Archive for ‘Madrid’

January 2, 2020

My recap of year 2019!

So again on the trail of past year’s time on my blog and as a thank you for all my readers and followers I am doing this short post.

2019 was very special ;my first full year alone with my boys having lost my dear late wife Martine in 2018. Time they tell me soothes the pain, actually is the other way around but we go on with responsabilities and challenges into 2020 probably my last full year as a full time working person.

The blog started in November 26 2010 with the encouragement of many friends from well known travel forums has been a godsend to me for the entertainment and the rich exchanges with folks of many lands over the years. I thank you all. You can see a synopsis of my post in my pages here:

Really, when I started no where could I believe I would reach 775 blog followers and so many nice comments. And I thank you all. So far 2588 posts articles in my blog and more than 40K photos!! Do not know how far can I go as already using 74% of my memory capacity in wordpress blog. …and it becomes expensive afterward.

My blog’s name for those new is a combination of my life’s travels. Paris1972 because when living in Madrid visit Paris for the first time during the coming out of the movie Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brandon and Maria Schneider.It has stuck with me as a classic film. Versailles2003 because that is when I came to live as a French citizen permanently in France at Versailles…and working in Paris. So a fitting name me think

We live now in the region of Bretagne, department 56 Morbihan, town of Pluvigner for the last 6 years already more than my average per domicile in my life!! Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh has been good to us overall and we have a decision to make whether continue here or move on in retirement. I am here since June 2011 and at the house since August 2013.

I will continue to write and already booked trip to Toulouse next week to reminicent of one of the favorite cities of my dear wife and a possible retirement spot for me later on. We are thinking Dublin afterward and come back to Honfleur so far.

There are bits and pieces of my life throughout the blog all the way since birth, it is a living exposure to me now and a heritage souvenir for my sons and family and close friends.

Some numbers wordpress blog give us tells me that in 2019 I had 35 556 views, 17742 visitors, 11959 likes and 1184 comments. My most view posts were Some news from France XCXXXV  192 Notre Dame Cathedral update Aug19 185, and Somport tunnel port and peaks 139, and My best restaurants in Versailles 122. My most visitors by country were USA 10 928 (figure they would follow me), France 4562 (surprise indeed as wrote the blog in English), UK 3751, India 1345, Spain 1258 , Germany 1153.

Again to all, thank you very much to keep me company. I will continue with wonderful spots of my life and count on you to follow me thru.

Happy New Year 2020 and may your best wishes come thru for you and yours. Yours truly, pedmar10

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




December 31, 2019

My year 2019!!! thank you all!!!!!!

So here we are , another year went by today is December 31 2019 in most parts of the world. I like to first tell you thank you for all your likes and comments during this year, it is appreciated. I write about my travels, likes and fun things to keep a history of my life for my future generations and hopefully encourage others to do the same and do travel.

Let me say a few words on the New Year’s Eve and New Year Day.

In the Gregorian calendar , New Year’s Eve (also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries), the last day of the year, is on 31 December. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year’s Day  January 1.

We do have a late night meal with friends after drinking all day (we just began with Porto red lol!) and do see out the fireworks to await the New Year in my current country of France.

New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count increments by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner and the 1st day of January is often marked as a National Holiday. In the Gregorian calendar,  the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1 as New Year’s Day. This was also the first day of the year in the original Julian calendar and of the Roman calendar after 153 BC.

During the Middle Ages in western Europe, while the Julian calendar was still in use, authorities moved New Year’s Day, depending upon locale, to one of several other days, including March 1, March 25, Easter, September 1, and December 25. Beginning in 1582, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar has meant that many national or local dates in the Western World and beyond have changed to using one fixed date for New Year’s Day, January 1. During the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire years beginning on the date on which each consul first entered the office. This was probably May 1 before 222 BC, March 15 from 222 BC to 154 BC, and January 1 from 153 BC.

Other cultures observe their traditional or religious New Year’s Day according to their own customs, sometimes in addition to a (Gregorian) civil calendar. Chinese New Year, Islamic New Year, traditional Japanese New Year, and the Jewish New Year are the more well-known examples. India and other countries continue to celebrate New Year on different dates. The official dates in some countries were Holy Roman Empire (Germany) 1544 .Spain, Portugal,   Poland 1556. France (edit of Roussillon) 1564. Great Britain (Ireland, British empire) 1752, Scotland 1600.

In my current adopted country of France, New Year’s Eve (la Saint-Sylvestre) is usually celebrated with a feast, le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. This feast customarily includes special dishes including foie gras, seafood such as oysters, and Champagne (plenty of it!). The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or, une soirée dansante, (dancing night away)  a much fancier ball. On New Year’s Day friends and family exchange  New Year’s resolutions, kisses, and wishes.  We are all alone out west so will have my Dad and 3 sons and our dog borador Rex. Some people eat ice cream, actually we do eat logs or Bûches of different flavors. The holiday period ends on 6 January with the celebration of Epiphany (the 3 wise kings brings gift to the child Jesus and we get our gifts on this day).  A traditional type of flat pastry cake, la galette des rois, made of two sheets of puff pastry, filled with frangipane (almond paste) is eaten; nowdays we have in chocolate, raspberries flavors too . The cake contains a fève, a small china doll (can be of different characters) ; whomever finds it becomes king or queen and gets to wear a gold paper crown and choose his or her partner. This tradition starts nowdays practically right after Christmas on December 25 and go on to January 6.

More info on it here by Local news journal in English: The Local news journal on New Year’s Day to do things

In my other dear country of mine in Europe, also citizen as Spain. New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja  or old night) celebrations usually begin with a family dinner, traditionally including shrimp or prawns, and lamb or capon. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Royal House of the Post Office in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid (many years waiting for it here!) . It is traditional to eat  twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock (and we in my family had a 13 the last one we threw away making a wish for the new year) . Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava,Champagne or cider. Earlier in the evening at around 20h, there is a 10k run called the San Silvestre Vallecana, which starts on Paseo de la Castellana next to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (Real Madrid!), and ends at the Vallecas stadius (Rayo Vallecano). Professional runners come to Madrid for this 10k. After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend cotillones de nochevieja parties (named for the Spanish word cotillón, which refers to party supplies like confetti, party blowers, and party hats) at pubs, clubs, and similar places. Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms. Early the next morning, party attendees usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of hot chocolate and fried pastry (chocolate con churros). Yes indeed i have to say a more vibrant celebration than in France.

More info from the Local news journal in English: The Local news journal on New Year’s things to do

Now to follow the groupies, some of the towns I have been in 2019 (and can remember lol!!) have been in no chronological order

Pays de la Loire: Nantes, Clisson, Le Mans, Angers, Guérande, Piriac sur Mer, Brissac-Quincé, Montreuil-Bellay,

Bretagne: Josselin, Guidel, Larmor-Plage, Baden, Gourin, Vannes, Auray, Concarneau, Quimper, Saint Armel, Guidel plage, Quiberon, Carnac, Sainte Anne d’Auray, Saint Nolff, Questembert, Rochefort en Terre, Locronan, Châteauneuf-du-Faou, Sarzeau,

ïle de France: Paris, Versailles, Saint Denis

Hauts de France: Chantilly

Normandie: Alençon

Spain: Madrid

Just doing this count realise, not much foreign visits in 2019 due to a reduce family and lack of envy, will see if 2020 can improve on it. Again thanks for following me in my travels, and always hoping you enjoy it as much as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!! As well as Happy New Year 2020, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo and Feliz Ano Novo!!!




December 27, 2019

Serrania de Cuenca, the mountains!

And now I take you and me back into memory lane to our wonderful home for several years traveling in the area. I know I sound nostalgic and I am, always looking forward to be back. The family came here together and we love it! We rented house at 1400 meters in the mountains or Serrania de Cuenca. See my previous posts on the Cuenca province in my blog.

