Archive for ‘Spain’

July 22, 2016

Some news from Spain XXIII

Well it has been hot here in the late 20’s C cloudy ,and looking at my Spain there is in the middle upper 30’s C sunny. Thinking ahead to next month, Esperame España!

Some of the latest on Spain, my favorites things to write about.  You have heard of all those travel booking places we all like, well in Spain, the ones used the most are Booking.com, Atrápalo, eDreams, Trivago, and Kayak. I have always use  well most of the time El Corte Inglés travel section, Viajes El Corte Inglés as well.

I will be in many places next month but one of them will be Valencia, my aunt used to lived there before passing away many years ago, and not been ever since. It is time to go on site and taste the best Paella in the world, from the source. Some of the family and friends favorites are

La Pepica,  avenida de Neptuno, 6    Tel +34 96 371 03 66. http://www.lapepica.com/en/the-restaurant

El Racó de la Paella  calle Mossen Raussel, 17  Tel +34 96 348 82 52. http://www.elracodelapaella.es/

Ricard Camarena Restaurant calle Dr. Sumsi, 4 Tel +34  96 335 54 18. http://www.ricardcamarenarestaurant.com/en/

Looking for some family oriented resorts in Spain, these are the latest on an article in guia del ocio , the Entertainment publication in Spain for several cities.

Hotel del Juguete, Ibi, Alicante; http://www.hoteldeljuguete.com/es/

and across the hotel you can go to the Museo del Juguete or toys museum: http://www.museojuguete.com/es/

Hotel PortAventura. Salou, Tarragona; https://www.portaventuraworld.com/en/hotels/port-aventura

Barceló Punta Umbría. Punta Umbría, Huelva: https://www.barcelo.com/barcelohotels/en_us/hotels/spain/huelva/hotel-barcelo-punta-umbria-beach-resort/general-description.aspx

Magic Aqua Rock Gardens. Benidorm, Alicante: http://en.magicrockgardens.com/

Hotel Holiday Palace. Benalmádena, Málaga: http://www.holidaypalace.es/en/S

Skytrax World Airline 2016 just published their best Airlines of the year ranking and they were: 1.- Emirates 2.- Qatar Airways 3.- Singapore Airlines 4.- Cathay Pacific 5.- ANA All Nippon Airways 6.- Etihad Airways 7.- Turkish Airlines 8.- EVA Air 9.- Qantas Airways 10.- Lufthansa . Iberia of Spain came in at no 52 moving four slots from 2015 but still unfortunately way behind. I am still waiting for credit on my miles on a Partner airline Latam for almost 3 months now lol!

If you want to match your Horoscope to the place you should be in vacation well here they are from Guia del Ocio as well. Horoscope of the travelers. Aries: Formentera (Spain), Tauro: Favignana (Italy), Géminis: Malta, Cáncer: Isquia (Italy),Leo: Corsica (France), Virgo: Skye (Scotland), Libra: Hvar (Croatia),Scorpio: Senja (Norway), Sagitarius: Cefalonia (Greece), Capricorn: Creta (Greece), Aquarius: Madeira (Portugal), Pisces: Fehmarn (Germany).

And here is one for the modern inclination in all of us, the best nudist beaches in Spain as per Guia del Ocio are:

Cala de Ambolo, Jàvea:  http://en.xabia.org/ver/1529/Cala-Ambolo.html

Moraig ,El Poblenou de Benitatxell : http://www.turismo.elpoblenoudebenitatxell.org/en/calamoraig.html

Cala dels Pinets, Benissa http://www.benissa.net/ver/100/cala-pinets.html

Cala de la Barra Grande, Altea http://www.altea.es/val/turismo/visitaltea

Ràco Conill ,Villajoyosa :http://www.villajoyosa.com/index.php

Llomes de Reixes, El Campello : http://www.elcampello.es/index.php?s=playas&i=en

Saladar , Alicante : http://www.alicanteturismo.com/discover-alicante/beaches/?lang=en

Carabassi, Elche : http://www.visitelche.com/turismo-sol-y-playas/elche/el-carabassi/

Playa del Pinet, Elx-Santa-Pola : http://www.turismosantapola.es/santapola/web_php/index.php?contenido=descripcion&id_boto=458

Els Tossals , Guardamar del Segura:  http://www.guardamarturisme.com/english/

You want to be in a nice pool with great views of Madrid then head for these hôtels and escape the heat of August: Hotel Emperador (my favorite), Hotel Santo Domingo, Gymage Lounge Resort, O2 Centro Wellness Manuel Becerra, Room Mate Oscar, Holiday Inn Bernabéu (for the games I stayed here always) ,Hotel NH Colón, hotel Índigo, Hotel Urban, Hotel The Principal, and Hotel EXE Moncloa.

And the prettiest interior towns of Spain as per the Guia del Ocio de Madrid are: Vejer de la Frontera (Cádiz) Santa Eulalia de Oscos (Asturias) Pedraza (Segovia) Hervás (Cáceres) Potes (Cantabria) Valverde de los Arroyos (Guadalajara) Ronda (Málaga) O’Cebreiro (Lugo) Montefrío (Granada) Albarracín (Teruel) Candelario (Salamanca) Santillana del Mar (Cantabria) Laguardia (Álava) Priego de Córdoba (Córdoba), and  Alquézar (Huesca) . Highlights the ones I have been to.

For the centenary celebration you can see the exposition until September 11 2016 in the Museo del Prado. For more of the painter you can come to the Monasterio  de El Escorial to see more of  El Bosco ( until November 1st 2016) with the royal collection of Spain. https://www.museodelprado.es/actualidad/exposicion/el-bosco-la-exposicion-del-v-centenario/f049c260-888a-4ff1-8911-b320f587324a

More on this year celebration of the IV centenary of Cervantes’s death. http://400cervantes.es/

You can see it in August at  the Espacio de Arte Contemporario de Almagro, Ciudad Leal en Miguel en Cervantes until September 15,2016 . http://www.almagro.es/eac/

In the Church of San Agustin, Almagro, Ciudad Real, “Escenificando a Cervantes” extended until September 15. http://www.festivaldealmagro.com/obra_actual.php?id=241

In the Museum of Bellas Artes of Granada you have the expo Zuloaga and Falla , history of a friendship until September 18 see the wonderful  ‘El retablo de maese Pedro’. http://www.museosdeandalucia.es/cultura/museos/MBAGR/index.jsp?redirect=S2_1_3_1.jsp&noticias=3368

And at the Royal Palace or Palacio Real the work of  “from  Caravaggio to Bernini” until October 16 including paintings and sculptures of the royal collection done by artists from the Italian  Seicento. http://www.patrimonionacional.es/caravaggio/

At the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, see the expo ” Caravaggio and the painters of the north” until September 18. An opportunity to see the barocco artist and Caillebotte, the painter gardener until October 30th to see the them of gardens from the impressionist artist.  http://www.museothyssen.org/microsites/exposiciones/2016/Caravaggio/index_en.html

http://www.museothyssen.org/microsites/exposiciones/2016/Caillebotte/index_en.html

And to follow up with the Phillips collection on Impressionists and modernistes until October 23 showing work of Manet, Courbet, Sisley, Van Gogh, Degas, Picasso, Modigliani, Kandinski, Pollock ,and Rothko. At the CaixaForum: http://www.agendacentrosobrasociallacaixa.es/es/web/guest/-/impresionistas-y-modernos-expo?centros=caixaforum-Madrid

Festivals for summer are:

Dreambeach Villaricos 2016 in Almeria August 11-13 2016; http://www.dreambeach.es/2016/

Benidorm Low Festival 2016 until July 31; http://lowfestival.es/more-info/line-up-2016/

Músicos en la Naturaleza 2016 Avila until July 30; http://www.musicosenlanaturaleza.net/

Medusa Sunbeach Festival 2016,Cullera August 12-14 2016; http://www.medusasunbeach.com/web2016/

Festival de Teatro Clàsico de Mérida, classical theater in the Roman theater of Mérida. Various presentation of the classics, happening this  coming weekend, more in Spanish: http://www.festivaldemerida.es/

The summer wonders of the Cine Garden Conde Duque until September 18 in Centro Comercial Conde Duque, Madrid. A giant screen of 300 m2 with space for 800 spectators with drinks, foodtrucks to the rimes of a DJ at the end of the movie. http://condeduquemadrid.es/evento/cine-verano-garden-conde-duque/

Enjoy Spain, everything Under the sun ::)

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July 1, 2016

Some news from Spain XXII

More on sunny Spain where températures already reaching the late 30’s C or about 90’s F . And we are just waiting to go in August…!!! Here are some news from Spain, Everything Under the Sun.

