Archive for ‘Real Madrid’

November 24, 2020

Madrid ,is more than a word for me!!!

So continuing my updates, refreshing text, and new links I bring you to one that I have many many posts in my blog. This is my wonderful city of Madrid. I will leave you the pictures for the specific posts and will only show here those that I could not find posted elsewhere. Hope you enjoy this wonderful city ,capital of the kingdom of Spain! My Madrid is more than a word for me!!

Well Madrid for me is everything to come back to Spain for it. If you have read my posts/blog you know I used to lived in Madrid and visit several times a year now usually alone. Later came with family on several occasions and show them my love for the city they later claim the same. As our vacation time in Spain began, there is no way I would skip Madrid and even arriving the first thought was to come here and visit again. Madrid I never get tired of visiting, long story going back to my early teen years living there. Lucky enough to visited several times even more than once in the year. This time with the entire family was even more memorable.

We drove from Las Majadas ,province of Cuenca , Castilla La Mancha region on the A40 connecting at Tarancon with the A3 to Madrid and parking on the Atocha train station Saba parking lot. Then, we were all over walking at first, from Atocha to calle Atocha to the Plaza Mayor and onwards to Calle Arenal, Preciados, Carmen and back to Calle Bailén and the Royal Palace and Cathedral of Almudena!!

By Calle Arenal we past the old archives building of Madrid dating from the 17C. The Palacio Real is always wonderful to see even if been there several times, the Cathedral of Almudena is a wonderful monument that was seen again, and onwards along calle Bailén on the other side to the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande.

On Calle Atocha got in finally into the Church parroquia Santa Cruz , a wonderful Church that in the past had been close when passing by , this time it was fully open and wonderful.  I took the kids to my all time favorite since even younger than they, Chocolateria San Ginés, in my youth used to come here after the dance club next door ; Joy Eslava, which at the time was a community dance hall and theater, later becoming a chic discothéque. I past by it too. San Ginés is the famous churros con chocolate racion or the porros a bigger size churro. A must in Madrid!  We did went shopping at El Corte Inglés by calle Preciados 3 and had our lunch in the 7th floor cafeteria ,and later stop by my favorite store, the official Real Madrid store at Calle Carmen off Sol. We did shopping here too and got a nice beer mug ::)

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We came back to the Plaza Mayor a must to visit while in Madrid , always a happening ; see the Plaza del Callao and the famous cinema there, and got around the Teatro Real or royal theater, and the Puerta del Sol square.  We passed by the mercado de la Cebada market and the famous theater La Latina. A visit to the mercado San Miguel is a must and see the beautiful building of the museum of Anthropology and the Ministry of Agriculture. Down to the Puerta de Toledo where we took the C2 bus to get back after a long exhaustive day of walking to all the wonderful Madrid Streets always telling my sons where their Dad had walked before even younger than they! A nice neat family experience.

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We came back next day, but this time we headed to Cibeles and found parking in Recoletos underground garage just next to Plaza de Cibeles, very central and nice. We then as usual set out on foot to see the city.

Of course, when we parked at Recoletos (Paseo de) , we immediately took a look at the Fuente de Cibeles that was undergoing renovation/cleaning and the Palacio de las Cibeles, the old city hall of Madrid and now a great place to see and climb to the top for great views of the city.  At the corner you can see the Casa de America a cultural center sharing the heritage of Spain and the Americas, all in the Plaza de la Cibeles.

Of course, we ate all sorts of ice creams and sodas along the way and water from mini grocery stores, but the nice sit in was near my old neighborhood on a new outfit call Audrey Brunch & Coffee, Calle Alcalà 183.  This is a new place, nice clean and friendly full of locals in non tourist area. We had our chorizo sandwich and fanta lemon here as well as coffees and sweets to load up on the sugar content and survive the 35C weather in the city.

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A bit further walking and you reach my Puerta de Alcalà, the great gate of Madrid and I lived closed to it for four years! And from there, you go in to the fame Parque del Buen Retiro park another must and always a must for me, a wonderful memories of youth and still feeling Young just stepping into the park. ear here, in Calle Alcalà just across from the Retiro park before arriving at the Puerta de Alcalà lies the Church of San Manuel y San Benito where my mom used to take me as a boy. It is still nostalgic to see it and remind if need to of my mother again, always in my mind even if already 13 years of her passing.

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One park that used to be my hangout and so far until now no pictures is the parque Eva Peron off the Plaza Manuel Becerra. There is a Church parroquia de la Covadonga right there too.  There is one by Doctor Esquerdo going towards Plaza Conde de Casal and another one by Menendez Pelayo and Calle del Alcalde Sainz de Baranda across from Retiro park, this is the Cerveceria Cruz Blanca, is another of the typical one in my Madrid away from tourist central. Right diagonally from the brewery restaurant and before crossing the street to Retiro park there is a nice archicturally done Church the Parroquia del Santisimo Sacramento. 

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In no particular order, we had to go see the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium of my lifetime team Real Madrid FC, and had a beer and tapas at the Real Café Bernabeu with wonderful views of the stadium field.

Of course , we walked a lot see Madrid soak up its air, feel the city , once again is beyond words for me. We took the metro this time from the fame  Plaza de España to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. line 10.

We had the opportunity to try the bus network taken bus 21 from Plaza de Toros (Ventas) to Paseo Rosales .This get you a nice overall view of the city and go from the wonderful historical Plaza de Toros very near of my old home to Paseo Rosales and the Teléferico (cable car) and the Temple of Debod Egyptian gift to Spain.

I used to hang around the Plaza de Toros when as an early teen lived here and always a pilgrimage to this cultural and historical mecca of Spain. The teléferico or cable car, my mother used to take me to the Casa de Campo attraction park and the temple de Debod a gift of Egypt to Spain for helping in the flooding of the Aswan Dam. The temple sits on the Cuartel  de la Montana park, and old establishement military base during the Spanish Civil War and now practically part of the Parque del Oeste along Paseo del Pintor Rosales.

And we took bus 14 from Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to paseo de Recoletos parking spot to recover our car.  Oh well once again, had to leave my Madrid. I never get tired of visiting even repeat places. I have lived/worked in 5 countries, visited 81 countries and countless cities of our world but Madrid is touching, virus like proportions, again I never get tired of visiting it.

The tourist office of Madrid for reference: https://www.esmadrid.com/en

I have no words Madrid is more than a city to me, it is part of my life and a happy nice life indeed; always Madrid or From Madrid to Heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day !!!

Hope you enjoy the tour of my Madrid, and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

November 18, 2020

Once again Madrid ,always heaven on earth!!!

And I continue my zesty quest to update my older posts with revise up to date text and links. I will put pictures if not seen elsewhere in my blog, that is the idea. Hope you enjoy these old posts as much as I do writing them. And food for thought for my new readers. Thanks in advance !

And of course, once again Madrid, always heaven on earth ,yes indeed!

Madrid the city of my youthful movida and lucky enough to visit often nowdays; this time was a short 3 days but did I had fun as always!!