However, this post is about the little towns in the mountains of beautiful natural beauty that even us not trekkers feels is worth the visit. Hope you enjoy the post as we did the visit and take you there one day. We headed back to our base up in the mountain, but having done so early we took an extra ride up the Serrania de Cuenca to as much as 1900 meters ( about 6270 feet) seeking lovely villages of Toba and its Dam and Uña and the lagoon as well as Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted city).

The Embalse de Toba or water reservoir you can fish and swim as long as the waters are not full and with careful précautions. It is beautiful country that I hope the pictures will tell. It is part of the village of Uña a bit further downhill.  From the water organism in Spanish you have info on the embalses (dam) in the region of Castilla la Mancha and of course Toba. Tourist office province of Cuenca on Toba dam



This is a nice youtube video on the Toba embalse or dam:

The Laguna de Uña was created way back by king Alfonso XIII that was done as soon as the embalse de Toba was done early in the last century . Now it has a water current into and out by canalisation from the Salto de  Villalba de la Sierra, to generate electricity in the hydroelectric plant. Our visit was in dry season but its usually full ok. This site in Spanish for a rural house ad tells nicely about the laguna de Uña: Escapada Rural on the Laguna de Uña lagoon



A nice video from youtube show this natural beauty at its best, enjoy it as I do

Finally, one of the most popular tourist sites in the area for those who like mountaineering, walks:trekking, and nature in general. However, best to do this in better weather as the heat of the summer can be high into the 30’sC would make a trip like this not useful me think. Anyway ,Ciudad Encantada or enchanted city is wonderful; and recommended by all locals.  Here you see stone mountains turn into statues, objects, monuments to look at marvelously done by nature. It has guided tours to explain all for five euros admission, and check ahead as weather is important here. More in English here: Official Ciudad Encantada

Ciudad Encantada

And we just came down for a few minutes drive to our house in the mountains near here a wonderful experience high above the clouds and forest woods of old!!

One more webpage in Spanish on things to do in the Natural Park of the Serrania de Cuenca, any questions ask me ok: Castilla La Mancha protected areas on Serrania de Cuenca

And the tourist office of Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of Spain, in English: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Serrania de Cuenca

This is real country an area of Spain still untouched by tourism in mass, and a wonderful spot to enjoy with the family. I know it brings lots of wonderful souvenirs for ours .

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


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December 27, 2019

Fortified Alarcon!

Driving our way thru Castilla La Mancha was awesome, we spent several summers here and always in our minds to come back. Memories flashing in my mind hard to come up with words but we still remember those gone from our lives but not our minds. Alarcon is one memorable town. Of course, I have written more in my blog.

It is about 87 km from Cuenca the province capital city.

And we move on to the fortified town of Alarcon with its towers and castle. We moved up from Belmonte to Alarcon on the road N420 and then the old N III. You come on a mountaineous area throught the gate of the bridge or Puerta del Puente.


You see immediately the castle like a spiral on a hill as you come around by car up the hilly road into the main square of town. The town takes its name from king  Alarico,a visigoth that conquest the fortress from the Romans; today you can still the ramparts wall of this fortress. By  784AD it took refuge here the Moorish invaders and the siege on it took about nine months , that the Moors call the Spanish conqueror Fernán Martínez de Ceballos in 1184AD the year of Alarcon. The castle today is a small parador or tourist residence you can rent out!. More here in English:  Parador Castillo de Alarcon



The Church of Santa Maria sits here smallist fortified alike but very richly ornate on the tympan doors. Built between 1520 and 1565.  This church currently serves as a parish. It was erected at the beginning of the 16C in Plateresque style with tracery vault in the Gothic way. The cover is from the middle of that same century , the altarpiece with scenes from the life of the Virgin and the sacristy.  More on the Church: City of Alarcon on the Church Santa Maria



You,also, get to see the 13C Church of Santa Trinidad as you entered the town after the castle. It is a rectangular church with two naves, one from the 13C and one from the 16C, although the vault of the oldest nave is from the 15C. They emphasize in her the fajones arcs and pointed formeros, a triumphal arch of entrance to the presbytery, and a Renaissance altar. The cover is typically plateresque; It exhibits the shields of the Marquis de Villena, Diego López Pacheco, and of which he was bishop at the time, Diego Ramírez de Villaescusa. The tower stands on the so-called Arco de la Villa. The current apse is rectangular and replaces another circular Romanesque. More here in Spanish here: City of Alarcon on the Church Santa Trinidad


The center for contemporary Arts on mural paintings sits right in the main plaza or square on a former Church( St John the Baptist). The current construction dates from the 16C and replaced another of Romanesque style. It has a single nave covered with a barrel vault, a cover of Juan de Herrera (Herrera style) and a tower that has endured from the primitive church.The side walls are stiffened by buttresses that, contrary to the usual, are manifested by the interior delimiting spaces that pretend to be small chapels In 1994 the young Spanish painter Jesús Mateo initiated the project to cover the entire old building with a set of wall paintings.This contemporary work has been officially sponsored by UNESCO since 1997 for its high interest World Artistic It is considered one of the high peaks of contemporary world art. More in English : Site in English on the Contemporary Arts Center



There is another interesting church that of Church of Santo Domingo in late Romane style from the 12C which we had no time to see on this trip.

The tourist office  in Spanish from the province of Cuenca on Alarcon is here:,22329/dTabID__1/tabid__9384/Default.aspx

You have the tourist office of the region or autonomous region of Castilla La Mancha here in English: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on castle of Alarcon

It is one town to visit as it is conveniently in the direction of Valencia and the beaches from Madrid along the A3 expressway worthy of a stop. Enjoy the fortified town of Alarcon.

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


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November 27, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXVIII

Ok so here I am again but this time is my beloved Spain. Never a moment without it even in this destabilizing times. Spain never change always like this but somehow moves along. Spain everything under the Sun!

Some of my favorite latest from Spain are

The city of Salamanca is always ready to trick anyone who approaches the banks of the Tormes river  and is sure to be trapped by the heritage, culture and gastronomy of what is one of the main inland tourist destinations in Spain. Well known its most emblematic buildings, after approaching the charismatic Plaza Mayor, its mythical University or the unique Casa de las Conchas, it is worth enjoying the Charra capital from another perspective, from the top, to decipher its streets to flush its heaven. This is possible from the towers of the Cathedral; the towers of the Clerecía,(Clergy), Scala Coeli; and the viewpoint of the Convent of San Esteban, which open its doors for all those who want to look out at their battlements, caress their pinnacles and ring their bells. a wide range of museums, such as the History of Automotive, Commerce, the Art Nouveau Art Dèco-Casa Lis Museum, the Monterrey Palace or Monumenta Salmanticae.

Tourist office of Salamanca in English :

Clean skies in which to identify the light emitted by other planets or stars that carry there much more than us and that will survive us. One of them is the Sierra de Gredos. one of the corners of Spain recognized with the Starlight destination certificate for its magnificent conditions for astronomical observation and astrophotography: altitude, minimum light pollution and clear days, which allow tourists a unique experience.

The extensive Sierra de Gredos, to facilitate observation there is a network of stellar viewpoints, which is deployed by the towns of San Martín del Pimpollar, Navarredonda de Gredos, Hoyos del Espino, Navalperal de Tormes, Santiago de Tormes, Zapardiel de la Ribera, Navatejares, Puerto Castilla, Umbrías and Nava del Barco. All of them include panels, an observation platform, terrain conditioning, elementary astronomical information designed for a non-specialized family audience, parking area and fenced perimeter for added security. As well able for mobility impair folks.

And although it is the night views that give the singular touch, in the light of day the views in which Unamuno defined the “Castile roof and stone heart of Spain”, declared a regional park in 1996, the Natural Reserve of the Sierra de Gredos is one of the greatest natural and tourist attractions in the province of Ávila, which highlights not only its relief, but also the diversity that is within it.

