Archive for ‘Spain’

October 23, 2020

San Sebastian/Donostia, Basque country!

Ok this is an oldie from when started blogging and would like to give it fresh text as photos are already in my blog. Must be my new look, writing a book and no pictures lol! Anyway, hope you bear with me and enjoy the post on San Sebastian Spain or Donostia Euskadi.

One of the most lively cities in Spain, rich in Basque tradition and close to the French border;you can’t ask for more. The city is well connected to Madrid and Barcelona as well as Paris. Capital city of the province of Gipuzkoa. From the 1914 it was built up following Haussmanian architecture as in Paris. That is why is so beautiful…!

How to get there is best from major cities by air to the San Sebastian airport, about 20 kms from the city. bus network Lurraldebus E21 Hondarribia – Airport – San Sebastián (Plaza Gipuzkoa) takes you there and back regularly from Plaza de Gipuzkoa. By train from the Estacion del Norte at Paseo de  Francia, and for local transport use the local basque system Euskotrain from train station de Amara at Plaza Easo. By road, take the N-1 from Madrid dir Irun or from Paris take the A10/ A63 direction Irun. Parkings in the city best at Zurriola beach, Parking Txofre at Segundo Izpizua,26 underground and safe close to all on foot.

The railroad station was done in 1864 inspired by Gustave Eiffel, and the city grew out into the neighborhood of Zurriola, now a nice beach area. You have the old section or casco Viejo wedge between the harbor and the river Urumea ,the area was rebuilt from 1813 after a fire previously devasted it. Here you find the center of the city and people watching in the Plaza de la Constitucion, the Church of Santa Maria del Coro , and the Monte Urgull or hill with a Christ on top plus the ruins of the castle Castillo de Santa Cruz de la Mota.

On the beaches side you start from Monte Igueldo to the beach or playa de Ondarreta, very fashionable , to the more popular Playa de la Concha, and between them the palace or Palacio Miramar built in 1889 ,the summer residence of queen Maria Cristina. Finally reaching the aforemention beach or Playa de la Zurriola looking up the third hill in the city that of Monte Ulia.

Some of the sights to see here are, the Museo de San Telmo at plaza Zuloaga, a large museum in a former monastery underneath Monte Urgull. It has many basques tombstones from as far as the 15C with items typical of the area including paintings by famous basques from old to the newer Ignacio Zuloaga.  Palacio del Mar, paseo del muelle, 34, basque architectural design to house the aquarium opening in 1828 as the headquarters of the Guipuzcoa Oceanographic Society. It has an unique collection of marine life from the local waters.

Monte Igualdo, has an attraction park at the top built in 1912,with all rides and sights. There is a cable car. Monte Urgull ,has a lot more such as the aforemention aquarium, the Bateria de las Damas as it was an old fort with cannons, Bateria Gobernador with a children section in its old cannons grounds, the aforementioned Castillo de la Mota built in the 12C now in ruins but still parts of it visible. The English cementary or Cementerio de los Ingleses in honor of these soldiers who died helping Spain in 1813 from Napoleon’s troops. Church of San Vicente, one of the oldest in town, Club Nautico, or Yacht club, the Museo Naval or Navy museum,. You have the Plaza de la Constitucion, as built in 1722 it was a former bullfight arena, city/town hall, and library, now its the center of it all. Plaza de la Trinidad, where the famous international film festival takes center stage.

Casino Kursaal, yes a real casino by the main artery Boulevard, at the old section of town for a bit of luck and some relaxing time. Really for adults only Kutxa espacio de la ciencia, a Science museum just outside the city, with a planetarium, you get there from city center bus 35 which took once. The famous International Film Festival is a happening needs reservation well in advance but once to it you will be back, its a happening in the city, I yearned to go back again.

Two building that is worth mentioning to step inside at least is the Hotel Maria Cristina ,the regent queen of Alfonso XII, And the other being the Theater Victoria Eugenia, from 1912 it has carried the artistic expression of the city and its beautiful inside as outside. The people seeing is best off Boulevard the grand artery along the bay, this gets you into many side streets of old world treasures and shops, plus great restos and bar, walking is a must here, you will see more.

For shopping you can do some along Boulevard to calle Legazpi left or at Calle Mayor right or a bit before left on Garibai Kalea street. By plaza de Gipuzcoa do not forget to have a mouthful of Basque pastries at the bakery Pasteleria Barrenetxe.  My favorites over the years are , Casa Alcalde in the old section at calle Mayor near pl de la Constitucion .Another good one is Bernardo Etxea, by the sport/fishing club near playa de la Concha, and Juanito Kujoa, sublime cellars type resto, great service,and excellent seafood ,doing it good since 1947 at Calle Puerto,14 toward the fishing port from plaza de la Constitucion,many family memories here!

Hope it helps discover this wonderful city of San Sebastian, that I would love to visit again once the situation allows it. Memories of my beloved Spain! Hope you enjoy the book post like a black and white photo dream on!!

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

October 22, 2020

Some news from Spain XCVI

And things are moving right along with the new trend covid19 and the fears eminating from governments without telling you the real story. I have contracts but will tell you briefly as some information is already surfacing. Oh yes the weather is cloudy, cool in my neck of the woods and looming colder now at 12C or about 54F. In my beloved Madrid;;;; it is 13C or about 55F cloudy and raining.

In the Interterritorial Health Council today Thursday, the agreement has been clear: except for Madrid and the Basque Country, which have abstained, all communities want to restrict night mobility to stop the coronavirus, so they are in favor of the curfew, However, it is still necessary to clarify the legal instrument for its application, specifically if a state of alarm is necessary, so before the final approval of this measure (at a future meeting), a legal consultation will be made. In any case, the one who will finally decide whether to resort to the state of alarm will be the Government.  I just heard on Spanish TV, that Valencia community and Castilla y Leon have asked the rules to be enforce immediately. Of course a bit slower here…

You know it all started in Wuhan China? yes it seems many has already forgotten this small detail… The first news was that it came from an animal etc, and we /I saw the Chinese army forcing people into their homes there as well as initial doctors who spoked were taken off the radar never to be heard again. Well there is a biological warfare laboratory there P4 maximum security, it is said to be done with French technical help in 2015. There was a leak and the rest is the Wuhan virus oh no it was called coronavirus and then to be more politically correct its the covid19 now. Well one virologist from Qingdao (see my post ) did escape thru Hong Kong and now in the USA. Her name is Li-Meng Yan. More info:  https://www.foxnews.com/world/chinese-virologist-coronavirus-cover-up-flee-hong-kong-whistleblower

I know this is not travel news but the situation is so critical now we need to speak up the truth. Hope it helps you understand.

We start the low cost route through Spain in Cáceres, which this autumn is positioned as one of the cities where it is cheaper to spend the night according to the ranking prepared by the Rumbo travel portal based on the offers available on its website.

The tour continues in Lugo, where the average cost of a hotel night for a couple is 57 euros. It is time to discover its Roman vestiges such as the wall, the bridge or the hot springs of this Galician city, as well as its Episcopal Pazo, its Cathedral or its Town Hall. We jump to Andalusia and, specifically, to the Cadiz province in  Jerez de la Frontera, where you can find offers like this one: 204 euros for four nights for two people. A perfect getaway to launch into wine tasting in its many wineries and enjoy a show at the Royal School of Equestrian Art. Jerez is known for a reason as ‘the city of the horse’. Of the Spanish cities on the beach where it is cheaper to spend the weekend, one is Cartagena, which offers packages of two nights for two people at a cost of 76 euros. The trip to the Murcian city has to include a visit to the Roman theater, as well as to the Sea Wall ordered by Carlos III or the National Museum of Underwater Archeology ARQUA.

The Castilla-La Mancha capital of Toledo is always a good destination, since in few places you can find the cultural richness it offers, having been the confluence of three religions, the Christian, the Muslim and the Jewish. Also, few people know that the Cathedral of Toledo is considered the second richest church in the world after the Vatican Cathedral. Spending a night in a hotel is around 93 euros. The list continues in Ávila to enjoy its medieval and Romanesque architecture this fall at a bargain price: 105 euros for two nights for two people. It is time to rediscover once again its walls, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, as well as the old town and its churches outside the walls. Aragon is also a good destination for an autumn getaway at a good price. And especially cities like Teruel, the city of famous lovers and Mudejar art par excellence with examples such as the church of San Pedro, which is well worth a visit. Beware of this offer: two hotel nights at 116 euros for three persons.

