come and go. Today it houses the Reina Sofía museum, but it opened as a hospital in 1788, shortly after the death of its promoter, king Carlos III. Around that corner, the art center that would change four years later into a national museum also began operating in 1986, based in the imposing illustrated construction that languished for decades after having served the city during the worst of the Spanish Civil War. Thirty years later, work has begun to recover for the public those vaulted spaces, destined since 1992 to easements such as carpentry, reprography or storage of office supplies and the publication service. The Reina Sofia museum’s collection includes around 30,000 works (1,000 of them on display) from the end of the 19C and currently; 1700 sculptures, 3600 drawings, 4100 paintings and 4,230 Photographs. As well as other Installations, decorative arts, architecture, videos and cinema. Th new space at the AO floor has a project that will allow two things: add to the permanent collection 21 new rooms (about 2,000 square meters) and resolve Sabatini’s coexistence with the Jean Nouvel expansion inaugurated in 2005. To go from one building to another, two mastodons separated by more than two centuries that turn their backs with disdain, the visitor now has to climb a floor, which has added during these 15 years more ingredients to the proverbial disorientation that the visitor feels hopelessly in the Reina Sofía Museum. Now you can go directly from the ground level of Nouvel to the -1 of Sabatini, which gives continuity and fluidity to the route. The reception facilities, such as the box office, the luggage room or the information desk, will also be improved. The golden triangle of arts gets better in my Madrid.

The Palacio de Liria and the Palacio de las Dueñas reopen June 23 (today) in Madrid and Sevilla respectively. A novelty at the Palacio de Liria. You will be able to admire for the first time the only work by the French artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres located in Spain: “Felipe V imposing the Golden Fleece on the Duke of Berwick”. It is a programmatic commission to one of the most important artists of the time, with which the Duke Carlos Miguel wanted to commemorate the most important events and characters in his family: from the Álvarez de Toledo family, with the 3rd Duke Don Fernando, and of Stuart ancestors with the first duke of Berwick. In the Palacio de Liria, it is also preserved with a sketch of the same painting made in 1817. It was a gift that the author himself made in gratitude to Mr. Poublon, attorney for the 14th Duke, who was the intermediary in commissioning the painting. The drawing has an autograph dedication from the artist. It is important to highlight the painting’s own value and its sketch, since it represents a fundamental moment in the History of the House of Alba, when the Marshal of Berwick, ancestor of the current duke, is awarded the Gold Fleece decoration and receives the duchies of Liria and Jérica, where the name of the palace comes from. Indeed gorgeous architecture and history here!

A ‘traviata’ without hugs to reopen the Teatro Real with security measures to resume its functions on July 1, 2020. It was the first rehearsal of La Traviata, Verdi’s opera with which the theater will reopen its doors to the public, after four months of closure. Many workers at the theatre slipped into the orchestra room to witness that little historical moment. When Luisotti raised the baton and the first bars of the play’s most popular overture were heard, few were able to hold back their tears as they hummed the tune. Never before had there been such a long silence in that place. In the absence of scenery, all the limelight will fall on the music and voices of the four different casts that will perform the 27 performances scheduled between July 1 and 29. Five traviatas will alternate (Marina Rebeka, Ruth Iniesta, Ekaterina Bakanova, Lana Kos and Lisette Oropesa) and four alfredos (Michael Fabiano, Ivan Magrì, Matthew Polenzani and Ismael Jordi). Behold, the Royal Theater will be back!

Artemisia Gentileschi, from forgotten painter to feminist icon. The date marked on the calendar was April 4. That day an exhibition, finally postponed by the health crisis, should have opened at the National Gallery in London, dedicated to Artemisia Gentileschi, the 17C Italian painter. Born in a country marked by antiquity by great figures of painting, who do not overshadow her, she has become from the last third of the 20C and to this day a media artist, especially by the feminist trend of art history , who has presented her as a victim of men and whose art would emerge, Freudian, as revenge for the violence against her in her adolescence. She is the only female artist of Western culture that has attracted the interest of novelists and filmmakers, and there have been several works that have dealt with her life, rather than her art, trying to find answers to the mystery that the painter continues to embody in the present.

Since 1630 she lived, with her two living daughters, of the five she had had, in the rich and important Naples, an artistic center where this skillful entrepreneur husband founded a workshop that competed with the best artists in the city, such as Ribera or Stanzione, and co-orders of important employers. Among others, the viceroy of Spain, who had three of her works and commissioned for king Felipe IV “The Birth of Saint John the Baptist “. The painting hangs, for a few days, in the Prado Museum, which has included it in her new exhibition tour, Reunion, until September 13. The artist is certainly in the current times and not only because she is an icon of feminism, but because she died, possibly, according to the latest hypotheses, in the terrible plague epidemic that struck Naples in 1656. More than half of the population disappeared and among the victims were some of the most important artists in the city, such as Bernardo Cavallino or Stanzione, a friend and collaborator of Artemisia. However, there is no news of her, although according to a document from 1654 she was still alive that year. Her name does not appear among the artists killed in the epidemic and perhaps she should be searched among the more than 40,000 skulls that lie in the Neapolitan cemetery of Fontanella. An inscription on the Neapolitan Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, destroyed in WWII, perhaps indicated the location of her tomb: Hei Artemisia or “Here Artemisia”, even though late-century news reported it 18C, surely imagined. To be found!