Just what I needed more controls on the roads, announcing a new wave of checkpoints and security on the roads of Spain getting ready for the Summer avalanche on the roads. 60 new radars, more surveillance helicopters Pegasus in motorways and highways and signage for 300 sections of conventional roads where there is frequent excess  of speed are part of the conditions the  traffic department  has prepared for the exodus of the summer, which will support 84 million trips! .  It is predicted a 3.5% increase in the number of  vehicles on the road expected for July (41 million) and August (43 million). And  increase surveillance in those sections where there is high accident rate and speeding.
In this sense, during the next few weeks will also start a new system that will identify those considered the 300 most dangerous sections of secondary roads in the country (excluding Catalonia and Basque country). In this way, users will find themselves  with vertical signs of Orange which warns of the intensification of surveillance by radar, which will be at some point in those sections. (see photo map).  This traffic plan has three more phases, comprising between July 29 and August 1, from July 12 to 15 (coinciding with the holiday on this date) and from  August 26 to 28.  Soure El Mundo journal
Spain received in the first five months of the year 2016  more than 25.2 million foreign tourists, up 11.4% more than in the same period in 2015, according to the survey of tourist movements at frontiers (Frontur), released today by the National Institute of statistics (INE). The major emitting countries in the period were the United Kingdom (with 5.8 million tourists, up 16.1%), Germany (3.7 million tourists, up 5.6%) and France (with 3.7 million tourists, 7.6% more). Between January and May, the communities that received more tourists were Cataluña( 5,8 millions, increase of  4,1 %), the Canary Islands (with 5.4 million and an increase of 11%) and Andalusia (with 3.7 million and a growth of 18.1%). Being especially prominent a rise in tourists from Ireland, from 23.7%, and the Netherlands, of 19.1%Between January and May, the main tourists destination communities with the best progress, was the community of Valencia, 20.5%. The length of the majority stay between January and May was 4 to 7 nights, with 12.5 million tourists and a rise of 12.2%. The airport  was  the best way of entering by the largest  number of tourists in the first five months of the year, with 20.7 million tourists, up 12.3%. Source El Mundo journal
The great Gloria Gaynor (Newark New Jersey, 1949)  has the true story as I live it, which until the music hit the disco scene, in the mid-70s, in the clubs of the United States, dancing was still segregated. They had spent two decades of the movement for civil rights, “but remained white clubs and clubs for blacks; that all changed with the Disco.  People of all races together and celebrating life together. It was something really amazing and socially inspiring”, says Gloria . Her new tour name Never Can Say Goodbye”, as well as her  first big hit of 1974, “I Will Survive” version of the Jackson 5, with two stops in Barcelona (July 27) and Madrid (July 29). The latter, as a closing of the cycle nights of the botanical garden of Madrid ,that is since yesterday occupied the Royal Botanical Garden Alfonso XIII in the Ciudad Universidad (universary city)  and which also will  have shows by Wilco (2 July), Patti Smith (July 8), M83 (July 10), Robert Plant (July 14). John McLaughlin (July 19), Seal (22 July) and the Festival Charco (pond)  (16 and 17 July), with Jorge Drexler, Xoel López, Molotov or Toundra.
The sixth edition of the Atlantis Film Fest. From June 27 to July 3  will have 12 feature films screened free in four cinemas in Palma de Mallorca (CineCiutat, Castell de Bellver, Ses Voltes and Museum of Mallorca). The films shown in Palma – and other 33 more, along with 16 short films – will be available at Filmin until July 27. There will also be a place for discussion on the seven scheduled conferences and, on the other hand, groups such as Lili’s House or of the Purissima will best soundtrack  of the Festival in six planned concerts. https://www.filmin.es/atlantida
Universal Music Festival has become everything a reference for the cultural life of the capital in the summer. The majestic Teatro Real (Royal Theater)  opens its doors to all kinds of genres in this cycle which in its  2nd edition and will feature Rufus Wainwright, Rod Stewart, Diana Krall, Enrique Bunbury, José Luis Perales and Archangel. http://www.teatro-real.com/es/temporada-15-16/teatro-real-200/universal-music-festival-16-15-16-149
Since its founding 14 years ago, the Madrid Flamenco Ballet company, directed by Luciano Ruiz, has released a dozen shows. Now presenting Carmina Burana, choreographed by Iván Gallego and Luciano Ruiz . prices: from 30 euros Hours: Mondays to Fridays  to 19h. Saturdays  at 18h and 20h and Sundays at 18h. Early booking: Ticket Office Mondays to Sundas  from 11h30 to 13h30 and from 17h to start of function; tel. +34  902 488 488 El Corte Ingles tel.+34 902 400 222.  Metro: Tirso de Molina. Going on from June 28, to July 24 2016

Some nice tapas in the Latina district that I like over the years are:

Inaugurated in 1882 and run by five generations of the same family, Casa Gerardo offers artisan beers, selection of wines of Madrid, selection of Spanish cheeses, Iberian sausages, hot toast and thousands of stories. From my webpage in blogroll bottom of my blog page ,this one Spanish version: The fork=el tenedor=le fourchette. http://www.eltenedor.es/restaurante/gerardo/17155
As a tavern that is out of the classic in terms of style, has a renewed decoration and more plain than normal, although retains the essence of the typical traditional taverns in their environment and in their rations. Although one at Casa Lucas is going so far: to enjoy hot or cold snacks accompanied by a freshly pulled beer or a wine from his cellar. http://www.casalucas.es/

Many sources agree in placing the sausage (Salchicha) , as it is the case with many cultural landmarks, somewhere in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.c. The Eastern variant notes that similar products can be found in the China of the 580BC  However, we prefer the version offered in an interview with ‘The Sunday Post’ Gary Allen: “Probably, at some time in antiquity, a Hunter realized that intestines, stomach and skin of animals could give a practical way to the remains of meat and organs that otherwise would have been wasted”. And agree to it, because it is probably one of the great world experts in the matter, since he is the author of  Sausage: a Global History’ (Reaktion Book)The word “sausage” helps us understand what exactly is the dish: its origin is in latin, which in turn gave rise to the Italian “salciccia”. “Ciccia” was  used by children to refer to meat, while “salt” is, in fact, “salt”, an essential ingredient when it comes to preserving the surplus remains of meat. What is the first cultural reference to sausage? Perhaps it‘s a comedy written by Epicarmo called “Sausage”, but it seems that there was already a reference to a blood sausage in the Odyssey. More evident sign are the Festival Lupercalia, a fertility festival celebrated by elites where the sausages were playing an essential role. And Yes, it seems to be due to what the misunderstood reader has heard. The similarity between this food and the male sexual organ became the central food of this feast marked by sacrifices of dogs and goats. So much so that Emperor Constantine I forbade such parties during its Christianization project, replacing them with Valentine. Why  you still like Sausage? Perhaps the best answer to it is by  Sam Bompas, founder of Bompas & Parr, in an article published in ‘Atlas Obscura’: “Is its combination of salt, fat and texture, and sometimes a little sugar, which causes that it is much valued in terms of its taste, but also make it a comfortable food”.  It is one of the favorite meals of the children, both alone and in the form of hot dog, they just need preparation, which is very useful to overwhelmed parents in preparing dinner. Last October, the sausage was a serious setback after the World Health Organization included it in the list of foods that cause cancer, along with the bacon and other processed meats. According to a controversial report published by the Organization, the consumption of 50 grams per day of sausages (the equivalent of a unit) would increase by 18% the possibility of cancer. Article from El Confidencial 

