Archive for ‘Madrid’

December 11, 2017

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

Ok , as the nostalgic season is continuing and I am on the mood of remembrance, I need to tell you about Madrid. I arrived on December 30 1971 and left on May 10 1974, it was a shocking beautiful experience.

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

I was thinking of writing something and put some photos up for the remembrance post. However, I decided to link all my previous post in my blog on Madrid. Hopefully , I found them all here. You tell me if there is another aspect of Madrid I left out, and will reply.  Enjoy it, or we say, From Madrid to heaven in a hole on the sky to look down on it everyday!! it probably was from Ernest Hemingway but not sure.

Here is all of mine on all or most of Madrid:

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/28/my-life-in-madrid-spain/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/12/madridpuerta-de-alcala-and-fuente-de-cibeles/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/09/madrid-ventas-and-the-bulls/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/01/07/real-madrid-the-greatest-club-in-footballsoccer/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/26/best-shopping-my-shopping-in-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/18/my-restaurants-and-bars-of-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/18/getting-in-and-around-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/28/37/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/27/el-clasico-in-spain-real-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/25/the-sierras-around-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/14/real-madrid-on-the-march/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/10/wax-museum-of-madridmuseo-de-ceras/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/10/madridthe-bulls-of-san-isidro/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/08/real-madrid-forever/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/14/the-districts-of-madridneighborhoods/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/01/madrid-sights-and-smells/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/01/madrid-sights-and-smells/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/21/madrid-puerta-del-sol-y-cibeles/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/21/madrid-other-plazas-and-fountains/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/11/10/is-time-to-talk-about-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/02/23/madrid-to-heaven-and-a-hole-in-the-sky-to-look-down-on-it-every-day/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/09/22/madrid-madrid-walking-and-memories-of-teenager-always-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/04/13/my-madrid-alcala-how-can-i-forget-you/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/03/28/nostalgic-madrid-to-heaven-and-a-hole-on-the-sky-to-look-down-on-it-every-day/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/11/04/my-latest-encounter-with-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/26/the-temple-of-debod-in-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/06/12/update-shopping-in-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/05/30/a-new-look-at-my-best-souvenir-of-madrid-retiro-park/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/05/29/iglesiasjardines-y-plazas-de-madrid-or-churches-gardens-and-squares-of-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/05/29/the-museums-triangle-of-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/05/29/arrival-in-madrid-always-heaven-on-earth/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/05/28/eating-in-madrid-is-heavenly-in-your-plate/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/07/04/madrid-is-a-lot-more-than-a-city-for-me/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2014/02/07/madrid-is-like-home/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/12/06/more-of-madrid-spain/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/04/16/why-not-the-temple-of-debod-egyptian-and-very-much-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/02/12/santa-maria-la-real-catedral-de-la-almudena-in-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/02/06/puerta-del-sol-of-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/02/04/plaza-mayor-of-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/02/01/madrid-and-my-calle-alcala/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/31/madrid-never-can-get-enough-of-you/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/21/madrid-well-is-more-than-a-word-for-me-always-nostalgic-to-be-back/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/03/faro-de-moncloa-and-puerta-de-moncloa-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/03/what-else-can-i-tell-you-on-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/01/biblioteca-nacional-de-espana-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/01/basilica-de-jesus-de-medinaceli-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/09/01/and-i-came-back-home-madrid-is-it-again/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/06/28/a-love-affair-with-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/05/01/one-more-time-retiro-park-madrid/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/05/01/madrid-and-my-bernabeu-and-elipa/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/04/30/and-again-madrid-never-enough-madrid-to-heavens/

 There, now do enjoy Madrid to the fullest, as in Spain, everything is under the Sun.  Plenty of photos above, I leave you with my id photo while living in Madrid ::) Cheers!

 Madrid

 

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November 29, 2017

Some news from Spain LVIII

Never a better excused to tell you about my other love, my beloved Spain. The weather is going down even minus Celsius degrees here and over there the water still is scarce and the weather is better at 9C now and looking sunny with high of 9C and lows of -3C the rest of the week ,partly cloudy to sunny days.

Now the latest finds and good stuff from Spain, everything under the Sun ::)

At the Guggenheim museum of Bilbao. There is an exposition on the work of David Hockney, the artist that revolutionize the world of arts on the 60’s and recognize as one of the most influential painters of the 20C. His work at the  Academy of Arts of London, is brough over with 82 paintings on the this exposition call ’82 retratos y un bodegón’ or 82 portraits and a tavern. It will be open until February 25 2018. See more here: David Hockney

The auction house of Christie’s sold this past week for 450,3M USD a portrait done by Leonardo da Vinci five centuries ago!!!, The  ‘Salvator Mundi’, the only work of the Italian artist now in private hands.  The portrait used to be part of the collection of king Charles I of England (1600-1649), and later came to several hands  before the final sale a world record for a work of art of any kind ever. “Salvator Mundi” is considered the artistic re discovery most important of this century.  It was in 2011 that after a process of restoration and analysis the experts determine that it was the work of Da Vinci. More here: The last Da Vinci

The enigmatic vision of reality of Giorgio de Chirico arrives this week at the Caixaforum Madrid, where you can see until February 18 2018. De Chirico has passed in history as an inventor of the metaphysics painting that shows dreams, memory and time in suspense and he is considered the precursor of Surrealism but also a return to Classicism and was even criticized. The work can be seen on 142 works the majority oleos but also drawing, lithographs sculptures of his trajectory from 1913 to 1976.  In the 40’s the artist born in Greece of Italian parents dedicated his efforts in bringing back the values of the paintings tradition in the renaissance and baroque styles as well. More in Spanish here: Giorgio at Caixaforum Madrid 

Considered one the groups most famous of clasical ballet oldest and prestigious Bolshoi , from their visits to London from the 50’s onward. Now La Fábrica  is publishing in The Bolshoi  one of the works most famous of Sasha Gusov  translated into 110 pictures of white and black with memorable moments on the trips of the company to London. More here: La Fàbrica, the Bolshoi

Now the front causing many traffic problems and several friends having to be rescue in Madrid due to the taxis strikes.  Several thousands taxi drivers are protesting in Madrid coming from all over Spain due to the ubersation that according to them is doing public transport a run for their money.  The general strike of the UBER types or VTC of the companies Uber and Cabify and the disloyal competition that they are causing according to the taxi drivers protesting. Traffic was cut from the Paseo del Prado direction Cibeles with police protection along the way. The strike started at 6h or 6am and has cause enormous traffic jams in Madrid  and the gated roads such as the A-6 with 14 kms of traffic jams ;other roads affected were the A-1n A-3,  A-42.  By 12h they were already inside Madrid at different points claxoning all over without accepting passengers. The strike will go on until Thursday by 12h. The main association of taxi drivers such as the Fedetaxi, Antaxi, Elite, and TNT , Caracol etc. There is another march by 11h around the Atocha train station to the door of the Congress. So bear the traffic if in Madrid now or planning to be there by tomorrow morning.

I like to tell you about the heritage cities of Unesco that I like the most in Spain.

ALCALÁ DE HENARES  ; the first city made to have an university and a model for others in Europe and America. Here Miguel de Cervantes, was born in 1547  and in 2018 it will celebrate the 20th anniversary of world heritage site as well as the market or Mercado Cervantino.  ÁVILA ; the wall ramparts are unique in Europe, try to get lost on its streets to live the experience of a medieval town in the 21C. In 2018 , it is celebrating the Theresian jubilee and medieval feasts.  BAEZA  in the center of the province of Jaén, near the park or Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and las Villas, with its wonderful University in the 16C . Also, in 2018 it is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the declaration of world heritage site as well as the festival of antique music or Festival de Música Antigua de Úbeda y Baeza.  CÁCERES , the third monumental complex in Europe with towers, palaces , squares and churches of  Cáceres. In 2018 will host the Festival WOMAD ,and the San Jorge feasts. CÓRDOBA Córdoba  Two thousand years of history mixing Arabs, Romans, Jewish ,and Christian life; its Mezquita-catedral  or Mosque Cathedral an universal symbol of this magical and unique city.  In 2018 come for the flower patios festival or Festival de Los Patios as well as the white night of flamenco. CUENCA  a view of nature with its fortress and walls .Lookouts and the canyons beauty as well as hanging houses or Casas Colgadas ; its museums with the contemporary spirit. In 2018 see the religious holy music week or Semana de la Música Religiosa , and the summer festival of Cuenca.  MÉRIDA , founded on the first years of the empire of Octavio Augusto with the imprint of its bridges, aqueducts, walls, theaters and temples showing what it was in antiquity , an empire.  Also, in 2018, it is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the World heritage site as well as the classical theater or Festival de Teatro Clásico. SALAMANCA , epicenter of the old Europe way of thinking on which University was raised in the 15C and 16C with a splendor like nowhere else. A city of two Cathedrals , a  Plaza Mayor  as the center of the world and glorious past of palaces and churches to show. In 2018 it is celebrating its naming as world heritage site already 30 years ago.  Also, celebrating the 800 years of its University.  SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LA LAGUNA , Tenerife, built on ramparts of previous to the those founded in the New World;  colorful houses with palaces with tropical vegetation.  In 2018 see the celebrations of Saints such as San Benito Abad ,and the white night.  SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTEL A jewel at the end of Europe and destiny of all routes of pilgrimage  of Christianity since the 10C. Santiago de Compostela is an open city, cosmopolitan, and university town on which center lies the square or Praza do Obradoiro, an extraordinary stone monument. During 2018 see its Apostle feast and the event  Santiago é Tapas. SEGOVIA , here you taste time and the history of Spain walking around its aqueduct Alcazar, Cathedral, and palaces in a wonderful natural surroundings.  The children will enjoy in 2018 the event Titirimundi , and the adults the music festival in the garden of the king or Festival Músicas en el Jardín del Rey. TARRAGONA , the streets and buildings around the squares keep the splendor of the antique roman Tarraco, from which the city center was built.  In 2018, the city will celebrate the Mediterranean Games as well as live history of Tarragona or  Tarragona Historia Viva.  TOLEDO , what can I say about its historic legacy with the mixing of cultures Arab, Jewish, and Christian that have left along the centuries a wonderful monumental complex such as making the city of El Greco ,an icon of Imperial Spain.

Indeed wonderful Spain. Go see them now.

And we have a wonderful chocolate tradition, having introduce it to Europe from the Americas; some of the best chocolates stores in Spain are in my opinion as well as many here:

Leónidas , a Belgian chain and one of my favorites anywhere. It sells over 100 different types of cacao and in Spain has stores at Calle Casanova, 100 (Barcelona); Calle Padilla, 61 (Madrid); Calle Uría, 8 (Gijón); Calle Easo, 4 (San Sebastián); Calle Felipe Gorriti, 33 (Pamplona).  Chocolat Factory , a varied choice trying to create original creations; with stores in many cities but the two I know are in Madrid at calle Zurbarán, 17 , and Avenida del General Perón, 40.  Cacao Sampaka ; trying to make cacao a social habit and it has innovating chocolates with 3 stores in Spain at Calle Orellana, 4 (Madrid); Calle Consell de Cent, 292 (Barcelona); Calle Conde de Salvatierra, 19 (Valencia).  Pomme Sucre  ; chocolates and breads with vintage furniture and iron columns; it has plenty of choices on chocolates at its stores ,especially fruits and chocolate pastes; they are at Calle Barquillo, 49 (Madrid,  and  Calle Libertad, 26 (Gijón).  Moulin Chocolat , this is a small store specializing in macaroons and French pastries as well as chocolates, truffles and tarts using the French chocolates of Valrhona, prefered by the great chocolatiers of the world.  The store at my beloved old street in Calle Alcalá, 77 (Madrid). Oriol Balaguer , makes tarts and chocolates homemade, the store looks like a jewerly store and it has catering service .  It offers boxes of chocolates refilled with figurines of all types and nougats as well. They are at Calle Ortega y Gasset, 44 (Madrid); Plaza de San Gregori Taumaturg, 2 (Barcelona). Chocolalabelga , another Belgian with excellent choices, tablets and truffles with many flavors to choose from and you can see making them at the store. They are at Calle Bonetillo, 1 (Madrid).  An all time favorite of the family are the Chocolatería Valor , a brand now all over Spain very famous for its churros chocolates . My favorite stores are at calle del Postigo de San Martín, 7 (Madrid).  And, Pasteleria Torreblanca Cero ; an assortment of chocolates, truffles, and artisanal candies compare many times with the best Belgian chocolates .  You can buy over the internet and the store I know is at Calle Alt de Guisop, 1, (Petrer, Alicante). Enjoy the chocolates!!

Again , enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun and more ::) Enjoy your week easy on the weekend is almost here. Cheers!

 

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November 23, 2017

Some news from Spain LVII

And I am back rather quickly as too much info on my posts do not like.  Spain is everything under the Sun, and I need to tell you more of my beloved Spain. Here are some places you should stop by on your lifetime visiting or living in Spain.

We have to visit Oviedo in the Principality of Asturias, name after the heir to the throne of Spain, the Princess of Asturias currently is Leonor de Borbon y Ortiz oldest daughter of King Felipe VI. On the trip to this wonderful region it is best to leave two days; one day for the west part of the capital city of Oviedo and another for the east side. Most of the trip will be in the Camino de Santiago also call Camino del Norte. Road to St James or the North walkpath.

The road to the west takes you to visit the Church of  San Juan de Priorio, about 10 kms away by taking the road N-634 until the path that takes you to the thermal city of Las Caldas.  This is a Church from the 12C to 13C and additions later from the 18C to 20C. You can continue for 6 km to see the Church of San Esteban de Sograndio, also from the 12C. Following our road, this is all by car of course…. you leave the Valley of the Trubia river that in roman times was the old road between Asturias and Léon to extract minerals; you will reach the Teverga at about 32 kms on the road AS 228; here you will see the Church Collegiale of San Pedro, from the 11C with deco of pre roman style; go on for 5 kms towards the town of Villanueva de Teverga,where it is worth the detour to the Church of  Santa María from the 11C and 12C; come back to Villanueva de Teverga towards Arrojo, at about 23 kms on the road AS-229 and see the rural style Church of San Pedro  from the 12C.  Continue for about 40 kms and reach the town of Cornellana, here you should visit the Benedictine monastery of San Salvador, with a roman Church from the 13C and a monastic complex in baroque from the 17C to 18C.