We follow the route in Valladolid, which was the capital of Spain for five years in the 17C and a stone’s throw away from cities like Madrid by AVE fast train. Anyone who wants to mark a gastronomic tribute based on garlic soup, roast lamb and chorizo omelette paired with the best wines of the land can do so by staying in a hotel at an average price of 240 euros for two nights for three people. The Valencian town of Gandía not only receives countless tourists during the summer, but its pleasant climate also allows you to enjoy it in autumn and winter. If it is also at an affordable price such as two nights at 132 euros for two people, the reasons to visit it multiply. Its beaches, its restaurants, its Doge’s Palace or its Archaeological Museum are waiting.

And affordable desserts not just for the Real Madrid CF team but for you too.  The tarta de queso or cheese cake that has conquered the Real Madrid CF dressing room. It goes that Alejandro González Cordobés always threw pastries, largely due to the influence of his English grandmother, who taught him to appreciate good sweet. Part of the success of his cake is in the ingredients: Pata Negra eggs from Cobardes y Gallinas, excellent butter and cheeses from small suppliers. Many clients repeat and that is always a pride. Among them, there are some Real Madrid players. Lucas Vázquez or Álvaro Arbeloa are some of those who have blown candles with it with their Instagram followers as witnesses. Free publicity for a project that starts. There are more teammembers in the list, but Alex prefers to be discreet. For now, the orders (26 cm of cake for 40 euros) are made by his instagram profil: @alexcordobess. Also from the traditional cheese, it also makes artisanal white chocolate and a mixture of milk and dark chocolate.

The Museo Picasso Málaga exhibits one of the lesser-known facets of Pablo Picasso: that of a ceramist. Until December 31, room XII of the Palacio de Buenavista hosts Dialogues with Picasso. Collection 2020-2023, a sample composed of 19 ceramics that the brilliant painter made between 1931 and 1962. Installed in the south of France, it was between 1946 and the end of the 60s when Picasso delved into the art of ceramics, which later It was a great artistic discovery. Among the exhibits are colorful clay plates illustrated with the heads of goats, human and faun faces, jugs in the shape of owls or insects, plates, tiles or bricks. The exhibition includes three paintings that he carried out during the same period ,and the La Californie Drawing Notebook, a publication with twenty-two drawings in Chinese ink, pencil, graphite, charcoal and gouache on vellum paper, made by Picasso at Cannes in 1956. This is exhibited in digital format and is mostly portraits taken in the La Californie studio or notes from nature. Museo Picasso Málaga; Palacio de Buenavista. Calle San Agustín, 8. More info here: https://www.museopicassomalaga.org/

And about those octopus or pulpos or even better pulpitos! A Galician delight very much in vogue in Madrid. These are some good ones to recommend.

Lùa of Manuel Domínguez, chef from Orense ,the embassy of Galician cuisine in Madrid is from O Carballiño (where the best Galician octopuses are eaten), from a family of pulpeiros and pulpeiro himself. So with these wickers your octopus a Feira is one of the essentials in Madrid. It is made in a traditional way, with extra virgin olive oil, a mixture of spicy and sweet paprika and coarse salt. Price: 20 euros.

La Pulperia de Victoria is only a few meters from Puerta de Sol, in this modern establishment that, despite its urban air, does not lose the atmosphere of a Galician pulpería, the production of the pulpe is quite a spectacle. Following the original tradition of and it is served, on wooden boards, seasoned with La Vera Denomination of Origin paprika and virgin olive oil for16.50 euros. They also prepare it on the grill for 18.50 euros.

Without a doubt, octopus is one of the reference products of this house, known as La Troya, which after almost 55 years of history in Madrid continues with its commitment to traditional cuisine. And there they continue, unalterable to time and fashion, two of their hits: octopus a feira (you know, with oil, paprika and coarse salt) and Galician style. Price: 22 euros the ration.

When strikes out events you find a replacement of equal importance. Dance arrives this season at the Teatro Real by the hand of one of the greatest Spanish creators: Antonio Gades. The coronavirus has prevented the hosts of the Munich Ballet from traveling to Spain to offer their version of “Giselle”, as planned (as told in previus some news from Spain), and the Spanish company, which has been grounded for the same reason had to cancel a performance in Baden -Baden, will take its place with the lesser-known work of that fertile pairing that Antonio Gades and Carlos Saura made: «Fuego». It is a ballet created in 1989 from the film “El amor brujo”, signed by both four years earlier. “Fuego” was commissioned by the Châtelet theater in Paris, where the play premiered on January 26, 1989. Spanish audiences had to wait twenty-five years to see “Fuego.” The premiere took place in July 2014 at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. More on the Teatro Real and Fuego here: https://www.teatroreal.es/es/espectaculo/compania-antonio-gades

The ninth Caixaforum of Spain is progressing as planned within the huge Agora designed by Santiago Calatrava in the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. With its 10,000 square meters, it will be one of the largest, together with Madrid, when it opens to the public in the first quarter of 2022, if the deadlines are met. And, probably, it will also be one of the most spectacular due to the size of the building, which reaches a height of 70 meters in height, and because of its whale skeleton shape. Official webpage waiting for Valencia to be added: https://caixaforum.es/es/home

And there you go folks, short and hot just for your thinking mind. Hope it helps you understand and enjoy the news of Spain. Stay safe and best wishes for all.

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

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October 22, 2020

Madrid,the bulls of San Isidro!!!

Ok so this one is out of the cowwebs of my blog very early on. I decided to give it some fresh update as it is an important event in the life of Madrileños, the folks from Madrid. I love while living there and always try to catch it as much as I came.

I would like to tell you about an event in Madrid that is tops. The Feria de San Isidro, honors the city patron saint, with many activities not the least the corridas at Las Ventas Monumental plaza.

In my early teens, I lived not far from there, at Calle de Alcalà Street, and was a regular to all of them, even did some tries at rajonero, the man in the horse,but was too young and not enough time to pursue it, and my Mom was afraid….Metro lines 2 and 5 runs by it, and it is just next to the M-30 road.  Now I go at least once a year to Madrid, and it is always like the first, awesome! Waiting to be back!!!  The area is full of color, local ones, not too many tourist as they only if at all visit the plaza and leave. So much to soak in the real Madrileño spirit, and Spanish, to know the real Spain. This is my small five cents worth on it,hope you like it.

First of all, the Feria de San Isidro is already named of community interest meaning its part of the culture, and protected by government laws.  The conduit of the Feria and the participation of the bulls have rules established from the 18C very precise to avoid what some today might call animal abuse. However, the animal is the best protected of them all!!!  This is a favorite pastime in Spain dating back to the 15C, and Madrid has the most event of any region. The Madrid area counts with 90 bulls of Lidia race ranches with 14000 hectares or about 34580 acres. The locaties in the community of Madrid with the most activities are  Colmenar Viejo, El Escorial, Guadalix de la Sierra, Aranjuez ,and  Soto del Real.

A bit about San Isidro, he was born in Madrid in 1082 and died there in 1172, tradition tells us that San Isidro made a spring gush out water while ploughing the land, at the same spot, a  chapel was built ordered by Empress Isabel in 1528, after Prince Felipe drank water from the well and was cure. Later , Baltasar de Zúñiga, Marquess of Valero, built the current day hermitage, with a single nave and a dome. San Isidro was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, at the same time as Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri. In 1811 the Sacramental Cemetery San Isidro was built on the apse, the cementary is located at paseo Ermita del Santo, 78 in Carabanchel just across river manzanares from the former Vicente Calderon Stadium, nearest metro is at Marques de Vadillo,line 5.

On May 15 the patron’s day, at the La Pradera de San Isidro (or san isidro meadows) a pilgrimage is done which dates back to shortly after the death of the Saint. By noon, the Royal Collegiate Church of San Isidro host the Grand Mass ,after the Eucharist the bishop of Madrid makes his way to the meadow,and blessed the water from the well.  In the afternoon, the image of San Isidro and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza (also, a Saint) , are paraded through the streets, from Calle del Sacramento to the Plaza de la Villa, via Calle del Cordon. Nowdays the procession is change a bit as from the 19C on many buildings are done by the river Manzanares, and today there is the Madrid Rio promenade. The pilgrims would leave the city via Cuesta de la Vega and Calle de Segovia singing and praying along the way.  On arrival at the chapel, they would attend mass and kiss the remains of the saint, contained in an 18C shrine. They would then drink water from the spring as tradition still holds true today.