Tourist office Castilla y Léon on Sierra de Gredos in English :

The paradox nests in the gaze of the artist Andrés Rábago, in his incarnation of El Roto, which admire so many readers. This week, the Prado Museum inaugurated the exhibition «No se puede mirar» (Can’t Look), that shows thirty-six drawings in which El Roto talks with Francisco de Goya, the paradoxical genius caught these days in an impressionist debate about whether he was anti-bullfighting or not.

Prado Museum on El Roto in English :

Such day as today, 27 November,  200 years ago, the most important art gallery in Spain opened its doors. Between the corridors of the Prado Museum, the immortals of El Greco, Velázquez or Rubens continue to exchange glances as a remembrance of a past of patrons on this side of the Atlantic and conquests to the other, but as in every story in history, there is a part that it is left out: specifically, the basements of the Villanueva building guard more than 2,500 works that the general public does not see, except on exceptional occasions. The key to access these 6,000 square meters of warehouses is only in the hands of the ‘brigade’ , a team of just seven people with the delicate work of transporting and escorting centuries of artistic creation, and the museum’s security personnel. Yes many museum have the same including the Louvre kept as far as Chartres, no different here. If only there is more space and money to show them ! I have seen the Louvre collection underground.

Prado Museum on the 200 years in English :

A determined Rafael Campallo, (22 Nov) dressed in a burgundy red suit, pays homage to the mining origin of Flamenco over the starry sky of the Isabel II Ballroom of the Royal Theater. Without hesitation, with a tense face, a collected and sober dance begins. On the floors of the two heels he makes laps on himself and alternates between zapateadas (shoes taps) and flew laps, rather than being a dramatic dance it seems a sentimental dance. Campallo zapateado is accompanied by the singing of Miguel Soto and Jesús Corbacho, while David Vargas and Jesús Rodríguez channel the rhythm with the guitars. The Isabel II Ballroom was initially used for parties and masked balls, in fact between 1841 and 1850 it was the provisional headquarters of the General Courts. But since 2018 it has become a flamenco tablao. This show is passed but here are the next ones at this beautiful salon

Teatro Real or Royal Theater on the show :

Today Tordesillas has about 8,000 inhabitants and, at first sight, nothing invites you to think of a link with America, not least with lands as far away as the Moluccas, the final destination of a mythical journey, of the homeric odyssey of the Renaissance. You are in Castilla la Vieja (old name for what today is mostly Castilla y Léon) , hard and austere land and little entrepreneur in tourism promotion. A small museum without too many pretensions recalls the treaty signed in this noble village on June 7, 1494, by which Spain and Portugal divided the world as was known. Negotiations took place in the oldest of these two noble masonry and brick buildings that now house the museum dedicated to the agreement and that stand next to the imposing Church of San Antolin. If one lets the imagination fly, one can believe to see the entourage of the Catholic Monarchs and of Juan II of Portugal through these streets, crossing the bridge over the Douro river, reaching to negotiate the treaty by which the world that was being disputed would be distributed and that they didn’t even know. The treaty came to calm the tensions between both powers by agreeing the dividing line of the territories to be discovered in the meridian located 370 leagues (2,054 kilometers) from Cape Verde. As seen in the maps and simple explanations of the museum, all the lands to the west of the meridian would belong to Castilla-Aragón, while those located in the east would correspond to Portugal.

The original of the Treaty of Tordesillas (the Portuguese version), in fact, is not found here, but in the Archivo de Indias, in Sevilla, in a safe that only two people have access to. On the occasion of the ephemeris, the valuable document was during three weeks of this past July in the houses where it was signed. Other events related to the V Centenary include the theatrical visits organized by the Tourist Office of Tordesillas.

Tourist office of Tordesillas on the museum :

An anecdote I like

Because of its flavor, its aroma and because it clears us … Coffee has become, behind water, the second most consumed natural drink in the world. In the last 35 years, its intake has increased by 35% reaching almost 10 billion kilos a year. According to Mundo del Café, on average one person consumes 1.3 kilos of coffee in 365 days.  Spain outperforms the US by one position, in terms of its annual intake per person. Specifically, it is ranked 19th in the world ranking, with 4.5 kilos per year. In Spain, more than 22 million people (63% of Spaniards over 15 years old) drink at least one cup of coffee a day, an average that rises to 3.6 daily coffees during the week. In this sense, a Spanish work of CIBEROBN (Network Biomedical Research Center. Pathophysiology of Obesity and Nutrition), attached to the group of Preventive Medicine at the University of Navarra, found a greater longevity associated with coffee consumption after studying a total of 20,000 volunteers, university graduates from all over Spain, for an average of 10 years. The study found that, at the same age and many other relevant factors, consuming coffee was usually significantly associated with lower mortality. He has been the author of this research, Giuseppe Grosso, from the University of Catania (Italy), along with Estefanía Toledo, from the University of Navarra and researcher at CIBEROBN, who have presented the report ‘Coffee and metabolic syndrome: a review of the latest research ‘during the 13th European Nutrition Conference, organized by the Federation of European Nutrition Societies (FENS) this week in Dublin, Ireland. Of course, this is coffee done in Spain, you need to be here to have the same effects :😊))

More on the coffee here :

Thanksgiving with class in Madrid well head for the mythical restaurant Horcher, Calle Alfonso XII, 6 it raises a Thanksgiving Day based on some of its best known dishes: those of hunting. And it does it on a very special date, in celebration of the 76th anniversary of the opening of the restaurant. Webpage :

For who prefers something sweet to put in the mouth, what better than to visit The Cookie Lab , Calle Serrano, 149. It is the quintessential American store in Madrid and in which bite by bite it is capable of moving to New York, Chicago, the West Coast and even Minnesota. And they weren’t going to miss the chance to do something special. Therefore, throughout the whole day 28, they will be offering special creations dedicated to this day such as pumpkin cookies, apples with cinnamon or pecans, a delight for the senses. Webpage :

And Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends !

On November 28, CVNE will celebrate its 140th anniversary with a visit to the new facilities of the Haro winery, following its recent expansion. One of my all time favorite wine bodegas of my Spain.

The history of CVNE begins in 1879 with the arrival of the Real de Asúa brothers in Haro and after 100 years of history, the winery is in the hands of the fifth generation of the family, whose focus is on the production of quality wine , handmade and traditional. The group currently has seven wineries and its next major project is the rehabilitation of Davalillo Castle, an icon of La Rioja. Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana  (CVNE) is a family business born in the area called Rioja Alta within the Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin classification. Its first and main winery is located in Haro, in its original location, in the Barrio de la Estacion. It also has another winery in Rioja Alavesa, in the town of Laserna, next to Laguardia, under the Vinedos del Contino.  In the summer of 2004 a new winery was opened in Laguardia, under the Vina Real teaching, which will support the company’s growth plans for the coming years. Currently, CVNE cultivates about 600 hectares of vineyards, whose production represents 50% of its needs. The rest is bought in the best areas of La Rioja following a rigorous quality control method.  The winery has acquired in 2019 vineyards in the frameworks of Ribera del Duero, Valdeorras and Cava, within a clear expansion program. Webpage :

And there you go folks, lovely indomidable Spain awaiting for you and yours. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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October 22, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXVII

And here I am with my 88th some news from Spain post, thank you all for following it. We are in Fall, and leaves are fallen but we have nice sunny weather with temps of 15C now or about 59F in my neck of the woods while in Madrid it is 50F or about 10C and rainy!

Now let’s get into the news shall we! Spain is everything under the Sun!