Landing in T4 Adolfo Suàrez Madrid-Barajas airport on Iberia; and taken that quick trip on the metro line 8 to Colombia connecting with the line 9 to Sanz de Baranda and my hotel as usual lately the Ayre Gran Colon Hotel. webpage: https://www.ayrehoteles.com/en/hotels/ayre-gran-hotel-colon/

It was a Saturday so the night of Bruce Springteen concert at the Bernabeu stadium, he was staying in the Westin Palace,the hotel of my business conference and all was busy trying to get a glimpse in vain. lol!!

I took the plunge to go out at night walked those wonderful lively great Madrid night time always busy never a dull moment. Madrid just breathing its air feels great, rejuvenating, stronger; I walked all over km after km it was fantastic. Stopping here and then for a caña or jarra (bigger glass of beer) looking for that Mahou or Meau!

Getting my typical real souvenirs at Arte Toledano in Paseo del Prado, you find the finest of Toledo and Madrid here with medieval armor museum and ceramics, portraits etc gifts for all tastes and genuine Spanish. Unfortunately, now closed! Here just for the memories.

Took a look at Atocha train station always imposing from the Glorieta del Emperador Carlos V, and the many restaurants around it. It was the train station closest to my piso or apartment when living here and a must to stop by.

In my walks I past by the Fuente de las Cibeles and Fuente Neptuno the main venues in victory for the Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid, respectively. On Sunday took part in the outside festivities of the  King’s Cup or Copa del Rey, between Sevilla and Barcelona at the Calderon stadium. Sevilla maravilla was short and Barcelona won but the ambiance was great. A point to make is seeing all those Catalans taken pictures in front of the Congreso de los Diputados (Spanish parliament) lol! And the great statue to Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra the writer of Don Quijote!!! It shows you is not all what the media points out.

Moving along in my walks passing the Cine Ideal ,founded in 1916 in the site of the convent of the Footed Trinity  or Convento de los Trinitarios Calzados; later in 1932 was adapted to do teatrical shows and Spanish Zarzuelas theater plays , and finally in 1990 came back as a cinema. My mother used to bring me here as a kid !!! It is at calle del Doctor Cortezo, near the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, but you can see it from Calle Mayor! Just for my memories webpage: https://www.yelmocines.es/cartelera/madrid/ideal

And walked by the Teatro Calderon who was built in 1917; before it was call Teatro Odéon,   located at Calle Atocha, 18 just in front of the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente. Theater and Spanish Zarzuela with performers like Plàcido Domingo! webpage: https://teatrocalderon.es/

You see wonderful architecture and places to see Madrid from above and eating out right on Calle Alcalà like the Instituto Cervantes, a wonderful place to expose the Spanish language and culture all over the world; the building is a fantastic architecture marvel. For info webpage: https://www.cervantes.es/sobre_instituto_cervantes/informacion.htm

You go on to the Plaza de España and the complex in honor of Miguel Cervantes Saavedra the writer of Don Quijote and the elements of Sancho Panza on one side and Dulcinea on the other. The Plaza de Oriente with its marvelous Teatro Real; actually a bit further back in the Plaza de Isabel II.

Not to forget the small quaint medievel Plaza de la Villa off Calle Mayor, this is the govt city hall annex of the city of Madrid. You can see here the Casa Lujanes with its tower, Casa de Cisneros ,and Casa de la Villa where the city hall is located ,with the statue to Alvaro de Bazan, hero of Lepanto amongst others.

Just a wonderful town, a must to see in Europe, the No 2 most visited country in the world according to UN WTO statistics, and well deserved. See it to believe it. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!

As an anecdote while doing this trip, my team the Real Madrid became last night the winner in penalties kicks of the 11th Champions league title, the most in history, the greatest of all time. Hala Madrid !!! for eternity. The French coach Zinadine Zidane became the first Frenchmen to ever won the Champions as player and coach! Real Madrid webpage for reference: https://www.realmadrid.com/en

The city of Madrid tourist officehttps://www.esmadrid.com/en

So now you have it and me updated on my beloved dear Madrid. Looking forward to be back once allowed by the virus. Stay safe you all and again thanks for reading me!

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

November 6, 2020

My nostalgic Madrid!!!

Again, this is my black and white series as I like to call them, revising and updating old posts in my blog for a new life. The pictures are in the individual posts on the things to see. I feel attach to them and need to bring them to the light. What better to do so than on my huge Madrid!!!

Yes, something I need to write about. I lived in Madrid from 1970-1974, there other times other periods, harder times for all. However, my love for the city has not waned in all these years. I am an appreciative person , and remember kindly all the good times of my life. Madrid is a big part of it.

When a young boy I had the inmense luck of playing for the Real Madrid organisation, first in baseball then in football/soccer. Real Madrid has remained my team of my life, Hala Madrid to all!!!  I used to lived at Calle de Alcalà ,331; 2do A, Buzon 67 Madrid 28027, right by the exit of metro line 5 Quintana corner with Calle de la Argentina. Many memories too intense to write all about it. I came from one dictatorship to another, and it was tough. We were dissidents in both right or left, they are not good.

This street or calle de Alcala has 10,5 km long from the Puerta del Sol to the Ave de la Hispanidad,passing by the best of Madrid. Yes, it was and always will be MY street. For those who knows,  I lived in working class Madrid away from tourist center, right in with the locals, and the experience was great, and is each time on the city. Thanks God it has been often after I left it in 1974. Who has not heard of this song Los Nardos from the movie Las Leandras with Rocio Durcal in 1969 “Por la calle de Alcalá…….”

While there, one of my anecdotes tells all was to go play baseball, we went to the field at the Parque de la Elipa, no metro then, just by bus, the P13, it was a glorious ride of youth chasing the girls going to the park as a means of entertainement in those days. (see post). I left Madrid for New Jersey, USA , and then Florida USA, where I spent most of my life. After many years, I try to remember the bus line and had in my mind the P13. However, Madrid and Spain had change since the 70’s , overall for the better. When I got back in 1990 , the bus line was no longer there,and could not find it. Then; one day trying to find information on the general strike in the city I stumbled into a wiki page that talk about a bus line 113. Well to my surprise this bus line 113 is the new number for the P13 after the creation of the Madrid bus system EMT!!! Amazing that I found it, after so many years, now that I know the numbers change, maybe I can have some fun looking up old bus lines while I was living there lol!! The P13 was nice, now the service of the 113 is even larger, and there is even a metro Elipa now there on line 2.  So glad Elipa is advancing, and glad the old P13 is still alive in the 113!

Madrid to heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! Hala Madrid!! We win most often the best football club in history with 13 Champions titles and 34 national titles most than anybody else. Club of the 20C by FIFA and European club of the 20C by IFFHS!!!

But wait a minute, not just my story! Calle de Alcalà has a long history and wonderful things to see along its long way. I love history, so will like to tell you a bit of history I like. Hope you enjoy it.