You can visit and already posts in my blog on them the favorites of mine

You can then visit the Museum or Museo of San Isidro (see post), popularly known as the Casa de San Isidro or house of San Isidro; located at Plaza de San Andrés, 2;  metro Latina,line 5 or Tirso de Molina ,line 1. Tradition has it that this was the house of the Vargas, gentlemen of San Isidro, and the saint lived and died here. The building was constructed in the 16C, and you can see the original water well there.

To visit the Church or Basilica of San Isidro,(see post) also, known as La Colegiata from its early days as part of a Jesuit college acted as a substitute cathedral from 1885 until the completion of the Almudena. Designed in the style of the Gesu in Rome, and built in the 17C, it shelters the remains of Saint San Isidro and his wife, Saint, Santa María de la Cabeza. Located at Calle Toledo,37, same metro connection as museum Latina or Tirso de Molina.

Then, we move to the bulls, the Monumental at Las Ventas  (see post) is Spain most important bull ring (with some contest from Maestranza in Sevilla), built in 1931  for 25 000 spectator capacity of mudejar moorish architecture. Located at Calle Alcala, 237 metro Ventas line 5; there is a small museum in the back very interesting history of bullfighting. Museo Taurino is the name. The first corrida for the Feria of San Isidro took place on May 15,1947!

Mad plaza de toros monumental aug16

There you go folks, a brief overlook at this wonderful monument and great history of Madrid. Hope you have read my posts on them and do come in for a visit when in my beloved Madrid.

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

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October 22, 2020

My restaurants and bars of Madrid!!!

This is a daunting task as there is so much good choices. However, as in Madrid will love to share my past culinary adventures with you all. Reminder, some of these have already a post in my blog, this is a revision of a much older post.

First,the cheapest and quickest way to eat in Madrid or Spain for that matter, is at the bars and cafés that serve tapas. You have to check that some bars more of the pubs style do not serve food. Family runs places like Ventas, Posadas, Mesones, and Fondas all old words for different types of inn serve inexpensive sit down food so look for their names.

Second, eating habits are way different than anywhere else I have notice in my travels outside , the breakfast is two (desayunos) ,the first is light meal of biscuits toasts,coffee with milk or cafe con leche, butter or jam ; then the second is more substantial between 10h to 11h,there you may have a bocadillo (sandwich) with sausage,ham or chorizo or cheese or a tortilla de patatas (potato omelette),fruit juice, coffee or beer. Then by around 13h some will start to have a drink at a bar then by 14h you sit down for the Almuerzo or lunch which is the main meal of the day. The  Merienda follows by 17h30 to 18h with some pastries ,sandwiches or cakes with coffee,tea,or juice as well as snacks like churros (fried batter sticks). By 19h bars are crowded with folks having tapas with sherry, beer or wine. The dinner or la Cena  begins by 21h ,and sometimes in summer service begins earlier for tourists. Spanish families tend to eat even later, I have had dinner as late as 23h30 start time!

Some bargains can be had by choosing the platos combinados or mix dish or the menu del dia, menu of the day. The platos are given in less expensive places  as the menu of the day is more formal. Some expensier places offered nowdays a menu de degustacion or tasting sampler menu. The menu in Spanish is call the la Carta.  All places welcome children who are the king/queen there,and if ask will offered smaller portions for them. For paying you say La Cuenta por favor or the bill please. Tipping is not obligatory and the service charge is enough included in the bill, however, I always tip a small amount and if one of my regular places as much as 5% extra.

Now let’s get to the details and tell you of my favorites over the years.

La Bola, calle de la Bola 5, the best cocido madrileño in town, stew dish from Madrid. Resto goes back to 1870. http://www.labola.es/

Casa Patas, Calle Canizares 10, tapas bar and flamenco, the best of both worlds. http://www.casapatas.com/

Casa Ciriaco, Calle Mayor 84 tel +34 91 548 0620; near the Royal Palace and known for a great gallina en papitoria (chicken with eggs and saffron). https://www.casaciriaco.es/

Botin, Calle de Cuchilleros 17, oldest restaurant in the world from 1725; traditional Castilian roast lamb and pig.  https://www.botin.es/

La Barraca, Calle de la Reina,29; Valencia style paella, first class one of my family favorites. http://www.labarraca.es/

Casa Paco, plaza Puerta Cerrada,11. great cebon de buey thick juicy steak forever Lol!  https://www.casapaco1933.es/

La Taberna del Pescador, Calle Manuel Pombo Angulo,18, the fish is king here, seafood galore freshly done, the owner is a fisherman lol!  tel +34 917 504 794. metro Las Tablas near autopista M40 beltway of Madrid. No confirmation if still open, to check.

Casa Mingo, Paseo de la Florida,34 near Principe Pio. Asturian ciders and more open started from miners from Asturia, the real thing in Madrid. Many anecdotes here with the family and friends over the years. webpage is at http://www.casamingo.es/

Las Cuevas de Luis Candela, calle Cuchilleros 1, Castilian and roask suckling pig at its very best in wood oven. A family tradition going back to my grandparents that I continue with my wife and boys. http://www.lascuevasdeluiscandelas.es/

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Casa Alberto, calle de las Huertas, 18. Castilian good for years and years since 1827. Another favorite really ! http://www.casaalberto.es/

L’Albufera at Melia Castilla hotel, not often hotel restos but this one was different. Capitan Haya 45, Cuzco. Valencian cuisine and rices galore !  https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/spain/madrid/melia-castilla/albufera.htm

Cafe Gijon, Paseo de Recoletos, 21 ;One of the classic for literary discussions and a light meal over a drink talk with friends, one of my meeting places in Madrid. tel +34 915 215 425; Metro Colon line 4. https://www.cafegijon.com/

Café de la Opera, calle Arrieta 6, in front of Teatro Real or royal theater. Excellent and refine, opera style, they sing lol! https://www.elcafedelaopera.com/

Florida Park, inside the Retiro park, spectacles and fine dining with a show, the very best, and very nostalgic. Way back in my youth this was a community center where dances were held, now if you had a girl you could come here . I did ::) And after some ownership changes it is back strong with several layers of choices in the new Florida Retiro.  https://floridaretiro.com/

Asador de Aranda, castilian at its best and still going strong, at Plaza de Castilla 3 and other locations in the city,and elsewhere in Spain.  My spot here: http://asadordearanda.net/es/content/madrid-plaza-castilla

Cafe de Oriente, one of the traditional and a nice area. Plaza de Oriente 2, near Opera and royal Palace.  http://cafedeoriente.es/

Real Cafe Bernabeu in the magnificent best Real Madrid Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with full view of the field. Metro Santiago Bernabeu line 10, can’t missed it as a long time Madridista, for lunches is tops. And now full renovation of the stadium will be even better!now only catering. https://realcafebernabeu.es/

Posada de la Villa ,from an old posada or inn of 1642. exquisite. Calle de la Cava Baja,9 http://www.posadadelavilla.es/

Taberna del Capitan alastriste.Calle Cava Baja,9  La Latina, try Chuletadas al Capitan or chops of the captain, delicious. http://www.tabernadelcapitanalatriste.com/

Los Galayos, Calle Botonera 5, plaza Mayor, the Madrid of yesteryear ,doing it here since 1894.http://www.losgalayos.net/

Marisqueria Ribeira do Miño, Calle Santa Brigida ,1.Best seafood fresh and daunty, with a great ambiance always until very late. And one of the best meeting places of Madridistas (Real Madrid followers)  Galicia in Madrid.  http://www.marisqueriaribeiradomino.com/es/des-752-inicio

Cañas y Tapas, the best beer place with the locals in mind and modern. Several in town, the Vaguada shopping center ,a great reprive from all those shopping attack by the family. Other locations as well. Always  great ambiance.  https://www.canasytapas.es/restaurante/c-c-la-vaguada/

VIPS, the best cafeterias in Madrid for a quick bite and soft landing on your money, several all over town. I have been coming here since at least 1990. Last was at Calle de Alcalà 200 across from Las Ventas Monumental bullring. More on VIPS here: https://www.vips.es/