If you thought you were going to go to Casa Corona nothing but to steep elbow and cool off in the summer, you‘re very but very wrong. In the bar of Madrid that strives to have Beach Chueca inside, made to walk barefoot, music, fashion, decoration and even sport congregate. This Saturday, without going any further, there is yoga of 12 to 13 h and creation workshop of Peseta from 17 to 19 h. And this Sunday, surf lessons Indoboard by origin Surf from 12 to 13 h, urban garden from 11 to 13 h and ‘brunch’ 13 to 16 h. In addition, from 20h30 to 22 h, evening radio: ‘The man who fell in love with the Moon’, with two of the groups of the live music of the moment, Sidecar and Dorian. Theirs is a month‘s vacation: 9 June to 10 July, and Wednesday through Sunday. Important: you must pre-register on the website. https://cervezacorona.es/casa-corona
La Cornada, this BBQ place with covered terrace will encourage your days and your nights in the Azca area and the torre Picasso, there where stands the Business district of Madrid. La Cornada boasts bringing  to the table the best meat of Spain. In another way, the most prized breeds of national beef quality: the Galician blonde and the Iberian Avileña-Black. A grill here before the proliferation of the beyond, Argentine and Brazilian. Everything from the pine wood tables and chairs to the tableware, passing by the wine and rum, is 100% Spanish product. Let’s see: the bread, from Majadahonda; salt, the Valley of Añana (Vitoria); linens, Valencia; knives, indeed, Albacete, and BBQ, Basque. His aesthetics? Carefree and very summer. http://lacornada.com/
The Auto Driving permit or Carné  by points came 10 years ago wrapped in controversy. Not everyone trusted that this formula, imported from France, will be successful. And indeed it was!  If in 2006 deaths in all kinds of accidents were 4.104 persons, the number last year was reduced to 1.688. However, some studies estimate that up to 14% of the reduction is due to the effect on drivers, of which 7.5 million have lost 38 million points. The majority, after being punished for taking more speeding than necessary. Because, so far in 2016, there are more deaths in the accident than in the first half of 2015. Something expected once the reduction in claims is reduced the previous two years. With data until  this past Sunday , the numbers are 511 persons on the Spanish roads , 39 more than in the same period in 2015. In addition, five months, increased the number of deaths in four of them. And June along the same path: until day 19, 64 victims by 51 a year earlier. Traveling more and more light: in 2015 there were 373 million long distance movements, a 4% increase. The paradigmatic case are secondary roads, which are still the scene where it is  produced 8 of every 10 deaths despite the intensification of the tasks of control and surveillance, especially of the considered most dangerous stretches. see photos.

 

Festival Frinje 2016. Friday 1 to Sunday 17  July in Madrid (Matadero). Several years  which has been celebrating this traditional version of the Scottish Fringe. Like that, it offers a tour of 23 contemporary spectacles that include Theater, music and performanceand which boasts the presence of companies and international artists such as Teatro Sotterraneo, map Theatre, Voadora, Soledad Vélez, Grumelot, Aurora & The Betrayers… http://www.frinjemadrid.com/

http://www.mataderomadrid.org/

Enjoy Spain I can’t wait to be there in August!! Cheers and have a great weekend everyone.

 

 

 

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June 25, 2016

Euro16 France, the European Football Championship!

Well even if do not write much in my blog, this is my another passion football/soccer/calcio. Since playing alavin in the Real Madrid FC ::) And lifetime Madridista  member since 2004.

The Euro16 is been played in France and the phase of groups is already over, this is the positioning of the teams to qualify for the real knockoff rounds of the 8th, 4rt, semis, and final.

It all started with 6 groups divided into four teams each or total of 24.This is the first time playing with 24 teams to give it a more general European flavor and allow many first timers such as Iceland, Albany, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The groups were:

Group A :France, Switzerland, Albania,and Romania, passing France and Switzerland in that order

Group B: Wales, England, Russia, and Slovaquia, passing Wales, Slovaquia and England as best 3rd

Group C: Poland,Northern Ireland, Germany, and Ukraine, passing Germany , Poland, and Northern Ireland as best third

Group D: Turkey, Spain, Croatia, and Czech Republic; passing Croatia,Spain in that order

Group E: Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, and Italy, passing Italy and Belgium  with best third Ireland.

Group F! Austria,Hungary, Portugal, and Iceland; passing Hungary ,Iceland, and Portugal as best third.

Now today we start the Eights-finals with the games going now of Poland vs Switzerland (fulltime finished tied 1-1 now extra time and then penalty kicks to decide the winner ,and it was  Poland !! ) at Saint Etienne Geoffroy Guichard stadium.

Wales vs Northern Ireland plays at 18h local time at Parc de Prince Paris

Croatia vs Portugal at Lens Félix Bollaert stadium.

June 26th  plays Germany vs Slovaquia at Lille Pierre Mauroy stadium. France vs Ireland at Lyon olympique Lyon stadium. Hungary vs Belgium at Paris parc de Prince.

June 27th, plays Spain vs Italy at Paris stade de France; England vs Iceland at Nice Allianz Riviera stadium. The winners advance ,the losers go home…

More info on Eurosport in English: http://www.eurosport.com/football/euro/final-phase.shtml

French sports daily L’Equipe here : http://www.lequipe.fr/Football/FootballTableau2374.html

The quarter finals will be the matching of the winner of Switzerland-Poland vs the winner of Croatia-Portugal. the winner of Wales-Northern Ireland vs the winner of Hungary-Belgium. The winner of Germany-Slovaquia vs the winner of Italy-Spain. The winner of France-Ireland vs the winner of England-Iceland.

And so on to the Semis. The final will be played July 10 at Stade de France, Paris.

The last two Euro were won by Spain in 2008 and 2012 for a total of 3 Championships. IF we combine the Germany and West Germany they have won 3 times too. France has won twice, Italy , Greece, Denmark , USSR, Netherlands, and old Czechoslovakia once each. The first one was in 1960 in France!

The official UEFA, organisation webpage is here in English: http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/index.html

And my favorite Spanish language sports journal, AS of Spain. http://resultados.as.com/resultados/futbol/eurocopa/2016/calendario/

As said, it all began in 1960 in France, won by the Soviet Union, with Yugoslavia finishing second. 1964 won by Spain with the Soviet Union second. 1968 won by Italy with Yugoslavia second. 1972 won by West Germany with Soviet Union finishing second. 1976 won by Czechoslovakia with West Germany second. 1980 won by West Germany with Belgium second. 1984 won by France with Spain second. 1988 won by the Netherlands with the Soviet Union second.1992 won by Denmark with Germany second. 1996 won by Germany with Czech Republic second. 2000 won by France with Italy second. 2004 won by Greece with Portugal second. 2008 won by Spain with Germany second. 2012 won by Spain with Italy second.

So there you go a brief description of the history of it and the current championships, it only gets  better !!!!! Of course, I am cheering for France, but Spain is close to my heart too. At the end I have two chances ::)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 21, 2016

Some news from Spain XXI

Here I am again on Spain other of my beautiful countries, and Lucky to be there every year ,again this summer vacation there! Some interesting facts to know when going to Spain, everything Under the sun.

Some ideas for summer rural rentals as we are doing it too in the Serranias…. Suggestions:

Fuerte Grazalema (Cadiz) Natural Park of the Sierra de Grazalema, The Anadio (Jaén) livestock of bulls of lidia in the Natural Park of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas and Sierra Morena. You have this wonderful rural house. http://www.fuertehoteles.com/en/hotels/fuerte-grazalema/the-hotel/?utm_source=Google-local&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=googleplaces

The Casona del Boticario( apothecary )(La Rioja) located in the heart of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. This old manor house from the 18C has 10 rooms with views of the countryside and a large garden You can go to Pecina (about 3-4 kms) to the Ermita of Santa Maria of the Piscina (swimming pool), on a Hill between two plaines of smaller hills. http://www.casonadelboticario.com/?lang=en

La Garriga de Castelladral (Barcelona)  14 rooms belonging to a community of cyclists and a Bikefriendly quality seal recognition. It has mountain bikes, electric bikes for adults and offers different routes to enjoy the surroundings. Those who brings their own bike can use a small workshop to store it and repair it. http://www.masialagarriga.com/en/

Finca El Cercado (Palencia) farm 4 kms of Baltanas and 30 kms of Palencia but also can go by boat or canoe the Emblematic canal of Castile(Castilla). http://www.fincaelcercado.com/en/

Candelaria Experience (Ávila) African lodge but in the South face of the sierra de gredos mountains offer excursions on horseback with a picnic included; they have a collection of vintage cars and horse wagons.  An airplane to fly over the massif of Gredos or the Rosarito reservoir, swimming pool, Spa and paddle tenis court, guides for bird watching, and possibility of water sports in the Isla de Valdecanas  A novelty, this year there are new crystalise suites that gives the feelilng of sleeping among the trees. http://candelariaexperience.com/

Finca El Carpintero valle del Jerte (Cáceres), on the southern slope of the Sierra de Gredos. Hence the Finca El Carpintero is the property has a pool of salt water and curdling garden of aromatic plants, chestnut trees and cypresses of considerable height.  A large hydrangea tree in the front door gives more than 2000 flowers every spring, and  their organic garden giving out jams and other products that will be served on the breakfast table. http://www.fincaelcarpintero.com/

Tierra del agua (Land of water) (Asturias)  Redes Natural Park.  We had to choose between hiking, excursions in 4×4, photographic safaris , tasting products ,guided harvesting as well as Casin cheese or cider production. http://www.tierradelagua.es/en/