The street began in the early 15C on the old road to Alcalá de Henares ,and reaching to Aragón,and was call then calle de los  Olivares  (olive trees street) ,the street was started by masons, horseshoe artists, and carriage rentals with mules, and was the beginning of the diligences or people mover in the whole of Spain!! When Madrid became the capital of Spain in 1561, more luxurious mansions and palaces were built on it.

Given way to the Puerta del Sol, until 1856  was the site of the Church and Hospital of  Buen Suceso, founded by king  Carlos I ;later it was the Hotel París, the most elegant of Madrid at that time, and on the bottom floor it was the venerable Café de la Montaña, now all gone. At the corner with the calle de Sevilla, it was La Equitativa insurance company building built between 1882-1891  you see the facade with heads of elephants under the balcony of the first floor  crown with a small tower and clock; in 1920 the Banco Español de Crédito purchase the building.

Continue on and see the old Customs or Aduanas building, and continue to see the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, built in 1724-1725; follow this up with the Casino de Madrid built in 1905-1910  in the old building of the palacio de Villarroel.  See the emblematic building of Madrid, in the corner with Caballero de Gracia,and beginning of the Gran Vía, see the French style palace of Union and Fénix, finished in 1910 . Its cupola a city landmark today ,used to be crowned with a ave fénix  symbolising the old company ,but in 1975, when the new company took over was change to a victoria style statue, this is the company or building  Metrópolis.

Moving right alont on old Madrid, as you crossed the Gran Vía and calle del Marqués de Valdeiglesias, you found the  Casa del Párroco, first building done between 1910-1912,as part of the public works to do the Gran Vía.  Just after you have the old theater or Teatro Apolo,considered a cathedral of the small art, capacity for 2,500 persons and built in 1873. Here was first played the greatest zarzuelas in history such as La verbena de la Paloma (1894), La Revoltosa (1898), and Doña Francisquita (1923). It closed in 1929, after being purchased by the bank Banco de Vizcaya for its headquarters in Madrid.  Going on the sidewalk to the right crossing the calle de Sevilla,you first see a building for the Banco de Bilbao built between 1920-1923.

You follow wandering the street and see the old Education ministry building or Ministerio de Educación, built in  1929 ,and it has a beautiful room or salon de Goya, and a completer gallery of pictures of all its ministries.  Another emblematic building and great for snack and coffee, is the El Círculo de Bellas Artes done in Calle de Alcalà by 1921-1926 You are about to reach Cibeles, and on the right you see the Banco de España built between  1882-1891. Right by the angle to  calle del Barquillo,in a former palace now you find the Instituto Cervantes. Right after at the old palace of Buenavista you now see the Cuartel General del Ejército de Tierra (headquarters of the Army).

You then reach the plaza de Cibeles, done under king Carlos III, with a nice perpective of the Puerta de Alcala. You have here the old Palacio de Linares built in 1873, today the wonderful Casa de América, to the left, and the palacio de Comunicaciones ,(old post office of Spain) today is the seat of the Mayor’s office to the right, built in 1905-1918. On the left sidewalk you see the reopen by 1994 and a different business there (El Secreto del Lobo resto) at the old  Cervecería de Correos, that have the peña or gathering group of  Federico García Lorca, and the Café Lión, with its famous crypt of La Ballena Alegre (happy whale) that have frequent visits by many  great names of Spain such as  Valle-Inclán, Penagos, Bergamín and Francisco Ayala;as well as politicals such as Azaña, Calvo Sotelo , José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and after the Civil War, such as  Dámaso Alonso and Vicente Aleixandre…It closed in 1993. And to the right you see the wonderful gardens Parque del Buen Retiro.

The Puerta de Alcalá, yes we arrive at the grand daddy for me, need to be here always visit by, the Church of San Manuel y San Benito, built in 1911.  The Puerta de Alcala was done under king Carlos III in 1778 by Sabatini. At the entrance to what today is calle de Serrano, an old execution site of the Holy Seat, was the old primitive first bullfight arena of Madrid done in 1799. The current plaza Monumental de Las Ventas,was built in neomudéjar style in 1931. Around it many wonderful bars such as La Tienta, La Divisa, La Monumental, Los Timbales(my all time favorite in the area), El Albero, and Los Tarantos. Awesome and more local away from the Centro!!!

A bit after by metro Quintana you have my hangout when in Madrid at Docamar, since 1963 ,the best patatas bravas in Madrid !!! And the calle de Alcalá continues it crosses the beltway road M-30, and goes across the districts of Ciudad Lineal (Quintana is one neighborhood) and San Blas ,finally ends running parallel to the avenida de América,in the interchange Eisenhower,where the road A-2 (carretera de Barcelona) and road  M-14 (avenida de la Hispanidad to the Aeropuerto Adolfo Suàrez Madrid-Barajas  crossed. And yes, you can link up to the airport or even to France from here. Awesome!!!!

The long link of the city of Madrid on transports:traffic in Spanish: https://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Movilidad-y-transportes/?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextchannel=220e31d3b28fe410VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextoid=220e31d3b28fe410VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD

The much shorter tourist office of Madrid in English: https://www.esmadrid.com/en

The tourist office of the Community of Madrid regional govt in Spanish: https://www.comunidad.madrid/cultura/patrimonio-cultural/conoce-patrimonio

You have the idea, Madrid is awesome and worth every centime/penny to come and see and see it again as there is a world there To Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! Yes!

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

October 17, 2020

Real Madrid CF!

Do I need to say more? This is the ultimate in the history of the game of football/soccer/calcio in the world. I am a proud Madridista! Its been a while, it is time I talk about my other love!

I will be talking about something personal, it is my club since youth years, and needs update in my blog. I think at this moment it would be very opportune to re tell you about it. I lived in Madrid for four years between 1970 to 1974, and played for the Real Madrid in baseball,volleyball ,and football/soccer in the Alavin division. Once a Madridista, always a Madridista to the grave. There is no other team club alike in the history of the game of football/soccer. Hala Madrid!!!!

La Liga (the league as its call in Spain), has been different this year. Due to the virus it was stopped for a while and recently re started.  Last year the Real Madrid won its 34th league title (most in Spain) and arrive to the quarter finals of the Champions league (which we lead with 13 wins). This year we are to a good start even with injured players we are in first place with 10 points in 4 matches. We will be playing the “clasico” game against our eternal rivals on 24 October at 16h away.

I am not going to tell you about the history as plenty in my blog on it so read on.

The official Real Madrid CF webpage in English here: https://www.realmadrid.com/en

My main source of news on the team is from the Spanish sports newspaper AS, which I am reading since 1972! Their page is here and finally in English too: https://en.as.com/

You can see previous games and leyends games at Real Madrid TV here: https://www.realmadrid.com/fr/real-madrid-tv

For shopping Real Madrid official items you have an online store here: https://shop.realmadrid.com/?lang=es

Over the radio my favorite is Cadena SER and the Carrusel Deportivo provides lively themes on the sports , teams, players ,and just gossips. Their webpage here : https://cadenaser.com/programa/carrusel_deportivo/

Another favorite program of Cadena SER is the Larguero, the webpage here: https://cadenaser.com/programa/el_larguero/

However, more than the club this post is on the stadium. The legendary Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Paseo de la Castellana, metro line 10 Santiago Bernabeu is getting a complete facelift.

