Archive for ‘Madrid’

July 25, 2021

Torre del Homenaje and Iglésia de San Andrés in Villarejo de Salvanés!

This is again the wonderful opportunity due to the times to spend time updating my older posts in my blog. It has been a wonderful rollercoaster ride with lots of memories and thrills! One of this was our road warrior trips in the Comunidad de Madrid of my beloved Spain. This time let me tell you about the Homage tower, and the Saint Andrews Church of Villarejo de Salvanés! Hope you enjoy it as I.  So let’s go to my beloved Spain and gorgeous Madrid community region that is just wonderful me think. Again, these I have written before a while back on a general passing sense, and I feel they need a bit more exposure in my blog. 

A bit of orientation first just to tell you ok. Villarejo de Salvanés is located at the km 48 of the expressway A3 Madrid-Valencia.  Some anecdote on the town I like on my history was that here in 1866, General Prim rose up against the government of O’Donnell and the Isabeline regime, failed coup.  Ahh for those in public transport you can easily go from Atocha in Madrid to the town on bus lines 351: Ronda de Atocha (Madrid)  Estremera – Barajas de Melo, bus line 352: Ronda de Atocha (Madrid) Fuentidueña – Tarancón,  and bus line 353: Atocha (Madrid) Villamanrique – Santa Cruz de la Zarza.

The Torre del Homenaje or tower of homage or castle of Villarejo of Salvanés, constitutes a unique architectural site in Spain. It belongs to the city/town hall of Villarejo de Salvanes. The castle of Villarejo of Salvanes was part of the defensive system that protected the passage by the old way of Toledo, as well as by the so-called Senda Galiana (Roman road that linked the Galia (France) and Hispania (Spain), in use during the Middle Ages). The castle of Villarejo of Salvanes was the seat of the special court of the military orders and, in the 19C, was accommodated as a refugee to Gen. Juan Martín Díez ,the subborn one ( Empecinado). Hero of the Spanish War of Independence, El Empecinado participated in several episodes, which became legendary, where he routed the Napoleonic army.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This is where we parked and walked around and my dear late wife Martine found a lady who told her where to buy groceries just around the corner in a Mercadona. She could speak Spanish/English too. My memories of always ok ;thanks. Another anecdote not told in original post is that on subsequent trips to the area we had thought of buying a house in this town on what would have been our next trip August 2018 . Unfortunately, she could not make it due to pancreatic cancer, ideas cut but not forgotten. RIP

The parish Church of San Andrés Apostol or St Andrew the apostle. Built in the 14C has high towers and on the front the shield of the order of St James (Santiago) as well as on the lateral door. The Church is on the Plaza del Castillo square. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War it lost its artistic heritage. After an earthquake in 1969, the roof and vaults were demolished and completely restored in the 1980’s. The Church of San Andrés Apostol, consists of a polygonal apse with high buttresses, which make it similar to the castle. It is a single nave and has two side chapels, sacristy and tower, recently topped by a slate spire. In its main façade we see a pediment with a shield of the order of Santiago in the center as in the side door. It is presided by San Andrés, patron Saint of Villarejo de Salvanés, the image is framed in a plaster altarpiece inaugurated in 2000. The images of the Blessed Nicanor Ascanio and José de San Jacinto, both illustrious sons of the locality, complete the ensemble, which is crowned by a carving of Christ in its color. In the ample presbytery stands out the neo-Romanesque tabernacle, the altar, the seat and the pulpit in white stone.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The interior of the Church of San Andrés, also has two side chapels. The one on the right or the Aponte chapel is closed by a Renaissance gate and contains two altarpieces with the images of the Immaculate Conception and Jesús Nazareno. In it you can contemplate the founding headstone in addition to the images of the Virgin of Health (Salud), the Resurrected, San José de la Montaña, San Juan Bautista and the Naked Cross, which is called here  “La Sabanilla “. In the chapel on the left we find the baptismal font of 1959 and the altarpieces of Nuestra Senora  Del Carmen, wood carving, and Nuestra Senora De la Soledad with the recumbent Christ. In the nave of the church are the images of Jesus attached to the column and the Holy Christ of the Faith, as well as a Holy Supper. The sacristy, which was one of the old side chapels, is the one that preserves the ribbed vault and there is a size of San Andrés from the beginning of the 17C.

villarejo-de-salvanes-ch-san-andres-far-aug16

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here as an off the beaten path of my Spain are:

The Villarejo de Salvanés tourist office: https://turismovillarejodesalvanes.com/

The local villas of Madrid on Villarejo de Salvanés: http://www.villasdemadrid.es/villasdemadrid/plan/143

The Madrid city tourist office on Villarejo de Salvanés: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/villarejo-salvanes

Lovely town we love to pass by and come in for a relaxing afternoon and walks on our road warrior ways in old Castile!  Villarejo de Salvanés is a nice clean town with friendly folks! and nice monuments. Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do.

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

Tags: , ,
July 23, 2021

Some news from Spain CVII

And why not my other love in my dear Spain. Well things there are a bit strained due to the covid19 with worries in Barcelona and Burgos as per govt figures here: https://cnecovid.isciii.es/covid19/ The weather hotter in Madrid high of 34C today sunny with some clouds, along the coast will be hotter! Now let me tell you some news from Spain in my 107th post, thanks for reading it!

This summer the pilgrims return to the oldest and most trodden route in Europe. After a few months in silence, the Camino de Santiago is in celebration for being the Holy Year, also extended until the end of 2022 due to the pandemic. But the Compostela experience has been digitized and the pilgrim will find many novelties. These are some of them.

Pilgrims who cannot live without their cellular/mobile already have an app that allows them to certify their pilgrimage and obtain the credential in digital version. They will only have to scan the QR codes that they find on their way at the different points of the itinerary. La Compostela is granted only to those who make the pilgrimage to the Apostle’s tomb, making at least the last 100 kilometers on foot or on horseback, the last 200 kilometers by bicycle or 100 nautical miles, ending the rest of the Way from the port on foot. Disembarkation.

An escape room to test the pilgrim’s ingenuity. The famous escapism games help walkers and their neighbors to learn about the history, heritage and towns of the route, through tests, clues and riddles. Baptized as The Escape Way, the initiative also has elements of traditional yincanas and geocaching. After opening in Astorga (León), urban escape rooms will be available in a handful of towns on the Camino Francés (French Way): Arrés (Huesca), Los Arcos (Navarra), Santo Domingo de la Calzada (La Rioja), Belorado (Burgos) and Palas de Rei (Lugo). Webpage: https://www.editorialbuencamino.com/app-del-camino-de-santiago/

Based on this premise, a credential has been created that can be downloaded on the Camino Lebaniego website and that offers pilgrims to add stamps in the affiliated establishments to win products and stays based on indigenous gastronomy and foods, historically linked to the pilgrim tradition. . Webpage: https://www.caminolebaniego.com/caminos/camino-lebaniego

Due to the current difficulties created by the covid19, the Association of Municipalities of the Camino de Santiago updates the open shelters on its website amcsantiago.com every week. In addition, another novelty this year is Albergue LoT, a tool that reflects in real time the available places in these accommodations. amcsantiago webpage: https://www.amcsantiago.com/

And Albergue LoT webpage: https://albergueslot.appcamino.com/inicio

On the occasion of the celebration of the Jacobean Year (Holy year) and within the framework of the commemoration acts of the VIII Centenary of the Cathedral, this year a special edition of The Ages of Man is being held. Under the title of LUX, which refers to the light inherent in Gothic cathedrals, the exhibition takes place in the provinces of Burgos, Palencia and León and has five exhibition venues: the Burgos Cathedral, the Churches of Santiago and Santa María del Camino, in Carrión de los Condes and the sanctuary of La Peregrina and the Church of San Tirso, in Sahagún. The exhibition addresses the origin and meaning of cathedrals and has as its common thread the figure of the Virgin Mary, a constant presence in so many cathedrals, churches, hermitages and monasteries that mark the Way. Webpage: http://www.lasedades.es/

This Jacobean has invested more time and imagination than ever in climbing the path to the 21st century. The Xunta’s Safe Passage program also includes measures such as capacity limitations and Covid insurance to cover the expenses derived from a possible contagion during the visit to Galicia.

