Archive for ‘Spain’

January 19, 2022

Chocolateria San Ginés of Madrid !!!!

I am on a nostalgic run , for that, needed to be in Madrid. We say, from Madrid to heaven, and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! yes! As I told you about my youthful days , teens, in my Madrid and lucky to visit it every year now! Of course, updating this older post and waiting to come when the virus allows it fully,

I told you a bit about the chocolateria San Ginés! But bits is not enough me think, This is an institution in Madrid!! I have many souvenirs of this place coming with my dear late mom Gladys and then my dear late wife Martine, and my boys and family and friends all taken here. For me is more than just a churros and chocolate place. I came as a teen ,first to teatro Eslava (now joy eslava) to do community dances for youths, and while leaving late, we hop over to San Ginés to recompose the body and soul; it was a ritual of younger years even before the movida !!! San Gines was more familiar then, nice talks great fun, It has become very touristic lately ,but for me still a nostalgic spot that need to come and try those churros with chocolates again.

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I have come here each time in Madrid since 1970 , with some years of absent has been pretty consistant until 2019, Then, the virus well will see when the new world order is arrange, The chocolateria San Ginés is a must when in Madrid. You too can make it your own mark stop in Madrid and delight yourselves with it, To boot is in a charming old area off the Puerta del Sol.

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The Chocolatería San Ginés is one of the most famous churrería in Madrid. It is located in Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5 off Calle Arenal in the heart of the city near the Puerta del Sol. This is one of the most popular places to take a chocolate with churros, and this since it was founded in 1894. Today it is a tourist place where visitors and locals gather to taste these delights of our world. Some claim too touristic but to me is more than that name, nostalgia wins all the time.

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San Ginés is also known as Buñolería Modernista, name given by the writer Valle-Inclán in his novel Bohemian Lights. As you can read on the plaque hanging on the facade of the bar: “ This bar served as inspiration to D. Ramón María Valle-Inclán for his literary work Bohemian lights in 1929 “. But Valle-Inclán was not the only one, the location of the bar was halfway between the Teatro Real and Puerta del Sol, so it became a bar frequently visited by artists and intellectuals of the time.

The Churrería is located next to the Teatro Eslava and its fame began when at the exit of the theater, people got used to go there to take a chocolate with churros.  Later, its opening until late hours, made people who were leaving the night club of Joy Eslava late at night or early in the morning could have breakfast before returning home. It has become a meeting place for the night owls. Many souvenirs myself doing this in my younger days lol!

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The bar was built in 1890 to make it a hostel but it was converted into Churrería in 1894. It is a bar reminiscent of the cafes of the late 19C. It has two floors where there are traditional white marble tables and a counter paved with tiled and where you can take the traditional chocolate with churros or any other refreshment or a coffee accompanied by pastries. In general the churrería is open every day of the year.  During the Spanish Second Republic it was known as the La Escondida”, (the hidden) as many intellectuals and folks hided there when in trouble, and had their meetings.

In 2010, a Chocolatería San Ginés opened in Tokyo, in the Shibuya district, adapting its products to the tastes of the Japanese. Later they opened in 2013 in Bogotá, Colombia.  In Madrid ,there is already another outlet at the market or Mercado de Prosperidad, in Calle López de Hoyos ,81. Unlike the local at San Ginés , it won’t open 24 hours every day of the year, but it will adapt to the timetable of the rest of the market hours from 6h to 22h  uninterrupted. The Mercado on San Ginés webpage :https://mercadodeprosperidad.com/puestos/chocolateria-san-gines-prosperidad/

And after all the above, you may ask what are Churros? Well not a cooker even less a chef but this tells it like it is. The Churros are long sticks of dough created from water, salt and flour. Typically, dough is for a vat of hot oil, deep-fried and stirred with a very long stick, which helps the dough form into long spiral sticks, similar to a donut, but not round. The sticks are then cut down and a bit of sugar may be added on top. The hot chocolate is served the authentic Spanish way: thick and steaming, perfect for dipping churros into. If you’ve already tried churros, Porras are a thicker, more doughy version and well worth a try.

The official Chocolateria San Ginéshttps://chocolateriasangines.com/

The Madrid tourist office on San Ginéshttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/nightlife/chocolateria-de-san-gines

The YELP reviews on the San Ginés: https://www.yelp.com/biz/chocolater%C3%ADa-san-gin%C3%A9s-madrid-6

There you go folks, an institution in Madrid, a must stop, ok go the sights the museums the parks but do come here lunch or dinner late night better again is a must stop in Madrid at the Chocolateria San Ginés. Hope you get the idea, is a must!

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

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January 14, 2022

Some news from Spain CXVII

And here is Spain everything under the Sun! Winter can be harsh but even with the pandemic things are moving right along. I see crowds coming back even if still behind pre virus numbers. Hope you enjoy this latest episode of some news from Spain!

The commitment to contemporary art of the Prado Museum. The gallery is committed to continuing with the deployment of the permanent collection in 2022 and will have as its main exhibition the meeting of El Greco and Picasso, as well as reopening the doors to 20C artists. Three of them will be present this year: Picasso, Philippe Parreno and Fernando Zóbel, Picasso and El Greco exhibition between November 2022 and February 2023. As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death, in November the Prado will show a selection of works by the Malaga-born artist alongside the work of the Cretan, In the work of Picasso, which appears as a copyist in the records of this museum, the influence of authors such as Velázquez and Greco himself is evident, the latter capital to understand the first stage of the career of the painter from Malaga, between the blue period and the cubism. Then will come Fernando Zóbel and the history of art (from November 15, 2022 to March 5, 2023), around the author’s sketchbooks in which, starting from the classic copy, he ends up building his own abstract imaginary.
Frenchman Philippe Parreno will recreate in a virtual room the Quinta del Sordo, Goya’s house on the banks of the Manzanares on whose walls he developed the black paintings. It will be in May 2022. The official Prado museum : https://www.museodelprado.es/en/visit-the-museum

The Teatro Real presented its 2021-2026 strategic plan this Wednesday 12 January 2022, which had to be reformulated (initially, it was planned until 2024) due to the covid pandemic, In more practical matters, the strategic plan contemplates the creation of a digital historical archive of all the material of historical and musicological interest, as well as the renovation of the floor of the stage box after 25 years of maximum and uninterrupted use, In addition, within the The ‘Cerca de ti’ (Near you) program provides for the permanent installation of a screen on the Teatro Real’s façade facing Plaza de Isabel II. The official Teatro Real or Royal Theater : https://www.teatroreal.es/en/season/season-21-22

An anecdote!! Christian Franzen, the Danish photographer who ended up at the court of king Alfonso XIII, At a time when up to twenty portrait studios were kept open in the limited space between Carrera de San Jerónimo, Puerta del Sol and Calle de Sevilla and Calle del Príncipe, Franzen opened his studio in the latter direction. His future was sealed when one day the sister of King Alfonso XIII, the Infanta María Teresa, entered the door, ready to be portrayed. It was so satisfied with the result that, a short time later, it was the monarch himself who decided to also use hos services, at a time when these commissions were a symbol of social distinction. By 1907, Franzen was already well known in the city. From the RTVE documentary collection, which acquired the archive of this photographer after his heirs put it up for sale in the early 1970s, they assure that Franzen’s importance as a photographer is twofold: firstly, as a reporter for the first illustrated magazines, photographing the cultural life of Madrid, the social gatherings, the theaters and the salons. We owes him the technical improvements to the magnesium flash, which makes it easier to shoot indoors and at night. And, secondly, as a portrait painter. Franzen stands out for his clientele , he is the most beloved photographer of the Royal Household and the aristocracy , and for the treatment of the figure and light in his portraits of members of the aristocracy, the upper bourgeoisie and the most important figures of political life , social and cultural of the time dedicated their best poses: from Joaquín Sorolla to Mateo Sagasta,and the mysterious woman that Franzen portrayed so much was his daughter María.