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The stadium expansion and restructuring project, by 2022, sought to increase the capacity by 8,000 seats, the restructuring of the stands, the complete lining of the stadium by means of a retractable roof, a shopping center and underground parking lots. This overhaul, for a budget of around 500 million euros, includes the installation of a roof, a new metal envelope made of steel strips and a luminous ring-shaped display board, visible 360 degrees from the stands. The club’s museum will be enlarged and new dining and shopping areas will be created. The number of seats in the stadium is not expected to change, around 81,000.

The New Bernabéu will feature access points which will ensure quicker and easier entry, with the towers allowing for a large number of people to access and leave the stadium quicker even on the busiest nights.   The underground carpark, located where the former shopping center La Esquina del Bernabéu  (Bernabeu corner many memories here sad to see it go but modern times are a must) used to be. The carpark will have five levels, two more than the previous one, with 500 parking places including places for the Real Madrid team bus and the visiting team’s bus. The adjacent building which once housed the club offices and Adidas store has been completely demolished. In its place, a new, three-storey office complex will be built – which will extend along the whole of the Calle Padre Damián side of the stadium.

mad TGIF la esquina del bernabeu entrance apr17

One feature of the future stadium that is now visible is the metal structure belonging to the new towers on the Paseo de la Castellana. Equipped with ramps, escalators and lifts, the new towers will replace the current B and C towers and will serve to make the flow of spectators more fluid. They will also serve an architectural purpose, given that they will provide structural support for the new roof.

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You can see the videos of its construction sequence here: https://www.realmadrid.com/en/bernabeu-stadium

Its “socios” (supporters-shareholders), adopted a long-term loan of at least 525 million euros last September. This loan will cost the club around 25 million euros per year and the completed stadium will generate 150 million euros in additional income per year. Real has returned to the top of the ranking of football clubs with the most income in the world, according to the firm Deloitte.

You can get tours of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium info here: https://www.realmadrid.com/tour-bernabeu

You can see the tourist office of Madrid on the Santiago Bernabeu stadium here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/santiago-bernabeu-stadium

And there you have it all on the best in the world! Real Madrid!!! Hala Madrid!!! we say. If you want an experience on football/soccer than come here and see feel enjoy the best! Hope you like the post as I did telling you about it!

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

September 28, 2019

Restaurant: Real Café Bernabeu, Madrid!

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

Well if you have been following my blog, you know I am a lifelong Madridista fan of the Real Madrid CF, the greatest of all time!!!! and of course have written several posts on it in my blog. On every visit to Madrid we cannot missed been at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium and have at least a glass here at the wonderful Real Café Bernabeu. So will be brief on this post::)

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Let me start briefly by showing a couple of my previous posts on the Real Madrid CF and the Real Café Bernabeu and me in Madrid!

My previous post Madrid and the Bernabeu

My previous post Real Madrid CF always on the move

The Real Café Bernabeu restaurant is located on the premises of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium itself and has 1,200 square meters of living space with stunning views from inside to the stadium!

My story this time is we arrive without reservations and my sons were worry not to be allowed in, and the front desk guy asked us if had reservations! I just simply show my Madridista credentials and he yelled back he is one of us!! immediately a table was setup see picture and we had prime view of the stadium again: it goes without saying Real Madrid all the way!!

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In it you will find a bar area, located on the ground floor, with capacity to accommodate 150 people. In it you can have a drink or a soda while listening to good music and enjoy a modern and exclusive atmosphere. And on the first floor (2nd fl US), it has an impressive glass of 80 meters that allows you to see the stands and the pitch, where diners can enjoy this privileged view, while having a cocktail, a snack or enjoying a delicious meal. The Real Café Bernabeu offers a carefully renovated traditional cuisine accompanied by an extensive wine list.   In summer the terrace of Real Café Bernabéu opens from 10h and is one of the best options for a drink in Madrid. There is a valet service.

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Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must lol!

Official unique Real Café Bernabeu site

Official Real Madrid CF site on the Real Cafe Bernabeu

Official tourist office of Madrid on the Real Cafe Bernabeu

And there you go a dandy full throttle place to be chic and sporty sitting with the best is always royal like Real, at the Real Café Bernabeu in the cathedral of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium! Enjoy it

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

 

 

September 2, 2019

Basketball and Real Madrid!

Well on my recent trip to my beloved Madrid i had to bring my boys to the Real Madrid environment that I grew up with. Mind you all my 3 boys follow the team as well and load it up on shirts etc at the official store by Calle del Carmen near Sol!

However, what I seems to missed for them was the basketball side of Real Madrid, almost as good as the football/soccer side.  For the record here is the official webpage on the Basketball section: Official Real Madrid basketball/baloncesto

The team plays in the Liga Endesa as sponsor carries the name or the ACB, that was created in 1983. The team was born in March 22, 1931! I follow the team since the 1970’s at the time of Emiliano Rodriguez, Clifford Luyk, Wayne Brabender, and Juan Antonio Corbalàn! My favorite coaches were Raimundo Saporte,  Pedro Ferrandiz, Lolo Saenz who I keep a personal contact over the years!, and the current one Pablo Laso!

I started watching the games in the early 70’s at the Pabéllon de la Ciudad Deportiva (Sports City) that held games from 1966 to 1986.  Afterward was name the Pabellon Raimundo Soporta. Today there are four buildings towers there name Cuatro Torres business area or CTBA( four towers).For reference these are  the Espace tower at  224 meters; Cristal tower at 249 meters which has a hotel as well, the PwC tower 236 meters ,and the Cepsa tower at 250 meters (highest of Madrid and Spain). More info on the Madrid tourist office here: TOurist office of Madrid on the Cuatro Torres

Later the team move to Palacio Vista Alegre (that was an old bullfight arena) in 2004-2010 where I came to see them many times even with my dear late wife Martine! And now still use for concerts, events etc; more here: Official Palacio de Vista Alegre

madrid

madrid

Finally, the current home is WiZink Center and doing so since 2011! under various names until the current one in 2016. This is at Avenida Felipe II and Plaza Salvador Dali , near metro Goya line 2 and 4 as well as O’Donnell line 6 circular line. Of course, this is a multi use center with many concerts etc but basketball is official home, the schedules are here: Official WiZink center schedules basketball

madrid

Madrid

statue call the Dolmen of Dali

The basketball section has won many titles over the year been on the same level as the football/soccer team; these are:

Winner of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup – Euroleague: 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1995, 2015, 2018 (10).  Winner of ULEB Cup: 2007. Winner of the Saporta Cup: 1984, 1989, 1992, 1997.  Winner of the Korać Cup: 1988. Winner of the Intercontinental Cup: 1976, 1977, 1978, 2015.  Winner of the World Club Championship: 1981
Winner of the Latina Cup: 1952-1953.  Winner of Torneo Internacional ACB: 1984, 1988, 1989.

