Archive for ‘Spain’

October 15, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVIII

And on a cloudy rainy day in my neck of the woods and heavy rains flooding from Portugal over to Spain and into southern France , I like to give you an update on things of my beloved Spain.

Just recently back from another wonderful trip into Spain, specifically Barcelona. This is the time to tell you a bit about the latest from the land of the Sun.

It was in 1957 when the Winter Theater of Broadway saw the birth of a New York version of the classic of William Shakespeare with stroke of dance, blood, passion and colorful dresses of the fifties. There was a total of 732 functions and was the starting point for an ambitious tour of the United States until 1960. During its sixty years of life, the eternal musical has been able to be seen uninterruptedly in scenarios from all over the world. In 1961 ‘ West Side Story ‘ became a film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, a hurricane that swept the popular culture and broke Oscars ‘ records for a musical film. Now ‘ West Side story ‘ rises proudly back on the charts, because the story of Tony and Mary has passed generations and hearts. At the Teatro Calderón in Madrid, the protagonists of the musical are beaten to death and are madly wanted. The Sharks and Jets have landed in our country, for the first time in a Spanish version, and the urban Romeo and Juliet continue to die of love 61 years later. Teatro Caldéron Madrid

One sad news:

The painter Eduardo Arroyo has died this past Sunday in Madrid at 81 years. Besides being a painter, he was a draughtsman, engraver, sculptor and scenographer, as well as one of the most outstanding members of the ‘ Nouvelle figuration ‘ (narrative figuration). Arroyo represents the continuity of an artist identity that generated the avant-garde in the 1930s, and whose configuration is contributed by Spanish artists like Picasso and Miró. Born in Madrid in 1937, he was educated in the Spanish capital during the postwar period and lived in exile in France during the Franco dictatorship until he decided to return to Spain in 1976, with the advent of democracy, which meant that his work could only be seen with normality in Spain from 1980. It has received a good number of distinctions, among which one can highlight the National Prize of Plastic Arts of the Ministry of Culture, in 1982, or the Gold Medal of Merit in the fine arts, in 2000. He was also appointed in 1983 ;Knight of the Arts and letters by the Government of France. More on him hereBiography and works of Eduardo Arroyo

One of the great one opera classical singers of all time. Montserrat Caballé, with its full name María de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé i Folch, is a Spanish soprano born on 12 April 1933 in Barcelona and died on 6 October 2018 in the same city. Dubbed La Superba (the superb) because of her technique, her length of breath, the amplitude and nuances of her voice (especially her pianissimi), she is famous for her interpretations of the bel canto repertoire, including the roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Montserrat Caballé, claimed increasingly excited his cosmopolitanism and loaded hard against the Catalan independence:  “I need to say this, I am from the United Nations since 1988 and we have been taught the coexistence. The peoples of the world have to be united. We can’t make chains, chains are for slavery. Human chains are for separating. Chains can be iron, gold, silver, but they have to be good chains. They don’t have to be chains that separate and humiliate. It has been said that there have been a million and a half people in the streets, where were the 7 million remaining?. When you are lucky enough to travel around the world, as it has happened to me, and you know so many people and so many different peoples you realize that hostilities do not work. I have been an ambassador of Spain as all singers. And as I was taught in the United Nations, by the Union of people and Peoples. Whoever puts chains hurts me, removes all the rest, sends them out. I am very happy to be born in Barcelona, to have married a Aragonese, that my mother was from Valencia and that my children have studied in Spain. ” Amen RIP Grande de Espana!!! A bit more on Caballé: Billboard magazine on Caballé

The farewell of torero Juan José Padilla Bernal contained a barbaric emotion. He was born at Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) May 23 1973. The farewell in the ring where he lost his eye and was born again, where the legend was hatched, had become an event. The popular hero of the Buccaneer flags, the bullfighter of the seven lives and forty of them, the man of steel reconstructed with titanium replacements, put the end to 25 years of wars with blood and fire. The storm unleashed on the Plaza de la Misericordia (square of mercy) at the time of the bullfight was added to the climate of overflowing expectation. The thunderous storm seemed to be muted before the deafening ovation that caused its appearance. The closed deck amplified the rumble. Unbraided the Paseíllo, the cyclone ascended as an exhalation to the box  his fans to give them a cloak of stroll. Thank you, thank you, and a thousand times. God then wanted to reward Juan José Padilla with a bull for eternity. Tortolito was called the Cuvillo of farewell. The joy, the fixity, the son, the rhythm, the category and the quality of the supreme bravery. What a way to ram. Padilla flag pole rushing his faculties to the train that was coming to him. Excitement above the marksmanship. And he gave his children, his wife, his family, the beam and the engine of the resurrection. Tortolito responded to all the proposals. The ecstasies seized the tenders. Waving the flags of the skull and the tibias; The pirate passed his badge savoring the moment. And he kissed kneeling the sand that saw him die and resurface.It was his farewell,  Sunday, October 14, 2018 at the Plaza de la Misericordia during the Virgin of Pilar Fair in  Zaragoza. Farewell warrior! More in Spanish here: ABC newspaper on Padilla

A new show specially designed for the Florida Retiro , in which actor and comedian Alex O’Dogherty will be the master of ceremonies. In Dinner Show format, other artists will succeed the main star during the following months so that the evening in which one day was the most popular party room in Madrid do not stop surprising. Beyond the stage, the gastronomic proposal created by Michelin star chef Iván Sardinia will consist of this new stage in a composition of dishes full of souvenirs and nuances with the dessert , and the show The earring lost by Lola Flores”  as a golden touch. Located inside Retiro park at calle Republic of Panama S/N. Timetables: from 20h30 to 0h2. Pandora Party on Thursday from 01h30 to 06h . Prices: Dinner and Show: 85€.My old stumping ground in another era came here for youthful dances lol!!!More info here: Florida Retiro

And now let me give you some insight into the Madrid I love and some off the beaten path ideas. Remember I used to lived in the city and visit every year for upteens times. From Madrid to heaven in a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!