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Cafe Restaurante El Espejo, paseo de Recoletos, 31/another institution on a well travel road, my first taste of Madrid with my new wife back in 1990 and one of our sure stops always after that date. You wont go wrong here while watching Madrid walk by you on Recoleto that continues north passing Plaza de Colon towards Castellana and then south to Cibeles fountain and plaza.  http://www.elespejonouveau.com/carta/

Asador de la Esquina, another Real Madrid institution at the stadium by door 44 ,and ave Concha Espina 1. Exquisite Castilian with great cuts of meat.  It is closed due to the virus and renovations in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium but will be back even better! http://asadordelaesquina.es/

Pasteleria Mallorca, has the best pastries in Madrid for years…lately it has gone into restaurant too, the one at Calle Serrano 6 is a dandy not to miss. The store at Puerta del Sol sell its pastries yummy too. https://www.pasteleria-mallorca.com/listado-de-tiendas

La Giralda, calle Claudio Coello, 24, metro Retiro. Andalucia in Madrid. other locations in the city. Great pescaito frito or fry fish. http://www.restauranteslagiralda.com/

Mercado de San Miguel, plaza de San Miguel metro Sol, great for tapas and old ambiance of Madrid. This is a must one time to see a landmark of Madrid, and then evenings is great for tapas and take home.  Events every week for tasting of different tapas and wines. http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/

El Pescador, Jose Ortega y Gasset, 75 the great Madrid seafood place always good. Another Galician beauty in Madrid. http://www.marisqueriaelpescador.net/

Pinocchio, Italian at excellent value and great ambiance at Calle de Sànchez Bustillo,5  metro Estacion del Arte (former Atocha) Metro line 1. https://pinocchio.es/

El Rodizio, when I want to go back to Brazil, this is it. great cuts of beef here,and with samba ambiance lol! Calle Medea 4, just cornering Calle Alcala out of city center a bit but easy on metro line 5 Suanzes, my neck of the woods for non tourist area too. Now under a new concept of Guanabara El Rodizio , Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/GuanabaraMadrid/

Taberna Antonio Sanchez, founded in 1830 by a torero of the same name who died in 1964. painter Ignacio Zuloaga had paintings here. Calle Meson de Paredes,13, metro line 1 Tirso de Molina. tel +34 91 539 78 26. no webpage but by now on many press clippings. do not missed the rabo de toro or bulls oxtails stew yummy. http://www.tabernaantoniosanchez.com/?lang=es

TGIFriday’s, the American in Madrid, an old time favorite of mine, and conveniently located at the Esquina del Bernabeu Real Madrid complex first floor. ave Concha Espina,3. This is now gone due to renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium however, there is a nice we have been too at Calle Virgen de los Peligros corner with Calle de Alcalà 21, Metro Sevilla and Sol, near Puerta del Sol:  https://www.tgifridays.es/restaurantes/fridays-peligros

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Cerveceria Los Timbales, Calle Alcala 227.metro Ventas Line 5. a bullfigher delight next to the Monumental, and a hangout of old. very richly decorated and great ambiance in the evenings.  https://www.restaurantelostimbalesmadrid.com/blank

Chocolateria San Gines, Pasadizo de San Gines,5, near Puerta del Sol, a must as it is nostalgic for me, my mom used to take me there when as a kid love those churros dip in hot chocolates ,yummy. An institution if now too much touristic. Metro Sol line 1,2,3, cercanias train. https://chocolateriasangines.com/

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Museo del Jamon, Gran Via 72; metro Plaza de España line 2,3,and 10. And my latest at Atocha and carrera de San Jeronimo, photo . https://museodeljamon.es/en/historia-del-museo/museo-de-atocha/

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Many many others of just passing and stopping, Madrid has more per sq km than any other city in Europe.  Hope you try them and see for ourselves, the good life of Madrid. Buen provecho, vale. Enjoy it.

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

October 21, 2020

My shopping in Madrid!!!

An often ask question in any city, and one most difficult to answer in my opinion. The choices are endless, and taste varied wildly. However, I will give my choices, hope they help you enjoy your shopping pleasures in Madrid, and maybe exchange some new ones from you.

Madrid is a very compact city, most of the stores are located in the Centro or city center area,and for more upscale by the Salamanca district between Castellana and Principe de Vergara, and from calle de Alcalà to Calle Maria de Molina. The stores open from 10h to 21h with some open continuosly and others closing from 14h30 to 17h30 everyday, most however close on Sundays. You will see the hours are not all fix nor care for although they have improved over the years lol! The fashion trend has hit Madrid since Movida days and it continous today with many fashion designers popping up with passarelas a la Paris or Milan.

Let me give my favorites over the years in my beloved Madrid!

You have the typical chains like FNAC Spain,  with the perennial main store at plaza Callao and metro Callao lines 3, 5. Lately at Calle Preciados near Sol.  https://www.fnac.es/Fnac-Callao/Fnac-Callao/cl2/w-4

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El Corte Inglés or the English cut, a chain store all over Spain,started in Madrid many years ago, and now the emblematic dept store of the city, my favorite is at Paseo de la Castellana,near Nuevos Ministerios where you get off from the airport at Barajas and arrive in the city go out turn right and the store is on your right hand side cant missed it. There is another perennial store by calle Preciados next to the Puerta del Sol. https://www.centroscomerciales.elcorteingles.es/centroscomerciales/es/eci/centros/centro-comercial-castellana

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Museo del Jamon or ham museum, for that classical jabugo ham of bellota or wild nuts, several in town but the best selections are in Gran via. These are also restaurants.  webpage https://museodeljamon.es/historia-del-museo/museo-de-gran-via-72-2/

Casa Mira, for those wonderful Spanish pastries including nougat or turron. Located at Carrera de San Jéronimo, 30 , metro Sevilla line 2. Open every day from 10h-14h and 17h-21h, Sundays 10h30-14h30 and 17h30-21h. https://www.casamira.es/la-tienda/

Mariano Madrueño, the best Spanish wines you can find in Madrid, all prices even from 2€! even liquors. Calle Postigo de San Martin, 3, Metro Callao lines 3,5. https://marianomadrueno.es/

Bodegas Santa Cecilia for wines, I had my personal well wishes always at Santa Cecelia better, find the other a bit too commercial, so Santa Cecilia stays for me. You go to store at calle Bravo Murillo,50 metro Rio Rosas line1 or Cuatro Caminos lines 1,2,6. Open Monday from 17h-20h30. Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10h-14h and 17h-20h30. https://www.santacecilia.es/santa-cecilia/tiendas-de-vino-madrid

El Flamenco Vive or the flamenco lives, a store for lovers of Flamenco and who is not? wonderful choices to buy everything related to this wonderful art of Spain.  Calle Conde de Lemos,7, Metro Opera lines 2,5. https://www.elflamencovive.com/

El Arco Artesania, in the Plaza Mayor, several Spanish artists to sell you authentic jewerly, vases, ceramics,lamps,engraving etc; located at Plaza Mayor 9, Metro Sol lines 1,2,3.and Cercanias trains. https://www.artesaniaelarco.com/contacto

Casa Hernanz, the best Spanish espadriles sandals (alpargatas) over 150 yrs doing it; located at Calle de Toledo,18. Metro Sol lines 1,2,3. Open monday to fridays from 9h-13h30 and 16h30-20h, Saturday 10h-14h. https://casahernanz.es/en/inicioen/

The best public market or flea market is El Rastro, there for years and years around Plaza Cascorro and the Calle Ribera de Curtidores, this is a tradition every Sunday morning until 15h-16h, best way there is metro La Latina line 5, Puerta de Toledo line 5, or just descend from Plaza Mayor. https://www.elrastro.org/

Another popular flea or market I like to go is the one by Anton Martin, this one is every day from 9h-14h except saturdays afternoons and Sundays. It is a covered market of food,fruits,vegetables and very typical Spanish , calle Santa Isabel,5, metro Anton Martin line 1. https://www.mercadoantonmartin.com/

Another typical market even if best to have there, but you can take home too especially nowdays  is the Mercado de San Miguel, located at the Plaza San Miguel ,going to it from the southwest side of the Plaza Mayor, metro Sol lines 1,2,3. https://mercadodesanmiguel.es/

Another one of my favorites in Madrid is the Mercado de San Idelfonso in the Calle Fuencarral, open everyday from 1àh-22h, in barrio Chueca, all types of clothing ,shoes,artistic creation all around a metal stairs; here you can continue your shopping around small boutiques of the Calle de la Hortaleza,Pelayo,and plaza de Chueca. metro Chueca line 5, and Tribunal lines 1,10. https://www.mercadodesanildefonso.com/