Let me tell show you the way to Avilés, the city where the founder of St Augustine in Florida USA (oldest city in USA 1565) was from Pedro Menéndez de Avilés!

Avilés is the third city in Asturias in terms of inhabitants after Gijón and Oviedo and has one of the best preserved old quarters in the Principality, declared in part a Historic-Artistic Site, as well as an interesting commercial past with still visible examples such as its medieval market of Mondays, which continues to be celebrated in the Plaza de los Hermanos Orbón since the Catholic Monarchs themselves allowed it in 1479. The Brazilian architect Óscar Niemeyer, responsible for the center that bears his name (Centro Niemeyer), which was inaugurated on the edge of the estuary just one year before his death in 2012 at the age of 104. It is also the only building of his in Spain and “his best work of him in all Europe”, as he himself said. The follower of Le Corbusier gave the project to the city on the 25th anniversary of the Príncipes de Asturias Awards after he himself received it in the field of the arts in 1989.

Both Woody Allen and Brad Pitt stayed in the best suite at the NH Collection Palacio de Avilés, a 17C building owned by the Marquis of Ferrera. That was what it was called until it was transformed in 2003 into a five-star hotel with 78 rooms, a monumental spiral staircase made of marble and mahogany and original furniture from the 16C. We must mention its French garden, in which Woody Allen shot several scenes of Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona in 2008. In the culinary section, the Sunday brunch at La Capilla restaurant stands out, with northern specialties.

The Calle Galeana street, famous for its arcades, and in the heart of Plaza de España, an area known as El Parche since the 19C. With the hotel starts the route of palaces through the center such as those of Valdecarzana, Camposagrado or Balsera, current headquarters respectively of the Municipal Archive, the School of Art or the Conservatory of Music.  The Valdés Theater, one of the buildings with the best acoustics in Spain. Its inauguration at the beginning of the 20C confirmed the cultural interest of the town, for which it is known as the Athens of the North. You can see in Avilés  the workshop of the luthier Roberto Jardón Rico ( Calle Domingo Álvarez Acebal, 4), one of the most prominent in Spain. There he makes violins for clients like artist Ara Malikian with a two-and-a-half-year waiting list. “We work with highly selected wood and own-made varnishes using natural resins, like centuries ago, so we can only make four or five a year, “he says surrounded by jewels like that Klingenthal cello from 1760 or that 1860 Mattias Neuner viola. The tour of Avilés ends in the medieval fishing district of Sabugo and the marina, once separated from the walled area by the estuary through a wooden bridge. This was where the burly whaling sailors lived, of which the local Avilesinos were also an institution.

It is one of the most deeply rooted traditions in Spain, and also one of the most famous among those who visit our country. We are talking about tapas, which has become an everyday thing, a way of life, of socializing and enjoying gastronomy. This art, proposed to be Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, is mandatory especially in some cities, which have entire streets and neighborhoods full of establishments in which the pincho is king. Holidu, the vacation rental search engine, has just published a study to establish which ones are the best to go for tapas. Of course most in Andalucia from where the idea originated. The cities of Sevilla, Granada, Santiago de Compostela, Cadiz, Malaga, Salamanca, Toledo, Almeria, La Coruña , and Pontevedra are tops as big cities goes.

In this return to the origins, Cruzcampo returns to rescue his roots in the same place where, in 1904, it brewed its beers for the first time. A venue full of history where Factoría Cruzcampo is now located, a renovated cultural space in Sevilla in which innovation and experimentation are the mantra of its young brewers Juan and Irene. In addition to tasting the seven craft beers that are made here, those who come to Factoría Cruzcampo can carry out a series of beer experiences, which include guided tours with blind tastings or tasting of pairings. Some words that implies Spanish way of life are arrejuntarse or getting together is synonymous with spending time in the company of family or friends, but it also implies joy and gratitude for being with those we love. It goes with the word fetén ,  pronounced when a meal is good or when we have a memorable moment. Not to mention duende or elf, that power that is born from within us in an almost magical way, that turns our emotions into forms of expression and that makes our creations come alive. Arrejuntarse, fetén and duende are three words with roots, character and, above all, a lot of accent, because they are closely linked to our way of being. Along with arte or art, fiera or beast, jaleo or fuss, flama,or flame, coraje or courage, pellizco or pinch, poderío or power, ojalá or hopefully and reliarse or reliance .Six young Andalusian artists have illustrated these words and used Cruzcampo’s most powerful beer bottles and cans as canvas: Cruzcampo Especial.

The Ribera de Curtidores is always a brilliant idea, but it might be best to avoid the late hours of the morning so you don’t die trying to find a nice heirloom at a good price. But they are right. Madrid in summer is transformed. For good. The festivities of San Cayetano, San Lorenzo and the Virgen de la Paloma in August are a summer gift, although the health situation does not allow the crowds characteristic of such celebrations. Even so, in the middle of the walks through the streets of La Latina reaching Plaza del Alamillo, going up Calle de la Morería until reaching Calle Bailén, crossing Caños Viejos , you can see the Almudena Cathedral. In search of a better view of the Cathedral, descending the stairs of the Segovia Viaduct and crossing the street of the same name, the heated passerby comes face-to-face with what will be his best discovery to date. The Emir Mohamed I park where, camouflaged among the infinite cultural offer of Madrid, the Arab Wall of the city has stood for centuries. There it is. An escape with more than 1,100 years of history. To this wall, from which new finds have been discovered over the years – as following the excavations of the 50s in the Cuesta de la Vega –, the legend of the nickname of ‘cat’ is also attributed to the people of Madrid . Already in the 11C, with the troops of King Alfonso VI waiting on the outskirts of Mayrit to conquer said Arab territory, a Castilian soldier scaled the wall – with the agility of a cat – raising the Christian flag over it. From its initial feat, the city became part of the Kingdom of Castile. It is said that since then the citizens of Madrid adopted this peculiar term. In the enclosure the fortress and the almudayna stood out, built between 850 and 886. The walled Madrid, although later a large part of the population settled in the suburbs. Today, it is the neoclassical Royal Palace that rests on the foundations of Arab origins. The same happens with the main mosque of which there are no vestiges as such, but there are remains of the Church of Santa María, built a posteriori on the Muslim temple and located between Calle Mayor and Calle Bailén. Although there are other stone footprints that reveal the Muslim passage through the city – such as the Watchtower in the parking of the Plaza de Oriente , the fortified wall is the greatest cultural expression of the Andalusian period in Madrid. And the heat is carried in another way: because it is already eight in the afternoon and because if a wall has withstood the pains and glories of the city that does not sleep for more than 10 centuries, it will be bad to endure a hot summer in Madrid. Perhaps the opinion that the capital in summer is a jewel is not unfortunate and the problem lies in not knowing where to look. As the designer Óscar Mariné used to say in times of the Movida, Madrid Me Mata. Or Madrid kills me, yes Summer are great we have tested several times!!

And Picasso finally hangs in the Prado, the museum of which he was appointed director on September 19, 1936. Although he accepted the appointment, he would never take formal possession of the position. He is in room 9B of the Villanueva building, where he shows’ Bust of a woman 43 ‘(painted in a single day, on October 7, 1943, in his studio on rue des Grands-Augustins in Paris, where he painted the’ Guernica ‘).This is a five-year loan, made by the American Friends of the Prado Museum, to which the Aramont Art Collection of the Arango Montull family has donated. After five years, it is expected that, as with Velázquez’s ‘Portrait of Felipe III’, it will end up being donated to the Prado. Bust of a woman 43 is a sample of Picasso’s response to the violence of World War II. In many of the female images painted in this period, the artist deformed the features of the figures in a radical way.

