Archive for ‘Spain’

January 10, 2021

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca !

Ok given on the post title his full name; I have mentioned him briefly in my previous posts but I believe he deserves a post of its own. To me, he is the greatest of Spanish poets/playwrites of all time. You probably know him better by Federico Garcia Lorca or simply Lorca for us. Let me tell you in a black and white series his history and places. Hope you enjoy my another entry into literature.

I like to tell briefly the story of a very famous men and one of my historical favorites of my beloved Spain. The name will tell it to all if into the arts, poetry,theatre, etc one of the giants of the Spanish speaking world. I happened to trace his life on my old visits to Granada, where I am an honorary member of a sport club ,but now the main thing is to tell you about the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. It’s a long history, that I like.

Federico García Lorca (born at Fuente Vaqueros, June 5, 1898- died on the way from Víznar to Alfacar, Granada, August 18, 1936)   was a Spanish poet, playwright and prose writer. Assigned to the generation of 27, he was the most influential and popular poet in 20C Spanish literature. As a playwright, he is considered one of the tops of 20C Spanish theater. He was assassinated by the Nationalists side a month after the coup d’état with which the Spanish Civil War began.

He was born into a family with a comfortable economic position, and was baptized as Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca; his father was the landowner Federico García Rodríguez (1859-1945) and his mother, Vicenta Lorca Romero (1870-1959), second wife of his father.

The term of the Generation 1927 ;starts from the date of December 1927, when several Spanish poets meet in Seville, in an event organized by the Economic Society of Friends of the Country to commemorate the three hundred years since the death of Luis de Góngora. It should be noted that this meeting is the origin of what some call the Generation of ’27, which includes writers such as Jorge Guillén, Pedro Salinas, Rafael Alberti, Dámaso Alonso, Gerardo Diego, Luis Cernuda, Vicente Aleixandre, Manuel Altolaguirre and Emilio Prados. This group is characterized by fusing the forms of traditional poetry (neopopularism) with the avant-garde movements; for treating the same issues in a similar way (death in a tragic sense; love as a force that gives meaning to life; social concerns such as injustice, misery, etc.), for the use of metaphor and image; etc.

Together with Eduardo Ugarte, the writer from Granada, he co-directed La Barraca, a university theater group that represented theatrical works of the Golden Age of Spanish literature such as Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Miguel de Cervantes, etc;  through cities and towns in Spain. Financed by the Ministry of Education, it had its own project in its hands for the first time. The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War would frustrate the effort.

A personal anecdote we all love him for. In March 1930 he left New York to travel to the city of Havana, Cuba as he is invited by the Hispano-Cuban Institution of Culture to give conferences in Havana and other Cuban cities.   He travels by train to Tampa, Florida, where he boards the steamer Cuba, which docks on March 6 in Havana, where his old friend José María Chacón y Calvo, the Cuban poet Juan Marinello and the journalist Rafael Suárez Solís await him. The Instituto de las Españas (Spain’s institute) offers him a tribute, in which he delivers his lecture The Mechanics of Poetry. He friendship with Antonio Quevedo and María Muñoz, a friend of Manuel de Falla. He gives several lectures at the Principal Theater of Comedy in Havana: The Mechanics of Poetry; Closed paradise for many, open gardens for few; Spanish lullabies; The poetic image of Don Luis de Góngora; The architecture of cante jondo. He works in the play The Public. Friendship with the Loynaz brothers, whose home he visits almost daily and whom he reads The Public. In the company of the writer Lydia Cabrera, whom he had met in Madrid, he attends a “ñáñiga” (black Santeria type) ceremony. Conferences in Caibarién, presented by José María Chacón y Calvo, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. He receives a tribute in Santiago de las Vegas. He writes the “They are of blacks in Cuba”, and the “Ode to Walt Whitman” that will be part of Poeta en Nueva York. His friends García Maroto and Adolfo Salazar arrive in Havana. Friendship with the Guatemalan writer Luis Cardoza Aragón. He knows Nicolás Guillén and José Lezama Lima. He enters a clinic to have warts removed. Farewell meal at the Bristol Hotel organized by the Avance Magazine. On June 12, he embarks on the steamer Manuel Arnús, which, after stopping in New York, arrives in Cádiz on June 30. The Grand theater in Havana has the main room named after him.

A bit of his last steps alive.  He went to the Huerta de San Vicente to meet with his family. He arrived there on July 14, 1936, three days before the military uprising against the Republic broke out in Melilla, leading to the Spanish Civil War. The sequence of his ultimate assassination is related briefly as such:

At Calle Virgen Blanca , then surrounded by fields, linked the García Lorca house with the center of the city. Federico travels through it in a taxi, a Fiat that had been owned by the family, and driven by a former servant. At Plaza de Gracia, headquarters of the Minor Seminary of the city. Lorca passed through the square in the taxi on the evening of August 9 on his way to the Rosales’ house, where he was seeking refuge. Corner of Plaza de Gracia with Calle Jardines, the beginning of the Magdalena neighborhood, where García Lorca passed on the afternoon-night of August 9. By Calle de Gracia, in the Magdalena neighborhood, then bordering the city with the plain. He goes by Plaza de la Trinidad, the square had hosted a convent of Trinitarians Barefooters until the 19C. Nearby was the family home of the Rosales, friends of Federico. The Reina Cristina Hotel is located in the same building as the former Rosales family house, on the corner of Angulo and Tablas streets. Federico was welcomed and hosted. He trusted that the Rosales’ connection with the Falange (Franco’s party) could protect him from the rebels. He doesn’t go outside and spends the day playing the piano. The Reina Cristina Hotel occupies what was the home of the Rosales family, where the poet Federico García Lorca spent his last days. It must be said that the hotel owners have made a great effort to preserve those aspects of the building that go back to the time when the Rosales family lived here. The building, full of Andalusian air, reminds us, between its patios and fountains, the universal figure of the poet in his last days.

The door of the Casa de los Rosales on Calle Angulo, 1. According to a police document drawn up many years after the poet’s death, the building was surrounded with a great apparatus by Militias and Assault Guards who took all the nearby intersections and rooftops. Lorca left through this door on his way to the Civil Government building.   Lorca had taken refuge in the Rosales brothers’ house out of fear. His friends tried to intercede for him to avoid his arrest, without success. Federico is on the second floor of the house at the time of his arrest, on August 16 1936. An illegal detention, “without a written or oral order,” as the poet Luis Rosales declared years later.

His biographer Ian Gibson (Irish-Spanish now living in Madrid) relates the account of a witness: “He wore dark gray pants, a white shirt with a loose tie knot and, on his arm, a blazer.” By the Plaza de Los Lobos, Lorca passed through here when they were taking him prisoner. The square is the central point of the journey, barely 240 meters long, which separated the residence of Los Rosales and the Civil Government of Granada. Despite the short distance, he was stopped and transferred by car. The Puerta del Jardín Botánico, next to the Faculty of Law which, in 1936, was the seat of the Civil Government. The poet remained imprisoned in a dungeon in this building on Calle Duquesa before being taken to Víznar where, according to police documentation, he is “passed over by arms.” (shot dead) Today there is no plaque that recalls what was Federico’s last stay in Granada.

The Puerta or gate of the Faculty of Law was  crossed by Garcia Lorca on the way to Víznar. Some sources believe that the transfer occurred on the same day the 16th, others on the 17th August 1936. Be that as it may, he spent his last hours in a large house on the outskirts of town, La Colonia. At Viznar he spent his last night in a makeshift jail, along with other detainees. It seems definitely established that Federico García Lorca was shot at 4:45 a.m. on August 18, on the road from Víznar to Alfacar. His body, which was never recovered, remains buried in an anonymous mass grave somewhere in those places. One of the most shocking works on the fact of his death is the poem «The crime was in Granada», written by Antonio Machado (another great poet) in 1937. One of the most documented, controversial and popular biographies on Federico García Lorca is the published best-seller in 1989 and entitled Federico García Lorca: A life (Life, passion and death of Federico García Lorca, Spanish edition in 1998), by the Irish-born Spanish Ian Gibson. Calle Duquesa was one of the last images of Granada by Federico Garcia Lorca.

Tracing his places of stayed in a brief description of them to follow:

Fuente Vaqueros located in the western part of the Vega de Granada region of the province of Grenada. In 1767 the colonization of the farm began. In 1777 it returned to the hands of the Crown, then passing to Manuel Godoy (later prime minister). Upon returning to the Crown again, in 1813 the Cortes donated the estate in perpetuity to the Duke of Wellington as a reward for services rendered during the War of Independence against the French. Until 1940, the current town of Fuente Vaqueros belonged to the Duke of Wellington, having its land leased to the settlers and little by little it was sold to them, who populated and gave way to the current town. Internationally it is known for having been the hometown of Federico García Lorca.