Calzados Victor, Calle Alcala, 278, shoes for the whole family at great prices, a family place, I was bought my first Spanish shoes here at 10, then my kids,and wife, a tradition for us since 1971 when I was living in Madrid,and still to this day. Metro Carmen line 5.  Open 10h-13h30 and 17h-20h30. No webpage but perennial shoes store in the off the beaten path district of Madrid. Great bargains and family service.

madrid Victor calzados alcala 278 feb13

Cortefiel , mens clothing at its best, the best location is calle Serrano. Other locations in Madrid. Also in France. https://cortefiel.com/fr/en/stores

Zara, the leading Spanish ready to wear chain, also in France, in Madrid it was just a few meters from my piso or apt at Calle Alcala, 365 metro Pueblo Nuevo line 5. The best for woman really, classy look, my mom favorite. https://www.zara.com/ic/es/z-tiendas-st1404.html?v1=11108

Antigua Casa Talavera, its a wonderful place for the lovers of ceramics from all periods of Spanish history. They come from all  corners of Spain from the best masters. located at Calle de Isabel La Catolica 2, metro Santo Domingo line 2. Open every day except Saturdays afternoons, Sundays ,and holidays, from 10h-13h30 and 17h-20h. http://www.antiguacasatalavera.com/

Calzado Los Guerrilleros, a shoe store for all the family there over 50 years. Now closed but by the early  1970’s, it was my mom favorite too, and then we came in too. It had a funny commercial “dont buy here its too expensive” !! The main store was at Puerta del Sol . metro Sol lines 1,2,3. Here just for the memories of wonderful Madrid of old

La Favorita, for hats, even my grandfather purchase here, that’s old, and still here. Plaza Mayor, 25, metro Sol lines 1,2,3. Hats and caps of all sorts. A traditional place you will come back for it. https://www.lafavoritacb.com/contacto

Casa Yustas, Plaza Mayor 30 , metro Sol lines 1,2,3, a tradition of Spanish souvenirs (regalos), hats( sombreria)  and armory( efectos militares)  going back to grandparents in Madrid. My boys got to buy here too! https://www.casayustas.com/ 

Objetos de Arte Toledano, Paseo del Prado, 10-12, right front of museum of Prado, metro Banco de España line 2 or Anton Martin line 1. All about the universe of swords, medals and medieval military artifacts, souvenirs , best of Spain.  This is another that say adios, sadly it was a nice place shop. Here just for the memories of my wonderful Madrid!

Alvarez, for sporting equipement of all sorts, see them ,the best always. you wont be disappointed, they can advise on site. You can buy online or go to stores, the one I frequented is at Calle Capitan Haya, 6,  (now the street is call (Calle del Poeta Joan Maragall nº60) about 100 meters from hotel Melia Castilla,metro  between plaza Castilla lines 1,9,10 and Cuzco line 10. Mondays to saturday continuosly  from 10h to 21h. https://www.a-alvarez.com/

For groceries there are several good ones such Hipercor,(part of group El Corte Inglés see above); but I prefer the chain Sanchez Romero my family have enjoyed over the years, and I stock up when in Madrid. Great service and they take your swipe cards too,ask. The one I go is at Paseo de la Castellana,196; metro Plaza de Castilla lines  1,9,10 or Cuzco line 10. From Cuzco stay on the right hand side of Castellana and from Plaza de Castilla cross over to your left side and walk down. Other stores too,and cafeterias, also one at Castellana location, great prices.  https://www.sanchez-romero.com/

Chocolat Factory, calle general Peron, 40, metro Santiago Bernabeu line 10, the best chocolats in Madrid, even if Valor is a national chain, the chocoholics here will be in heavens. open monday thru Saturdays 10h-21h inside the Moda shopping center lower o 0 level. https://modashopping.com/nuestras-tiendas

Real Madrid main store, of course, my team, the best ever !!! Calle Carmen, 3, metro Sol lines 1,2,3.or the one at the stadium but believe the one at Carmen is more lively more for customers, the other one is more for diehard fans really ::) https://www.realmadrid.com/en/santiago-bernabeu-stadium/stores/el-carmen-store?pid=1390165211192

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Then you have the shopping centers, great to go for a nice shopping spree in any weather,and see the world go by.  And if pressed for time in the city they are superbe. My favorites in no particular order are

La Vaguada,avenida Monforte de Lemos,30, metro Barrio del Pilar line 9 or Herrera Oria line 9 ,closest is first one. wonderful shopping center with all you need in one stop shopping plus great movies. https://enlavaguada.com/en/

Plaza Arturo Soria, calle Arturo Soria 126-128, metro best by bus from Plaza de Castilla No 70 or from intercambiador Ave de America bus Nos 122,322. https://www.arturosoriaplaza.es/index.aspx

Plaza Norte 2,Parque Comercial MegaPark, San Sebastian de los Reyes, just north of city limits of Madrid, great huge shopping center, great values and local ambiance, you can get there from plaza de Castilla on bus number 156 or 171. All major stores are there from El Corte Ingles to Haagen Dazs, you will love the mall!!! https://www.plazanorte2.com/

Shopping Center Parque Corredor, another of my favorites outside the city but easy to get there, this one is next to Torrejon de Ardoz, if you want a family shopping experience and see the local way of life then come here. We did it for Toys R Us and Burger King lol!!! kids rule! .The place is lovely setup and great shopping at Al Campo (Auchan in France) You go there from intercambiado Avenida de  America, and take bus No 251/252, to Torrejon de Ardoz, cross street to take bus No 4 to Parque Corredor. https://parque-corredor.com/

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Las Rozas Village, a shopping outlet type mall, on the outskirst of the city, that is popular with several expats I know, its in the town of Las Rozas, similar to the outlet mall in Disneyland Paris, so major brands catch the good prices and take a leisure ride into other Madrid, for the curious.  From Intercambiador of Moncloa (calle Princesa 96) metro Moncloa lines 3,6 or from metro Sol, to Moncloa and take buses No 629 to Village. https://www.tbvsc.com/las-rozas-village/en

See above, Moda Shopping at calle General Peron, 38-40,metro Santiago Bernabeu line 10 just near paseo de la Castellana 95 and Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (Real Madrid FC), and right around Torre Picasso skyrise building. Some upscale shops and pubs, in a very busy section of modern Madrid, away from the tourist crowds and shop in a nice ambiance. https://modashopping.com/

ABC Serrano, Calle Serrano,61 metro Ruben Dario line 5 exit paseo de la Castellana,or metro Nunez de Balboa, line 9 or Serrano line 4. upscale oasis in Madrid chic district, very elegant stores, eateries for a nice indoors city break.  https://www.abcserrano.com/

This is it for me. Hope it makes your shopping pleasure in Madrid a bit better. Of course, its not an exhaustive list nor inclusive of all, but it gives you a good start. If you need specifics I am always around my blog. 

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

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October 21, 2020

My dear Segovia!!!

If you have read my blog, you know blood runs thru my veins (Tenerife) of this wonderful kingdom of Spain. And you should know I used to lived in my beloved Madrid. If there are many wonderful cities in my dear Spain, one of the closest to my heart would be Segovia. I like to give you an overview as already written several posts on its sights in my blog on my dear Segovia!

I first wrote an introductory piece in my blog on Segovia back on March 2011. However, I have come here many many years before , in fact came with my girlfriend 30 years ago , later my dear late wife Martine (28 yrs married and 3 boys). So , very emotional memories coming back to write on Segovia. Even if always stop in Madrid, Segovia is special for this and the magnificent stable of monuments of wonderful beauty and architecture.

Segovia is the cradle of Castilla y Léon, worth a kingdom and a very nice day trip from Madrid. It is UNESCO heritage site and for good reason.  Here was the seat of the kings of  Trastamara ,and one of them the queen Isabel I the Catholic was crowned here at the Church of San Miguel  queen of Castilla in 1474! , later the main supporter for the colonisation of the Americas.