Picasso couldn’t be in better company. On one side, Velázquez and his ‘Bufón Calabacillas’. It was one of the two paintings that Picasso copied, at age 14, in his notebook during his first visit to the Prado in 1895 (the other was ‘Francisco Lezcano, the boy from Vallecas’). The drawings, made in lead pencil, are in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. On the other side, a group of portraits by El Greco: ‘The gentleman with his hand on his chest’, ‘Jerónimo de Cevallos’, ‘Portrait of a young gentleman’, ‘Old gentleman’ … In the room, in addition to the splendid paintings by El Greco for the altarpiece of Doña María de Aragón, there is a nod to the donors of Picasso, ‘El Calvario’ by Luis Tristán is exhibited, which he donated to the Plácido Arango museum, who he was president of the Board of Trustees of the art gallery. In 1897 Picasso registered in the Prado copyists’ book to study the work of Velázquez. That year he also copied ‘The Annunciation’ by Murillo and a Venus by Titian. Picasso used to say that Velázquez “is first class” and El Greco “has magnificent heads.” Prado webpage: https://www.museodelprado.es/actualidad/noticia/el-museo-nacional-del-prado-expone-busto-de-mujer/058e6f71-0938-f24e-f379-fcf91ff35e69

There you go folks, some news of my dear Spain. Hope you enjoy the readings, and serve for ideas for a future visit as I do. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: , ,
July 23, 2021

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Buen Retiro of Madrid!!!

And this one is a dandy to update for you and me me me! It reminds me of so much of good memories from a boy to a men and marriage ,and fatherhood. It is impossible for me to visit Madrid without stopping here, and it is very difficult for me to visit Spain ,and not Madrid! Madrid to heaven and a hole on the sky to look down on it everyday!!! Let me tell you a bit more on the Crystal Palace of Madrid or the Palacio de Cristal de Madrid en el Parque del Buen Retiro!!!

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal arriving may16

So why not tell of the other palace in the Retiro park of my beloved Madrid! There is so much on this park alone to make a couple days in my Madrid! We love it, family love it ,and I am in love since teen years living there; a must for me to visit and of course will be yours too if see it.  I have written a lot of posts on my Madrid in my blog, but seldom a single post on this Crystal Palace ,done similar to the one in London. It deserves a single entry on its owns merits. Therefore, here is my contribution to the Palacio de Cristal of Madrid!

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal front may16

The Palacio de Cristal  is a metal and crystal structure located in the Parque del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park) of Madrid. It was built in 1887 on the occasion of the exhibition of the Philippine Islands, held that same year. The majestic structure of 22 meters high opened its doors!. It was the first non industrial building of its genre that saw the day in Spain. Nowdays, contemporary art exhibitions are currently held.

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal inside main hall may16

It was built inspired by the Crystal Palace, erected in London in 1851.  The structure is metal, and is completely covered by glass plates, hence its name. The ceramic decoration used in small friezes and finials highlight the figures of grotesques with heads of mallards. The Palacio de Cristal, in the shape of a Greek cross, is made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework on a brick base, which is decorated with ceramics. Its domed roofs makes the structure over 22 meters high.

At its feet is an artificial lake and there is a staircase that is immersed inside it, where you can find several specimens of Cypress marsh trees, whose main characteristic is that part of its trunk and its roots are under water. The building is surrounded by  chestnuts trees. The Lake contains ducks. geese, black swans and terrapins, who will swim close to the steps, or you can hire boats on the lake for a closer view. It has a surface area of 2,900 m2 and a water volume of 3,480 m3. The spout reaches a height of 17 meters.

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal lake frt may16

On May 10, 1936, the Palacio de Cristal in the Retiro park was the scene in which Manuel Azaña was elected as President of the Republic. The courts had remained small to host the mixed assembly of Deputies and Commissioners and the Crystal Palace was chosen for voting and inauguration of  Azaña, the only candidate! Nowadays, it is part of the Reina Sofía Museum, and in its interior there are exhibitions of contemporary art.

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal boat may16

Located at the Paseo Républica de Cuba ,inside the Retiro park. Go there by Metro lines 1 Atocha, Line 9 Ibiza, and line 2 Retiro. Also , Renfe-Atocha trains and bus lines 2, 20, 26 , 61. Check for schedules as after the pandemic things might have change.

The Madrid tourist office on the Palacio de Cristalhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/palacio-de-cristal

The Reina Sofia Museum on outbuildings such as the Palacio de Cristal: https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/museum/venues

There you go folks, the enormous beautiful Retiro park of my beloved Madrid.  And the gorgeous Palacio de Cristal, can’t beat this combination ! Enjoy it as we always do!

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

Tags: , ,
July 15, 2021

The Archeological museum of Alcalà de Henares!

This was a nice find, really. We have been here several times and me since childhood but never recall coming here or if was available then. However, in my walks with the family was curious enough to walked into it and was a pleasant surprise. Therefore, let me update this older post in my blog on the Archeological museum of Alcalà de Henares! Hope you enjoy it as I.

I like my times in Alcalà de Henares , and like to show you another gem of this very unique town and loaded with history, architecture and arts. The town is in the Comunidad de Madrid region of the kingdom of Spain.  This time let me tell you a bit more on the Museo Archeologico Regional or  Regional Archaeological Museum …a joint venture between the Comunidad of Madrid and the city of Alcalà de Henares showcasing the best archeological finds from the area covering a large period. Its a must to see in town.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Museo Arqueológico Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid (M.A.R.) was created on November 27, 1997; It is based in Alcalá de Henares, occupying the building of the old school of the Dominican Convent of the Mother of God, in the Plaza de Bernardas, which also give to the Archiepiscopal Palace and the Convent of San Bernardo (see posts). Its inauguration took place on May 25th, 1999.   The Convent School of the Mother of God was founded by Maria de Mendoza, daughter of the Counts of Mélito, in 1565, as part of the university City of Alcalá, although the current construction dates from the 17-18C, since the original building was small and also structurally deficient , although it is probable that the entrance of the Convent , which currently accesses the museum, is reused from the previous.

In 1985, the year in which the State competences in the field of archaeology were passed on to the Autonomous Communities, the Government of the community of Madrid and the city of Alcalá agreed that the building would become the headquarters of the Regional Archaeological Museum of the Community of Madrid. At present the work is being carried out to expand its surface and in January 2018 the works were finally started, whose culmination is expected by the end of 2019.

In addition to its role of research and conservation of the archaeological heritage, it exhibits a permanent collection with a chronological and didactic itinerary: paleontological fossils, Paleolithic, Neolithic, vestiges of the Bronze Age and Iron Age, an important collection of Roman objects ,highlighting the mosaics, and elements of material culture from the old, middle and modern ages, reaching the archaeology of the industrial era. The museum carries out temporary exhibitions of archaeological, paleontological and historical themes. Among its dependencies is the library Emeterio Cuadrado, of restricted use, specializing in archaeology, cartography of the community of Madrid, museology and restoration.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this unique museum are:

The official webpage of the Archeological museum of Alcalà de Henares in Spanish: http://www.museoarqueologicoregional.org/cs/Satellite?cid=1161230074474&language=es&pagename=Museos%2FPage%2FMUSE_contenidoFinal

The Alcalà de Henares tourist office on the museumhttps://www.turismoalcala.es/turismo/museo-arqueologico-regional/

The Madrid city tourist office on the museum in Alcalà de Henareshttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/museo-arqueologico-regional-alcala-henares

There you go folks, a nice place to see in the middle of all the beautiful architecture, historical and religious of nice Alcalà de Henares. Do enjoy it we love it!

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

Tags: , ,
July 3, 2021

The Paseo de Recoletos de Madrid!!!

For some reason, do not ask me why I left this street spot in my dear Madrid out of a post, pity. One big wide nice boulevard with so many wonderful things to see. I like to bring it out of the closet /armory and tell you a bit on the Paseo de Recoletos de Madrid!! 

I like to continue the saga of my MADRID! It is said, that once biten by its virus you never want to leave, well i did but always come back to it. Madrid has a lot to offer and often overlooked! I like to change you a bit ….  Today, I will talk about a simple spot that will make you fall in love with Madrid. The Paseo de Recoletos of Madrid.

madrid-paseo de recoletos to plaza-colon-statue-aug17

Where can I start, you will notice , I am not a writer or poet or even into long verses for most of my posts even if sometimes an exception is made. I try to be short and to the point, these are all places that I have enjoyed since youthful days of early teen years and really find it hard to describe all my love for them. But , lets start shall we…

The Paseo de Recoletos is an avenue of 700 meters rising very slightly, from south to north, and from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Colón. It is part of the boulevards of the central axis of the city, which extends north as Paseo de la Castellana , and south as a Paseo del Prado. its the place where the National Library of Spain and the Archaeological museum of Spain were built ,and currently there.

