Archive for ‘Spain’

July 5, 2017

Some news from Spain XLVI

And here I am again back to my beloved Spain, and to tell you of the latest. The summer is already here and I can’t wait for August in Spain !!!

Some of the actions there are:

The wonderful water parks with the top in Tenerife ,the Siam Park chosen for the 4 year in a row as the best water park in the World by TripAdvisor surveys.  However, there are other nice waterparks in Spain such as Aqualandia in Benidorm 2nd place in Spain, Then, you have Water World in Lloret de Mar in 3rd place in Spain and named the best aquatic attraction in the Costa Brava; others were the Aquapark Flamingo in Alicante, port Aventura Caribe Aquatic Park in Salou ; Aquopolis Costa Dorada in La Pineda, Aqua Brava in Roses, Aquapark Ciudad Quesada in Alicante, Aqua Natura in Benidorm,and Parque Acuàtico  Aquarama in Benicassim.

See the new Centro Botin designed by Renzo Piano ,which,you can enjoy while the exposition on the artist Carsten Höller is on. This is a round bed for two persons that comes equipped with all the amenties of a luxury hotel. Elevator bed has its own rotating structure that can be raised 3,5 meters above floor. The design allows the guests to enjoy wonderful views of the exposition and the priviledge views of the bay of Santander thru impressive windows. To enjoy, you need to reserved thru the Hotel Real de Santander at a price of 250 to 350 euros per night and the room is available from June 30 to September 9th coinciding with the period of the exposition.  More here: http://www.centrobotin.org/en/exposicion/carsten-holler-y/

And as the Feast of San Férmin in Pamplona and the running of the bulls is approaching; a bit of history and information.  According to legend Fermin the son of Firmus ; a senator in the Roman city of Pompaelo or current Pamplona was converted to Catholicism by the pervert Honesto and made bishop with only 24 yrs old in the French city of Toulouse.  After ,he evangelise the Galia (France) and traveled a bit ,he ,also started to do miracles like curing lepers and paraplegic people, return the sight,and calm the epilectic suffering. After this incredible acts and to recuperate the cult of Jupiter and Mercure, the Roman governor Sebastian ordered Fermin to be jailed and finally decapitated with a sword.  This is why now to remember his martyrdom, the local folks of Pamplona weared a red hankerchief on their neck during the nine days that last the festivities including the Sanfermines. This later one that dates from the Middle Ages is celebrated on October 10th to remember the entrance of San Fermin in the Cathedral of Amiens (France).

This is now done in July 6 in the Plaza Consistorial that gives the beginning of 204 hours of uninterrupted festivities with music, folklore concerts etc.  The bulls running or  encierro is done every morning by running the bulls thru the streets to take them from the Corrales of Santo Domingo to the bullfight arena.  This year we will have the bulls of Cebaga (second farm with the most encierros and most horns wounds has left). After the running you go the religious celebration of the procession of San Fermin from 10h in the Church of  San Lorenzo.  There is solemn Mass to honor the Saint here presided by the bishop of  Pamplona .  Later by 18h30 every evening until the 14 July you have the Feria de Toros or the bullfights most prestigious of Spain with the principal matadors of the day with colorful local costumes dresses for men and women animated with singing and music.

More info here: http://www.sanfermin.com/en/

http://feriadeltoro.com/

And now how about try the local delicacies with the Salpicon de Madrid and where to eat it, well some of my favorites. Ahhh  oui the Salpicon is a dish of fish or seafood cut in pieces and spread with  a vinaigrette and you eat it cold….

El Pescador, Calle José Ortega y Gasset 75 , langoustines, mussels, onion oil vinager and lemon for aobut 24 euros. More here: http://www.marisqueriaelpescador.net/history/?lang=en

Casa Toribio, Calle Cardenal Belluga 14, lobster tails, hard boiled eggs cutup , virgin olive, vinager, and salt about 27,50€; more here: http://www.restaurantecasatoribio.com/

Viavélez, Avenida Del General Peron, 10, bogavantes, onions hard eggs , pepper morron red, 27,75€ or half ration 19€; more here: https://restauranteviavelez.com/

Bibo, Paseo de la Castellana 52, half a bogavante cook, special sauce DG, mimosa and avocado, 28€; more here: http://www.grupodanigarcia.com/restaurantes/bibo/bibo-madrid/restaurante/

How about trying some of those homemade artisanal beers of Spain, I will certainty try a few of them next August.

The first one is the Dougalls Happy Otter; Cantabrian brewery of 50 years harvesting the Malt Maris Otter, with orange color and citric aromas light body and 5,6% for about 2,50€; more info here:https://soloartesanas.es/dougall-s/cerveza-artesana-dougall-s-happy-otter.html

Domus Snowhite; from Toledo, cooperation of breweries Domus and Daniel Anagon or Sr Bu, wheat beer with orange, cilander, and manzanilla great for summer at 4,5% and about 2,20€; more here: http://www.cervezadomus.com/producto/pack-snowhite/

Edge Sangría Sour from Barcelona; rose color tropical fruits and woood without acidity ideal for desserts only available from May to Agusut ,6,3% for about 2,90€ ; more here: http://edgebrewing.com/beer/sangria/

CCVK VII Tits APA; the brewery from Vallecas (just out of Madrid) an American Pale Ale of long in the mouth and light body, very popular beer in the region; 5,5% and about 2,75€; more on it here: https://www.facebook.com/cervezasvalledelkahs/

La Virgen Trigo Limpio from Madrid; pure wheat in the German style with touches of fruit of banana with 4,9%; price is 14€ for a pack of 6. More here: http://www.cervezaslavirgen.com/cervezas/trigo-limpio/

Naparbier Light Cloud  from the Navarra region, light body, citric aromas low fermentation  and great for the summer with only 2,7% and about  2,90€ ; more here: http://www.labirratorium.com/es/tienda-/3628-naparbier-light-cloud-session-ipa-8437012444317.html

And now for some culture in the theaters; until July 9 the Clàsicos en Alcalà, with shows on Hamlet, of Boris Nikitin; La última noche de Don JuanPlease Continue, Hamlet.especially this one.texts from  Zorrilla, Espronceda or Tirso de Molina.  Also, the company Grumelot (Los brillantes empeños) showing its #Sobre Julieta y el rompedor . More here: http://www.clasicosenalcala.net/2017/home/

Festival Internacional de Mùsica y Danza de Granada, until August 13. Shows of  the  Ballet del Teatro Di San Carlo de Nápoles (Napoli), Ballet Nacional de Holanda(Netherland) , María Pagés, Ballet Nacional de España.(Spain).  At the La Alhambra on its 66th edition with a new production of Cenicienta (snowwhite) and along it the show of Roland Petit with Pink Floyd, HET (Ballet Nacional de Holanda(Netherland)), with classics like Don Quijote. From Spain, María Pagés, that will interpret Yo, Carmen, or with the Ballet Nacional de España (Spain).  The group of Antonio Najarro playing  Homenaje a Antonio Ruiz Soler (homage to )  as well as time for the classical music by the London Symphony Orchestra. More here: http://www.granadafestival.org/en/festival-internacional-de-musica-y-danza-de-granada/

Veranos de la Villa until September 3 and shows such as Acceso,of Pablo Larraín; Compañía Losdedae. The Great Tamer, of Dimitris Papainounnou…concerts with Christina Rosenvinge or Santiago Auserón,  as well shows showing in the  Naves del Matadero .  The current center  or Centro Internacional de Artes Vivas  will be the site of Dimitris Papaioannou, one of the most important coreagraphers of Europe and showing  The Great Tamer.  Also dance with the group of  Losdedae, Chevi Muraday,  and  Kamikaze, with its new work named Sumérgete. More here: https://www.veranosdelavilla.com/

Festival de Verano de San Lorenzo del Escorial from July 20 to Agust 5. Shows such as  the  Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Ballet Víctor Ullate Comunidad de Madrid.; all at the Teatro Auditorio de la Comunidad de Madrid en San Lorenzo del Escorial. Program of classical music and dance with such showing as  Free Bach 212, from La Fura del Baus ; a contemporary poetic flamenco and electronic music from Bach.  For the dance you can enjoy the antology of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, headed by Alicia Alonso showing such classics as GiselleLa bella durmienteEl cascanueces or Coppelia. And the Ballet Víctor Ullate Comunidad de Madrid  will show the upswing version of Carmen. More here: http://www.festclasica.com/en/festivals/festivales-de-san-lorenzo-de-el-escorial/

For the arts in museums , see Renaissance in Venice triumph of the beauty and destruction of the painting  or  El Renacimiento en Venecia. Triunfo de la Belleza y destrucción de la pintura.  Portraits by  Caravaggio, Tiziano,and Tintoretto. All in the Museo Thyssen Paseo del Prado,8: Until September 24th: more here: https://www.museothyssen.org/en/exposiciones/renaissance-venice-triumph-beauty-and-destruction-painting

Last but not least , a phenomenon that is happening in Spain. In part to places like Tinker an Android, iOs application created in 2012. The number of nightclubs has fallen by 5,4% from 2014 to 2017 to reach a new total of  17.591 establishments in January , data from Nielsen . As well the hotels federation or the  Federación Española de Hostelería (FEHR) has seen a drop of 1,5%  in lodgings available in 2016 vs the previous year. The effect  El Botellon (bring own bottle) and  ‘quedadas’ (stays) with friends at home are leaving the discotheques in a second rank. Also, each year we have less youngs and few new babies born so the tendancy will be hard to revert. The fertility rate in Spain is 1,3 children per women while the median in the UE is between 1,8 and 1,9!!!. Food for thought here.