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So where to start ,this is very emotional for me and many nice memories that my mind is going back to when my Mom took me here as a young early teen boy in the early 1970’s. Then coming with what was my Wife of 28 years, and finally coming up with my grown boys in their 20’s. So special family memories and now to continue sharing. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

We took off by car always either from Madrid and a couple of times from Cuenca. Our last trip together was from Cuenca on the A40 direction Tarancon, then ,A3 direction Madrid and, then the M30 tunnel until getting off the AP61  entering Segovia by Calle de Jose Zorilla and just landed at the underground parking of Ezequiel Gonzalez and then walk all over. The parking is named on Calle Los Barreros / Pº. Ezequiel Gonzalez;photo is from parking. More on this parking and others here: http://segoviaturismo.es/routas/parkings-de-la-ciudad

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The walls or murallas of Segovia, they used to be  3 kms long ( about 1.8 miles); today it is still visible the gates archway towers of San Cebrián, of  Santiago,and the San Andrés, as well as three archways such as Consuelo, de San Juan, del Sol, and de la Luna.  We passed by the Puerta de Madrid (see post) to find the parking and then walked up  the hilly back around the Cathedral and direction the Alcazar we passed by the Museo de Segovia at Casa del Sol, (see post) museum is on since 1842 and the house or casa is very old from the time of king Enrique IV. 

We walked on the Paseo de los Tilos by a nice fountain encrusted on the ramparts walls, we took a look at the city and Alcazar from a mirador or lookout of the museum of Segovia and walked passed the Puerta San Andrés (see post) that connected to the old Jewish quarters, and we passed the tourist office too! Wonderful walks and views!!!

We arrive on the side of the Alcazar (see post) following the high end of the old ramparts and with beautiful views of the country below. The Alcazar have older photos can see myself become of age lol! This is a beautiful fortress records show it from 1122 but probably it was there before, and a must visit with armor and statues of past Kings and portraits all beautifully kept. Inside the Alcazar, do not missed the section on the Real Colegio de Artilleria, royal college of artillery a wonderful museum of military history of the times. 250 years of history!! 

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We went around back into Calle de Daoiz and we found our first shopping spree on leather bags on 50% off!!! real bargain from Fernando. We continue on munching on ice cream until we reach the Cathedral or Catedral de Nuestra Señora de  la Asunción y San Frutos , (see post) a masterpiece and another must see here.  It has 27 chapels and the cloister, sacristy, Corum, Altar nave included. The work on its construction began in 1525 and completed in 1768! Considered the last gothic Cathedral even if many styles are renassaince. I am nostalgic about the Chapel of Sainte Barbe or Santa Barbara of which my mother was a devotée. Its a must to visit.

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You can see a nice building on calle Juan Bravo just before the Plaza San Martin that today acts as a Municipal Library but once was the Royal Prison where the great Spanish writer Lope de Vega spent time…!

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You come running if you can to see the Aqueduct and all its splendor, a must ! (see post) It is from the 1C or early IIC  AD, it has 818 meters long ( 2699 ft)with more than 170 arches and its highest point is at Azoguejo with 29 meters (95.7 ft). We came from above the aqueduct goes into the city upper side you come down on a grand stair alongside the aqueduct and see the Plaza de Azoguejo below and the famous restaurant Candido.  This goes beyond words of mine, you just have to come and see it.

segovia aqueduct from above aug16

Another wonderful building that I came straight for it is the Casa Museo Antonio Machado , (see post) one of Spain leading poet/writer.  He first came here in November 25 , 1919 to hold a place as professor of French in the Instituto General y Técnico where he stayed until 1932.  And even thus he leaves the city in September 1932 to teach French in the Instituto Calderón de la Barca in Madrid. He did came back for visits afterwards; Segovia keeps a very big heart for him. He was actually born in Sevilla in 1875 , and founder of the Spanish Modernismo been part of the famous Generation of ’98 and member of the Spanish Royal Academy.  One of the poems I always remember was dedicated to the assassination of another great Poet/writer of Spain, Federico Garcia Lorca in the early stages of the Spanish Civil War, “El Crimen fue en Granada” = Se le vio, caminando entre fusiles, por una calle larga, salir al campo frío, aún con estrellas de la madrugada. Mataron a Federico cuando la luz asomaba” IN short, it translates as, He was seen walking amongt rifles on a long street, going out into the cold field still with stars of the night. They killed Federico when the daylight looms. One of my favorite poets of Spain! There is a guide map where you can trace the walks of his daily routines in the city ask the tourist office.

You can see the Church of San Andrés, on the street near the ramparts walls and the beforementioned Puerta de San Andrés. We came by to see the Church of San Clemente, built in the 12-13C. A nice one was the Church of San Martin, built from the 12C in Romanesque style. A historic one, Church of San Millàn, in the moorish area built by 12C, similar to the Cathedral of Jaca (see post) . Another nice one we passed by was the Church of San Sébastian built in the 12-13C however, dismantled and rebuilt in the early 20C. Convento de Carmelitas Descalzas de San José, founded by Saint Teresa de Jésus in 1574. The Monasterio Santa Maria del Parral we saw at a distance as time is of the essence. However, is a worthy place to visit too. The monasterio de San Antonio el Real, old hunting lodge of king Enrique IV before becoming a monastery, the rooftiles dates from 1455AD all of them! Most of the above see separate post in my blog.

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Of course, we walked around and the Plaza Mayor is a must and Plaza de la Merced, and Plaza San Martin as nice too. And we ate here too lunch in the Plaza Mayor at the La Oja Blanca restaurant (see post). We had of course our bathful of beers, codfish croquettes, chorizo a la cazuela, hot dogs! and omelettes all for about 8€ per person. On the way back we took a different route and slept for the night at my old reliable at Venta Magullo, lodging and restaurant on site for road travelers. We came here first in 1990! So close it was time to visit again before returning to Cuenca! on the same AP61, A6 to M30 tunnel road in Madrid and A3 to Tarancon, and then A40 to Cuenca in about 2h40! Nice ride indeed for this road warrior!!!

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The Province of Segovia tourist office on Segovia city in English: http://segoviaturismo.es/en/ven-a-segovia/destinos/segovia

The city of Segovia tourist office in English: http://visitsegovia.turismodesegovia.com/

The Autonomous Community of Castilla y Léon tourist office in English: https://www.turismocastillayleon.com/en/destinations

There you go folks, one of the best of Spain, and plenty to see in architecture, history, personalities, and gastronomy/wines you should be there and we will be back! Segovia forever!

As not to duplicate photos will only post here different ones. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 17, 2020

Real Madrid CF!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mad real madrid estadio santiago bernabeu emblem feb13

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

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

mad TGIF la esquina del bernabeu entrance apr17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 16, 2020

Mexico and Jorge Negrete!

So I have come to Mexico several times over the term of my life and always nicely welcome. Now I have written several posts on Mexico in my blog, but I need to do justice to one person.

If you are from the Spanish speaking world then you should have heard of Jorge Negrete! Granted you have to be perhaps a mature person as unfortunately Jorge Negrete died in 1953. His music and movies continues on as a legacy of Mexico and Latin America and a special place for him, Cuba. I like to tell you a bit about the Plaza Jorge Negrete and the person.

mex plaza jorge negrete statue sep18

An interesting statue and this one real Mexican charro , and one of the most famous singer and actor of Mexico and well known in all Latin America is of Jorge Negrete and its Plaza de Jorge Negrete square.  Located by Ave de los Insurgentes Sur and calle Capuchinas,not far from Parque del Conde park.  Metro line 7 and 12 are close by or metrobus line 1 stop Teatro de los Insurgentes (see post on the theater).

mex plaza jorge negrete statue far sep18

Briefly, Jorge Alberto Negrete Moreno was born in Silao, Guanajuato, on November 30th, 1911 and died in Los Angeles California on December 5 1953. He studied at the military college at the age of 14 and at 18 came out with the highest qualifications which led him to perform further studies in Paris and Rome. He seemed to have a brilliant military career, because he also studied medicine and manages the military Hospital in Puebla. But at the same time he takes singing lessons, and finds out that he has a privileged voice for opera singing. He starts singing on the radio, and soon asks for his military career to end to devote himself to singing at the XETR broadcaster in Mexico City. The rest as the saying goes is history and good one. Worth a detour for the lovers of good music and films.

However, the idea of the text and new photos is to talk about Jorge Negrete for the lovers of good music and films.

His father worked as a teacher at the Alexander Von Humboldt German School, thanks to which he was able to enroll his children in that institution. There Jorge finished high school and learned German, French, English and Italian, and studied the fundamentals of Nahuatl in a self-taught way.