The Anades (Guadalajara) sierra de Guadalajara and the parks natural del Alto Tajo, hotel rural Los Anades is located in the village of Abánades, has three cottages of stone and wood with a capacity for 8 people (four rooms) which, although within the complex, allow for a more independent life with the family. This does not prevent for dining at the hotel ,enjoy the pampering in the spa or request prepare a picnic…Breakfast is included in the House. http://www.losanades.com/

The House of the Moyas (Teruel) Valley of Olba, on the banks of the river Mijares.  Between the mountain ranges of Gúdar- Javalambre and Espadán, the Moyas House is  starting point for numerous excursions for mountain lovers who find here also, a real paradise for climbing, canyoning, mountain biking, and night crossings.  Consist of 2 accommodation; La Casa with capacity for 10 persons and enticing outdoor barbecue area located in a former wine bodega; and La Casita, designed for 4 persons.  http://www.lacasadelosmoyas.es/

Some about my Tenerife of heart:  It is possible to plunge into the forest of laurisilva in the Anaga massif to connect with nature or take advantage of the tranquility and privacy offered by the pristine beaches of the North. Recommendation: take a dip in the refreshing waters of Benijo Beach and watch a spectacular sunset. At La Orotava; there are several restaurants that combine local food with an exquisite atmosphere. Nearby is one of the culinary gems of the island: El Calderito de la Abuela. A cosy restaurant in which taste typical delicacies that make your mouth water as cheese fried with mojo palmero, cane honey and coriander mojo as they contemplate spectacular views over Mount Teide and the sea. Speaking of the Teide, there is an original way of living it. What better way to enjoy the sunrise or sunset from the highest point of Spain with Volcano Teide Experience tours as one has it never taken a tour but this one is recommended by local friends. The ravine of Masca enjoying views that take away the breath. El Medano, vibrant place and picturesque filled with bars where relax and drink a beer or two. Located facing the Bay of Los Cristianos, hotel Sensimar Gran Arona ,when looking for a quiet day, you can enjoy in its magnificent new Spa some of their star treatments. It can be also finished the day tasting the flavours of the island facing the Bay at the restaurant Culinarium. Hotel only for adults to enjoy the peace and live a perfect experience. Tourism Tenerife: http://www.todotenerife.es/en/

And back to Madrid ; some nice walking trails for summer: Chorrera de los Litueros or Chorro of Somosierra at Puerto Somosierra (Madrid). You get here by taking  A1 to exit 91, direction Somosierra leave the vehicle at the parking located left hand, west side of the port, next to the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. You can start your walks from here (not a big walker myself but this is nice) . It is a succession of waterfalls, whose three main ones are at about 50 meters in height. Not much, we know that in the country of the blind the one-eyed man is King, enough in any case to be the highest in the community of Madrid. Both the vertical descend, as it is located at higher altitudes in the province: slightly less than 1,500 meters above the sea, at its highest level. Las Pedrizas, resulting in the birth of the Duratón, Segovia River known for harboring the colony of Griffon Vulture most important in Europe.

It was here  at Chorro de Somosierra, where occurred the famous charge of the Polish cavalry, integrated into the French army led by Napoleon, approaching to take  Madrid. Considered the greatest success of that elite corps, took place at the battle of Somosierra, on November 30, 1808. Napoleon entrusted to take the Spanish positions  to the Polish horsemen. These, eager to show their worth before the Gallic Emperor, made a suicide charge up the hillside ; they lost two-thirds of its forces, but they were able to take the enemy positions and put into flight  the Spaniards. It was the most legendary of their heroic military deeds which passed to the history.

Webpage (in Spanish): http://www.sierranorte.com/reportajes/ficha.php?rut=1

http://www.senderismomadrid.es/chorrera-litueros/

Some walking routes of Spain, again not a big Walker fan ,but these are wonderful taken the Caminito in the older days and Montfalco many Friends talk about them. Caminito del Rey (Malaga) was built between 1901 and 1905 as a service road for the dam of the Conde Guadalhorce, whose inauguration was done by King Alfonso XIII – hence the nickname of the road. It was reopened on March 28, 2015. The impressive journey runs 7.7 kms – 4.8 kms accesses and 2.9 kms gateways, along the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Gorge, a natural cut made by the Guadalhorce River in the Sierra de Huma, and that in some stretch leads suspended at more than 100 meters high. Plunging down this trail is a great experience which can take about 3-4 hours, depending on the physical state you are in. more info here: http://www.caminitodelrey.info/en/#1

Montfalcó (Lleida-Huesca) opened in 2013, is located in the extraordinary Gorge of Mont-rebei in the Sierra de Montsec and connects the banks of the river Noguera Ribargorzana along a path of 4.1 kms. The most impressive segments of this route are the two air sections of foot bridges and staircases. The first from a height of 33 meters Montfalcó, after ascending 132 steps, while the second stands more than 50 meters vertically after 159 stair climbing steps.More need still to overcome a metallic suspension bridge of 36 meters in length connecting Huesca with Lleida. And if you still have forces, can link later with the historic “path” GR-1, that goes to the Congost de Mont-Ebei, an extraordinary carved path in the rock that reaches La Masieta, and has an area of 4 kms. In total, the full path can be done in 4 hours. More info in Spanish: https://www.escapadarural.com/blog/la-ruta-del-vertigo-las-escaleras-acantiladas-de-montfalco/

https://www.escapadarural.com/que-hacer/sant-esteve-de-la-sarga/congost-de-mont-rebei

http://www.alberguemontfalco.com/que-hacer/4/ruta-de-las-pasarelas-de-montfalco

Route of the Cares (León-Asturias) known also as ‘Garganta Divina’, (diving throat) the route of Cares is a wonderful journey of 12 kms which connects the villages of Cain (Léon) and Poncebos (Asturias). The road is literally carved in the Gorge of the River Cares, which flows through the National Park of the Picos de Europa, an authentic natural paradise. The original route began at Posada de Valdeón, but this point add 10 extra kilometres and is difficult to do in a day. It is not a tour very demanding ; the hardest part is the two kms of ascent from Poncebos, but you have to take into account the return, what sum in total 24 kms. It can be completed in 6-8 hours (round-trip). More info here: http://www.spain.info/en/reportajes/un_paseo_por_los_picos_de_europa.html

http://www.rutadelcares.org/en/index.php

And of course, do not forget this jewel,  See the Mezquita of Cordoba, first islamic and then temple of Christian, the Cathedral. One of the oldest European buildings in use and the most notable example of the symbiosis between yesterday and today which is part of the city of Cordoba. See it if you can. http://www.mezquitadecordoba.org/en/

People I know always ask me for the gold question how to get from the airport to the city in Madrid or Barcelona, even my business friends. So here is a simple information. At Adolfo Suarez Barajas-Madrid airport  a taxi will take on average 30 minutes drive and within the M30 beltway road of inner Madrid the price is fix at 30€; you need to determine your distance to see if taken a regular taxi comes out cheaper than the new fix price rule. For areas closer to the airport side arriving in Madrid will be cheaper on the regular taxi, but to the Centro, the fix rate is a winner. You have the bus Express  takes about the same on average 30 minutes and cost 5€ stopping at Cibeles, Atocha which are convenient to city transportation. The Metro (subway/tube) is on line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios for 4,50€ and you can get off as I do often before in Colombia for city connections.  In Barcelona, the taxi from Prat de Llobregat airport takes about 30 minutes and cost about 25-30€. You have the wonderful Aérobus for 5,90€ takes about 35 minutes stopping at Plaça Espanya and Praca Catalunya. for local connections. The metro L9 Sud, has a stop at Terminal 1 and 2,takes about 30 minutes cost about 4,50€; you need to make connection (like Europa Fira or Zona Universidad )as the line does not pass by tourist areas in Barcelona but its an option.

Enjoy it and have a great rest of the week y’all ::)

 

 

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June 19, 2016

Île de Ré, the old Poitou-Charentes

The Île de Ré is a nice wonderdul island , the fourth largest on metropolitan France! It is now in the new region of France, Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentais ,waiting to choose a new compose name this year. The tourist office is here : http://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/

The new region information page is at http://laregion-alpc.fr/  ; and the tourism office still Under the old name here : http://www.visit-poitou-charentes.com/

I have written before of La Rochelle, where my oldest son studied and we have visited several times. Ile de Ré been just on the other side was not our wish, but due to the National team of Spain staying there while the Euro16 European football/soccer Championship going on now in France, we decided to take a look. http://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/news/ile-de-re-base-camp-spanish-football-team

Nice  surprise especially on St Martin de Ré. Previous posts on La Rochelle:

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2014/12/30/la-rochelle-continues-night-and-museums/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2014/12/29/the-seafarest-of-la-rochelle/

The ride was nice and we got up early leaving by 6H or 6AM taking the N165 direction airport of Nantes ,Nantes-Atlantique, then Bordeaux on the toll A10, and then La Rochelle on the A83 then  exit 7 to  the D237 , N11  and continuing to Ile de Ré  and then in the island on the d735 and D201 and D103. Coming back we took a more quaint trip going all the way on the D137  passing by the wine region of Clisson into the beltway or périphérique of Nantes into the N844 and then N165 home. The morning ride was foggy and cool at 10C and then the day went up into sunny and 24C as well as 21C on the way back.