And this is it for Spain for now, keep cool it is very hot 33C or 92F out there ;cheers

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June 28, 2017

A love affair with Madrid

Madrid is big on my map, once bitten it is very hard to forget. There is a saying in town, that said, From Madrid to heaven, and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! I am always looking at it from wherever I am.

I have written many posts on it here in my blog, just search Madrid and you know what I mean. However, today ,I will tell you about a book; yes a book about Madrid that made me think of how wonderful this city is and how lucky that I found it and also to read the book and exchange notes with the book writer.

The book is titled: A Load of Bull: An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid; written by Tim Parfitt on Pan MacMillan Publishers London ISBN 978-1-4050-4619-0 year 2006.

It’s the real story of Tim Parfitt who in the 1980’s was given the task to start the publication of Vogue and later GQ Spain. He was working for Conde Nast in London and got a 6 weeks assignment in Madrid. This 6 weeks turn into 9 years and during this time he discovered the real Spain. “there wasn’t any other type of Spain, was there?” But there was, “there was Madrid”

He goes on to tell his story from his arrival in Madrid in January 31 1988 at the tender age of 27.His office was by the Plaza de España.

I am not going to tell you the whole book, if you like Spain and Madrid specially then it is a require reading.

He goes on to mention many of the places I went as a teen living in Madrid ,I arrived December 30 1971. Here is my first entry on Madrid about me there , a bit…. https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/28/my-life-in-madrid-spain/

Some of these places still memorable for me and always seems to stop by either going in or just passing by again for the memories, the first that comes to mind is the Gran Café de Gijon: http://www.cafegijon.com/

He went on to Riofrio under the Centro Colon ,now gone: https://www.yelp.es/biz/riofr%C3%ADo-madrid-2

He talks about his life there and the struggle with the Spanish language (poor guy not my case) ; the funny translation and the nuances of Spanish street naming.  Speaking of the Plaza de Cibeles and Paseo de Recoletos, the communication palace then now palace of Cibeles  passing under the Puerta de Alcalà where the Cafeteria Simpatia was now, also, closed….https://es.foursquare.com/v/cafeter%C3%ADa-simpat%C3%ADa/4c927523911b8cfac17eedb5

At the corner of Calle Serrano and Calle de Recoletos was the Vogue building at No 4 Izda (izquierda=left). And where the welcome to Madrid was “where 8pm means 10 pm”!

Where he tried his first dish of testicles or Criadillas! where he assembled his team of collaborators.  Vogue magazine was created in the USA in 1892, then UK in 1916, France, 1921, Australia 1959, Italy 1965, Brazil 1975 Germany 1979 and now Spain in 1988!!!

He learned that in Madrid the rush hours were 2PM and 4:30PM the times to go to lunch and come back, no one is in a hurry in the mornings nor to leave at night.

He speaks about my beloved Retiro park Parque del Buen Retiro especially on the side of plaza de la Independencia and go into the Palacio de Cristal. He learned to tapear or go out for tapas from 8pm and better to stand by the bar counter as locals do.

Going for more old authentic Madrid he headed to El Timon near the Centro Colon  business building. Now totally change new owners deco menu etc the location here: https://11870.com/pro/el-timon-madrid

The Plaza de España and it’s statue of Don Quijote with Sancho Panza and the donkey and wandered down Gran Via to Calle Preciados off Plaza Callao and down towards Plaza del Sol; glorious!!!

You cannot missed the Museo del Jamon now a chain of restaurants and the wonderful Plaza Mayor. Go onwards to the Plaza de Oriente and into the Palacio Real; get the cable car or téleferico and ride over to Casa de Campo . One day try the walk or jog from plaza Colon to Las Ventas Monumental bullfight arena….!!!  

Buying an old typewriter from a gone shop in Calle Hortaleza and try those different Spanish letter keys !!! How about the first date driving a taxi from Paseo Recoleto to the fountain of Neptune in the Plaza de Cànovas del Castillo ,then un to San Jeronimo and to Las Cortes or Spanish parliament out into Plaza Santa Ana to land in nearby Cerveceria Alemana ,who of course, this one is still there! http://www.cerveceriaalemana.com/main/

And the party continue to Los Gabrieles (now gone 2004) and then Viva Madrid (still open) on the Marcha or walk of Madrid following the Movida . more on them here: http://www.guiadelocio.com/madrid/tarde-y-noche/madrid/los-gabrieles

http://www.restaurantevivamadrid.com/fr/

How about going to Segovia and having lunch at Pedraza while looking up the Aqueduct in the Plaza de Azoguejo and leaving Segovia by the road to Soria and into Pedraza. See more in Spanish in the guias viajar here: http://guias-viajar.com/madrid/viajes-excursiones/segovia-pedraza/

Stop in Madrid at one of my all time favorites Cafe el Espejo en paseo Recoleto. More here! but just sit at the bar and enjoy the view in and out! https://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-el-espejo-madrid

Try the old yuppie place of Cafe Bar Castellana at paseo de la Castellana ,8. Well now there is Otto there but this was it: https://es.foursquare.com/v/bar-castellana-8/4b05c04af964a5206ce222e3

He found out the Spanish way that we call just about anybody a “friend” even if hardly met and of course we refer to an intime friend those higher up that makes us look good; actually as the book ” THIS IS A LOAD OF BULL”. And of course, the other is ” mi casa es tuya” my house is yours, but we rather meet in a bar lol!!! Or the Viaducto or viaduc meaning we take the bridge over off days to connect into several like a long week lol!! old practice not anymore as it is the siesta….

He found out the big party is May 15 San Isidro for a long party…and into the late nights in bars like Archy, Pachà , Cafe Central (Plaza del Angel) and El Sol or the Cock bar in Calle de la Reina or Museo Chicote in Gran Via to end at Almonte a Sevillian club in calle Juan Bravo. Or a fancy Botin in calle Cuchilleros.

Archy now closed: https://11870.com/pro/archy

Pachà is now Barcelo but this was pacha: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/pach%C3%A1-madrid-3

Cafe central still there: http://www.cafecentralmadrid.com/

El Sol still there: http://salaelsol.com/

Cock bar still there more subtle nowdays: https://www.yelp.com/biz/bar-cock-madrid-2

mythical museo chicote is still there: https://www.yelp.com/biz/museo-chicote-madrid-2

Almonte for a taste of flamenco is still there: http://www.almontesalarociera.com/

Botin a tradition still there: http://www.botin.es/en

Also, moving apartment to one by Calle Lope de Vega nearer the Prado Museum. A practice of hora intensiva or intensive hour ;this was done in summers so you worked only until about 3PM to avoid the heat without a lunch break;then do this after 3PM for lunch and then Siesta until the evenings. Finding out in summer of operacion salida or exit operation when folks leave Madrid to escape the heat; and they all leave at the same time lol!!! And by August 31st is operacion retorno, operation return and they all come back at the same time lol!!!

One more tried Taberna  La Bola  a classic in Madrid still going strong.  more here: http://labola.es/

See more of the nearby towns such as Aranjuez and Chinchon. Back to Madrid for something exotic El Cuchi Mexican restaurant near Plaza Mayor. Already gone thru two different restos in the address El Cuchi is gone. This was it: https://www.yelp.es/biz/el-cuchi-madrid

See and pay a visit to Las Ventas Monumental bullfight arena for a look of tradition. All official in Spanish here: http://www.las-ventas.com/ and of course do not forget to see the Museo Taurino behind it on the story of the bullfighter. more info here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/bullfighting-museum

You come to the Calle de las Huertas and stop by La Fidula for a fino sherry or go on to Casa Alberto for a glass of red with a pincho.  You continue the food frenzy in the Calle Marqués de Cubas at the Catalan resto Paradis. Go back to the Plaza Mayor and visit the Cava San Miguel  for a nice cold beer. You should not missed two great ones of Madrid , Casa Paco and Casa Lucio,and one of the classic upper upper Zalacaîn

La Fidula today is a concert hall: https://www.lafidula.es/

Casa Alberto; still there : http://www.casaalberto.es/

Paradis still there: http://www.restauranteparadismadrid.es/category/menus/

Cava San Miguel now la Taberna Chiquita; https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-taberna-chiquita-Madrid

Casa Paco : http://www.casapaco1933.es/

Casa Lucio :http://casalucio.es/en/

Zalacaîn: now closed for renovations: http://www.restaurantezalacain.com/

Getting back to the apartment at Lope de Vega, you can try La Dolores bar; https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-dolores-madrid ; and further you come to Villa Rosa tablao flamenco off the Plaza Santa Ana, now closed: http://www.tablaoflamencovillarosa.com/es/

Some fancy visits to the British Chamber of Commerce; club Puerta de Hierro, Club Equitacion de Somosaguas all special visits. Then go up to wonderful Navacerrada and eat at Casa Felipe Asador. Navacerrada was my first attempt of skiing at the tender age of 12, well did not work out ::) fell all over the place and decided it was not for me.  The resto here: http://www.restaurantefelipe.com/

And the activities at Navacerrada continues: http://www.puertonavacerrada.com/

Time to move again this time to Serrano, 145 corner of calle Guadalquivir;nicer area still today. Here it is nice to jog alone Paseo de la Habana and along Plaza Sagrados Corazones next to the Bernabeu Stadium at the corner of Castellana and Concha Espina.