With the calle Rompelanzas, this one is one of the shortest street  in the historic quarter. It is, rather, of a passage, which Roman innkeeper described as a “petty alley “ that with the pompous name of Calle de Madrid runs behind the backs of the city hall house. Now we see it much more picturesque, by the renovations of the area and the elevated passageway with which connected the houses of Cisneros and the Villa by the Plaza de la Villa. Once here, do not miss the opportunity to walk the quiet alleys, squares and gardens hidden around. From the square the street comes out , plaza de la Villa: Tourist office of Madrid on Plaza de la Villa

Calle de la Escalerilla de Piedra (Street of the stone ladder). You can see in the Plaza Mayor, in the upper part of the stairs of the Arco de Cuchilleros, has been protagonist of stories, legends and novels. Here the pulpit came to the tavern, where bandits and conspirators were allegedly gathering. By this place began one of the great fires of the square in August of 1790. The stories said that from this outgoing Friar Antonio, from the Convent of San Gil, encouraged the locals to the uprising in May 1808, against the French invading forces, originating the war of independence. And, in case all this was not enough, around here you enter the house where Benito Pérez Galdós located the home of Fortunata! The square from where it comes from Plaza Mayor: Tourist office of Madrid on Plaza Mayor

As a curiosity, you can go to see the famous ahuehuete tree of the Parterre (Taxodium mucronatum), protected as a singular tree and considered the longest in the city, with an approximate age of more than 360 years.  Located in a French-style garden in the western part of Retiro Park, very close to the Puerta of Felipe IV that leads to Calle Alfonso XII, this specimen-25 meters high and 5.50 meters of perimeter in its trunk-may have been the first to be planted when built the palace of Buen Retiro (that gave the name to the park/gardens), although some say it was later. A description of Retiro Park: Tourist office of Madrid on Retiro park

The various shields (escudos) that Madrid has had over the course of different eras can be seen by numerous buildings, streets or fountains of the city. The oldest that is preserved in stone is the one that is at the height of the number 21 of the Calle Segovia. It is a reconstruction of one of the 16C made in the 17C. The bear perhaps, the tree-which some say is not a strawberry, and the Royal Crown appear here in a part of the façade that was preserved from the old house of the Pastor demolished in 1988, which became the headquarters of the Transhumane Council of Madrid and Toledo , and that today is integrated into the side of a modern building. As an anecdote, you may recognize the place in the scenes of some films, such as “Los Amantes Pasajeros “(Lovers Passengers) 2012, by Pedro Almodóvar. Once here, go up the stairs and reach the Castiza statue of the Violet, in the gardens of Las Vistillas, a pleasant place to contemplate, as its name suggests, the excellent views towards the Manzanares River, the country house and the Cathedral. Now, see when you go, because its usual tranquility gives way to multitudinous concerts and dances during the Fiestas de La Paloma, in August, or San Isidro, May 15..My favorite Verbena of Madrid , Fiestas de La Paloma virgin. More on the fairs here: Fairs verbenas zarzuelas of August in Madrid

Madrid is one of the few cities in the world that has two twin monuments. To see them you have to go to the district of Moncloa-Aravaca, at the height of the Puente de la Reina (Queen’s bridge). The hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida was built between 1792 and 1798 following the order of king Carlos V. The temple, one of those dedicated to San Antonio de Padua, is very simple, neoclassical, with a Greek cross plant and a dome with lanterns. Inside, surprise the frescoes painted by Francisco de Goya, where characters are dressed as Majos (nice looking boys) and Chisperos (low class boys). To preserve the paintings, between 1925 and 1928 rose an identical Church next to serve for the cult, leaving the first as a memorial museum and Pantheon, because there rest the remains of the Aragonese painter since its transfered in 1919. A tradition: In its surroundings, by La Bombilla, it is celebrated, every 13th of June, the verbena of San Antonio, with the collection of muffins of the saint so that ‘ do not miss bread during the year ‘ and the ritual of the pins with which the  potentially marriage age girls  continue the custom of the Modistillas (dressmaker) of the 19C. More on the hermitage here: Tourist office of Madrid on San Antonio de la Florida

At present, the water of Madrid is the responsibility of the Canal of Isabel II, but years ago, this was facilitated through public sources, like that of Fuente del Berro although it belonged to the Crown-, born with the Vera of the Abroñigal Brook. Protagonist of Zarzuelas, this pipe is one of the aquifers with greater tradition and fame in the city. If you come to the district of Salamanca, go through the historic garden of the Quinta de la Fuente del Berro and, among great specimens of trees, you can still find a sewer cover that leads to the galleries of your watersource, closed in 1977. Head to the Park and you will see the source of the Fuente del Berro outside, next to one of the entrances, on Calle Peñascales , an old mansion, a Becquer’s monument, a statue of Pushkin, a couple of small ponds and a waterfall.! More on the Berro fountain here: Tourist office of Madrid on Fuente del Berro

Traditionally it is considered ‘ patron of the people of Madrid ‘ (and the firefighters) to the Virgen de la Paloma. Its festivities, around August 15th, are the most traditional and were reflected in the zarzuela la verbena de la Paloma. (Again see above my favorite of all times) .Its parish, with a curious baptismal font of immersion, is of mudejar style with Gothic elements, and is located in the small and collected square of the same name, next to the Puerta de Toledo, in the district of La Latina. Very close, by Calle Toledo , we arrived at the Collegiate Church of San  Isidro, in number 37, a temple representative of the religious architecture of the 17C in Madrid built according to the design of the architect Pedro Sánchez. In which it was a provisional Cathedral, from 1885 to 1993(when Almudena was completed), the mortal remains of the patron Saint of Madrid, San Isidro, and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza, are guarded. From there, you can also explore the squares and gardens of the center and visit some of the city’s oldest churches: St. Nicholas with a 12C Mudejar tower, San Pedro el Viejo and San Andrés. As more in the fiestas of August link above you find here on the Collegiate Church of San Isidro: Tourist office of Madrid on the Collegiate Church of San Isidro

And to finish the tour, with an ecological gem. A place outside the walls that opened its doors to the public in November 2016. The chosen point is the Holm oak with more than 300 years in the Quinta de Torres Arias,(an old farm of aride towers) where it is possible to forget the world under the huge shade of its great cup. With access from Calle Alcalá, no. 551, almost next to the impressive Quinta de los Molinos and relatively close to Capricho Park, this 17 hectare estate belonged to the Madrid aristocracy since 1600. Inside, you can find numerous and exceptional species of trees, a palace for now, not visitable, accompanied by blocks, a cow ranch and a slaughterhouse, as well as two greenhouses that stand out for its antiquity and a small orchard. All this constitutes an excellent centennial wall agricultural area of extraordinary ecological richness. More on Torres Arias: Tourist office of Madrid on Quinta Torres Arias

See  also , los Molinos here: Tourist office of Madrid on Quinta de los Molilnos

And Capricho park:  Tourist office of Madrid on Capricho park

Hope you enjoy the post as much as I did in my beloved Madrid. Always Madrid, and now fondly memories of my mother and I there, and lucky to be able to come back often and walk all theses spots of yesterday , today, and tomorrow.

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

 

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October 12, 2018

Shopping, eating, resting in Barcelona!

So here I am winding down my last trip to Barcelona. It’s a city luckily to have visited a few times , and each time see a bit more of it. However, one thing is certain relaxing lodging environment, invigorating shopping and delicious food is what is all about for me.

On this post, will tell you about my hotel (Crown Plaza), the shopping at the Arenes or Arenas de Barcelona, and eating at a couple of places all within easy walking distance of my hotel. So stay tune ,here I go my way!