Later he entered the Héroico Colegio Militar or Heroic Military College, graduating as Lieutenant of Cavalry and Administration  of the Mexican Army with high qualifications. There he learned to ride a horse, a skill that he would show off by playing the Mexican charro in the cinema. Later he worked in the Fábrica de Armas de la Ciudadela or Citadel Arms Factory performing administrative tasks, and partially studied medicine.

He studied singing with José Pierson, director of the Compañía Impulsora de Opera de México, who was a teacher of notable opera singers at the time, such as Fanny Anitúa and José Mojica, and popular interpreters such as Pedro Vargas, Alfonso Ortiz Tirado and Hugo Avendaño.  In 1931, with the rank of second Captain, he applied for a license from the Mexican Army to fully dedicate himself to his singing career, starting at the XETR radio station. At that time, he performed Mexican romances and Neapolitan songs, as well as pieces by authors of the time.

In 1934, he sang for the only time at the Palacio de las Bellas Artes in Mexico City, (see post on the palace of fine arts) with the student choir of maestro José Pierson in the musical La verdad sospechosa , (suspicious truth) by Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. In November 1936 he traveled to the border on their way to the United States. In New York played as the Mexican Caballeros for the NBC network. There in April 1937 Jorge Negrete participated in an audition to be part of the cast of the Metropolitan Opera House, but was unable to do so, as he was offered a substitute role, which he refused. Desperate, he agreed to work as a waiter at “Yumurí” and other restaurants with a Latin atmosphere. He made some money making adaptations of American songs into Spanish. One night in which the singer of the dance orchestra did not appear, Negrete replaced him, and due to the success of that modest presentation he was hired by the Cuban musician Eliseo Grenet to sing with his orchestra.

In 1937 he made his first film appearance, in the Warner Bros. short Cuban Nights characterized as a Cuban troubadour. Back in the United States, in 1939 he got a contract with the 20th Century Fox company, to do films in Spanish in Hollywood, but the project did not come to fruition due to a boycott by the Union of Actors of the United States (American Actors Union) against Latino actors. Around that time, he had the first serious manifestation of the liver disease that had been diagnosed by the doctors of the Heroic Military College and that would lead him to death years later. Due to lack of resources, it could not be properly attended to.

In that same year, 1941, back in Mexico, he played the main role in ¡Ay Jalisco, no te rajes ! ( hey Jalisco do not give up) , a film that would catapult him to international fame and made him one of the greatest artistic figures in Latin America, sharing the main credits of that movie. In 1950 he received the distinction as best actor by critics in Spain, for the film Teatro Apolo. 

The radio station Cadena Azul of Cuba offered the now famous actor to sing live on its radio channels in combination with the National Theater. The affection of the Cuban people was so great that then-president Grau San Martín went to the National Theater to applaud him. After his contract ended, he traveled to Puerto Rico, but returned to Cuba to perform charity concerts, since the island had been hit by a hurricane. During these performances, non-commercial recordings of his voice were made, which would be for the station’s private use and several years later they were digitally rescued.

Jorge Negrete was a great promoter of tourism and investments for the benefit of Guanajuato, of which he always wanted to be governor and where he frequently organized festivals and artistic caravans to support the construction of the central headquarters of the University of Guanajuato, a hospital, a dispensary and the temple of the Calzada de Guadalupe in his hometown. He was married towards the end of his life with the actress María Félix (another great one of Mexico and Latin America). The wedding with María at the Catipoato farm,  featured the most well-known celebrities of the show, as well as intellectual figures, such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, María Teresa Montoya and Octavio Paz, as well as famous bullfighters and athletes of that time, among others. He only had one daughter, Diana Negrete with his first wife Elisa Christy.

Jorge Negrete founded the Union of Cinematographic Production Workers of the Mexican Republic and reorganized, together with a select group of actors, the National Association of Actors (ANDA), of which he was its most prominent leader.

The day of his death was considered national mourning and five minutes of silence were observed in all theaters in the country. At the Mexico City airport alone, about 10,000 people gathered to receive his body. In the theater of the A.N.D.A that today bears his name, his mortal remains remained exposed for the people to pay tribute to him. His admirers walked in front of his coffin in an unbroken line for two days and nights. On the day of his burial, a human fence of hundreds of thousands of admirers skirted the path of the National Actors Association Theater ,today Jorge Negrete Theater  to the Panteón Jardín, south of Mexico City.

A bit more on the life of Jorge Negrete in English: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0624434/

There I feel I made justice to a great person ,singer, and actor of my Latin America. And reminds me of the wonderful welcome always given me in Mexico Lindo y Querido!!! Hope you enjoy the cultural post.

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

September 18, 2020

Valladolid, yes my Spain!

And so happy to tell you a bit about Valladolid, a beautiful city full of architecture and history I like. Finally have some photos to show you and I am thrill; hope you enjoy the post as I do.

Valladolid is the capital of the province of Valladolid and of the autonomous community of Castilla y León. It is located at the confluence of the Pisuerga and the Esgueva rivers. In the absence of reliable sources, the origin of the city’s name is not clearly established.

The Valladolid International Airport is located 10 km from the city, in the town of Villanubla, at about 846 meters above sea level, it was opened in 1938. The bus ride from the airport to the center of Valladolid takes about 25 minutes. Buses pass through the airport approximately every 90 minutes, between 8h and 21h. More on the Valladolid airport from AENA: http://www.aena.es/en/valladolid-airport/city-buses.html

By the road, the way I have come is easy and even more so now with the A-6, which allows you to reach Madrid in two hours as well as one hour from Segovia by the A601, Salamanca by the A62, Burgos by the A62 , and Zamora by the A11 and A62. The journey, by national road, does not reach two hours from León. The best way in Spain to drive other than a GPS is Guia Repsol for travel routes, tourist info, etc: https://www.guiarepsol.com/es/descubrir/

The Spanish High Speed (AVE) allows you to set foot in Madrid in just 50 minutes! In addition, thanks to the Avant train service, you can come from Madrid at almost any time of the day: Valladolid is also one of the towns integrated in the Ave Cities Network. More on the AVE network here:https://avexperience.es/online/valladolid.htm

A bit on the history I like(a tiny bit)

The reconquest of Valladolid from the Moors took place in the 10C. From the 12C, the city was favored by the King of Castilla, who directly appointed the main notables and officers. In 1343, the university was founded which will give a number of jurists to the Crown. In 1373, Henri II de Trastamara installed the Royal Chancellery there, and was the residence of the kings of Castile from the 15C until Felipe II made Madrid the capital of the kingdom in 1561; however, Valladolid temporarily became capital again from 1600 to 1606.

The city was the scene of the Valladolid controversy which in 1550 focused on the status of American Indians and which opposed the Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas (a famous figure in Latin America) and the theologian Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda. The departure of the court in October 1559 causes the stop of the urban extension. In the 14C, Valladolid was the third or fourth city of old Castilla after Seville and Toledo. The historical archives of Spain constitute a considerable collection with the first documents date from before the 10C and extend to the contemporary period. They are supplemented by the provincial archives held in each region formerly corresponding to the sovereign lordships.

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Some of the things to see here are

You see the 15C College of San Gregorio, which contains the National Museum of Polychrome Sculpture. Home to one of the very first sculpture collections in Spain. It brings together sculptures representative of the Castilian school with Alonso Berruguete, Jean de Joigny or Juan de Juni, and Gregorio Fernández, alongside other great Spanish masters like Juan Martínez Montañés, Pedro de Mena, and Luis Salvador Carmona. More on this wonderful museum from the tourist office of Valladolid: https://www.info.valladolid.es/-/10-imprescindibles-museo-nacional-de-escultura

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The University ,founded in the 13C. The remarkable Baroque facade dates from 1716-1718. The 16C Cathedral still unfinished) in renaissance and baroque styles.

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The Zorilla theater, built in 1884 in the former convent of San Francisco, where Christopher Columbus died.

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The Campo Grande is a wonderful park and sadly not enough photos of it were found,nevertheless here is a bit of a description.

The Campo Grande is a large public park located in the heart of the city of Valladolid, is limited by the streets of Acera de Recoletos, the Paseo de los Filipinos and the Paseo de Zorrilla. Its main entrance is in the Plaza de Zorrilla, where together with a modern bill gate lays a floral shield of the city. Its origin as a park or, more specifically, as a garden area, dates back to 1787, although from the 15C, it must be regarded as an important urban space.