The Museo Nacional del Prado (museum) advances in its attempt to amend the women’s lagoon in the museums of the world with a new exhibition, which is inaugurated this Tuesday, October 22 and can be visited until February 2, 2020. This is Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana. History of two painters’, which comes three years after the first exhibition dedicated exclusively to a woman. they represent two ways of feeling and positioning in the Europe of the 16-17C.  The exhibition presents a total of 65 works from more than twenty European and American collections. On the one hand, Sofonisba Anguissola (ca. 1535-1625), a noble woman, used painting as a way of occupying the social position, while Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) followed a professional profile closer and even the one of the great part of the women artists, and it became  the first professional woman of painting.  More info at the Prado Museum webpage:

The director of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), has advanced on Tuesday October 22 that he hopes to have the new edition of the dictionary of the Spanish language for the year 2026, in digital and on paper, although in the latter format could be “on demand”. During the presentation of the XVI Congress of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, which will take place in Seville from November 4 to 8, director Santiago Muñoz Machado has acknowledged that his wish is for this edition to be on paper , despite the reluctance of other academics. The publication of this 24 edition would coincide with the 300th anniversary of the publication of the first dictionary of the Spanish language. Participants who will go through the congress include names such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Luisa Valenzuela, Leonardo Padura or Carmen Riera. The topics to be discussed will be broad, from inclusive language to the use of Spanish in reggaeton.More info here:

The Granada-born choreographer and dancer known as Blanca Li is the new director of Teatros del Canal, a scenic entity that depends on the Community of Madrid. Blanca María Gutiérrez Ortiz Blanca Li, a resident of Paris for several years, is also known for her work as a film director and has worked in her role as choreographer and dancer for Pedro Almodóvar, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Paul McCartney or Coldplay. The new director of Teatros del Canal, whose style combines flamenco, classical ballet, urban and contemporary dance, presented last June at its headquarters in Madrid a montage on Don Quijote next to the also choreographer and dancer Igor Yebra.  Blanca Li had just entered the French Academy of Fine Arts then becoming the first choreographer who has succeeded. Among other distinctions she has received the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts of Spain and the appointment as Officer of the French Legion of Honor. More info on the Teatro del Canal:

Located at the height of the no. 53 Calle Embajadores, in the middle of the roundabout, the history of the old tobacco factory (tabacalera) in Madrid is also that of the Lavapiés neighborhood. Initially conceived as the Royal Factory of Aguardiente and Naipes, (or cane base liquor and cards) The building changed its purpose in 1809. From that time on, the hundreds of operators that met daily between its walls to make tobacco were its tenants for decades. After the cessation of activity in 2000 and a period of abandonment that lasted for almost a decade, today it continues to write its story. To its wide range of exhibitions, managed by the General Subdirectorate for the Promotion of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, meetings and workshops that affect different themes are added throughout the year: from feminism to art criticism. Also in summer there are activities, especially designed for the younger audience. In addition, certain spaces are reserved to house site specific projects, residences or works with artists. Calle Embajadores ,53.metro: Embajadores. Hours from 18h to 22h webpage

The artistic offer in Madrid adds and continues. Around the Prado-Reina Sofía-Thyssen, and institutions such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Archaeological Museum or the National Library, cultural centers, private collections and foundations that make the capital one of the most interesting artistic epicenters and with more carats per square meter in the world.

The last tenants to settle on the coveted Golden Mile in Madrid are the Masaveu. A family saga of Asturian businessmen and patrons who are passionate about art and collecting, who treasure one of the best private art collections in Spain. The headquarters of the María Cristina Masaveu Peterson Foundation (FMCMP), which since 2013 manages the Masaveu Collection, owned by the Masaveu Corporation and formed by several generations of this family of entrepreneurs, has been inaugurated at Calle Alcalá Galiano,6. From 2005 to 2018, a 19C neoclassical palace was rehabilitated, converted over the years into a hotel (the Galiano hotel). The architects Rafael Masaveu and Carolina Compostizo have been in charge of remodeling the 2,000 square meters, divided into two cores, arranged around a central courtyard. The original volumetric of the building has been respected and the elements that have protection have been preserved: the facade and the beautiful spiral staircase. The result is a sustainable building, distributed over three floors, in which concrete and wood predominate. It has exhibition halls, multipurpose spaces, and an auditorium with capacity for 150 people, patios and terraces. For its inauguration the Spanish painting of the 19C has been chosen, which will be seen until December 31, 2020. The next one will be focused on the art of the 20th century. It has been selected 117 works by 47 artists from about 350 of the 19C that treasures the Masaveu legacy: some very famous and others little known or unpublished. Almost a hundred come from the Masaveu Collection, about twenty from the María Cristina Masaveu Peterson Foundation and one, from Fernando Masaveu Herrero’s personal collection: «Geneva», the last painting painted by Darío de Regoyos, who was unaccounted for until its recent appearance in the market and its acquisition. The exhibition starts with a work by Goya, «Banderilleros», painted in 1793 during his convalescence from a serious illness. Excellent portraits of Agustín Esteve, Vicente López and Federico de Madrazo (the latter highlights that of Inés Pérez de Seoane); landscapes by Carlos de Haes, Beruete, Meifrén, Martín Rico or Mariano Fortuny; genre paintings by Eduardo Rosales ,and. 25 Sorollas from the collection hang: among them, the best copy he made of a painting by Velázquez, the “Portrait of Mariana de Austria”; or «The Errázuriz family», a tribute to «Las Meninas» In addition, canvases by Zuloaga, Romero de Torres, Rusiñol, Casas (a portrait of his niece Catalinita, superb whites), Anglada-Camarasa, Nonell, Mir. Admission to the exhibition is free. María Cristina Masaveu Peterson . Calle Alcalá Galiano, 6.  Hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 11h to 20h. Saturdays, from 10h. to 20h. Sundays and holidays, from 10h. to 15h. Closed Mondays.  More info here:

The caliph went out to the balcony of his palace and watched as the walkers and the riders crossed the gigantic Plaza de Armas located just in front of his palace in Medina Azahara. Now, experts from the German Archaeological Institute (IAA), the Archaeological Ensemble of Medina Azahara (CAMaZ) and the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) have just discovered the great eastern entrance gate to this rectangular urban space that had dimensions that are as close to those of the Plaza Mayor, in Madrid. The access gate, about four meters wide and almost three high, collapsed when the city was demolished in 1010 after only a century of existence. It has contrasted that the leaves of the gate were of wood, but covered with metal, studded and adorned and that turned on two gigantic hinges on both sides. Everything found such as wood, nails, beams, hinges, coins,etc  is already in the archaeological site’s laboratory, in Córdoba, and they are being studied

Medina Azahara was the great palatial complex that ordered Abderramán III to be erected in 936 about seven km from Córdoba. It occupied about 100 hectares of a hillside and was structured, with large brushstrokes, in a strictly caliphal area, palace and attached dependencies in the upper part and under it some gardens that occupied the central area, flanked by houses and military installations. To access the palace you had to cross the urban area, while admiring the complex where the great lord lived and his court. To the east of the palace was the enormous Plaza de Armas, of which only two gates are known so far: the western one, which allowed direct access to the palace, and the now found, the eastern one, in perfect alignment with the first. This gate, embedded in the powerful arcaded structure that surrounded the square, was located in a portico whose walls and ceilings were covered by plasters adorned with blue plant motifs. Once the general research project is completed in 2022, it will be opened to the public to increase the areas that can be visited in the complex, now very congested. More info here:

Some places that eating is an art in both contrast country and city.

Between Madrid and Toledo, located in the region of La Sagra, there is a small town whose origins date back to Roman times. It is Cabañas de la Sagra, a perfect Toledo town to move there for a rural day because, it is so close that, arriving from Madrid only takes 40 minutes by car. The philosophy of Casa Elena , Calle Nueva, 15 with webpage:  focuses on protecting regional gastronomic traditions around the table and maintaining harmony with nature, hence defending the principles of Slow Food and use of zero kilometer products, that is, ecological and proximity products. Its culinary proposal focuses on traditional renovated cuisine that can be tested in its menu or tasting menu format. A perfect proposal to taste the autumn flavors of Castilla-La Mancha!!