The history of Madrid with postcards is the title of the original exhibition that opens today, Thursday, January 13,2022, at the Moda Shopping Mall: a journey through the visual history of the capital since the end of the 19C. The sample is made up of more than 500 illustrated postcards dated from 1892 to 1970 that reflect the daily life of old Madrid, the emblematic buildings and streets and some great events, such as the coronation of Alfonso XIII, among others. Transport, especially the tram, occupies a prominent place in the exhibition, with postcards of the first section between Sol and Goya of the electric tram, of the construction of infrastructures such as the San Luis network or of the buses circulating through the Plaza de Cibeles, Calle Alcalá or Puerta del Sol. Moda Shopping Mall ,Avenida General Perón, 38-40. from January 13 to February 13 2022. Free entry. The official Moda Shopping : https://www.modashopping.com/proximos

The Construction Board of the Temple of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona plans to finish this year 2022 the two towers of the evangelists Lluc and Marc, which will measure 135 meters in height, if the virus situation evolves positively. They have reported that this year they also plan to climb three more levels of the tower of Jesus Christ, so that it is completed in 2026, which “will depend on the progress of the forecast of visitors. In addition, for this 2022 they have planned to start the conservation and cleaning of the Nativity façade, the oldest of the expiatory temple, which has been darkened by the effect of time and contamination on the stones. If the forecasts of the builders of the basilica, the most visited monument in Catalonia, are fulfilled, by the end of this year three of the five central towers will be finished, after that of the Virgin was completed on December 8 2021 with the lighting of the illuminated star that the crown. The two towers of the evangelists Mateu and Joan, the tower of Jesus Christ and the four towers of the Passion façade will still be missing. Again, stay tune,for now book your tickets here: https://sagradafamilia.barcelona-tickets.com/

The new urban lungs of the 21C make Madrid, the city with the most km2 of green areas in Spain. Some of these ara not new but most already mentioned in my blog such as the Jardines del Buen Retiro gardens, Casa de Campo Park, Plaza de Oriente square, Jardines de Sabatini gardens, Campo del Moro, Quinta Torre Arias farm, Quinta del Berro farm , Huerto de las Monjas, Royal Botanical Garden, Patio of the Reina Sofia Museum , Jardin del Capricho, Palacio de Anglona, Quinta de los Molinos, and Jardines del Templo of Debod gardens, Enjoy Madrid ! The Madrid tourist office on parks/gardens : https://www.esmadrid.com/en/parks-gardens-madrid

Sigüenza , medieval tapas, donceles, ghosts and … the shortest marriage in the history of Spain. This is a nice town in Castilla La Mancha. Worth the detour me think. The story goes that as a maiden and Sigüenza he had little, but the nobleman Martín Váquez de Arce, killed in an ambush during the conquest of Granada, has gone down in history with this nickname. Badly done because, in other times, the doncel (male of Docellas) were young men between 12 and 16 years old close to the nobility who had not known a woman. And he had a wife, a daughter, and a quarter of a century when he died. Be that as it may, the culprit of the name is the poet, novelist, playwright, literary critic and philosopher belonging to the generation of 98, Miguel de Unamuno who, when contemplating his alabaster coffin in the Cathedral of Sigüenza, could not avoid comparing it with that of the young maidens due to the delicate features of the recumbent statue. Earlier, the essayist José Ortega y Gasset had described it as “the most beautiful funeral sculpture in the world.” But there is much more among its labyrinthine cobbled streets of medieval court such as palaces, museums such as the Diocesano del Arte Antiguo (with works by Zurbarán and Francisco Madrazo), the Casa del Doncel, handicraft shops where they dispense wine casks as well as mirrors in gold leaf, etc.

Calle Mayor , and specially No 9, hides a curious medieval craft themed shop, La Edad Media or the middle ages (awesome place), which in addition to jewelry inspired by that time, tapestries, engravings, Celtic art, ancestral recipe herbarium or leather goods, also organizes workshops for the reproduction of medieval art and painting. Not forgetting the medieval pinchos (local for tapas) route, which has its own contest and offers delicacies such as migas, Castilian soups, roasts of lamb or kid, pickled game and drunk honey sweets. Another essential gastro: conventual pastries such as the truffles of the Hermanas Clarisas or Poor Clare Sisters. The tour continues in the 12C Church of Santiago, home of the Rural Romanesque Interpretation Center. Destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, it hides jewels such as an Andalusian watchtower, whose remains were found in the latest archaeological investigations, The castle, converted into a Parador. Not only does it offer one of the best views of the city, but it was the scene of one of the shortest marriages in our history, that of Blanca de Borbón with Pedro I el Cruel, who broke the link on their wedding night when he found out about that the King of France, his wife’s uncle, would not pay the agreed dowry. Doña Blanca was disowned and confined in the castle. Hence, according to her own and strangers, her ghost swarms in the rooms on cold nights,,,,,

The Sigüenza tourist office on its heritage see it in 3 days : https://www.visitasiguenza.es/siguenza-en-tres-dias/

Some interesting proposals that do not require any expense in Madrid. Enjoy them!

Mirador de la Cornisa del Palacio Real, or the Royal Palace corner lookout, Located in the Plaza de la Armería, between the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral, is this new lookout from which you can enjoy beautiful views of the Campo del Moro gardens and of the Casa de Campo is framed in the improvement and adaptation works of what will be the welcome area and main access of the future Museum of the Royal Collections, whose inauguration is scheduled for the end of 2022. The Madrid tourist office on the mirador/lookout: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/royal-palace-panoramic-viewpoint

Estacion fantasma de Chamberi ghost station, Closed in 1966, the ghost station was designed by Antonio Palacios. After decades of neglect, the movie Barrio de Fernando León de Aranoa brought it back to the present day in 1998. Now the curious can enjoy its brilliant finishes and its colorful and luminous just as they were decades ago. Capacity is limited, so to visit it it is necessary to request an appointment on the webpage: Museums of Madrid on Chamberi: https://museosmetromadrid.es/museos/estacion-de-chamberi/

The Temple of Debod,(see post) In the Parque del Cuartel de la Montaña, near the Plaza de España, is this Egyptian temple from the 2nd century BC. built by order of the king of Meroe Adijalamani, who wanted to dedicate a chapel to the gods Amun and Isis. In the 6C, after the conversion of Nubia to Christianity, the temple was closed and abandoned. Already in the 20C due to the construction of the Aswan Dam, the Egyptian government gave it to the city of Madrid and it was transported, rebuilt stone by stone and opened to the public in 1972. The Madrid tourist office on Debod: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/templo-de-debod

The Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida,(see post) or St Anthony of Florida Hermitage, With a sober appearance, the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida surprises us with the great pictorial ensemble that Goya painted at the end of the 18C. In this masterpiece of Spanish art, the Aragonese artist always kept in mind that he was decorating one of the most popular temples in Madrid, famous for its pilgrimage on June 13. The Madrid tourist office on the hermitage: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/ermita-de-san-antonio-de-la-florida