First, I stayed at the wonderful Crown Plaza Fira Barcelona; a five stars and wonderful hotel of course paying 165 euros per night! The facilities were impecable and would love to stay there again when back to the city. A bit more from the hotel’s page

Located 200 meters from the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, the Crowne Plaza Barcelona-Fira Center offers stylish décor and spacious accommodations with Flat-screen TVs and Hydro-Massage Showers. Offering a fantastic view of Barcelona, the 173 Rooftop Terrace Restaurant features an outdoor pool, sun loungers and a dining area where you can enjoy Mediterranean specialties as well as a selection of drinks and cocktails. El Mall Restaurant serves a buffet breakfast and Mediterranean cuisine. In addition, the hotel has an elegant piano bar. Free Wi-Fi is available in the public areas and in the Rooms. You will also find a free Internet point in the lobby area. From the hotel, the historic center of Barcelona is easily accessible by bus or metro. The Crowne Plaza Barcelona-Fira Center is located 500 meters from Poble Sec and Plaça d’ Espanya Metro Stations. The Poble Espanyol Museum and the Joan Miró Foundation are 200 meters away as well as all the wonders of Montjuic.

And of course for the benefit of those road warriors ,the  closest car parking is at BSM Rius i Taulet, Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, 16, located facing the Plaza del Universo square. Ideal for reaching on foot all in M ontjuic and the Plaça d’Espanya by the Fira congress hall and the fountains of Montjuic. Easy access to the Avinguda Para-lel and the Gran Vía de las Cortes Catalanas. The useful webpages below, and cannot avoid telling you once I worked for the chain in an accounting management function.

official Crown Plaza Hotel

official Intercontinental Hotels group on the Crown Plaza

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I went first to a nice find, just walking and heard the guys singing while setting up the tables so the gourmand curious in me told me this is a good happy place, the food must be good. Well it was super, with great Galician Patatas Bravas, and ham and codfish croquettes all down with a pint of Estrella Damm cold beer and coffee cortado all for 22€; the server was of course friendly and with 10 yrs in Barcelona coming from Argentina (probably following Messi !) Oh the place omg was the Casa de tapas Cañota at Carrer de Lleida, 7.

A bit more on it from the tabloids:

In the Parallel/Poble Sec, you will find the restaurant Casa de tapas Cañota, a place where the classic spirit merges with a fabulous offer of Tapas. Its renovated decor, at the hands of a designer, makes this place a casual and informal restaurant with striking graphic illustrations. The menu is informal and economical and is based on excellent tapas of great variety par all tastes, without leaving aside the quality that characterizes the products of this Restaurant. At Casa de tapes Cañota you can have a good time in the company of friends watching football and tasting tapas; It also has a heated terrace with access to the mobility impaired. Closest metro and buses at plaça d’Espanya , and Poble Sec.

More here: official Casa de Tapas Canota

And reviews on my blog roll favorite Yelp: Casa de Tapas Canota on yelp

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The second night I went to a more fancy restaurant on Paral-lel avenue again not far from the hotel. This was again friendly and plenty of food, tapas entries from shrimp to ham croquettes, and codfish fritters, to a nice size steak in pepper sauce , all wash down with plenty of local Rene Barbier red wines, crema Catalana dessert, and coffee for about 35€. Great ambiance and funny moments to share by all there, I was way at the end in a cozy enclosed area of sea decor ,really nice and wonderful corner.  Oh yes the restaurant was the L’Amfora ,Avinguda Paral-lel 184 , metro plaça d’Espanya line 3.

A bit more info from the tabloids:

Have an authentic Catalan and mediterranean experience. Enjoy a beautiful
maritime environment with your people while you savor the tapas selection,
traditional paellas, exquisite grilled meats and the most selected seafood
from the tank. Obviously, do not miss the typical desserts and the popular
sangria of Catalan cava. Furthermore, it has private meeting rooms for
groups, vegetarian and vegan multiple options and children menus. They are
located next to the plaça d’Espanya square, The Fira Congress Palace and The Magic Fountain of Montjuic.

official l’Amfora Restaurant

And more reviews at Yelp from my bottom front page blog roll:

L’Amfora on yelp

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And of course the shopping nearby in the area,what better then the Arenas de Barcelona, the old bullfight ring!  Built at end of the 19C and opened in 1900 in a neo mudéjar style and ended bullfighting here in 1977, after came the shopping center we know today. Right by Plaça d’Espanya (Spain square) you reach it on metro line 1 and 3, bus V7 and 165, and if coming from the airport the Aerobus leave you just on the other side of the square!

For direction, some pointers:

To eat had tried a while back, L´Arrosseria de las Arenas on the ground floor; delicious combination of rice dishes from the Mediterranean. Enjoy a restaurant in true Gaudí style and experience the most modernist Barcelona, concentrated right here in this restaurant, which offers excellent service and typical Mediterranean cuisine.

For stores Desigual and Mango are ok and my fav for shoes Casas are designer shoe shops with the best, most innovative brands. For all those who love trendy shoes with the most exclusive designs. With a women’s, men’s and children’s department, the entire family can find just what they need for their feet, season after season.

Perfumes Sephora and Orange mobile telephone  store, and a nice supermarket chain inside , Mercadona. As well as  modernistic beautiful 18 showing cinema with all the trimmings.

More here: The Arenas of Barcelona Shopping Center

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There you go a nice 3 days 2 nights in wonderful Barcelona, short and sassy or pretty and smooth, a nice getaway in Europe to well rainy Barcelona but I was hardly wet with good timing to go out. Enjoy the photos and places of Barcelona; and see you soon in Asia.

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

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October 11, 2018

Sights of Barcelona!

So winding down my latest trip to Barcelona and would like to share some photos on this post; mostly photos of the city. You know the tourist office and the city webpage and all those wonderful transport combinations; now let me give you views and sights of Barcelona, and some off the beaten path thing to do.

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And this is unique I think, a firemen’s museum ! too bad did not had more time. Enjoy the photos.

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Enjoy Barcelona Spain yes. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

 

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October 11, 2018

Montjuïc and Barcelona!

As I come here, do not know why but always start and end here it has become symbolic omg ! Barcelona has a lot to offer and you need several days to enjoy it or as me come several times to see bits of it each time. By now done that…

Montjuif is different. It is like a miniature city within it and you can easly spend days here not only sightseeing but shopping and eating/drinking your heart out. The place to be seen with wonderful museums. I love it!

A bit on what is here my favorites:

Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona with a height of 173 meters above sea level, which houses a homonymous district, in the district of Sants-Montjuic. There are remains of an Iberian settlement from the 3C BC and the 2C BC have been found.   In 1751 the present castle was built.

The mountain or actually meaning Jewish Mountain is internationally known for having served as reference for the estimation of the first definition of the meter!. They measured the length of arc of the meridian that passes through France, from Dunkerque to Montjuic Barcelona, between 1792 and 1798; The measurement results were used to establish the decimal metric system! Amazing!.  On the occasion of the International Exhibition of Barcelona of 1929, the urbanization of some areas of the mountain was completed, why the different pavilions that rise up by the slopes of the mountain would be built . On both sides of the promenade that leads from the Plaça d’Espanya, in the district of Sants-Montjuic, and from where you can enjoy great views.