And last but not least, another memorable building of my youth. I used to come here and walk, play a lot on Plaza de España overlook by this huge building heights higher at the times. Built at a time when Spain was so impoverished (and I lived it at the end) that it did not have enough iron, so isolated that it could not be bought outside and so paid for by itself that it thought that it did not need it, the Edificio España (see post) or Spain building is a monument to the autarchy that was built with only reinforced concrete, the latter characteristic that makes it unique. After its acquisition by the Mallorcan hotel group Riu, which has carried out a complete refurbishment of the entire building, it houses the four-star Hotel Riu Plaza España, with 589 rooms and 17 meeting rooms. The hotel also has a gastrobar in the reception, two restaurants and a skybar distributed over the two upper floors, 26 (covered) and 27, with a large terrace of 500 square meters. The outdoor swimming pool, open only in summer, is on the 21st floor. Indeed an emblematic building of my old Spain, and glad now protected with the hotel.  By Calle de la Princesa overlooking the Plaza de España.

And there you go folks, another dandy in my dandy Madrid, hope you have enjoy the news……and my Spain.

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

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June 16, 2020

Some news from Spain XCI

And well, need to catch up on my beloved Spain news, it has been a while. I let it pass the worse moments and come back to the real world, my world of Spain. Therefore, I am back with Some news from Spain, on its 91st post! thank you for reading.

Spain is considering quarantining UK visitors when it opens its borders June 21st in reciprocity to a similar measure imposed by London, Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya has told the BBC. We do not seems to learn restriction keeps away the human race and we need more opening.

The bull taurino sector has concentrated in Salamanca to claim bullfighting as a part of universal culture, as a means of expression of the people around tradition and reminded the “new powerful” that, therefore, the culture “does not is censored, it cannot be limited. ” About three thousand people have gathered in the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, wearing masks and scrupulously keeping the security distance, among which were active matadors such as Enrique Ponce, El Juli, Miguel Ángel Perera, El Capea and Jiménez Fortes, seconded this protest in the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca ; that this past Saturday was repeated in various cities of Castilla y León. What is a tradition of a country where thousands come to see even from abroad it must be maintain. My region of Canarias abolished corridas, the first in Spain as it was not our Guanche culture, but that does not mean other places can’t have it. Open up freedom of choice is an important human trait.

In Santiago de Compostela to study in depth a stone sculpture of a Gothic-looking Virgin that, according to the first analyses, could date back to the 14C and which was casually located in recent days in a surprising setting. An amateur fisherman discovered it leaning on the bed of the Sar river as he passed through La Coruña, semi-submerged in an area with little flow. It is a round bundle carving that is carved on four of its five faces and represents a virgin enthroned with the Child. On both sides of the Virgin, on her shoulders, two angels arise. This part of the sculpture is quite worn, but in any case, the face and hand of each of the angels can be seen holding some object or the Virgin’s own cloak. Therefore, another one to see soon in the Cathedral

Benito Pérez Galdós (there is a new bio coming out on him) toured the mid-19C and the first bars of the 20C with a vocation to look at everything, understand it on site when possible and write it without fatigue. It is not a modern pawn nor a vintage one by installments. He was a writer unleashed in all directions. A Canarian (Las Palmas) boy who came to Madrid at the age of 19, in 1863, with the purpose of studying Law until the city, journalism, theater and the upheaval of those years turn him to writing. He was the giant who starting from nothing (no family of education, nor great fortune), he became one of the best European writers of his time. He was such a popular author that on the day of his death, the mayor of Madrid dictated a side ” With his books he honored his homeland, with his life he honored himself “, who encouraged the neighbors to honor him. More from Casa del Libro in Madrid here: https://www.casadellibro.com/libros-ebooks/benito-perez-galdos/78143

The Council of Ministers is expected to approve two museum expansions: that of the Prado (see post) salon de Reinos or kingdom hall; and that of the Sorolla house-museum,(see post) both located in Madrid. Originally scheduled for 2019 and postponed on successive occasions until 2024 due to the tumultuous political situation of recent years, the works of rehabilitation and museum adaptation of the Salon de Reinos of the Prado National Museum will be carried out by the studies of the British architect Norman Foster and the Spanish Carlos Rubio. These two buildings are the last remains of the Royal Palace of Buen Retiro, a complex erected between 1633 and 1639 under the reign of Felipe IV. The urban reorganization of the project, called Campus Prado, will connect the Prado and the Salon de Reinos, facilitating the transit on foot of visitors through Calle Felipe IV and joining in the same complex the buildings of Villanueva, Los Jerónimos, El Casón del Buen Retiro and the Salón de Reinos. This extension is linked to the candidacy of El Paseo del Prado and El Buen Retiro, Landscape of Arts and Sciences for World Heritage, which UNESCO must decide soon!!

The King Felipe VI appeals to international tourism: “Spain is a safe and quality tourist destination” “We have demonstrated world leadership in tourism development policies and now is the time to continue doing so”. Spain opens borders on July 1. And where to go , well some points. Yes he is the tradition that must represent folks knowing about Spain and coming over to see its wonders!

Here is some ammunitation for you planning to visit Spain next week!!!