In the second day, you can do the town of Villaviciosa with its Churches of San Esteban de Aramil and  Santa María de Narzana both of rural style and modest proportions. Continue onwards passing the Alto de la Campa, taken the road leaving the Valley of Valdediós. At the end of the road you will reach the monastery of Santa María de Valdediós, a nice monastery complex in the Cistercian tradition from the 13C and next a Church of San Salvador de Valdediós, pre roman style. Back to the road to Villaviciosa, another road takes you to the Church of San Andrés de Valdebárcena, 12C a rural temple; and finally at the doorsteps of Villaviciosa you need to see the Church of San Juan de Amandi ,13C of the Asturian roman style. You come back to Oviedo our starting and ending point for a total of about 45 km trip.

In Oviedo itself you come to the old Ovetum that since its foundation in the 8C by the Asturian monarchy reaching to be the Capital of the kingdom. The old town is left with a medieval look with an easy modern tracing of the streets.  The old town is pedestrian and easy to walk from the University to the Cathedral and from the Palace of  or palacio del Marqués de San Félix to the  Camposagrado (holy field). The tower of the Cathedral of Oviedo is the start of any walks in Oviedo , done in flamboyant gothic style with a tower, rosary, and arch gate entrance guarding the biggest Asturian symbols.  The Chapel of San Miguel, or Cámara Santa,keeps the holy coffer or Arca Santa, the cross of the angels or Cruz de los Ángeles, and the victory cross or Cruz de la Victoria, also visited by the pilgrims that continue on to Santiago de Compostela.  These symbols are shown in the shield of the city of Oviedo as well as the Principality of Asturias.  Around the Cathedral you see the most important heritage of the city such as the Church of San Tirso, the fine arts museum or  Museo de Bellas Artes or the archeological museum or  Museo Arqueológico. The square or plaza de la Catedral  takes us to the square or Plaza de Alfonso II el Casto, where you can see the palaces of  Valdecarzana and de la Rúa. At Cimadevilla, the oldest part of the old town you find the peculiar square of plaza de Trascorrales, where the old stock house or lonja is located as well as the nice square or Plaza de la Constitución.  The latter has colorful houses that continue into the squares of plaza de Daoíz y Velarde.

At the University of Oviedo the last building before reaching the river  with a plateresque facade of the 16C giving to a cloister hosting cultural events all year. The closeby facades of the palaces of  Toreno and Camposagrado are worth a visit.  From here starts the Oviedo of the end of the 19C around the square or plaza de la Escandalera and the park or parque Campo de San Francisco.  Here are the Palacio Regional,home of the council of the Principality, the bank or Caja de Asturias, and the old bank or Banco Herrero.  All of the latter are in a French style.  Here near, we find the theater or Teatro Campoamor, where each year the prizes of the prince of Asturias are given (Príncipe de Asturias). Also, the modern arts center is located here or Centro de Arte Moderno. You have to continue on the street or Calle Uria to come to the more commercial Oviedo following one of the ending streets such as Gil de Jaz, you reach the provincial hospice or Hospicio Provicial from the 18C today is the luxury hotel or Hotel Reconquista. Nice Oviedo!!!

Some of my favorite Cathedrals in Spain, and there are many nice ones, are these.

The one in Oviedo of course, call the Sancta Ovetensis for the amount and quality of its relics. The Santa Iglesia Basílica Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador de Oviedo is of a Gothic style; from the the road to St James/Santiago in the times of king Alfonso II el Casto, the Cathedral started to be built in the 12C and lasted until the 16C even if later in the 17C  some Chapels were added to the lateral nerfs. More info : http://catedraldeoviedo.com/en/

In the year 916 king Ordoño II gave its royal palace to built a Church thanking God to allowed him to beat the Arabs/moors in the battle of San Esteban de Gormaz ; and here his remains lies.  The stained glass are from the 13C to 20C and add up to about 1705 meters of superficie; the Cathedral of Leon is the best and purest example of gothic in Spain. More info here: https://www.catedraldeleon.org/

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the last trip of the pilgrims that covers their pathways or caminos.  The construction in the roman style started in 1075 and has a latin cross and three nerfs with amplications later on in gothic, baroque, plateresque and neo classic styles.  Its porch or Pórtico de la Gloria built in 1188 shows 200 figures of the Apocalypse. More info here: http://catedraldesantiago.es/en/

The only Cathedral declared world heritage by UNESCO was built between 1221 and 1765 with a predominant gothic style added to others. The gate or Puerta del Perdón is located in the façade of the Catedral de Burgos, where you can see a rosary on both sides two towers of 84 meters high, crown by arrows from the 15C. More info. http://catedraldeburgos.es/

The Cathedral of Sevilla was built over that which in the 12C was the great Mosque or Gran Mezquita, of which still is preserve the prayer tower or alminar, known as the Giralda , the patio de Abluciones and the gate or Puerta del Perdón.  It was converted Christian in 1248 after the conquest of the city by king Fernando III.  In the Cathedral there are five nerfs, with elements of the moorish or mudéjar, gothic, renaissance, baroque, and neo classical. More info here: http://www.catedraldesevilla.es/

Converted to the Christian cult in 1236 after the conquest of the city by king Fernando III, the Cathedral of Córdoba is built over the old mosque ; the most important Islamic monument in town.  The Cathedral shows the complete evolution of the Omeya style in Spain including other styles such as gothic, renaissance, and baroque. It was in the 16C that in the middle of the mosque a great renaissance Christian nerf was built. More info here: https://mezquita-catedraldecordoba.es/

Built over a mosque, that at the same time was raised a Church in the times of Recaredo, the Primate Cathedral of Toledo or Catedral Primada de Toledo began to be built in 1226. The floorplan has five nerfs on which ceiling hold 88 columns and 72 coffins as well as stained glass polychrome from the 14C 15C and 16C. In a gothic style with French influence, its choir is considered the biggest in Christianity. More here up once maintenance is done to the site: http://www.catedralprimada.es/

Attach to the old, the new Cathedral or Catedral Nueva de Salamanca started building it in 1513 and open in 1733.  The construction began in the tardo gothic style but has elements of newer periods.  The Cathedral is rectangular with 3 nerfs and oven style Chapels cover with coffins etc. More here: http://catedralsalamanca.org/

OF gothic architecture style and related to the Anglo Normand arts as well as Franco Normand of the 12C, the Cathedral or Catedral de Santa María y San Julián de Cuenca began to be built from 1196 and finished in 1257.  The Cathedral has three nerfs, five sloping absides ,transept and triumphorium with windows decorated with statues of angels. More here: http://www.catedralcuenca.es/inicio

Known as the dame of the Cathedrals or La Dama de las Catedrales for its dimensions and elegance, the Cathedral or Santa Iglesia Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción y de San Frutos de Segovia was built between the 16C and 18C in gothic style with renaissance influences.  It was built after the old Cathedral or Catedral de Santa María de Segovia was replaced during the war of communities or Guerra de las Comunidades in 1521,works began in 1525.  It has three nerfs with windows and gothic coffins of 30 meters high as well as a tower that reaches 90 meters. More info here: https://catedralsegovia.wordpress.com/

IT is considered the first marian temple in Christiniaty, the Cathedral or Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza with a baroque style of three nerfs ,covers with coffins and canon, cupolas and pillars.  At the same spot there was already existance of another Church in a moorish style dedicated to St Mary , therefore its origins goes back to the 9C.  The Basilica has four towers built between 1715 and 1961. More here: http://www.basilicadelpilar.es/inicio.htm

Hope you enjoy the ride brief but essential to indulge in the history and beauty of Spain, now it’s your turn to seek them out. It will be worth your time. Happy travels to all, Cheers

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November 22, 2017

Some news from Spain LVI

Once again back with the news of my beloved Spain. It has been nice in Madrid, 62F now lows of 40F no rain in sight and the same for the rest of the week. And now some news about my beloved Spain!

The black truffe or trufa negra in the province of Soria is the best. Now December 4-5 will host the I Concurso Internacional Cocinando con Trufa,or the first international contest on cooking with truffles an initiation of the council of Castilla y León . It will bring together the best chefs experts on the delicacy; there will be 15 teams of which there will be a consecrated chef and a cooking school student. Some of the chefs will be Rishi Naleendra of Sri Lanka, one star Michelin; Diego Galicia of Mexico considered one of the best chefs of the year by Food & Wine magazine; Kimberly Lallouz,of Montreal, Canada, and the Spanish Aitor Martínez Ros and Iván Sivera Saura. To win the prize they will need to make a creation in 90 minutes;only the 5 best will compete the next day in the final with a cook-off of 120 minutes and a hot and cold entry. The jury will be an important one as well led by Rafael Ansón, president of the Real Academia de la Gastronomía, or Royal Academy of Gastronomy where members have several stars Michelin like Mitsuharu Tsumura, chef of Maido, considered the best in Latin America or Sanjeev Kapoor, the star of Indian cuisine.  Others will be the Spaniards Oriol Castro and  Alberto Chicote . All representation from 24 countries and 5 continents.  In the province of Soria you find the biggest farming of truffles in the world!!! More here: http://www.turismocastillayleon.com/en/gastronomy-wine-tourism/myco-tourism/international-contest-cooking-truffles

Some more delicacies from Spain is the pigeon, with a greasy skin, and thin meat and easy digestion. Some of the best places to eat it in Madrid ,my opinion, are at :

Piñera, calle Rosario Pino,12, full ration 26€ half 14€ ; http://restaurantepinera.com/

La Paloma, calle Jorge Juan 39 from the hunting grounds and done with thick salt for 33€; http://www.lapalomarestaurante.es/en/

Desencaja, Paseo de la Habana 84, roasted in charcoal with mushrooms and endives for 26€; http://www.dsncaja.com/#restaurante

Arzàbal Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo 13 and branch at calle Santa Isabel 56 roasted on vegetables sauces for 21€; http://arzabal.com/

Tablao Corral de la Moreria, calle Moreria 17, a great show of flamenco still and with risotto rice for 29,80€; http://www.corraldelamoreria.com/en/gastronomy.html

For a wonderful funny show if you speak Spanish see the Los Morancos doing their satirical laughs at everything Spanish and current news to sports to politics.  Antonimos; a funny intelligent show to see until December 27 in the Teatro Nuevo Apolo, Plaza de Tirso de Molina, 1. http://www.summummusic.com/los-morancos-antonimos/

Quick, if you are single and looking, coming to Spain stop by these places some new some old never change really; action by here:  Playa d’en Bossa (Ibiza) Calle Alfileritos (Toledo) Casco viejo de Bilbao Centro histórico de Málaga Barrio Monte Alto (A Coruña)  El Tubo (Zaragoza)  Calles María Cubí y Santaló (zona alta de Barcelona) Barrio de Ruzafa (Valencia) Malasaña (Madrid) Casco antiguo de Badajoz.

Have you heard of María Calderón (1611-1646)? well it was a popular artist of the times and a lover of king  Felipe IV, of which was the mother of their son Juan José Austria (amongst many by the king). She was known as the «La Calderona» because she was the adopted daughter of writer Calderón de la Barca. To this women, the writer  Jaroslav Vrchlický (1853-1912),known as the Czech Víctor Hugo, dedicated the drama «María Calderón». It was done not like a drama but a musical and funny that will be play at the Teatro Alfil theater . She had many lovers such as duke of Medina de las Torres as well as the king making jealous the queen  Isabel de Borbón; she was taken her son away and forced to entered a monastery ,this and other details are shown in the play produced by David Ottone. More in Spanish here: https://teatroalfil.es/la-calderona/

You have CARMEN by Benjamin Lacombe until March 4 2018 , a novel written by  Prosper Merimee to do an artistics interpretation of history. Benjamin Lacombe has already done books on Madame Butterfly, María Antonieta , and Frida. The show is broken down into three parts that correspond to the first 3 chapters of the work by Mérimée.  There are 23 illustrations exposed running in chronological order the narrative. Museo ABC ,calle Amaniel 29-31.Tel. +34 91 758 83 79; reach it on Metro  San Bernardo ( 2 and 4) Noviciado (líne 2) Ventura Rodríguez (líne 3) Plaza de España (línes 3 and 10). More here: http://museo.abc.es/exposiciones/2017/09/carmen-benjamin-lacombe/1510195

 You have now the Circo del Sol until January 8 2018 in the Carpa Blanca del Circo del Sol, Avenida de Portugal s/n. Fridays and Saturdays 18h30 and 22h, Sundays 17H and 20h30 ,Mondays Wednesdays and Thursdays at 20h30.  Prices from 28€. you can buy tickets at  El Corte Inglés (www.elcorteingles.es, 902 40 02 22 ,and at stores), Entradas.com (www.entradas.com, 902 488 488 -teatro-, 902 22 14 24 -offices of bank  Bankia, Caja Navarra, Ibercaja, Grupo Rural ), Ticketea.com , and at their webpage www.cirquedusoleil.com/totem

Alcalà de Henares is ready for Christmas with a giant Papa Noel of 10 meters and more than 25K m2 at the Recinto Ferial de Alcalà ; activities like a roller coaster for all ages, ice rink biggest in Spain, and a space of rides of more than 5K m2 . All until January 7 2018; at Ronda del Henares, 19 and Plaza de Cervantes. More info here: http://alcalaciudaddelanavidad.com/

And you have the tapas route second edition or the II Ruta de Tapas a Fuego Lento by Crock-Pot & Oster, this time in the area of  Retiro-Boulevards of Ibiza. There are 16 bars and restaurants to offer tapas at a price using only pressure cookers of  Crock-Pot  slow cooking, a trend in Spain today. You can try a small casserole of callos madrileños  at the Marísquería Sanchís or calamars in its ink at Tagomago,  to an international mole poblano Mexican at Madridaje and a wonderful zamburiñas in pepper sauce at Atlántico-Casa de Petiscos.  The prices are from  2,80  to 5 euros. Good for November 23 and December 10th. Some others are  Casa Martín  with meatballs , Casa de Fieras and its tuna, bacon iberico confit at Castelados, Strogonoff at Triana, bull tails at Kulto or small pork rolls at Don Eusebio; and more. On the road at slow fire or  “A Fuego Lento”. All details info here Fuego lento Retiro

Enjoy Spain , everything under the Sun. Cheers

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November 6, 2017

Some news from Spain LV

And another week starts and the season of the best season is near. Well talking about my beloved Spain again, temps is about 52F or 11C and nice in Madrid tonite.The rest of the week is shown to be sunny highs of 63F and lows of 35F.