The Jewish cemetery of Montjuic is located in a small field located on the north-eastern slope of the mountain of Montjuich, about 100 meters above sea level, from where the whole medieval city of Barcelona was dominated, in whose interior the Jewish quarter was located. The first written news about the Jewish necropolis in Barcelona dates back to the 11C (1091), This necropolis lasted until the end of the Jewish Quarter in the year 1391AD , when it suffers its devastation and the plundering of funerary tombstones. When it was recorded the first archaeological performance carried out within the enclosure, in a more or less controlled way. This made it possible to confirm that the necropolis stretched on both sides of the road leading to the castle of Montjuic, which corresponds to the current road of the Castilla. The archaeological excavation works of the years 1945 and 2001 have allowed to document a part of the necropolis with more than 700 graves. It is, by its characteristics, the largest, most significant and most representative ensemble of the memory and culture of the Jewish community during medieval times in the area of Catalonia and, most likely, of the western Mediterranean.

In the mountain, there are several Olympic facilities that hosted the Barcelona Olympic Games 1992. In Montjuic are also places of tourist interest like the Pueblo Español or Poble Espanyol or Spanish town , an enclosure built for the exhibition of 1929 and that collects streets, squares and places characteristic of all Spain, as you can see in its entrance with the towers of Avila , or a typical Andalusian patio, with its streets full of flowers, besides being populated of restaurants, bars and places of entertainment and spectacle, here are   the Theater Lliure, the Mercat de les Flors (flower market), the Greek theater, the Joan Miró foundation, the cultural center CaixaForum , the MNAC (museum of national arts of Catalunya), the Ethnological Museum of Barcelona and the Museum of Archaeology of Catalunya. Crown the mountain the castle of Montjuic, former fortress and military museum.

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In the Avinguda María Cristina, main entrance to the hill of Montjuich from the Plaça d’Espanya (Spain square), there are several pavilions built on the occasion of the International Exhibition of 1929, the majority of which are now part of the Fira Barcelona Congress hall , which It organises some of the most important salons, exhibitions and exhibits in Spain. The itinerary of the avenue is marking of water columns on both sides of it, culminating in the magic fountain and the waterfalls of Montjuic, which on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays show a unique spectacle in the world of water, light, music and color.

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The large extensions of gardens, and the spectacular views offered by the city of Barcelona from it. Among the first, the historical Botanical Garden which has a unique collection of cactus, and the new Botanical Garden of Barcelona specializing in the flora of the Mediterranean areas of the world. The Hispano-árabic-style gardens of the Laribal, which through a series of terraces with pergolas, squares and fountains (such as the famous Font del Gat) lead to the Greek theater, an open-air theater inspired by the ancient Greek theatres, especially in the Epidaurus. The gardens of the Umbraculum., and finally, the gardens of Miramar were located on the hill seafront view. Also in the 1920’s was located in the northwest slope of the hill the nursery of three Pins, where plants were cultivated to supply the gardens of the city; In its grounds was installed in 1993 the garden of Petra Kelly, in homage to this German ecologist.

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Transports with originality to reach Montjuic are the cable car or funicular of Montjuic that connects the hill with the district of Pueblo Seco and the cable car or funicular de Montjuic that runs on the north superior side of the hill and as well the aerial cable car that connects the Port of Barcelona. Also, by metro such as Paral-le line 2 and 3, plaça d’Espanya lines 1, 3, and 8, the Fira 1 MNAC line 2 and the newest INEFC line 2.

More info from the tourist office of BarcelonaTourist office of Barcelona on Montjuic

Enjoy it , worth the detour indeed and I stayed by the area too each time! And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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October 10, 2018

The ins and outs of Barcelona!

I came back once again from visiting briefly Barcelona, the northern mediterranean of Spain on again another pleasant visit. I won’t claim to be the expert on public transport but going here somehow has been always by plane and many years ago by train, and a car ride from Madrid. However, things are improving here on the transport side.

Let me tell you my latest and very personal opinion.

The plethora of taxis are there by the airport and many taxi stands in the city especially around the big hotel chain that are used for conventions seminars etc. The train is nice but other than walking which i always do, the best is the bus.

Anyway, will not be complete without given a brief rundown of all after all ::)

The Metro/subway/tube : the network is composed of 180 stations and 12 lines that cover 146 kms of extension, it all began in1920, and in only four years the inauguration of the first section took place, which linked the Plaza de Catalunya and the Plaza de Lesseps. Not taken rather be above ground excuse me! More info here: metro of Barcelona

The commuter trains are not only interesting to reach nearby towns, but they serve as a complement to the Metro to move around the city two companies that perform these services, Renfe, which operates most of the lines that start with R, and FGC ( Railways of the Generalitat of Catalunia), which operates the lines starting with S and some of the R. The letter R, comes from the word   “rodalies “ (cercanias), and the S, of Suburban’s. Taken the AVE from Madrid but not the local rodalies trains. More info here: Renfe on Barcelona

And the Rodalies here: rodalies network in Barcelona

The  tramway network has six lines, the first three calls Trambaix, and the last 3 Trambesòs. The T4, T5 and T6 lines are the one that runs through the center of Barcelona. Not take but more info here: Tramway of Barcelona

At the Universal Exhibition of 1929, the Teleférico or cable car crosses the port of Barcelona from the Torre de San Sebastián, on the Barceloneta beach, to the Mirador de Miramar,(lookout point) on the hill of Montjuic. The total route is 1,292 meters reaching an altitude of 70 meters. Torre de San Sebastián can be reach by Metro: Barceloneta, Line 4. And Bus: lines 17, 39, 45, 64, 57, 59 and 157. More info on the cable car here: Teleferico de Barcelona cable car

The tram Blau (blue Tramway) was inaugurated in 1901 to link the railway station on Avenida Tibidabo with the Tibidabo funicular to reach the blue tram, arriving by bus: stop tram Blau-Tibidabo. Also, Bus: lines 17, 22, 58, 73, 75, 126, 131 and 196. or Metro: Avinguda Tibidabo, line 7. Now temporarily out of service but more info here for the future ride! Tram Bleu of Barcelona

The Golondrinas (boat tours) has its pier in the vicinity of the Mirador de Colón, in the Portal de la Pau s/n. There you will find the ticket office for information and ticket Sales. Metro: Drassanes, Line 3. Bus: lines 14, 20, 21, 36, 57, 59, 64, 91, 120 and 15. Not taken but more here: Las Golondrinas boat tours

The more than 10,000 taxis that circulate in Barcelona are black with yellow doors and there are no problems to find them at any time of the day. Some of the companies are Associació Ràdio Taxi Miramar,   Cooperativa de Ràdio Taxi Metropolitana de Barcelona,. Ràdio Taxi, Servi Taxi,  and Taxi Groc. Easily found online. The route from the airport usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and the price is usually between 25-35€ with additional cost for extra luggage etc. Better get the rate before getting in the taxi. If not at the airport and you need it in the city I have used this one on business trips and it is good reliable service, more here: Radio Taxi of Barcelona