Palacio de Abrantes or Palace, Built between 1653 and 1655 as commissioned by Don Juan de Valencia el Infante. Subsequently, the building successively changed hands until, in 1842, the Dukes of Abrantes bought it and commissioned a thorough remodeling in order to adapt it to the aristocratic tastes of the mid-19C. It then became the headquarters of the newspaper Correspondencia de España until, in 1888, its owners sold it to the Government of Italy, which established its embassy there. Then a new reform was carried out. Today it is the headquarters of the Italian Institute of Culture, the cultural embassy of Italy in Madrid, which promotes Italian arts and sciences, and annually organizes a wide variety of cultural activities, such as exhibitions, cooking courses and conferences. The Madrid tourist office on the palace: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/instituo-italiano-di-cultura

The Museo de la Escultura al aire libre de la Castellana or the Castellana Open Air Sculpture Museum, located under the overpass that joins the Calle de Juan Bravo and Calle Eduardo Dato, contains an excellent collection of Spanish abstract sculpture. The museum was opened to the public in 1972 occupying an area of ​​4200 square meters and its purpose was to recover an urban space for common use, turning it into an area of ​​passage, rest and recreation and to bring Spanish abstract art closer to the public. To save the unevenness of the land, the museum is structured in three levels that descend from Calle Serrano to Paseo de la Castellana. The Madrid tourist office on the open air museum: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/open-air-sculpture-museum-paseo-castellana

Aleix Puig, winner of MasterChef 7, opens his delivery resto in Madrid after having conquered Barcelona, where in a week they dispatch 12,000 hamburgers , Located at Calle Divino Pastor,9 of the Malasaña neighborhood they have been rushing the hours for days so that everything is ready, They bet on Classic and simple burgers. Good meat, with a more toasted and somewhat smoky flavor and brioche bread. And it is important not to scatter at the first bite. He boasts that American maxim that a hamburger must be eaten in seven bites.I want people when they want a good hamburger to think of Vicio, Their webpage is coming soon : https://ganasdevicio.com/

Quintoelemento, or Fifth element , the restaurant on the seventh floor in the well-known Kapital nightclub (previous cinema), located at Calle de Atocha 125. A new futuristic space that has revolutionized this terrace previously used for drinks before the dances. In Quintoelemento, which follows the trend of reconverting or expanding the gastro offer in discos and clubs after the closures and restrictions due to the covid virus, they have wanted to merge world flavors with traditional Spanish , They want to separate itself from Kapital, even though it is located in the same building, and show its concept of integral leisure for another type of public. First they have advanced the time in which we eat and have dinner, we make the so-called late, and, on the other hand, there is more and more demand for more complete experiences that go beyond the gastronomy. They are committed to a long consumption, from 13h to 14h from Monday to Sunday, where you have a unique audiovisual show, a quality gastronomic proposal, signature cocktails and from Thursday to Sunday, there is a DJ and a show, define sources from the Group Kapital. On the sixth floor, the old “cinema” of furtive kisses between young people, today a spectacular winery is located with 150 interesting references and some reserved for more privacy and events ,It has an area of ​​180 square meters where ultra-definition content is projected 4K Quintoelemento Calle de Atocha, 125. Seventh floor of the Kapital building,For the 18 and over, webpage : https://quintoelementorestaurante.com/

There you go folks, another dandy some news from Spain! Thanks for reading me on this series and hope it helps you expand your horizons or get to know better my beloved Spain. Stay safe and have fun, life is too short.

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

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January 12, 2022

The streets of my Madrid!!!

I have several posts on the streets of Madrid in my blog and even if cannot cover them all, I try to give you all of my nostalgic favorites. This time will show some very well known streets and some less; hope you enjoy the post as I. Therefore, here are more of the streets of my Madrid!!!

The Paseo del Prado, from Plaza de Cibeles, you’ll catch one of Madrid’s best-known boulevards ,Paseo del Prado, which shares the same name as the world-famous art museum. Other than the prominent Prado, the boulevard stretches past Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, almost reaching Museo Reina Sofia in an area known as “The Golden Triangle of Art”. Other notable highlights along the way include the vertical garden at the Caixa Forum, the Royal Botanical Garden and the Fountain of Neptune, and Cibeles. Paseo del Prado ends at the Atocha train station, which is famous for its interior rainforest. a few of Madrid’s most famous hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton Madrid and Westin Palace Madrid.  When walking, make sure to stay in the green area in the middle, where you’ll spot plenty of monuments, statues, fountains and people walking their dogs or enjoying an afternoon stroll. The Paseo del Prado is the oldest historical urban street in Madrid  It runs north-south between the Plaza de Cibeles and the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V (also known as Plaza de Atocha), with the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo (the location of the Fuente de Neptuno, and of the Ritz and Palace five-star hotels) lying approximately in the middle. The Paseo del Prado forms the southern end of the city’s central axis (which continues to the north of Cibeles as the Paseo de Recoletos, and further north as the Paseo de la Castellana).

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The Madrid tourist office on Paseo del Pradohttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/paseo-prado

The Paseo de Recoletos is a wide boulevard leading from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Colón. The center part of the boulevard is a pedestrian walk, lined with gardens, trees, statues, fountains and varied street furniture. The first and largest stretch of the boulevard (from Plaza Cibeles to Calle de Prim) has a row of eight ponds lined with white double doric columns;an equatorial sundial are nearby. The second and shortest stretch (from Calle Prim to Calle Almirante/Recoletos) contains the Café Gijón (number 21), an historic literary café founded in 1888 with an outdoor terraza on the boulevard.  On the fourth and last stretch (from Calle Bárbara de Braganza/Villanueva to Plaza de Colón) is the Café El Espejo (number 31), another quant café with an impressive glass pavilion influenced by Art Nouveau.

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The Madrid tourist office on the Paseo de Recoletoshttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/paseo-de-recoletos

The Paseo de la Castellana , commonly known as La Castellana, is one of the longest and widest avenues of Madrid. It is named after an old fountain that used to exist in Plaza de Castilla. It starts at Plaza de Colón, passes through the Nuevos Ministerios, Plaza de Lima, Plaza de Cuzco, Plaza de Castilla, and ends near the Nudo Norte (North Junction), connecting with the M-30 and the road to Colmenar Viejo. The Paseo de la Castellana is the continuation of Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado, and these three avenues vertebrate the north-south axis of the city. And of course, right up is the magnificent Estadio Santiago Bernabeu home of the greatest football/soccer club in history, the Real Madrid CF! 

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The Madrid tourist office on the Castellana neighborhood:https://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-neighbourhoods/castellana

At the quant Calle Cava Baja,if you’re hoping for an authentic Spanish street, this is it. The small, curved pathway (part cobblestone too) of Cava Baja is lined with some of Madrid’s most typical Spanish restaurants and bars. The street was once a jumping off point for postmen to take the mail from Madrid to the smaller villages outside the city back in the 17C. Today, it does retain a certain old-city charm, where you’ll find plenty of tapas bars, some with caves down below where you can eat and drink.