It had its origin in the ravine formed by the Arroyo de la Fuente Castellana, which furrowed it, and as a continuation of the primitive walk of the old Prado of San Jerónimo and its extension to the Puerta de Atocha (what is now the Paseo del Prado). The Paseo de Recoletos took its name from the convent of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, whose ensemble was built in the area between 1592 and 1595, and in what was formerly the town of Valnegral, in lands of Eufrasia de Guzmán , Princess of Ascoli. The Alameda ended at the Puerta de Recoletos, a Baroque-style gate built under the reign of king Fernando VI in 1756 and dismantled in 1863. It was alternately known as El Prado Nuevo and Recoletos or Prado de Recoletos.

In the second half of the 18C king Carlos III undertook a series of reforms, among which was the modernization of Madrid to bring it to the height of the famous big cities of the time such as Paris. In this modernization plan; the Neptune Fountain (see post) was included. It was made with white marble from Montesclaros (Toledo). The fountain stands on a large circular pylon in whose center is the figure of Neptune, God of the sea, one of the twelve divinities of Olympus, is the son of Saturn and Rea, and brother of Jupiter. It is presented with a snake curled in the right hand and the trident in the left, erect on a cart formed by a shell pulled by two sea horses with fish tail. Around the car swim seals and dolphins that throw jets of water at a high altitude. The god of the waters could be a symbol of the Navy that king Carlos III reformed to make it more competitive and strengthen the nexus with the colonies.

Aristocrats who had a house in this promenade (Paseo), among them them the Duchy of Sesto; some neighbors who were born, lived or died in Recoletos, were the painter José Villegas Cordero, Ramón del Valle Inclán, Juan Valera or the Andromaca that José Vilches sculpted in 1853,in Rome, and previously held at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid. The gatherings of the café Teide, the literary home of César González Ruano and the Café Gijón, still open( very nice place to chat) at the beginning of the 21C, remain in memory.  It should also be remembered the presence in the second half of the 21C of the Libreria-Galeria Buchholz , cradle of the almost fictitious school of Madrid, or of installations like the Museum of Wax of Madrid, inaugurated in 1972 at the No 41.(see post ).

Some of the best known buildings to marvel at their architecture and chic styles in the Paseo de Recoletos are:

Palace of Linares or Palace of the Marquis of Linares, next to Cibeles, built in 1873 today the headquarters of the Casa de America.  (see post) The Palace of Library and National Museums, finished in 1892, in which they are, in the facade that gives to Paseo de Recoletos, the National Library of Spain (see post). In the opposite façade, in Calle Serrano, is the National Archaeological Museum of Spain (see post). The Palace of the Marquis of Salamanca, built between 1846 and 1855 ; the Convent of San Pascual , originally from the 17C, but demolished and rebuilt in the 19C. The Palace of the Duke of Elduayen, built between 1890 and 1895. The Palace of the Duchess of Medina de las Torres, between 1881 and 1884. The Palacio de López Dóriga and Salaverria, built towards 1872. The Palace of the Marquis of Alcañices, also known as of the Duke of Sesto, of 1862 . the building Restaura , formerly of the Insurance L’Union, in the numbers 18-20. And the building of the insurance company La Aurora, at number 4.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Madrid tourist office on Paseo de Recoletos: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/paseo-de-recoletos

There you go folks another dandy spot in my dear Madrid. A nice trip up and down one of the best arteries of my beloved Madrid. The walk on Paseo de Recoletos is awesome just keep going north from the Prado museum!! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

Tags: ,
July 2, 2021

The Circulo de Bellas Artes of Madrid!!

This wonderful monument spot in my dear Madrid was hidden in my many posts on the city. I feel close to it and been there on many moments including my team Real Madrid CF festivities with friends over the years. I have to tell you about it in a post of its own. Therefore, here is my presentation of the Circulo de Bellas Artes de Madrid!! or the Fine Arts Circle of Madrid.

I like to continue the saga of my MADRID! It is said, that once biten by its virus you never want to leave, well i did but always come back to it. Madrid has a lot to offer and often overlooked! I like to change you a bit …. Today, I will talk about a simple spot that will make you fall in love with Madrid. The Circulo de Bellas Artes of my Madrid!!

Madrid circulo de bellas artes roofstop credit-cba 2
The Círculo de Bellas Artes is located at the Calle de Alcalà 42 , at the corner with Calle del Marques de Casa Riera, in an Art deco building completed in 1926. The CBA (circulo de bellas artes) was founded in April 1880 by some artists who originally wanted to create a club where they could exhibit and sell their works. At that time, young students who would become important artists went there, like Pablo Picasso, while others, such as Ramón María del Valle-Inclán, attended its salons. In 1921,the CBA becomes a center for the protection of fine arts and public utility. The main social seat was finally installed here in 1926 in a building inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII.

The Spanish Civil War led to the suspension of its activities, and the Circulo de Bellas Artes became a place of detention of the CPIP (Provincial Public Investigation Committee) what was called a checa (police persecution) after the conflict, it was also there that for a time the seat of the Service of the falange (Franco’s party). It was only in 1983, that CBA was refounded thanks to the Association of Plastic Artists. Since then, it has been open to the general public and with and follows international cultural trends.

The Circulo de Bellas Artes best is the rooftop terrace in my opinion and open to the public, offering a panoramic view of Madrid. It is overlooked by the statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and art, the symbol of the institution. Moreover, the CBA retains a considerable artistic heritage with more than 1 200 paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings and ceramics, as well as furniture. The bibliographic and documentary funds, including the bequest of the gallerist Juana Mordó’, with more than 3 000 books and a collection of 150 autograph books. Finally, the institution retains a large fund of thematic art journals and historical documents.

Madrid circulo de bellas artes roofstop resto credit-cba 1

Some webpages to help you enjoy a visit to the CBA= Circulo de Bellas Artes are:

The official Circulo de Bellas Artes webpage: https://www.circulobellasartes.com/

The Madrid tourist office on the CBA: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/circulo-de-bellas-artes

And a view of Minerva the CBA magazine! https://cbamadrid.es/revistaminerva/index.php

There you go folks, a nice trip up and down one of the best monuments of my beloved Madrid. The Circulo de Bellas Artes is worth climbing up to. Hope you enjoy the tour. Given credit when I could not take pictures or can’t find them in my vault, the pictures here are from the Circulo de Bellas Artes ok.

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

Tags: , ,
June 29, 2021

The Gran Via of Madrid!!!

One of if not the one emblematic street of my dear Madrid! This one goes back to the 30’s really but it could have been name differently. Let me update this memorable post and hope you enjoy as I telling you. The Gran Via of Madrid!!!

Ok so this is not new, but always heavens for me. Got to tell more of the history of this great artery of my beloved Madrid. So much so, that is World famous as one of the great avenues of the World.  I am talking about the Gran Via of Madrid.  The street is so popular and so much written on it, that I have overlook writing about it. It is so essential of Madrid, well you could not come to the city without walking it at least. The Gran  Via is part of the history of Madrid,and all is represented there. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

How to get to Gran Vía, well its easy all know it you can’t missed it. However, by metro takes you there Plaza de España on lines 3 and 10, Santo Domingo onn lilne 2, Callao on lines  2, 3,and 5, and of course Gran Vía on lines 1 and 5. Buses of Madrid last confirmed were lines 1, 2, 3, 44, 46, 74, 75, 133, 147, 148, 202 and  M2.Also, nearby Plaza de España, you can get there on Metro as above plus Noviciado on line 2. Buses as above and addition to lines  25, 39, 138,  C1 and C2. OF course, with the pandemic check the lines for schedules.

Let me give give some history on it, that I like.

The Gran Vía is entirely located in the Centro or city center district, it extends over the districts of Justicia, Parlamento, Sol, Universidad and Palacio, for a total length of 1 300 meters (4290 feet).  It comprises three sections, the first of which extends from Calle de Alcalá to Plaza San Luis, the second to the Plaza Callao and finally the third to the Plaza de Espana.