Some of the things to see here are: Monument and monoliths to Federico García Lorca Museum , Federico García Lorca’s birthplace. Federico García Lorca Municipal Theater ,and the Royal House of the Duke of Wellington. Hence, in this town there are many references and traces of the universal poet and playwright, with monuments and museums built in the memory of him.

The town of Fuente Vaqueros things to see: http://www.fuente-vaqueros.com/que-visitar.html

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on Fuente Vaqueros in Spanish : https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/museo-casa-natal-en-fuente-vaqueros/

Valderrubio is located in the western part of the Vega de Granada region, in the province of Granada. The town of Valderrubio is one of the thirty-four entities that make up the Metropolitan Area of Granada.

Federico García Lorca lived in this town, when it was still called Asquerosa. The origin of this name seems to be from Latin in Roman times, its meaning was Agua de Rosas or Acuarosa, in Latin Aqua Rosae. Its current name, which, to avoid the name meaning disgusting in Spanish, officially replaced the name on August 15, 1943, to the new name of Valderrubio ,which refers to “valley of blond tobacco”, since it was a majority crop until the middle of the 20C. So much so that it is said that it was the first town in Europe where the blond tobacco brought from America was planted.

It was in this town where Federico García Lorca, considered one of the most important Spanish poets of the 20C, was inspired to create one of his best dramatic works: La casa de Bernarda Alba. Among the places of Lorca, the house of Bernarda Alba stands out, the house on Calle Iglesia where today the House Museum, the Fuente de la Teja and the Daimuz farm are located, two km from Valderrubio, next to the Cubillas river, near the confluence with the Genil river. Valderrubio brings together a landscape and natural environment that still revives the basis of the great work that the poet left behind.

Some things to see here are  the Federico García Lorca House-Museum; Bernarda Alba House and Monument to the Entrepreneurs and Tobacco Workers.

The town of Valderrubio on things to see in Spanish: http://www.ayuntamientovalderrubio.es/rutas-turisticas-e-hitos-de-interes

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on Valderrubio: https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/casa-familiar-de-valderrubio/

The old Café Alameda created in 1909 was known as the Gran Café Granada by most of the people of Granada at the beginning of the 20C, as it was the initial name with which the hospitality establishment was inaugurated, nowadays disappeared as such. It was located in the Plaza del Campillo. In that special corner at the beginning of the 1920s, the Bohemian intellectual gathering known as the Rinconcillo ( a little corner or place) was born, cradle of characters, some of them already prominent artists and others who would come to be recognized in disciplines as diverse as poetry, literature, journalism, the arts, politics, music and diplomacy, both nationally and internationally. In 1922, Manuel de Falla, Federico Garcia Lorca, Ignacio Zuloaga and the Granada City Council organized the first national Cante Jondo competition, which took place on June 13 and 14 in the Plaza de los Aljibes in the Alhambra. These modernizing ideas for renovation of Granada society, were supported at the time through periodic visits to the gathering by characters as diverse as H G Wells, Koichi Nakayama, Rudyard Kipling, and the musicians Wanda Landowska and Arthur Rubinstein Among the usual protagonists were Federico García Lorca and his brother Francisco, Manuel de Falla, politician Antonio Gallego Burín, the doctor and politician Manuel Fernández-Montesinos and his brother José, a philologist, the musician Ángel Barrios, the painter Manuel Ángeles Ortiz , José Acosta Medina, Miguel Pizarro Zambrano, the journalists José Mora Guarnido and Constantino Ruiz Carnero, José María García Carrillo, the politician Fernando de los Ríos, who would be Minister of Justice and Public Instruction, the Arabist José Navarro Pardo, the painter Ismael González de la Serna, Hermenegildo Lanz, the sculptor Juan Cristóbal, Ramón Pérez Roda, Luis Mariscal and the guitarist Andrés Segovia, and as conductor and cultural animator, Francisco Soriano Lapresa! Wow a who is who indeed of my beloved Spain!

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on El Rincocillo or old Alameda café in Spanish: https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/el-rinconcillo/

The Federico García Lorca House-Museum, familiarly known as Huerta de San Vicente, was the summer estate of the García Lorca family from 1926 to 1936, shortly after Federico’s assassination during the first weeks of the Spanish Civil War. The house and the orchards that belonged to him are located in the heart of the Federico García Lorca park, inaugurated in 1995. The farm seems to have its origin in the second half of the 19C and would be known as the Huerta de los Mudos (mute). Later, it became the property of Federico García Rodríguez, father of Federico García Lorca, who signed the purchase on May 27, 1925. The artist’s father, in homage to his wife Vicenta Lorca Romero, changed the name of the farm to Huerta de San Vicente.

Federico García Lorca wrote in this place, in whole or in part, some notable works such as So five years pass (1931), Bodas de Sangre or Blood Wedding (1932), Yerma (1934) or Diván del Tamarit (1931-1936). Among some of the poet’s friends who visited the area are the following personalities: Manuel de Falla, Miguel Pizarro, Antonio Gallego Burín, Manuel Ángeles Ortiz, Eduardo Blanco Amor, Eduardo Rodríguez Valdivieso, etc. In addition, the artist spent the last days before his arrest and subsequent execution of him on the farm, before moving to the house of his friend Luis Rosales.

On April 6, 1985, it was acquired by the Granada City Council from Isabel García Lorca (younger sister) to turn it into a house museum for the poet Federico García Lorca. In 1995, the only reliable documents that existed on the arrangement of this furniture set were a series of photographs taken in the period 1926-1936, among which the series taken in 1935 by the writer Eduardo Blanco Amor stands out, as well as family photographs taken starting in 1918 in other places where the García Lorca family lived and in which some of the furniture, works of art and objects that can be seen today in the Huerta de San Vicente are collected. These photographs make it possible to delimit with precision the qualifier “original”, applied to the furniture that decorates it: in them we see the poet’s desk, the gramophone, the baby grand piano, the divan, the rocking chairs and the Thonet chairs, the reproduction from Botticelli’s Spring, the mirror with an art deco frame , among other minor items. In addition to the photographs, the testimonies of the people who lived in it were very useful, especially Isabel García Lorca (sister) and the nephews Vicenta and Manuel Fernández Montesinos. The rest of the furniture, as well as the belongings (crockery, ceramics, and household objects such as the coat rack, the tablecloth, or peasants such as the cheese maker, etc.) and other documents and works of art that can be seen today in the House-Museum were either part of the furniture in La Huerta in some of its periods between 1926 and 1936, or they belonged at some point to the Lorca family.

The official house museum Huerta de San Vicente: http://www.huertadesanvicente.com/

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on the Huerta de San Vicente: https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/huerta-de-san-vicente/

Víznar  is located in the foothills of the Sierra de la Alfaguara, in the central part of the Vega de Granada, about 9 km from Granada. In one of the ravines between the towns of Víznar and Alfacar, the Guardia Civil:( Civil Guard) assassinated Federico García Lorca.

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on the ravins of Viznar in Spanish: https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/barranco-de-viznar/

Additional webpages on the Cervantes virtual library on Federico Garcia Lorcahttp://www.cervantesvirtual.com/portales/federico_garcia_lorca/

There you go folks, I feel better. I did as briefly as possible but long enough to give you the complete story on a great men, one of the greatest, still play, spoken and worship of the Spanish literature giants. Federico Garcia Lorca sits at the top.  Hoping the wounds of the Spanish Civil War can one day be completely healed and we just remember,never to let it happened again.

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

January 6, 2021

Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados!!

Ok so lets put the original name on the title, this is the Royal Basilica Our Lady of the Foresaken in Valencia! The Spanish name actually sound more prophetic Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados! Let me update this post for all as it brings nice memories and an important monument in the city.

And I am in Valencia, a wonderful city by the Mediterranean often overlook for others but this one rank up high in my travel books! Trying not to repeat myself I did a post on the Cathedral where I mentioned my attachment to the city. And of course ,it has many wonderful things to see.

However, if monuments are measure , I would skip all others and head for the Royal Basilica of  Our Lady of the Foresaken or Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados. This is a must in town.