The latest from Spain are

Some great Spanish movies in the Film Festival of Sevilla; ‘Niñato’, of Adrián Orr, ‘Algo muy gordo’, of Carlo Padial, and ‘Tierra firme’, of Carlos Marqués-Marcet; they draw always from a different spot on Earth and the retina look the possibility of the new.. More here: http://festivalcinesevilla.eu/es/

You have a tour of secluded nice Cabrera the Mediterranean of Ulises and only one hour from Marbella.  From this lookout you see in your imagination the scenery of the Odyssea in the archipelago of  Cabrera.  An unique natural space that preserve almost intact the Mediterranean essence.  It is only 10 nautical miles south of Mallorca and are a group of 19 islets; with the two biggest are Cabrera and Conejera. All the great civilization passed by here from the primitive Talayotic peoples to the Phoenicians , Carthaginians , Romans, Byzantines, and Arabs.  For centuries the Barbarian pirates ransacked , burned and, stole from this natural harbor in the big islet of Cabrera and started attacks on the embarkations that sailed on these waters.  The rocky Castle on the high hill that welcome the new arrivals to Cabrera; passing centuries and finished the war of Independence it was also the place of prison for almost 9000 Frenchmen.  Now you can enjoy snorkeling, and scuba diving in spectacular waters, and see a blue cave, go up to the castle, or go to the beach at s’Espalmador, visit the museum of ethnography of Celler or the archeological site of Pla de ses Figueres; go up to the hill of Miranda, where you can see the magnificent panorama in the Sierra de Ses Figueres; Bellamirada; or the longest possible on the islet that takes you from one extreme to the other in the lighthouse of  n’Ensiola. You can come to this Idyllic place on tourist boats of Colonia Sant Jordi (Tel +34  971 64 90 34), Palma (Tel +34  971 717 190), and  Porto Petro (Tel +34 971 657 012. More in Spanish here: http://www.mapama.gob.es/en/red-parques-nacionales/nuestros-parques/cabrera/

Who still looking for vinyl records? Well you can find them in Madrid, the favorites according to my family ther

Radio City at calle Conde Duque, 14; tel +34 915 477 767 . You can find vinyls here as well as CD on wooden stands alternationg between jewels of the folk,rock, soul and pop of yesterday and today from the 1960’s to today. The majority of prices are between 15-25 euros .

Another is  Molar Discos y Libros, calle Ruda 19, tel +34 911 725 740. Upper level you find the literary finds and specials next to the records section always in vinyls a complete selection. Domestic and imported like the joint venture of Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnette ,26€. The street level is used for presentations, expos, concerts of small formats.

And the very best  La Metralleta , Calle Postigo de San Martin, 1, tel +34 915 318 264 . The megaclasic of Madrid record shops. The store is divided in various spaces where you can find LP’s, CD’s, cassettes, and other formats of the lost generation; you come here to get your fingers dirty searching the stands. You can find the collection of Serrat for 3€ or a copy of Pink Moon, of Nick Drake for 150€; but the most expensive record is that of Tangerine Dream for 1500€.

Something typical from a very nice historical town , Burgos.  This is the spoonful’s of Las cucharas de Burgos; it will start Thursday November 9th with a dinner entitled El cocido de las estrellas, where you will be serve some of the rounds from various creations and interpretations of the culinary delight of the city from renown chefs such as Mª José San Román (Monastrell), Macarena de Castro (El Jardín), Yolanda León (Cocinandos), Bea Sotelo (A Estación), and  Pedro Morán (Casa Gerardo), Fernando Canales (Etxanobe), as well as Miguel Cobo (Cobo Vintage). Other activities will be music concert as well as a championship of spoonful’s from the 21C delights from the students of the school or Escuela de Hostelería de La Flora; as well as the prizes from the Académicos del  Cocido from the restaurants Lhardy of Madrid , and Los Claveles de Ibeas of Juarros, and guests like  Viri Fernández (El Llar de Viri) representing the stews of Asturias and Cristino Álvarez (Caius Apicius) for the spreading of these dishes and articles in the Hispanic world. More information here: www.burgosentrecucharas.com

A new done place changeover complete. In the famous Cava Alta street of the centro and next to the Cava Baja the oldest spots in Madrid you come to  Matritum . After 20 years it has been transformed with a complete new decoration and menu, even a map of the Côte de Beaune, Burgundy. Plenty of wines here from all over. They offer menu of the day, of the market day, or outside the carte; however, one dish never fails is the costilla de vaca gallega rubia deshuesada y estofada  ( ribs of Galician beef stuffed and without bones ….) They have ice creams from Alicante and desserts such as brownie of Chocolate, and orange. The sommelier is a passionate about wines by the cup or the bottle,and rare great wines such as from Primitivo Collantes, white wines from  Mario Rovira, red wines from Olivier Rivière and international wines like for company a riesling from the  Rheingau, a  pinot noir from Rheinhessen, or the Clos Pepín. There you have it is Matritum, Cava Alta, 17 Tel +34  913 658 237. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays at noon ; more info here http://www.tabernamatritum.es/

Concerts that I like coming up at the Wizink Center of Madrid are

Vanesa Martin : https://www.wizinkcenter.es/eventoinformacion?evento=vanesa-martin-2017-12-06

Raphael ,for the Young at heart : https://www.wizinkcenter.es/eventoinformacion?evento=raphael-2017-12-21

La Térmica at Avenida de los Guindos, 48. Malaga city; will have until January 7 2018 the gallery head by Topacio Fresh with a very fresh presentation of the last years; a showing of bad taste with pop represented by filmmaker  John Waters, known for films such as Pink Flamingos, the king of trash gave the ok to this presentation showing the effigy of Divine of Ana Obregón going out of shell of Botticelli. It has some invited artists such as Octavio Terol and Valeria Vegas ; to match the myths of the  La Movida like those of Las Costus or Fabio McNamara. More information here:  http://www.latermicamalaga.com/

Ok on good weather someone would like to do this; but me never, just recommended by my crazy cousin of Aluche ,Madrid.  Go see the historical towns of the region of Extremadura. Especially in the valley or El Valle del Jerte  known for the well place showing the discoloration of a million and a half cherry trees flowering at the same time on the arrival of Spring. The valley towns in the two ranges of mountains of the range of  Gredos,is covered with a mantle of white flowers thanks to the flower that comes out from this fruit tree.  The biggest however, is the festival of El Cerezo en Flor, the cherry tree in flower organized by the 11 towns of the municipality. Upon the arrival of Autumn this trees give a new spectacle when the leaves are turn into reddish, occre and maroons colors bringing about a new festival ,that of the La Otoñada del Valle del Jerte, (the autumn of the valley of Jerte) that is now coming to its 15th edition. The 11 towns of the municipality  also provides an ample opportunity for enjoying traditions be it cultural, sports, expositions,  contests, festivals and tastings fairs of local products ,theater, etc etc. All this until December 10 2017. Coming up there is an imperial market or Mercado Imperial Carolus Imperator, held in the town of  Tornavacas, November 11-12 ; recreating the arrival of emperor Carlos V and his court to the valley. The festival dates back to the 16C with street animation as well as theater plays , concerts of old times music, tasting of local dishes, talks, and guided visits on the town and the great roasted chestnuts. You have also, the Toñá Piornalega from November 17-19 in the town of Piornal, takes typical local traditions around the local dessert; and the Dulce Otoñada from December 1-3 in the town of Navaconcejo, with pastry ateliers, cooking   shows and desserts markets.  However, the best known are the gastronomic pastoral days or the Jornadas Gastronómicas Pastoriles, available in different restaurants of the municipality in its 12th edition and the festival of the tapas or the IV Feria de la Tapa.  On the first, there are 12 of the best restaurants of the valley offering weekends until December 10 the possibility of tasting exclusive menus, from products of the autumn season at a fix price from 18-38 Euros; the listing of the participating restaurants are in  http://vallecereza.com. In the other one, Tapas festival on November 25-26 you can taste  several creations of the season on the restaurants of the valley.  There is ,also, the plate shooting championship or  Campeonato de Tiro al Plato in the town of Rebollar on November 24,  the festival of contemporary arts or the  IV Festival de Arte Contemporáneo in the town of Jerte from November 24-26 ; the theater festival or Festival de Teatro in the town of Barrado,on December 1-2; and the traditional musical encounter or the  III Encuentro de Música Tradicional in the town of Cabrero,on December 8th. All the programming can be found here:  www.valledeljerte.net).

Something to wet your senses from the bounty of Spain’s wines.

A wine to try which I know the property and have tried them all ; El Rincón from the  Bodega Marqués de Griñón  Vinos de Madrid, 2013,  Tinto con  Syrah (95%), Alicante Bouschet (5%) ready to drink now or to 2022 price is about 16€ ;notes of light violets deep black fruits, opulent, rich, with more ending on black fruits, silky ,a bit freshness. More here: http://www.marquesdegrinon.com/

La Maliciosa from Bodega Vinos Jeromín Vinos de Madrid 2013,  Tinto 100%  Garnacha , ready to drink now and to 2022 price about 20€ Notes: blackcurrants, prunes,peaches dominance; intense with heavy materials and fine tannins , very delicious in the mouth, evolving and long; a garnacha from a hotter zone but light. More here: http://www.vinosjeromin.com/

A curiosity point: the clock tower of La Berenguela  high of 75 meters ,call like this because in the middle ages there was a bishop name like this that built the tower to defend the Cathedral of  Santiago de Compostela.  You can see it from several points in the city as it has the same height as the towers of the Obradoiro.  You will see that the clock built in  1831 the needle is like a tower of a castle and then it more decorated as you move up with a baroque style added.  The clock has one needle because the hours is mark by the bells. The biggest is in the tower it is also call Berenguela and weights 6.433 kgs. According to legend, that if on one midnight it does not ring 12 times and do 13 the devil will have a magic hour to stay loose in the city and raise havocs.

The Royal collections museum or the Museo de Colecciones Reales de Madrid has an opening date for January 2020, in the Palacio Real, you will see wonderful things as 64% of the  700 works that will house are today outside the public eye and only 35% are shown elsewhere.  The different palaces, historical buildings that are part of the National Heritage are works that are not shown to the general public and that for the first time will be shown here.  This is the case of the tapestries collection from the 16C in the glorious period of emperor Carlos V and king Felipe II. More news in Spanish here: http://www.patrimonionacional.es/museo-de-las-colecciones-reales

Back to Malaga to show you that on a wall of the 13C in the gate or Puerta Buenaventura,houses over 120K volumes of books in a building now 120 yrs old remodeled in 2004 and known as the library or libreria  Proteo/Prometeo in four levels. Proteo has a space of 150 sq meters, the top part is a large shelves of books in archives from  A-Z. There is even a lithography of  Antonio Tapiès from 1978 , and a work by Enrique Brinkmann  of 1992. Single out here because it has been awarded the  XIX edition of the Premio Librería Cultural 2017, ( prize of the cultural library of 2017) just in time to celebrate the Day of the library in all of Spain on November 10th. More on it here: https://www.libreriaproteo.com/

And last but not least, the wonderful beautiful National library of Spain or the Biblioteca Nacional de España has open now with free admission, an exposition dedicated to maps and what they have fascinated the world since its history. The expo is call  «Cartografías de lo desconocido» or cartography of the unknown; and its drawn from the inventory in the national library since  its foundation in 1711. You will see high middle ages maps, nautical atlas, renaissance atlas, unique pieces such as «Geografía», from Ptolomeo, 2C, or finds such as “Carta sincronológica de la historia universal» A sincronisation map of the history of the world. In this impressive map of 7 meters you can see the history of humanity from Adam and Eve to our modern times.  All this shown until January 28 2018 . The objective of this exposition is to define exactly ,what is map! More here: http://www.bne.es/es/Actividades/Exposiciones/Exposiciones/Exposiciones2017/Cartografiasalodesconocido.html

As said ,enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun and I must add the Moon ! Cheers!!!

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November 1, 2017

The wines of La Rioja, the red wine of Spain!

Wine is part of my life since birth, my maternal grandmother was the one who offered me a tiny bit of wine at age 8! It has been a love affairs ever since and in my house we cannot eat without wine. That is wine as culture in our home, we know how to drink in moderation.

That first sip of wine came from Marqués de Riscal in the Rioja region of Spain. It was, also, my first bottle of wine I purchased; many many years ago. From then , I even worked in a liquor store wine department, the ABC of Florida. Went on to have diplomas from ICEX the commercial office of Spain abroad and Sopexa ,food and wine from France. My cellars is not big but any day you can find 50 bottles in it , ready to drink shortly; who wants to aged the wines, they are meant to be drank!!!