The highlight of the road trip was crossing the the bridge linking the Mainland with the island, the Le Pont de Ré, magnificent and 8€ roundtrip toll. In French, all about the bridge here: http://www.pont-ile-de-re.com/

I went straight to the Atalante Thalasso hotel in Sainte Marie de Ré where the Spanish team was staying and to my upsetting disappointment the whole was block by police ,gendarmerie with wagon and steel barriers all even before reaching the hotel!!! http://iledere.relaisthalasso.com/hotel/fr

This is the price we paid by those who do not follow the law, the law abiding Citizens end up paying more. So sad not to see the team. We console ourselves with a walking tour of the town of Sainte Marie de Ré,nothing much to report.  There is decent Church of Ste Marie de Ré, a typical nice quaint market day by place d’Antioche; we had our breads at boulangerie maison Marin, right there, we walked to the dunes at Plage de Montamer, rocky and good for on foot fishing with some white sandy sections ; http://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/plan/sights-culture/441586-plage-de-montamer ,and a wonderful seashore park, with children playground. tourism office here: http://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/detail/71062516e35799e1f0d4865e9c0fcbdf/151348

We move on to Saint-Martin-de-Ré a bigger town and nicer, nice surprise in should be a nice stop for all. Here we went straight for the Stadium stade Marcel Gaillard  where Spain was to train during the Euro16. Again ,another disappointment as the stadium was Under security not even parking in the parking area, all cover the fences with a mesh to avoid the view in and not team. due to the terrorist condition the bus comes on training time and leave again, very difficult to see unless you camp out according to the security guard on duty…..arrgghhht. http://www.saint-martin-de-re.fr/fr/actualite/108033/euro-2016-saint-martin-de-re-terrain

We again has to settle for a walking tour of the town. We found parking by Vauban near the Citadelle , first hour free and then for the day 6€. This was a nice surprise as it has wonderful Vauban citadelle fortifications that you can go in into the inner yards of the enclosure, but not Inside as it is now a prison ::)  http://www.saint-martin-de-re.net/decouvrir-saint-martin-de-re/les-fortifications-vauban/

All along the border a wonderful view of the sea and views of the other smaller island the île d’Aix. There is a quaint lighthouse red (phare toit rouge) there and a wonderful harbor for pleasure boats into the center of the town.

By now we were hungry and mostly thirsty so without any real choosing I told the gang to eat at Le Phare resto pizzeria by 4 Quai de Bernonville facing the habor, and it was a 10. We ate in the terrace just next to the water, with a friendly fishing dog that no fear of going into the water! the service was fast and friendly and we had our usual mussels or moules au curry and Rochefort with pizzas, great Leffe beers and desserts like the rice pudding in caramel sauce with express coffee to finish all for 36€ per person, a bit high but good considering you are in a very touristic  island. Local link with more: http://www.trip-iledere.com/bar-restaurant-le-phare-saint-martin-ile-de-re/

We move on to the inner city, visiting the Church Saint Martin, with gothic ruins (from Normans invasions)  in the middle of the high city to be seen from the harbor. Today the oldest part dates from the 15C  on the walls on both sides of the high towers in ruins.  The belltower has a square tower and has three bells, such as the Marie Thérèse, the big one that sounds, the  Charles Catherine , the medium one, and the  Marie Pierre Michel Samuel Augustine , the smallest sound.

The refreshing busy town and the quaint harbor, pleasure marina ,and citadelle and great ambiance by the wharfs was a great surprise and a good consolation for missing out on the Spanish team. It would be a great vacation area combining it with beach there and sights additional at La Rochelle or even further north at Rochefort-en-Mer.

The Île de Ré has other spots such as Loix, La Flotte, Rivedoux-Plage,Ars en Ré, Saint-Clément-des-Baléines, and Phare des Baléines , as well as Les Portes en Ré passing a natural reserve area. Another wonderful spot in France, but they are so many ,can go nuts trying to see them all lol!!!

Cheers and happy Sunday. I will be waiting for new travels expériences soon.

 ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re  ile de re

 

 

 

 

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June 15, 2016

Some news from Spain XX

And as the Euro16 is been played , here is some news from my Spain. I will be down Saturday to see the team in their hotel at Île de Ré, near La Rochelle,France!!!

The Canal of Castilla (Castile)  was one of the more ambitious dreams of Spain in the middle of the 18C Under King Fernando VI and the Marquis of the Ensenada, his most influential Minister, devised a project to connect the plateau with the Bay of Biscay through a pharaonic network of channels and locks that would extend more than 400 km. In the end, the lack of money and the stoppage of the works by the war of independence, coupled with the difficult  geography of the stretch of Reinosa and, above all, the arrival of the railroad ended up with this dream whose construction lasted almost 100 years ,from 1753 to 1849 and stopped at  207 kilometers, distributed primarily by the provinces of Valladolid and Palencia , with a brief passing by Burgos.

The Canal of Castilla lived his best years between 1850 and 1870, when they sailed nearly 400 boats carried by mules from the towpath roads on both banks of the canal, whose width varies between 11 and 22 meters, and its depth between 1.80 and 3 metersAlthough originally four channels – that joined Reinosa  with Segovia, were planned only came to build three: North, South, and Branch fields.

North Branch: ala del Rey or (wing of the King) to Calahorra de Ribas.  It is the stretch that has  the  greater number of locks, 24 in total, as it is also has  a greater slope: 100 meters.  It extends along 75 kilometers in which intersects the Pisuerga River, in the birth of the channel, and Carrion, in Calahorra de RibasBranch fields: Calahorra de Ribas-Medina de Rioseco: The starting point of this branch  78 km , becomes one of the most interesting and historical travel sections. Here the works of this magna company began July 16, 1753, and it also was the scene of the union, in August 1791, of  the North Branch and the Branch fields at the point known as El Serron ; about two kilometers from Grijota. The Branch fields  has just a drop and only has seven locks all the way.  Among them is the House of the King, an 18C building located in Villaumbrales which hosts the Museum of the Canal de Castilla. This place we can also opt for a walk in boat ‘Juan de Homar.  The South Branch: Serron-Valladolid : This section covers 54 kilometers and 18 locks. Does not present a great height and to be the shorter we can venture to explore it on foot in a couple of days , being one of the best ways to appreciate the rich natural and architectural heritage of the channel in all its glory. Before joining Valladolid, we can find the lock-gate 42, the only one that still retains its original wooden and iron gates, and a former hydroelectric station which houses the Center of management and Control of water resources.  The Channel dies in the dock of Valladolid.

http://www.canaldecastilla.org/

http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/rutas/rutas-culturales/ruta_canal_de_castilla.html

And for some enchanting hôtels in castles such as the paradores but others as well my selection:

Castillo de Buen Amor (castle of the good love!)  (in Villanueva de Cañedo, Salamanca) one of the best-known hotels and charming castles of Spain. It stands on an 11C fortress, converted into a stately home in the 15C. It is a singular and unique, building of Renaissance style, built in sandstone. It has five floors, numerous corners  and mezzanines. It has a large Tower of honor, three towers and a moat, which houses the gardens, swimming pool and a small lake.
Palacio Real de Olite (Royal palace of Olite) ( in Olite, Navarre)
He was considered one of the most luxurious medieval castles in Europe when it was built during the reign of Carlos III the Noble. It is composed of two palaces. One of them, dating back to the 12C, has been converted into a parador de Turismo. The other, the Royal Palace, is the most visited monument of Navarra. the most important example of civil Gothic in Navarra  and one of the most notable in Europe. Its walls, towers, arches, stained glass and a myriad of elements of the architecture of the middle ages will make you feel in another era. Public areas and part of the rooms of the hotel are fully integrated in the Palace.
Castle of Santa Catalina (Jaén)
Another of the castles that have now become paradores de Turismo. Located at the Summit of the Hill of Santa Catalina, it offers unrivalled panoramic views of the entire city. Imposing, stands out from afar  Jaen, a historic city, full of culture and vitality. Built on the remains of the old Arab fortress, it belongs to the Andalucian Renaissance and its monumental interior still retains the imprint of its origin as a crossroads of kingdoms, during the 13C. Your  main salon , with impressive arches crossed 20 meters in height, the dining room and great room, make it a worthy of Kings accommodation.
Castle of Sigüenza (Sigüenza, Guadalajara)
It belongs to the network of paradores de Turismo. It is an impressive medieval castle from the 12C, installed in a fortress of Arabic and built on a Roman settlement. It was the residence of bishops, Cardinals and Kings. Everything inside maintains the medieval atmosphere, with its traditional Castilian furniture. In its spacious rooms, four poster beds will make you to feel housed in an authentic Palace Chamber. This Royal fortress, thick walls, has a paved courtyard, a stately dining room, large function rooms for meetings and celebrations and a beautiful Romanesque chapel from the 13C. In addition, its location allows us to enjoy its incredible natural surroundings, such as the nearby Natural Park of the Dulce river and the Gorges of the Salt River.
Arteaga Castle (Gautegiz Arteaga, Biscay)
Napoleon III and his wife, the Empress Eugenia de Montijo, built the current castle on the ancient tower of Defense of Arteaga. Architecture and all its dependencies, conserving the ornamental and decorative elements of the time, will transport you to the France of mid19C, with all the luxuries available today. This neo-Gothic Tower made up of limestone and marble of Ereño is located in the reserve of Urdaibai, overlooking the estuary of Gernika. The Castle has six suites and seven rooms, a restaurant and a large wine cellar.
CAL Raich (Montfalcó Murallat, Lleida)
This rural house built into the south wall of the medieval fortress of Montfalcó Murallat. Dating from the 11C, it is made of stone and has been restored respecting its original architectural elements. CAL Raich has spacious rooms and has capacity for six people an unforgettable experience in a medieval fortress in contact with the rural environment.
Hotel Castillo Bonavía (Pedrola, Zaragoza)
An elegant three star hotel with 52 double rooms and eight suites, housed in a modern building built as a castle, and which resembles medieval times, blending tradition and modernity. The restaurant of the hotel, with large windows and the walls covered in tapestries and weapons, offers typical Mediterranean dishes cooked with a touch of author and avant-garde cuisine.
Posada torrepalacio de los Alvarado (Ribero de Montija, Burgos)
This former Palace of the 16C  tower has been restored to House a charming hotel. It has 11 cosy rooms, fully equipped, and a large area garden, ideal for walks and enjoy moments of relaxation.
The Feria del Libro or the Madrid book fair saw this past Sunday goodbye to its 76th Edition with expected sales of around 8,2M €, which will mean an increase of 3.5% over the previous edition; The 76th edition of the fair, which opened on May 27, has had 367 stands and 479 exhibitors (26 official bodies, 10 distributors, 63 specialist booksellers, 56 General booksellers, 177 publishers in Madrid and 147 publishers outside of Madrid). Its last edition closed with 7,9M € in sales, which meant an increase of 6.1 percent over the 2014 Edition. And I was there when it was going to start ,just lovely Retiro park! AND France was this year invited country! http://www.ferialibromadrid.com/
Marqués of Teran wines are in the “District of the wineries» Ollauri, municipality of the autonomous community of La Rioja. Views of the Ebro Valley and the Sierra de Cantabria, and the building only reaches to see 20%, very modern and comfortable, the rest is buried on a hill in the upper part of the village, an ingenious idea that confers natural air conditioning to the winery. A plus for the ailing ozone layer.  http://www.marquesdeteran.com/en/
The Fernan Gomez theater  and the Teatros del Canal are the main stages of great programming coming up.  In the first, Flamenco Madrid celebrates its second edition, directed by Ángel Rojas and already reaching its Equator  after the performance Juncal Demaria and his work Ana Frank (day 17) closure, is the turn of Antonio Canales, who will be on Saturday 18 June  with Bailaor, where it picks up its main root accompanied by the flamenco dancer Mónica Fernández and other singers and musicians, Juañares, Gabriel de la Tomasa and Paco Cruz.  Also special is the appointment of the 19 Sunday, as well as recommended for the whole family, Movimientos: the dance of the tip to heel… Suma Flamenca, the most veteran, now with eleven years behind them, and which premieres with main feature of  Aída Gómez.  In both, the unique functions of music, dance, lectures and exhibitions around most flamenco. Friday 17, act in the teatros del Canal with Carmen Linares & El Pele, in a hand crafted traditional Canto, while at Cafe Berlin, including this year at the festival, will play Juan Carmona. Saturday 18 occupies the cartel another of the great artists of the time, Estrella Morente, which is accompanied by guitarist Rafael Riqueni, and Sunday 19 becomes the turn of Farruquito and his Improvisao. It is his return to the roots, dancing only, accompanied by seven singers and musicians. On Monday 20, will offer a master class.
And yes always there , but lately the modern cuisine they are stepping up. Latin American restaurants. Past but good.

Latino restaurants have meant a revolution in Spain in the last decade, offering unexplored products and offer multiple perspectives of the kitchen from a point of view culturally inclusive. The Horeca day; The success of Latin American food in Spain, organized by EXPANSION, metropolis and Goya products, tried from different perspectives to this phenomenon, which has also strengthened the links between the two Spanish-speaking communities, on one side of the Atlantic. Impact Hub Madrid, C/Governor 26
And the Euro16, to see it in Madrid ,my favorite hunts of past and present.
La Esquina  del Bernabeu Avenue Concha Espina, 1. (Tel.: 914430675). On the terrace of this bar, located in the bleachers of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, free admission with registration in their site in Facebook.
Sports Bar Casino Gran Madrid. Motorway A6, exit 29. Torrelodones. (Tel.: 91 856 11 11). experience more similar to see matches in the stadium, but with an advantage: a wide range of tapas, burgers, salads… and dinner packages created especially to satiate the hunger during the euro. Animation and gaming complete the programming of this unique place.
 Panenka, Orense 6. | Tel.: 91 546 54 48. This modern establishment has become benchmark for lovers of football and popular destination for many familiar faces. After the broadcast of matches of Spain, there will be gatherings with footballers and journalists specialized in which you can participate any Assistant. In addition, a bartender and a DJ will be responsible for providing the best post-game atmosphere and, if hunger strikes, have a varied menu of appetizers, meats, sandwiches,etc.
Penalty Lounge Bar. Doctor Fleming, 3 (and two more branches) (Tel: 618268072). Match days offer a menu meeting which includes open bar of beer, sangria or soft drink, and varied dishes. In addition, outside of this offer, have glasses import (4 euros), beer (2 euros a pint) and 1 liter (from 6) minis.

The National team of Spain is staying at the Atalante Relais Thalasso of île de Ré near La Rochelle, France (I will be there Saturday!!!) in Sainte Marie de Ré ; http://iledere.relaisthalasso.com/thalasso/en

and the practices held at the Marcel Gaillard Stadium in Saint Martin de Ré. .From June 10th to July 10th 2016. As part of the Euro16 European Football/Soccer  Championship. http://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/news/ile-de-re-base-camp-spanish-football-team

The tourist office is here http://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/

And to brush up on your Spanish the local newspaper Loquo will lead you to many exchanges and more in Madrid community region.

http://www.loquo.com/intercambio-de-idiomas/madrid/

Have a great week, already half way to another weekend !! cheers

 

 

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June 12, 2016

Update Shopping in Madrid!

I was just back again from Madrid and looking at my blog, have not updated the shopping page since 2010!!! that is when I started my blog lol! This was it ; https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/26/best-shopping-my-shopping-in-madrid/

Therefore,it’s time for me to do an update now.

Other than the tourist office, timeout magazine has one of the best compilation of shopping in Madrid around, these are http://www.timeout.com/madrid/shopping  and http://www.esmadrid.com/en/shopping-madrid

And , of course, other than those mentioned , my favorites that I have stop by or my family still there shopped are these

Oh yes El Corte Inglés department store, a classic for many many years (they took over another of my old  favorites Galerias Preciados), http://www.elcorteingles.eu/shop/uk/en

The nice stores are by the Puerta del Sol and just coming out left on Nuevos Ministerios line 8 coming from Barajas Adolfo Suarez airport.