As the project progressed, the three sections each bore a different name: Calle del  Conde de Peñalver for the first, Avenidad Pi y Margall for the second and  Calle Eduardo Dato for the third.  In April 1936, the first two sections took the name of Avenida  de la CNT before being redesignated as the Avenue of Russia at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War by the leftist Republicans. A new change was made in November 1937 in favor of Avenue of the Soviet Union. That same year, the last stretch took the name of Avenue of Mexico. On 24 April 1939, after the victory of Gen.  Franco, the ensemble was baptized Avenue José Antonio (as I came to know it first).  Finally, in 1981, the Socialist mayor Enrique Tierno Galván gave it the official name of Gran Vía for the first time, and as of today.

Offering a wide range of styles ranging from the Viennese secession to the New York Art Deco, through the Plateresque, Neo-Mudejar and Haussmann architectures, Gran Vía is considered a showcase of the arts built from the twilight of the beautiful era at the dawn of the years 50’s. The construction of it took quite some time and many streets and building razed to make room for it. However, to note ,there were three attempts to do this road and finally at the third it was the charmer.

First,in 1862, after the refurbishment of the Puerta del Sol made five years before and the subsequent extension of the Calle Preciados to the area of the current Plaza de Callao, the Advisory board  drew up a first project consisting of the Extension of the aforementioned street to the Plaza de San Marcial, where the Plaza de España is currently located. Second in 1886 a project of prolongation of the Calle Preciados was approved, describing a large east-west transverse Avenue between Calle de Alcalá  and The Plaza de San Marcial,  offered three alternatives to join Calle de Alcalá, from the Church of San José, with the current Plaza de España. This project presented an avenue of 25 or 30 meters wide with roundabouts at the crossroads with the most important streets. This project was the origin of La Gran Via zarzuela (Spanish Operetta), with music by Federico Chueca and  scenes by Felipe Pérez y González. The work, premiered on July 2 of that same year and which garnered a great success.

In 1897 the municipal architects  were in charge of making a new project and in 1899 presented their project of reform of extension of the Calle  Preciados and link of the plaza de Callao with the Calle de Alcalá in it was proposed the realization of the work dividing it in  three sections as such;  Avenue A (534 meters), from the Plaza de San Marcial (current Calle de los Reyes) to Callao; The Boulevard (409 meters), from Callao to the Red de San Luis and Avenida B (417 meters), from the Red de San Luis to Calle de Alcalá. The total length would be 1,316 meters and the width of 25 meters, except the boulevard that would be 35 meters. It would  achieved, according to the project, the direct communication between the districts of Argüelles and Salamanca; The decongestion of the Puerta del Sol, the disappearance of a whole cluster of narrow and unhygienic streets and a more comfortable link between the stations of Atocha and Príncipe Pio. This one was approved on August 21, 1904, the works began finally on April 4, 1910. The first section, between the Calle de Alcalá and the one of Calle Montera was carried out between 1910 and 1915. On March 28, 1917 it was officially reported that the works were finished, although the definitive delivery occurred on July 18, 1924. The second section, the boulevard, between the Red de San Luis and Callao, took place in the following four years, between 1917 and 1922, although the definitive delivery of works was on August 20, 1927. The third section, was planned to continue in the direction of the Calle de  Jacometrezo, towards the Cuesta de San Vicente, in an almost straight extension with the second stretch, but was changed to splice with the Calle de la Princesa, which proved to be a success, so it was built and between Plaza de Callao and the Plaza de Espana; It was started on February 16, 1925 and was completed in 1929 although the delivery of works was on September 22, 1932 and some buildings would not be completed until after the Spanish Civil War.

Some of my favorites emblematic buildings on the Gran Via are:

Edificio Metropolis (1911), (see post) Strictly speaking it does not belong to this street, since it is the number 39 of the Calle de Alcalá, but, coming up from the Plaza de  Cibeles, it serves of undoubted letter of presentation of the Gran Via.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Gran Via 1 (1916-1917) An eclectic-style building with reliefs and modernist-style tiles. Throughout its history it has been occupied by the Café Molinero, the Sicilian-Molinero restaurant, The Case de Piano , the Aeolian or the Grassy jeweler since 1952, which has a clock museum.

The Hotel de Letras, named for its construction, in 1917, “lodgings for the Count of Artaza”, is occupied by a hotel since 2005.

The Casa Matesanz, located at n ° 27, at the corner with the Calle de Tres Cruces, inspired by the architecture of Chicago to make this commercial building.

The Telefónica building, No. 28 (1929-1953 the highest skyscraper in Spain. It is also one of the first in Europe.

La Casa del Libro, no 29, had a construction firm now encloses about 30 small stores .

Gran via 8 (1915) The first house that was finished building on the new avenue. Here was the famous patisserie-cafeteria of Aquiles Caserta. The Loewe store is located in its street level since 1939.

The façade of the Oratory of the Knight of Grace (1916), (Oratorio del Caballero de la Gracia) no 17. From the Gran via you can only see the apse of this Church. It was designed a new façade aligned with the rest of the buildings. In the 1970’s was given the view of the apse practicing a great arch in the facade of Luque.

Madrid-Paris Building (1922-1924), at no 32. It was the tallest building up to 1929, in which it was surpassed by that of Telefónica. In 1934 after the purchase of the building by the dept store chain Sepu (now gone) suffers a great transformation. This building also houses the PRISA group headquarters, where some of the country’s main radio stations are concentrated, such as the main 40, M80 radio, or the Cadena SER.

The Palacio de la Musica built  for the general public company of spectacles, has been unoccupied since 2008. In 2020, Madrid City Council gave the go ahead for the Montemadrid Foundation to begin the process of restoring the property, respecting all of its original elements, as it s fully protected. After the refurbishment, the building will re-open its doors as a theatre space for diverse shows and it will have a multi-purpose hall on the top floor that may include catering associated with the theatre.  

The Palacio de la Prensa, No. 46 built from 1924 to 1928, takes its name from the fact that it was ordered by the Madrid Press Association. It housed the headquarters of various newspapers and, until 2015, that of the Socialist Party of Madrid. Now is the movie theater, Sala 0.  

The Carrión building (also known as the Capitol Building) cultivates an air of resemblance with the Flatiron building in New York. Built between 1931 and 1933, it bears the name of its sponsor, Enrique Carrión y Vecín, marquis de Melín. He is best known for his immense luminous sign in the colors of Schweppes.

Lope de Vega building (1945-1949), no. 53, 55, 57, and 59, it hosted the a big underground shopping center. The Hotel Lope de Vega  and a theater opened in 1949  with the play Tonadilla by Concha Piquer, and change to cinema in 1954.renovated in  2003, it change name to be call now Emperador, and the shopping center was reduce in space.

Cinema Rialto of Madrid (1930),no 54.  The cinema opened in  1930 with musical variaties of Paramount. Between 1932 and 1934 it was called Astoria. By 1957 it hosted the last dance of cuplé. Today it is call the Teatro Rialto and it shows musicals such as Los 40, O Cabaret, etc.

Coliseum building (1931-1932), no 78. The building has an American style architecture and was ordered built by the music composer Jacinto Guerrero. The cinema opened here in 1932 with the movie Champ. Now is the Teatro Coliseum.

Already reaching the Plaza de España, you can see the buildings of España and  Torre de Madrid, both at more tan 100 meters high. Torre de Madrid built in 1957, was during many years the tallest building in the city until the Torre Picasso.

And some description of some of the stores, restaurants and hotels that I have enjoyed over the years on the Gran Via !

The new H&M, at no 37 ,lets you see the tinsel of the old Cinema Avenue and the legendary Pasapoga party room, where they passed from Nazi spies to stars such as Ava Gardner or Gary Cooper; at no 34 Zara, One of the official stores of Real Madrid, at no 31; Or PRIMARK, the new dept store whose shocking space in number 32 has caused furor. At no  27, where the amazing fabric store Julian Lopez survives.  And more , Benetton’s shop, 41, Lacoste, 51, Carmina, 58.  at no  2 Ramón Freixa has installed its new restaurant there: Atico. At no  7. Jeweller Sanz, another of the representatives of luxury in Gran via. It’s been going on since it was opened in 1946.at no  9,  the Catalonia Gran Vía Hotel, formerly known as Catalonia Gaudí, stands in a building from the beginning of the 20C; at no 10 Mercado de la Reina, Which is not a market but an inspired restaurant, yes, with the fresh market products of the day and in the traditional stalls

No 12.the mythical Chicote Museum, which is also not a museum but a joint of all life. A classic cocktail between the classics, on the spot for 84 years and now has been transformed into a music club. Sunday Brunch and Dj sessions with people like Bimba Bose or Sofia Cristo   no 13. Cultural Center of the armies, or military Casino or army and Navy center.