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The Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken stands out for being the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Forsaken, Patron Saint of Valencia and all the ancient kingdom of Valencia today. It boasts basilical rank thanks to the Pontifical brief signed by Pope Pius XII on April 21, 1948. Specifically, it is located in the Plaza de la Virgen, opposite the allegorical source of the Turia river,  and its arches (Rascanya, Tormos, Mestalla, Mislata, Rovella, Favaro, Benàger i Faitanar and Quart).  Two of its gates give to this square, and a third gives to the passage that separates the Basilica to the Cathedral, joined both by a superior arch. In this third door there is a latticed window through which you can contemplate the interior when the Basilica is closed and you can contemplate the illuminated Virgin. Excavations carried out in the Almoina indicate that the area where the Basilica is located corresponds to the Roman forum of the city of Valencia. In fact, several ashlars from the main façade of the basilica are tombstones and inscriptions from the Roman era.

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A bit of history I like

The presence of the image of the Virgin, according to various historians, dates from 1414, being its findings wrapped in the legend of the angelic construction. Initially its recumbent configuration, arranged on the coffins of the executed, had a small pillow that made advancing the head. This fact, it made that when it was erected, it was seen with its characteristic head inclination; calling it Geperudeta ( little bended). King Fernando the Catholic in a Royal privilege, granted the title to this historic brotherhood with the name of ‘ Verge dels Innoscents e Desamparats  (Virgin of the innocent and forsaken) on June 3, 1493. The visit of King Felipe IV to Valencia in 1632 and the circumstance that through the intercession of the Virgin will justify his victories at Fuenterrabía and Tortosa, led to the promotion of a new and Royal Chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Foresaken. The Royal Chapel of the Virgin of the Forsaken, was made between 1652 and 1666.

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The wonderful architecture of the Royal Basilica of  Our Lady of the Foresaken

The composition of the first Church is framed in a Tardo-renaissance  designed, characterized by its classicist sobriety, constructive sincerity and economical, enhancing the values of proportion, symmetry and equilibrium. Inside, the discovery of the original ornamentation of 1666, composed of paddings, florets and enrolled children’s Angels intertwined with borders in the interspaces of the dome, leads us to a severe building in its conception, characterized by its whiteness, combining, to perfection, the idea of the Renaissance centrality, with the Baroque dynamism of the elliptical space, topped in a cupola. Between 1683 and 1694, and in a fully Baroque designed with Greek cross with flared arches and oblique architecture, the Chapel of the Virgin is built, as a shrine-sanctuary, linked directly to the central-elliptical space, through its total spatial interconnection, considering itself as a unique case in the history of architecture.

In 1701, in full Baroque effervescence, a new inner dome was executed, theoretically, from the outside, according to the discovery of this research, on which Antonio Palomino made the great pictorial composition.  During the 18C to 20C, the Royal Chapel experienced successive and important transformations such as neoclassical reform, romantic and historicist performances etc with substantial modification of the sober and austere initial renaissance approach, providing of great formal and material wealth. The internal approach of strict symmetry with respect to the two orthogonal axes of the elliptical plant, was moved to the external image, by means of the definition of three facades clearly symmetrical with respect to the vertical-central axis. The disposition of the accesses, double in the facades to the square and the Calle de la Leña (firewood)  and centered in the façade to the Cathedral, together with the vertical layout of the lantern, reinforced the centrality and symmetry of the composition.

The intervention in the cupola of the Basilica of  Our Lady of the Forsaken has served to recover all the color of frescoes painted by Antonio Palomino in 1701, but has also rehabilitated the name of this artist and Cordovan scholar, chamber painter of king Carlos II , whose pictorial work has taken centuries to recognize, although today it is considered fundamental in the mural production of Spanish Baroque. Palomino currently considered one of the most interesting figures of the transition period from the 17C to the 18C, left a notable footprint in Valencia , which could be greater if the 1,200 square meters of vault painted in the Church of the Saints Juanes (would be the greatest fresco in the world) would have survived the four fires that almost devastated the Church during the Spanish Civil War. He then went on to take care of the vault of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken, in which, following the fashion of the late 17C, it was intended to reform its interior appearance. Palomino was in charge of putting the sky to that cloister ,with its balconies and columns, which is seen today inside the Basilica. Their capitals still show the black effect provoked by the smoke of the candles and that made practically invisible the work of the Cordovan painter ,especially in the upper area of the altar.  Coinciding with the replacement of the main altar, it was decided to reform the Virgin’s dressing room, gaining in monumentality thanks to the treatment of the walls, the vaulted solution of the covered wrought , the change of pavement and the auction of the Estancia. The walls were surrounded by a dark marble plinth and at the angles columns with red marble stems with Corinthian capitals.

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The stained glass set consists of seven stained glass windows with modernist nuances marked by the style of the time, are located in the seven spaces of illumination of the central nave of the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken. The stained glass windows symbolize the litany of the Holy Rosary and venerate the Virgin representing the patron saint of Valencia’s such as: Door of Heaven, Ivory Tower, Mystical rose, roots of Jesus, throne of Wisdom and Morning Star. Six of them are located in a symmetrical way illuminating the ovoid vault, while the seventh, at the apex of the oval, reaches its symmetry when juxtaposed with the image of  Our Lady of the Forsaken. This last window is of bigger dimensions than the rest and folding, it functions like a door of access to the narrow interior cornice that runs through the drum to allow access to the others. The main window is linked to the Royal Brotherhood of the Virgin of the Forsaken where two innocent infants are depicted praying at the foot of the cross, the stained glass reproduced the text “Pray for us. “ These seven symbols are framed inside a baroque Chapel whose representation comprises two columns of ionic capital bearing a half-point arch and a triangular pediment. This set is repeated in the seven stained glass windows being all the same size except in the central symbol of allusion to the Virgin.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official webpage of the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsakenhttp://www.basilicadesamparados.org/

City of Valencia on the Basilica in Spanish: https://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/infociudad_accesible.nsf/vDocumentosWebListado/70ADDAC6CD3425EDC12572C200242A51?OpenDocument&bdOrigen=&idapoyo=&nivel=15&lang=1

The Valencia tourist office on the Basilica: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/basilica-virgen-desamparados-basilica-our-lady-forsaken

There you go another jewel by the Mediterranean and worth a detour in the city of Fallas. Hope you enjoy the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken in Valencia.

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

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December 29, 2020

Real Madrid CF, the world’s best!!

I wrote this article back in January 2011 in my blog, and need to update. Once in a while I dwell away from my travels and this is one big hobby of mine, a fanatic!!! The game of football/soccer/calcio has taken me to meet many good people over the years and visited many countries with stories of the game. Lucky me also played and socio member of the greatest club in history, the Real Madrid CF. Let me tell you the story ok; hope you enjoy as I.

I will be talking about something personal, it is my club since my 13 year!, and had written before but never really had the initiative to write something about its history and accomplishments until now. As written all over my blog and proud of ,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 infantil (12-13 yrs) 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. Simply the best and still been recognised as such. Best Club of the 20 century by FIFA, best club of the 20 century by IFFHS in Europe, and recently voted by the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards as so far 2000-2020 best club of the 21 century!

I was just a young kid that was introduced to the organisation by a baseball umpire to play for their junior baseball team at the parque de la Elipa, from my home at Calle de Alcalà, Quintana neighborhood or barrio in the district of Ciudad Lineal;  it was just a bus P13 (now name the 113) to it. While there, friends used to go to see the team different sports, and  played, Ciudad Deportiva (the old one by the paseo de la Castellana now has four skyrises call the four towers.

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 alevin 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 . Unfortunately, times were different then and me poorer so no camera no pictures just memories in my mind forever.

From then on it has been a love affaire wherever 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 to Valdebebas to Santiago Bernabeu, and now the Wizink Center. The old readers of Spain will know the trail!

A bit of history I like

The team was born out of educators who sat around and found a club in 1897 in 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. 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 Spanish Civil 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.  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, (to note his wife was from Camagüey Cuba!)  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 delighted 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, ;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 pay checks from uncle Florentino (too enterprise and little football not my favorite) . Leagues or ligas were won but not sufficient due to the expenditures made. Another Champions league was won in 2002 with player like Figo, Zidane,Ronaldo, and Beckham. The chosen successor 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.

The 2010-2013 seasons of Real Madrid were under new coach Jose Mourinho allows the club to play La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League after a white season. However, only winning the Copa del Rey or King’s Cup. The 2013-2015 were under coach Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez 2015-2016, Zinadine Zidane 2016-2018 (from France and 3 consecutive Champions league, a record!) ,then Julen Lopetegui, Santiago Solari and finally back to Zinadine Zidane from 2019 to present.