Calle Serrano 16 is the main store of Carolina Herrera for a complete wardrobe of men, women and kids as well as accessories. http://www.carolinaherrera.com/es/store-locator/

On same street you have Matarranz, for the house deco, bedding ,bath all with natural products  simply nice, at Calle Serrano 30, more here in English ; http://www.matarranzropadecasa.com/en/

For high end shoes go to Calzados Bravo at Calle Serrano 42, great Spanish shoes with pure leather ,for over 50 years of service; http://www.gbbravo.com/mapa-web-615.html

of course, the ultimate Spanish porcelain/ceramics at Llàdro in Calle Serrano 68; the very essence of Spanish beauty for your home; http://www.lladro.com/porcelana/boutique_madrid/

For fashion clothing for men and women go for Purificacion Garcia, purely Spanish styles; ready to wear for you; At Calle Serrano or Moda Shopping in ave General Peron, http://www.purificaciongarcia.com/uk/storelocation/stores

For men’s suits made to order go to Echeverria at Paseo de la Habana 17 near the Bernabeu; business suits are always right;   http://www.sastreriaechevarria.es/contacto/

For ladies underwear or lingerie, my women go often to Andrés Sardà at calle Ramon de la Cruz 14 near Plaza Manuel Becerra; if you want to buy simply Spanish:  https://www.andressarda.com/US/en/stores

For real local sports store go to Décimas, the one at the shopping Vaguada  or the Principe Pio; I preferred the Vaguada.

http://www.decimas.es/hombre.html  ; principe pio shopping here : http://es.club-onlyou.com/Principe-Pio/Tiendas/DECIMAS  and Vaguada here : http://www.enlavaguada.com/index.php?f=tienda&id=285&nombre=

For my watches well I am a Casio men for yeears and always reliable , easy to find anywhere in the world even to change a bracelet.  for technical assistance and repairs Resat SL at calle Jorge Juan 120, near metro Ventas behind the Monumental.  https://es.casio-shop.eu/shop/marcas/casio-sports-es/

The store is at Calle de Hortaleza, 38, metro Gran Via or Chueca.

For perfums, the stores Madrid Paris are good, the one at  Avenida Reina Victoria 27, near metro Cuatro Caminos : http://www.perfumeriamadridparis.com/

and the one for perfums cosmetics toiletteries etc is Perfumerias Julià for the local touch. Calle del Carmen 2 , just around from the Puerta del Sol , just great: http://www.perfumeriajulia.es/ecommerce/pages/page.cfm?id=2&languageId=1

For gifts souvenirs, decoration, there are many, but i have purchase at Bazar El Pulpito at the famous Plaza Mayor 11. By the side of the Arcos de Cuchilleros. No webpage. At paseo del Prado 10 you have the Objetos de arte Toledano, wonderful store for many years there and always stop by. http://www.artetoledano.com/

And of course, why not a Real Madrid souvenir to take home, the best club in the history of football/soccer ::) Many stores now but the original is go to Santiago Bernabeu stadium ::) http://www.realmadrid.com/en/santiago-bernabeu-stadium/stores

For knives kitchen stuff, the house kitchen all good brands,  see Cuchillerias Simon, Calle Virgen de los Peligros 10, near metro Banco de España or Sevilla,http://www.cuchilleriasimon.es/

A quaint  pharmacy and near an area of ladies of the night but the pharmacy has everything you need for anything at good prices is Farmacia Montera at Calle Montera 9 near metro Sol/ http://www.farmaciamontera.com/home2.html

Not far there is Farmacia Mayor at Calle Mayor 13, no webpage but plenty for the travelers’s need there too ; and the closest one for me for years is at Calle Alcalà 321 , Farmacia Fernandez Rodriguez. And if one to go to a pharmacy and history go the oldest one in Madrid since 1578!! Farmacia Real Botica de la Reina, Calle Mayor 59. It has many unusual things such as recipes by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quijote) and Calderon de la Barca etc.

You have a huge supermarket AlCampo (Auchan in France) at the shopping center la Vaguada by metro line 9 Barrio del Pinar; http://www.enlavaguada.com/?f=tienda&id=295

Of course many other supermarket such as the Hipercor of El Corte Inglés, by Vista Alegre there is a nice size one, metro line 5 (my old home line! ) http://www.elcorteingles.es/centroscomerciales/es/hipercor/centros/hipercor-vista-alegre

And my gourmet favorite by Paseo de la Castellana 196 ,the Sanchez Romero with Inside cafeteria too. http://www.sanchez-romero.com/castellana-0

For eyeglasses , near my old home there is Optica Roma by Alcalà 388 near metro Manuel Becerra; http://opticaroma.com/tiendas/bravo-murillo/  And Soloptical for the chain lover, this one at Atocha train station: http://www.soloptical.net/store/madrid-atocha/

You have electronics and information technology in the FNAC store near Nuevos Ministerios metro train station off Paseo de la Castellana 79  ,here as my boys love it. http://www.fnac.es/Help/es-ES/tiendas.aspx

Other more local are Madrid HiFi, calle Princesa 26 near Plaza de España or Calle del Barquillo 33 near metro Banco de España, Chueca y Colon/  http://www.madridhifi.com/nuestras-tiendas.php

And Electronica Embajadores for all kinds of gadgets in all forms calle de Embajadores ,138 metro line 3 and cercanias trains. http://www.electronicaembajadores.com/

Generally speaking, Madrid can be put into shopping areas as well. The luxury shopping is around the Streets of Serrano and José Ortega y Gasset in the Salamanca district. Then, you move on the vanguard areas of the movida such as around the districts of Malasaña,around the Streets of Gran Via, Fuencarral, and Corredera Baja de San Pablo.  Also, the areas from Calle Fuencarral to Paseo del Prado, the district of Chueca is the underground movement in fashion.  Moving to the center you have the Plaza Mayor and surrounding, as well as the Gran Via area ,especially around the Streets of Preciados and Carmen. The Rastro for the bargain hunter.

You move up north to AZCA near Plaza de Castilla, and the Streets of Orense, ave del General Peron, Raimundo Fernandez, Villaverde , etc.  And if you have the heart for the Madrileños then go beyond the M30 ave de America, de la Paz into the non touristic areas along Calle Alcalà near the Monumental bullfight arena and into Calle Alcalà out further, you hit my neighborhood, great choices and great prices. Enjoy shopping and enjoy Madrid. Cheers

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May 30, 2016

A new look at my best souvenir of Madrid, Retiro park

This is my park, Parque del Buen Retiro , I lived for several years not far from it,every time back in Madrid and luckily often need to stop by,and lately in the city stayed by a hotel nearby. I wrote a historical post in my blog here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/18/parque-del-buen-retiro-or-retiro-park/

This time had a whole Sunday for me, and why not, spent it at the Retiro Park. Very difficult for me to describe it, it was my youthful park, where my mother took me and I came back to the city in a new era with her and then myself, as my mother passed away in 2007, coming here brings closer to her as well.

This is my park, walking its winding trails and seeing the wonderful statues and buildings in it are just great beyond description. The snack bar by the lakes or estanque with its wonderful boats.Now they have rowing boats when Young coming here they had pedal boats as well. It was heaven by yourself to do it. Coming from behind the statue to king Alfonso XIII into the lake is wonderful and the views breathtaking.

You need to see the wonderful remains of the Real Fabrica de Porcelanas (1760-1812) with info in Spanish as now shown in the Prado museum here, https://www.museodelprado.es/coleccion/artista/real-fabrica-de-porcelana-del-buen-retiro/6ad0e2a2-df27-46d8-87f8-628c1d926dea

and the La Noria del Huerto del Francés vestiges of something wonderful here; this one of the machine that took the water to make the porcelain, and they are of Persian origins.  Many entrances to the park my old haunts was by Puerta de Alcalà where I lived not far, but lately coming by the Plaza Niño Jésus ( square of the Child Jesus).  You plunge into the garden or jardines del Marques de Pontejos , right along the Paseo del Marqués de Pontejos ,passing by the Rosaleda (rosary) ;http://www.esmadrid.com/informacion-turistica/la-rosaleda-de-el-retiro

and the Parterre (main walk area), entrance by the Gate or puerta de Felipe IV, with an axis from the Casón del Buen Retiro  to the Fuente de la Alcachofa , and the lake or Estanque. You see here the oldest tree in the park that of a Cipré calvo (cypress) .You see structures of old now being use as many as rest rooms.

You do not listen to route planner or Google but come across walking in the park , coming by the estanque or lake into the other end by Calle Alfonso XIII. A magical walk with beauty of top gardeners keeper all around you.