And on the national level:  Spanish Champion (35): 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019
Winner of the Spanish Cup (27): Under the name Copa del Generalísimo: 1951, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975,
Under the name Copa del Rey, King’s Cup: 1977, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1993, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. And  the Winner of the Spanish Supercup (5): 1985, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018.

There are tournament schedule for Sept 21th and onwards with the official Endesa league starting in Sept 27th vs Badalona. Currently there is the World Basketball Championship in China where Spain is one of the favorites. The Euroleague opens on October 21th vs Fenerbahçe of Turkey. The Supercup of Spain pitting the EuroCup winner Valencia or Montakit Fuenlabrada winner vs Real Madrid regular league Champions is schedule for Sept 21th.

In all, it’s wonderful to be part of this Real Madrid organisation since early teens years and forever; do come on over and see a game while in Madrid!!! Hala Madrid!!! These are new pictures others are spread out in other previous posts!

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

 

 

March 7, 2019

Real Madrid, the greatest club in football/soccer history!

I will be talking about something personal, it is my club since many years, and never updated since my first entry in 2011! until now in my blog. I think at this moment it would be very opportune to re tell you about it. I lived in Madrid for four years between 1970 to 1974, and played for the Real Madrid in baseball,volleyball ,and football/soccer in the alavin division. Once a Madridista, always a Madridista to the grave. There is no other team club alike in the history of the game of football/soccer. Hala Madrid!!!!

Madrid santiago bernabeu sta 07avr10

Madrid

A bit of my life’s story goes like this:  I was just a young kid that was introduced to the organisation by a baseball umpire to play for their junior baseball team (sponsored by the Real Madrid in league of 8 teams which included the old US air base at Torrejon de Ardoz) at the parque de la Elipa, from my home at Calle Alcala, Quintana neighborhood or barrio (district Ciudad Lineal) it was just a bus P13 to it (now EMT bus 113). While there, friends used to go to see the team different sports  played, Ciudad Deportiva (the old one by the paseo de la Castellana now has four skyrises call towers as torre Espacio, torre Repsol, torre de la Mutua and torre Sacyr).

While going to these games, some kids who were already on the different sports organisations and had played football with me in parks like parque Calero and Retiro ,asked me to come to the Ciudad Deportiva installations for a tryout that was open. With the help of my baseball contacts that included member “socios” of the Real Madrid football team I got my first tryouts. Before long, I too, was wearing the white shirt of the football team, and move up from benjamin to alavin status. Those were wonderful memories even if just what is left is memories. Never forget that day in 1972 when I first enter the Real Madrid CF .

Madrid

From then on it has been a love affair whenever I may be living, trying for all means to obtain news of the team, and enjoying every second of my visits to the city from 1977 on to today. I am active in several forums that talks about the team, and go to the stadium often in season to see football and basketball games from Vistalegre to Caja Magica ,Ciudad Deportiva, WiZink Center, Valdebebas to Santiago Bernabeu.

The team , a bit of history. The team was born out of educators who sat around and found a club in 1897 around the Vallecas barrio or neighborhood. Quickly it became more organised by several of the members of the team in 1901 and eventually  Julian Palacios as first President officially  registered the club in 1902 as the Madrid Foot-Ball Club in 1902. By 1920 the king Alfonso XIII give it the royal rank of Real or royal as he was a follower too ::) ,and honorary member =socio. From June 1920 it became the Real Madrid CF that we know today. The team participated in the first Spanish league organised in 1929 finishing in second place.  The first league came on this period in the 1931-32 season, the first title !

The greatest period came after the war when on September 15 , 1943 when ex player and ex coach ,Santiago Bernabeu was named President of the club. After organising an international tournament in Colombia in 1952, they saw what was in 1953 their greatest signing that of Alfredo Di Stefano( Argentina) , considered by many the world’s greatest player , as well as the Spanish Francisco “paco” Gento from Santander and the league championship came back to the Real Madrid in the 1953-54 season.  Also, little refugee Ferenc Puskas of Hungary having left his country after the Soviet invation and took refuge in Spain where he signed for the club. They were the start of an amazing run of Five European Cups in a row (record) .  With player like Amancio and Velazquez the club again wins the European Cup in 1966 while continuing to pile up Ligas and Cups at home, these were the Ye-Ye years . The sad news came in June 2nd 1978 with the passing of Don Santiago Bernabeu, the greatest president ever, and today the stadium bears his name as well as the metro stop to it on line 10.

The team follow with the 80’s “la Quinta del Buitre” nickname given to Emilio Butragueño as well as Mexican Hugo Sanchez (Hugol), and many more Ligas however no European Cup. The team from the farm system delighed many and remains one of the most popular periods in the club history even without winning an European championship.  The team continue to wins Ligas in the 90’s with the incorporation of perennial and crowd favorite Raul Gonzalez Blanco, probably the best player ever from the farm system. Finally in 1998  the team came back to win again its trophy , the European Cup now call Champions league. In 1999 the great coach and former player Vicente del Bosque arrive promoting to the first team the legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas ,and with it winning again the Champions league in 2000.

With the election of 2000, a new president came into being the entrepreneur Florentino Perez, (those who follow me know he is not of my liking possibly guilty of the lack of titles of the club in the last few years) ;this was the so call Galactic era, where millionaires dotting shorts and representing the Real Madrid razzle dazzle the world without any title in Europe but huge paychecks from uncle Florentino. Ligas were won but not sufficient due to the expenditures made and another Champions league was won in 2002 with player like Figo, Zidane,Ronaldo, and Beckham. The chosen succesor made it look like an election was Ramon Calderon who created many administrative problems for the club,and was made to resigned in 2009. Ironically , it was Florentino Perez who replaced him single handily without opposition due to no changes in the club by laws where the rich wins, and the second Galactic era began with signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, the signing from England of Spaniard Xabi Alonso and from France Karim Benzema all very expensive contracts and no titles as I write. Me think, time for president Florentino Perez to open elections and retire, too many years there is beginning to look like a dictatorship!

The story continues with the coming of Cristiano Ronaldo already the club all time goal scorer with 451 goals. Also, the signing of former player Zinedine Zidane was awesome. The French coach and the Portuguese player team up to bring us the amazing record of 3 Champions league in a row, never before seen or done!!!  And we are en route to name again the Greatest Club of the 21C having won more league and champions title than any, regardless of the crybabies out there; we won FIFA Best Club of the 20C and the IFHHS European Best club of the 20C as well!!!

Nevertheless, the club is the most winning club in the history of the sport in Spain and abroad regardless of the so call media frenzy of popular teams with a lot less history due to ever increasing publicity and media manipulation.  The Santiago Bernabeu stadium was built in 1947, with a capacity of  80 354 spectators today. The new sport city or  Ciudad Deportiva is today at Valdebebas just outside Madrid and the basketball arena  is now at the WiZink Center in Madrid.

The club has participated in all seasons of Spanish first division football, and has won 33 Ligas, by far the most. The player who has obtained the most titles with the club are Francisco Gento and Manuel Sanchis with 21 titles, and the player with most games is Raul Gonzalez Blanco with 741 games.