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 Real Madrid sport city or Ciudad Deportiva is today at Valdebebas just outside Madrid and the basketball arena is the WiZink Center (before Caja Magica and before Vistalegre). See my posts on them, the Santiago Bernabeu stadium is now undergoing a huge renovation which will include amongst other things a covered declinable roof!

The club has participated in all 88 season of Spanish first division football, and has won 34 Ligas, by far the most. The player who has obtained the most titles with the club are Francisco Gento 23, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo 22, and Manuel Sanchis with 21 titles, and the player with most games is Raul Gonzalez Blanco with 741 games and then Iker Casillas with 725 games. The best scorer has been Cristiano Ronaldo with 450 goals, and then Raul with 323 goals. The most games by an international player is still Karim Benzema so far 529 games all inclusive. I must add Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, and Karim Benzema are still playing on the club!

These are the Real Madrid CF club titles:

Spanish Liga Champions (34): 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, 2007/08.2012/13; 2017/18 and 2019/20.

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. 2011/12   2013/14 2015/16; 2016/17.

Copa del Rey or Kings Cup or Spain (19): 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1917, 1934, 1936, 1946, 1947, 1962, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1993.2011. 2014.

Vice Champions of the Kings Cup or Spain (20): 1903, 1916, 1918, 1924, 1929,1930,1933,1940,1943,1958, 1959/60, 1960/61, 1967/68, 1978/79 , 1983, 1990, 1992, 2001, 2003. 2013.

Super Cup of Spain (11): 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008. 2012.2017.2020.

vice Champion Super Cup of Spain (5): 1982, 1995, 2007, 2011; 2014.

League Cup (1): 1985.  vice Champion League Cup  (1): 1983.  Eva Duarte Cup (1):1947.

Regional Championships and Community trophies (23) 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.

On the International scene 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. 2013/14 ; 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18.

vice Champions Champions League (3) 1962 , 1964 ; 1981

 UEFA Cup (2): 1984/85, 1985/86.

Super Cup of UEFA (4): 2002, 2014;2016; 2017. Vice Champions Super Cup of UEFA (3) 1998 , 2000, 2018.

Intercontinental Cup (3): 1960,1998,2002.  Vice Champion Intercontinental Cup  (2): 1966,2000

World Club Champions FIFA (4) 2014 2016 2017 2018

Vice Champion European Cup of Cups  (2): 1971,1983

Ibero American Cup  (1): 1994. Latin Cup(2): 1955, 1957.  Club Small World Cup  (2): 1952, 1956.

The team has an immense farm system factory or Fàbrica, that allows to maintain teams in many divisions and with excellent championship records as well such as the Real Madrid-Castilla, and  teams in every division of Spain. It ,also has an excellent basketball section with 9 times champions of Europe. They played in the ACB league.

A bit of history on the Real Madrid basketball section. My second team ::)

The Real Madrid basketball section was born on March 8, 1931 following an advertisement in a Spanish daily, ABC, inviting all gentlemen interested in playing basketball to join the club. Raimundo Saporta is part of a commission, also comprising the Yugoslav Borislav Stanković, the French Robert Busnel, the Czech Miloslav Kriz and the Soviet Nikolai Semasko, who during the European Championships in 1957, invited the national federations to participate in their national champions in a competition which began in 1958 and for which the newspaper L’Équipe (France) provided the trophy. This is the Basketball version of the Champions league of football.

Some of the better known players at least to me were Clifford Luyk who wore the white jersey from 1961 to 1978 and took part in Real Madrid first six triumphs on the European scene. Another American, Wayne Brabender, the Spanish pivot Fernando Martín Espina , and Emiliano Rodríguez. There are newer players today like Sergio Llul, Felipe Reyes, Carroll, Randolph , and Tavares. As far as coaches, my favorites were Pedro Ferrándiz, who coached the club for four periods, from 1955 to 1957, then from 1959 to 1962, 1964 to 1965 and finally from 1966 to 1975, is the coach who has contributed the most to enriching the list. Under his leadership, Real won four Champion Clubs’ Cups in 1965, 1967, 1968 and 1974. eleven championship titles and eleven Spanish cups. Lolo Sainz (1975-1994) , Ettore Messina, and the current Pablo Laso.

These are the Real Madrid CF basketball club titles:

Spanish League 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

Spanish Cup Champion (28): Copa del Generalísimo: 1951, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, Copa del Rey, King’s Cup: 1977, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1993, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020.

Champions of the Spanish Supercup (7): 1985, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Champion of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup – Euroleague: 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1995, 2015, 2018.

Intercontinental Cup /World Cup Champion: 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981; 2015

ULEB Cup champion: 2007.  Saporta ReCopa of Europe Champion: 1984, 1989, 1992, 1997.  Korać Cup  champion: 1988. Champion of the Latina Cup: 1952-1953.  Champion of Torneo Internacional ACB: 1984, 1988, 1989.

And the story does not stop here, the sky is the limit, we want them all!!! You want to see the best football/soccer, basketball in Europe come to Madrid, Spain and see my Real Madrid CF!!! Enjoy the this post, and the many others on my team in my blog!

Some webpages to help you recognise the wonderful history of the Real Madrid clubs are

The official Real Madrid club webpagehttps://www.realmadrid.com/en

If you want to be part of the family, then become a Madridista here : https://www.realmadrid.com/aficion/madridistas/internacionales

If you want to shop online or find the store in Madrid webpage: http://www.realmadridshop.com/stores/realmadrid/default.aspx

The usual layout for ticketing was to go on avenida Concha Espina puerta or door 55 or the calle Carmen 3 near Sol in city center, metro sol. It will be interesting to know how the store at the stadium will be once completely renovated as ongoing.

If you want to buy official ticket online ahead of games and pick up yours at the stadium, very easy then see the official webpage: https://www.realmadrid.com/en/tickets

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: https://fororealmadrid.com/index.php

For the best sport journal in Spain and extensive coverage of football following since 1972,  see AS (you can have it in English too go to sports heading top right) webpage:http://www.as.com/

There you go folks, now I feel better,updated and clear text me think for you. Enjoy the post and more so the Real Madrid CF!

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

December 29, 2020

Madrid: Church of the Holy Cross!!

And back to Madrid cannot be too far from it! I look at this church recently on my trips there, not before. And I thought needed to be shown more it is a little jewel in a frequented area that is left more as an off the beaten path sight. Let me tell you  a bit about the Iglesia de la Santa Cruz!

Oh yes this is known to us as the Iglesia de la Santa Cruz at Calle Atocha,6 in my beloved Madrid. There are many famous popular and tourist sites in Madrid, but why keep talking about them….I have been asked many times if there are new things to see in a particular city such as Madrid, well there are plenty you just need time…lots of time, Madrid has plenty.  I can write a blog on Madrid alone too, but the goal is share travel experiences from everywhere, anyway, Madrid will be always home in my beloved Spain

As mentioned the Iglesia de la Santa Cruz is at a nice popular zone near the Atocha train station and the Plaza de Atocha or at Calle de Atocha no 6 corner of Calle de Santo Tomàs. You can get here by Metro Tirso de Molina or Sol on  lines 1, 2, 3  or at metro Anton Martin, line 1.

The  Church of the Holy Cross is found in a lot where the convent of St Thomas of Aquinas of the Dominican Order was founded in 1583 by priest Diego de Chaves ,confessor of king Felipe II. The story goes that by 1626 , it felled under the patron of the count duke of Olivares and in 1635 the first stone was laid for a new Church, that went on fire in 1652  making the convent and the Church disappeared.  It is rebuilt in 1660 and the high altar falls off in 1726 killing the churchgoers , then in 1756 it goes through another fire. Finally in 1876 another fire destroyed the whole building and it was demolished. The current Church was began to be built in 1889 with a facade in the Churriguresco style and the cloister of the baroque school; the construction needed to stop for lack of funds and they took off again in 1899 , finally the Church was completed in 1902. Lots of faith and perseverance indeed.

The current Church of the Holy Cross or Santa Cruz has a neo Gothic style with brick and white stone of Colmenar, the principal facade has an arc crown by a triangular front with a Cross.  The center of the facade has a relief with the apotheosis of the Cross and on top of the portico a great cupola in which a big clock . It has one nerf with eight lateral chapels.

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The most interesting point of the tower is at more than 80 meters high at which top the bells are enclosed in a dome looking like a fortress and in some way continue the tradition of the previous Church towers of 144 feet built in 1660 and known as the Atalaya de la Corte (watchtower of the courts).  The tower was the highest point in the city until the Telefonica building in Gran Via was done in the 1920’s.