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More than 1,000 buses make more than 80 different routes, reaching both the most touristy places and the most secluded corners of the City. Xiste is a night bus service, known as Nit bus, which covers a large part of the City. These city buses is what I used when not walking and they are great with good service. More on them here: City buses of Barcelona lines map

By road, Barcelona is located at a distance of 620 kms from Madrid, 350 kms from Valencia and 300 kms from Zaragoza . This is a great ride from Madrid on the A2 . The road guide in Spain is from the service/gas stations Repsol webpage here:Guia Repsol guide

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The main train station is the Barcelona Sants very busy station more in Renfe. Took it once on AVE long ago, more information here: Barcelona Sants train station

The intercity bus company Alsa you can find routes and prices to get you in and out of Barcelona, never taken it. More info here: Alsa intercity bus company

The Barcelona Airport (BCN), also known as El Prat airport, is located in the jurisdiction of this city along the coast, just 12 kms southwest of Barcelona. The Prat has two terminals, the modern T1, inaugurated in 2009, and the T2, which includes the old terminals A, B and C. This is what I have used the most over the years here and it is a nice medium size airport with wonderful shopping and eateries in airy spaces.  Webpage here official Barcelona airport

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The best way is the bus service Aerobus, and is the service I have used the most from and to the airport to Plaça d’Espanya. The Aerobus makes the journey connectingthe airport with the city center in a time of approximately 35 minutes. There are twodifferent lines that connect the two terminals of the airport with the Plaza de Catalunya making stops in some other points of the city (plaza de la Universidad, Sepulveda-Urgell, Gran Via-Urgell and Plaça d’Espanya). The line that circulates in Terminal 1 has a frequency of 5 to 10 minutes, while that of Terminal 2 has a frequency of 10 to 20 minutes. Buses begin to circulate between 5h30 and 18h and end between 00h30 and 01h00. The single ticket has a price of 5.90€ and the round trip costs 10.20€ (the return is valid for 15 days ). The webpage here: Official Aerobus

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Barcelona

This is the official public transports site in Barcelona for many modes of transportation like metro bus etc. TMBMetropolitan Transports of Barcelona TMB

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip in and out of Barcelona from official sources are:

City of Barcelona on transports in English: http://meet.barcelona.cat/en/visit-barcelona/get-around-the-city/public-transport

Tourist office of Barcelona in English: https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/page/5/getting-around-the-city.html

Side offer if in a hurry the Barcelona city tour bus ride could be an option, again never taken it. More here: Barcelona city tour bus ride

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There you go folks and with the above and some reading on the sites you should be a Champ in Barcelona. Big avenues broad streets, and plenty to do for all tastes. Barcelona by the northern Mediterranean of Spain.

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

 

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September 20, 2018

Teatro Real or Royal Theater of Madrid!

I am finishing up the week ,and why not give you a jewel of my Madrid. This is a must to visit and yet many sidestepped it because of the other buildings nearby of perhaps more notoriaty or press. However, you should come to the Teatro Real or Royal Theater of Madrid if only to see it.

I admit unless with good company I find it hard to visit the theaters but do delve into them once in a while and this one is a souvenir of younger curious days that glad has been maintained finally in good shape. Let me give some ramblings on it, sorry for the monotomy.

The Teatro Real is the Teatro de la Opera in Madrid. It is located in the Plaza de Oriente, opposite the Royal Palace. Its construction began in 1818, and was inaugurated in 1850. It remained uninterrupted as an opera house until 1925, when it had to close because of structural problems in the building. It did not open its doors again until 1966, as symphonic concert hall. Between 1988 and 1997, it underwent a major remodeling that turned it into an operatic coliseum again.

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A bit of history I like

King Fernando VII promoted the construction in Madrid of an opera house included in the project of remodeling of the Plaza of Oriente, for this he ordered the demolition of the old theater of the Caños del Peral. With irregular hexagonal shape, whose main façade would look to the Plaza de Oriente and the other, of smaller packaging, would fall on the current Plaza of Isabel II the construction of the new Teatro de Oriente began in April 1818, but the scarcity of funds of the royal house stop the work until 1830.

After the ascent to the throne of Queen Isabel II, numerous political and bureaucratic events paralyzed the execution of the project, until on May 7, 1850, by means of a royal order, the works of the theater were promoted, demanding its completion in a period of six months, as it was done. The theater was inaugurated on November 19, 1850, coinciding with the onomastics of the sovereign. The work chosen for the premiere was the opera La Favorita by Gaetano Donizetti and performed by renowned artists. In these first seasons, the operas of Donizetti and Bellini dominated, with the presence of Rossini and Verdi, who soon became the favourite composer of the Madrid public. In the early years attended the theater some of the greatest lyrical figures of the moment.

In the years of splendor of the Teatro Real were started in the last quarter of the 19C. The most prestigious voices of the European panorama were presented in the theatre. In 1876 it was represented for the first time in the Teatro Real one opera of Wagner, Rienzi, still far from the great success that their compositions would have in this theater fifteen years later. At this stage, great Spanish composers were able to see their works shown here.

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In the first quarter of the 20C highlighted the presence in the Teatro Real of great Spanish singers. The international prestige of the theatre took off. The repertoire was dominated by Puccini’s operas (Tosca, La Bohème) and Wagner (Lohengrin or the Valkyrie). The Berlin Philharmonic gave concerts at the theater, directed by Arthur Nikisch, in 1901 and Richard Strauss, in 1908. Thereafter, the theater suffered little by little a huge decline, because despite the representation of great operas and the direction of skillful directors, the economic-political crises and various factors (fire of the theater in 1867) caused its ruined.

Despite the closing of the theater in 1925, the government always floated the possibility of remodeling and reopening, creating numerous projects. An ambitious project of remodeling and modernization that included the increase in height and depth of the scenic box and the rebuilding of its entire structure, using reinforced concrete. In addition, it was decided to lift one more floor around the entire perimeter of the building, which gave the theater its present-day solid-block appearance. However, economic and planning difficulties were delaying the completion of the project. The consolidation and reconstruction part was implemented, but the interior remodeling was not started. The works were stopped in 1936, with the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, during which the building was damaged, mainly after the explosion of a magazine that had been installed inside. In 1940, they try to finish the project, which fails to advance significantly, before, at the end of the 1950’s, the works were definitively stopped.

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At the beginning of the 1960’s a project finally ended as a great concert hall, to serve as headquarters to the National Orchestra, and of lodging to all the symphonic activity of the capital the reopening occurred in 1966. From that date until 1988 (with the opening of the National Auditorium) was the only concert hall in Madrid, where they developed their seasons both the National Orchestra and the newly created RTVE Symphony Orchestra. In addition, during this period, the main symphonic orchestras of the world performed on their stage. In 1969 it hosted the 14th Eurovision Festival, the only time this event was held in Spain. After ceasing its symphonic activity in the summer of 1988, in January of 1991 began the works of remodeling for the conversion of the theater in an opera house; the building was finished at the end of the year 1995;   then began the process of technical organization , administrative, artistic and functional, which resulted in the inauguration in 1997 with a theateer at full capacity. The Teatro Real or Royal Theater was back.