You came to the old ,Club 31 in Calle Alcalà 31; and for ligher meals go to Delicatessen Mallorca. The first one change owner and location but still Club 31 here: http://www.restauranteclub31.com/quienes-somos

The second one http://www.pasteleria-mallorca.com/listado-de-tiendas

He continues writing about the new things found in Madrid and of course learning Spanish, this was already 1992 the year of the Barcelona Olympics. However, Madrid had totally seduced him. And he visit Carmona near Sevilla to be with a women he met Patrizia and visit her parents.

He found La Parra a Seville style restaurant in Monte Esquinza; more here: http://www.laparrarestaurante.com/ , visited the bullfight arena at Aranjuez and had a nice party in Palacio de Gaviria , which was and is a great place to be/ more here: http://eschermadrid.com/

The hit came later meeting Kirza half Dutch and half Danish but born in Malaga, hey welcome to Spain. She had two kids from previous marriage and was only 29. He move in with her and the kids on January 1993. New place Calle de Povedilla 13 parallel to Calle de Goya in Salamanca district. They tour together deeper into Spain, Sevilla and Ronda and going to parties together. Even to Barcelona where the stays were at the Hotel Arts in the Olympic Port. They were married in Holland and photos splashed all over the medias.

And they move out of central Madrid into a bigger home in Calle San Martin de Porres by the Puerta de Hierro. Location distrito here:http://www.madrid.es/

Kirza was pregnant and his best friend Luis was diagnose of leukemia eventually passed away at 58. And Tim became the managing director/General Manager of Conde Nast Spain.  The son finally arrive Toby in July 7 1994 at the Clinica Nuevo Parque. http://www.sanidadysalud.com/clinica-nuevo-parque-HO280611.html

And this needed another moved to Monte Alto in Humera just outside Madrid. and a moving in nanny and the black retriever dog Barnaby. And the new born child was baptized in the Church of Humera. Location of new house: https://www.pozuelodealarcon.org/tu-ayuntamiento/gabinete-de-prensa/reportajes-especiales/humera%3A-un-barrio-con-solera

And the journey is over. Tim said it, Madrid is one of the most perplexing, anarchic, and exuberant cities on earth:Madrid. He fell in love with the country, the city and its people and do we once bitten by the Madrid magic. Or From Madrid to heaven and hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!

I happened to contact him and exchange emails with him as what struck more of the story which is awesome and the book is wonderful; was the fact that we both went on similar paths of places in Madrid and fell in love with the city me too young needed to move on with my mother or life would had be different for sure. Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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June 26, 2017

Again the Tour de France 104th edition

And we are just around the corner of the next tour de France bicycle race.  The next will be the 104th Edition, and will be running from Saturday July 1st to Sunday July 23rd in 21 stages over 3540 kms.

The previous one I have in my blog was in 2015 when it passed just next to my employer near Vannes in the Morbihan Breton; more of it here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/07/13/tour-de-france-in-the-morbihan-bretagne/

Some of the teams already announced for this year’s edition are: (country abbrev in French)

AG2R La Mondiale: Jan Bakelants (BEL), Romain Bardet (FRA), Axel Domont (FRA), Mathias Frank (SUI), Ben Gastauer (LUX), Cyril Gautier (FRA), Pierre Latour (FRA), Oliver Naesen (BEL), Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA)

BMC Racing Team: Damiano Caruso (ITA), Stefan Küng (SUI), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Richie Porte (AUS), Nicolas Roche(IRL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

Bora – Hansgrohe :Maciej Bodnar (POL), Emanuel Buchmann (ALL), Marcus Burghardt (ALL), Rafal Majka (POL), Jay McCarthy (AUS), Pawel Poljanski (POL), Juraj Sagan(SVQ), Peter Sagan (SVQ), Rudi Selig (ALL).

Cofidis: Nacer Bouhanni (FRA), Dimitri Claeys (BEL), Christophe Laporte (FRA), Cyril Lemoine (FRA), Luis Angel Maté (ESP), Daniel Navarro (ESP), Florian Sénéchal (FRA), Julien Simon (FRA), Geoffrey Soupe (FRA).

Dimension Data: Edvald Boassen Hagen (NOR), Mark Cavendish (GBR), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Bernhart Eisel (AUT), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (AFS), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Scott Thwaites (GBR), Jaco Venter (AFS).

Direct Energie: Thomas Boudat (FRA), Lilian Calmejane (FRA), Sylvain Chavanel (FRA), Yohann Gène (FRA), Adrien Petit (FRA), Perrig Quéméneur (FRA), Romain Sicard (FRA), Angelo Tulik (FRA), Thomas Voeckler (FRA).

Katusha-Alpecin: Marco Haller (AUT), Reto Hollenstein (SUI), Robert Kiserlovski (CRO), Alexander Kristoff (NOR), Maurits Lammertink (NED), Tiago Machado (POR), Tony Martin (GER), Nils Politt (GER), Rick Zabel (GER).

Orica-Scott: Michael Albasini (SUI), Esteban Chaves (COL), Luke Durbridge (AUS), Mathew Hayman (AUS), Damien Howson (AUS), Daryl Impey (AFS), Jens Keulekeire (BEL), Roman Kreuziger (RTC), Simon Yates (GBR).

Sky: Chris Froome (GBR), Sergio Henao (COL), Vasil Kiryienka (BLR), Christian Knees (ALL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Mikel Landa (ESP), Mikel Nieve (ESP), Luke Rowe (GBR), Geraint Thomas (GBR).

Team Sunweb: Nikias Arndt (ALL), Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (HOL), Michael Matthews (AUS), Simon Geschke (ALL), Ramon Sinkeldam (HOL), Laurens Ten Dam (HOL), Albert Timmer (HOL), Mike Teunissen (HOL).

Trek-Segafredo; André Cardoso (POR), Alberto Contador(ESP), John Degenkolb (ALL), Fabio Felline (ITA), Michael Gogl (AUT), Markel Irizar (ESP), Koen de Kort (HOL), Bauke MOLLEMA (HOL) , Jarlinson Pantano (COL).

UAE – Team Emirates: Darwin Atapuma (COL), Matteo Bono (ITA), Kristijan Durasek (CRO), Vegard Stake Laengen (NOR), Marco Marcato (ITA), Manuele Mori (ITA), Louis Meintjes (AFS), Ben Swift (GBR), Diego Ulissi (ITA).

Wanty – Groupe Gobert: Frederik Backaert (BEL), Thomas Degand (BEL), Guillaume Martin (FRA), Marco Minaard (NED),Yoann Offredo (FRA), Andrea Pasqualon (ITA), Dion Smith (NZL), Guillaume Van Keirlsbuck (BEL), Pieter Vanspeybrouck (BEL).

The official site to watch it live is here in English: http://www.letour.fr/le-tour/2017/us/

Notice this year the race will begin in Dusseldorf Germany !! hey a town I have visited!!! Here was my post on the city: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/11/26/a-new-city-on-my-map-dusseldorf-germany/

It will ,also, past by Belgium and Luxembourg!

Then stage 7 from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges should be sublime, also, stage 10 Périgueux to Bergerac wow! Stages 11-12 around Pau! and Stage 16 Le Puy-en-Vélay to Romans-sur-Isére, and of course the finish in Paris.

Some schedules to watch on TV is here in English:

http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/tour-de-france/tour-de-france-live-tv-guide-233516

And here is a video in 3D of the route of the 104th edition of the Tour de France!!

 

See on the roads folks, enjoy it and happy end of june 2017. Cheers

June 23, 2017

Some news from Spain XLV

Here here this is Spain hot and beautiful. Temps are in heaven hot but so is the Spanish soul. this is the season and Summer is here, hear all about it, this is Spain. Some ramblings to tell you all.