Palma de Mallorca is the most expensive, while Alicante the least expensive, according to the Habits of Savings report, which compares the price of a seven-night getaway in a three-star central hotel, a rental car, a dinner for two, a beer, a coffee and a liter of gasoline. Not surprisingly, at the moment Spain is already the country with the most hotel reservations for summer in the world. It is followed by the United States , Portugal , Italy , France and Mexico. These are the data managed by the online platform Travelgate, based in Palma de Mallorca. If we analyze only the Spanish regions, Andalusia takes 31.66% of hotel reservations. Then came the Canary Islands (16.7%), Valencia (13.4%), the Balearic Islands (13.01%) and Catalonia (9.69%). In the list are the 10 most tourist Spanish cities according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE). Spending seven nights in a three-star hotel costs an average of 508 euros. However, in Almería, the cheapest city to stay, the average cost is 314 euros (about 44 euros per night), 38% below the average. Almería is followed by Madrid (51.5 euros per night), a city whose prices outside the summer season are usually much higher than in August. Alicante (60 euros per night) and Barcelona (65 euros per night), as the cheapest cities to stay in a hotel. In contrast, Palma de Mallorca is the most expensive city, with an average price per night of more than 102 euros, followed by Cádiz (100 euros per night), Gijón (85 euros) and Tarragona (77 euros). When it comes to moving around the city and going from beach to beach, many people decide to rent a car at their destination. In this regard, Cádiz ranks as the city with the highest price (235 euros for a seven-day rental, 68% above the average) and Alicante -due to the greater offer of this service in the region- is the cheapest city (35 euros if the collection point is the airport, 75% below average).  Almería is the most expensive city to have a beer, with an average price of six euros per half liter, 35% above the national average, which stands at 4.40 euros. On the contrary, Cádiz is positioned as the cheapest, with a price of two euros, 55% below the national average. If we talk about the price of a dinner for two in a restaurant in the city center, A Coruña is the cheapest city, with an average price of 34 euros, 22% below the average, followed by Cádiz (34 euros, -20%), and Malaga (37 euros, -15%). At the opposite extreme is Palma de Mallorca, with an average price of 53 euros, 22% above the average, followed by Tarragona (51 euros) and Barcelona,with a cost of 49 euros (+ 12%). Now you chose….

And festivals are back , book quick, they are been taken in hordes, people want out!!!

Five absolute premieres this year make up the program of the most special Classical Theater Festival in Mérida in recent years. Throughout a month -from July 22 to August 23- the event will take place under security and hygiene measures and with the idea of being an example of the revival of the performing arts. The program proposes five great shows at the Roman Theater, all absolute premieres, in addition to performances in the Roman theaters of Medellín, Regina and the Roman city of Cáparra and a wide content of artistic, recreational, informative and educational activities both in Mérida and in other parts of Extremadura’s geography. More info in English here: https://www.festivaldemerida.es/en/

The Almagro Festival will celebrate its 43rd edition between the 14th and 26th of July this year there will be shows in the Corral de Comedias, the flagship of the La Mancha theater event; at the Adolfo Marsillach Theater (former Hospital de San Juan), the summer headquarters of the National Classical Theater Company; in the Old Renaissance University of Almagro (AUREA), a closed and air-conditioned space; and in the Palacio de los Oviedo, an old summer cinema recovered as a stage space two years ago. The Almagro Festival will be held guaranteeing all health regulations for workers, companies and the attending public, thus ensuring the well-being and health of all people who visit the town of La Mancha and its inhabitants this summer. More info in English here: https://www.festivaldealmagro.com/en/

Now if you are like me who like nice places typical of the country and away from crowded cities, as a base; then check these out, all known visited by me over the years.

There are many rural accommodations, but they do not have a Michelin star. The Molino or Mill of Alcuneza de Sigüenza ,Guadalajara province is one of them. After a renovation, it is time to visit this 15C flour mill with 17 rooms and a spa. More information at https://www.molinodealcuneza.com/

La Casona de la Paca is a 19C Indian (as from America) palace built in Cudillero by an Asturian who marched to Cuba (and we had plenty even in my town) and, on his return, wanted to pay tribute to his mother by giving it his name. It offers 19 rooms ,where you are greeted with a handful of walnuts and a few apples from the area, and several apartments that occupy the old blocks. More information at http://casonadelapaca.com/web/

The name of La Casa del Presidente is not accidental, since this was the summer residence of Adolfo Suárez (former prime minister and founder of Spanish democracy, a great men). Located in the city of Ávila, this five-star rural style preserves the structure of the original building built in the 70s and the president’s office practically intact. You can also see the wooden beams and shutters typical of Castilian palaces or the stone hallway that welcomes the guest. In addition, it is the only hotel with a swimming pool within the wall. More information at https://www.fontecruzhoteles.com/en/

Los Ánades, Abànades, Guadalajara province. We moved to 135 kilometers from Madrid, in the Serranía de Guadalajara mountains, to enjoy this complex consisting of a rural hotel plus three houses distributed in 180 square meters built on three floors. The town in which it is located, Abánades, barely has 70 inhabitants, so social distancing in these times is guaranteed. Another of its strong points is the one-hour private sessions in the spa, with a bottle of cava included. More information at https://www.losanades.com/

And there you , some news to start the new season of opening up all over Europe, and Spain is right there, waiting for its usual visitors, welcome to my beloved Spain! Hope you enjoy the post, and thanks for reading again.

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

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June 15, 2020

The airport of Madrid!!

Ok ok so here is another forgotten piece from my blog. I mentioned before briefly in passing visits but really needs a  post of its own. I know the Barajas or Madrid airport for many years taken it and then the Adolfo Suàrez Madrid airport since 2014; a wonderful modern aiport indeed. Let me tell you a bit more on it ok. The airport of Madrid!

The main airport of Spain is in Madrid name the Adolfo Suarez Barajas international airport located at about 12 km from city center. Most of my trips by plane there have landed at T4 on Iberia; sometimes on T4S and once at T3. Of course, I have not gone by car there as flying from France is easy and inexpensive in low season or FF miles. However, I have gone to take folks there from Madrid and it now has super highways. And of course, I have driven many times from France/Spain-Madrid/Versailles/Pluvigner!