Tradition has it that the origin of Almagro comes from an Arab castle called Almagrib. The name refers to the red clay characteristic of the area, with which numerous buildings of the town have been built. is one of the most beautiful Paradores in Spain, besides being one of the places where Almagro is best eaten , at Ronda de San Francisco, 31. Almagro, Ciudad. Real;with webpage: The building in which it is located is not wasted either, it is an old convent of the 16C that maintains its entire structure. Its menu focuses on the local product of the area, seasonal and proximity, in addition to making special menus for designated dates.

The garden or Jardin del Intercontinental Hotel , Paseo de la Castellana, 49. Inside the luxury hotel terrace full of trees and plants unfolds. It has a glazed covered area overlooking the square. At the plate, the proposals of chef Miguel de la Fuente average price: 55 euros. A great hotel chain and wonderful property where we had stayed and eaten. Recommended.  Webpage:

And my by now usual wine news from Spain

The wine sector predicts a particularly bleak horizon for its interests following the announcement of the imposition of tariffs by the United States, from October 18 2019, a key market for exports of Spain. Unlike oil , the other sector most affected by tariffs, Spain barely sends a tiny percentage of bulk wine to the United States and wineries cannot package it in other countries in order to circumvent this increase in the tax burden of an additional  25%, since most appellations of origin do not allow packaging in areas other than theirs. The United States is the third most important destination for national wines, only behind Germany and France; The price per liter is around 4 euros, three times higher than its average. In total, Spain sold wine to this market in the last moving year, from August 2018 to July 2019  worth 301 million euros. On the contrary, French wine,  also penalized by tariffs could better fit this price, due to the higher price of a significant part of its bottles, destined in many cases to a premium consumer. The United Kingdom (due to Brexit)  and the United States (due to increase tariffs) are two of the three main markets, and these are two very pernicious obstacles for the entire Spanish wine sector. Indeed trade is not supposed to be like this from both sides.

Some good inexpensive Spanish wines to try in Spain or elsewhere where sold. In order of region, winemaker/bodega/ name of the bottle,  and year.

Otros Castilla y León, Bodegas y Viñedos La Mejorada, Las Cercas (2014). Lanzarote, Canary Islands, El Grifo Colección Listán Negro (2018).  Ribeiro,      Auténticos Viñadores,Ciclohome Godello (2016). Toro ,Bodega Burdigala, Campo Elíseo Cuvée Alegre Tinto (2014). Sierras de Málaga  ,Cortijo Los Aguilares, Cortijo Los Aguilares Pinot Noir (2018). Rías Baixas, Pazo de Señorans,Pazo Señorans (2018).Otros Castilla y León,  Bodegas y Viñedos La Mejorada,Las Norias (2014). Valdeorras, Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (Cune), Maruxa Godello (2018).Ribera del Duero, Bodegas Emilio Moro,Malleolus (2017) . Ribeiro, Bodegas Cunqueiro, Camiño dos Faros (2018).Toro, Valbusenda, Abios Nude (2018) .Valdeorras, Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (Cune), Maruxa Mencía (2018). Rioja, Bodegas Luis Alegre,Luis Alegre Parcela N. 5 (2016). Otros Castilla La Mancha; Bernardo Ortega  Simbiosis ,Airén de Tinaja (2018).

And there you go folks, another dandy visit visual to my beloved Spain. Hope you enjoy it and see you around ok

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





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October 18, 2019

100 years of the Metro of Madrid!

Something nice to talk about an achievement of tremendous proportions in a country battle by internal wars and the Metro of Madrid as one of its main places of attention. A metro started by a king and now running under a king! My Madrid, my beloved city of many nostalgic moments and happy encounters; the metro was all I had living just out from one of its entrances on Calle de Alcalà 331 metro line 5 Quintana.

There are of course better places to see the sights as walking but at the end we must travel faster and resting, a milestone in Madrid, 100 years of the metro , great history indeed. I would like to translate an article in the ABC newspaper of Madrid and hope you like it.

One hundred curiosities you should know in the centenary of the Madrid Metro. Ok not all but most, for the rest see the caption from the newspaper ABC at the end in Spanish; The source for this special post.

King Alfonso XIII inaugurated the Madrid Metro on October 17, 1919, the route of the current line 1 between Sol and Cuatro Caminos.

The Metro promoters set out to build it only with Spanish money.  King Alfonso XIII contributed a million pesetas from his personal account and, little by little, the ten million of the initial investment was gathered to create the «Alfonso XIII Metropolitan Company».

Before there were only 12 cities in the world ahead of Madrid: London (1863), New York (1868), Chicago (1892), Budapest (1896), Glasgow (1896), Boston (1897), Paris (1900 ), Berlin (1902), Athens (1904), Philadelphia (1907), Hamburg (1912) and Buenos Aires (1913).

The network currently has an extension of 294 km or about 182 miles. It is the seventh longest in the world in number of kilometers, behind Shanghai, Beijing, London, New York, Guangzhou, Seoul and Moscow.

In number of stations, with 301, Madrid is the fifth in the world, second only to New York (472), Shanghai (329), Seoul (308) and Paris (303). Metro de Madrid is the third network in Europe in number of kilometers, just behind London and Moscow.

The Madrid metro was born 100% electric, unlike those that existed then. The construction of the first metro line began on July 17, 1917. The opening to the public took place on October 31, 1919. The name of Metro is the abbreviation of the Metropolitan Railway of Madrid.

The people from Madrid, who until then went from Sol to Cuatro Caminos by tram, investing more than half an hour, checked how the same route was done in ten minutes.

The Alfonso XIII Metropolitan Company implemented the round trip ticket at the price of 20 cents of peseta, cheaper than the tram. The tram stopped circulating in Madrid in 1972 (while I was living in Madrid and took it to see my Aunt in Canillejas!).

The metro circulates on the left because in the year that the first Metro line was inaugurated, all vehicles circulated in that direction in Madrid. The current direction of movement was activated in 1924, when the Madrid metro was already built and it was an excessive expense to modify the progress of the trains. Light Rail lines do circulate on the right.

The Line 1 was originally called  Norte-Sur or North-South line. A few weeks after the start of the Spanish Civil War, on August 9, 1936, the first section of line 3 between Sol and  Embajadores was inaugurated.

During the Spanish Civil War the metro remained open and served regularly as a refuge during the bombings. Some stations were used by the Republican army as ammunition factories.  At the beginning of the war, the circulation of the north section of Isabel II (now Opera-Principe Pío line) was closed because the North Station area (now cercanias train station and shopping center Principe Pio) was practically occupied, so there were almost no passengers there. During the siege of General Franco’s troops, metro wagons transported both coffins and corpses to the cemeteries to the east.  The small Goya-Diego de León line was closed and used as an arsenal. In the tunnel between Lista and Diego de León, about 300 workers filled with shells. On January 10, 1938 one of the artifacts exploded and killed 18 men and 45 women.

Some stations changed their name under Franco’s regime. Thus, the current Principe de  Vergara was called General Mola ; and Gran Vía, was called José Antonio [Primo de Rivera]. They did not recover their name until 1983.

Given the increase in passengers in the early sixties, the length of the trains was increased, but at the Chamberí station it was impossible to expand its size due to its curved situation and its proximity to the Bilbao and Iglesia stops, so in 22 May 1966 the Metropolitan Company decided its closure. The ghost station of Chamberí can be visited.  You can also visit the Pacifico station motor ship, the most powerful in Spain in the 20s, but obsolete in the 50s and finally closed in the 70s. Between 1932 and 1958, line 2 branched from Goya to Diego de León. With the construction of line 4 the turn was closed, although the tunnel remains until today.

The single Metro ticket is unified, in 1956, at a single fare of 60 cents for any route. Multiple applied rates were eliminated depending on the destination station. The elevator of the José Antonio station, today Gran Vía, in 1959, had a fare of 10 cents. The subway ride cost 60 cents.