Some of the best of the Valencia region: this is Alzira with its Arabic walls and part of the Route of Monasteries near the natural site  or Paraje Natural Municipal La Murta, previously known as the Valley or Valle de los Milagros.  This valley has medicinal properties due to its flora to make plant medicines. Now there is a walk path of about 9 kms that takes you to some of its better sites such as the monastery of  Santa María de la Murta, finished in 1401. More here: http://www.valenciaturisme.org/en/things-to-do/the-monastery-route/

You go to the fountain of the baths or Fuente de los Baños, in Montanejos, known since Arabic times. The Moorish king  Zeit-Abu-Zeit  was  aware of the medicinal properties of the waters of the river Mijares , and according to legend it ordered built the baths for the women in the harem to kept young and beautiful.  These properties of the waters keep a year round temperature of 25C and has been for centuries. Now it is part of health tourism. Up the waters at about 2,5 kms you arrive at the urban center and the dam of Arenoso, where you see one of the wonderful natural attraction of the region in the narrows or  Los Estrechos.  This is a canyon of about 25 meters wide and more than 100 meters high where you can practice the climbing and live water sports. More in Spanish here: http://www.visitmontanejos.com/fuente-de-banos/

Reaching Vilafamés, of Arabic origins where you still find some ruins such as the foundation of the castle on top of a hill where the town rises. Even if the early remains of the town goes back to Paleothic Superior, found in the cave or Cueva Matutano.  Also, in the cave cavity of  El Tossal de la Font you find remains of Homo Sapiens of  80.000 years old, while in the basement of the castle and the rocks or  Rocas de Mallasén you find remains of rustics paintings. More in Spanish here: http://vilafames.org/es/poble/patrimoni/

You continue on towards Villena old town is to go back to the Middle Ages. The Castle of Atalaya built by the Arabs in the 12C reign over the town. It is one of the oldest construction of its type in Spain with a tower of square ground and two bodies as well as Almohades tombs. More here http://www.turismovillena.com/?lang=en_EN

At the foot of a castle of the Arabic period that still conserve almost instact its towers and walls you come to Chulilla. A small town of middle ages and stone age time at the extreme of the river Turia with a deep ravine of 160 meters deep from which a castle rises overlooking the town with several hanging bridges. In the canyon of or barranco de Falfiguera, back in 1998  it was discovered rustic paintings of the Epipaleothic period  (3500-2000 AC.) with zoomorphic and antropomorfic drawings some of them not found in other parts of the Mediterránean.  In Chulilla, you can, also find remains of the Copper and Iron age belonging to the Iberian people. More in Spanish here :  http://www.chulilla.es/es/turismo/page/cultura-patrimonio

In the small coastal town of Canet d’en Berenguer just a few km from Valencia and next to Sagunto. You have some of the vestiges of the Roman period. In the 14C the town was known as Canet d’en Berenguer and went to the power of Francisco Berenguer, and his descendants from which the town takes its name. Here you find the beautiful beach of Raco de la Mar with a blue flag rating and a lighthouse of 30 meters high with a reach of 25 miles dating from 1904. The particularity of this lighthouse is that is located 300 meters inland surrounded by orange trees.  More here in Spanish: http://www.canetdenberenguer.es/turismo/playa

And the beach here ! https://www.playas-valencia.com/en/playas/raco-de-la-mar-beach-corner-of-sea/

Moving on the other side of Spain, to Galicia; we have in Ferrol of the finest and whitest beaches such as DoniñosEsmelleFragata , and San Jorge all rated blue flag safe and clean. From Ferrol you take the route in the direction of Cariño to reach Doniños.  Here you find all kinds of services such as small restos or chiringuitos, and bars, even Children playground, parkings, bus stop, showers, emergency post with 2 kms of fine sand , golden dunes and a great lake with great fauna. A paradise for surfers that for the second consecutive year host the national surfing championship or  Campeonato Nacional de Surf  from June 26 to July 2nd organized  by the Spanish surfing federation or Federación Española de Surf. More on the beach here: http://www.turismo.gal/recurso/-/detalle/10112/doninos?langId=en_US

On the other hand the beach at Doñinos is a historic beach as this is the point the English navy pick to attack Ferrol in 1800 when it was made impossible to entered thru the harbor one of the best protected in the world with three castles and a huge underground chain amongst them.  The difficulty of the landing due to bad seas, the heavily guarded beach and the lake made it possible for the English defeat. You can reach it by Balon at 2 kms taken the route towards the beach of Doñinos.  It has two access one at  Outeiro, on the north with ample parking and the other at Punta Penencia,  to the south and less service.

Moving onwards to O-Vilar Cobas, this beach is in the form of a shell in a rural surrounding with some summer chalets.  To the right of the chalets there is a rocky entrance only on low tide to the beach of  Playa Os Botes (also known as beach playa Mourella). It is near the bus stop to Beceiro. More on the beaches in Spanish here: http://www.concellodevaldovino.com/?q=es/node/155

Between the beaches of  O Vilar and Esmelle, next to San Xurxo  that together form the natural bay of  San Xurxo, you find the beach of playa Fragata, known also by the name of  Porto Bello. A bit smaller than Esmelle. A bit more here in Spanish; http://www.turismo.gal/recurso/-/detalle/10216/a-fragata?langId=es_ES

Continuing on our beach round of Galicia, and passing by the city center/downtown of Cobas in the direction of A Pedreira you reach to a magical spot where you have a chapel in the island or isla de Santa Comba (legend the image of the saint with her son arrive here by a stone boat and in its honor the romance chapel of Santa Comba was done in the 12C). Next to it you find the beach of the same name with white sands with some black gravel stone which is really magnetite a mineral derive from iron. The beach is isolated so need to reach it by car, worth the ride. From here along the littoral you have the protected areas  (EU) of the network Red Natura 2000. A bit more here: http://www.turismo.gal/recurso/-/detalle/10110/santa-comba?langId=en_US

We finished in the nearby town of  Valdoviño, on the beach or Playa de Pantín, to enjoy the Pantin Classic Galicia Pro along the world championship of surfing from August 28 to September 2nd next ; along its numerous surfing schools. A bit more here: http://www.turismo.gal/recurso/-/detalle/10105/pantin?langId=en_US

We finished the beaches and go inland to historic and vibrant Pamplona.

The old town is party time especially along the streets of Estafeta, San Nicolás, Calderería ,and Navarrería.  However, there is another historic area where you have artists shops  and designers next to bars such as the streets of  Curia, Compañía, Merced ,and  Dormitalería with its own bohemian style on the shadow of the gothic Cathedral of Pamplona. The fluvial park of Arga next to the old ramparts with green spaces such as those of  Vuelta del Castillo,and  Taconera,surrounding the defensive walls in the time of king Felipe II.  These spaces are the scene for the Marathon of San Fermin and the running of the popular running of the ramparts or  Las Murallas . More on tourism in Pamplona here: http://www.turismodepamplona.es/verpagina.aspx?idpag=1&idioma=5

Closing out with the ongoing Madrid Orgullo or World Pride 2017 with the LGBTIQ Pride festival ; the hotels are booked, the restos packed and the party is just beginning; so you either have it or just come in for a walk: More in English here:http://www.worldpridemadrid2017.com/en/

Cheers and enjoy your weekend wherever you are in our world.

 

 

 

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June 16, 2017

Some news from Spain XLIIII

On a hot day here and announcing 32C for the weekend , of course nothing to compare to the 40C been register in Madrid, we are moving on Friday, TGIF is here and the weekend is looking good.

Now for some of the latest from my beloved Spain, España, Espagne, here are the favorites places in Madrid to have a vermus that wonderful summer drink drank by all as with friends and family. A tradition of Madrid:

El Anciano Rey de los Vinos Calle Bailén, 19 , Metro: Ópera , Tel +34 91 559 53 32; open from 9h to 24h , closed Tuesdays. The magnificent across from the Cathedral or Catedral de la Almudena, and nearby the Royal Palace or Palacio Real. Many stories here since 1909, one of them is that King Alfonso XIII  arrived here by a secret tunnel that connect it to the Royal Palace.  Here the vermù is serve by draft and with hose serve on a short legged cup and with a tapa.  If you want something more hearty go for the regalito de torito ( a brick paste filled with oxtails of the toro and piquillo pimentos), ohh yummy! More here : https://www.esmadrid.com/en/restaurants/el-anciano-rey-de-los-vinos

La Ardosa ,Calle Colón, 13, Metro: Tribunal, Tel +34 91 521 49 79 ; open from 8h to 02H. (Saturdays and Sundays from 11h) ,it never closes! It opened it’s doors in 1892 as a wine store. Finally, in the 1870’s that it was a tasca or tavern. Here we have the vermù in draft of Reus served in a narrow glass. More here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/restaurants/bodega-la-ardosa

Bodegas Ricla , calle Cuchilleros, 6, Metro La Latina , tel +34 91 365 20 69; from 12h30 to 15h30 and 19h to 24h closed Sundays nights and Tuesdays.  A bit narrow spaces and closed to the Plaza Mayor has a beautiful bar counter in Tin and drafts handles of  yellow brass   ; it opened the doors in 1867 .  Here you can try the wonderful  callos a la madrileña,  boquerones en vinagre, and  bacalao en aceite con pimientos; check out what they are ::) More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/bodegas-ricla-madrid

Camacho  Calle San Andrés, 4; Metro: Tribunal, Tel +34 91 531 35 98 ; open from 12h to 02H, closed Sundays.  The tavern is handle by three brothers who took over the business in 1980, when the family  Camacho  retired without descendants.  The vermú  draft as an iris served on a short glass and narrow with  cubes of ice, slice of orange, and straw.  You can have a media combinación this is with a gin and sprite type soda; to eat try the skew of tuna in tomato sauce. More here in the yelp recommended site on my blog:  https://www.yelp.com/biz/casa-camacho-Madrid