Needless to say ,this is now Madrid as the town of Barajas has been annexed as a district. To go from T4 to T4S there is a subterranean minitrain and it takes again 15-20 minutes.  The arrivals are done on the ground floor (1 fl),and departures , check in, boarding on the first floor (2 fl). The main airport site in Spain AENA for Adolfo Suàrez Barajas information in English here : AENA on Madrid airport

There are tourist office in the airport at T1 and T4 open every day from 8h to 20h. The airport has consignment of luggage open 24/24h. They are between the passageways of terminals T2 and the metro entrance and on the arrivals level of T4.

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A bit on the history I like

The Adolfo Suarez International airport of Madrid is located in Madrid, Barajas district, as said about 12 km from the center of Madrid. The airport changed its name from Madrid-Barajas to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas in 2014. The reappointment sought to pay tribute to Adolfo Suárez, the first Prime Minister of Spain after the restoration of democracy and recognized as one of the architects of the Spanish Transition who died on March 23, 2014, a few days before the decision to change his name.

It has four passenger terminals, an Executive Terminal, an air cargo center and two main hangar areas, one in the Old Industrial Area, between T3 and T4, and another in the La Muñoza Industrial Area. On March 23, 1929, the specifications were published for a contest to choose the land to develop the Madrid civil airport. The intention was to replace the aerodromes of Alcalá, Carabanchel and Getafe, and for this a wasteland meadow was selected in the northeast of the city in the then town of Barajas with good communications with the city via the highway from France (the current A-2) and in an uninhabited area free of obstacles. The purchase of the land was signed on July 30, 1930. It was opened to national and international air traffic on April 22, 1931, although regular commercial operations took two more years to begin, as the airport was still under construction.

The first regular line was established by the company Spanish Post Air Lines (LAPE) with its line to Barcelona. During the Spanish Civil War, military and civil transport services are carried out with Paris, Barcelona and the north. Once the war was over, Barajas regained its status as a civil airport, with the landing on April 12, 1939 of a German plane from the Lufthansa company. On May 1, 1939, Iberia moved its equipment from Matacán (Salamanca) to Madrid-Barajas. In July 1946, Barajas was opened to international traffic.

In 1997 the North Dock was inaugurated, which is used as Iberia’s exclusive terminal for Schengen flights. In 1998 the new control tower, 71 meters high, was inaugurated and in 1999 the new South Dock, which represents an expansion of the international terminal. For these dates the distribution of the terminals is changed: The south dock and most of the International Terminal are renamed T1; the rest of the International Terminal and the National Terminal are now called T2 and the north dock is called T3. The construction of the new T4 terminals and its satellite, T4S Terminal 4 has 470,000 m², 38 contact positions and a capacity for 35 million passengers per year, while the satellite building has 290,000 m², 26 positions of contact and capacity for 15 million passengers a year. Both buildings are 2.5 km apart. On February 4, 2006, Terminal 4 was opened.

In 1999 the Madrid Metro links the airport with Mar de Cristal through Line 8, arriving at Nuevos Ministerios in 2002. In October 2006, the project to build a Renfe Cercanías line that linked the airport with the Chamartín stations and with it the Atocha-Cercanías station with completion date initially planned for 2009 and finally inaugurated in 2011 as Line C-1.

The airport terminals are layout as such :

T1: Gates A, B and C, the latter up to C42. It has 170 check-in counters, including automatic ones, and has a total of 43 boarding gates. It also has two arrival halls, each with eight and seven baggage claim belts, respectively. It is made up of part of the old International Terminal and the new South Dock.

T2: Gates C, from C43 onwards, and D. In addition to the 99 check-in counters, it has a few more at the gateway to the airport, which have not been indicated. It has 20 gates for boarding and baggage claim from two arrival lounges with six baggage straps each. It corresponds to the old National Terminal plus part of the old International Terminal.

T3: Gates E and F. It has twenty check-in counters , five baggage claim belts (in a room attached to that of T2) and 21 boarding gates (from E68 to E82 and F90 to F94, the latter destined exclusively for regional flights). T3 corresponds to the North Dock.

T4: Gates H, J and K. On the first floor there are 22 baggage claim belts divided between 2 lounges, 10 and 11, the first for international arrival flights and the second for domestic arrival flights. It has 2 double straps and 2 straps for the collection of special luggage. The first floor has 76 boarding gates (from H1 to H37, from J40 to J59 and from K62 to K98). On the second floor are the billing desks and the main security filters.

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Madrid

T4-S: Gates M and S. It has 19 boarding gates (gates M22 to M48) in the Schengen area. The second floor is dedicated to international departures, with 48 boarding gates (gates S1 to S12 and S15 to S50). The third is dedicated to receiving international arrival flights, so it has the appropriate security filters for this purpose.

The get around routines hope its clear if not let me know.

All terminals have taxi ranks outside the properly marked areas. Terminal 4 floor 0, Arrivals area,  Terminal 4 floor 2, Departures area,  Terminal 1 floor 0, Arrivals area,  Terminal 1 floor 1, Departures area,  Terminal 2 floor 0, Arrivals area,  Terminal 2 floor 2, Departures area,  Terminal 3 floor 0, Arrivals area. The rates are fixed for all journeys between the Airport and the city of Madrid, regardless of the number of passengers and the distance traveled. Thus, if the travel destination is within the M-30 (initial beltway of Madrid where visitors go anyway), the price is 30 euros, while if the destination is in the outer area of the M-30, the price is 20 euros for tours of up to 9, 5 km. After 9.5 km, the meter will continue to count at the corresponding rate. The official taxis are white with red bands and Madrid City Hall shields on the doors.