In June 1808 Napoleon’s troops entered Valladolid and camped at Campo Grande; there were a thousand artillery soldiers with their corresponding weapons. In December of the same year, the English troops entered and captured the French. In January 1809 Napoleon arrived in Valladolid and gave a general review of his troops. During the war there were executions, executions of Spaniards, guerrillas, common soldiers, etc.

The estanque or pond and the waterfall its outline was adorned with islands and an artificial mountain imitating a cave from which a waterfall fell. A fountain was also projected in the middle of the lake and the existence of a rowing barge destined to take children and their companions. It was built with stone and a lining of quicklime. The work was completed in March 1879. Almost in the center of the park a large square with wooden benches opens up around its circle, surrounded by fine specimens of trees, including the Lebanon cedar, much loved by the peacocks that chose as a bedroom. In the middle there is an artistic fountain known as the Fuente de la Fama or Fountain of Fame. A column supports the statue representing the angel of fame. The base is octagonal with an exterior pylon. The Paseo del Príncipe is a wide, straight road, well paved, that connects the main door located in the Plaza Zorrilla square with the Puerta del Príncipe or Prince’ gate that opens onto the Paseo de los Filipinos.

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The tourist office of Valladolid on Campo Grandehttps://www.info.valladolid.es/-/10-imprescindibles-campo-grande

The tourist office of Valladolid with its main monuments to see: https://www.info.valladolid.es/monumentos

And there you go folks a bit of my days in Valladolid, another wonderful Spanish town that now has a place in my blog as already in my heart. Hope you enjoy the post as I did.

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

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September 11, 2020

Some news from Spain XCV

And here I am in my beloved Spain. And first, thank you for reading me! Today temps are sunny and 85F in my beloved Madrid! So, therefore, its time to tell you about some news from Spain!

The Madrid City Council converts the former Conde Duque Barracks into its cultural center of reference with a commitment to contemporary creativity and a daily program that challenges the pandemic depression a new chapter in the long history of walls built more than 300 years ago and which also house the Villa Archive and the Municipal Newspaper Library. Hence the new denomination of Center for Contemporary Culture Condeduque was born. And I have more in my blog, great wonderful place. More here: https://www.condeduquemadrid.es/

The doors of the Teatro Español reopened with an exceptional musical grotesque. The play Con lo bien que nosotros (Ferretería Esteban) has inaugurated the 2020/2021 season of public theaters in Madrid, which has a total of 80 projects. with the live piano performance of Néstor Ballesteros, it revolves around a couple of hardware dealers, Esteban and Marigel, who one day decide to leave their routine to go to the theater. From there their lives takes a turn because music owns Esteban, turning his days into a grotesque musical. Shown until October 4, 2020. More here:  https://www.teatroespanol.es/con-lo-bien-que-estabamos-ferreteria-esteban

Morante and Juan Ortega will fight a heads-up on October 12 in Córdoba . Morante and Juan Ortega will fight a bullfight by Jandilla and Vegahermosa, hand in hand as a tribute to Joselito el Gallo, according to the poster that has been made public. More info in MundoToro or world of bulls… https://www.mundotoro.com/noticia/morante-juan-ortega-mano-a-mano-en-cordoba/1561041

If the Atlantic archipelago of the Canary Islands were a country (not at all farfetched) , it would be the fifth with the most tourists in the European Union. Its climate, the best in the world according to several studies, is joined by its level of safety, its nature and its beaches as reasons to extend the summer season for the rest of the year. As an example, its 40.5% of protected territory stands out (it measures a total of 7,493 km2), its four National Parks, seven Biosphere Reserves, 1,583 kms of coastline, 500 beaches and 60 natural saltwater pools.

The largest island in the archipelago ,Tenerife, is home to the Teno Rural Park and Teide, the highest mountain in Spain (3,718 meters) and the third highest volcano in the world. The homonymous National Park can be discovered on foot along the established trails or by car on the only asphalt road that crosses it. Regarding the beaches, there are both familiar (Las Teresitas) and wild (Benijo). It would be necessary to know Los Gigantes, those vertigo cliffs. There are other islands such as Gran Canaria; Fuerteventura,   Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa, the smallest of the Canary Islands. The touirist office of the Canary Islands: https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/

And the tourist office of Tenerifehttps://www.webtenerife.co.uk/#prettyPhoto

For seven years, the users of the Tripadvisor portal have chosen Siam Park, in Tenerife, as the best water park on the planet, the complex located in Costa Adeje, in the south of Tenerife and inaugurated in 2008. Siam Park occupies a 85,000 square meter extension that accommodates all kinds of attractions that have water as the protagonist between slides, pools of all sizes and shapes, giant donuts in which to slide, meandering rivers, exotic forests, shops and different restaurants. And all inspired by the ancient Thai kingdom of Siam, from which it takes its name.   More info here: https://www.siampark.net/en/

As of Thursday 10 September (yesterday), Madrid will become a cultural fair with 48 galleries open while showing, in a unique tour, works by 75 artists. In September Madrid spent more on art than ever and for four days it becomes the great city of contemporary art by the hand of Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend 2020, a walk through the most current art. From Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 September, the 11th edition of this cultural festival is held, promoted by the Arte Madrid association, in which 48 Madrid galleries (from Albarrán Bourdais or Blanca Berlin to Xavier Fiol, passing through Juana de Aizpuru and Marlborough ) simultaneously inaugurate their exhibitions and present the work of 75 artists to the public for free, as if it were a unique tour. With long hours Thursday, from 12h to 22h; Friday and Saturday, from 11h to 20h., and check on site for Sundays to leisurely tour the exhibitions or follow itineraries devised for the occasion; dance shows (Dance is born in the galleries; thus, on the afternoons of Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th, September the venues will host eight young resident dance companies of the Centro Coreográfico Canal, and virtual visits of all the exhibitions. In addition, from September 14 to 24, Apertura has a varied program of free activities for the entire public (prior online registration): guided tours of the city’s galleries, art centers and museums; walks through streets, squares and buildings to get to know some of the artistic gems that the city offers to the curious passerby.

Official Arte Madrid on Apertura: https://www.artemadrid.com/apertura/

The tourist office of Madrid on Apertura : https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/apertura-arte-madrid

Official Centro Coreogràfico Canal: https://www.teatroscanal.com/centro-danza-madrid/

The new season will start off at Caixaforum Madrid on October 9 with “The American Dream”, a colorful journey through the collection of prints and drawings of the British Museum by Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Ruscha, Johns, Bourgeois, Warhol and De Kooning. More on Caixaforum Madrid and The American Dream: https://caixaforum.es/es/madrid/p/el-sueno-americano-del-pop-a-la-actualidad_a12643579

A wonderful town passed and visit several times in my visits to the serranias or mountain range of Aragon and Castilla La Mancha on my road warrior trips by car France-Spain. This is Albarracín, in the province of Teruel, Autonomous Region of Aragon, Kingdom of Spain.

Perched in the hills above a bend in the Guadalaviar River, the town of Teruel is one of the most beautiful in Spain. Former capital of a Taifa kingdom, Albarracín has preserved all its medieval flavor. Its old town is declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and the first thing that surprises when arriving at the town is its imposing fortified enclosure, whose perimeter far exceeds the surface of the urban area. At its highest point is the Torre del Andador, from the 10C, and in the old town, the castle ruins stand on a cliff. The Cathedral of El Salvador, dating from the 16C, includes a bell tower that was built on the remains of a Romanesque temple. The tourist office of the Sierras of Albarracinhttps://albarracinturismo.com/

The tourist office of Aragon on  Albarracinhttps://www.turismodearagon.com/en/ficha/albarracin/

And last but not least ,something I like to share. Vuelta a Madrid ( tour of Madrid) is the loyalty program of the city of Madrid with which you can enjoy advantages and exclusive offers in a selection of the best restaurants, shops, museums, nightlife shows and many more places.

I have used it even if know the city like the palm of my hand, and the programs are very good and the discount for real and available. Being a member is free and to enjoy your benefits and prizes you just have to return to Madrid. No matter the reason for your visit to Madrid, leisure or business. It will always be a great time to take advantage of the benefits that Vuelve a Madrid offers you. Only thing the site is only in Spanish and English. More info here: https://www.vuelveamadrid.com/en/

There you go for now on my news from Spain, always a wonderful place to be. Spain, everything under the Sun, and more. Hope you enjoy the post as me writing it.

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

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