Rioja is Spain in a glass of red wine. The wine is known for its structure and tannins, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon , but it also has a fruity characteristic. This is a wine perfect for a drinker who loves Cabernet but is also looking for the dominant cherry flavor that’s often present in a wine like Pinot Noir. Rioja is made from a blend of grape varieties, with Tempranillo the dominant grape (Garnacha is typically included in the blend to add some fruitiness. Mazuelo and Graciano may also be included). Spain is very proud of its indigenous Tempranillo grape because they have been making it into wine for over 2,000 years. When choosing to buy a Rioja, the most important thing to know is that the wine separates into four levels of classification, which depends on the amount of time the wine spends in oak. The classification of each Rioja will be labeled clearly on the bottle.

Rioja: This is the basic form of the wine. It has been aged for only a short amount of time in oak, potentially only a few months, and then the wine is bottled and sold. It is in this wine where the juice will taste the “ripest” because the wine is very young. Therefore, sometimes is sold as Joven or young on the label.

Crianza: For a wine to be labeled a Crianza, it must spend a minimum of 1 year in oak. Following its removal from oak, the wine must spend at least another few months in the bottle, before being sold. This is the level of Rioja that is most affordable.

Reserva: This is a Rioja made from the best grapes of the harvest, and is only made during years that were considered to have a good growing season. A Reserva must be aged a minimum of 3 years, with at least one year being in oak, and the rest in the bottle.

Gran Reserva: This is a Rioja that is only allowed to be made in years with exceptional growing seasons from the most exceptional grapes harvested. Gran Reserva’s must be aged in oak for at least 2 years, and then must spend at least 3 more years in the bottle.

Rioja wines are aged in 225-liters oak casks, with periodic racking, followed by a further period of bottle ageing. There are over 368 ageing bodegas in Rioja which have a total of 1,266,154 casks.

The Rioja wine region is located in northern Spain, on both sides of the River Ebro. The local terrain perfectly delimits the region and sets it apart from surrounding territories. From an administrative point of view, however, its 63,593 hectares of vineyards are divided between three provinces on the Upper Ebro – La Rioja (Rioja Alta) (43,885 ha), Alava (Alavesa) (12,934 ha) and Navarre( Rioja Baja)  (6,774 ha). The grape varieties that are currently authorised by the Regulations of the D. O. Ca. Rioja are:

RED: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, and Maturana Tinta.

WHITE: Viura, Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Maturana Blanca, Turruntés, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Verdejo.

To help with the ranking of harvest years  ,which are only to be used as a general rule, the most important one is who is the producer. These are the rating on last few years from the wine council. 2009 MB (very good), 2010 E(excellent), 2011 E (Excellent), 2012 MB( Very good), 2013 B( Good), 2014  B (Good), 2015 MB( Very good), 2016 MB( Very good).

Since it was begun to harvest this past August 10th, the earliest time in the history of the Designation of Origin , it has been already harvest up to Sept 5th  8,7 millions kg of the White grapes and  12,8 millions kg of the Red grapes, for a total of 21,5 millions kg of grapes  with the most part from the sub zone of Rioja Baja.

Rioja wines are protected by the oldest Designation of Origin in Spain, officially recognised in 1926. In 1991, it was awarded the highest category -Calificada- making Rioja the only designation in Spain to be so honored.

To learn more of Rioja from official sources see the Rioja designation site here: http://us.riojawine.com/en/home.html

If you can read Spanish or good of translation services like Bing or Google you can see this site to learn all about the Rioja from harvest to the bottle. http://www.lomejordelvinoderioja.com/saber-de-vino/

And on the same site, you can find information just by knowing either the name of the label or the town from where it comes from here in Spanish ;  http://bodegas.lomejordelvinoderioja.com/ 

A site that I have below in my blogroll and I help input info when it began many years ago, now much better. IN Spanish, but you have all info here even contact information for all Bodegas in Spain. http://www.apoloybaco.com/vinos/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=36&Itemid=136

OF course, it would not be complete if I do not give some of my best bottles of Rioja wines. Again, the main thing is the producer, if he/she/they are good, the bottles eventually will be good on any given year, all else been equal. I stick to them over the years and never disappointed. Of course, again, tastes differ and new ones are coming in the market, and we should try to taste ,but these will never disappoints . Enjoy the wines, even if not all with photos….. Disfruten de los vinos de la Rioja, mi España!

Ramon Bilbao https://www.bodegasramonbilbao.es/es/vinos/

Marqués de Riscal https://www.marquesderiscal.com/

Bodegas Palacio www.bodegaspalacio.es

Unión Vitivinícola, S.A. better known as Marqués de Caceres http://www.marquesdecaceres.com/?lang=en

Montecillo, S.A.  part of the group Osborne http://www.bodegasmontecillo.com/en/

Bodegas Lan, S.A. http://www.bodegaslan.com/?lang=en

CVNE is Compañia Viñicola del Norte de España: https://www.cvne.com/en/

Bodegas Bilbaínas, S.A. part of group  Codorniu http://www.codorniuraventos.com/en/wineries/bodegas-bilbainas

Bodegas Muga www.bodegasmuga.com

Bodega Lopez de Heredia www.lopezdeheredia.com

Bodega Rioja Alta www.riojalta.com

Bodegas Berceo, S.A.  part of Group Gurpegui  http://bodegasberceo.com/en/

Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta www.marquesdemurrieta.com

Campo Viejo, S.A.  part of Pernod Ricard group https://www.campoviejo.com/en

Bodegas Baron de Ley www.barondeley.com

Bodegas Luis Gurpegui Muga S.A. part of Manzano Entreprises group  http://luisgurpeguimuga.com/en/

Bodegas Beronia http://www.beronia.com/en/

Bodega Navaja SL http://www.bodegasnavajas.com/

 

And you can’t come to these bodegas ,you can shop their wine in your local wine shop or as I past by Madrid quite often ,I get mine at Lavinia, airport or Ortega y Gasset store,  many nice sales on some of the bottles above going on, more info here: http://www.lavinia.es/es/paginas/tiendas–2

And another old time favorite in Madrid is Santa Cecilia at Bravo Murillo location, here is more info: https://www.santacecilia.es/tiendas-de-vino-madrid

There you, now you have a choice go out and try them, love them you will. Again enjoy the wines of Spain, with moderation. Cheers on the holiday of the Dead or All Saint’s Day; I am off ::)

Pluvigner Pluvigner Pluvigner Pluvigner Pluvigner Pluvigner

 

 

 

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October 31, 2017

Some news from Spain LIIII

A bit on my Spain, and the treasure heritage that it has to offer. Today is sunny but cold down to 6C this morning here in my neck of the woods, now as I write is up to 9C; however, in Madrid it is 54F or about 12C and cloudy with no rain in sight. A break from my other love , France.

The latest from Spain are the following:

One of the greatest victories in the history of Spain was held at Pernambuco, Brazil.  The naval battle was so big, that upon returning it was ordered to paint scenes from the battle and kept it for later history. The paintings were eventually given as gifts to king Felipe IV as he was able by this victory to avoid the Dutch from taking the sugar production in Brazil.  The naval museum or Museo Naval de Madrid has open an exposition entitled the victory of Pernambuco or  «La victoria de Pernambuco». For the first time since the 18C that these paintings will be shown together. The naval battle pictures were separated in 1734, due to a fire in the Alcàzar de Madrid where they were exposed for the king; the fire took away other valuable paintings by Tiziano, Velàzquez, Rubens, Durero, and Tintoretto.  Someone, put these paintings canvas in roll and threw them from a window!!! The painting were saved but the guides telling about them did not. The naval museum is ,also, showing the standard flag that was carried in the battle on the battleship Santiago. The flag is 4 meters of silk and oleo, having on one side a Christ in crucifiction, the Saint Mary and St John, and below them St James (Santiago Matamoros). More info here: Museo Naval de Madrid

Another valuable showing will be the treasures in the La Caja de las Letras del Instituto Cervantes! . This safebox is always open in the lower floor of the building.  It was created in the year the Instituto Cervantes moved to the new location in the Calle Alcalá 49, where it was before the Central Bank. The story started with the writer Francisco Ayala, who was the first one to occupied one of the 1800 boxes in 2007; he left a handwritten letter and a personal wish that will be made public in 2057.  He was followed by many such as the poets  Antonio Gamoneda and Carlos Edmundo de Ory, and the artist  Antoni Tàpies.  IT continues to grow with the first investigative  of the Scientist Margarita Salas in 2008 while working with Severo Ochoa in New York. The Mexican Elena Poniatowska, left a wrist band that was used by her father while fought in WWII and had the first edition of the night of Tlatelolco.  Nicanor Parra  left a typewriting machine and Fernando del Paso kept a shirt from the poet José Carlos Becerra.  The dnacer and choreographer Víctor Ullate left the vest on which he played the «El Madrid de Chueca» with the Ballet Nacional in 1982, as well as a watch from his grandfather and a ring from his father.  A watch purchased in 1946 was the gift of  John Elliott, the latest member of the Caja and the first Hispanic American in doing so, leaving his gift in box no 1492, next to the one by Gabriel García Márquez, that has dirt from his native Aracataca, as well as a plaque with the first paragraph of his novel «Cien años de soledad». The next gift will be on the 75th anniversary of the passing of Miguel Hernández. Juan Goytisolo left a camera to be developed in 2031.  The wealth of Spain is not in the bank of Spain but in the museums such as the Thyssen, Prado, and Reina Sofía, and others, archives and libraries as well as the architecture heritage. Really ,these are our banks, and it is there where we keep what we are and what we have been . More here! Instituto Cervantes

Telefónica, the great telephone company of Spain is the sponsor and partner of the museum or  Museo Reina Sofía. It has thru their consulting firm  Synertic Partners ,done the first Big Data survey of the museum The technology allowes to process high data volumes with the aim of given information on the public choices while attending the museum.  It is the most exhaustive study done until now and it was done between April 5 to September 4 2017 while the exposition entitled «Piedad y terror en Picasso. El camino a Guernica», was held on the 80th anniversary of the famous portrait. The expo drew 680K persons coming from 189 countries with a median of 4 800 persons per day.  More than  60%  were foreign visitors with 10 countries representing 80% . The most visitors came from Italy  17,4%, then France, Germany, USA, Japan, Argentina, Portugal and the Netherland.  Of all tourists in Madrid in those months  11,5% visited the museum  Reina Sofía.  50% came from Italy and France with each country having a special day for visiting!! The Americans prefer the Mondays, the British, Sunday, Japanese come in groups, the Italians prefers the free periods . There were 111.000 mentions in  Twitter, the most platform used with 97% positive comments!  The study took a volume of information of 157 gb , or 30K more than the complete works of Shakespeare. More in Spanish here: telefonica on Reina Sofia

The so calle black years or  «années noires» of París, the years of the Nazi occupation (1940-1944)  as told by Spanish Fernando Castillo, that has already written on theses periods in «Noche y niebla en el París ocupado» (2012), and «París-Modiano» (2015)-, now completes the work with the «Trilogía de la Ocupación» . A short essay on having the exile Spaniards as witnesses of those days with more than 40 artists telling in newspapers, or fiction stories talked about the period when they passed by Paris.  There in the Republican universe you read about the communists José María Quiroga Plá, and Emilio Gómez Nadal), in the planet of the persecuted with Victoria Kent, and Consuelo Berges , and the Catalan galaxy of Rafael Tasis, and Sebastià Gasch, Just Cabot, Ferrán Canyameres, Mercè Rodoreda…etc ,and the independent stars such as Max Aub, Corpus Barga, Manuel Viola, and Carles Fontserè, together with the resistant meteorites of Jorge Semprún.  In another place you have the satellites of spies with Antonio Zuloaga, and Joan Estelrich), the Astros of journalism in Enrique Meneses, Mariano Daranas, José R. Alonso, and Jesús Suevos), and the origin of the universe with Gregorio Marañón, Manuel Chaves Nogales, Carles Soldevila, and Josefina Carabias. The last planet of Luis de Armiñán), and an astro of its own star  C. G. R. (César González Ruano).  Some were there just passing such as Chaves Nogales-,and other lived off the Clandistine movement and other held newspaper positions with squaling and gossips  in the Spanish community where they hide from a scary policemen Pedro Urraca, that took away Lluís Companys , and Julián Zugazagoitia, killed by firing squad later in Franco’s Spain. Victoria Kent passed as a diplomatic service and refugee without papers avoided the police raids of Urraca ,and when the Nazis arrived lived in hiding in a modest apartment without even go out into the streets; there wrote four years of  my life or «Cuatro años de mi vida (1940-1944)», All the suffering until the arrival of the liberating Spaniards in the Leclerc free French division. María Casares, daughter of the last president of the ministry council of the Republic could not escape to London but her father could and return to Paris in the summer of 1940 where she published «Résidente privilegiée»  finally in 1980,a work of exile living.  Different to others her friends were mostly French including Albert Camus ;she exposed the false heroes after the triumph of the war; read the book in Spanish if you can , recommended.  The book title is «Españoles en París» by Fernando Castillo Ensayo. Fórcola, 2017. 156 pages. 17,50€; good book:more in Spanish here: Españoles en Paris book

Much has been written on who took the first ear of a bull in a bullfight in Madrid. The writing by Antonio Díaz-Cañabate: there is no precedent on the arena by the Puerta de Alcalà but in 1876 two years after opening on the old plaza de la carretera de Aragón,(today Calle Alcalà) the third bull name black sox or «Medias Negras», the ears were taken by the matador Chicorro with a great courage took the ears and offered them to the Princes of Bavaria in attendance with king  Alfonso XII. So  José Lara «Chicorro» took the honor of been the first. However, the records give this gesture to be the first time later in 1910 , the previous ones did not count so said some experts ; to them the first one was Vicente Pastor, that did it on the 4th bull of the day name «Carbonero» or charcoal maker. More here:  Chicorro

The etnographic museum or  Museo Etnográfico de Castilla y León (Mecyl) will show in their next exposition the photographic collection obtained from negatives of Roberto Kallmeyer  from a series of engraving by painter  Francisco de Goya on the subject of the tauromaquia (toro art).  The exposition entitled  «Del trazo a la luz. La tauromaquia de Goya en las fotografías de Kallmeyer», opened this past Friday and will be on until January 14 2018 in the Mecyl of Zamora ; it can be visited free in the temporary exposition room of the  Etnográfico de Castilla y León,; it includes 42 photos part of the  serie that Roberto Kallmeyer (Madrid 1915-Madrid 2004) did from the engraving of Goya for the first edition of the La Tauromaquia that Rafael Casariego published in 1960. More here: Mecyl La Tauromaquia

Let’s imagine that Bartolomé Esteban Murillo is the host and decides to walk the streets of Sevilla, take them in with is eyes, discovered them like him saw them, and painted on his work. The same city four centuries later. But his was in the 17C of Sevilla, then the gate to Europe and America and capital of the Western world. This would be the year of Murillo or the  Año Murillo,and make this anniversary like him the presence in the city to have a dialogue between the past and the present.  To see his paintings in the Churches as they were originally done, and travel in the city of which he was inspired, imagine how the personages lived in his paintings and listen to the music that plays in the paintings he did. All this in 6 expositions until January 2019 will displayed him with 600 of his work. The main collection will be at the museum of fine arts or Museo de Bellas Artes, will allow for the first time to reunite the majority of his work coming from Germany, France, USA etc, The work the jubilee of the  Porciúncula, is already in the museum for its restauration from last June. Two centuries later the work that was at the retable of the convent of Capucins returns on loan from the museum of Cologne (Koln) Germany until April 2018.  The size of it allows for some reason to escape the French troops and went to private hands in 1814; later by different owners until 1876 became part of the collection of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, where it is housed until now.  IT is part of the 24 works of Murillo that will go a renovation by the team of the fine arts museum of Sevilla. More info here! Murillo in Sevilla

And late but celebrating Halloween in Spain is more and more visible. Happy Halloween !!!