You passed by the wonderful Palacio de Velázquez, (b. 1881-1883) an old structure use for temporary exhibitions for works of art.   http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/palacio-de-velazquez

You come to see the Palacio de Cristal (b 1887) iron architecture  modeled after Crystal Palace in London. It is now for temporary exhibitions as well and just airy and wonderful ;from afar is better. http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/palacio-de-cristal

You have the wonderful statue of the Fallen Angel fountain or Fuente del Angel Caido, (b. 1878) the only statue representing the devil . Very busy intersection in the park one of the must see. http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/el-angel-caido

And to top it off, the grand Lake or Estanque Grande (b. early 17C). The lake where families from very old days to now come to ride a boat any boat in the park is wonderful. The boys will rent a boat to roar for the girl ::) and seeing it from above the Statue to king Alfonso XIII is romantic indeed especially as night falls. Magical. A must in Madrid; see more here: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/estanque-grande-de-el-retiro

This is my park, the one amongst many in Madrid, but the very best of all. A must to see in Madrid, in fact , you never been to Madrid if not walk the park… Enjoy it. I always do. Cheers

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May 29, 2016

Iglesias,jardines y plazas de Madrid or Churches, Gardens and Squares of Madrid!

Busy on the blog as getting ready for end of month at work and closing branches, but just back from Madrid….My Madrid took time to be there on weekend and wandered around the city on foot all over. Some of my favorites are again here;

The Catedral de Almudena is wonderful and an even better museum sacristy on calle Bailén, next to the Royal Palace or Palacio Real and extending it to the gardens or jardines de Sabatini is a must. Coming to it by Calle Mayor from the Plaza Mayor is fantastic walking trip.

The Catedral Santa María La Real de La Almudena took yeaars to built and finally done recently in 1993…!  It is a Cathedral of 102 meters long and 73 meters wide built on different styles from neo classic in the exterior to neo gothic in the interior and neo roman in the crypt. The Cathedral was consecrated by Pope John Paul II and it is the first Spanish Cathedral consecrated by a Pope! The official site is in Spanish here: http://www.catedraldelaalmudena.es/

The tourist office has it in English: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/catedral-de-la-almudena

In the Plaza Jesus not far from the Westin Palace hotel and the Fountain of Neptuno there is another Church that stroke my fancy in my walks in the city.  The Basílica de Nuestro Padre Jesús De Medinaceli is small basilica in a nice district and it was built on the site of the convent of trinitian without shoes or Convento de trinitarios descalzos de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación! The new basilica was done in 1930 but did not get the nomination as such until 1973.  It is done in a Latin style and on the Inside the devotées worship the image of Our Father Jesus of Medinaceli. Its official site in Spanish is here: http://www.archimadrid.es/jesusmedinaceli/index.html

The tourist office has it in English: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/iglesia-de-jesus-de-medinaceli

We move on to the Royal Palace or Palacio Real, this is an imposing castle where all dignataries are welcome but the King does not live, rather stays in a more humble castle of the Zarzuela,  leaving the official Royal Palace for visitors and heads of State visits.  The Royal Palace was built in 1734 after the older fortress was razed by fire.  The palace is second only to the Louvre in Paris and this one has 2800 rooms with only about 50 open to the public! It has 3 floors and 3 in between floors on the ceiling of each of the floors.  The façades measure 130 meters long by 33 meters high; with 870 Windows and 240 balcons that open on the street or the patio. The total land area is of 135000 sq meters, with 44 stairs and more than 30 salones or big main rooms. The official site in Spanish is here; http://www.patrimonionacional.es/real-sitio/palacios/6039?language=en

The tourist office has it in English here: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/royal-palace

Right after the Royal Palace you see the Gardens or Jardines de Sabatini, a great wonderful garden. You have a stair like main entrance and another one through a grill gate at the end.  This was done in the 1930’s and has 2,54 ha or about 6 acres. The exact location is between calle de Bailén and Cuesta de San Vicente,on a terrace hanging over the field of the moor or Campo del Moro.  The gardens are in 3 terraces with the most wonderful me think is the second going along the north edge of the Royal Palace.

The tourist office has it in English here: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/jardines-de-sabatini

I came to the small wonderful quaint Catédral Castrense  off the Calle Mayor. The official name is the Iglesia Catédral de las Fuerzas Armadas (Church Cathedral of the Armed Forces), also,known as Catédral Castrense or Iglesia del Sacramento (Church of the Sacrement).  Here was the old monastery  of the Bernadines monks founded in 1615.  Only the Church is left of the original , the monastery was demolished in 1972. The Ministry of Defense used it since 1980 ;official site in Spanish here:  http://www.arzobispadocastrense.com/newarzo/index.php

You can see interior pictures of this armed forces Church here in Spanish text; http://www.arzobispadocastrense.com/newarzo/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16&Itemid=151

There is a small Church in Calle Atocha, 6  name the Iglesia de Santa Cruz, sitting on the site of  the old convent of Santo Tomàs de Aquino of the Dominican order founded in 1583.  The current Church after several fires was built in 1889  and rénovations took part until 1902; done in neo gothic style with stones from nearby Colmenar. The tower facing the street has 80 meters high and on top there is square continuing the tradition of the old tower built in 1660 and known as the “Atalaya de la Corte” OR watchtower of the Court .  Parrish page in Spanish here: http://www.parroquiadesantacruz.com/Santa_Cruz_web/Bienvenida.html

And all this tour, centered around the Plaza Mayor, the center of it all rivaling the Puerta del Sol. Mayor is older and wonderfully decorated on its façades with a great equestrian statue of king Felipe III done in 1616 but place here since 1848; the square measures 129 meters by 94 meters.It dates from the 1580 until finished by 1619.  Some other things to look up here is the  Casa de la Panaderia with the shield of arms of Carlos II,and the very famous Arco de Cuchilleros or arch of cutleries street. The tourist office has more in English here; http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/plaza-mayor-Madrid

One novelty on my walks was passing by the Cuesta de Moyano and see the lineup of libraries with books of many diverse universe ready for sale and expecting the Feria del Libro de Madrid that began May 27th to June 12th, 2016.  Tourist office on the libraries at Moyano here in English: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/librerias-de-la-cuesta-de-moyano

And the association of libraries that form the Cuesta de Moyano group in Spanish here: http://www.cuestamoyano.es/index.asp

And the Feria del Libro at Retiro park here: http://www.ferialibromadrid.com/

This is Madrid and you can search more on my post by typing Madrid in the search space on the right column in my main page of the blog. Enjoy Madrid , I always do ::)

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May 29, 2016

The muséums triangle of Madrid…

 MadridWell ,not my cup of tea once seeing them once, but very popular for visitors to the city ,are the triangle of the top 3 muséums of Madrid. Namely the Prado, Reina Sofia,and Thyssen-Bornemisza.

There is so much to see in Madrid and many more nice muséums seen over the years but these 3 gets the most visitors. Their official webpages are here:

http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/home

http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en

https://www.museodelprado.es/en

My initial visit as a yound teenager was the Prado(Paseo del Prado) and has remain the favorite of the big ones. The vast collections of top historical and social value are uneaqual in the world and so deserving one of the top muséums in the world. A must to see at least once totally.

It houses the greatest collection of paintings from the 14C to early the 19C of famous painters from the school of Flanders, Spanish, French, Italian,and German ;with a small collection of English paintings, collected by the royal branches of the Habsbourg and Bourbons. The museum started as a natural science building design from 1785.

The Reina Sofia(  is named in honor of Queen Sofia, wife of former King Juan Carlos I. It is house in the old Hospital San Carlos done in the end of the 18C.  It is a modern art and contemporary collections dating from the period of 1900 to our days.  The museum opens in 1990 and with a permanent collection in 1992.

We reach the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, (Paseo del Prado); the museum is house in the Palace de Villahermosa ,in the angle of Paseo del Prado and Carrera de San Jeronimo and dedicated to  ancient art, modern, and contemporay in one.  It was done in 1993 after the reunification of works ,most given by the family of Thyssen-Bornemisza and other from collections already held in Spain.

The site of Spanish Culture has more on them such as

http://www.spainisculture.com/en/museos/madrid/museo_nacional_centro_de_arte_reina_sofia.html

http://www.spainisculture.com/en/museos/madrid/museo_thyssen-bornemisza.html

http://www.spainisculture.com/en/museos/madrid/museo_nacional_del_prado.html

There is a smaller museum that is getting attention lately from local friends and that is the Caixa Forum(Paseo del Prado). It was design from an old industrial electrical plant into several levels/floors.  And an unique green wall on its side. it houses mostly contemporary  works but also, exhibits retrospectives of artists from earlier time periods.

official link: https://obrasociallacaixa.org/en/cultura/caixaforum-madrid/que-hacemos

and more on Spanish culture here:  http://www.spainisculture.com/en/museos/madrid/caixa_forum_madrid.html

A rich choice of culture , arts, and history to show the world the many facets of a wonderful modern city with traditions of old intact; Madrid. See it.

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