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The Calle Carretas , it is said that, in order to defend the watchtower of Puerta del Sol, the rebels built a barricade with carts. This street was one of the first streets in Madrid that had sidewalks in 1834. Later, at the end of the 19C, the street became famous for the number of shops specializing in orthopedic devices. Pedestrian since 2018, it is true that nowadays, the establishments on this street are more and more franchises from the world of fashion and textile and fewer traditional shops, but this is the irremediable trend that is pushing the world, The name came from the revolt that was unleashed, which is known as the War of the Communities. Toledo, Guadalajara, Valladolid, Zamora … the rebellious spirit spread like wildfire and that uprising ended up arriving in Madrid. In the case of this street, they used numerous carts to as barricades and, therefore, it began to be known as the “street of the carts”. Name that continues to be used to this day.  Some historical anecdotes on businesses there tell us of a certain Café Pombo ,a Madrid café located at Calle Carretas 4. Meeting place for artists who would become famous when, from 1912, the writer Ramón Gómez de la Serna decided to hold his literary gathering on Saturday nights, called La Sagrada cripta del Pombo, and which remained until 1942. Another place, historical in its own way, was the Café La Juventud, opened in the early years of the 20C, and which had, like many similar places at that time, a stage; in it, comedians such as Loreto Prado and Enrique Chicote made themselves known. Later, the building became the Romea Theater, which was demolished shortly before the Spanish Civil War.

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A pedestrian street, Calle de Preciados is located between Puerta del Sol and Plaza Callao. Department stores, brands of various standings, and above all a lively atmosphere! The locals rub shoulders with tourists, who come as much to shop as to stroll. One of my favorite streets even today we shop there a lot.

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Calle  de Preciados is named for two brothers who were civil servants in the 15C, working as almotacenes. That means they were in charge of monitoring the use of different measurements and coins by the different tradesmen operating in the neighbourhood.  at the end of the 19C, the Centro Numismático Matritense, a bureau de change, was established here.

Calle de Preciados begins at Puerta del Sol and ends at Plaza de Santo Domingo, passing through Callao, where it makes a jog. It is a street with various commercial premises and it occupies the fifth position of the streets in the world where the rent is more expensive. It is famous for the presence of El Corte Inglés and other international franchises. However, with my Mom Gladys we came to know it first by this anecdote!  In 1943 the businessman Pepín Fernández began his commercial activities in this central street by opening the Galerias Preciados, which took the name of the street. It’s considered to be Madrid’s first shopping center. It was eventually absorbed by El Corte Inglés, in 1995, but the building that was home to the galerías is still one of the most distinctive ones in the area. In fact, it’s served as a set for plenty of adverts and films, like ‘The Day of the Beast’ by Álex de la Iglesia. 

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One of the most notable buildings on the street, where it joins the Plaza de Callao, is occupied by FNAC. The acronym stands for the Fedération National d’Achats des Cadres, a French company specialising in cultural merchandise. Here you can buy everything from books and CDs to paraphernalia related to photography, computing and high technology.  

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On the Calle de Preciados was the Varela café, an emblematic place from the 19-20C, frequented by Miguel de Unamuno, Emilio Carrerè and the Machado brothers, among others. In 1973, it was one of the first pedestrian streets in the capital before the year 2000 and decided to open a hotel (Hotel Preciados) and recovers the Café Varela, which functions as a hotel cafeteria as well as for clients from outside.

The Calle del Carmen is in the Centro district of Madrid. It begins at Puerta del Sol and ends at Plaza del Callao. Currently it is one of the most commercial streets of the capital, highlighting among its shops the famous lottery administration of Doña Manolita,at No 22,  being a custom on the eve of the Christmas draw, its long queues to acquire a lottery ticket. It has intersections with Plaza del Callao ,Calle Salud, Calle Tetuán, Calle Galdo, Calle Rompelanzas, and Calle Mesonero Romanos.

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Also, my most frequented Real Madrid store is here at No 3.

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The Madrid tourist office on Doña Manolitahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/shopping/dona-manolita

The official Real Madrid on the store in Calle del Carmenhttps://www.realmadrid.com/en/santiago-bernabeu-stadium/stores/el-carmen-store?pid=139016521119

It is known the existence of a church of Carmen Calzado that would give the name to the street. The convent of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, calzado of San Dámaso, was located at the beginning of the street that intersects with Puerta del Sol is found the gate that gave rise to its name.  The statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree was located at the entrance to this street, and in 2009 it was relocated at the entrance to Calle de Alcalá. The painter Juan Gris was born in 1887 in the building at number 4 facing Calle Tetuán. The street was peatonise in 1993.

You can get to these areas of Madrid easily, walking or public transports. For info. Metro: Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3), Callao (lines 3 and 5) and Santo Domingo (line 2) stations. By train: Cercanías (commuter lines) C3 and C4, Sol station.  By bus: 1, 2, 46, 74, 75 146. 

For info work has started on the Puerta del Sol where things will be moving around including the Madroño bear, the idea to make it more pedestrian sort of what they already did with the Plaza de España.

The Madrid tourist office on shopping Preciados :https://www.esmadrid.com/en/sol-preciados-carmen-compras

There you go folks, a wonderful tour of the sublime streets of my Madrid, on foot is better I said! Hope you enjoy this bit of a tour of different sections and streets of my Madrid....And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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January 11, 2022

Casa de las Alhajas of Madrid!!

This is the thrill of walking any city and Madrid is a must to walk it. You will encounter many marvelous architecturally stunning buildings and with pleny of history. One of these not yet mention in my blog is the one known as the Casa de las Alhajas. I like to tell you a bit about it,hope you enjoy it as I.

The Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad building in Madrid, better known as Casa de las Alhajas, is located in the Plaza de San Martín 1. The main entrance at No 1. It has secondary accesses to the Calle Hileras,18, and calle San Martín,5, as well as a last one recently opened to the private Calle Francisco Piquer. It was built between 1870 and 1875, and now house the headquarters of the Montemadrid Foundation. The façade is a clear example of the architecture of the second half of the 19C. And its interior, organized around a central covered patio, has been conditioned for the new use of the Foundation and as a temporary exhibition hall. Best reach by metro Opéra lines 2, 5, and R coming out at plaza de Isabel II,go around walking to calle de la Priora to your right ,straight ahead becomes Calle de la Flora to the Plaza San Martin.

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It is located in the historic center of Madrid, in an area of ​​medieval origin known as the suburb of San Martín. It takes its name from the disappeared convent of San Martín, one of the first religious foundations in Madrid, originally located outside the walls, in the vicinity of the Puerta de Balnadú. It was the first convent founded in Madrid, in 1126. In the 15C it became a parish church, being one of the most important ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the city. At the beginning of the 19C, José Bonaparte (occupation of Napoleon) had the church of the complex, located in its northern part, demolished, thus expanding the Plaza de San Martín. In 1836, thanks to the confiscation of Mendizábal,(sep of State and Church), the convent passed into the hands of the State, becoming successively offices of the Civil Government, Provincial Delegation, court and stock exchange, Health Council, and Civil Guard headquarters. It was finally demolished in 1868, during the revolutionary Sexenio. (revolution of 1868) Part of the site was acquired by the Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad (a savings bank) to build its new headquarters.

In the patio had the operating room the counters for loans and pawns were located, and from there you could access the different dependencies, Around this central volume ran the different bays: in the north wing, facing the Plaza de San Martín, they were located the main entrance and the lobby, which had pictorial decoration similar to the patio, with rooms for accounting at the ends; the sales room was located in the east wing, a space for auctions with a capacity of 400 people and exterior access, from Calle San Martín; the warehouse was developed in the bay, conceived as an independent safe and limited access; finally, the chapel in the bay, which covered the original religious function of Monte de Piedad, also with access from the outside. The building also included the houses of the institution’s workers: the director occupied the main floor, the parish priest was located in the attic and the rest of the employees on the mezzanine floor.