Muñiz, Calle Calatrava, 3 , Metro  Puerta de Toledo; tel +34 91 365 66 47; open from 7h to 24h always open.  This is a good idea before going to the Rastro , the aperitif bar to be in. The vermù is from the barrel served in elongated glass, wider in the mouth. You munch away on small sardines or boquerones en vinagre,,,,croquettes and skews of  chitterslings. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/mu%C3%B1iz-madrid-2

Stop Madrid Calle  Hortaleza, 11 , Metro Gran Vía; Tel +34 91 521 88 87 ; opened from 12h to 02h, always open. It has three locations in Madrid at  Atocha, Alberto Alcocer ,and León, but this one is the original ,opened from 1929.  It is loud and corner centro Madrid with a beautiful floor of mosaics ceramics and a bar counter is of marbre. The vermù from draft, reserve of the house and served on glass with short leg ice cubes and orange. Also, try the white drink in a bottle Nordesía. To munch try the hams, anchovies etc.. More here: http://www.stopmadrid.es/en/

Taberna de Antonio Sànchez , Mesón de Paredes, 13 ; Metro  Tirso de Molina ; Tel +34 91 539 78 26; open from 12h to 16h and 20h to 24h.  Closed Sunday nights.  It is named after the bullfighter that founded the tavern in 1830. It is decorated with heads of bulls and a wooden counter cover in zinc. At the extreme of the bar counter the brass drafts runs the vermù  a bit sweet taken with a tapa of anchovies  or sausages , croquette or oxtails bulls meats. More here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/restaurants/taberna-de-antonio-sanchez

The mythical and come back favorite Café Comercial  ,Glorieta de Bilbao, 7; Metro  Bilbao ; tel +34  91 088 25 25 ; from 8h to 02h always open.  This was the oldest café in Madrid and last March reopened the doors with new ownership.  The mythical bar counter in marbre stays here to try the vermù in draft done in Reus with ice cubes in an old fashioned glass; you can take a bottle home for 18€.  To munch potatoes in garlic sauce, olives, mussels, croquettes of ham ,salads and iberian ham sandwiches..More here:http://cafecomercialmadrid.com/

La Carmencita, Calle Libertad ,16, Metro Chueca, Tel +34 91 531 09 11 ; open 9h to 01H always open. A bar opened in 1854 and renovated recently . The vermù has about 20 different offers like the Virgen de Loreto, Valdepablo, Arlini, Perucchi, Luna Reserva, Carpano, Punt e Mes, and  Casa Mariol.  There are four ways to serve it, artesano, traditional, Americano with Campari and soda , the manhattan sweet or dry with bourbon or negroni with campari and gin. More here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/restaurants/carmencita

Donde Sànchez Calle Santa Isabel, 5 (inside the Mercado de Antón Martín) ; Metro  Antón Martín ; tel +34 639 12 64 07 , open from 12h to 21h, Saturdays until 16H; Closed Saturday nights, Sundays and Mondays. The bar counter is a tasting place and offers a nice vermù served in martini glass with Burlador, Miró, San Bernabé, Amillo Reserva or  Petroni.  You can add a montadito sandwich of sardines in olive oil. More here: http://www.mercadoantonmartin.com/donde-sanchez-cosas-ricas/

Latazo, Calle Santa Isabel, 5 (inside Mercado de Antón Martín) ; Metro Antón martin ; tel +34 655 12 73 00; open from 9h to 21h, Saturdays until 23h, closed Sundays. This is a modern one and not visited but heard by my family there that is a good one too. The vermù of the Casa Mariol, Lacuesta Reserva, Domingo or Espinaler  while you enjoy a chunk of  red tuna in olive oil , mussels in hot tomato sauce or razor shells au naturel. More here: http://www.mercadoantonmartin.com/latazo/

La Hora del Vermut Plaza San Miguel, s/n (inside Mercado de San Miguel) ; Metro Sol ; Tel +34  91 758 81 23 ; open from 10h to 24h, always open. Here you will find about 70 references of Vermus in draft, red, white, and rosé that rotates every week.  You can munch on the brochettes of cold cuts on the next side counter; you pay on the spot ; it has a branch at  Platea , Calle Goya, 5. More here: http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/en/puestos/la-hora-del-vermut/

And out of food into theater work, the famous Carmen will be in the Teatros del Canal until June 25. A Spanish legend, created by the French with arrangement by a Russian, choreography by a Swedish that lives in Sevilla; this is Carmen : choreograph by  Johann Inger, music by  Marc Álvarez and arrangements of the Opera of Bizet of Rodion Shchedrin, produce for the version of Alberto Alonso of 1967, that started his wife Maya Plisetskaya.  More here: http://www.teatroscanal.com/espectaculo/carmen-compania-nacional-danza/

Music Festival of summer is here: See these!

Noches del Botànico, from June 22 to the 29Th, with Tony Bennett, Bryan Ferry,  Franco Battiato and Giorgio Moroder. Others are here too Rubén Blades, Ub40, Jamie Cullum, Pablo Milanés, Anastacia, Madeleine Peyroux, and José James etc. In the Real Jardin Botànico Alfonso XIII, admission 33-132€: more here: http://www.nochesdelbotanico.com/

Rock Fest Bcn, from June 30th to July 2nd, with artists such as Aerosmith, and Alice Cooper. Others here too Europe, Sepultura, Wasp, Saxon, Paradise Lost, Rosendo, Rage, Gotthard, Metalfall, Blue Öyster Cult, Airbourne, and Avantasia. At Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona (Can Zam) ;  daily admission from 110-130 euros. More here: http://rockfestbarcelona.com/

BBK in July 6-8 Bilbao, with artists such as  Depeche Mode, Phoenix, and The Killers. Others will be : Justice, Fleet Foxes, Die Antwoord, Two Door Cinema Club, The 1975, Austra, Brian Wilson, Cage The Elephant, Primal Scream,  and Austra. At Kobetamendi, Bilbao  admission 55 euros. More here: http://bilbaobbklive.com/fr-fr/home-fr

Starlite from July 13 to August 26 , main features will be Elton John, Joaquín Sabina, Miguel Bosé, and  Eros Ramazzotti. Others will be Juan Magán, Anastacia, Art Garfunkel, Juan Luis Guerra, Manuel Carrasco, Pretenders, Luis Fonsi, Ben Harper, Malú, and The Cranberries. At  Marbella, Malaga, Auditorio la Cantera de Nagüeles; Admission from 25-1,155 euros. More here: https://starlitemarbella.koobin.com/?idioma=EN

One of my spots for this coming  summer will be at the Chateau or Castillo de Belmonte ; it is said that it took its name from the beauty of the countryside; for many years it was named Bellomonte,or beautiful forest. Here Don Juan Manuel, nephew of king Alfonso X El Sabio,ordered built in the 14C a palace and the first ramparts walls of the city.  It is right in the Route of Quijote and birthplace of the poet Fray Luis de León. At the extreme of the city you have the other important spot the Church collegiale of Colegiata de San Bartolomé  and the castle or Castillo de Belmonte. In between you have the nice architecture of the old town. Many movies were done here in the Castle such as El Cid, with Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston in 1961. More on the castle here: http://castillodebelmonte.com/en/

The Colegiata de San Bartolomé, was built in the mid 15C on the site of a Visigoth parrish of the 5C in the style mostly gothic. It has two gates or puertas ;one of the Sun or Sol  oriented towards the midday and flanks by gothic peaks and that of the Pardon or Perdones to the orient and has a figure of the Saint or San Bartolomé.  Inside you will find the pulpits of Coro, that belongs to the Cathedral at Cuenca, the chapel of the assomption, chapel of St Peter, St Paul and the Main Altar chapel ; that of St James, and St John the Baptist (that preserves the baptismal stone of Fray Luis de León).  There are concerts of sacred arts held here with an organ from the 18C.  Inside you have also the tombs of the family of the Marquis or Marqués de Villena. Admission is 2€ . More in Spanish here: http://www.descubrecuenca.com/es/enclaves-y-poblaciones/la-mancha/colegiata-de-san-bartolome-belmonte-69#ficha

From the Church in about 500 meters you will find the windmill or Molino de El Puntal, an impressive example that preserves all its machinery and open to the public with exhibitions of its work, and tiles . For visits call here Tel +34 635 41 10 43. From the windmill you can see wonderful views of Belmonte.

Aspalgatas shoes in Madrid, tradition obliges to go to my family all time favorite at Casa Hernanz, Calle Toledo, 18 ; Metro La Latina; Tel +34  91 366 54 50. The family here has been producing alpargatas for over 150 years! a Madrid tradition a must to visit even if not buying. You can choose from 50+ different colors done with cotton, linen, natural skin or velour in all kinds of sizes up to 50 and different heights until 15 cms ;also , do laces for shoes. More here: http://www.alpargateriahernanz.com/

Another coming along just fine is Calzados Lobo, Calle Toledo  ,30 Metro La latina ;; Tel +34 91 366 40 17. It was founded in 1897. It has a nice façade in red and inside there is the 4th generation of family. All kinds from flat to pointed with laces or not, many colors and from 6€. it has stores in Tenerife and Valladolid as well. More here: https://www.calzadoslobo.com/

Something unique to finish this post on my beloved Spain.