The first station with escalators was Portazgo, on line 1, in 1962. Today there are 1,700 throughout the network.

Before dogs could not access if they did not travel in a receptacle. Since 2016 they are authorized, although with limits. They can’t travel during peak hours, they must go in the last car, with muzzle and only one dog per traveler. The rest of the pets must travel in receptacles.

You can also carry the bicycle, but with limits. They can only go in the head or tail wagon, and cannot travel at peak times, except in 92 stations of peripheral sections, located mainly in the surroundings of the Casa de Campo and other parks.

On June 2, 1971, in the early afternoon, a heavy storm unloaded on some sectors of the capital. The force of water and hail acquired special virulence on the axis of the Paseo de la Castellana. In less than half an hour they dropped around eight liters per square meter, although the biggest problems came from hail. The exit of the Atocha Metro was covered by hail. I remember I was there and was awful to witness, my mother would not let me go out other than the our street Calle de Alcalà!

In 1970, Metro installed self-selling wallet machines. They gave no change.Right!  In 1974, with the commissioning of line 7, the implementation, first of all in this line, of the access turnstiles to the stations began. As of 1975 they are generalized in the rest of the network. In 2012 the magnetic ticket is replaced by contactless technology.

With the extension of line 6, the Cuatro Caminos station becomes the deepest, still until today, 45 meters from street level. In 1986, the City Council and the Community of Madrid assumed ownership of Metro. In 1987 the transport credit appears. A year later, the Young and Senior Citizens tickets appear .

From 1990, line 1 is prolonged and the circular of line 6 with the Laguna-Ciudad Universitaria section is closed.

In the Alto del Arenal station, on line 1, in Puente de Vallecas, is the central post, the neurological center of the Metro network.

Arroyo del Fresno, built in 1999 in the north of Line 7, between the Lacoma and Pitis stations, has never been opened due to lack of urban development at the time of its construction. With the neighborhood already consolidated, its inauguration is planned this spring 2020.

The highlight of the second expansion plan was the inauguration in 2003 of Metrosur, connecting Madrid with the cities of the south of the Community.

The old layout of the end of line 3, 550 meters, remains hidden behind a wall after the extension and reform of the line in 2007.  The last station to enter service has been Paco de Lucía, in the north of line 9, in 2015.

Travelers are entitled to a refund of the amount of the ticket when there is a suspension of the service, or when the train interval exceeds 15 minutes on journeys where the schedule provides for intervals of less than seven and a half minutes.

Travelers leaving trains have a preference for passing over those who wish to enter, according to Metro regulations. «Let out before entering».

The above again translated on some lines by yours truly from an article in the ABC Newspaper of Madrid; the full article in Spanish is here: ABC newspaper in Spanish on the curiosities of the 100 years of the Metro of Madrid

And there you go some info on the wonderful clean fast efficient Metro of Madrid; hope you enjoy the anecdotes of it above. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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October 2, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXVI

Hah and just when you thought pedmar10 will stop writing about Spain/Madrid well not in a chance lol! Here I am with some goodies of my beloved Spain, far but still close you know how it is!! Anyway, for consolation the weather there is 72F or about 22C and sunny while in my neck of the woods is 61F or 16C and cloudy !!! oh well we cannot win them all.

Let’s get back to the serious matter…of the latest news bit from Spain everything under the Sun!

Among the recent donations of paintings from the 19C to the Prado Museum, that of Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier is unique not only for its number, 11 works, but also for its concentration in the art of the last years of the 19C and early 20C, one of the main nuclei of its extensive collections and the final section of the Prado. With this donation, which is exhibited in room 60 of the Villanueva building until January 12, 2020, painters such as Hermen Anglada-Camarasa, Eduardo Chicharro, Ignacio Zuloaga and Joaquín Mir are incorporated into the Prado, which enrich the end of the collections of Spanish painting of the Museum, where Sorolla and Beruete are already represented, their strict contemporaries. Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier  was born in Hamburg ,Germany on September 9, 1934, he conducted commercial studies there. He initially worked in an office that the prestigious Swiss firm Brown, Boveri & Cie, dedicated to electrical engineering and motor development, had in Hamburg. He moved to Spain in 1962 to start commercial business. He first represented the well-known MAN truck company, and later obtained representations of German car houses in the field of spare parts, with the idea of ​​becoming independent soon after. In fact, in 1964 he founded the German car parts company Rudolf Gerstenmaier, which became a public limited company such as Gerstenmaier S. A. By 1970 he began collecting Spanish paintings from the 15C and 16C and then Flemish painting. A third area of ​​his collection was the 19C painting, initially attracted by the sensory vivacity of Joaquín Sorolla’s work and the richness of the matter of Hermen Anglada-Camarasa’s. A great addition indeed and see at the Prado Museum:

The first tickets of the Resurrection Fest 2020 go on sale this past Tuesday, October 1. This is hot! The Resurrection Fest 2020 will be held in Viveiro , Lugo, Galicia (see my post on Viveiro) between July 1 and 4 next year, with System of a Down as headliner. Resurrection Fest 2020 program flagship groups such as Judas Priest, on their 50th anniversary tour, or Korn, with the only performance scheduled in Spain in 2020. Other bands that are also part of the Resurrection Fest 2020 poster are Lionheart, Hamlet, Beyond The Black, Elder, Our Home, Cannibal Grandpa, Dark Funeral, Burial, The Atomic Bitchwax, Thirteen Bled Promises, Amenra, Blowfuse, Vita Imana, Knocked Loose or Madball. More info here:

And this is to protect and defend! The Dolmen of Guadalperal begins to submerge little by little in the waters of the Valdecañas reservoir in Perelada de Mora, Cáceres. It is a slow agony that has begun a few days ago even without the autumn rains. The swamp begins to recover its flow due to the end of the transfer period that every year during the summer establishes the Albufeira agreement committed between Spain and Portugal for the sustainable use of water between the watersheds of both countries. This megalithic jewel of around 7,000 years old did not move from its place of origin. So it was a matter of time before the waters began to cover it until it returned to the depths. known as the ‘Spanish Stonehenge’  the main menhir, one of the fine-grained granite, which withstands the water much better, we can see since of all its engravings only slight few remains. Fat granite are very eroded, cracked and even flaked, if not already split.  Its appearance  this past summer has gone around the world and international media have made numerous reports on this dolmen and even the BBC prepares a documentary series on it. Hope you see it before its gone ! More info here in Spanish:

Something to cheer on more! A first because there is always a first of achievements! The Valencian Elisa Ferrer has won last Tuesday, unanimously by the jury, the XV Tusquets Prize for novels with the play  Temporada de Avispas or Season of wasps, the story of a young woman who is reunited with her absent father and recapitulates a helpless childhood. Elisa Ferrer, born in L’Alcúdia de Crespins (Valencia) in 1983, has a degree in Audiovisual Communication from the University of Valencia, a diploma in film and television script from the School of Madrid and graduated in the Master of Creative Writing in Spanish by The University of Iowa (USA), where she was a member of the editorial team of Iowa Literary magazine. She has worked as a television screenwriter and as a feature film script analyst for the RTVE Fiction department and has published articles and poems in several literary magazines, such as the Temporary Magazine of the New York University or Chicago Mishap. More in Spanish here:

Already eight million people have seen La función que sale mal or the function that goes wrong in more than 30 countries around the world since its premiere in 2012 at the London West End, where it received the Olivier Award for best revelation comedy. And rarely can one say that a success is so deserved. Just released at the Teatro La Latina,in my Madrid (see post on it)  this disgusting work where everything that can be twisted, as the title announces, ends worse, is a succession of falls, mistakes and scenographic accidents that manages to surprise the viewer and make them laugh out loud for two hours. More info here in Spanish:

And to cover everything under the Sun as in Spain! Be Lover, the first erotic market in Madrid that, with its 200 square meters, has become the largest establishment of its kind. Decorated in pastel pink tones with golden details and some purple light, the spaces can be modified and customized according to the demand of the market and its staff, highly qualified to advise and attend with discretion, offers a unique shopping experience that is supported not only in what is offered on the shelves, also in the free WiFi stations, in the relaxation area or in the corners with special promotions. Be Lover-Erotik Market. Calle de Santa Brígida, 4. Metro: Tribunal (lines 1 and 10). More information:

The musical based on the famous film arrives in Spain after going around the world. “Oh, my love, my darling / I’ve hungered for your touch / A long, lonely time.”. The Ballad Unchained Melody, created in 1955 by Alex North and Hy Zaret, is one of the most listened to and versioned songs in history. It has more than 1,500 adaptations, in which Elvis Presley, Liberace, U2 or Il Divo have participated. But it is the version of The Righteous Brothers that has been immortalized in the popular imaginary thanks to Ghost, beyond love (1990), the film directed by Jerry Zucker and starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. Now premiere on the Teatro Gran Vía , in a theater where you have the audience a few meters away and with a smaller stage. That will favor the show. More info here:

And a bit on Sevilla , why not, Andalucia at its best.