Joy Eslava  calle Arenal, 11, Metro: Ópera , admission 15€ with one drink or 12€ with flyer contacting email  listas@joyeslava.com. The Tuesday night will be filled with zombies, blood clowns as well as masks with a terror look!. More here: Joy Eslava Halloween

And to go at with scary hamburgers in Madrid, two leading places to do so. Even if late reporting ,sorry.You can try these places anytime, they are good…::)

Tommy Mel’s. A chain with a 50’s décor offering a bloody dish, the Halloween Angus Burger, with bourbon sauce and sweet chili you can try it tonite in all restaurants of the chain. Tommy Mel’s

Hard Rock Café Madrid. Paseo de la Castellana, 2. Another chain for the addicts to burgers. Here you have scary figures creeping out with a Halloween Vodoo  until today. It has pork, squash with black breads and also the Evil Eye,a cocktail with white rum, and a editable eye. All deco like a prison with prisioners included lol! Hard Rock Cafe Halloween

Now, let’s take a nice easy walk in sublime spaces. It is easy entry level really, we did it and we are not walkers.

You go the beautiful forest of the horseshoe or  Bosque de La Herrería. At San Lorenzo de El Escorial. You first need a car by taking the expressway A6 direction A Coruña , until exit or salida 18. Continue on the road  M-505 to San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Once in town, you take the road or street of the carretera de la Estación, then, Avenida de los Reyes Católicos, and then Avenida de la Constitución  until the traffic circle of the road  M-600. Take this road , take first to the right and continue until next traffic circle  take the first exit on the right on road  M-505, direction Puerto de la Cruz Verde. Follow this road for 4 km until km marker 32, where you take the road on the left to the Silla de Felipe II (a monument the chair of king Felipe II ). Leave your car in the parking space in front of the Church or  ermita de Nuestra Señora de Gracia.

Then on foot to find the Cueva del Oso, you have indicators map at the  Silla de Felipe II. You start from the Church or ermita de Nuestra Señora de Gracia, with a recreation area around it. From the panel in the front next to the road you go up to the Silla de Felipe II on asphalt road about 12 meters then take a right on a road you see on your right reaching the heigh of a door on the left next to a panel on the pole you see the red white sign of the walkers trail. Go up until a curve in the road to the Silla de Felipe II. Finally, there is no more asphalt road and you cross an area of banks follow this road on the left and see various stones of different sizes (big) where you can see on the distance the Monastery of San Lorenzo. Continue walking you come to a V on the road take the road on the right next to the descend on the road and find space amongst the rock-stones, this is the most difficult part on the walk but easy i am telling you!!! You reach the flat area and on the right you see the circle on the foot of a hill on which the tops you find that chair again, the Silla de Felipe II.  And no , you are not going in circles its easy. HEre you can get refreshments on the weekends . The road ends here and you go down the hill a few meters to continue on another road below it on the left behind a barrier gate; easy downward walk leaving behind the fountain or  Fuente de los Hermanos, (fountain of the brothers) you see another wooden panel indicating a few meters more on the right in an area of trees you see the mouth of the cave of the bear or the Cueva del Oso. IT has two stones on top given a triangular roof, and long at the end you see a small cavity space with part of the roof open and just in front of the cave there is another area of rest on the ecological pathway with several panels that tells you about the flora and fauna of the area.

Returning by the same road you will do nice to finally go to that chair ,the Silla de Felipe II , there is a metallic panel and it is worth reading it as it tells you how the king saw the area in his times.  Now time is different to different folks but like I said we are not walkers and the time is right on the one told in the site , about 1hour to 1h30 we took less in between ::) this is roundtrip time on foot not counting any stops you might do; the trip is 3 km on pretty flat terrain except the Chair lol! the highest point is if you go up to the Church or ermita Nuestra Señora de Gracia, at 1000 meters; and the top of the chair or Silla de Felipe II, 1 120 meters. Of course, you need walkers shoes or boots and a coat if on cool periods we did it in August so t shirt will do lol!! More info here: Cueva del Oso

Enjoy the natural and artistic beauty of my beloved Spain. It’s everything under the Sun and more !!! Cheers

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October 24, 2017

Some news from Spain LIII

I am back on the Spain trend, this is a natural. Lots of goodies going on with the cultural tourist side of my beloved Spain. It will survive as it has for centuries together.

The temp in Madrid tonight is  67 nice sunny that is about 22C and no rain in sight with plenty of good weather for the rest of the week.

I did a big post on things going on in Spain last LII but figure there are still plenty more nice ones for the Fall season and even Winter coming up , so, therefore, here they are:

You like to do bicycles in a city well Madrid has BiciMad.  And it has become bigger and better with 42 new stations. Some of the district even got multiple stations such as Arganzuela, Salamanca , and  Chamartín.  As well for the first time going outside city center into past the M-30 beltway and into my  Ciudad Lineal, and Puente de Vallecas. Arganzuela, even goes from 11 to 22 stations!!! with one near the bus station or  Estación sur de Méndez Álvaro and another in Legazpi. Salamanca,already has 27 stations but will add 10 to bring closer the interchange transports area of Avenida de América.  Chamartín  will add 6 more stations such as in  Tetuán,(4) and  Retiro, (3).  With these new additions BiciMad will have 468 new bicycles for a grand total of more than 2.500 for about  62.000 users .  The city /town hall is looking forward to have double the service by 2019, reaching 4.000 bikes and 350 stations. It is been look into connect the service with the University or Universidad Complutense de Madrid. More here in Spanish: https://www.bicimad.com/

Another anecdote and of course we all have used it one time or another , I know I had even this past August in Cuenca. There are 21 968 pharmacies in Spain. The country of the OCDE with the most pharmacies per 100K inhabitants with 47.3 while the median is 25,1 according to the General council of official colleges of pharmacies or in Spanish : Consejo General de Colegios Oficiales de Farmacéuticos. In these pharmacies you have working 49 429 pharmacists and if count the technical staffs as well giving direct employment of 80 000 persons; this from the enterprise federation of Spanish Pharmacists or Federación Empresarial de Farmacéuticos Españoles (Fefe).  There is a pharmacy for each 2.119 inhabitants while in Denmark it is for each 15.000 ,Sweden one for each 7.500.  Today, pharmacies cover about 98% of all municipalities in Spain. You are well covered!

Let’s get back to the Arts! There is a new play call weddings of blood or Bodas de Sangre from a work of Federico Garcia Lorca showing at the Teatro Maria Guerrero until December 10 2017.  It speaks of the relation between the fiction and reality.  You get to the theater by metro Colón, Banco de España or Chueca. More here in Spanish: http://cdn.mcu.es/espectaculo/bodas-de-sangre-2/

And how about a whole neighborhood or district full of Arts, well there is one in Madrid. It is call the Barrio de las Letras or literature neighborhood. The Barrio de las Letras  takes its name from the many writers that had lived there over the centuries.  In this neighborhood you had met Lope de Vega ,Quevedo,Tirso de Molina , Ruiz de Alcarcón, Moratín , and Bécquer.  To honor them, there is a spectacle that will presented by the Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico (National company of classical theater) in the room or Sala Tirso de Molina; until October 29th.  This is a trip by its streets to discover literary pages.  This is the neighborhood of most talent per square meter in Madrid . The spectacle is divided in three parts ; the first one is from writers from the 16C and 17C such as Lope de Vega, Cervantes,  Quevedo ,and Góngora.  The second part is centered around the world of Cafés such as the Fonda de San Sebastián , and the talks or  tertulias del Parnasillo such as in the Espronceda, Larra, and  Mesonero Romanos as well as the black cat or Gato Negro in Benavente, and Valle Inclán). The third is from the action in the 19C with writers like Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Espronceda, the composer Eusebio Blasco , Galdós, Benavente, Echegaray, and  Elena Fortún. See more here in Spanish: http://teatroclasico.mcu.es/2017/09/06/barrio-de-las-letras/

More on the neighborhood Barrio de las Letras here in English: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-neighbourhoods/barrio-letras

Moving right along into drawings and David Aja, who once met the master Will Eisner in a summer course at El Escorial and told him ,you will be a comic designer one day. Well Davis is today one of the most renown and complete of its genre and header of the American comics Marvel where he worked on the series «Hawkeye» («Ojo de Halcón»), «Harnak» ,and «Scarlet Witch» («La Bruja Escarlata») and recognised with prizes. Now you can see his latest work at the Patio Herreriano de Valladolid, «David Aja. Primera Retrospectiva»  to January 7 2018 with 350 pieces showing the positive side and his principal influences such as David Mazzucchelli, Alex Thot or Frank Miller. In addition, the last graphic novel still undone will be  «The Seeds» and will be arriving at the shelves in March 2018. More here in Spanish: http://www.museopatioherreriano.org/MuseoPatioHerreriano/getPosts/12489

More into drawing expositions is MartinMorales, El Dibujo Inagotable, 50 Años de Contribucion al Humor Gràfico Español.  Running until December 10 2017.  Francisco Martinmorales is one of the designer drawers of the gold half last century together with Forges, Màximo Peridis and El Roto.  This exposition will be divided into 6 sections resuming his life and as well a humoristic tour of Spain in the last 50 years.  First section is the origin of the censure showing drawing about free expression, prohibit drawings and old jokes from the old days such as Tejero, and the 23-F. Then, the period of Felipismo such as dedicated to Felipe Gonzalez, and then from Aznar to Bambi and the election of Rodriguez Zapatero.  All drawing published in the newspaper ABC from 2007 to 2010; the last drawing been digital with the computer. All can be seen at Museo ABC calle Amaniel, 29-31. Tel  +34 91 758 83 79; from Tuesdays to Saturdays  from 11h to 20H and Sundays 10h to 14h, admission 3 euros. more here:   http://museo.abc.es/

Another anecdote of a wonderful Spanish tradition, as told by the entrepreneur Simon Casas who handle the plazas of Las Ventas, Nimes, Valencia, Zaragoza , and  Alicante. On a conference at the Centro Cultural Miguel Delibes, Valladolid ; where he said «la tauromaquia es el arte donde conviven la vida y la muerte». Or the toro tradition is an art where life and death live together.  As told during the XXII Jornadas Taurinas de Castilla y León, organized by the  Consejería de Cultura y Turismo de la Junta.

Let’s take a ride in Castilla y Léon. We can visit Pedraza, province of Segovia. Just hour and a half by car from Madrid. And only  37 km from Segovia. To come to a medieval town with walls ramparts with just one gate to access it, a gate from the 11C rebuilt in the 16C by lord of Pedraza. A castle as well from the 13C with all trimmings including a tower , well, levy bridge, and exterior wall with canons emplacements .  It was in the hands of the Fernández de Velasco, dukes of Frías, and constables of Castilla,  You see the atelier of famous painter Ignacio Zuloaga, that purchased it in 1926, restored it as well. Today, it is a museum with works by the artist including a portrait of the Countess of Baena by Goya, a Christ by El Greco and a Flemish one of the 17C.  Each Friday of the month you have a guided visit as well as the museum with prior reservation.