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Design and architecture now

The Royal Theater or Teatro Real maintained the original, Italian-style structure, and regained original décor from the time of the 1880’s . Despite the small size of the patio of seats, the total capacity reaches the 1746 seats maximum, thanks to the 15 rows that houses the area called Paradise. Above the fourth floor, which takes advantage of the increase in the height of the roof achieved in the works of the 1920’s, outside the room, the foyer of entry was decorated with an elliptical colonnade lined with tropical wood. The second floor, accessible to all the audience, allows to circulate around the perimeter of the building, communicating the lobby with the restaurant, located in the Old Royal Ballroom, on the back facade. A superior lobby, which opens with large windows to the top of the facade above the Plaza de Oriente, completes the public areas of the theater.

In 2007, the Sala Gayarre was inaugurated, with 190 seats, which is used for various complementary activities, such as concerts and chamber opera representations, recitals, pedagogical activities, conferences, colloquiums, courses and projections.   The scenic space available for the scenery exceeds 600 square meters at zero level, and reaches 1,430 if you add the mounting areas to 16 meters below the stage and the patio seats. The floor of the stage is composed of 9 platforms that allow to move the scenery between both levels. The wide scenic mouth has 18 meters wide and 14 high, and the scenic Tower places the grill that hangs all the platform (motorized, and electronically controlled) to 37 meters high on the floor of the stage. The entrance of material located in the hallway of the Plaza de Isabel II communicates directly with the stage box and allows to deposit the load directly from the trailers of the trucks on the same floor of the stage. Practically all the spaces involved in the work of making an operatic spectacle are housed in the theater’s own building, from the administrative offices to the material warehouses or the machinery workshops.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and a trip you should are

Official Teatro Real webpage

tourist office of Madrid on the Teatro Real

And a wonderful page in 360° that you need to just click on “saltar” or skip and then “entrar” or enter to see the magic of the theater before you!  From RTVE or Radio ,Television of Spain. RTVE on the Teatro Real

Hope you enjoyed the post on the artsy part of Madrid. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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September 19, 2018

The CBA, Neptuno, and Recoletos of my Madrid!

So this is the arrival of Fall or what cooler weather approaching , I started this post at 7C and finished it at 19C lol! oh well it goes saying in my Morbihan ok. I like to continue the saga of my MADRID! It is said, that once biten by its virus you never want to leave, well i did but always come back to it. Madrid has a lot to offer and often overlooked! I like to change you a bit ….

Today, I will talk about three simple places that will make you fall in love with Madrid. These are the Paseo de Recoletos street, the Fuente de Neptune (fountain), and the Circulo de Bellas Artes (circle of fine arts) of Madrid.

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

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

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

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

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Some of the best known buildings here to marvel at their architecture and chic styles are:

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

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More here from the Madrid tourist office: Tourist office of Madrid on Paseo de Recoletos

The Fountain of Neptune is a neoclassical fountain that occupies the center of the roundabout to which it is popularly named, within the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo. This monumental fountain was proposed in 1777 and its construction, started in 1782, ending in 1786. In its origin, it was located in the descent of the Carrera de San Jerónimo, looking at the Fuente de Cibeles(fountain), but was moved to the center of the before mentioned square in 1898. It is the usual place of our arch rivals Atlético de Madrid football/soccer team celebrations when they win something which is not often ::)

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In the second half of the 18C king Carlos III undertook a series of reforms, among which was the modernization of the capital to bring it to the height of the famous big cities of the time such as Paris. In this modernization plan; the Neptune Fountain was included. It was made with white marble from Montesclaros (Toledo).

The fountain stands on a large circular pylon in whose center is the figure of Neptune, God of the sea, one of the twelve divinities of Olympus, is the son of Saturn and Rea, and brother of Jupiter. It is presented with a snake curled in the right hand and the trident in the left, erect on a cart formed by a shell pulled by two sea horses with fish tail. Around the car swim seals and dolphins that throw jets of water at a high altitude. The god of the waters could be a symbol of the Navy that king Carlos III reformed to make it more competitive and strengthen the nexus with the colonies.

Madrid tourist office on the Fountain of Neptuno: Tourist office of Madrid on the Fuente de Neptuno

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

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roofstop of CBA goddes Minerva credit CBA

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

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

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roofstop of CBA towards Gran Via credit CBA

Some webpages to help you enjoy a visit to the CBA Circulo de Bellas Artes or fine arts circle are

Official Circulo de Bellas Artes site

Tourist office of Madrid on the CBA

Minerva magazine of the Circulo de Bellas Artes

There you go a nice trip up and down one of the best arteries of my beloved Madrid. Hope you enjoy the walk.

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

 

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September 19, 2018

Salamanca, the district of Madrid!

So let’s get geographical shall we? Well , is rare that I write about a district or neighborhoods , but I do sometimes if I think they represent the feeling of a city/town. The district of Salamanca in Madrid is one of them, sublime. The good of it is that it is still going strong after so many years.

You get all the feeling of it when you know that the Retiro park faces it and it goes all along the grand promenade of Paseo de la Castellana; chic modern , architecturally stunning Madrid. I like to talk a bit about it here; it could be another off the beaten path trips for many.

Let me give you some random information in brief and on many subjects.  The district of Salamanca, owes its name to its builder, the Malaga born José de Salamanca y Mayol, Marquis of Salamanca, who promoted and erected it in part in the 19C. It has become one of the most important shopping areas in the city and one of the highest living quarters in Europe with the largest shopping area in Madrid, around the streets of Serrano, Claudio Coello and Ortega y Gasset.

 Salamanca is one of the 21 districts of the city of Madrid. It is administratively divided into several neighborhoods or Barrios, these are:

Recoletos , located between the streets of Menéndez Pelayo, Príncipe de Vergara, Ramón de la Cruz, Paseo de la Castellana, Paseo de Recoletos, Alcalá and O’Donnell . Goya  , located between the streets of  O’Donnell, Doctor Esquerdo, Ramón de la Cruz, Príncipe de Vergara and Menéndez Pelayo. Fuente del Berro (Watercress), located between the streets of Doctor Esquerdo, O’Donnell, Avda de la Paz and Alcalá. La Guindalera  located between the streets of Francisco Silvela, Alcalá, Avda de la Paz and Avda. de América. In the Guindalera is included the sub-district popularly known as Parque de las Avenidas , which constitutes the last enlargement of the Guindalera. Lista  located between the streets of Maria de Molina, Francisco Silvela, Ramón de la Cruz and Príncipe de Vergara. Castellana  located between the streets of Paseo de la Castellana, Ramón de la Cruz, Príncipe de Vergara and María de Molina. More here from the city of Madrid on Salamanca:   City of Madrid on Salamanca district

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Salamanca district from the tourist office of Madrid in English: Tourist office of Madrid on Salamanca

Within Madrid, its geographical location is defined by the neighboring streets such as from the West, Paseo de la Castellana and Paseo de Recoletos. By the south, Calle de Alcalá, and Calle de O’Donnell.  By the east, Beltway road M-30.  By the north, Calle María de Molina and Avenida de América. The main avenues that structure the district are from west to east: Serrano, Velázquez, Principe de Vergara, Conde de Peñalver and Francisco Silvela. From north to South: María de Molina, Diego de León, Ortega y Gasset , Goya, and O’Donnell. The Plaza del Marqués de Salamanca is a backbone element of the district map and  Calle de Alcalá also represents the ensemble (my old domicile street in Madrid! ).