The property is currently used as a private cultural endowment. The Casa de las Alhajas has remained the property of the Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad, which has adapted it to new uses compatible with the conservation of the property. After the disappearance of the savings bank, the property belongs to the Fundación Caja Madrid. the brand under which the Fundación Obra Social y Monte de Piedad de Madrid is presented, a Spanish foundation based in Madrid and whose objective is the development of social work and the management of the cultural heritage, it owns, as well as the operation of several centers of piety in some Spanish cities , The oldest of the Spanish savings banks, founded on December 3, 1702 as Monte de Piedad by the Aragonese priest Francisco Piquer. The savings bank existed until December 14, 2012, which became the special foundation Fundación Especial Caja Madrid. Subsequently, its name was changed to that of the ordinary foundation Fundación Montemadrid as of today.

The Madrid tourist office on the Casa de las Alhajashttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/casa-alhajas

There you go folks, another dandy building in sublime Madrid, my Madrid mind you… This is a pretty Casa de las Alhajas building in a wonderful old quant area of the city , worth the detour and a great walk around. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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January 11, 2022

The Puertas or Gates of Retiro Park of Madrid!!!

I had to come back to the Retiro park, yes it was practically my backyard, not far from my piso or apartment when lived in Madrid and many times running, chasing,and eating , playing you name it in it. The park of my first loves, my youth, my adolescent my early days of free life in my beloved dear Madrid. Even here, my journey with what later became my wife started, my dear late wife Martine (our first trip out of France with her I had to take her to Madrid and the Retiro was grand ) she always loved to come back each year with me and then with the boys. I can say my life can be resume with one word, Retiro. This is Madrid at its best, yes I know ,there are many wonderful monuments and great museums people go to, but for me this is it. If can only have time for one thing would be to come to the Retiro park.

It was home away from home and just love it enormously, can’t visit Madrid without been at the Parque del Buen Retiro! I have several posts in my blog because not only is my Spain ,but beautiful moments of my life; Retiro park, my Retiro, my Madrid!!  As written briefly before in separate posts, let me tell you again briedly the story on each gate taken from my library, It will be a trip in nostalgia lane for me, and hope you enjoy it too.

In 1865, a new street was opened in El Retiro that joins the Puerta de Alcalá with the Ronda de Atocha and the Atocha train station that has existed there since 1851. On the west side of the street, a new neighborhood is created in which today we find the Prado Museum, the Botanical Museum, the Spanish Academy of Language, the Casón del Buen Retiro and the Stock Exchange, as well as other official or private buildings. To the east, an iron fence was built that separated the street from the gardens. This street, with the initial name Calle de Granada, is the current Calle de Alfonso XII. Thus begins the construction of a fence that, together with the different puertas or gates that have been added throughout this century and a half, will delimit and close El Parque del Buen Retiro. This work will not end until 2001 with the last of the gates built: the Puerta del Ángel Caído.

The Puerta del Ángel Caído was not built until 2001, thus being the closest to the Atocha train station. Once crossed and after walking along the Paseo del Duque Fernán Núñez, we arrive at the Fountain that gives it its name.The Fallen angel fountain,

At about 300 meters down Calle de Alfonso XII; there we have the following entrance: the Puerta de Murillo. Like other gates that we will see along, it is an entrance that we could call a service entrance, formed simply by a lattice work and which leads to La Chopera, an area named for the poplars that are around it and which currently houses municipal sports facilities.

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Again, some 300 meters further on, and always following Calle de Alfonso XII, we have one of the most important gates in terms of design and history: the Puerta de Felipe IV or Mariana de Neoburgo. Its construction dates from 1680 and served as the entrance arch to the first wife of Carlos II, María Luisa de Orleáns. Later, in 1690, the sculptures on the sides of the arch were added, which correspond one to Mars and the other to Penelope. Mariana de Neoburgo, second wife of Charles II, entered the gate, and an inscription with her name was included on the gate’s under arch. Originally, the gate was located in what is now the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo (Neptune Fountain), since at that time El Retiro reached that area. In the middle of the 19C, it was the front of the disappeared Hermitage of San Juan, attached to the old palace and on whose site stands the Palacio de Comunicaciones/Cibeles, today the seat of the Madrid City Council. In 1922, it was installed in its current location, in front of the Casón del Buen Retiro and giving access to the Parterre of the park.

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Walking along and just 200 meters away, along Calle de Alfonso XII connecting with Calle Antonio Maura is the Puerta de España, (1893) giving way to the Paseo de Argentina, better known as Paseo de las Estatuas, a place that was previously occupied by the Plaza Grande of the old palace.It is made up of four columns and several entrances with barred doors that give access to the park. On the arch of the main door, we can see the republican coat of arms. If we enter through it, we will only have to go straight along the Paseo de las Estatuas to reach the pond.(Estanque).

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About 400 meters from the previous one, we leave the Calle de Alfonso XII and arrive at the Puerta de la Independencia, in the Plaza of the same name, in front of the Puerta de Alcalá. Done in 1817 as entry gate to the Casino de la Reina located in the Ronda de Toledo. In 1885 it was transferred to the Retiro park by the Cibeles fountain and square. and was installed here in 1885, It has two groups of Doric style columns on which two cupids rest, This was one of my most used gates living and visiting Madrid !

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We will turn to take Calle de Alcalá (my street ! ) in the direction of Calle O’Donnell, always, once again, leaving El Retiro on our right. About 200 meters from the last gate, we find the Puerta de Hernani,(another widely used gate by yours truly) which leads to the Paseo Salón del Estanque. It was made of iron in 1888 , replaced in 1943 for a bigger one, located in the Calle de Alcalà in front is my family Church Iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito, the one we see now. As soon as we enter, we see the promenade with two beautiful fountains, while, on one side of the gate, we have an underpass that allows us to cross the Calle de Alcalá underground and exit to Calle Lagasca. The possibility is being considered that the origin of its name is due to its location, next to Calle O’Donnell, and the fact that it is near the statue of General Espartero on horseback, both characters closely linked to the Hernani uprising, (Carlists wars).

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About 30 meters further on we arrive at the Puerta de Lagasca, in front of the street of the same name. Normally we have always seen it closed, it may be in disuse or a service gate in the park.

From the Puerta de Lagasca, we will continue for 400 meters, always leaving the park on our right; We will see, then, that the street divides in two; At that point, we will take Calle O’Donnell, leaving Calle de Alcalá on our left. There we have the Puerta de Madrid, one of the entrances, next to the Puerta del Ángel Caído, which gives access to the Paseo del Duque Fernán Núñez, better known this section as Paseo de Carruaje. It was designed in the last third of the 19C. Also, the longest in the Retiro park (the Promenade).

If we follow the 200 meters that separate us to the corner of the intersection of Calle O’Donnell and Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo, we arrive at the Puerta de O’Donnell. As we enter through it, we will see the Artificial Mountain and we will have the Casita del Pescador or Fisherman’s House nearby.

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To get to the Puerta de la América Española, located about 200 meters from the previous one at “O’Donnell”, we must take Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo to the south, leaving El Retiro on our right. Once we cross it, we will be on the Paseo de Colombia and, from there, among other routes, we will be able to visit the ruin of the Hermitage of San Pelayo and San Isidoro.