There you have the typical central square with romance Church of San Juan, baroque with its tower; the square for the families to walk to see the bullfights from the balconies since 1550 until today and its patron saint feast in early September ; the mansions and blazon houses from the 16C and 17C, on which one of them lodged king Carlos IV, and each July it is celebrated the Concerts of candles or Concierto de Velas,  where all the lights of the town are turn off  and windows are closed while playing music.  It is said that it houses a house for the emperor Trajan and the cave showing paleothic drawings named the Griega or Greek . And the gastronomy is excellent here known as the restaurant of Madrid  especially on Sundays and festivals where the  lechazo (roasted lamb) and cochinillo asado (roasted pig) , white beans from la Granja, and the drink ponche segoviano. You can try all of these in my favorites places since young the restaurante La Olma de Pedraza, a mansion from the 16C with two terraces in the square or plaza del Álamo. Another equally good alternative is the El Yantar de Pedraza, at the Plaza Mayor with its own balcony, where you can ,also ,try the patatas revolconas (potato dish), sopa castellana(Castilian soup)  or the huevo de oca del Duratón (goose egg from Duraton. Restos here:

http://laolma.com/

http://www.elyantardepedraza.com/en/

Tourist office and city hall of Pedraza in Spanish: http://pedraza.info/

Another wonderful area of my beloved Spain is Jàtiva, (Xativa) Valencia. In the interior of the Comunidad Valenciana only 60 kms south of Valencia. You come to the monumental Jàtiva.  Guarded by an impressive fortress and an old town with an enormous heritage lineup.  Here it was the episcopal seat of the Visigoth era, birthplace of Popes Borja 15C and stalwart of the Austria’s in the war of Succession 18C. It is known the town has canals and sources dating back to the Muslim times and sometimes call the city of the thousand fountains! All divided into 3 forms , the royal, monumental, neighborhood/individuals such as the Fuente Real of 25 water spouts with a dozen water handles of bronce in the form of snakes where water comes out constantly. It is located in the square or Plaza de la Fuente Real, done in 1806 to replace an Islamic spout from the 11C. Here in the old town you see the Plaza de la Trinidad, and the fountain or Fuente Real de la Trinitat (last third of the 15C), the oldest in the city with a rare gothic fountain still preserve; located right in the old royal road where you will see meeting the buildings of the Palacio de Alarcón (1730), now the courthouse and the antiguo Convento de la Trinidad (15C), now the municipal archives .  In nearby you see the basilica or  Colegiata Basílica de Santa María, or La Seu (16C), of which the construction of it took 400 years. It houses an important collection of sacred art.  The fountain or Fuente Real de San Francisco was renovated in 1764 and located in the square of Plaza de San Francisco, baroque style and on the cup there is an image of  San Francisco, replacing the original lost end of the 19C.  The fountain or La Fuente Real del León (1818 neo classic style) , and the  Fuente Real de los Peces this one from the mid 19C located in the Plaza del Trinquet, was built to give drinking to the animals and the people. The castle or Castell is located in the heights of the sierra Vernissa, worth a detour with steep roads of 2 kms, and you see the emplacement of the people Iberic, Romans ,Visigoths, Arabs and Christians, where it is recommended to stop to see the beauty of the country.  The first stop should be at the lookout or Mirador del Bellveret, where the old wall ramparts ends with fantastic views of the city . You continue your journey to the ermitage or Ermitas de Sant Josep (end  18C ) and the Ermita of  Sant Feliú,one of the oldest Churches in the region dating from  1265.  It was built on the old place of the Saetabis , Roman and Visigoth place .  Between way of the two Churches you have the arqueological park with the remains of a Islamic palace from the 12C now only visible the tower or  La Torre Ametlla, of gothic origins, and the  Torre del Sol (almohavic style  1201) on the edge of the mountain. Finally, you reach the castle a double fortress form by the minor castle the oldest part of Iberian roman origins and the major castle or Castell Major, next to the  Plaza de Armas,built in a medieval period and better preserve. Here you find the entrance gate, lookout tower, water depot, chapel, prison cells and gardens. Admission is 2,40 euros . If you do not like to walk or can’t there is a small train ride by all the old town and the castle days out at 12h30 and 16h30 from the Fuente del León. Price 4,20€. More on tourism here in English: http://www.xativaturismo.com/en/

And let’s talk about one of my favorite subjects, wine. Spanish wine is very good and much improve in the last few years. One of the best are Capataz, fino, solera de la familia, Montilla-Moriles, Bodegas Alvear, 24€ a new bottle from the oldest bodega of Spain!!! that is big words. an old fino or amontillado young, fresh and powerful, biological upbringing for 12 years and now electric!  More here: http://www.alvear.es/index.php/en/component/k2/item/124-fino-capataz The other is Fino del Lagar, Saca spring 2017, Bodegas Toro Albala, Aguilar de la Frontera, 10€, created in honor of the old wines of Lagar with 10 years ageing , powerful, strong aromas of bread, dry fruits, olives and glicerine good acidity, lots of corps with character and personality of its own. Magical!  More here: http://toroalbala.com/finos/

And a bit of news from the wine groves, we have; the  Grupo Peralada announced the purchase of the Navarra group of Grupo Chivite, and as well the labels  Gran Feudo, and  Viña Salceda. This as well as the acquisition of the ecological cellars of Privat and the bodega Oliver Conti, to increase its coverage of the  La Rioja,where it already had the firm of  Fin de Siglo, entering now into  Navarra, Ribera del Duero , and Rueda.  The Grupo Peralada has ongoing construction of a new bodega in Empordà, where it will be introducing their wines with a production of 2,8 million kilos of grape ; the opening is expected for  2019 . This fusions solidify the Grupo with sales of 60 million euros and presence in about a hundred markets in the world. More in English here: http://www.grupperalada.com/lineas_vitivinicola.php

The newspaper El confidencial section Gentlemen shows again for 2017 the best 50 wines of Spain from reds, whites and sparklers and sweets. They do this every year, and the selection I cut it down to my favorites that I have tried. This is the whole lineup in Spanish: https://www.gentleman.elconfidencial.com/multimedia/album/gourmet/2017-10-23/mejores-vinos-espana2017_1344614/#1

Porrera 2014 Vi de Vila.  this is from the  cariñena and some  old garnacha  in new oak barrels and then another fermentation in vases and amphora’s of terracotta. Great find indeed.  http://www.vallllach.com/els-vins/?lang=en

Alabaster 2014.  a heavyweight Toro with fruity elegance complex and unctuous , very old grapes of tinto del pais ; superb. http://www.sierracantabria.com/tesolamonja/?idc=407

Pago Garduña 2013.  This is a great syrah from the high elevations protected by trees around the vinyard. From bodegas Abadia Retuerta; https://www.abadia-retuerta.com/en/shop/abadia-retuerta-pago-garduna/

Others are in no particular order;  Viña Pomal Vinos Singulares Graciano 2012 ; Gran Reserva 890 2004 ; Mauro VS 2012 ;  Pago de los Capellanes 2010 Parcela El Picón;  Viña Pedrosa 2011 gran reserva ; Marqués de Griñón 2013 syrah ;  Enate Uno 2010 ; and  Ramón Bilbao Viñedos de Altura 2014.

Two sweet wines that I adored are:

Jorge Ordóñez nº 2 Victoria 2012.  Once in the region 15 years ago Mr Ordóñez  took all the grapes used to make pasas in the axarquia of Malaga area and turn it into wine 100% Moscatel de Alexandria, sweet white of immense complexity, just superb.  http://www.jorgeordonezselections.com/single-wine.php?wineID=22

Pedro Ximénez de añada 2014 PX.  A precious amber color for this sweet of the grape Pedro Ximénez  a notable generous wine . Very aromatic notes that settles into the glass with notes of figs, toffee, almond liquor, critics and other memorable moments that bring to the mouth a seditious texture. http://www.alvear.es/index.php/es/vinos-alvear

Pazo de Señorans Colección 2012 ; great notes of quince paste or membrillo and honey wonderful from Galicia. http://www.pazodesenorans.com/#/albarino

And they you have it. I told you Spain is everything under the Sun. Enjoy it, have a great week y’all. Cheers

 

 

 

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October 20, 2017

Some news from Spain LII

Getting back on my beloved Spain on its best face. The weather is nice in Madrid at 67F  and hotter sunnier days for the weekend with little chance of rain.

Some of nice things happening in Madrid and Spain are these:

Museo Lázaro Galdiano (Calle Serrano, 122) from November 17 onwards there is an exposition for the first time showing the collection of primitive Flanders put together by a private collector José Lázaro Galdiano. We travel from the 15C to the 16C in wonderful art pieces from the schools of Hertogenbosch ( Bosco), Brussels (Lucas Gassel), Bruges (Gerard David and Adriaen Isenbrandt), and Anvers  ( Quentin Metsys , and Jan van Dornicke). A total of 73 works of arts some inedit and some after a process of restoration. More here :http://www.flg.es/your-visit-to-the-museo-lazaro-galdiano

Museo Reina Sofía (Calle Santa Isabel, 52) Until November 27th and then from December 20 to March 18 2018.  Soledad Lorenzo gave her collection to the  Museo Reina Sofía in 2014.  A selection of the works there , about 392 from 89 artists are shown now for the first time in two consecutive expositions. Different generation of artists from Spanish to International especially from the USA with paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos, engravings, audiovisual work and installations. The first expo shows the work of Spanish artists of 3 Generations that the gallery Soledad Lorenzo was active. Here next to known artists like Pablo Palazuelo and Antoni Tàpies, you see works by Soledad Sevilla, Txomin Badiola, Ana Laura Aláez, Guillermo Pérez Villalta ,and  Juan Uslé. Then, the expo personal questions or  Cuestiones personales, opens on Dec 20th dedicated to the recuperation of the figurative language and the transformation of the representation of the work in the last part of the last century . Here is shown works by  Gordillo, Broto, Barceló, Schnabel, Juan Ugalde, and George Condo to name a few. More here: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/exhibitions/soledad-lorenzo-collection

Staying in the Museo Reina Sofia we have the expo of William Kentridge  From November 1 2017.  The South African artists William Kentridge (1955, Johannesburg) prize Princesa de Asturias in 2017 showing the exposition Basta y sobra  (Enough and more than enough). Kentridge  is famous for export to other media like animation, theater, opera a new etiquette way of drawing  from his beginnings learned to draw as an spectacle  and he filmed it. He drew with carbon paper of used newspapers, and now you can see his work here, a reflection of his efforts against tyranny and authoritanism. More here: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/exhibitions/william-kentridge

At the Fundación Canal de Isabel II (calle Mateo Inurria, 2) until January 5 2018.  Magnum contact pages or Hojas de Contacto. There were not conceived to be shown and many photographers are reluctant to show them even today . However, the secrets of some of the most famous of Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marc Riboud, Steve McCurry, Cristina García Rodero , and others of the agency  Magnum will be shown. From the landings of Normandy, to the revolts in Paris in May 1968, the protests in Tiananmen square or the act against the twin towers will be some of the events shown in photos. More in Spanish here: http://www.fundacioncanal.com/18049/expo-magmum-hojas-de-contacto/#None

And now a bit of a tour thru my beautiful Spain.

 At Sahagùn in Léon on your way to Santiago, St James you will see a group of beautiful Churches of different times like the Church of San Lorenzo or the Church of  San Tirso.  Here you can follow 6 different routes to discover really truly wonders in time. If I have to choose one, it will be the Church of  San Facundo y San Primitivo de Cisneros.  There are more around Villafáfila (Zamora) as well as in Guaza de Campos (Palencia)  where you find about 18 buildings of great architecture and historical value .  There are two belltowers with gorgeous views over the  Tierra de Campos (land of fields). One of them is found at Paredes de Nava, forming part of the Church of  San Martín that houses the center of interpretation of the municipality , and the other the local tourist office . Another one is the  Fuentes de Nava, the highest belltower in the province that of the Church of San Pedro.  If looking for something more natural you go to the lookout at  Autilla del Pino ,where you can see a dozen towns and great sunsets.

Continuing in our tour of my beloved Spain , You reach the Canal de Castilla. One of the tranches of more significant tourism wise is found done by the boat Antonio de Ulloa from Medina de Rioseco. You can even do it on foot!! or in bicycle!! There are several museums and interpretation centers along the route. The most impressive baroque looks on Churches are found in Santoyo, in the beautiful Church of San Hipólito de Támara de Campos ; but there are more like at Frechilla or the Church of Santa María de Fuente de Nava.  July and August is great to come during the Organ Festival when all are working the organs. Even in  Boadilla de Rioseco , the town has invited several artists to use their streets and buildings for improvising art museum on the streets.  You only need to past by their mudéjar Churches and squares as well as the ruins of the old train station or slabs in the old Cemetery

In Becerril de Campos  stop by the old Church of San Pedro,converted into an astronomic center; where you can observe the meridian with a dark camera like the ones used by the Hungarian jesuist Juan Wendlingén (1715-1790) , which was built for king Fernando VI.  Later past by the pretty Church Museum of  Santa María la Antigua that houses one of the best collections of renaissance art including works by Pedro Berruguete, and Alejo de Vahía. In this region of Tierra de Campos, you will see a great dam or natural reserve such as Reserva Natural Lagunas de Villafàfila (Zamora) and the Natural space or Espacio Natural de la Nava and the Campo de Palencia; two essential sites for the observation of birds of the Iberian peninsula. Here you find the biggest concentration of great bustards birds in the world? and also 221 other species including aquatics. At the Church of Santa María de Mediavilla,passing by the Church of  Santiago Apóstol ,and the Church de la de Santa Cruz. All of them with guided visits as well as the works related to the canal de Castilla such as the old flour factory or antigua Fábrica de Harinas. At  Villoldo, the perfect place to explorer the Frómista and its romance Church of  San Martín or in  San Cebrián de Campos; the Church of San Cornelio y San Cipriano. A wonderful ride, more on this region and the autonomous region of Castilla y Léon here: http://www.turismocastillayleon.com/

Then, we search for comics stores in Madrid, plenty of them;but some of the latest to come out are these:

Red Flacks Comics located in the district of Malasaña, a few steps from the Plaza del Dos de Mayo.  The underground of the 1960’s and 1970’s and the junior American to dig into their boxes to find the jewel like the first Futurama (35 euros, in English). However, there are prices for all pockets like the magazine Mad (5 euros, in English)  to the no 7 of Black Hole (90 euros, in English). For the lovers of the superheroes classics of  Marvel like Fantastic Four (22 euros, in English) or the Star Wars, like the December 1977 issue on the magazine  Famous Monsters (25 euros, in English).  Do not forget the mythical albums such as the detective Dick Tracy (25 euros, in English) or the black humor of Idées Noires (41 euros, in French). More here: https://m.facebook.com/redflackcomics/