The museum or Museo Arqueologico Nacional (MAN) has revealed its secrets finally! The museum preserves four momies, three Egiptians and one Guanche (Tenerife my people!!!). They have undergone a strict studious tomographic that has allow to discovered more of them.  The main discovery is that one of the momies that of Nespamedu was indeed a  priest of Imhotep and doctor of the pharaoh that ruled in Saqqara or Alexandria and had about 50 yrs old when he died. The real surprise was what It had in the wrapping, it was shown to have decorations like collars, bracelets, pulses, and up to 16 plaques of charms that have been identify as sets of plaques of four sons of Horus  one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities ; thise momie came to Madrid from the Cairo museum in 1925 donated and was initially identify as a women. It was ,also ,reveal two other momies were women. The first one arrived in 1887, and it was a young women between 20-35 yrs old of the intermediate third period between the 9C and 7C BC. The other momie a women too was given in the same year of a women around 40 yrs old of the ptolemic period  who had Arthrosis and a bad dental health as well as remains of the heart, as the old Egyptians conserve the heart inside the momies as for them it was the organ where the  mind and feelings lie.

The Guanche momie is one of the best preserve of the ones still existing from the period. It comes from a funeral cave in the canyon or  Barranco de Herques in  Tenerife. It arrived in Madrid in 1764 and the new analysis have reveal that the Guanches did not extract the organs n the process of embalment of the dead as the Egyptians did. The Guanche momie preserve all its organs as well as a perfect denture. See them here http://www.man.es/man/en/museo/el-man

You all have a great weekend and until next time by Paris1972-Versailles2003 ::)

 

 

 

 

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June 9, 2017

Some news from Spain XLIII

And back to my beloved Spain. Fresh from that great Champions win of my beloved Real Madrid vs Juventus of Turin Italy 1×4!!! Our 12th Champions and first time repeat winner under the new format We have won 3 out of last 4 Champions !!! Hala Madrid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now what is going on in Spain and Madrid in particular. Here are the latest buzz news

How about a trip on the North, by  Galicia and Cantabria in my Spain. Driving a car of course ::)

Monforte de Lemos, capital of the Ribeira Sacra.  You see from afar the Torre del Homenaje, medieval tower. You go by the Roman bridge over the river  Cabe  as one of the symbols of the city together with the convent of the Clarisas , and the college of  Padres Escolapios, known as the El Escorial of Galicia Here ,it is grown the grapes mencía and godello very much appreciated since the time of the Romans.  You can get a mouthful at the bodega Regina Viarum, and call for the visit here +34  619 00 99 77; more here: http://www.reginaviarum.es/

Santiago de Compostela as a base to see the five denominations of wines of Galicia here. The most known is Rías Baixas of the Ribeira Sacra. To know it better go the town of  Salnés, by the Pontevedra coast and the municipality of  El Grove, known for its beaches and seafood as well. We cross the bridge that joins El Grove with the island of  Isla de La Toja, until you reach the ermite covered with shells of St James.  As you continue the trip you reach the town of Cambados, birthplace of the wine of Albariño the grape of excellence for the D.O Rías Baixas. You can get your mouthful at  Mar de Frades  one of the most popular bodegas of the area . It is located next to the beginning of a forest in front of the river Arosa. Mar de Frades you can reserve your visit here tel +34  986 68 09 11; more here: http://www.mardefrades.es/

Walking the streets of downtown/city center  Oviedo in Asturias you can arrive at the street Calle Gascona known as the boulevard of Cider.  Here you find the most emblematic of the town.  Only 36 km away you find the main bodega of the cider Trabanco .  You can visit and taste here and get to know all the different ciders  Driving a further 10 km you arrive in Gijón.  Take a walk on the quaint neighborhood of  Cimavilla, and the gardens of jardines de La Reina,  to finally admire the Cantabrian fury or furia del Cantábrico  walking by the promenade of the beach at  playa de San Lorenzo. Then, we set our car towards Covadonga, in the Natural Park of the peaks of Europe or  Picos de Europa.  You can visit the sanctuary of the monte Auseva  and the holy cave or Santa Cueva, where the Virgin patron saint of Asturias is since moorish times.  A few km away you come to the lake or Lagos de Covadonga, where the views are spectacular.  A bit of a half an hour driving and you reach the quaint Ribadesella. You can walk the beachfront boulevard climbing to the chapel of the  ermita de La Guía, to see a panorama of the town below. The  Casa Trabanco for info on visit is Tel +34 658 81 37 34. More info here:  http://www.casatrabanco.com/en/index.php

Bilbao  is one city that is cross by the route of  txacolí, the local wine that guides the visitor back to this area. You come to the area of the two denomination of it, the Txacolí de Álava , and the D.O Bizkaia.  As you continue walking you will find the city/town hall and nearby the theater or teatro Arriaga, next to it you will be in the old town or casco Viejo one of the best areas to taste the local gastronomy with the favorites pinxos and txacolí.  The local go from bar to bar in what is locally known as the «ir de poteo».  Under the beams of the square or Plaza Nueva you will find some of the bar of pinxhos best known and visit a bodega of Txacolí. The closest one to town is  Magalarte  and it is in the municipality of  Lezama offering guided tours and tastings while looking at the valley or valle de Asúa. For information of Magalarte Txacolina tel +34 636 62 14 55. More here:  http://magalartelezamatxakolina.com/

To go back to Madrid and enjoy the night and summer drinks in style, this is my kind of town. Some notables and visited here:

Amén Canalla at  calle Agustín de Foxá, s/n. Sundays from 15h to 24h.  The prices are 6-8 euros More info here: www.zielou.com

Atico 11  at the  6+1  of  Hotel Iberostar Las Letras de Gran Vía here you have  Marco Llorente, one of the most popular DJ and has every Sunday from 19h to 23h in calle Gran Vía, 11. Every other day is open from 18h to 02h; drinks from 10-14€ More info here: www.iberostar.com/hoteles/madrid/iberostar-las-letras-gran-via

Casa Corona  at calle Fortuny, 53 .Every Wednesdays and Thursdays from 18h to 24h ; Fridays from 15h to 24h and Saturdays/Sundays from 12h to 24h; beers from 2,50€ , drinks from 4€ sodas from 3€ and cocktails from 7,50€ . More info here:  www.cervezacorona.es/casa-corona

La Casa Encendida  at the  Ronda de Valencia, 2.  From Wednesdays to Sundays and from 17h30 to 21h30.  Drinks from 2€ the sodas, more info here: www.lacasaencendida.es

Dray martini in the  Meliá Fénix ,Plaza de Colón, with citric and fruity options without alcohol call the mocktail.  Very nice ambiance and lively. Located at Calle Hermosilla, 2. From Mondays to Sundays from 10h to 02h; cocktails from 4,50€.  The first hotel I stayed with my then girlfriend today wife just wonderful place still lol! More info here:  www.drymartiniorg.com

Florida Retiro (my place since early teen and now reopen again)  This is a great place for a happy hour ,after works, apéro or the first drinks of the night It has several terraces and one in the upper level ! with great cocktail presentation. It is inside the Retiro park by street or Paseo República de Panamá, 1. Open from 20h30 to 24h and drinks cost from 10-12€ . La Terraza. Located in the roofstop of El Pabellón, lower roof and surrounded by garden where one can enjoy the sunrise with drinks and the shades of the trees in the Retiro park. More info here: www.floridaretiro.com

The Hat, really baggy cocktails presented to you in a bag! like the  Mojitown or the Yellow Submarine. It is in calle Imperial, 9.From Fridays at  18h to 24h,and Saturdays/Sundays from 13h to 24h. Cocktails from 10€. More information here:  www.thehatmadrid.com

Me Roofstop bar  in the Hotel ME Madrid Reina Victoria has a great ludic space with shows in direct and thematic nights of rock, jazz and Caribbean music seven days a week.  Located at the Plaza Santa Ana, 14. From Mondays to Thursdays from 17h to 01h30 ,Fridays until 03h30 Saturdays from 12h to 03h30 and Sundays from 11h to 01h30. Cocktails between 15-18€. More info here:  www.melia.com

Sunset lookers  in the Plaza de Santo Domingo, 13. EVeryday from 20h to 02h, cost cocktails from 10-15€. More info here: www.sunsetlookers.es

Back to the arts, to see until July 9 in Granada ,Centro Cultural Caja, Puerta Real the show Maestros de la Pintura; or master painters.the jewels of the late renaissance and baroque of the historic collection of the family Lladro will be shown.  Some of the artists represented will be from the 16C to 17C such as Juan de Juanes, Alonso de Berruguete, El Greco, Herrera el Viejo, Sanchéz Cotàn, Juan Ribalta, Zurbaran, José de Ribera, Rubens, Valdés Leal ,and Claudio Coello. More on it in Spanish here: http://www.cajagranadafundacion.es/exposicion/expo-1/