In the interior there is a portrait of the Virgen de la Cinta , patron Saint of the city of Huelva . Here is the seat of the fraternity branch of that of Huelva. Since building the Church in 1902, the Archicofradía del Santo Entierro de Madrid ( Catholic association of the holy burial ) , and one of the oldest in the city ,created in 1412. Also, home since the end of the 1950’s to the Cofradía de María Santísima de Araceli de Madrid, branch of the Real Archicofradía de María Santísima de Araceli de Lucena, in Cordoba.

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The Parish Church of Santa Cruz with a description in Spanish: https://www.parroquiadesantacruz.com/index.php/descripcion-del-templo/

There is a nice stop and not so far from the more popular places, just a tip of the off the beaten paths of my Madrid. Hope you enjoy the Church of the Holy Cross or the Iglesia de la Santa Cruz.

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

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December 28, 2020

Torrejon de Ardoz, Madrid!!

Ok so this is for the nostalgia of family times; and needs an update/revision of its text. I have other posts on sights in my blog. Not really a tourist attraction, just a regular local town with one nice big shopping mall outside. This, then, will be a black and white post. However, is part of my youth of living in Madrid. Let me tell you a bit about Torrejon de Ardoz in the Comunidad de Madrid region.

On my continuing quest to update, revise, add subtract pictures from older posts in my blog, I bring you back to Torrejon de Ardoz. Childhood memories of this town which was lucky enough to bring my dear late wife Martine and the boys to visit and buy toys here. Therefore, here is my black and white homage to Torrejon de Ardoz, memories forever!

On a rainy day , I am thinking of expanding my writings on a not really touristic town of my beloved Madrid. Yes the province or Comunidad de Madrid. I spent many summers here, when a young teen. Much later, came back with the family just for the memories and the shopping center of Toys R Us! and the boys love it. 

Torrejón de Ardoz is in the corridor area of  Henares  (Alcalà) and also has presence in the metro area of Madrid. ​ It really took off in the 20C as a city growing along the expressway A-2 Madrid-Barcelona.  In addition it is connected to the rail line Madrid-Barcelona, and the beltway roads of M-50 and M-45 as well as the  M-206  towards Loeches and Ajalvir.  It is only 19 km from Puerta del Sol in Madrid and 9 km from Adolfo Suarez Barajas-Madrid airport. There is a toll road, the radial or R2 Madrid – Guadalajara, the M-108 connects with Ajalvir;and the M-206 connects San Fernando de Henares with Loeches ; and finally the  M-300 connects to  Alcalá de Henares. This is too many roads,, but it has grown when I lived in Madrid coming here there was only one road, and we came by bus the 224!!

There is bus connection I took when a child and also tested my family on it on our trip back then in 1993. Of course, the buses still do the run. You take the 224 in avenida de América, Madrid bus terminal to direction Hospital de Torrejon at Torrejon de Ardoz, you stop at Constitucion and there take the local bus no 4 to Parque Corredor a huge shopping center my kids love it.

The suburbian train lines or Cercanías C-2 and C-7 have a city center station and another in the residential area of Soto del Henares (near the Hospital de Torrejón ,and the industrial park Casablanca). The city center station is at the Plaza de España. The line C-2 Guadalajara – Madrid Atocha – Madrid Chamartín (- Cercedilla/Segovia-El Escorial/Ávila), and the line   C-7 Alcalá de Henares – Madrid Atocha- Madrid Chamartín (- Las Rozas – Príncipe Pío).

The Centro Comercial “Parque Corredor” has an hypermarket Alcampo (from the French chain Auchan), and more than 180 stores including the famous Toys R Us and a children playground.  By car as we did lately is on the road M-108 Carretera or highway of Ajalvir-Torrejon between Km 2 and km 5 well posted on the road. See my post on the shopping center.

A bit of history I like on Torrejon de Ardoz

In the 11C, after the castle of Aldovea, the town of  Torrejón de Ardoz is created. In 1118, the kingdom of Castile under king Alfonso VII, reconquered Alcalá (Henares) and these lands of which included the castle.  On an anecdote history will said that in 1906, Mateo Morral  tries to assassinate the king Alfonso XIII, and his wife and was able to escape to Madrid  ,however he is notice by several persons in a lot not far from  Torrejón de Ardoz, where he had stopped to eat. These persons called the security guard of the lot,  Fructuoso Vega, that after some verifications followed Mateo. Eventually, he gave up peacefully , but when he was conducted by the guard to the police station of Torrejón de Ardoz, he was killed by the guard and later this one took his life as well. Maybe a complot never to be known the roots of it. In 1955 the USA air base came here as part of the agreement with Gen Franco and the USA . I came to play baseball here in the 1970’s and a team from the base form part of the baseball league of Madrid with 8 teams including Real Madrid (my team) Atletico de Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, Condepols, Piratas, and the Abraham Lincoln school from memory.  We played the games at the Elipa municipal fields (see post on the baseball story) which today it is still the Baseball federation base of Madrid and a baseball field still in use. In 1992 , the Americans leave and where the air base was now you see many installations, like a hospital, hotel, golf course, etc. all under the Defense ministry of Spain.

Things to see in Torrejon de Ardoz, me think ,nice to out off the beaten paths.

The Casa Grande is located in the Calle de Madrid in the old town of Torrejon de Ardoz. It was built in the 14C to beginning of the 15C. It was founded in the 16C by the Company of Jesus  to managed the Imperial College of Madrid. After the expulsion of the Jesuists in 1776 under the reign of Carlos III it had several owners. For a long time was the headquarters of the Civil Guard until 1974 on which Rafael Onieva purchased it and restored it to turned it into a lodging (4 stars) and artistic place that is today. It ,also ,house an important museum of byzantine icons with more than 1200 pieces.

The Saint John the Evangelist or Iglesia de San Juan Evangelista,located in the Plaza Mayor,was built from the 16C. At first ,it was a small Church with two Chapels and two nerfs ,and the dead were buried in the Church.  From about 1784, worked began to expanded as we know it today. A Basilical style with three nerfs and a dome. There is a famous portrait of the painter Claudio Coello entitled the martyrism of St John the Evangelist or El Martirio de San Juan Evangelista that dates from 1675.

Another big area for entertainment for the family but one we have not been is the Parque Europa that opened in 2010 as an improvement and enlargement of the previous park of the Ardoz.  It has many activities for the family and a huge complex in miniature of the famous buildings of Europe. For info webpage: https://www.parqueeuropa.es/

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here, and why not, something different from off the beaten path for Spain, and great for kids at the shopping center and Europa park.

The City of Torrejon de Ardoz on things to see: https://www.ayto-torrejon.es/ciudad/lugares-de-interes

The Comunidad de Madrid tourist office on Torrejon de Ardoz: https://turismomadrid.es/es/descubre/madrid-%C3%A1rea-metropolitana/7018-torrejon-de-ardoz.html?eprivacy=1

There you go another of my gems of youthful days and still memories that will not go away. Hope you enjoy Torrejon de Ardoz on something different. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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December 28, 2020

Jerez de la Frontera!!!

Well figure the title says it all on the wonderful town of historic Spain and the sherry fame! !I am updating this old post to bring out some newer links and memories of a wonderful trip down to Andalucia and Jerez de la Frontera!

Never amazed me in my travels the beauty of my beloved Spain. This is deep roots, in fact when visitors comes to Spain or hear about it, what they really see / hear is Andalucia. You heard of tapas, flamenco, bullfights well all started here as well as sherry. As we say Spain is everything under the sun ::)  I came here to see the famous sherry , horses, and flamenco all in one, mind you as Spanish these are not my traditions been from Tenerife. However, all refer to Spain with these Andalucian treasures. So, therefore, lets talk about Jerez de la Frontera.

Jerez de la Frontera is in the province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia ; frontera comes from the frontier between moors nazari Granada and the Crown of Castilla. Only about 12 km from the Atlantic ocean and 85 km from the Gibraltar strait. It can be describe in four words, wine/sherry ,horse, flamenco and motorcycles. The city is known for centuries as the capital of wine or sherry. Another trait is the horse or cartucian horse or jerezano a line of the andalucian horse from the 15C. The city is also known as the birthplace of Flamenco. The motorcycle Grand Prize of Spain is run here along the neighboring El Puerto de Santa Maria.