Bus line 200 of the EMT city bus network, connects the Avenida de América Interchange (with metro/subway on lines 7,9,4, and circular line 6 ) with Canillejas and terminals T1-T2-T3 and T4, respectively. The buses that operate line 200 are specifically designed for this route, have luggage racks and operate between 05:00 and 24:00, a much longer schedule than the other EMT lines. Bus line 101 connects terminals 1,2 and 3 of the Airport with the Historic Center of Barajas on one end and with the Canillejas interchange on the other. You can connect with the center on metro line 5. The same can be done on bus 204 from T4 at ground level to intercambiador Avenida de America.

There is a nice Airport Express or bus 203 which have taken several times from T4 to Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha in Madrid. The Airport Express bus is a good alternative for getting around Madrid. From Madrid Airport T1 T2-T3 T4.  During the day, the bus runs every 15 to 20 minutes to Atocha station. From 23h30 to 6h, the Airport Express operates every 35 minutes as line N27 . The bus stops are Terminal 4, Terminal 2, Terminal 1, O’Donnell, Cibeles (great stop) and Atocha (train if continue traveling). The Madrid EMT bus network on the Airport Express bus in English: EMT Madrid airport express

The Madrid metro Line 8 goes from the airport to Nuevos Ministerios and connects the Nuevos Ministerios station with the airport terminals in 20 min. There are 2 stations at the airport, the one that serves the old terminals (T1-T2-T3, located in Terminal T3) and the one in the new terminal area (Airport T4) with a shuttle train connecting to T4S. To enter or exit any of the two stations a supplement of 3€ is required, which can be purchased separately or added to the corresponding cost of the single metro ticket which last was 1.50€ . Official metro/subway/tube of Madrid: Metro de Madrid

Terminal 4 has a Renfe commuter station or Cercanias C1 and C10  (floor -1). In the future, it is planned to take the AVE fast trains to the airport. In this way, the Adolfo Suarez International Airport will be integrated, not only in the Madrid Cercanías network, but also in the AVE and Long Distance RENFE networks. The Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport has available for the users a bus connecting for free 24/24 the terminals T1, T2, T3, and T4. The train C1 goes to Príncipe Pío in about 38 minutes, Atocha : 25 minutes, Nuevos Ministerios : 18 minutes, and Chamartín : 11 minutes. The train C10 goes to Príncipe Pío in about 41 minutes, Estación de Chamartín15 minutes, Estación de Nuevos Ministerios22 minutes, Estación de Atocha 29 minutes, and Méndez Álvaro 34 minutes.

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And there you go folks, one big airport but easy to use me think, well I think CDG is easy too so bear with me lol!!! Anyway I spent quite a bit of time on airport lately and think will reduce the trips in the future as we are now in telework, skype; webex, video conf etc etc etct, the future.

Hope you enjoy the post and can find it useful. The Adolfo Suàrez Madrid international airport is a dandy indeed. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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June 15, 2020

Bus of Madrid!

Well as I have said before, people comes to the big cities in Europe and dream of taking the metro/tube like a tourist attraction. Never understood this phenomenon! I come to a city by plane or car or even train but once inside, walk is the best, second is the bus. The bus is above ground and you see everything; in fact, it is like a cheaper tourist bus rides.

I like to tell you a bit more in one single post if possible on the bus network of my beloved Madrid, Spain.

There is a huge bus network runs by CRTM (community )and the EMT (city) with 2000 buses and 200 lines. The network of bus lines covers more than 3,000 kms and has 10,000 stops. They generally start their service around 6h and finish around 23h30. Some lines have slightly more restricted schedules. Madrid has 26 night bus lines, also called Búhos (night owls). These lines operate throughout much of the city overnight. These buses run every day between approximately 23h55 and 5h55. The bus won’t stop unless you waive or raise your hand. If you want to get off at a stop, press one of the red buttons scattered around the bus with some time in advance. As a rule of thumb, bus passengers form a line to enter the vehicle one by one. Please respect it.

The principal terminals EMT  in the city are at Avenida de America, Mendez Alvaro, and Plaza de Castilla, there are other smaller ones such as Moncloa, Principe Pio, and Plaza Eliptica.

For the interurban CRTM, you have big stations at Estación Sur de Madrid ;Méndez Álvaro, 83  with metro Méndez Álvaro  gray circular line 6 exit takes you directly to the bus station.

Estación de Avenida de América ; Avda. de América, 9.  metro Avda. de América  orange line 7;  gray circular line 6;  violet line 9 ;  brown line 4.  All less than 5 minutes walking to the bus station.

Estación de Conde de Casal ,Plaza Conde de Casal, 5. Metro Conde de Casal circular line gray 6 , and less than 5 minutes walking to bus station.

For interurban lines see the CRTM: CRTM bus lines

You go above  for a daytime bus lines hit “Diurnas” and for nightime bus lines hit “ Nocturnas” or All =todas. Then, entered the line number if known. Or on next line choose the line number with end and beginning places. For instance, my experience here has been with Avenida de America station bus line 224 Avenida de America to Torrejon de Ardoz avenida de la Constitucion.

Night buses run on 20 different routes, and each of them runs on Plaza de la Cibeles. This is convenient, as it is only a 15 minute walk from the center (Sol and Gran Via), where most of the nightlife takes place. Some interesting lines for visitors as well as locals are the Line N4: Plaza de Cibeles ↔ Barajas and Line N27: Plaza de Cibeles ↔ Aeropuerto de Barajas.

My bus experience here have been with line 27 Embajadores(near Atocha train station) or at Cibeles to Plaza Castilla stops at Santiago Bernabeu stadiums Bus line 46 Sevilla to Moncloa we went stopping many places and getting back on nice route. My memorable bus line which took while living as a teen in Madrid was 113 now (it was call P13 then).direction Mendez Alvaro to Ciudad Lineal and vice versa of course. I stopped at avenida de Logroño Polideportivo La Elipa to play baseball!!! For the Real Madrid org!!!