Arte 9 Calle Dr Esquerdo 6 , you find here Corto Maltés, as Equatoria(22 euros), the last number of the adventures of marine created by  Hugo Pratt, or the series of 3 albums of Érase una vez en Francia (22 euros). For the lover of Star Wars the book of graphic designs  (44 euros). At the lower level you find the cards of  Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic on Fridays and Saturdays from 17H. More here: https://www.facebook.com/arte9madrid/

Akira Comics  at Avenida Betanzos 74 open here for over two decades and by next March 2018 will expand to  700 m2 of space . Even if the name refers to the Japanese mangas in its shelfs you find stories for all tastes like the albums of the Marvel Universe (4,25 euros each), Some with original front portrait design for the store. You find toys like the figurine of the son of Batman (29,95 euros). More here: https://www.akiracomics.com/

The Comics Co at Calle Divino Pastor 17, 13 years at same address; and here you can find the American superheroes  to the publication of Corto Maltés.  The store specializes in the books of Tintín. You find here in original language or Spanish all the literature associated with Tintin.  The complete collection of figurines of the personages of the series some small some in white (35 euros), others huge and at all colors like the silhouette of  Tintín and Milú (135 euros). More here: https://www.facebook.com/thecomicco/

You come to the culinary of Madrid, at this ample bar with walls of Bordeaux colors and golden signs with the castizo spirit of Madrid. This is La Playa de Lavapiés, a creation of friends and frequent guests of the street bars of the calle Argumosa.  You can try the afrodiac drink of  La Cachonda, cloves and cinnamon or the  Mermafrodita, rose petals and pear or the La Rosita, a touch of red fruits or the La Estrecha, with gingebre and lemon grass.  Also, the destornillador, with slices of ice and orange and each week are added new creations . The cocktail is the double of beer and vermouth with a tapa.  It has a small terrace to see the world go by. Open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 18h to 02h and Fridays 18h to 02h30 ,Saturdays and Sundays from 13h. More here: https://www.facebook.com/laplayadelavapies

From an article in El Mundo newspaper; took this excellent blog on Madrid, Secretos de Manu, Pamplona en Madrid: http://www.secretosdemadrid.es/

The article mentioned how the district of Hortaleza comes from the vegetable gardens that were done here, under the Fountain of Cibeles there is the safe of the Bank of Spain or the smallest store in Madrid is still there a few steps from Plaza Mayor. When you live in Madrid (I did) you come out looking at the sky and try to imagine what more can the city impress on you . Maybe that is why we call From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!  The city is very energetic and vibrant, which I knew that !!! For nice photos go to the garden or Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona, or the lookout Mirador de la Huerta de la Partida, in the  Casa de Campo; as well as the garden or  Jardín Educativo del Monte Mediterráneo, next to the museum of  Sciences, an oasis next to the  Castellana. The author third book on Madrid with the name of Secretos de Madrid 2 (Secrets of Madrid 2)  will reach the stores next month. Webpages here:

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/jardines-del-palacio-del-principe-de-anglona

http://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Vivienda-y-urbanismo/Urbanismo/Madrid-Rio-Especial-Informativo?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=5acc7f0917afc110VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=2af331d3b28fe410VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&idCapitulo=5697981

http://www.mncn.csic.es/Menu/Exposiciones/Permanentes_jardinEducativo/seccion=1182&idioma=es_ES&id=2010100411300002&activo=11.do

A bit of  Malaga, at the Museo Carmen Thyssen calle Compañia 10 will be the exposition of Juan Gris, María Blanchard y los cubismos (1916-1927)  until February 25 2018.  Pablo Picasso and George Braque  redefine the world of arts in the 20C as fathers of Cubism and this expo shows how Juan Gris and María Blanchard helped this movement to move on with a different look at arts in the world . Here at the museum you can see works by  Dalí, Moreno Villa,and Cossío as well. More here: http://carmenthyssenmalaga.org/en/exposicion/juan-gris

Moving over to Valencia , you can see the constellations or Las constelaciones de Julio Gonzáez at the  IVAM , calle Guillem de Castro, 118 until January 14 2018.  Since 1985 , the IVAM owns 10% of the work in sculpture of  Julio González. This year they are showing 42 of his work together with other 11 artists work to show another vision of the one considered the father of steel sculpture.  You can also see the German documentary that shows the importance of this creator in the 20C. More here: https://www.ivam.es/en/exposiciones/julio-gonzalezs-constellations/

Another one, the end of an era, a Spanish tradition is now dead. The taurino spectacle of the Bombero Torero” ( the firefighter matador) has said his last goodbye last September 15 2017 in the plaza of  Almodóvar del Campo (Ciudad Real), putting an end to 69 years of history. Rafael Celis,55 , the last of a dynasty is ending the show ; he found no replacement, and did not look for one either. The personage was created in 1928,inspired from a drunken firefighter with a thick mustache that  Pablo Celis, encounter when worked in a theater. The show became a hit from 1953,when he got the idea of including dwarfs of the circus in his show like the famous Eduardini in a bullfights arena.  At 18h15 it will be unveiled a plaque on the big gate of the arena next to other memories of the mythical taurino days of  Almodóvar del Campo. Another past time goes bust, but even if already past, worth mentioning here for the memories, for the history, for the good times Thanks Bombero Torero!!!

Let’s move on south to another great place of mine. Arcos de la Frontera is a wonderful town full of m onuments and how well preserve with its proverbial whiteness. Full of temples, chapels and convents. You see the castle or Castillo de los Duques, the gate or Puerta de Matrera, next to the wall with its palaces and mansions. It was the capital of Taifa de Arcos and duchy, the town looking at the Guadalete river . No beach but has a lake is artificial of 250 meters long but has restaurant with terrace and Nautical club where you can enjoy Padel surf, sailings, aquatic ski, boat ride and swimming; it is call El Santiscal in the natural forest of Cola del Embalse de Arcos where you can see many wild birds like the fishing eagle. You can take a trip to the rock Peñon de Zaframagon reaching here by the Via Verde de la Sierra road near Grazalema where you find one of the biggest colony of vultures birds in Europe. In town you can see pottery makers, ceramics, leather and fabric makers dating from the 18C, plomb and forge steel as well. Not to forget the gastronomy with vegetable meat balls, windmill garlic, stews, rices, escargots, pig products, etc  as well as the wines like at the Bodega de Albalà. Tourist office for Arcos de la Frontera here: http://www.cadizturismo.com/destinos/provincias/cadiz/municipios/arcos-de-la-frontera/?set_language=en

The Bodega de Albalà site is here in English: http://www.huertadealbala.com/en/home/

We end the trip in my gorgeous Madrid. The city welcomes Harry Potter at the IFEMA from November 18 2017. Giant statues of the personages are all over the city for a total of four.  They will be up until December 10th even if the exhibition will be on until end January 2018. The four statues will be at these four points in Madrid:

The starting point will be at the Glorieta de Bilbao. Here you will find the statue for  “Dobby no tiene amo. Dobby es un elfo libre” (Dobby has no owner, dobby is a free elf) . What  Potter said coming ouit fo the mouth of the elf that at the end has its freedom. The Dobby de Bilbao measures 1,60 meters.

Next is the Plaza de Colón. About 10 minutes walking you arrive here.  You find the hat of one of the houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin the students belongs. You remember this hat with more than 10 centuries old doubted on the head of Potter or the face of fear on his best friend Ron Weasley,in the selection of first year. There is a replica of 3 meters high and 4,5 meters wide with the same sad face as the movie

We come to my emblematic best of the city , the Puerta de Alcalá. Who wanted to fly at some time in our life with a Ford Anglia much better right? You need to walk about 9 minutes to reach the gate of Alcala to see the 105E Anglia in blue that the father of  Weasley modified to be able to fly. The replica of 4,5 meters long and 1,4 meters wide.

And we end the journey at the Plaza de Callao. You reach here in about 18 minutes walking from the Puerta de Alcalá.  In the center of the square you find the  Nimbus 2000, the most precious flying broom of the good player of  ‘quidditch’ with a beautiful handle in mahogany wood. The replica could take not one but several Potter’s as it measure 2,4 meters long.

More on the Harry Potter exhibition in English here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/harry-potter-the-exhibition-feria-de-madrid

And that’s all folks, until next time on my blog airwaves or linewaves ::) Have a great weekend y’all. Cheers

 

 

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October 18, 2017

Some news from Spain LI

Here is the turn of my beloved  Spain. There is a lot things going on there now but I concentrate on the tourism/cultural side of things. Spain is everything under the sun! Right now is about 60F or 15C in Madrid nice weather in Fall with rain forecast later tonite and tomorrow. Bear with me this is one huge post with lots of information for your leisure tourist travel in Spain and more !!!

Recently the baroness has commissioned the Thyssen 25 yrs a photographic chronicle a free exposition on the 25 years of the Museum or Museo Thyssen. You saw 26 photos personally selected by the baroness coming from her archives, the museum, EFE news agency, and the ABC newspaper from the best moment of the history of the pinotheque. In 2016, there were 1M persons that visited the museum or  a 10% increase from 2015. And as part of it’s year long 25th anniversary you will see wonders.

You have an expo on the genius Picasso-Toulouse-Lautrec. They had a 17 years age difference and 9 cm of height but their talent was inversely of their statute. They spend the majority of their careers in Paris and never met!!! A young Picasso arrived in Paris at 19 yrs in 1900, and Toulouse-Lautrec already was sick and will died a year later before his 37th birthday in the Château de Malromé. The career of the French genius only lasted 15 years and the Spanish more than 7 decades! Picasso died in 1973. Moreover, there are many similarities and affinities vital as well as creative between the two masters of modernism that will be measure in the Thyssen museum.

 Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec had more names and last names then height with just over 1,5 meters (about 5 feet). He was born in 1864 at Albi France in a aristocratic family. His father was the Count Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa who married his cousin sister Adéle Tapié de Celeyran. The child was born with an congenital anomaly that made it worse the fracture of his femur in falling from a horse. This stop his bones to grow normal. Pablo Picasso  was born in 1881 at Malaga and measure 1,63 meters (about 5,60feet ) coming from a middle class family, his father was a painter and art professor. He arrived to Paris with his friend Carles Casagemas and took an atelier left available by Nonell on the rue Gabriel. He was depressed from the refusal of Germaine, Casagemas took his life in the Hippodrome leaving Picasso immense in a melancholy blues.  He exhibit the portrait of a dead Casagemas still with the print of the bullet that took his life. Both share the admiration for El Greco, Degas and Ingrés of which Turkish bath or Baño Turco always obessed Picasso.  They ,also, share the way of looking of work and the drawing skills,the affection for the caricature and pity for the less fortunate ,passion for the circus and the erotism. Picasso self portrait in several occasions while Toulouse-Lautrec a couple of times. He had a self portrait that he drew in 1893 on the backside of the poster for Jane Avril in the The Divine Japanese or El Divan Japones; serious client of the Moulin Rouge, Le Chat Noir, or the Le Mirliton. Picasso frequented in Barcelona the Els Quatre Gats and the Barrio Chino as well as La Butte  ,the hill of Montmartre as well as Toulouse-Lautrec, the Moulin Rouge, Moulin de la Galette, and Folies-Bergére.  Recently arrived in Paris he is able to expo in 1901 in the gallery of Ambroise Vollard and some of these paintings are shown in the halls of the Thyssen. See it and believe the genious at “Picasso/LautrecMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Paseo del Prado, 8 Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h to 19h Saturdays 10-21H from now to January 21 2018: more here: https://www.museothyssen.org/en/exposiciones/picassolautrec

Let’s have a memorable walk in my beloved Madrid, the one of my adolescence and every year thereafter of coming back to it, From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!!!

You need to be at the Parque del Buen Retiro and see the famous Palacio Cristal (Crystal Palace) or why not go to the romantic Parque de El Capricho , that still keeps a bunker from the Spanish Civil War. And there are others such as the parque Tierno Galván, the Botanical garden or Real Jardín Botánico or the newer Madrid Río ( by the river Manzanares). See the famous museum of Prado but please visit the museo Sorolla and the spectacular Museo Lázaro Galdiano;passing by others less known such as the Casa Museo Lope de Vega or the museo del Romanticismo. For the Madrid culinary tradition have a cocido Madrileño at restaurante La Bola,calle La Bola, 5, founded in 1870; or the Casa Lardhy founded in 1839 where so famous it has been named in worked by Galdós, Azorín, and Gómez de la Serna.  The modern Madrid allows you to take a Segway tour that starts in the Plaza Mayor and ends at the culturally wonderful Matadero.  You can, also, take a ride in the Tuk Tuk going by  Neptuno, Gran Vía, Templo de Debod ,and many others. Some of the webpages here:https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-capricho

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-enrique-tierno-galvan

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/real-jardin-botanico

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/madrid-rio

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/sorolla-museum

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/lazaro-galdiano-foundation-museum

http://labola.es/

What about the wonderful castles or castillos of where else Castilla or Castile in and around Madrid.