A bit of history I like

The name of Jerez is from the denomination Xera of the Phonecians in the area where the city is found today; later the Roman called it Ceret or Seret and after the  Visigoths it was called Seritium or Xeritium. After the Moorish invasion it was called Sherish and when the kingdom of Castilla took Jerez in 1264 the city came to be known as Xerez, and later added de la Frontera as it was in the frontier with the kingdom of Granada. It is said the origins go back to the city of Asta Regia founded by the Tartessos at about 8 km from the current location and could have been their capital. After the discovery of new world and the conquest of Granada in 1492 Jerez goes thru a tremendous growth period with trade with nearby ports of Sevilla and Cadiz. This made that king Felipe II ordered built a navigable estuary so the ships can reach the port in the city such as El Portal to the city of Guadalete,and that the city was included amongst the 480 cities of the world part of the  Civitates Orbis Terrarum or panoramic cities of the world. By 1890, Jerez  was the first city to have public electricity at least for the lighting together with Haro in La Rioja . From the 17C, time where Sherry was famous all over the world, many British companies settled here such as Garvey, Gonzalez Byass, William & Humbert as well as Spanish Bearn(France) such as Domecq; the strong close link to the  British remained constant today.

Some of the things to see from a religious standpoint are huge, some of my favorites are:

Convento de San José, now housing Franciscans Clarisas descalzas or no shoes ; Capilla de los Desamparados, Capilla de San Juan de Letràn, Capilla del Calvario, Convento de Madre de Dios, very good pastries here!!! with sisters of the Franciscans Clarisas , Church Madre de Dios (mother of God) Sanctuary San Juan Grande, Church of Santa Ana, and Capilla de Santa Marta.

The city of Jerez de la Frontera, has several castles/palaces some in not so good shape, again many, so my favorites are:

Palacio, Duke of Abrantes, here is the home of the Royal school of Andalucian Equestrian art. By the nice Plaza Benavente you have the Palacio de Camporreal, and Palacio de Bertemati, Palacio de Riquelme, 16C, Palacio Domecq baroque style built in 1778 with Italian red marble and decorated arches. Palacio Dàvial renaissance style, in the Plaza Rafael Rivero come to see the Palacio de Luna (moon palace) baroque style built 1777. Palacio Pemartin, home of the Flamenco Andalucian center. Palacio de Villavicencio inside the Alcàzar, the curious can see now a store but this is the Palacio del Marqués de Villamarta in Calle Larga! At the Calle Pozuelo see the Palacio del Conde de los Andes; Casa Palacio de los Ponce de Léon, now the home of the sisters of the Savior ; in the Plaza de Belén see the Palacio de los Condes de Montegil, and the unique Casa de los Basurto built between the 16C and 19C is now part of the Bodegas Domecq sherry house.  Plenty more I told you lots of palatial homes here.

There are several museum spread all over the city, my favorites are:

The Archeological museum or Museo Arquéologico in nice Plaza del Mercado with a corinthian center unique in the western world found near the Cartuja and the Guadalete river. Museo de la Atalaya, includes the mystery of Jerez (wine museum) and the Palacio del Tiempo ( watches museum). Museo Taurino on the bullfights and matadors! The Museum of the Andalucian costumes :dresses or Museo del Traje Andaluz. A unique museum for all is the Museo de la Fundacion Espinosa de los Monteros, with guitars, and musical instruments on strings; interesting indeed.

Some other interesting building in my opinion worth a detour are: City hall or ayuntamiento in Renaissance style. The Zoo and botanical garden, Alcazar old arab fortress and as mentioned inside it has the Palacio de Villavicencio and a hidden camera; as well as the ramparts walls with pieces of it on several streets, open or encrusted in buildings today.

And of course other then the horse, the best to come here is the sherry , or Jerez; in many forms. Many houses but in my opinion the best from a historical , architectural and wine perspectives are:

The Gonzalez Byass (visited), Domecq (visited), Grupo Garvey, Williams & Humbert, Sanchez Romate (visited), bodegas Lustau, and Bodegas Tradicion with wine cellars from 1666. Other aspects of a visit to this city is the vineyards festival or Fiestas de la Vendimia, celebrated since 1848, oldest in Spain, the first foot step of the grape is done the first 15 days of September. Another huge event here is Holy Week or Semana Santa, the biggest in Andalucia! with 42 processions averaging six per day, and several nativity scenes in town. The Festival de Flamenco de Jerez is considered the best in the world by many and including the prestigious Flamenco magazine: https://www.deflamenco.com/

See my post on sherry but a primer here: jerez-g-byass-arena-bodega-los-apostoles-barrels-oct15

The city of Jerez de la Frontera on its history and heritage! http://www.turismojerez.com/index.php/es/jerez-ciudad-7/historia-y-actualidad

The Tourist office of Jerez de la Frontera on wine and brandyhttp://www.turismojerez.com/index.php/en/what-to-visit/wine-brandy-2

The tourist office of the province of Cadiz on Jerez de la Fronterahttps://www.cadizturismo.com/municipios/jerez-de-la-frontera

And one major event the Vinoble de Jerez next May 30 to June 1 2021 in Jerez, more info here: https://www.vinoble.org/

There you go a full version on Jerez de la Frontera. Enjoy your visit here, it is all worth it me think. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

December 28, 2020

What else can I tell you on Madrid!

Oh that is a repeated line but first time on the title hehehe! Yes Madrid is sublime what more can I say? You know it if reading my posts in my blog. By the way, thanks for reading me over the last 10 years some of you and welcome the newer readers. Let me tell you an update older post on my Madrid or what else can I tell you on Madrid! I will tell you and see the pictures in individual posts unless not.

Indeed, this if you have been reading my posts , Madrid is the city I lived (1970’s) and enjoyed the times the most as it was early teens years fun and youthful wandering around the city ,and experiencing the first rays of love. The city that , so lucky, have been able to come back many times ,sometimes 3 times per year and every year since…2003. The city that only upon entering the youthfulness come back to me like a ray of force, the force is with me!!!  I came upon Madrid on several occasions on my last vacation trip to Spain last month of August; it was hot as much as 41C or 106F! ,but so what, it did not feel anything ,really. We just had bottle water with us and we cruise walking all over, some spots new to my family and all memorable places to me. I like to share many of these with you on this post. What else can I tell you on Madrid…!!!!!

We came by our car into the heart of the city this time and parked at the parking Descalzas Reales next to the grand Monastery of the Descalzas Reales; a must to see while your first time in Madrid.  Near see the wonderful architecture of the Casa de las Alhajas in Plaza San Martin, if you want a great family event in a historical place ,get on calle Maestro Victoria and  while at it , do some shopping in El Corte Inglés dept store !!

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Right around here at Calle Maestro Victoria see the quaint architecturally beautiful building of the Casa del Libro or bookstore of Madrid, the one to go with branches in the city and elsewhere in Spain. My favorite book store coming here since 1971!!! Do not forget or fear walking in Madrid is full of surprises, great architecture and the best movida lively street scene in Europe! See Calle Princesa, there is another El Corte Inglés dept store here; come back to Calle Arenal (Pasadizo de San Ginés) to eat your churros at Chocolateria San Ginés as my family has done for generations there.  Another memorable place keep coming back to see even if not enough time to go back in is the wild discotheque or teatro Joy Eslava on Calle Arenal. To think that this was a simple community theater where plays were done and dances held for teens and now has become of the leading dance places in Madrid and Spain very chic is unbelievable.

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See the wonderful building of the Air Force building (Ejercito del Aire) by Moncloa up Calle Princesa and marvel at it’s architecture and the little airplane in front! You should check out past the Faro de Moncloa (post coming up) the wonderful Museo de América, a museum on all Spain relates to Latin America and our cultures, a must for any but especially for those of Hispanic heritage.

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Why not walk on the marvelous beautiful Gran Via a  marvel of construction since the 1930’s. And a stop at Plaza de España simply for its great monument to Miguel Cervantes Saavedra the author of Don Quijote is a must. Walk from there to Cuesta de Santo Domingo , Plaza de Santo Domingo, and the see as in Plaza de España the great metro/subway/tube entrances!

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See the wonderful architecture of a little square Plaza de Santa Cruz, great buildings and good ambiance around it, and continue to the eternal Plaza Mayor! Nothing can be said enough of this major square of Madrid! Here at plaza mayor see some of the businesses of generations of Madrileños and my family favorites, I came here as a teen and later many times even to buy hats for my grandfather!  Such eternals as Casa Yustas, La Favorita, El Gran Bazar, and the restaurant first took my girlfriend then wife in Madrid, Las Cuevas de Luis Candela past the Arco de Cuchilleros! And repeat visits over the years; memories forever here of my dear late wife Martine!!!