Metropol Parasol, this wooden building is located in the Plaza de la Encarnación. Cetas or mushrooms named for their enormous white structure, reminiscent of the shape of these mushrooms  occupy the total of what a market was more than a century ago. Visitors can enter this five-story complex to enjoy beautiful views of the city. Before climbing, they have the possibility to discover the Roman archaeological remains of the Antiquarium, found during the construction of this huge terrace. Once up, its meandering heights, with 250 meters up, allow you to know different perspectives of Seville. For 3 euros. Ticket sales at

This immense gothic Cathedral of Sevilla, ( Santa María de la Sede) built between the 15C and 16C. Although the beauty of the interior is beyond reproach, it may be more interesting to access, through its narrow spiral staircase, the upper floor of the Cathedral. There, you can fully enjoy its architecture and its views, which overlook the beautiful Patio de los Naranjos and the Avenida de la Constitución, as well as all the artistic elements that make it up: gargoyles, domes, stained glass and outriggers. The best panoramas can be made with the illuminated rosette that crowns the bottom of the Puerta de Asunción or Assumption gate, placed on the main altar. Entrance: 15 euros; More info here:

On the banks of the Guadalquivir river emerges one of the most emblematic places of the Hispanic city. The Torre del Oro, (gold tower), according to the legend, named for the golden glow that reflected on the river ,it houses a naval museum since 1944, where models, engravings, manuscripts and other navigation instruments are seen. The lower part of the structure is dedicated to the history of the Spanish Navy, as well as to the discovery of America and the first voyage of Columbus. The final point of the tour focuses on the trip around the world starring Magallanes and Elcano. Tickets: 3 euros. More information here:

The tower of the Giralda bell tower of the cathedral is 101 meters high and, at its highest point, has a female statue inspired by the goddess Palas Athena, known as Giraldilla. The structure can be easily climbed, since, instead of stairs, there are a total of 35 ramps leading to the bell tower. They were thus arranged by the one who ordered its construction, Sultan Abu Yaqub Yusuf, to be able to climb to enjoy the landscape on the back of his horse. The upper part includes an extensive vision of the town and all its monuments, with the Plaza de la Virgen de los Reyes and the Patio de los Naranjos at its feet..More info here:

In a separate post I wrote about it and now it is finally open to the public! The Palacio de Liria, residence of Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, XIX Duke of Alba. Tickets for visits, which will be made in groups of up to 20 people and will have an estimated duration of 65 minutes, are already on sale and can be purchased by accessing the website of the Casa de Alba Foundation.  You should not miss the Salon de Goya: In addition to Goya’s portraits of the XIII Duchess of Alba and the Marquise de Lazán, as well as those made by Tiziano and Rubens of the Duke of Alba, the collection also includes important canvases signed by Velázquez (Infanta Margarita) , Murillo (Juan de Miranda), Zurbarán (Santo Domingo de Guzmán) or El Greco (Christ on the Cross), among other artists. The Salon Flamenco: Painting, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, prints, documents and books spread over the 14 rooms that make up the visit round out this unique collection, which today exists thanks to the patronage and collecting work of the Dukes of Berwick and Alba for more 500 years .The Salon Estuardo: The battle of the Amazons against the Greeks and death of Queen Pantasilea is one of the most watched tapestries in the route. In this same dependence also rests the bronze bust that Mariano Benlliure made on behalf of Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart. The Biblioteca or Library: Among the main novelties of the visits, the library of the palace, so far only accessible to researchers and scholars. Its interior has about 18,000 volumes, including bibliographic and documentary jewels of incalculable value. La Biblia de la Casa de Alba or the Bible of the House of Alba: Made in parchment, handwritten in the Castilian language and elaborated between 1422 and 1431, the Bible of the House of Alba is one of the most valuable jewels that welcomes the stay. This piece was commissioned by the master of the Order of Calatrava, Luis de Guzmán, the rabbi of Guadalajara Mosé Arragel. In addition to its importance for language and culture, the codex, in the house of Alba since the 17C, contains beautiful illustrations. More here: Fundacion Casa de Alba, on the Palacio de Liria

And of course wine cannot be too far from my beloved Spain!

The latest statistics collected by the Observatorio Español del Mercado del Vino (OEMV) or Spanish Wine Market Observatory, confirm a trend in recent years with specific exceptions in cases of scarce crops indicating that this country is still in the spiral of bulk wine and bottled wine very cheap, which endangers the future of the sector by canceling profitability for wine growers.  Spain exported, in the first seven months of 2019, 1,268.3 million liters (+ 8.5%), worth 1,534.8 million euros (-8%), at an average price of 1.21euro / liter (-15%). In the report, it highlights the good growth of Japan, Canada and Portugal, which lead the increase in exports volume. On the negative side, sales felled  to China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, among the main destinations. Portugal, Russia and South Africa lead the increase in volume of Spanish bulk wine exports. These three markets increased their purchases of Spanish bulk by almost 84 million liters, in the first seven months of 2019. From official source:

And now a story that goes way back for me and my family when began tasting/drinking wine at an early age as tradition requires it! And a strong contrast to the article above !

It took then a Spanish family now call Catalan family go figure with our times. A Catalan family that had been in the wine business for a couple of centuries was going to bring modernity thanks to one of its young members, Miguel A. Torres, who went to study viticulture and oenology at Dijon, Burgundy, France (no surprise right!) . His Burgundy formation was going to revolutionize things in the Penedès region and bring change throughout Spain. In 1962 it was precisely that Viña Sol that said “Spanish Chablis – Dry” on the export label. Happy times in which the regulations allowed to fantasize a little with a wine made fundamentally, then, with the parellada grape. First they were their basic and very affordable wines: Viña Sol, Coronas, Sangre de Toro (nice memories of early drinking indeed!!). And then the most ambitious, with that sounded triumph of their Cabernet Sauvignon over large Bordeaux in a blind tasting in France (you got to be establish by winning over the French lol!). The Torres’s went deeper into the recovery and even the rediscovery of classic Catalan and Mediterranean grapes, and began to elaborate from them great wines such as the Grans Muralles (a classic). But the fame of the vast group already in Chile, and with the small and interesting  implantation in California created by Marimar, Miguel A.’s sister, remained long linked to its popular entry-level wines. From their base in the Penedès, and apart from their well-known Chilean and Californian branches, the Torres’s have extended to all Catalan denominations and, today, to Rioja, the Duero and Galicia!  

Some of their very best today according to my tastes are: (region, wine, and year) Penedès: Reserva Real (2015), Chile Manso de Velasco (2012), Conca de Barberà Grans Muralles (2015), Chile Escaleras de Empedrado (2013), Conca de Barberà Milmanda (2016), Priorat Mas de la Rosa (2016), Costers del Segre Purgatori (2015), Russian River Valley California Marimar Torres Estate La Masia Chardonnay (2017), Penedès Mas La Plana (2015), Russian River Valley California Marimar Torres Estate          La Masia Pinot Noir (2014). In vino veritas! Enjoy it!!