In the middle of the Sierra Norte you come to  Manzanares el Real. One of the best preserved castles in Madrid and one of the oldest. When there was no castles in the Cave of Los Aljibes rupestres paintings were seen here and now the Museum or Museo Etnológico y Arqueológico keeps a good collection of them. The castle is the vast area of the Mendoza family that gives the name to the castle in the middle ages. In the interior it was signed the statutues of the autonomous region of the community of Madrid in 1983. More here better in Spanish: http://turismomadrid.es/es/portada/10059-castillo-de-los-mendoza.html

Another beauty is at  San Martín de Valdeiglesias, near  Ávila  on the river Alberche. The castle or Castillo de la Coracera, built in the 15C many times restored had the honor of hosting the Queen Isabel (I) la Católica, that lived here when she was named heir to the crown of Castilla. Also,  Álvaro de Luna,  strongman of  her father king Juan (John) II,of Castilla. More here in Spanish;  http://www.castillodelacoracera.com/

Batres, limits with  Toledo. It was the  La Gran Watria, as it was called house an important Roman villa, destroyed and restored by the Christian near the river Guadarrama . In time the castle or Castillo de Batres  was famous by one of its inhabitants the poet Garcilaso de la Vega. Reopen in December 2017, more here: http://www.castillodebatres.es/

Chinchón is a must if not for its bullring in the middle of the town with gorgeous houses around it. The Plaza Mayor, of medieval origins does it and more since the 15C.  The castle or  Castillo de los Condes, built by a count and residence for many centuries as well as resisting the war of succession to the Spanish throne. So much damaged was left that later become a liquors factory. More here in Spanish: http://turismomadrid.es/es/ver-y-hacer/cultura/red-de-castillos/10817-chinchon.html

Villarejo de Salvanés, one of my nicest memories visiting the region for the last several years. The castle or Castillo de Villarejo de Salvanés is uniqueNot only its origins is very much documented or its role in the wars but for the Homage tower or  Torre del homenaje, that today is all that is left of the castle. Look at the particulars of this castle that the peaks in the crown of the tower are cylindrical when they are usually on the sides of the tower are in the center here 3 on each side. More here in Spanish: https://todosobremadrid.com/que-hacer/castillo-de-villarejo/

Fuentidueña de Tajo , we reach the end of the castle tour with the castle or Castillo de Santiago,also known as the tower or Torre de los Piquillos, belonging to the order of Santiago and one of the strategic enclaves of the reconquest.  It served as a prison and kept some personalities such as Pedro Manrique or Álvaro de Luna. It was a house of kings too, but the most famous was the one who gave the name to the tower or  Torre de Doña Urraca.  This lady also known as the owner of the town and springs at the foot of the castle was born here. Of all this today only ruins remains but worth a detour. More in Spanish here: https://todosobremadrid.com/que-hacer/castillo-de-fuentiduena/

One interlude on a nice bottle of wine just tasted and recommended for the lovers of Madrid and Spain: Bernabeleva Carril del Rey, vinos de Madrid 2015, garnacha grapes about 23€ from Bodega y Viñedos Bernabeleva. Blackcurrants and Redcurrants liquorice, lots of fruit and balance tanins fresh. More in English here: http://www.bernabeleva.com/index_e.html

You want to eat octopus or pulpo in Madrid too far from Galicia ,no problems. We have it all in the city of Spain. Just go to Casa Toribio for the traditional. Or the in omelette like at Las Tortillas de Gabino or with cheese tetilla and kimchi purée at Morgana. And even more a la Galician in Lùa cook à feira or like the oven with potato purée and  ajada (garlic and papripka sauce). Webpages here:

http://www.restaurantecasatoribio.com/#sl_i3

https://lastortillasdegabino.com/

http://morgana.eltenedor.rest/en_GB/

https://www.yelp.com/biz/l%C3%BAa-madrid-2

Just to show some culture here. The seven brothers Elías, Judah, Josua, Cristo, Israel, Aaron , and  Josué  together in the musical Nacidos para bailar .  From the start in May 2016 at the Teatro Tívoli in Barcelona, now it is spreading. They are the  Los Vivancos a mixture of rock of Metallica and Deep Purple. See them at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo, plaza Tirso de Molina, 4 until November 12 2017.  More here: http://www.summummusic.com/los-vivancos/

The creation of  Alphonse Mucha, considered as the father of Art Nouveau, the Czech artist went beyond such as been sculptur, painter, photographer, illustrator, and designer,  The American press had call him the best decorative artist in the world in the early 20C and now the protagonist of an exposition that Arthemisia has brought to the Palacio de Gaviria  with collaboration of the Fundación Mucha. It contains 200 works that traces the trajectory of the artist from his beginning in Paris to being famous for the poster on actrice Sarah Bernhardt in the opera Gismonda. The divine Sarah was so impressed that offered him a contract for 6 years. In the Epopeya eslava, 20  historical portraits that tells of the Eslovaquian unity with last work by the artist such as the triptice  The age of Reason, knowledge and love  that he could not finished due to the resurgance of Nazism. One of the first citizens arrested by the Gestapo for his condition of Mason , a men that dedicated his last years on spread peace. More here in English: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/alphonse-mucha-gaviria-palace

And continuing we have the exposition entitled Zuloaga en el París de la Belle Époque. 1889-1914,or Zuloaga in the Paris of the Belle Epoque 1889-1914 in the room of the Fundación Mapfre at Recoletos.

The exposition brings together about 90 works of Ignacio Zuloaga, and other artists like Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Giovanni Boldini, Jacques-Émile Blanche, Auguste Rodin ,and Émile Bernard.  Portraits and sculptures of the creation of the basque artist that shows the progress until WWI , when the European theater was radically changed . Ignacio Zuloaga arrived in Paris with 19 yrs old and found amongst others Santiago Rusiñol, Isidre Nonell, Hermenegildo Anglada-Camarasa, Joaquín Sunyer, Pablo Picasso, and Edgar Degas.  With them he entered in contact with symbolism and other artistic movements that laid the foundation for modern art that he participated.  See it all until January 7 2018 at the Fundación Mapfre ,Paseo de Recoletos, 23. More here: https://www.fundacionmapfre.org/fundacion/en/exhibitions/recoletos-hall/zuloaga.jsp

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the creation of the ceramic center or Centro Cerámico de Talavera de la Reina,the museum or Museo Cerralbo presents  Evolución-Revolución. 25 años de cerámica, a show of a tradition with today’s creations .  The expo combine pieces taken from the centuries past including vases, azulejos (decorated tiles), and decoration elements of architecture as well as collection pieces from a number of makers such as Guille García-Hoz, Aitor Saraiba, Rubenimichi , and Luis Sánchez Parejo. More here: http://www.mecd.gob.es/mcerralbo/la-casa-museo/recorrido-salas.html

And the expo here: http://www.mecd.gob.es/msorolla/colecciones/colecciones-del-museo/ceramica.html

A bit of info on a nice area and the Cabrales cheese…in the heart of the Picos de Europa mountain range. the Council of Cabrales, is form of 19 towns and 2K people! and one of the most beautiful of the Principality of Asturias. Picos de Europa  are the 10 peaks most deep on Earth , one of them is the peak of  Trave (1.445 m).  One of the best walkers heaven route is the one known as the garganta del Río Cares, (the throat of the Cares river) between the towns of  Poncebos and Caín (province of León).  The traject is about 11kms between mountains of 2000 meters high over canyons, bridges and falls ;You can get more info on the walks here:  www.cabrales.org.  You see peaks such as the Torrecerredo (2.600 m),the roof of the mountain range of Cantabria, and the peak of Urriellu (or Naranjo de Bulnes), symbol of Spanish alpinism with a height of 2.500 m, the peak of  Pozo de la Oración (about 600 meters outside the Poo de Cabrales); peak of  Camarmeña, in the town of same name ; the lookout or mirador de Pedro Udaondo  in the town of Asiego,named after the alpinist , and the lookout or Mirador de Bulnes,in the town of Bulmes.You can climb on foot here and a cable car as well from Poncebos, price: 17,10 euros.  The rupestre quaint paintings of the cave or cueva de La Covaciella. Today its impossible to visit them but the interpretation center has a replica and a tactile screen showing its course at the Edificio Casa la Barcena, in Carreña de Cabrales; admission 1,50 euros.  The main street or Calzada romana of Caoro, in Arenas de Cabrales, shows the presence of  Romans in the area. In the same town you see the mansion houses from the 17C and 18C well preserved such as the  Casa Palacio de Los Mestas y Cosio (17C),  and the Church or iglesia de Santa María de Llas.  The medieval time stays in the many bridges crossing over rivers that irrigate Cabrales like the La Jaya (Poncebos), Pompedri (La Molina), and La Olla (en Berodia). The wonderfully spectacular caves of Cares at only 1km from the town of  Arenas de Cabrales. You can see the cured cheeses here admission 4,50 euros; more here:  www.fundacioncabrales.com)

There are today  28 queserías or cheese makers in Cabrales ,making one of the best blue cheeses of the world. The cheeses matured in 3 to 6 months in natural caves ,today only five remaining in the mountains with difficult access.  There is a guided visit of about 45 minutes in the cheesemaker home of Queseria Ganaderia Vega de Tordin La Eria, Arenas de Cabrales. You can see the entire process here from curing it, feeding it, and milking the cows to the worker, dry chamber, conservation and labeling zone. The tour ends with tasting: price 4 Euros , reservations at tel: +34  674 59 77 38. More here:  www.vegadetordin.com Also, at the Queseria Main Barrio la Heria, s/n, Sotres de Cabrales there are organized tours that include the cave of maturation , and tastings of two types of cheese, mermelades, and ciders price of 7,95 euros. Reservation at tel: +34 618 93 80 44; more info here : www.quesosdecabrales.es).

Moving right along the north and into the Basque country we reach Bilbao!

It has been already two decades Bilbao is synonymous with the museum Guggenheim. From its opening in October 18 1997 at the banks of the Nervión river, next to the bridge or puente de La Salve; the museum of modern art has been the principal pull to the city by tourists with more than 1Million visitors per year.  The installations are in  24.000 m2 of space and on the exterior are emblematic designs such as the giant sculpture of the spider Mamá , the enormous tulipans of polychrome steel and of course  Puppy, the flowery dog of 12 meters. The museum is celebrating its 20th year with a complete program of expositions and other activities like music, cinema, theater, dance, and gastronomy; admission 13€ for the 20th anniversary program. In addition, the titanic walls of the pinotheque will be projected with the film Reflections, a light and sound show running for a bit over quart of hour on the 20 years story of the emblematic building. There will be 7 showing each day and the access to the garden will be free (already past) . The best place to see the show will be from the streets of  Paseo de las Universidades, between the Puente de la Salve ,and Pasarela Pedro Arrupe. https://www.guggenheim.org/blogs/checklist/architects-critics-curators-and-museum-directors-reflect-on-twenty-years-of-the-guggenheim-museum-bilbao

However, there are other worthy museums and monuments to see in Bilbao or Bilbo. One of them is the Museo de Bellas Artes or fine arts museum located only about 5 minutes on foot from the Guggenheim.  With more than 100 years of history the pinotheque is considered one of the best and most complete in Spain! Items from the 13C to our days, and more than 10K objects of Basque arts antique, modern, and contemporary, work on paper, applied arts as well. The permanent collection can be visited free every day between 18h to 20h, and the temporary exposition have a reduced price on these hours. https://www.museobilbao.com/in/

Right in city center/downtown in the old town or Casco Viejo de Bilbao, there is a building from the 17C that was the college of St Andrew of the Company of Jesus and now have other cultural centers. Such as the Basque arqueological ethnographic and historical museum or Museo Arqueologico, Etnogràfico e Historico Vasco at  Plaza de Miguel de Unamuno, with a collection that includes the Biscayan arqueology and etnography of the Basque country from prehistory to the 18C. Amongst the exposition showing are arms from the civil war, Carlist wars, the Basques and the sea, the pastoral life, and domestic arts on ceramics, and textiles :admission 3€. more here! https://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/museums/basque-museum-basque-archaeological-ethnographic-and-historical-museum/aa30-12375/en/

Not too far about 600 meters you see the old convent of the Incarnation or Antiguo Convento de la Encarnación, founded in 1513, Today house the museum of sacred arts or Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro at the Plaza de la Encarnación, 9, with more than  2.000 works from sculptures and paintings related to religion , some dating to the 3C.  The pinotheque also has workshops and guided circuits thru the old town for 1,5 hours duration and 3€ admission. http://www.bilbaoturismo.net/BilbaoTurismo/en/otros-museos/diocesan-museum-of-sacred-art

Another stop a must is the marine museum or Museo Maritimo Ria de Bilbao where it was the shipbuildings of Astilleros Euskalduna, next to the palace by the same name.  In the interior parvis you see the old docks  , lifting equipment and a restored one the la Carola, several boats showing as well as metal work on boats.  Inside, the expositions shows the evolution of the Ria (estuary)and its history;admission 6€ .More here: http://www.museomaritimobilbao.eus/mmrb/web/paginas/index.asp?cod=30B0F148-9898-4775-AC34-6FA176BD059A&Reg=2FE5D2A4-B09C-4E16-ACD7-9FF0851B391D

The foundation or Fundación Siglo de Oro writes a page on the history of classical theater in Spain. The showing of  «El Rufiàn dichoso” OF Cervantes.  It is one of the most valued works and the only saintly comedy, written between 1605 and 1615 belonging to his last times with several hot subjects for the times, laughts, and aleogoric persons.. The work reaches its high point at the Teatro de Bellas Artes of Madrid. The story tells of the conversion of a men  Cristóbal de Lugo, belonging to the underworld of Sevilla and domestic servant of the inquisitor  Tello de Sandoval and his wife, María de Sandoval, that are at the same time his protectors. Showing until November 5 2017. More in Spanish here: http://www.teatrobellasartes.es/es/ex/1481/el-rufian-dichoso

The once resident of Mougins, south of  France , where the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso spent the last years of his life ,and where he died in 1973 was auction today and given to a New Zealand financial person name Rayo Withanage ,founder of the real estate firm of BMB for a bit more than 20M €.  The house was baptized as the Mas de Notre Dame de Vie, and the auction house of R365 the Dutch subsidiary of Christie”s took place in the tribunal of Grasse. The Spanish artist from Malaga purchased the house in 1961 and made it into a workshop where he worked and lived until his death. There lived too until taking her life in 1986, Jacqueline Roque ,his last wife. The daughter of Jacqueline Roque and engineer André Hutin inherited the house and sold it to the auction for 12M€. The residency home has 1700 square meters and surrounded by 3 hectares of land with views of Cannes, and the massif of Esterel. Three floors includes 32 rooms including 15 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms as well as tennis court, pool, spa and wine cellars. House description in pdf file here: https://storage.googleapis.com/s2media/files/5960f25635e93d3c99b67e93_b40c31736edea458a724c0cee3386e2e.pdf

And with the great one Picasso I finish my blog post for today. Enjoy it, as I do, Spain everything under the sun . Cheers

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