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Move on to another very popular and the center of Spain, at Puerta del Sol; unique place and a must; here you have the Casa de Diego another generational store. And the Magroño honey eating bear the symbol of Madrid. Nearby is the Real Madrid store we like to go at Calle de el Carmen.

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For the nights and arts , the Teatro Real (Royal Theater) , celebrating 200 years in 2017, and the Real Cinema (Royal Cinema) now inactive, at plaza Isabel II , both good to see and the theater is a must;and many memories for me especially in the Real Cinema, even if now only sporadic plays are shown and no movies. It had closed by April 2019 and was demolished in summer of 2020. Sadly another historic building gone from Madrid!

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Cannot be in Madrid without stopping by the Santiago Bernabeu stadium of  my forever team: Real Madrid FC, simply the best ever, Hala Madrid!!!. The la Esquina del Bernabeu with its shops and restaurants. And of course, a drink at least at the Real Café Bernabeu is a must. The Esquina del Bernabeu is been demolished in the new renovation complex of a covered stadium Santiago Bernabeu. Something had to pay and the shopping complex is it.

Ah yes of course, we ate something other than drinking lol!!! We have some delicious refreshing Horchata at a kiosk in the Plaza Mayor. This is a drink originally from the Valencia area consisting of water, sugar,and chufas ( a plant  tigernuts) and generally mix in with cinnamon or lemon and of course plenty of ice. And for a more formal light lunch in the heat we went to 100 Montaditos resto on Calle Princesa,7  , small sandwiches with omelette chorizos hams etc potato chips and plenty of cold beers!!! This is a wonderful inexpensive chain very lively place!

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In all, another wonderful memorable trip to my Madrid, never tired of seeing you, and remember that we lovers of the city know very well that ; from Madrid to Heaven, and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!!! Hope you enjoy the post.

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

December 27, 2020

The ciders of Asturias, Spain!!!

So something new in my blog but very old in my life. Looking at other of my “friends contacts” in wordpress I read about wines of Asturias, and thought of something. I know the people from there since birth as having families from Oviedo who lived in my native town , and my grandparents gave us a taste. Of what? where it was not wines first but ciders! Let me tell you a bit on this story. Hope you enjoy it as I

The Cider in Spain is primarily from the Asturias and Basque regions of northern Spain and is produced primarily from wild apple, with sweeter varieties of apple used to balance the end result. At the time of the pilgrimage, in the 12C or so, cider was more popular than wine.

One of the most characteristic fruits of Asturias is the apple, where there are more than 500 types, and it constitutes the essence of cider. This production process begins in spring with the flowering of the apple tree, a spectacle to be seen in the orchards ,a group of apple trees , and continues in the winery or ‘llagar’ in Asturian, where it is transformed into cider. In Asturias, more than 45 million liters of cider are produced, distributed among the 80 wineries in the region, located mainly in Gijón, Villaviciosa, Nava and Siero.

The Asturian cider has the uniqueness that it is the only one that is poured in the world It is the act of serving the cider by pouring it with the upright arm, taking the bottle with the right hand and the glass with the left, with the thumb and forefinger. surrounding the glass and the heart in the background. After adopting this position, the cider falls from a considerable height abruptly and back , that is, it breaks into a foam when it hits the edge of the glass. Adequate oxygenation   is ensured and the cider ready to drink in one gulp or ‘culin’, as it is said in slang. In addition, the entire content of the glass is not drunk, but a little is left to clean where it has been drunk, since in natural cider the glass is shared. A show of technique and tradition.

The types of ciders are: The Traditinal natural cider, the New Expression natural cider that does not need pouring and is stabilised. The sparkling cider, the sweet or duernu cider, the ecological or bio cider, the ice cider, and the cider brut.

The ciders of Asturias webpage: https://sidradeasturias.es/en/

It will be in 1888 when the brothers Alberto and Eladio del Valle, financed by Bernardo de la Ballina and Ángel Fernández, acquire the necessary machinery to start the “champagne making” of cider in the Villaviciosa County area of Asturias.  A year later, on May 24, 1890, the Valle, Ballina and Fernández company started up. This is the beginning of a long and fruitful history: that of El Gaitero cider, which began with resounding success both in the Peninsula and in America.  And this is the brand we drink at home since birth, my grandparents started giving us this one and we continue the tradition with my parents and then I and my sons. Sidra El Gaitero is it; simply the best! See their story in English on the official webpage: https://www.sidraelgaitero.com/en/home/

asturias sidra el gaitero villaviciosa sep17

For info, if you cannot go to Asturias, and do stop by Madrid, then the best there to recommend is the Casa Mingo. If you read my post this house was founded by railroad workers from Asturias who came to work in Madrid and could not be without their cider and local food. This is Casa Mingo and they have a production on site under Sidras Mingo C.b. already 33 years strong located at the restaurant in the Paseo Florida, 34, Madrid. Their webpage: https://www.casamingo.es/la-sidreria/

How to drink the Cider!   You must drink the entire bottle at once. Cider rusts quickly and becomes flat. The ideal temperature is between 10-14 degrees centigrade, cold but not cold. A “shot” or a small amount of cider should be poured into a narrow glass from a height of about 30 cm or three feet. This aerates the cider, enhances the bouquet and the natural carbonation, and is called “throwing” the Cider, which produces the gas that the Spanish call   the estrella or star. This must be consumed at once. If there is seeds or pieces , you can consume them or throw them on the ground   ( this why some steel mills have special drains for this; that is why a steel mill is separate from the bar in most establishments that offer both). At the bodega ,winery or Sidrería , you order a cider, which usually comes in a 750 ml bottle like a bottle of wine. The bartender will open the bottle, then probably go to a special “pouring station” where he will pour a glass and bring it to you. You will repeat this, and sometimes you will have to nod your head to the glass when you want another until you have had enough or the bottle has been reduced to seeds or pieces of apple. Some places will simply place a bucket next to the table without offering any further assistance beyond uncorking the cider. You are alone with the dumping if this happens.

The Asturias cider has been produced regularly since pre-Roman times. Asturias cider is internationally recognized and has received the Denominacion de Origen Protegido (DOP) seal from the European Union. It is considered an essential part of Asturian culture and gastronomy, constituting a tourist attraction that is exploited throughout the region.

The oldest reference dates from 781. with the founding act of the city of Oviedo and the monastery of San Vicente where several orchards are named. The word cider appears explicitly in the founding document of the Monastery of Santa María la Real de Obona where it is noted that the drink was supplied to the workers of the construction of the monastery.

After meat and dairy production, cider production is the most important agro-industrial activity in Asturias with 948 hectares of planted apple orchards and 45 million liters of cider produced each year. Currently, about 45,000 tons of more than 2,000 varieties of cider apples are harvested each year in Asturias. Traditionally, 22 varieties were used for the production of Sidra de Asturias DOP, to which in 2017 another 54 were added. Currently 76 varieties are recognized for the production of DOP cider.

The varieties of apples for the Asturian cider at Cerespain: http://www.cerespain.com/variedades-de-manzanas-de-sidra.html

The Asturias Cider Museum was inaugurated in 1996 and shows the process of cider from the apple tree, passed through the typical wound to the winch. Webpage: https://www.museodelasidra.com/

Another museum that has a typical llagar and a popular sample of cider in the region is the Museum of the People of Asturias in Gijón. Webpage: https://www.gijon.es/es/directorio/museu-del-pueblu-dasturies

And there you go folks another wonderful tradition of m beloved kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Asturias! Do try the ciders from Asturias they are delicious! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

December 27, 2020

Catedral Santa Maria, Primada de España!

Wow this was and is a big task. I am updating revising this old post from 2017. However, the redoing is complete as really this place needs a lot more than one post, it is sublime. Hope I cover the main points on the Catedral Santa Maria, Primada de España or Saint Mary’s Cathedral , primate of Spain! The province of Toledo, in the autonomous comunity of Castilla La Mancha, Kingdom of Spain!

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I had spent days here over the last few years of my life,and coming back is always wonderful; the city is wonderful, the Cathedral is heavens. Let me give it credit and do a single post on it. The Cathedral Saint Mary , primate of Toledo and Toledo. Catedral Santa Maria de Toledo, Primada de España! The construction began in 1226 with white stone  in Gothic style;finished in 1493.