Madrid

These are the domestic club titles:

Spanish Liga (33): 1931/32, 1932/33, 1953/54, 1954/55,1956/57, 1957/58, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1962/63, 1963/64, 1964/65, 1966/67, 1967/68, 1968/69, 1971/72, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1994/95, 1996/97, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2011-2012, and 2016-2017.

Copa del Rey or Kings Cup  (19): 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1917, 1934, 1936, 1946, 1947, 1962, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1993, 2010-2011, and 2013-2014

Super Cup of Spain (10): 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2017. League Cup (1): 1985. Eva Duarte Cup (1):1947. Regional Championships and Community trophies (28) 1904/05, 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1909/10, 1912/13, 1915/16, 1916/17, 1917/18, 1919/20, 1921/22,1922/23,1923/24, 1926/26, 1927/28 ,1929/30,1930/31, 1932/33, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36, and 1943. vice Champion of the Liga  (23): 1928/29, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36, 1941/42, 1944/45, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1965/66, 1980/81, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1998/99, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2012-2013, 2014-2015, 2015-2016.  vice Champions of the Kings Cup (20): 1903, 1916, 1918, 1924, 1929,1930,1933,1940,1943,1958, 1959/60, 1960/61,1967/68,1978/79 ,1982/83,1989/90, 1991/92,2001/02,2003/04.2012/13. vice Champion Super Cup of Spain (3): 1982, 1995, 2007. vice Champion League Cup  (1): 1983

International done just the same as good thank you;

Champions League  (13): 1955-56, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1965-66, 1997-98, 1999-00, 2001-02. 2013-2014, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-18.

madrid

UEFA Cup (2): 1984/85, 1985/86.

Super Cup of Europe (4): 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017.

Intercontinental Cup , later World Club Cup (7): 1960,1998,2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018.

Ibero American Cup  (1): 1994. Latin Cup(2): 1955, 1957. Club Small World Cup  (2): 1952, 1956.  vice Champion Champions league UEFA  (3): 1961-62, 1963-64, 1980-81. vice Champion European Cup of Cups  (2): 1971,1983. vice Champion Intercontinental Cup  (2): 1966,2000. vice Champion Super Cup of Europe  (2): 1998, 2000.

Madrid

The team has an inmense farm system or Cantera, that allows to maintain teams in many divisions and with excellent championship records as well such as Real Madrid-Castilla, and Real Madrid C team. It ,also has an excellent basketball section with 9 times champions of Europe.

some links of interest below:

The official club webpage  Real Madrid CF

if you want to be part of the family, then become a Madridista here  : Real Madrid fan Club Madridistas

if you want to shop online or find the store in Madrid webpage :  Real Madrid boutiques , for on site stores there is the stadium store on avenida Concha Espina puerta or door 55 or the calle Carmen 3 near Sol in city center,metro sol.

Madrid

if you want to buy ticket onlines ahead of games and pick up yours at the stadium, very easy then see this  : Ticketmaster

madrid

if you want to discuss in Spanish the latest trends in Spanish football and especially the Real Madrid join me in this forum Foro Real Madrid at webpage: Foro del Real Madrid fans forum

For the best sport journal ,in Spain in my opinion, and extensive coverage of football see AS at  Sport journal AS in English with various language and country version , I have it in English.

As the song says, nobody does it better!! Of course, we are human we lose too but overall we are simply the best! We will be back!! Always do always will. Just stay tune! Real Madrid CF forever Hala Madrid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Madrid

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

July 31, 2018

La Liga, Real Madrid, and football is on 2018-2019 season!

This is something would like to write more, but for some reason let it lagged behind. My passion for football/soccer/calcio is huge. I am the one who yelled screamed and sing/dance even in bars when the games of my beloved team is on. Therefore, on a sunny day in my Morbihan Breton, let me tell you more about one of my passions.

I have written before several blog posts on the sport and my team, and La Liga (the league as its call in Spain).  I think you will have plenty to read on the history ,the passion, and the game as well as Madrid above.

Let me tell you a bit more about the League or Liga for this coming season 2018-2019. And why not start with the official webpage for it in English: La Liga

Just saying,the Liga starts officially August 19th 2018 with teams matches/games.  However, before on August 15th will be the first official match for championships as the UEFA Champions league Real Madrid, will face the Europa League Champions Atletico de Madrid at Lillekûla Stadium , Tallinn, Estonia

Our first Liga game will be against our neighbors to the south Getafe schedule tentatively for August 18-19th.

Before,all this, there will be Summer games in the FIFA International Champions Cup, in the heat with players just not even ready as they came from playing in the World Cup but FIFA imposed for money in my opinion. This tournament many times is played with mixed teams sometimes the C third string players! This is the case already with some of the teams starting their ICC like the PSG of Paris(losing to Bayern Munich).

The games for Real Madrid will be August 1st vs Manchester United at Hard Rock Stadium , Miami FL USA ,August 5th vs Juventus of Turin, Fedex Field, Landover, MD USA, August 8th vs AS Roma at Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ USA.

The Spanish championship of the First division  between 1928 and 2008,  then Liga BBVA from 2008 to 2016 and La Liga Santander since 2016 . The antechamber of this division is the Spanish Second Division Championship.  According to the UEFA coefficient for classifying the European National Championships, the Spanish First Division or Liga Santander  is the best national Football League in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

At the end of the season, the first four in the standings qualify for the UEFA Champions League, the fourth first  go through the preliminary round of this competition. The fifth and sixth are qualified for the Europa League. Another qualifying place for the Europa League will be guaranteed to the winner of the King’s Cup (Copa del Rey).

Madrid

For the season 2018-2019 in Europe the Liga will have in the Champions league competition,the Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Atletico de Madrid. In the Europa League it will have Betis, Sevilla,and Villarreal.

The latest  UEFA coeffficient ranking of Spanish clubs has the Real Madrid 158, Atletico de Madrid 135, Barcelona 132, Sevilla 113, Villarreal 52, Atletico Bilbao 46, and Real Sociedad 15,5.

A bit of history I like.

Before 1928, the only Spanish event of national character was the Copa del Rey (Kings Cup or Spain Cup). The idea of a national championship is set out as early as April 1927, this competition finally received the approval of the Spanish Federation on 23 November 1928. In order to constitute the first First Division (Primera División) in history, some formations are automatic inserted because of their past results: Athletic Bilbao, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Real Unión de Irun, Espanyol Barcelona, CD Europe Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid.  A playoff tournament involving ten clubs is set up to designate the tenth and last member of the First Division. Real Racing Santander wins  the final on the occasion of this tournament against Sevilla FC. The first day of the First Division championship takes place on February 10, 1929. The First Division remained at ten clubs until 1934, and then passed to 12 clubs. The Spanish Civil War puts football on the back burner between 1936 and 1939, the date of the championship resumption, which starts with 12 clubs. 14 clubs in 1941, 16 in 1950, 18 in 1971 and 20 from 1987. The 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 seasons compete exceptionally at 22 clubs due to the recourse of clubs not wanting to be administratively relegated to 2 ª B division.