N º 24. For years it has hosted the circle of the Mercantile and Industrial Union of Madrid. But now it’s the Gran Via Casino. No. 26 Papizza: Unlike other local pizza at the cut, this has seats and seating space. The best, your happy hour: everything to 1 euro from 17 to 7pm. And next, the Swiss Union, there since 1840. No. 25. Gran Vía Hotel, mythical from 1920 and now member of the TRYP group. In the basses is Bershka, known for being the squat of the legendary Madrid Rock.

Number 27. House Matesanz Era the year 1923. It houses the headquarters of Madrid Diario and the School of Decoration. Underneath is Julián Lopez’s knitting store. And a plaque recalls its past: in the 16C it was one of the few buildings designed by the architect Juan de Herrera in the capital, and in it lived the sculptor of Felipe II Giacomo da Trezzo, or, as it was known for posterity , Jacometrezo. And cornering, Cortefiel’s shop.

No. 30. Sfera, the first fashion shop on this sidewalk Pans and Company, also with terrace on the street-difficult to understand the attractiveness of terraces like these right next to a car-filled avenue. No. 31 in the lower floor are the Real Madrid Store, the Clarks shoe store and a Pull & Bear.

No. 39. Allianz Building, 1926. A mysterious animal presides over its facade: it is a winged lion of San Marcos that holds a book whose inscription reads: “Pax Tibi Marce, evangelist meus ” (“Peace be with you, Marcus, my Evangelist”). The street level are occupied by a Swarovski store and a Ulanka footwear. No. 38. Jules, boys ‘ clothes. The Atlantic Hotel and the Nike store. No. 40. Springfield Woman, and Burger King.

Cine Callao (another of the few historic ones that resist), a Desigual and FNAC store. Although it seems that the French teaches has always been there… what goes; In fact it was the company that replaced the Almacenes Galerías Preciados in 1993, after being absorbed by the El Corte Inglés in the 1990’s. N º 41. The Carrión building, on which the Benetton shop is located. In this same issue, also the Vincci Hotel and the Capitol cinema, n º 43. The first Vips-Gino and the Iris shoe store n º 45. Another disappeared, the cinema Rex. The one who does hold still is the Hotel Rex, right on top.

No. 53. Hotel Emperador. Not everyone knows the secret he hides on his rooftop: a roof garden, or Beach club. That is to say an outdoor swimming pool on the attic floor. Share number with a newest Tommy Mel-remember both the Peach Pit of feeling to live-and a Bingo. No. 56. More shops, Carmina shoes, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.

No. 63. A 100 Montaditos with Super Terrace, which goes from Ole Madrid to Salvador Bachelor. Hotel Vincci at Gran via 66 at ,p. 70. Hotel Playa Senator. The best, your spa. Next door, the theatre room La Chocita del Loro, known for its performances of monologues. No. 69. Another Burger King, this one is big N º 72. Grilled meats at María Parrilla’s restaurant. And the Tryp Madrid Centro Hotel, next to the Museo del Jamon (Ham Museum reto) , the only one on this street.

Some webpages to help you know and enjoy more of the Gran Via are:

The shopping in Gran Via webpage in English: http://Some webpages to help you know and enjoy more of the Gran Via are

The Madrid tourist office on the Gran Via: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/la-gran-via

Memories and history of the 100 + years of the Gran Via webpage in Spanish: http://granvia.memoriademadrid.es/

There you go folks, a dandy in nice Madrid!! You can’t missed been here, the Gran Via is Madrid as any other world’s great avenues. Hope you enjoy the wonderful Gran Via of Madrid.

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

Tags: , ,
June 27, 2021

Cibeles and Puerta de Alcalà in Calle de Alcalà of Madrid!!!

Now this is a wonderful combination in my dear Madrid! It is close to my old home in the city and each visit must passed by here! Also, the celebration point of the Real Madrid CF, proud to say, my team since childhood and even played in the organisation (see posts). I like to tell you about these two monuments of Madrid eve if also on other posts I never get tired of telling you about them. Hope you enjoy as I.

Ok so this is the Madrid of my younger days, the Madrid of bringing my girlfriend, and later wife, the Madrid of bringing my kids growing older with time. Madrid is and will be a hole on the sky to look down on the city every day! On sunny days, cold days, rainy days, snow days , Madrid is awesome ,full of memories and great times. With time my dear late wife Martine came to love it too as do my boys.

These are the main symbols of Madrid in my opinion, but maybe I am biased as they were and are my home. I lived not far from them and past them every day back then, and at every occasion passing by Madrid now even in summer vacations. I am talking of the Plaza de Cibeles and it’s fountain of same name as well as the Puerta de Alcalà gate.

The Plaza de Cibeles is located at the union of the districts of Centro, Retiro, and Salamanca and the intersection of the Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado . The Square is cross by the Calle de Alcalà . Before, it was called the Madrid square or Plaza de Madrid, then rename Plaza Castelar in 1900 until finally getting the current name after the end of the Spanish Civil War 1939.

mad-palacio-de-cibeles-comunicaciones-2010

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

On the Western side of the square you have the initial traject of the Calle de Alcalà, widen to later include the Gran Via. The Metropolis building and the Circulo de Bellas Artes as well as the Instituto Cervantes are some of the notable buildings you can see from the square. On the Eastern side once reaching the square and the Calle de Alcalà, upward bound you have a better view of the Puerta de Alcalà that is in the near square of independence or Plaza de la Independencia.

In the Plaza de Cibeles you have the famous fountain of Cibeles or Fuente de Cibeles; representing the Greek goddess of Cybil a work of architect Ventura Rodriguez and sculptors Francisco Gutierrez Arribas for the Cibeles figure, and Roberto Michel for the lions, Miguel Jimenez for the decoration elements of the chariot. The fountain was built between 1777 and 1782 in front of the palace of Buenavista. The fountain was put here in 1895 showing the Greek goddess Cibeles of fertility ,holding a scepter and a key while being pulled by two lions on a chariot.  The pull of the wild lions symbolize the power of nature or of the goddess; the figures took about 10K kg of stones and three different artists.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Spanish football (soccer) team Real Madrid CF has unofficially adopted the fountain. It is used as a meeting point for its fans and often for the players themselves whenever the team wins the Spanish league ,Spanish King’s Cup or the Champions League. And this happens often as the team is the best ever ,mine, excuse me!

Other emblematic buildings around the square are the before mentioned Palacio de Buenavista on the northwest angle of the square built in 1777 holding the general hq of the army. Also, the Palacio de Linares on the northeast side completed in 1900 and it houses since 1992 the House of America or Casa de América a cultural institution for the American continent. The Palacio de Comunicaciones  (aka Palacio de Cibeles) built in 1909 on orders of king Alfonso XIII to house the seat of the post office of Spain with an imposing façade on the south east side of the square. Since 2007, it is centro cibeles or the city hall of Madrid.  There is the building of the Banco de España or Bank of Spain with long facades along the Calle de Alcalà and Paseo del Prado, housing since 1981 the principal seat of the Bank of Spain.