We continue walking another 200 meters to the south and we arrive at the Puerta de la Reina Mercedes. Located in front of the Calle de Ibiza, through it we enter the Paseo de Panamá, which we can walk to the Plaza de Guatemala; There, we continue along the Paseo de Chile and we will arrive at the Monument to Alfonso XII, after which we have the Retiro Pond or Estanque. Queen María de las Mercedes, occupied the throne of Spain as queen consort from her marriage to Alfonso XII, on January 23, 1878, until her death, five months later, on June 27, 1878. During her short reign, enthusiastic about the idea of ​​building a temple of adequate importance for the Virgen de la Almudena, she gave up the land where the Almudena Cathedral of Madrid stands today. Since 2000, it is there where she is buried, as had been the wish of Alfonso XII.

About 100 meters further south, we arrive at the Puerta de Sainz de Baranda, in front of the street of the same name. The previously called Calle del Límite received the name of Mayor Sainz de Baranda in memory of Don Pedro Sáinz de Baranda, the first constitutional mayor of Madrid (previously they had the name of Corregidores) after the proclamation of the Cadiz Constitution of 1812. And aka as La Pepa  was the first Constitution of Spain ,and one of the earliest constitutions in world history. Also, the first Spanish legislature that included delegates from the entire nation, including Spanish America and the Philippines.

The Puerta del Doce de Octubre, (October 12 discovery of the new America) in front of the street of the same name, is one of the entrances to the Cecilio Rodríguez Gardens. Cecilio Rodríguez Cuevas, a native of Valladolid, entered the Madrid City Council as an apprentice gardener when he was 8 years old and ended his professional life as Director of the Department of Parks and Gardens of the same city council. In 1914, he was appointed Senior Gardener of the Retiro park, one of his best works being the Rose Garden of the park.(Rosaleda)!

At 100 meters, in front of the Niño Jesús University Children’s Hospital, we have the Puerta de Herrero Palacios. We enter the area where the Cecilio Rodríguez Gardens are located and is the closest to the Palacio de Cristal or Crystal Palace. The architect Don Manuel Herrero Palacios was Director of Municipal Parks and Gardens in the 60s of the 20C.

Are you with me ? We continue right along for another 300 meters to the south along Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo, we arrive at the Puerta de Granada. Through it, we can access the Paseo de Uruguay within El Retiro and get through it to the Rosaleda and the Fuente del Ángel Caído. This gate was one of the last to be installed in 2001

About 100 meters further south, we have the Puerta del Niño Jesús (another gate frequent by yours truly) in front of the Plaza of the same name, through which we enter the Paseo del Duque Fernán Núñez that takes us to the Rosaleda (rose garden). Before reaching it, there is an old building from 1850 in the shape of a tower called Castillete Metereológico, in which it is planned to install the Museum of Meteorology. In it, the first optical telegraph dependent on the Astronomical Observatory was installed. As of late still in the works.

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From the Puerta del Niño Jesús, we turn slightly to the right; Following the trellis of the park and after about 300 meters, we arrive at the Puerta de Dante, dedicated, as its name suggests, to Dante Alighieri, writer, among other works, of the well-known Divine Comedy.

We finally reached the Puerta de Mariano de Cavia, located on the corner of Avenida Menéndez Pelayo and Calle Esteban de Villegas. This will be the last of our route and is about 200 meters from the previous one.

And of course, hope you enjoy the walk amongst these wonderful gates of the gorgeous magnificent Parque del Buen Retiro or Retiro park of Madrid. The total walking distance of the above is about 3,5 km! enjoy it!!!

The Madrid tourist office on the Retiro parkhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

The city of Madrid with a detail map of Retiro park in pdf file good for printing and take alonghttps://www.madrid.es/UnidadesDescentralizadas/ZonasVerdes/Parques/Retiro/2021/Plano%20con%20puertas%20y%20viales.%20Jardines%20El%20Buen%20Retiro.pdf

There you go folks, a best detail description of the Puertas or gates of the Parque del Buen Retiro or Retiro park of my beloved Madrid. Hope you enjoy the reading and do take the tour, awesome!

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

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January 11, 2022

Retiro and the Florida of Madrid!!!

And I bring you back in time when as a boy came here first by the hand of my dear late mom Gladys, I am trying to bring back memorable places for me and my family over the years. The Retiro park is first on the list, playing there since childhood, then my boys did it too ! There is one spot there that brings back many memorable moments on its own, I like to tell you and bring back the memory of the Retiro park and the cultural center now restaurant Florida park in it, Hope you all enjoy it as I.

This one is very especial because it started out when just a young boy living in Madrid in the crazy 1970’s. The old Florida Park, inside the Retiro park, spectacles and fine dining with a show, the very best, and very nostalgic. Way back in my youth this was a community center where dances were held, now if you had a girl you could come here . I did. And, also, participated in several birthday celebrations of friends, mine and the girl….It is said you cannot forget your first real love at the tender age of 10 lol!

You can come in the Parque del Buen Retiro park at  Paseo de la República de Panamá, closest metro is Ibiza line 9. By the Calle Ibiza and the Puerta de la Reina Mercedes (gated entrance of the queen mercedes) straight in you will see the Florida Retiro ahead. I have mix older and newer pictures in this post,for the memories of always!

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If you have read my blog you know this was my hangout place since teen years and always a memorable spot to come back to it with the family. Of course ,now the place is very chic and needs reservations for a great show. It is an ancient place where artists such as Concha Velasco, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Plácido Domingo, and Montserrat Caballé made one of the best nocturnal schedules of the moment.  Old Florida Park Madrid was never dull and always great surprises night after night, thanks to its good atmosphere of beautiful people, excellent music and repeatable evenings. Where you can see the Parque del Buen Retiro, the heart and soul of Madrid.

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Now let me tell what is there now for the last few years under new management.  Florida Retiro is a multiple area consisting of six different spaces . These are ,

La Terraza, hidden among the trees of the famous park from where you can experience the Madrid sunsets. The Pabellon or pavilion is an elegant place overlooking the park through its large window. The Sala or hall, is the essential of the night of Madrid. With its dinner-show that combines gastronomy, leisure and fun.  The Galeria or Gallery is the ideal bar to meet friends for drinks with tapas and portions, based on Madrid cuisine.

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There are ,also kiosks of different outlook such as a fun area converted into a market consisting of six positions that have been given names related to the Retiro Park ; like the La Jacinta, in honor of Jacinto Benavente, is the place of wisdom, El Estanque (pond) and La Bellota (acorn) to acquire drinks, La Casa de Vacas, (cows house) where the meat stand is located. The La Alcachofa (artichoke), referring to the source, to savor pickles, charcuterie and cheese and La Gloriosa,(glorious) evoking the revolution that opened the doors of the Retiro park to Madrid, for tapas and pintxos. Also, from Thursday to Sunday, you can attend the best live flamenco. And finally, La Cúpula is the area to have a cocktail en live with electronic music and disco until the wee hours of the morning.

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The Florida Retiro entertainment complex webpage : https://floridapark.es/en/

The Madrid tourist office on Florida Retirohttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/restaurants/florida-park

There you go folks, a dandy memorable place indeed, Always looking forward to stop by on my many trips to Madrid, Glad my sons were able to enjoy too and now a memorable spot for them too, The Retiro park is sublime and the Retiro Florida a great place to be , keep in mind on your next visit to the city, Hope you enjoy the post and remember the place in my beloved Madrid!

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

January 10, 2022

The Centro Cultural Conde Duque of Madrid!!

And I am back in the neighborhoods of off the beaten path areas of my beloved Madrid. This is pretty well known building already but seldom visitors dare go to this real Madrid area, and they should. Let me tell you about the  Centro Cultural Conde Duque or the Cultural Center Count Duke of Madrid!!