The Pablo Picasso diferente, or a different Pablo Picasso will be shown in the Fundacion Canal on the exposition  Picasso y el Mediterràneo that allows to appreciate the influence of the sea from his childhood.  There are about 91 portraits coming from the Fundacion Picasso-Museo Casa Natal de Málaga  One example is the painting  El taller de Picasso (1955),  a lithograph of his working place in Cannes where you can see the palms thru windows that reminds him of his native Malaga and his youth in Barcelona, it has engraving done between December 1945 and January 1946 such as  El Toro or  Página de toros  . This shows the great international project of Picasso-Mediterràneo a wide network of expos where more than 60 museums from South Europe to the North of Africa promoted by the museum or Musée Picasso of París in which it has been added the Fundación Canal. Showing until August 15  More in Spanish here: http://www.fundacioncanal.com/17602/picasso-y-el-mediterraneo/

The museum of  Prado has added to its showing the work  ‘Retrato de Felipe III’, a portrait of Philip III recently credited to  Velázquez. The portrait was donated William Jordan to the institution American Friends of the Prado Museum ,and can be seen on a temporary collection with extention. This is a portrait in preparation of the corps of king Felipe III  that the artist did on the composition of the expulsion of the moors or  ‘La expulsión de los moriscos’, dated in 1627 , and that was destroyed in the fire on the  Real Alcázar de Madrid in 1734, only the written description was known  Again Velazquez  will be exhibit next to the painting of  Tiziano ‘Felipe II offering the heaven to the infant Don Fernando’,that was recently restored. More here: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/whats-on/exhibition/portrait-of-philip-iii-by-velazquez/ffa4a4ac-7001-4908-94bb-1aac7c2bdacf

Carlos Saura: España. Años 50, is about hundred photos that the filmmaker did to showcase the mosaic of the villages and people of that period. Photos done by him in the 50’s while traveling in the country Under PhotoEspaña2017  until September 3 2017 in the museum or Museo Cerralbo, calle Ventura Rodriguez 17 . More here: http://www.mecd.gob.es/mcerralbo/en/actividades/exposiciones-temporales/PhotoEspa-a-2017.html

Something nice historical and seldom seen, in Toledo. The convent or Convento de Caballeros de Calatrava next to the synagogue or Sinagoga del Trànsito houses the Jewish history in Spain; the Museo Sefardî .The permanent exposition contains about 1253 works illustrating the origins of the Jewish people, its historical  and geographical context in the old Middle East as well as cultural items. You can see mesophotamic objects, coins, marriage contracts, judeo Arabic jewelry, coffins such as that of Pileta Trilingue of Tarragona, the box of Torah and items in gold ans silver. Also, an excavation in the patio of the convent . Opening hours in winter are varied so check the webpage.Admission is a very good 3€ adults. Located in the calle Samuel Levî, s/n, More here: http://www.mecd.gob.es/msefardi/en/visita.html

Enjoy Spain ,everything under the sun ::) Cheers and have a great weekend. I will see what I do lol!

 

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June 3, 2017

The State of Sao Paulo, this is a new spot in my map: Vinhedo

And this was the end of my twirling tour of inner inland country Brazil last month. I have been to many small towns some just passing and not mention but worth it of a great tour to know the country first hand. I have been many times to Brazil over the year and lived for 6 months in Curitiba in Paranà State, but each time coming back is a wonderful adventure of great thrills, good food, natural beauty ,and beautiful people in and out.

I rode up to Vinhedo in the State of Sao Paulo  ,and part of the municipality of Campinas ,and just 75 km (about 46 miles)  from Sao Paulo.  I came by the main road or Rodovia Anhanguera SP-330.  The days were rainy but did not stop enjoying the place. The tourist info ,history , and grape festival info on the town is here in Portuguese:

http://www.vinhedo.sp.gov.br/cultura-e-turismo/pontos-turisticos/

http://www.vinhedo.sp.gov.br/cultura-e-turismo/historico-da-cidade/

http://www.vinhedo.sp.gov.br/cultura-e-turismo/festas-da-uva-e-do-vinho/

I did not have time to see all in the town but the main points are the Parque Municipal Jayme Ferragut, where the famous Grape Festival is held and the Aquatic park.  The main Church of Saint Ana in city center; The Christ Redemptor statue overlooking the city, the monastery of Sao Bento; and the Adega or Bodega or Wine Estate of Ferragut, where grape juice, season fruits, visit to grape plantation and production of wine and juice is shown with tastings. I believe these are the main ones, and I visited most.

First, I stayed at the wonderful spacious , friendly, good food, and great pool/gym facilities in the Vinhedo Plaza Hotel, centrally located walking to many goodies indeed! The hotel webpage is here: http://vinhedoplazahotel.com.br/en/

I had time to have my breakfasts here and the buffet is very good at the hotel Gala Restaurant.

I ,also, had the time to meet up with a friend and had lunch with his family at a local newer restaurant call Q Maria. The family owners has been here for over 40 yrs offering a fruit and vegetable market and recently decided to open a Japanese/Brazilian restaurant next door, which we visited. The service of course was very friendly as already knew my friend, and the food delicious with a topping of cheese over a fish in a caramel sauce that was to kill for. The wine was from Chile Taparaca and was allowed to bring the bottle in with a cork fee! the whole afternoon was very nice and a chance to speak my Portuguese with local folks in a chatting friendly environment. Memorable indeed. The resto is here in Portuguese. http://www.ciceronevinhedo.com.br/artigo/q-maria-restaurante-e-sushi-e-a-nova-opcao-de-culinaria-japonesa-

Their Facebook page is here too : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quitanda-Da-Maria/694145327275442

I did had time to pass the main Church of Santa Ana in downtown/city center,  a wonderful façade indeed. Parrish webpage in Portuguese here: http://www.paroquiasantanavinhedo.com.br/paroquia/

I went up a wonderful family park where the mirador or lookout Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)  sits with wonderful views of the city below. It has a permanent collection of Msgr Favorino a very dear priest, and has playground, lunch truck, acoustic shell for concerts and parking.

The expo park and where the great Grape Festival is held, and during my visit an expo on Japanese manga was going on with visitors from that country. The name is Parque Municipal Jayme Ferragut, with an area of 92K m2 and has a gym sports center, artificial lake, walkers trails, picnic areas, water fountain Bica do Boi, skate court, municipal aquatic park, and more!

Next we went up to the monastery of Sao Bento or Saint Benedict  . In 1958 the monks chose Vinhedo to stay and built the place in an uniquely modern fashion. It is a place of pilgrimage in a natural environment where the monks do all the upkeep. You can participate in Gregorian mass and obtain the famous medallions of Sao Bento and many other souvenirs. As a retirement house, the monastery offers the house or Casa Siloé with a complete infrastructure for lodgings in a natural environment proper of relaxation and meditation. More on the official site here: http://www.catolicismoromano.com.br/content/view/1678/42/

They ,also ,have a Facebook page for the Friends of Sao Bento monastery here: https://www.facebook.com/MosteiroVinhedo/

The city has great gates to enter similar to those found in some European cities, and it looks great. I was told many Italians immigrants settled here as well; one reason for the blend of the Italian flag with that of Vinhedo area on the gates entrance.

On my own I set foot all over the city wandering on its beautiful houses and clean streets, finally guided by my own instincts settled for lunch on one of the days there in the Taverna do Chef Nico, and what a find it was! This is classic Brazilian/Italian  home ranch restaurant with many local families and great friendly service including my server who is feature in one of the photos. I have my penne four cheeses here with a great Chilean wine, coffee to end divine a must for next time ,and even my local friend told me it was a good try to meet me there but tight up with visiting family members that I later hook up in the Q Maria resto. The place is recommended more here: http://www.pagefree.net/taverna-do-chef-nico-cucina-siciliana

In all a fitting finale for another wonderful trip to Brazil, now looking forward to the next one next year::) in the meantime, savor the pictures with me and the thrills of been able to visit often this wonderful country. Cheers

Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo  Vinhedo

 

June 2, 2017

The State of Sao Paulo, new places: Cravinhos, and Franca !!!

Back on the road in Brazil, and coming to meet new cities and new ambiances in the country of the State of Sao Paulo. See previous posts for the tourist office of the State.

Cravinhos is in the metro area of Ribeirao Preto and in the State of Sao Paulo, inland in the countryside.  The name of the city comes from the flower Cravina, and the road we took was the SP-330.

The red dirt on the land here was a magnet from families from as far as Rio de Janeiro to settled here and cultivate the coffee of wonderful aroma we can see and taste today. More from the Mayor’s city page in Portuguese here: http://www.cravinhos.sp.gov.br/cidade/conteudo/historia-da-cidade

Passing visiting the real countryside and mingling with the locals I stayed at the nice city hotel  Onyx Inn Hotel right off the road or Rodovia Anhaguera -SP-330 exit 295.  The hotel arriving at night was nice spacious friendly and a good restaurant for a bountiful breakfast. More here:  http://www.onixinnhoteis.com.br/destaques/0/4641/cravinhos

From here we continue almost to the Minas Gerais State line and visit the wonderful town of Franca with its great artificial lake.  A town on the gold rush and founded in 1816 by King Joao VI. Now with a large influence of Italian immigrants the city is know for its shoes making.