63 clubs have played in the First Division of the Spanish Championship but only 3 have remained in the first division since the start of the competition: Athletic Bilbao, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. These three clubs and the Osasuna are the only ones , which continue to be sports entities owned by their subscribers (Socios) and not anonymous companies whose owners are the shareholders.

The oldest stadium in which a First division team plays is El Molinón inaugurated in 1908 in which the Sporting of Gijón plays.  The most titled player is the Spanish Francisco Gento with 12 championships. The most titled Coach is Miguel Muñoz (9), both of Real Madrid.

The teams with the most titles in La Liga historically are: Real Madrid (my team forever) 33 titles, Barcelona 25, Atletico de Madrid 10, Athletic Bilbao 8, Valencia 6, Real Sociedad (San Sebastian), 2, Real Betis(Sevilla) 1, Sevilla 1, Deportivo La Coruna 1.

The titles in Europe are :

Champions league, Real Madrid 13, Barcelona  5. Super Cup UEFA (Europe) Barcelona 5, Real Madrid 4, Valencia 2, Atletico de Madrid 2, Sevilla 1

Europa League (UEFA)  Sevilla 5, Atletico de Madrid 3, Real Madrid 2, Valencia 1.

Intercontinental Cup/ World Cup Clubs:  Real Madrid 6, Barcelona 3, Atletico de Madrid 1.

The Season 2018-2019 will be the 88th edition of the Spanish Football Championship. It will have the best 20 clubs of Spain playing in 38 games more or less weekly. Real Madrid goes in with an estimated budget of 900M€ tops new Coach Julen Lopetegui(former National team of Spain coach), playing since 1947 at the famous historical Santiago Bernabéu stadium with official capacity of  81 044 persons.

MAdrid

And I ,of course, can’t wait for it to start. The highlight of the year and the talk of the house. The team this year is a question mark with a new controversial hiring coach, the lost of key players that should remain nameless as no longer with us (thank you for the past services), and not much hiring of importance yet. Wait and see situation,which hopefully will peak by the time Champions league begins ::)

Stay tune plenty of choices to watch it on many channels on many networks and plenty of different languages. Enjoy La Liga !!!

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

July 22, 2018

Cibeles and Alcalà one two punch in Calle Alcalà of Madrid!

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

I have written pieces of it in other blog posts, but none that I can read were just on them. These are the main symbols of Madrid in my opinion, but maybe I am biased as they were and are my home. I lived not far from them and past them every day back then, and at every occasion passing by Madrid now even in summer vacations.

I am talking of the Plaza de Cibeles and it’s fountain of same name as well as the Puerta de Alcalà gate.

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

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

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

Madrid

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

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

Madrid

Madrid

Madrid

There is the building of the Banco de España or Bank of Spain with long facades along the Calle de Alcalà and Paseo del Prado, housing since 1981 the principal seat of the Bank of Spain.

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

MAdrid Madrid

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

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/fuente-de-la-cibeles

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-alcala

Hope it helps enjoy this wonderful area of Madrid, the Retiro park is just around the corner too.

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

May 26, 2018

Some news from Spain LXII

And I am back to my beloved Spain. The weather has been nice even if today is a bit cloudy in my neck of the woods; at my gorgeous Madrid is the same cloudy at 13C or about 55F now before noon. There is lots on Spain to catch up from my last post.

This is always a great event we love, the book fair in Madrid or the La Feria del Libro de Madrid starts today and runs until Sunday June 10; this is the 77th edition and will have 363 stands and almost 5000 houses of printing as well as Romania as the country of honor.  It is at the magnificent Retiro park or Parque del Retiro,exactly by the road of Paseo del Duque de Fernán Núñez, locally known as the carriages promenade. You need to check the hours as many writers will be there to sign autographs and explain their books to you. Normally the stands are open Mondays to Fridays from 11h to 14h and then 18h to 21h30; Saturdays and Sundays and holidays will be open from 11h to 15h and then 17h to 21h30. more info here in Spanish of course: La Feria del Libro de Madrid

Something as an example. The Victoria & Albert museum of London will lent to the Generalitat region of Valencia the retable of St George  also known here as the lead centenial or Centenar de la Ploma, 15C. This is been thought over by the London museum as there is many proofs of works of art taken from museums such as the offer of Ethiopia to lent several pieces of jewerly taken by the British in the battle of Madgada of 1868. The list is long unfortunately of claims against  British museums such as the marble of the Pantheon of Athens taken by Lord Elgin and sold to the British museum, and treasures taken from Benin kept at the same museum. The real property owners of these works of arts sometimes are shown in museum coming from dubious sources , the practice needs to stop, just keep what is rightfully yours. There are 17 portraits conforming this retable shown in room 48B where you can see St George fighting the dragon and king James I against a muslim in the battle of Puig of 1237 ,that was decisive in the taken of Valencia the following year. The order that kept this retable was abolished in 1711, and ruin lost the work without trace until it shows up in Paris in 1864, some of the portraits have been destroyed by wars, from here it went to London again without explanation ,and still is there.

Let me tell you about a wonderful city of Spain, this is Salamanca. It is the province with the most bravo bulls of Lidia in Spain, and the most famous farms such as Garcigrande to  Puerto de San Lorenzo, Montalvo, Valdefresno , and  El Pilar. About 14 farms belongs to the Route of the Brave Bull or Ruta del Toro Bravo; many are open to the public and shown a tour from birth to fighting in an arena. They are tested in a corral to see their strenght and resistance even if on the field we still do not know how the bull is going to react in front of the bullfighter/torero. In the plaza is where they are tested to see the real virtuals of the bull, the best showing will be May 31 2018 in the Corrida de las 6 Naciones or 6 nations bullfights at the memorable Las Ventas monumental of Madrid.

The area above is wonderful to ride in a car and you can see beautiful places like the San Martín del Castañar, one of the best towns in the area as it belongs to the wine route or Ruta del Vino Sierra de Francia. Another is  Villanueva del Conde, where you have the Bodega Cámbrico offering tastings and visit to centenary grape growing areas at 600-1000 meters of altitude; all in the D.O.P. Sierra de Salamanca, the denominacion de origines protegido smallest in Spain! that already had score 91 points in the famous Spanish wine guide Guia Penin. You continue onto  Sequeros, and see the nice lookout or mirador de La Cruz to see the wonderful ranges of the Sierra de Béjar. Do not miss the small Church of El Robledo,with relics from  Simón Vela, discover of the image of the Virgen de la Peña de Francia,and the Saintly Lady that guide him to the find.  Then, you are in Mogarraz a sierra mountain jewel to taste some of the local dishes like the Serrano lemon; even if best known for the portraits of local people hanging from their houses painted by Florencio Maíllo,a local artist.  Now you got the picture the mountain valley range of  the  Sierra de Francia  is a world to discover. Some of the bull places that we like are the  Puerto de San Lorenzo   Puerto San Lorenzo bulls, and  El Pilar   El Pilar bulls.   The wines  Ruta del Vino Sierra de Francia