The CondeDuque Contemporary Culture Center  Calle Conde Duque, 11. The metro lines that can get you there are Noviciado , and Plaza de España on lines 2, 3 and 10, San Bernardo on lines 2 and 4 and Ventura Rodríguez on line3, Several bus lines best the No 2. The Conde Duque is located in the heart of the Universidad neighborhood (belonging to the Centro district of Madrid), which is limited by the streets of Princesa, Gran Vía, Fuencarral, Carranza and Alberto Aguilera. The neighborhood gets its name from the Central University, opened in 1843 on Calle de San Bernardo, in the old Jesuit novitiate.

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It was built in the early 18C (worked began in 1717 finished in 1730) to house the Royal Guards Corps. Two centuries (and two fires) later, the 58,000-square-meter barracks was on the brink of demolition due to its poor condition, but the insistence of the public to use it for public use managed to save it. The Royal Guards Corps barracks formed part of the optical telegraph communication system devised in Spain in the 19C. The telegraphy tower located in this barracks was number 1 of the Castilla Line that communicated Madrid with Irún. This tower communicated with the headquarters of the Royal Post Office at Puerta del Sol.

The current and reformed CondeDuque not only serves as a cultural container for the city, it also houses part of its history with the Villa Archive , the Historical Library, the Municipal Newspaper Library, the Musical Library and the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art.  It was intended for cultural and leisure activities for all audiences. Concerts, exhibitions, ferias or cinema cycles take place both indoors and in its large central patio. The Conde Duque center also has multi-purpose rooms, a theater and a modern reception hall.

Regarding its name, there have been different versions of the origin. On the basis of some writings of Mesonero Romanos from the 19C, the idea spread that it was due to the Count-Duke of Olivares, valid of King Felipe IV. However, another hypothesis indicates that this name comes from being based on the site of the previous palace of the Count of Aranda and Duke of Peñaranda. Other, more recent investigations suggest that the Conde Duque or Count-Duke in question would be the III Duke of Berwick y Liria, also Count of Lemos, who promoted the construction of the neighboring Palace of Liria, and whose family retained ownership of the barracks grounds until 1943. 

The official CondeDuque Cultural Centerhttps://www.condeduquemadrid.es/

The Madrid tourist office on the CondeDuquehttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/conde-duque

There you go folks a dandy neighborhood of wonderful architecture in chic Madrid. This is right off Calle de la Princesa where we went walking to the Conde Duque. Hope you enjoy this bit of off the beaten path walk in my Madrid.

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

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January 10, 2022

The Capilla del Hospital del Niño Jesús of Madrid!!

Another dandy in my beloved Madrid that I passed by many times and visited with my dear late mother Gladys. The rest of the family eventually came on too and it is a memorable spot for me when in Madrid that thanksfully is very frequent . The fact that it is facing the marvelous Retiro park is a must to visit across the Menendez Pelayo street. Let me tell you a bit more on this off the beaten path monument of my Madrid, the Capilla del Hospital del Niño Jesús or the Chapel of the Hospital of the Child Jesus !!

The Capilla del Hospital del Niño Jesús or Chapel of the Hospital of the Child Jesus stands in the center of the hospital complex, on Calle Menéndez Pelayo,65, in front of the Retiro Park. It was built during the 19C, beginning the works on November 6, 1879 and finished at the beginning of December 1881, just when it was inaugurated. It was the first hospital in Spain dedicated exclusively to children. The Duchess of Santoña, Doña María Hernández y Espinosa, was the one who promoted the creation of it, a woman who made many trips abroad and had seen similar hospitals. After obtaining authorization and obtaining funds through donations on January 14, 1877, the first children’s hospital located in Calle Los Laureles was founded. In 1881 they moved to Calle Menéndez Pelayo, Its construction is in the Neo-Mudejar style, obtaining several gold medals in European exhibitions. The infirmary and the quartermaster of the center were put by the Duchess in the hands of the Daughters of Charity of San Vicente de Paúl, an institution present in Madrid since September 3 1800.

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It is to be noted the fact that it was the headquarters of the Parish Church of San Vicente Ferrer from the 50s to the last quarter of the 20C, from then on, due to the poor condition of the building, the temple had to be closed and its parochiality transferred to the chapel. of the Gregorio Marañón Hospital, remaining closed for twenty years until it was reopened in 1997.

The Chapel of the Hosptial Child Jesus is located in the center of the hospital building, with a rectangular layout and is made up of a single nave. On the sides of the chapel there are two lateral towers for bell towers and in its center, there is a third that supports the chime of the electric clock that at the time gave the time of the entire hospital. In the upper part of the façade there are three niches. The central one, longer than it is wide, crowned by a rose window, has an image of the Child Jesus. Other two on the sides of the entrance door, one with an image of Saint Vincent de Paul with an infant and another with the Miraculous Virgin with a child in her hands. There is also a double staircase that facilitates the entrance to the temple that saves the height difference with the street separated by a fence. There are ten stained glass windows in the building, five on each side that give the interior a pleasant colorful light, made by the Casa Mayer, the artistic value of these windows deserved a public exhibition in January 1882 at the Real Academia de San Fernando. Its neo-Gothic interior in a single nave, has the choir on the upper floor, and communicates with the ground floor by a beautiful spiral staircase made of iron. This is connected by two galleries to the dependencies of the Community of the Sisters of the Daughters of Charity, where they used to stay.

In the center of the lower body, under a portal with a semicircular arch, is the main entrance flanked by two niches. The one on the left corresponds to the Miraculous Virgin and the one on the right, to Saint Vincent de Paul (founder of the Sisters of Charity) with an infant. In the upper body, there are three other niches, highlighting the central one with the figure of the Child Jesus. Above the latter and under the gabled roof, a glazed rose window appears which, together with the ten stained-glass windows in the building, five per side, gives its interior a pleasant color, especially on sunny days. Two bell towers on the sides and a central tower with an electric clock around which the hours of the hospital were adjusted, serve as the culmination of this unique façade. The High Altar is presided over by the Virgen de la Victoria, to whom the chapel is consecrated, with a background of golden lily flowers. The High Altar and the candelabra, both those arranged on both sides of the Virgin, and those on the foot, are made of gold-carved metal with floral motifs. Then there is a first marble balustrade, and a second one made of iron, like that of the upper corridors and the choir separating the Altar from the faithful. The pulpit, also neo-Gothic, is carved in wood and has a parapet with its horn. On the parapet there are paintings made on metal plates embedded in the wood where the four Latin Fathers of the Church appear. In the turntable, the central pinnacle stands out.

Very easy to find as across from the Retiro park on Calle Menendez Pelayo, 65. The metro line 6 stop Sainz de Baranda (my stop when on business trips); and the bus line 26  stop Hospital Niño Jesus.

The Comunidad de Madrid regional govt webpage on the hospital : https://www.comunidad.madrid/hospital/ninojesus/nosotros/historia

There you go folks a dandy beautiful chapel in a wonderful spot in my Madrid. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit it, worth the detour. The Capilla del Hospital del Niño Jesús is one more reason , Madrid is to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!

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

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January 10, 2022

The Spanish Air Force building in Madrid!

Ok there you go another dandy in the off the beaten path trail of my beloved Madrid. Ok you can visit the historical part with proper permission from the ministry or in a tour group like I did several years back. I always keep a souvenir picture and why not included in my blog for nostalgia’s sake. Therefore, here is my take on the Spanish Air Force building in Madrid!