We came to Franca on the  road SP-334 named Candido Portinari road.  The mayor’s office with the history of the town in Portuguese here: http://www.franca.sp.gov.br/portal/historia-franca.html

In Franca, we went straight for the artificial lake beach rather nice and now empty but in season it is packed. We had lunch at the Restaurante Barraçao right across from the lake beach.  We had the buffet all you can eat churrasqueria with plenty of meats and a nice brahma beer to boot, just lazy living the best, if I can only be retired lol! More on the restaurant at their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/rest.barracao/

The town also has a nice park with benches and full of shops and restaurants around it .However, the thing here is to head for the beach and just laid low; this is inland Sao Paulo State nothing to do with the city of the same name ::)

We continue onwards to visit another first time city, coming up for the finale; be good and safe travels. Cheers

Cravinhos Cravinhos Cravinhos Franca  Franca  Franca  Franca  Franca  Franca

June 1, 2017

Back to some familiar places in Minas Gerais State, Varginha and Trés Coraçoes

After doing some roundups in Sao Paulo State , it was time to come back to some familiar places in Minas Gerais State.

First, some info on the tourism page of Brazil: http://www.visitbrasil.com/en/estados/minas-gerais/

And a bit more here: http://www.brazil.org.za/minas-gerais.html

I came here from Paulinia in Sao Paulo State by car arriving at Trés Coraçoes. Do you know the great PELE was born here? the footballer/soccer player legend. They even made a museum in his native home, even if he hardly visit the town now. They, also, erected a statue in city center.downtown.  So much for the fame. Now this is great coffee country and wonderful vendas or farm selling the wonderful Mineira food.

The museum of Pele or Museu Terra do Rei , is open Mondays to Fridays from 8h to 18h and Saturdays from 9h to 13h.  A bit more here: https://pt.foursquare.com/v/casa-do-pel%C3%A9-museu-do-rei-pel%C3%A9/50df9e21ebcae3d11b3b29c1

Once there, had the honor of staying at the Pousada Calabreza, a nice simple hotel too simple the TV did not work but did had time to rest after the long 4 hrs trek by car.  They have a hotel propertly said in city center a bit better for longer accommodations. The site is here: http://hotelcalabreza.com.br/a-pousada/

I took a peek out in the town but very inland country town, not much to see here. I move on the next day to the bigger town with more ambiance Varginha as did last time in 2015.  Again not much for tourism here but plenty of architecture as you can see from these photos: http://www.varginha.mg.gov.br/a-cidade/patrimonio-cultural

The hotel here was the Hotel Café Royal right in city center near the University campus and much more lively.  This was a very nice hotel, good space rooms and good service as well as a great restaurant with glass windows views of the city. More here: http://hotelcaferoyal.com.br/

Is one more fact to show that when traveling as I do, prefer the in country ambiance and real people for great talks and sharing a glass of beer rather than the more bigger tourist traps.  This country is laid back and nice with real people and if you are looking for relax, nice natural sites, architecture ,and especially nice folks around then come here.

Right around Tres Coraçoes we had lunch at the Venda do Chico, a great country place right in the woods with beautiful gardens and great souvenir and foodie store as well as the great restaurant. Real food, Mineira or miners’s town food hearty and plenty at excellent prices.  See it here and take a look at the photos! http://www.vendadochico.com.br/

In Varginha we went to a nice restaurant trés chic on a secluded street in town but great chefs creation of beef. The great cuts were awesome and the wine from Chile Taparapa was nice.  The chef owner came out to talk to us and it was nice indeed, a memorable moment. this is the Braseado restaurant at ave Salum Assad David ,30 email braseado@gmail.com more on it here: http://www.varginhaonline.com.br/guia/exibe_BareRestaurante.asp?codigo=2279

You can see more in their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/braseado2/

The town has many bars very lively at night and an excellent public transport system.  In all , it was a nice welcome back to an area already visited and by now very homey look. Nice in country Brazil, you ought to give a try yourselves.

Cheers, and I am coming to another 3 day weekend next ::)

tres coracoes tres coracoes tres coracoes tres coracoes tres coracoes tres coracoes tres coracoes tres coracoes Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha Varginha

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May 31, 2017

The State of Sao Paulo Brazil, back to Descalvado and elsewhere!

I am back here , was here back in 2015 the last time. This is inland Brazil, a place hardly ever visited by visitors, and really come on , this is the real Brazil. I am lucky to be back in country Sao Paulo.

I am putting here the tourist site for the Sao Paulo State but do not think these cities will be there ::) http://www.visitbrasil.com/en/estados/sao-paulo/

I told you my travel woes in previous post, so here just tell you that landed at Guarulhos Sao Paulo airport and headed to the hotel in back country Descalvado!  Many natural wonders here to go deep into the forest I stay in town across from the Church Nossa Senhora do Belem (1183)  and the restaurant that feeds me always Churrasqueria Cabana.

The hotel Descalvado dates from 1888 and the only one in town; simply the best lol!  A bit of history on the mayor’s office tells us that the town came to be by 1809, and the name come from the Morro de Descalvado or hill of Descalvado, more in Portuguese here http://www.descalvado.sp.gov.br/novoportal/prefeitura/index.php/portal/historia_desc

The Hotel Descalvado is very basic but clean and great family service with a good breakfast right in the park city center:downtown. More on this already second home hotel here: http://www.descalvadoonline.com.br/hoteldescalvado/apartamentos.htm

Across the street from the hotel you have the Church Nossa Senhora do Belem: a nice Church with a double tower front and nice decoration but simple inside. More on this pdf or previous posts in my blog: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxku95hBt9g0MlZsd2JHMEFEUnc

I eat at the usual and very good Churrasqueria Cabana right across from the Church and Hotel.  You take your food and weighted at the counter ,than go to eat and pay on way out. All kinds of meats and fish, entrées, and dessert wash down with good brahma local beers.  Here is their page in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cabana-Churrascaria-536843943143892/

Another day we visit a new place just started by a young couple to serve home made beers in a steakhouse , this is Baro steakhouse and brewery right in city center Descalvado. The food , service and of course homemade beers were great, to be revisit and good luck with the business: more in Facebook page  here: https://www.facebook.com/cervejariabaro/

On the way by car from Descalvado to Paulinia we passed by a secondary road where we saw a replica of a Spanish castle of Almansa very nicely done see photo. More on their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/casteloalmansa/

I went over to Paulinia and this time stayed at a different hotel than last time here.  The town is name after farmer and farm owner Paulino Nogueira, one of the owners of the farm or  Fazenda do Funil, that was in the current cities of Paulinia and Cosmopolis.  The town mayor’s office is here in Portuguese of course; tells you a bit on its history: http://www.paulinia.sp.gov.br/historia

There is big nature trails here and an ecological park. My hotel was right the road rodovia 332; the Vitoria Hotel. This is a very nice spacious hotel and rooms with a very good restaurant where I ate dinner of meats cuts and beers with coffee rather nice. More on the hotel here: http://www.vitoriahoteis.com.br/en-us/vitoria-convention-paulnia/

We criss cross Sao Paulo amongst these cities and one more town where I ate was at Ribeirao Preto on the resto Moinhos Grill , a churrasqueria where the meats are pile up on you without stop unless you ask ,and the drink of a cold beer was heavens on the road.  The town has many theaters including a nice one Teatro Pedro II opera house and natural parks as well. The main road we took by here is the sweeping nice road Anhanguera Highway (SP-330).  Very much make a stop on your way around here at Moinhos you will be delighted real food real people in country Sao Paulo. More on the resto here: http://www.moinhosgrill.com.br/

For reference the town mayor’s office tourist info in Portuguese here: http://www.ribeiraoturismo.pmrp.com.br/

Closer to Sao Paulo city but on the outskirts I did some shopping in the Atacadao  hypermarket (part of Carrefour France) ,near the airport at Guarulhos; here is more on the shopping hypermarket: https://www.atacadao.com.br/lojas

Driving around for more shopping we went to another  Makro  Hypermarket (part of a Dutch group)  around the same area and here we had lunch at its good restaurant Comandaia; these are always found attach to one of the hypermarkets;  all real people real Brazil experiences.  The hypermarket here: http://www.makro.com.br/SitePages/lojas.aspx?Filter=lj

We even got close to the Guarulhos airport but no time to leave yet ::)

In between on the road, the wonderful rest area with restaurant like Frango Assado (roast chicken) are great. Again you weight the food you take and pay on way out. Great buffet and clean bathrooms ; more here: http://www.redefrangoassado.com.br/lojas/19/29/#loja

Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Descalvado Paulinia  Paulinia  Paulinia  Paulinia  Paulinia  Paulinia  Paulinia  Paulinia  Riberao Preto sao paulo  sao paulo  sao paulo  sao paulo  sao paulo  sao paulo

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