More on the Torres’s here: Torres’s family official webpage in English

There you plenty of firepower in my beloved Spain to come back and back and back. Hope you enjoy reading my Some news from articles and I thank you.

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

September 30, 2019

Cine Aragon, Madrid!

Ok so I am back from a wonderful trip to my beloved Madrid. And started reminicents of my old times there and the things I saw change. Well it has not impacted me much as lucky enough to visit the city several times after i left it from four beautiful years living there. However, even without pictures today one spot impacted me to see it empty and like to tell you about it. To know, the Cine Aragon is closed since 2005. Promise last post on Madrid ::)

When my stay in Madrid, my mother would scrap some money ,pesetas, to take me to the movies. We did not have much money then in the old regime, and were very happy to go to the movies once a month. As we live off metro Quintana line 5 exit on Calle de Alcalà 331, the closest to us even on foot was the Cine Aragon at Calle de Alcalà 334!

This was a very modern cinema for the times , and we were very happy to be there. I went in several times and was able to bring in my girlfriend then dear late wife Martine. They close early so no time to bring my sons once in France. The memories will lingered forever as one of the warmest nicest places that attach me forever to my beloved Madrid, Cine Aragon it was!

A bit of history I like

On February 8, 1954, another cinema with the name of Cine Aragon opened in the Ctra. De Aragon 124 ; it will become Calle de Alcalà 334 in honor of its location, with the program in continuous session “Al diablo la celebridad” (to hell the celebrity), and   Mundos Opuestos (opposite worlds). It was inserted in a residential building and had a wide facade where they placed their billboards. The entrance was preceded by steps that gave way to a high hall with two stairs, one at each end, under one of which were the lockers. Four entrances gave way to the cinema room, with a slope towards the screen and a high plaster ceiling. It was decorated in reddish tones and had a capacity of 1500 seats distributed between the patio and the amphitheater. In the upper part a large lounge and the bar, next to which the toilets were installed, in front of these, two corridors led us to the amphitheater that developed vertiginously until reaching the projection windows.

In 1997, during the screening of the movie “Rescate” (Rescue) a fire filled the cinema room with smoke and caused it to be evicted. The material damages were substantial. The place remained closed until August 1998, when it reopened completely renovated with a single room with capacity for 550 spectators, with several seats convertible into a single special for couples. In August of 2005 after the screening of “Ninnete” the Cine Aragon closed forever. Then came the decomposition and this time the El Corte Inglés, at the head with Sfera store left us orphaned of the cinema. Today there are Poly toys store last check.

This is a sad trend in Madrid and Spain in general. The last 50 years shows the gradual decline of cinemas. In this period it has fallen from the peak of 161 cinemas in 1969 to the current 31, in Madrid , the lowest figure, reached in 2015 and currently maintained. After the Cine Ideal, the oldest still open are the Doré (1923), Callao (1926), Palacio de la Prensa (1929), Capitol (1931) and Projecciones (1931) (I have posted on the cinemas highlighter in my blog) . Today, 31 are still cinemas, 30 are dedicated to catering, 24 are currently unused stores, 17 are supermarkets, 17 are other stores (11 of them clothing), 16 are theaters and another 16 are gyms. And we call that advancement in the future world, so sad!

No webpage and no photos, just a souvenir of mine that I wanted to establish forever in my blog , I hope. Cine Aragon was a happy humble small moment for me but a huge impact in my life and on Madrid itself forever. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! Hope you enjoy the old story!

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




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September 30, 2019

Restaurant: El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

And sadly, this will be my last post of the new series from my August 2019 visit to my beloved Madrid. I am back but already planning to be back at the latest next year lol! thank you for following me along this most personal series.  From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!!!

The first time I ran into the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos was back in 1972! I was a poor young teen then but was taken by an older gentlemen of a group of friends who was trying to impress us with his knowledge and purchasing power. He did!

I was fascinated by it and promise one day to come back here. Well it took me a while until 1990 on a visit that came here for tapas and a glass of wine. Afterward and on my married life came here several times usually for a quick drink and tapas. Until this year , when came with my young men sons on a nostalgic trip this time without our dear mom and wife Martine. We were strolling the town and were coming back from the Jardines de Sabatini and the Campo del Moro and it was time to eat.

I made it a point to hold on the hunger until we reach the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, which is very close to the Almudena Cathedral and a few steps from the Royal Palace on Calle de Bailén. It is one of those bars full of grandparents and people from the neighborhood, and it has been there since 1909. Red facade , colored tiles, high ceilings, carved columns, centuries-old lamps and a mirror rescued from an old tavern on Calle de Trafalgar, today it is still the decoration of this typical Madrid tavern.


The EL Anciano Rey de los Vinos is a classic tapas bar in Madrid. As you enter, there are large plates full of skewers in addition to a list of wines, tapas and portions. Vermouth is made with white wine macerated with herbs and spices that give it its characteristic caramel color. The tradition of the vermouth of grifo takes centuries in the culture of Madrid and lately it has become fashionable again. Served with its olive and a slice of orange, it is refreshing and the perfect drink for the appetizer. And in the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos they put it with a tapa!


There is the option of sitting at one of the restaurant’s tables and ordering portions such as chicken strips in cabrales, broken egg skillet, ham croquettes or sirloin with goat cheese. The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos has all the classic tapas and some others that you will like. The most typical of this tasca is sweet wine, more specifically bottled wine and labeled with the name El Anciano (the elder). They usually serve it with a round cookie made with egg yolk!

In 2009, on the occasion of the centenary, el regalito del torito (the gift of the bull) was created, a traditional dish but with a renewed recipe, and is today the star dish of the house. This is oxtail wrapped in phyllo dough with sauce and piquillo pepper.

As for the decoration, they have not changed much in the more than one hundred years they have been. The walls are painted yellow and have white and green tiles. Behind the bar is a mirror surrounded by blackboards with prices and variety of wines. The tables are white marble and iron and the bar has high wooden stools. There is nothing too sophisticated, but it does have very nice lamps and some images of old Madrid.  It is an authentic experience that has not changed, although the vermouth has become fashionable or people have learned of its status as a Madrid classic. The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is everything you can ask for from your tapas experience. There is even a terrace for good weather, although it is often full and I personally prefer the bar noise. There is something special about the noise of people chatting with friends with enthusiasm!


The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is always located at Calle de Bailén, 19, hours from Wednesdays to Mondays from 9h to 00h; the closest metro is Opera line 2.

The building dates from 1886, the year in which the Casa Pedro Martínez house is installed, where coffee was sold, pumkin and tea .. There was, at that time, a botillería ( bakery) whose name was the same as that of its owner, Casa Pedro Martínez, who was famous for its pout coffee, brandy and his tea. That Don Pedro gave his business to Luis Montón who would be in charge of it until 1942. The new owner was called Abilio Manzanar Ortega, it was he who hired a young man of fifteen to work in the tavern. This young man, Constancio Cortés, would be its next owner. Currently, it is the daughter of him, María Belén Cortés who is in charge of the business.


Being in such an emblematic neighborhood, there are many public figures and personalities who parade through this tavern. It is said that king Alfonso XIII escaped through the tunnels of the palace to come here. When Franco died, the tavern was closed for three days, even at night for all the hustle and bustle that was experienced. They were equally entertained during the days before and after the royal marriage, that of the then Princes of Asturias but before and after a lot of movement was noticed, such as the coronation day of Felipe VI.

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

Official El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

Tourist office of Madrid on the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

And my Yelp review fav site on them here: Yelp reviews of the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos forever! A Madrid institution to be visited and savored and enjoy the views of Royal status. Hope you like this entry and thank you again for reading my series on my beloved Madrid

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


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