Madrid

 

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The EMT Madrid webpage is here: EMT Madrid bus lines

Above link for the Madrid Bus network the first line tells you “introduzca no. de parada” here you enter the name of the stop if you know it, destination. The other tells you “ seleccione una linea” here you enter the number of the bus line if you know it.

The airport is well served by EMT buses. Line 200 runs daily from Adolfo Suarez Barajas Airport T1 T2 and T3 to Avenida de América . Line 204 will take you from the T4 to Avenida de América. You can also travel from the airport T1 T2 and T3 towards Canillejas, where you can take the metro green line 5 to the center, on bus line 101.However, never taken any of these.

There is a nice Airport Express which have taken several times from T4 to Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha in Madrid. The Airport Express bus is a good alternative for getting around Madrid. From Madrid Airport T1 T2-T3 T4.  During the day, the bus runs every 15 to 20 minutes to Atocha station. From 23h30 to 6h, the Airport Express operates every 35 minutes. The bus stops are Terminal 4, Terminal 2, Terminal 1, O’Donnell, Cibeles (great stop) and Atocha (train if continue traveling). The Madrid EMT bus network on the Airport Express bus in English: Madrid tourist office on EMT Airport Express bus

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This is the Madrid tourist office on getting around Madrid general information: Madrid tourist office on getting around Madrid

This is an interactive map for EMT bus lines with schedules and hours very nice indeed to trace your route before leaving home or hotel/aprt etc. Navega por Madrid transport interactive tool

And there you go folks, nice easy above ground transportation in a lovely city like Madrid. No need for anything else but do lots of walking like we do all over, great sights, wonderful architecture and history all around your eyes. Hope you enjoy the bus ride in and around Madrid.

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

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June 15, 2020

Los Guerrilleros!

Got you!ha!! well lack of creativity makes you come up with these names. It sound awful , guerrillas wow I am going radical!! nahhh; is one of my nicest stories in my blog. Let me tell you a bit about Los Guerrilleros of Madrid! Another memorable spot for me!

It was a shoe store. It had a bellicose name: Los Guerrilleros or guerrillas. I was a teen, and way back then my true homeland was my childhood. I don’t know why, I never asked my mother why so many people came into that store. I understood what was behind that slogan. “Don’t buy here, we sell‘ very expensive. ” It was about honesty. It was rebellion. It was about a sense of humor. It was about originality. The shoe sales company ‘Los Guerrilleros’ definitely close all its stores on January 10, 2015.

The company, founded in 1962, was very popular for its motto ‘Don’t buy here, we sell very expensive. Throughout these 53 years, the company has opened a total of 14 own stores in the Comunidad de Madrid region. In Madrid, the best-known store was the one located in Puerta del Sol, 5. Metro Sol lines 1,2, and 3. The bus lines 3 51 and N16 N26 nights leave you right at the square. The bus lines 5 15 20 53 and 150 leaves you close by calle de Alcalà or Calle Mayor.

It was the first Spanish franchise for footwear and accessories with a multi-brand concept. The product range, which is mainly based on footwear and leather accessories, also includes bags, belts, watches and sunglasses. Under the motto ‘Don’t buy here, we sell very expensively’, the well-known establishment ranked as one of the 5,000 most outstanding companies in Spain.  On a professional level, the Los Guerrilleros had also been rewarded at various points in their long career. It was the first shoe retailer to achieve the “ISO 9002 Certified Quality System”. It also holds various business merit awards such as the “International Master Company”, such as the “Golden Laurel” or the recently achieved: the prestigious “Avanza Quality Awards” for business management.

The headquarters was base near my neighborhood at Calle Valentin Beato, 24 on metro line 5 ,Ciudad Lineal. Today at the building at Puerta del Sol, 5 there is the community of Madrid tourist office or Centro de Turismo del Sol. The webpage is here in English: https://www.turismomadrid.es/en/

Just last year we were in Madrid, and I bought shoes for my boys at a new shoe store next door at no 6  Zapshop , (see post) they had managed to keep its stores always full. The key? the prices. And I still have my shoes!!

But why all these writing you may ask? And no photos of Los Guerrilleros. Well , this was one of the two stores(other Victor see post)  in my teen years in Madrid that my Mom purchase shoes for me, I must have been 12! The first time was magical, we had people there that my mother had known for years before even before arriving in Spain. One of then still there as when we all left for NJ USA, she felled in love with a local Spaniard who worked at the store, and stayed behind, never leaving, love triumph as always. Every time in Madrid and passing by the Puerta del Sol,this is one of the buildings I look as memories of my Mom becomes stronger and sad she is not with me to visit. Just wanted to have this story in my blog.

The closest photo is of 2013, shows the Madroño with the post office building behind it and to the left is the building of Puerta del Sol no 5 and 6 etc.

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Hope you like it and enjoy visiting the Puerta del Sol, many posts on it in my blog a must to visit while in Madrid, km zero of all distances in Spain! And of course the Madroño bear symbol of my beloved Madrid.

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

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June 15, 2020

Retiro, Madrid, and Cuba!

So lets swing back down to my beloved Madrid, another city cannot be too far away and lucky to be near and able to see it every year. Madrid well I lived as a teenager with wonderful memories never to be forgotten. I am lucky to be able to visit and now every year since 2003! From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!!!

Ok you can read my blog with the many many posts on Madrid and thereabouts not the least my Spain. On this post , will tell a bit of the relationship of Spain to her favorite daughter Cuba and especific on mentions in Madrid that I walked by since teen years. Hope you enjoy the Retiro, Madrid and Cuba !