The General Headquarters of the Air Force is located in the Argüelles neighborhood part of the Moncloa-Aravaca district in Madrid. It was in the middle of the 20C, between the period between 1939 and 1977, when it held a ministerial department in charge of civil and military aviation in Spain. At present it is a barracks HQ of the Spanish Air Force, since its disappearance as a ministry. It is a Neo-Herrerian style building. It is the headquarters of the Air Force and where the units of the Air Force Headquarters Group (ACGEA) and the Air Force Historical and Cultural Service (SHYCEA) are located.

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A bit of history I like

In 1854 it is mentioned in the area of ​​the existence of the North Barracks of the Villa and Court of Madrid. The construction of the building in Moncloa has a certain significance for the moment in which it is done, at the end of the Spanish Civil War and taking advantage of the openings of a prolonged battle for almost two and a half years, At the beginning of the 20C, the area that the building will occupy is occupied in part by the Model Prison (sad stories). After the Coup d’état of July 1936, Madrid remains in the area loyal to the Spanish Republic (leftist govt), and soon becomes a military target of the rebel forces (Nationalist fascists). The advance to Madrid led to the Battle of the University City, this warlike confrontation in the heart of Moncloa, began the defense of Madrid with its front line being a few meters from the location of the current building. The projectiles and the intense bombardment of the area cause the Model Prison to be badly damaged. This was an important battle that finally surrended Madrid in the Spanish Civil War.

After the Spanish Civil War, it was decided to restore the Moncloa area and an urban project for the area was started. The area was known in those years as the Plaza de los Caídos or Fallen square of Madrid. This situation led to the choice of the Arguelles-Moncloa wasteland as the building site, which was the area of the great battle. Since 1940, different locations have been sought for the future building, and after various options the Moncloa site is chosen. The official inauguration of the construction with the laying of the first stone takes place on December 10, 1943. The Portico de Honor or Honor gate is built early 1953 when the work is in an advanced stage of construction , Although the building was not completely finished until 1958, by 1954 it was already fulfilling its mission.

It has 1,225 windows and 253 balconies and about 105 dormitories, In addition to the staircase of Honor, it has about ten stairs inside. The façade is made of exposed brick and the cladding is made of granite and limestone from Colmenar. The roofs are made of slate, on reinforced concrete slabs, terrazzo and marble floors in the Honor area. The building regularly shows a height of six stories, except for the four side towers that reach eight, The Portico de Honor is made up of four elegant granite half columns of the Tuscan style with three doors opening in the Portico. It is large in size and is inspired by the schemes of the El Escorial monastery and the Prado Museum. Made of granite and brick, its four corners are topped with tall square towers of eight stories each, and typically Madrid slate spiers. The bourse that forms a square is owned by the Madrid City Council. The rectangular floor plan of the building leaves inside a regular distribution of three large interior patios. The Central or also called Honor courtyard of 37 x 35 meters, where the windows of the noble rooms of the building go, while the other two are identical and 52 x 30 meters fulfill mere functional squares.

The Madrid tourist office on the Air Force HQhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/cuartel-general-ejercito-aire

The official Ministry of Defense on the Air Force HQhttps://ejercitodelaire.defensa.gob.es/EA/ejercitodelaire/en/

There you go folks, you need to move away from the center to see this marvel of a building, near the Faro de Moncloa, Museum of the Americas etc (see posts). Hope you enjoy, the Ejercito del Aire or Air Force HQ, and get you to come to this part of my beloved Madrid.

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

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January 7, 2022

Always the Puerta del Sol of Madrid!!!

Looking back in nostalgia of my older posts, notice have some pictures not included yet. These new finds were on the Puerta del Sol of Madrid!!! OF course, how can I skip these pictures of always from my dear Madrid! Therefore, will give something new in the text with older pictures to complete my sequence of this venerable beautiful square. Hope you enjoy as always the Puerta del Sol of Madrid!!!

Mad puerta del Sol 24jan10

The Puerta del Sol is one of the most celebrated places in Madrid and the meeting point par excellence for the inhabitants and tourists of Madrid. It opens up some of the most important places and buildings in the capital, such as

Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, is the work of the sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé and was inaugurated in 1967. located at the start Calle de Alcalá, you will see the statue of the symbol of Madrid; the madroño, and is one of the most popular points of encounters of the capital.

Equestrian statue of Carlos III, nine meters high. It is a bronze reproduction preserved in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. It was erected in 1994.

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Kilometer zero in front of the Post Office is located in the square since 1950, the current one is a new plaque placed in 2009. The Zero Kilometer of the Puerta del Sol is indicated by the sun and the tourists usually never leave Madrid without having taken a photo of it.

Statue of the Mariblanca. It is a reproduction of the original, which is in the Casa de la Villa,(see post) the statue was part of a fountain installed in Puerta del Sol, it has been installed since 2009.

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For many years, the advertising poster for “Tio Pepe” banished from its preferential place and replaced by the apple logo of the Apple store. However, back by popular demand of the inhabitants of Madrid in 2014.

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Two plaques on the façade of the Casa de Correos, (post office bdlg) dedicated, one to the Heroes of the Popular Uprising of May 2 1808, and the other to the victims of the March 11 2004 terrorists attacks and to the people who collaborated on the day of the catastrophe.

In the 19C, the Puerta del Sol was totally transformed, and it is between 1857 and 1862, after the demolition of a certain buildings, which adopts the current appearance . It was the seat of many historical events such as:

The mutiny of Esquilache, in 1766.
Resistance against Napoleon’s troops on May 2, 1808.
In 1812 the proclamation of the constitution of 1812 (Cadiz).
The proclamation of Fernando VII as king in 1812.
In 1861 attack against Queen Isabel II.
April 14, 1931. Proclamation of the Second Republic.

Mad puerta del Sol christmas dec08

The clock of the Casa de Correos or Post Office is known throughout Spain for being the place where the famous carillon of the Puerta del Sol  is at since 1962. It is on the Puerta del Sol that meets the old and the new year with thousands of people to eat the twelve grapes and celebrate the new year.  It is indeed the great clock which presides over one of its buildings which is responsible for wishing the Spaniards a Happy New Year.

The Casa de Correos or post office was built between the years 1766 and 1768. Throughout its history it has performed various functions as headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior , General Directorate of State Security during the Franco dictatorship and currently houses the Headquarters of the Presidency of the Community of Madrid. 

If you are looking for more shopping, you will have the possibility to see a lot of good things on the main streets around the Puerta del Sol, sublime shopping!!! Head for the Calle Mayor, where you go you will see the Plaza Mayor; Calle del Arenal that will take you to the Royal Opera ; Calle Preciados and Calle Montera that links with the Gran Via; and Calle Carretas that relies the Plaza Jacinto Benavente square at the Puerta del Sol. See my many posts on shopping in Madrid!

The Madrid tourist office on the Puerta del Solhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-del-sol

The city of Madrid on the Puerta del Sol (in Spanish long thread): https://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/El-Ayuntamiento/Centro/Direcciones-y-telefonos/Puerta-del-Sol/?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=af0ae1abeee79410VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=cac1d47ffee28010VgnVCM100000dc0ca8c0RCRD

There you go folks, a dandy wonderful sublime beautiful square that never ceases to amaze me each time there! Nostalgic hugely since walking on it to get my souvenirs and shoes with my Mom Gladys and later with my wife Martine and the boys, memories forever! The Puerta del Sol is the beaten heart of Madrid me think.

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

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