Sierra de Francia tourist page in Spanish: Sierra de France tourism  and the Salamanca tourist office in Spanish: Tourism of Salamanca

If you happened to past by the province of Teruel in the region of Aragon, you will see many wonders of the off the beaten path of my Spain, and by all means stop in Teruel and nearby cities such as the beautiful Albarracin (where I past each of the last two years to my vacations in Spain). This is by many ,the most beautiful town in the province and one of the most spectacular of Spain; as well as a starting point for the mountains.  You have more information  in Spanish: Sierra de Albarracin

Another wonderful town is Calanda famous for its drums festival during Holy Week and where the famous film director Luis Bunuel was born. Now there is a museum in a nice mansion Casa Fortón-Cascajares, a very nice home indeed. More on him and the museum here in Spanish: Luis Bunuel at Calanda

Mirambel is a fortified town that is worth a detour to visit the architectural heritage interpretation of the area or Centro de Interpretación del Patrimonio Arquitectónico del Maestrazgo with many things to do it with it. More info in Spanish here Maestrazgo

Do visit the mines of the Cuencas Mineras de Teruel nothing comes close comparable to this old lignite mine that you can descend to 200 meters deep. More information  in Spanish: Cuencas Mineras

The pretty town of Rubielos de Mora, at about 50 km from Teruel to have it enjoyed by the lovers of the abstract art from the second half of the 20C is an obligatory stop; there is a museum in the former Hospital of Gracia dedicated to the work of Salvador Victoria. More information  in Spanish: Rubielos de Mora museum

And if you are lof ike me into castles then in the Province of Teruel you have plenty but one in particular is very nice and off the beaten path in the municipality of Jiloca in the town of Peracense, right on a rock is the castle of Peracense. More in Spanish here: Castle of Peracense

You have two ways or roads in the province of Teruel that are part of the way of St James coming from the lower Aragon and starting at Sagunto. You, also, should know this is part of the road or way of El Cid or  Camino del Cid, that includes 21 towns all with the safeconduct of the way to the pilgrims that try this experience. More information on the Way of El Cid and especifically my route in English here  Camino del Cid Teruel

There is an interesting town of Matarrana to see vultures or the buitres of Valderrobres where you can even stay nearby to see the experience up close. These are rapasse birds indeed beautiful to see,at a distance… More here in English: Buitres de Valderrobres

And to end but not least visit San Antonio in Calaceite, the most iberian town best preserved in Spain where you can see the museum or Museo Juan Cabré  that takes you into the pre roman period in this part of Aragon. More here in Spanish: Museo Juan Cabré at Calaceite

Talking about the Malaga Painter. He visited the Prado museum for the first time when he was 13 yrs old and copy some of the works there such as the boy from Vallecas etc works by Velàzquez ,Goya,and El Greco. As shown by his 58 versions of the Las Meninas portrait. The fine arts circle or Circulo de Bellas Artes of Madrid is proposing a trip for these marvelous examples of the master where he found the inspiration for his work. He found the excuse of been in the Louvre to get lost for hours in its rooms like a hunting dog according to accounts of the times. Paris was the city that gave him the opportunity to encounter the Olympia of Manet with the great Odalisque of Ingrés together with others that cherished it like Courbet or Delacroix, of which portrait women of the angels also made into more than 10 versions. All this is shown in the Círculo de Bellas Artes with about 200 works including portraits done by his muse and second wife Jacqueline Roque, of which the painter drew on a pigeon in his home with chalk and giving her a rose every day  until finally she went out with him 6 months later.  Oh yes forgot, I am talking about Pablo Picasso;and here is more in Spanish: expo Picasso and the museum

Another great exposition in Madrid. You know about the Dadistes and later Surrealists inventing a new world, as they broke with the past. They created one of the most creative revolutions in history and today proof of that arrives to Madrid from Jerusalem and the Museum of Israel. See the exposition Duchamp, Magritte, Dalí. Revolucionarios del siglo XX.  Open in the Palacio de Gaviria  until mid July 2018 with works from the masters such as Duchamp, Magritte, Dalí, Ernst, Tanguy, Man Ray, Picabia, Calder, Schwitters, Höch, Blumenfeld, Janco, and others. Innovating genious that will have a retrospective of more than 200 works such as the precision and color of  Picabia in Music is Like Painting (1916), The Dream of Venus (1939), of Salvador Dalí and Horst P. Horst;  the philosophical experience of Goethe and the Metamorphosis of Plants (1940), by  André Masson, and the liences of Joan Miró from the serie of  Women and Birds (1940) are just some of the work on display. The gigantic rock crown by a castle in the middle of an ocean of which Magritte tried to ask for the mysterious and apparently impossible. The castle of the Pyrenees  (1959), is one of them.  Next is the Surrealist essay  (1934), by Dalí; Main Ray (1935),by Man Ray.  All brilliant discoveries of the these revolutionary arts from the 20C. It will be on display until July 15 2018. More here in English: Revolutionaries at the palacio de Gaviria

And the biggest event is tomorrow night the Champions league of Europe at Kiev. Shown live in my neck of the woods from 20h45. It is estimated about 17000 fans will be there from Madrid fans of all over (wish could be there!!!)to see the final between our beloved Real Madrid vs Liverpool. It will be held at the Olympic stadium in the city center of Kiev. The city has a good public transport network of metro and very inexpensive about 16 cents Euro. the closest stations to the stadium are Olimpiiska and Palats Sports, which lines connects with all the main sights in town to see from a tourist point of view. There will be a Fan Zone of Real Madrid located in the square or Palats Ukraine, next to the palace of national arts of Ukraine  just about 20 minutes on foot from the stadium.  There will be entertainment until the start of the match.  There is also, the Festival UEFA Champions, located on the main street of the city ,the  Khreshchatyk, next to the shopping center Tsum Kyiv, with entertainement , music bands, DJ’s , autographs by ex players and to take a photo with the Champions Cup for free. More official info in English here: Champions Real Madrid

Champions league final details

And as we are on the festive mood of football/soccer why not a good Spanish wine. The Bodegas Franco-Españolas, DOC Rioja  is an old winery of 127 years of history guarded by the third generation of the family Eguizábal. It has had a revival thanks to its line of reds Bordón starting in 2017  with sales of 5M bottles in the year and 65%  domestic and 35% exports with USA, Canada, UK, Germany, and Denmark the most buyers. Lately ,going into the white wine line with Diamante, white Rioja that had origins in the 19C and now a new name 100% Verdejo grape of the  DO Rueda. More in English here: Bodegas Franco Espanolas

Another dandy just had recently, is from Bodegas Roda, la Rioja bottle of RODA I Red tempranillo grape 90% and , Graciano (10%) with an alcohol level of 14.5% very well score of 17 sur 20  and general  price of 40€. It is of black fruit, fine leather, canelle on the nose, vigorous but silky, very tasty, still young in its tannins but not strong, it can be kept long to 2028. More info on the house and wine in Spanish here:  bodega Roda

There you go on my Spain, hope you enjoy the news of my Spain. Like, I said, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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