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Some noted sites in the area are the Retiro park(Parque del Buen Retiro) borders the area. There is also the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid, the National Library of Spain, several churches ,and the minaret of the Casa Árabe in Madrid, of neo-Mudejar architecture, brings a touch of exoticism.

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Madrid

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A bit of history I like on Salamanca district.

In the Plaza de la Independencia, (independence square or Puerta de Alcala) in front of the Retiro was the bullring of Madrid for 125 years, between 1749 and 1874, year when it was demolished, giving the alternative of bullfighting Madrid to the new bullring of the Fuente del Berro, on the road to Aragon , which in turn was demolished in 1934, and in whose lot rose the primitive sports palace(Palacio de Deportes) building that in 2001 was destroyed by a fire and then rebuilt. The last bullring, the current  Ventas, was also built in this district, next to the Puente de Ventas (bridge). In the South zone of the district of Salamanca there was a railway station Nino Jesus (baby Jesus) where it had its terminus the line of the old railway of Arganda, part of whose plot has been used for the extension of the line 9 of the Metro of Madrid.

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Some information on the various public transports around and plenty are

Well, of course, I parked by here now when visiting Madrid at parking Recoletos at Paseo de Recoletos, just off the Cibeles fountain Plaza de Cibeles and straight up is Paseo del Prado. If you want to know more, here is the parking very good:Parking Recoletos

Recoletos Station, located under Paseo de Recoletos, on the western boundary of the district. It is possible to take trains from the Cercanias (suburban) lines C-1, C-2, C-7, C-8 and C-10. The district has the following Metro services: line 2 The stations that provide service are Retiro, Principe de Vergara, Goya, Manuel Becerra and sales.  Line 4 stops at Colón, Serrano, Velázquez, Goya, Lista, Diego de León and Avenida de América.  Line 5 with the stations of Rubén Darío, Núñez de Balboa, Diego de León and Ventas. My line when I lived in Madrid.  Line 6 with the stations Avenida de América, Diego de León, Manuel Becerra and O’Donnell.  Line 7 providing service to Avenida de América and Gregorio Marañón stations. It also provides service to the district of La Guindalera with the Cartagena and Parque de las Avenidas stations.  Line 9 stopping at Avenida de América, Núñez de Balboa and Príncipe de Vergara.  Line 10 does not circulate properly in the district, but it stops at the Gregorio Marañón station, in the northwest corner of it.  The EMT bus network of Madrid, has a total of 64 bus Lines. From a tourist point of view the best are lines 5 15, 20, 27, 28, 52, 61, 115 ,200, N27 night line to Airport and Express airport line 203 from Airport to Atocha passing by Cibeles.

If press, the tourist bus is an alternative and madrid City Tour has a good ride in the Salamanca district, more here: Madrid City bus Tour on Salamanca

The best here is the shopping or the window shopping lol! Nahh we buy in the shopping center on sales days ,good deals. The Milla de Oro (Golden Mile) is located at the intersection of Serrano and Ortega y Gasset streets, owes its nickname to the fact that it brings together on a square mile or km…, the shops of the biggest names of fashion and jeweler, such as Carrera y Carrera , Wempe, Suárez, Brooking, Cartier or the exclusive Bvlgari. More on the shopping from the tourist office of Madrid here: Tourist office of Madrid on shopping in Salamanca

Some nice shopping centers we have enjoyed over the years and they are still there! El Jardin de Serrano (garden of Serrano); more here: El Jardin de Serrano

Another one has been the ABC of Serrano, more here: ABC de Serrano shopping in Salamanca

And my favorite department store, two locations; El Corte Inglés dept store on Goya Street: El Corte Inglés at Goya street

El Corte Inglés at Serrano street

And a surprise nice covered market in chic Salamanca is the Mercado de la Paz at  Calle de Ayala, 28, closest metro Serrano. Very nice indeed in Spanish of course but under puestos por actividad or stands per activity you see all the merchants categories.  More here: Mercado de la Paz

The tourist office of Madrid on Mercado de la Paz here: Tourist office of Madrid on Mercado de la Paz

There you have it a wonderful district area of modern chic Madrid away from the main tourist lines and indeed an off the beaten path area to explore. Hope you enjoy it as we do.

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

 

 

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September 18, 2018

A train station, Atocha of Madrid!

I go to Madrid a lot, and lived there ,but public transport is not my forte. I rather take my car and then walk, last resort take the bus. Metro/subway is last before trains of course unless business trips required it. Me personally is not into train stations; yet for one reason or another over the years  I have tried my share.

However, Atocha in Madrid the idea behind this post ,never taken trains there, just visited even eaten inside by the garden but not taken trains; go figure it. I like to tell you a bit more about Atocha station in Madrid.

Atocha train station is one of the two terminus stations of the RENFE network in Madrid and the largest railway station in Spain. It is situated in the Atocha-Mediodía district, in the district of Arganzuela. It is at the same time a railway station of main lines ensuring the service of the south and west (Andalucia and Extremadura), East (Levant) and northeast (Aragon and Catalonia), especially the cities of Algeciras, Sevilla, Cordoba, Malaga, Zaragoza, Lleida, Barcelona and Valencia. It also serves as an international station (towards France), and as a suburban railway station (Cercanías trains), making the service of the southeast of the metropolitan area of Madrid.

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The building of the Atocha train station, built for the MZA Railway Company (Madrid – Zaragoza and Alicante), was inaugurated in 1851 under the name of Estacion del Mediodia (afternoon station). It was the first station in Madrid. A fire destroyed in large part of the structure, which was rebuilt in iron from 1888 to 1892. It is considered a masterpiece of 19C railway architecture. In 1992, it was added with a garden of 4 000 m² with 7 000 trees and plants, including large palm trees, in the old train hall. The station’s metal and glass structure covering the platforms made its easy to use it as a greenhouse with ponds. And the trees are about 260 different species from America, Asia, and Australia.

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It is connected to the station of Chamartin by the tunnel of the Risa (laugh) which was recently doubled by a new tunnel of the Risa II to ungorge the first which arrived at saturation. It crosses the center of Madrid and it is gap for the circulation of the commuter train of the capital. At Atocha is the arrival point of the high-speed trains (AVE) coming from Sevilla-Santa Justa, Malaga, Lleida, Barcelona ,Valencia and Alicante as well as from Toledo. The railway services are operated by the National company, RENFE but the management of the station as the   ticket sales is ensured by ADIF.

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The Renfe (national rail company of Spain) site in English is here: RENFE trains of Spain

The regulating authority of ADIF is here in English on Atocha: ADIF on Atocha Madrid

There are at the Puerta de Atocha platforms 1 to 15, numbered from left to right as you look towards the trains.Immediately on the east side of the 15 high-speed terminus platforms which constitute Puerta de Atocha, there are 10 through platforms one level below ground referred to as Atocha-Cercanías. Atocha-Cercanías platforms are numbered 1 to 10 from left to right as you look south. If you arrive in the Puerta de Atocha terminus platforms as all AVE trains ( high speed trains) and most other mainline trains do, you need to go up the escalators onto the arrivals footbridge then through the long arrivals passageway to the arrivals exit.There are luggage lockers (Consigna) in the northeast corner of the old trains , past the Burger king restaurant. Thedags are X-rayed just inside the entrance before being deposited. The main Sala Club at Madrid Atocha is open 05h15-21h30; Mondays-Saturdays, 06h-21h30 Saturdays & Sundays, with complimentary tea, coffee, snacks & beer as well as free WiFi. It is located inside the main high-speed train departures area on the first floor.Trains to and from Lisbon and northern Spain usually use Madrid Chamartin station in the north of the city.  The trains south to Sevilla, Granada, Malaga leave from Madrid Atocha station.  Metro line 1 links Atocha to Chamartin stations, but it’s easier and faster to transfer between stations by frequent suburban(Cercanias) train as this is just a handful of stops, just look for the orange and white ‘C’ logo.

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The station is serve by metro line 8 as well as buses 351,352, and 353, taxis available in bunches outside the station . The airport bus 200 as well as the Express airport bus 203 stops here.

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Facing the main entrance of the station, a memorial commemorates the terrorist attacks of 11 March 2004. In a cylindrical and translucent form, it includes the names of the victims and the reproductions of texts deposited on the spot by passersby.

The tourist office of Madrid has more in English on Atocha station here: Tourist office of Madrid on Atocha

Hope you visited it, its unique in Madrid. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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September 18, 2018

Off the beaten paths of Madrid, AZCA!

And back at you with Madrid, well this is September , my birthday month and I am feeling nostalgic ::) The weather helps as sunny warm humid , and leaves fallen off the trees with shades of colors , Autumn is coming up.

I like to tell you about a place very known to me ,but seldom visit because it is off the Centro tourist center of Madrid; but a great place to get to know the other Madrid in off the beaten path zone. Let me tell you a bit about AZCA!

In my later life I came here many times because it is where the 1) hotel closest to Santiago Bernabeu stadium I stayed, 2) a huge dept store El Corte Inglés is near, 3) The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium of Real Madrid, my team ok, 4) the nearest point from Nuevo Ministerios metro stop coming for a long or quick stop from the airport, and 5) because it is home of MODA shopping center.

Now a bit about AZCA.

AZCA ,Mixed Association of compensation of the zone A of the commercial zone of the Avenue of the Generalissimo (current Paseo de la Castellana), or in Spanish Asociación Mixta de Compensación de la Manzana A de la Zona Comercial de la Avenida del Generalísimo is a financial and business district of Madrid . It is a rectangular superblock of 19 hectares of area composed of office buildings between the streets of Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde, Orense, General Perón and Paseo de la Castellana. Also, within the scope are the squares of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Carlos Trías Beltrán and Manuel Gómez Moreno.  It has several tall buildings or towers such as Torre Picasso, Building of BBVA ,and the Torre Europa.  In it, there is a huge department store of the chain El Corte Inglés (see my post on them).

Its original conception ,and its name was approved in 1946; was finally won by architects in 1954 that were inspired by the Rockefeller Center New York. Their total and final approval did not occur until 1964. At the end of 1968 the urbanization of the area began, as well as the beginning of the construction of the first building on land belonging to the El Corte Inglés dept store. The last plot of land to be built was also of the El Corte Inglés in 2000.

The shape square or manzana like apple in Spanish of AZCA has a practically rectangular shape, with dimensions of approximately 618 x 305 meters and an area of almost 19 hectares; inside this area under the ground is a ring of circulation that communicates and facilitates the traffic of the streets around it.

Some of the buildings of note are;

Torre Picasso, 5th highest building in Madrid and 10th highest building in Spain. Torre Europa is the 7th tallest building in Madrid and houses offices of different companies.  The Castellana 81, under the building runs the tunnel of the railway, therefore, the entire structure supports two large pilasters of concrete on horseback on both sides. Torre Titania , the first six plants house the El Corte Inglés dept store and the rest is the headquarters of Ernst & Young Spain. It occupies the site of the Windsor building, destroyed after a fire in 2005.  The Mahou Tower, 17th highest in Madrid is the headquarters of Mutua Madrileña insurance company.

MAdrid

In the early 2010-16 there were some concerned about security here especially at night but lately security has been reinforce and new renovations of buildings have taken place.  The issue of insecurity, during the first quarter of 2016, 55 security cameras managed by the Municipal police were installed. The store Zara opened in April 2017 its largest store in Spain occupying 5000 m² in Castellana 79. Since  October 2014 has been celebrating a street food festival, Madreat, in the gardens of AZCA until 2016;now looking to see how the trucks can come here after the renovations, but nice to know about Food Trucks in Madrid here: http://www.madreat.org/

Parking Hotel Holiday InnBernabéu  at 5 minutes on foot from the Stadium Santiago Bernabéu (Real Madrid) and  7 minutes on foot from  AZCA . It has direct access to the hotel (my usual hotel for games when not staying with family) access pedestrian and vehicule by  Avenida del General Perón, 34. The hotel webpage: http://www.hotelmadridhi.com/en/index.html

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The nearest metro station is Nuevos Ministerios line 8 that also connects to the airport, and Santiago Bernabéu  Line 10 (by the stadium of Real Madrid), and bus numbers 14, 27, 40, 43, 120, 147 and 150 will also take you here too.

Madrid

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

AZCA association for the enhancement of the place in Spanish

Tourist office of Madrid on AZCA complex

As it goes for shopping ,and we love it. We have come here ever since it was open in 1988.  The shopping mall Moda (en. fashion) is located in the area of modern Madrid, in the heart of AZCA, just between the emblematic buildings of Torre Picasso and Torre Europa very close to the Congress Palace and the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

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This is very chic shopping with some big names in a grand modern building with many glass windows and a nice inner patio to unwind the walks in the city. The shopping is super; you can come into the mall by several street entrances such as Paseo de la Castellana,95, Calle Orense 22-24 in the Plaza Carlos Trias Bertràn, and Calle del General Péron, 38-40. The Plaza Carlos Trias Bertràn is the easier entrance to the Holiday Inn hotel above.

You have classic eateries here, we love the Biaci,Mallorca Cafe , and Casa Carmen. As stores well the Chocolate Factory, Juancho Lujans, and Via Venetto. Vale chicos/as.

The official webpage is here: Moda Shopping Mall at AZCA

Hope you enjoy this unusual post ::)

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

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