Let me start with one figure dear to Spain and not so much with Cuba but will all respect of a faithful daughter. General Martinez Campos at Retiro park

The monument to General Arsenio Martínez Campos is located in the Plaza de Guatemala in the Parque del Buen Retiro park. The equestrian monument was erected on the initiative of the Marquis of Cabriñana after a popular subscription started in December 1904, it was inaugurated on January 28, 1907 Designed by the sculptor Mariano Benlliure, it consists of a stone pedestal that supports the bronze statue of General Martínez Campos with dimensions of 7 × 5.65 × 7.40 meters. It is located behind the monument to Alfonso XII facing the estanque or pond.

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More than 2,000 soldiers paraded through the Paseo de Coches. As well as the kings, Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia, the mother of the king and former secretary, María Cristina, the Infanta Teresa (sister of the king), and the infants and brothers-in-law of the king, Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias and Fernando from Bavaria. Queen Victoria Eugenia, just 19 years old at the time, came pregnant with her son Alfonso, who would be born in May. Also in attendance were the Prime Minister, Antonio Maura; the president of the Congress of Deputies, José Canalejas, several ministers and the mayor of Madrid, newly appointed that same day, Eduardo Dato. Also, sent to Cuba to pacified the uprisings which he could not avoid. During his lifetime, Gen. Arsenio Martínez Campos (d 1900) was Minister of War, President of the Government and Governor of Cuba. But it went down in history for the pronouncement of Sagunto, where he proclaimed Prince Alfonso as King of Spain and ended the First Republic.

The monument to Gen Martínez Campos is in the same gazebo where the equestrian statue of Felipe IV, which now is in the Plaza de Oriente. Even this area of the Retiro was displaced at some date in the 18C from its original location in the Palacio del Buen Retiro. It already appears in the roundabout or plaza de Guatemala in model map of 1830, currently in the Madrid History Museum. The Retiro equestrian statue stands on a bronze base on a large limestone rock. On the front you can see the banners of the Artillery and the Infantry and on one of the sides the battle of the Castillejos is represented, in North Africa, in which Martínez Campos participated under the command of General Prim. At the base of the monument you can read the different campaigns in which Martínez Campos participated: the war in Africa, the war in Cuba and the Carlist wars in Catalonia. It is also mentioned that it was possible thanks to a popular subscription initiated by the Marquis of Cabriñana, Julio de Urbina. Part of my history since schoolage!

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An even beautiful monument lies in the Fountain of Cuba at the Retiro park too!

At the end of the Paseo de Colombia, is the Plaza del Salvador, where we can see the Fuente de Cuba or fountain of Cuba. The idea to erect a monument in tribute to the Caribbean Republic comes as thanks to the Cuban government for the construction it made, in 1929, of a Monument to the Spanish Soldier in the hills of San Juan, in Santiago de Cuba. The construction of the fountain progressed rapidly, being almost finished by 1931. However, after the end of the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera, it was  delayed the inauguration until October 27, 1952, when it was finally inaugurated coinciding with the 460th anniversary of the discovery of Cuba. The monument constitutes a semblance of Cuban history and the wealth of its land and with it, homage is paid both to the feat of its discovery and to the characters who made it possible, keeping the highest recognition of its constitution as a Republic.

Cristobal Colon or Christopher Columbus discovered the island during his first trip, on October 27, 1492, although colonization did not begin until 1511. Havana (or San Cristobal de La Habana) , was found in 1514. Previously, a first war had been waged for independence between 1868 and 1878 (or Guerra de los 10 años =War of Ten years) that ended with the Peace of Zanjón (refused by Gen Maceo of Cuba and others). Another small war or Guerra Chiquita was carried out between 1879-1880. A later independence movement or Guerra de la Independencia (1895-1898) would end in the Spanish-American war of 1898 (with Cuban helping the Americans against Spanish forces), after which the “Pearl of the Antilles” separated from Spain under the tutelage of the United States 1898-1902, proclaiming itself in May 20th 1902 as the Republic of Cuba (1902-1959).

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The monument or Fountain of Cuba, presents in the center a structure with three bodies and a cross plan, delimited on each of its fronts by a semi-circular granite pylon. The main or front face of the fountain is oriented to the East and the rear face to the West. On each respective pedestals the bronze figures of an iguana and a terrapin (galàpago). The reason for using the figures of these two animals must be found in the fact that both are part of the oldest island fauna, in particular the iguana. Likewise, the presence of the terrapin is explained, also, based on its known longevity, as an intention to highlight the long time elapsed, more than four hundred years then, since the arrival of the Spanish on the island. The fountain of Cuba was made of limestone and rectangular in shape, and in which the two largest sides correspond to the front and rear faces of the monument. It consists of three superimposed bodies in the shape of parallelepipeds and whose size decreases in an ascending manner. The bow of a caravel boat appears with a figurehead made up of an angel carrying a cross. The boat appears supported on two dolphin-shaped water jets and under a garland made with the typical products of Cuban agriculture, as if it were a laurel wreath, recalling the great wealth that it meant for Spain. The first stone body as a Roman rostra column that represents the celebration of the triumph of the Colombus’s ships by crossing the Atlantic Ocean and reaching the Cuban coasts, without forgetting the importance of the evangelisation process that, on occasions, directed the conquest of America. On each side of the second body, you will see a shield or statue built in marble. it looks like the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Cuba, which was adopted by Cuban President Tomás Estrada Palma on April 21, 1906. On the backside, the Coat of Arms of the Catholic Monarchs (Fernando II and Isabel I) is represented, with some shortcomings, under whose government Spanish ships reached the Cuba.

On the north side is the seated statue of Queen Isabel la Católica (Elizabeth I,the Catholic), which, given the possibility that it could open up to achieve the Christianisation of all Asia, decided to support the projects of Christopher Columbus. The sculpture of Christopher Columbus is located on the side opposite of the Monument.The second body ends in a large cornice that gives way to the third, in which, on a square base, a female figure (giraldilla like on top of Morro castle in Havana and inside the Cuban capitol building today=see posts)) stands as a symbol of the Republic of Cuba. The Cuban Republic is presented to us as well as the figure of an equally young woman covered by the Phrygian cap, symbol of the Republic, who looks calmly to the right while, with her left hand, points to a horn of plenty held by a horn of abundance, and from which various flowers and fruits stand out as an allegorical figure of the enormous wealth and fertility of those lands that long supplied Spain with sugar, coffee and tobacco. With the orchid, considered one of the most beautiful and beloved flowers in America, the author wanted to represent the meaning of Cuba for Spain.

There are other spots that I have walked in my beloved Madrid that relates very strongly with Cuba.  These are

The first is of our hero , Jose Marti. This poet, thinker and politician was one of the great standard-bearers of the Independence of Cuba and his person can still be felt in Madrid, the city where he lived between 1871 and 1874 during which time he was exiled. Martí attended Law class at the Central University located on Calle San Bernardo. Not far from there, in the centrally Calle del Desengaño no.10 was the pension run by Doña Antonia in which a young Martí lived. A huge plaque on the wall still remembers him. He also lived on Calle Lope de Vega. Also ,in the callejero de la Villa street pays its discreet tribute to Cuba, it is only necessary to realize the existence of the Calle de la Isla de Cuba, near the Metro de Canillejas, and the Paseo de Cuba, one of the main arteries of the Retiro, going from the Fuente de la Alcachofa to the Fuente del Angel Caido, (see posts) passing closely by the Palacio de Cristal (see post) and the estanque or pond, or the well-known Paseo de la Habana just back of Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

For reference, the Madrid tourist office in English: Madrid tourist office

And there you , nice walks in my beloved Madrid all gloriously illustrated with great architecture and history , of course that of Cuba and Spain. Two out of my four loves in my life !!! Hope you enjoy the tour and do walk by them in the future.

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

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June 12, 2020

La Vuelta de España 2020! bike race

In one of previous Some news from Spain series I mentioned the Vuelta de España bike race for 2020. I copy the writing here for reference. Something follow for more years that I like to count , La Vuelta! More in official webpage in English:  Official La Vuelta cycling event of Spain

The organization of La Vuelta bike race of Spain, in agreement with the UCI (International Cycling Union), agreed to postpone the 75th edition of the race. The Vuelta was originally to be held between August 14 and September 6, departing from the Netherlands. However, the forced reorganization of the annual cycling calendar, following the world health crisis caused by COVID-19, has forced a change in plans. The Vuelta 2020 will be held in autumn, on dates yet to be determined, it will have 18 stages and will start in the Basque Country. The start the Spanish round with the Irun – Arrate stage. Eibar in the reorganization of the calendar with the exceptional variable of a 20-day Tour and not with the 23 initially planned. The 75th edition of La Vuelta will be marked as a historic race in many ways. It will be the first time in the last 35 years that it has less than 21 stages. The last time this circumstance occurred was in 1985, in an edition that had 19 stages. Likewise, for the first time since Unipublic took over the race in 1979, La Vuelta will start in the Basque Country. The Basque Country had spent almost five decades without hosting a first stage of the race. In 1961, La Vuelta started in San Sebastián, with a team time trial with a start and finish in the city of San Sebastián.

The new dates have been announced on the new schedule of the Vuelta 2020 due to the wuhan virus.

It will start on October 20 in Irún and end on November 8 in Madrid, with 18 stages, a lot of mountains, a time trial with a trap … and pending the weather. Due to the cancellation of the start in the Netherlands, they set up a course that continues to maintain many of its attractions. Its complete layout in the north of the peninsula makes the climate one more element to take into account.

Stage 1. Irún-Arrate (Tuesday, October 20);

Stage 2. Pamplona-Lekunberri (Wednesday, October 21);

Stage 3. Lodosa-Laguna Negra (Thursday, October 22),

Stage 4. Garray-Ejea de los Caballeros (Friday, October 23), going to barren land and lots of memories;

Stage 5. Huesca-Sabiñánigo (Saturday, October 24), great run!

Stage 6. Biescas-Tourmalet (Sunday, October 25),

Stage 7. Vitoria-Villanueva de Valdegobia (Tuesday, October 27);

Stage 8. Logroño-Moncalvillo (Wednesday, October 28), wine galore;

Stage 9. Castrillo-Aguilar de Campoo (Thursday, October 29);

Stage 10. Castro Urdiales-Suances (Friday, October 30);

Stage 11. Villaviciosa-La Farrapona (Saturday, October 31);

Stage 12. Pola de Laviana-Angliru (Sunday, November 1);

Stage 13. CRI Muros-Ézaro (Tuesday, November 3);

Stage 14. Lugo-Ourense (Wednesday, November 4), I sing to Galicia! ;

Stage 15. Mos-Puebla de Sanabria (Thursday, November 5);

Stage 16. Salamanca-Ciudad Rodrigo (Friday, November 6), study hard!

Stage 17. Sequeros-La Covatilla (Saturday, November 7);

Stage 18. Madrid-Madrid (Sunday, November 8); to Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday !!

And there you go folks, all ready finally. This time should be it, and do not know if can go at that time but have Spanish TV in my house so should see it anyway. Enjoy the Vuelta of Spain bike race sublime.

Hope you are able to enjoy on site or on TV, should be a good one as always. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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