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The city of Toledo was conquered Christian by king Alfonso VI in 1085. One of the point of the capitulation of the city was that the cults will be respected to all as well as the buildings of muslim or mozarabe ,Christian origins which included the main mosque in the city. A bit later he was absent from the city and left his wife Constanza and the abbot of the monastery Bernard de Sedirac (or Cluny) recently name bishop of Toledo in charge.  These last two conspired in 1087 to send armed personnel to take over the mosque; later they installed a bell on it as a Christian symbol. The king was very upset as this almost cause an uprising, and ordered all involved to be executed.  The legend tells us that it was the Muslim residents of the city who implore with the king to save their lives with main negotiator the iman, and accepted the bell in the Mosque. As the Cathedral grew in same spot, there is a Chapel dedicated to him; officially creating a Christian Church in a mosque without changes to the structure. I think is a nice story of tolerance.

The Cathedral of Toledo is 120 meters long by 59 meters wide and has five nave in addition to a cruiser aisle and dome as well as a cloister, 88 columns, and 72 vaults. The main façade has three gates such as Puerta del Perdon (Forgiveness), Puerta del Juicio Final (final judgement), to the right, and Puerta del Infierno (hell) to the left. There is , also the Puerta del Reloj (Clock) oldest from early 14C; the Puerta de los Leones (Lions) is 15C . Other gates are Puerta Llana (flat) , Portada de Santa Catalina( St Catherine), and Puerta de la Presentacion (Presentation).  The Bell tower is 92 meters high and finalized in 1422 in Gothic style.

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Many Chapels were replaced,altered, or eliminated over time.  Of the Minor Chapels there are only two remaining such as of Santa Ana ,and San Gil. From the Mayor Chapels the ones that have original elements are of San Juan Bautista ,and Santa Leocadis. Altered Chapels but ornamentation is the original are Reyes Viejos , and Santa Lucía.

Toledo

 

You have the Capilla Mayor , inside of it you see the Capilla del Sepulcro (burial) , the beforementioned Capilla MozarabeCapilla de los Reyes Nuevos, Capilla de la Epifania, Capilla de la Concepcion, Capilla de San Martin, Capilla de San Eugenio, and  Capilla de San Juan Bautista.

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The Sala Capitular, you find more Chapels such as Capilla de San Ildefonso, Capilla de Santiago, and Capilla del Cristo de la Columna. On the north side you have the Capilla de San Pedro, Capilla de la Piedad, Capilla de la Pila Bautismal, Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Antigua, and Capilla de Doña Teresa de Haro.

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Then, you have the Sacristia or sacristy. Capilla de la Virgen del Sagrario, Capilla del Ochavo, and the choir or Coro, the Trasparente by the Capilla Mayor representing the eucharist of the holy sacrament (1729-1732) . The treasury or Tesoro.The lower and high cloister from 1389, where you find the Capilla de San Blas chapel.

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The stained glass in the Cathedral  is one where the medieval glass has been best preserved. They were done in the 14C to 17C with renovations in the 18C. The wrought iron is from the 16C in renaissance style. Many kings of Castile are buried in the Cathedral, amongst them are Juan I and son Enrique III of Castille.

This is a must to visit here, if only one thing to see in Toledo this must be it.  Again do not missed it. I have come to Toledo sometimes just walk around it ,and others go inside, always a great satisfaction of seeing it. Catedral Primada de España, Catedral Santa Maria of Toledo.

Hope you enjoy the brief introduction as like i said need a book or several posts to cover it. And of course, this is Toledo!!!

The official Catedral de Toledo webpage: https://www.catedralprimada.es/en/info/catedral/historia/

The Tourist office of Toledo on the Cathedral: https://turismo.toledo.es/museo-monumento-expo/catedral-primada/

The Tourist office of the region Castilla La Mancha on the Cathedral: http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/catedral-primada-23364/descripcion/

And there you go folks, plenty to go around and see this jewel of our time and forever. Hope you enjoy the introduction. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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December 27, 2020

Toledo, the magical blend of Spain!

And I got to go over these ones, wonderful visits of an old city both in age and on our visits with recently before passing away last year family near. This is Toledo, the magical blend of Spain! Let me give it some refresher look and redone! Toledo is worth it. Hope you enjoy as I do.

On our meadering road warrior routes of Castilla La Mancha and al. , we have reach Toledo. I first came here while living in Madrid in the early 1970’s, the city has hardly change ,really!! Well it is old indeed.  What can I say about Toledo, simply superb ,the blending of cultures of Spain, a city kept in older times with the rhythem of today’s beat. All around you is history, the streets , pavements bricks and stones all history for the whole World. This is my Toledo , and glad to be back in it as was here last year with the family too.  We arrive by car of course, along the A40 into the N400 and right into the Alcazar fortress ,the parking behind it of San Miguel de Corralillos underground and nice. We step out into our world walking the wonderful Toledo.

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Toledo is known as the Imperial City for been the principal seat of  Carlos I and also, known as the City of the three Cultures for having being inhabited for centuries by Christians, Jewish, and Muslims. The city goes back in time, during the Romans (193) it was known as Toletum, then Arabic Tulaytulah (711), and Jewish known as Toldoth.  Christian since 1085. It is only 71 km from Madrid, and the city is laid along the river Tajo. It is composed of 16 neighborhoods but only two are really of tourist attraction, old town or zona interior and Antequeruela–Covachuela.

In the city of Toledo page you can see the tourist districts or neighborhoods with a map of them here: https://www.toledo.es/servicios-municipales/oficinas-de-atencion-al-ciudadano/casco-historico/

In the Spanish Civil War stayed in Republican control except the Alcazar where a strong garrison fought for the city, and cause the destruction of the Alcazar almost completely.

There is a beautiful train Station RENFE (see post) built in 1919 in mudéjar style outside the old walled town along the entrance on the N400.  The city has a huge arsenal of buildings ,places to see, too numerous to mention but all worth a detour. One of them is the Alcazar rebuilt in the 20C with traces going back to the 16C, and now housing since 2010 the Museo del Ejercito or Army Museum, another must to see in town.

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The Escaleras Mécanicas de Recaredo are a quaint thing to do , we just went up and down on them. It helps move without climbing the steep cobblestone streets of Toledo old Town. We saw a little train or Zocotren or little train ride all over town.

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Some of the many things to see here are the Castillo de San Servando just over the river Tajo overlooking the city from outside passing the Puente de Alcantara bridge. The wonderful museum or museo de el GrecoSinagoga del Transito (Jewish synagogue) , Hospital de Tavera, Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal (mudéjar style), Iglesia de Santo Tomé (14C and housing the portrait El Encierro del  Conde de Orgaz by El Greco), Puerta Nueva de Bisagra gate, see the colorful Plaza de Zocodover.

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We continue our journey into the Museo de los Concilios, Museo Tolmo, Iglesia Del Salvador, Iglesia San Roman, Iglesia San Pedro, Circulo de Artes , Iglesia Virgin de la Estrella or St Helen, Hospital Militar across the Tajo river, Palacio de Fuensalida, Parque de la Vega before arriving at Plaza de Toros, Posada de la Santa Hermandad, Puerta del Sol, Puerta Alarcones, The synagogue Santa Maria la Blanca, and the University Cardenal Lorezana at Toledo. Teatro de Rojas, and Ayuntamiento (city hall)  are nice architecture too.

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In all we did some shopping at Simon Vivienne next to the Synagogue El Trànsito; Calle de los Reyes Catolicos. This is a nice story of an English lady who came to visit and stayed already 52 years there!!! Great prices, good souvenirs ,and a splendid chat indeed !!!

We had our lunch as last year coming back to Restaurant Hostal Palacios (see post) at Calle Navarro Ledesma. This was epic with menus at 7,50€ entrée, main dish, dessert, bread, Amstel beer; of course we had a second round and coffee expresso so came out to 11,55€ per person but still a bargain in the middle of Toledo! The service very friendly and the manager remember us or at least he claims lol!!! webpage: http://www.hostalpalacios.net/Restaurante.21.0.html

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The Tourist office of Toledo in Spanish: https://turismo.toledo.es/

The Tourist offices in the Diputacion and Province of Toledo in Spanish: https://www.diputoledo.es/global/11/1325/4900/turismo_videos

The region tourism of Castilla La Mancha on Toledohttp://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/toledo/

There is so much to see as I said in Toledo, and many popular places are easily found . These are just a few, last year came to some different ones and some repeat this year, with new ones. I am sure next time there will be others to see. For me two full days are needed to see this wonderful city, see it; because I can stay a lifetime. 

The pictures are mostly shown in individual posts on the sites in my blog, here will leave those not elsewhere me think…Enjoy them, and maybe inspire you to come to visit the city of cultures. Dream on like Don Quijote and visit magical Toledo in Castilla La Mancha!

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

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