The Puerta de Alcalà is one of the five old gates for entry into Madrid. It is at the Plaza de la Independencia or independence square facing the Retiro Park (my old entry point to the center of Madrid in my days there) . The gate was built on the orders of King Charles III to replace an old gate that existed since the 16C. The Italian architect Francesco Sabatini was chosen by the king himself to do the gate. The work began in 1769 and continued until the inauguration in 1778.  This is the first triumphal arc built in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire, making it the forerunner of the Arc de Triomphe of Paris or the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin. The gate allowed the entrance in Madrid to travelers from Aragon, Catalonia and France.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The neoclassical-style Puerta de Alcalà has a width of  about 44 meters and culminates at 22 meters in height. The structure of the gate is made of granite from the quarries of Colmenar Viejo, Alpedrete and Hoyo de Manzanares. The decorative elements are made of limestone from Colmenar de Oreja. The sculptures of children who crown the Puerta de Alcalá represent the four cardinal virtues. Made by Francisco Gutiérrez Arribas, these sculptures are sometimes referred to as  the Angels of Peace.

mad-puerta-de-alcala-to-the-metropolis-bldg-in-gran-via-24jan10

The Madrid tourist office on the Fuente de Cibeleshttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/fuente-de-la-cibeles

The Madrid tourist office on the Puerta de Alcalàhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-alcala

This area is a must in Madrid and two emblematic monuments a sight to be seen and one of the most photographs places in the city.  Hope it helps enjoy this wonderful area of Madrid, the Retiro park is just around the corner too.

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

Tags: , ,
June 25, 2021

Some news from Spain CVI

And I am coming back at you with my Spain, as said everything under the sun! Things are moving quickly and the spaces are open people out and fun is back. I am waiting for the stadium to be done to be there in my dear Madrid, oh yes the stadium ,the only one, the Santiago Bernabeu home of the Real Madrid CF! Ok ok so now let met tell you some nice news of my beloved Spain. Thanks for reading me since Nov 2010 and on my 106th edition of some news from Spain!

A brief getaway through Castilian lands to visit jewels such as the beautiful Cloister of Santa María la Real de Nieva, in the province of Segovia; the incredible Monastery of Santa Clara, in Tordesillas province of Valladolid, and the unique charm of the Basilica of San Juan de Baños, in Palencia. The proposal supposes an itinerary of 250 km by road from Madrid, which is feasible to cover by car in one day. Just leave early and take advantage of the time! Enjoy the architecturally and historically stunning road warrior tour.

The first stop is in Santa María la Real de Nieva, a peaceful town half an hour from Segovia. The construction of the Gothic church began in 1393 and, once completed, it was handed over to the Dominicans. Shortly after the monastery began to rise and in the following years the church would be expanded, demolishing the apses of the original head.  About 80 km from Santa María la Real, in the direction of Valladolid, awaits Tordesillas, which owes part of its fame to the treaty signed on June 7, 1494 between the representatives of the Catholic Monarchs (Fernando and Isabel) and those of John II of Portugal, for the one that both crowns divided the territories of the New World. In addition, Juana I of Castile, nicknamed La Loca (crazy) and mother of Emperor Carlos V, was locked up in this town for more than 40 years. The Royal Convent of Santa Clara, which hosted the body of Felipe el Hermoso from 1509 to 1525, has been six centuries watching the waters of the Duero flow at its feet. It was originally a Mudejar palace that King Alfonso XI ordered to be built around 1340, as evidenced by the lace decoration and Arabic inscriptions, as well as a charming courtyard with lobed and horseshoe arches reminiscent of the Alhambra in Granada. At  70 km north of Tordesillas is the third architectural landmark of this route: a stone diamond erected by the Visigoth king Recesvinto in the Palencia plain of Venta de Baños. The secluded Basilica of San Juan de Baños, one of the few buildings of this type in Spain, resembles a small chest whose dating is not the slightest doubt as in the front there is a Latin inscription that cites the year 699 , and that corresponds to 661 of our era. Built with large ashlars joined together with little mortar, the temple measures 20 meters long by 13 meters wide. Wonderful!

The rebirth  of Mayte Commodore, the restaurant that was the center of the political intrigues of the Franco regime. In this luxurious premises, the appointment of Juan Carlos de Borbón as successor to the title of King was forged and Manuel Fraga celebrated the wedding invitation to his son. This summer it reopens its doors renovated but with the essence that made it an icon of Madrid. The new space that will open this summer has dispensed with the name of Mayte. It’s going to be called Commodore. Many international actors, such as Anthony Quinn, Charlton Heston or Ava Gardner, and Spanish politicians and artists, such as Juan Domingo Perón and Lola Flores, spent long evenings there. The restaurant opened in 1967, at No 5 Plaza de la República Argentina, in an emblematic brick building. Mayte was born in Santander. She was the only girl of 14 siblings, she studied at the Lausanne School of Hospitality and at 18 she went to Madrid to earn a living in the hospitality industry. She was a tavern server from Cantabria who set up a canteen near the Bronston studios, at the end of calle General Mola, today Calle Principe de Vergara, and dazzled the great stars. From that first space she moved to what we now know as Commodore, the center of the political intrigues of the moment. There, for example, the appointment of Juan Carlos de Borbón as successor to the title of King was forged. Manuel Fraga, then Minister of Information and Tourism, officiated in one of his four private festive evenings, burned in hand, proclaiming his long-awaited openness. There, in 1987, he would celebrate the wedding invitation with his son, Ignacio Fraga, along with Margarita Pedroche. During those years, political personalities such as Felipe Gonzalez, Adolfo Suarez, Santiago Carrillo or Alfonso Guerra would make an appearance. Pure history of Madrid and Spain reborn to visit as soon as possible. Webpage pending.

Medina Azahara, the great scene of the Umayyad power that succumbed in 73 years. In the year 1000, there was no more dazzling city in Europe than Madinat al Zahra, 8 km west of Córdoba, the capital of al-Andalus and the royal home of the self-proclaimed Caliph Abd al-Rahman III. Madinat al Zahra, Castilianized as Medina Aza .A must to see in my Spain. Webpage: https://www.medinaazahara.org/en/

Manuel Escribano,  the first from Las Ventas of Madrid is going to help me so they can count on me as hell he says for the first corrida there since the pandemic. The Sevillian bullfighter will be the first matador de Luces to fight a bull in the Monumental almost two years later. More info here: https://plaza1.janto.es/janto/

At 41, surrounded by his wife Kirenia, his children Axel and Chloe, and all the Real Madrid legends, Felipe Reyes said goodbye to basketball through tears. An unrepeatable player who left unique moments. He was the expected and unexpected goodbye of one of the greatest who wore the shirt of Spain, the third in caps ;236 , only behind Navarro and Epi. He finished with the greatest number of matches played under the Real Madrid  1,046! in 17 seasons where he won  23 titles: 2 Euros cups, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 7 overal playoffs ACB championships, 6 King’s Cup, 6 Super Cup of Spain and 1 ULEB Cup.  3 eurobasket  Cups, 2 Olympic silver and 1 bronze 1 world championship ; 2 Silver eurobasket and 1 bronze; 1 bronze eurobasket junior, 1 gold europe junior. Thank you Felipon and well deserve rest good luck in your future. Hala Madrid!!!!

Madrid wants to open the Retiro park bomb shelter to the public in 2022. The construction of this building began in 1936, in the context of the Spanish Civil War. A document certifies that the work was completed in 1938 and, after the war, it was used for mushroom cultivation due to the little light and humidity it offered. Subsequently, it remained closed for more than thirty years. It had three entrances , two in the park and one in Calle Menéndez Pelayo. In addition, it lacked weapons to defend itself, which indicates that it was intended for the use of the civilian population shelter with an approximate capacity of 275 people. The dimensions of its corridors were from 1.10 to 1.15 meters wide and 1.60 to 2.48 meters high, the galleries were straight and every 25 meters they broke at a 90º angle to avoid for the shock waves to reach more people. To be follow as would be very interesting to go under; to be continue…..

The boats in the El Retiro pond and the Casa de Campo lake can be booked through the ‘Madrid Móvil’ application or the ‘www.madrid.es’ website as of this Saturday, June 26, according to made public by the Madrid City Council The ticket gives the right to the use of a boat with a maximum number of four occupants for 45 minutes from the moment the boat starts to be used. The price is 6 euros for weekdays and 8 euros for Saturdays, Sundays and holidays The number of boats available to citizens is 20 in the Casa de Campo (another 30 new boats will be added at the end of the year) and 100 in El Retiro. Great my favorite time when young boy in Madrid and first girlfriend taken there! Webpage in Spanish: https://www.madrid.es/portal/site/munimadrid

La Barraca will be portable. A wandering and free theater that will travel the torrid roads of Castile, the dusty roads of Andalusia, all the roads that cross the Spanish countryside.  It will penetrate into the villages, towns and villages, and will set up in the squares his tablados and guignol huts. Resurrection of the traveling entertainment of the past times. These are the words of Federico García Lorca about the mythical university theater company that he himself directed together with Eduardo Ugarte between 1932 and 1936.  The last trip of ‘La Barraca’ was on June 14 1936, just two months before his murdered. -He had the support of the then Minister of Public Instruction, Fernando de los Ríos, and intended to take classical theater throughout Spain. The Madrid Theater Institute, dependent on the Complutense University will carry on , bravo chapeau!!! To be able to see it!!!More info here: https://www.ucm.es/item

The most popular European island in 44 European countries as survey by Musement. The Greek Santorini takes the ‘likes’ of a large part of Europeans, but as we can see in 11 of the countries present in the infographic, the favorite island is a Spanish one. After Tenerife, the second most popular island is Mallorca, the favorite of Germans and Belarusians. But this is not all, Ibiza, Menorca and Lanzarote have also earned a place on the map. The study was carried out by analyzing Google search volume data from 200 European islands (excluding island countries). Source webpage : https://www.musement.com/us/

And yes Madrid has metro works and stoppage too.  The Metro de Madrid will cut-off Line 6 and the bus entity EMT will connect the Pacífico and Sainz de Baranda stations during the works. The stops of this special service will be located very close to the entrances of the stations affected by these works, which will last from July 1 to July 31 2021. In the vicinity of the Pacífico metro station, there will be a newly created header (stop 4874), at Avenida Ciudad de Barcelona, 83. From there, the buses will travel along Calle Doctor Esquerdo, making an intermediate stop next to the station. Conde de Casal metro (stop no. 1434) and they will continue their route along this street until they reach the Sainz de Baranda station, where the descent stop no. 4614 will be enabled. In the opposite direction, users must go up at the head again creation no. 4962 to make the route in the Pacific direction along Calle Doctor Esquerdo , with an intermediate stop (no. 1,433) at the Conde de Casal metro and final descent stop next to the Pacífico station (stop no. 1,437). This special service will operate every day of the week between 6h05 and 02h09, with frequencies of two to six minutes at peak hours and on weekdays. The frequencies on Saturdays and Sundays will vary between 6 and 16 minutes depending on the time slot.  This was my route when visiting Madrid on business trips!

For the first time, the prestigious EVOOLEUM Guide rewards the most beneficial groves for health according to their amount of phenols. According to scientific evidence, extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest there is.(I knew that since birth !!)  Among the many benefits of regular and moderate consumption are reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, having an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antitumor effect, and regulating glucose metabolism. Experts believe that, to take advantage of these healthy benefits, it is necessary to consume 20 grams of extra virgin olive oil daily with a phenolic content of at least 250 ppm (parts per million), that is, two tablespoons. According to the prestigious publication, three extra Spanish virgins are among the 10 healthiest: the Cordovan blend of picuda and hojiblanca Parqueoliva Serie Oro, from Almazaras de la Subbética (position no 3), Al Alma del Olivo Cornicabra PDO Montes de Toledo Ecológico, Olinexo ( no. 9), and Pagos de Toral Selección Gourmet, Pagos de Toral (no 10). This ranking by the hand of the EVOOLEUM Guide will be published in September and will be included in the next edition of The 100 best virgin olive oils on the planet 2022, its annual publication. More info webpage; https://www.evooleum.com/en/guide/

Xiringuito by Casa Mono, the dining room with the beach of Madrid. Located in the X-Madrid shopping center in the neighboring town of Alcorcón, it has a dining room, terrace and beach and sand area, and offers a kitchen with contemporary touches. Behind it are well-known names in Madrid’s restaurants, those of the creators of the aforementioned New York-style bar-restaurant in the Argüelles neighborhood -Casa Mono-, Martinete (Salamanca district), Ateneo (in the center of Madrid) and Los Pérez (Boadilla del Monte).  Located at Calle Oslo, 53. X-Madrid Shopping Center, local 061.  webpage:   https://x-madrid.com/taste/el-xiringuito/

And there you go folks, another dandy informative post from my humble personal some news from Spain! Hope you enjoy it and again thanks for reading it. Enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!!

Tags: , ,
June 25, 2021

The Wax Museum of Madrid!

This is a novelty in my travels, do go into museums but a wax museum? Well this is Madrid after all and after living and visiting for many years never had stopped in until coming with the family from France. Curious for the historical wax figures in it went in. Pleasant surprise something different indeed and nice history. We enjoy the visit to the Wax Museum of Madrid!! or Museo de Cera de Madrid!!

When it comes to museums we go to some different museums and we like our first visit ever to the Wax Museum of Madrid. I do not recall been there , well maybe as a boy believe my mother mentioned to me took me here when it opened in 1972 , but took a long time before coming again with the family , and thereafter a couple times and as it is in one of the best areas of Madrid and the one we stayed in the Fénix Hotel by Plaza Colon (see post) when I took my then girlfriend and later dear late wife Martine in 1990 on our first trip together to Madrid.

Just wonderful memories I like to share with the world.  The Museo de Cera de Madrid shows over 450 wax figures in over 2000 square meters of space on two floors and over forty rooms in which the visitor can travel back in time accompanied by the corresponding historical figures. It is located at Paseo de Recoletos, no 41 right across from the Plaza de Colon square and get there on metro Colon line 4 , as well as buses  21, and 37.  It opened on February 14 1972.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

To build the museum, a research, selection, and reconstruction of scenarios and characters was carried out, in which Oscar award-winning professionals participated. Sculptors, make-up artists, costume designers, decorators and illuminators of the moment, belonging to film production teams, collaborated in this project. Finally, the first figure, that of the navigator Cristobal Colón, saw the light, and after it many more until the 450 that occupy the scenarios that recreate the environment in which each one of them has lived and lives. These figures come from illustrious personages of the history of Spain, and also international, of different fields: history  such as king Felipe VI, the Arts like Pablo Neruda,  and Pablo Picasso; Sciences like Ramón y Cajal, and  Margarita Salas, Spectacles like Plácido Domingo, and  Lola Flores, Terror  like Dracula, and children like Mortadelo and Philemon, among other representations.

Almost all the contemporary characters that are exhibited in the galleries of the museum are dressed in costumes belonging to each one of them, from the General Franco to the master composer Joaquín Rodrigo passing by the actress Lina Morgan, the writer Camilo José Cela, the actress Carmen Sevilla or Cleopatra, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Kings of the Dynasties of Austria (Habsburg) and Bourbon. The museum has made a special interest in reflecting the children’s world with the presence of the Simpson familyHarry Potter, Mortadelo and Philemon and Snow White in addition to Frodo of The Lord of the Rings. You can see that one of the galleries is the crime and horror room with characters such as Count Dracula, the Mummy or Freddy Krueger.

I had personal pictures with the royals that made Spain what it is today from the union of old to the union of today! The Catholic kings of Fernando and Isabel and the new bourbon Juan Carlos I.

madrid-wax-museum-catholic-kings-and-me

madrid-wax-museum-royal-family-and-me

The museum also has three attractions: the simulator consisting of icy tunnels, the center of the Earth and space; The train of terror, which transports the visitor to the Jurassic Park, to the Galactic Tavern, passing through famous murders and other surprises; And finally a multivision that offers a glimpse of the history of Spain. Fascinating indeed.

Nearby you have some of my all time favorites eateries such as Restaurante El Espejo now call the New Espejo done with lots of mirrors all around a classic in Madrid at any time but in the terrase is sublime, just a bit south of the museum on the same side street.  For a more literally mindset and very chic Madrid come to the Historical Café Gijon since 1888. This one still a bit south than the other but close enough on same side street. 

The Madrid tourist office on the wax museumhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/museo-de-cera

The official webpage of the Wax Museum of Madridhttps://www.museoceramadrid.com/en/

There you go folks, another dandy in my beloved Madrid. Enjoy the history in one single spot in the Wax Museum of Madrid, right in marvelous Paseo de Recoleto and near the Plaza de Colon.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: