Posts tagged ‘Madrid’

May 1, 2017

One more time, Retiro park, Madrid!

Again and again, the Retiro park is magical in Madrid. It is the place to be for visitors and locals alike and my childhood park par excellence. My mother will take me here for strolls and boat rides , that are still the norm of many families.

El Parque del Buen Retiro has been written before in my blog on several occasions so won’t dwell on it too long.  Just the tourist office of Madrid on it:

There are many facets to the park, and even thus most guides tells you to see in one day, you really need two if wants to know all its history. The Retiro park is mythical, romantic, adorable, a big green space in the middle of Madrid, and a past time for many generations of families ,including mine.

I could not be by Madrid without stopping by at Retiro and see every corner of it if not in one passing on the next. The park has remained the same, like a photo of history, and that of Madrid.

You have the popular palaces of Velazquez and Cristal, the fisherman house, the gardens and the sports fields of Chopera as well as that lake full of boats. I visited some spots this time.

However, let me give you some anecdotes of the park. In 2001, the city hall of Madrid decided to empty the lake to fix a problem of water loss. They found 192 chairs, 40 small boats, 41 tables, 3 garbage containers, 50 mobile telephones, umbrellas, wallets, pairs of shoes, and many others!

In 2010, the underground works in the area known as the «las Estufas»  boilers,, it was discovered two tunnels of bricks of unknown origins; a canalization of water from Arabic time around the 10C, part of the installation of the Royal Factory of Porcelain of the reign of Carlos III and the trenches fortifications of the Napoleonic troops or of the Civil War are some of the thesis for these tunnels.

In the older days swimming was allowed now only boating is done, on water temperature of 4C at midday.  In the movie, the “Circus World” in 1963, the city empty the lake so the filming can be done in the middle of the lake. Actors John Wayne, Rita Hayworth ,and Claudia Cardinale.

The lake as was known as the Big lake of Retiro or the “Estanque Grande de El Retiro”, as the official name was built by king Felipe IV to recreate naval battles where he himself participated. The artificial lake is 280 meters long by 140 meters wide and a depth from 60 cm to 1,80 meters. Even with this depth many incidents of suicide were attempted.

It has ,also, an impressive tree such as the Ahuehuete also known as Mexican cypress ,planted in 1630. It is located in the Parterre section where you can see it going in by the calle Alfonso XII. the tree measures 25 meters and looks like a candelabra as from its base many branches very thick comes out.

You will see pictures of the Bosque del Recuerdo ,done in 2005  as a garden inside the park to remembered the victims of the terrorist attack of March 11 in Madrid.  It is a wonderful garden indeed and worth the detour in the park to see it.

You will see the Egyptian Fountain of the Canopian god  or better known as the Egyptian Fountain; this is the Fuente Egipcia del Dios Canopo,( Fuente Egipcia), a monumental fountain erected in the last part of the 19C to enhance the sides of the big lake in a neo Egyptian style with traces of neo classical.

You will find caves like buildings with a devilish figure on top or strange figures; these are several all around the old Casa de las Fieras or wild animal house which was part of the old zoo in the park;now it is a learning center keeping its wonderful ceramic tile work in the Jardines del Architecto Herrero Palacios or garden of architect Herrero Palacios.

There is a famous fountain to the devil there or Angel Caido, fallen angel, but the one I like is that of Alcachofas, or Fuente de la Alcachofa. This one was raised in the last part of the 18C  facing the old vallecas gate or Puerta de Vallecas, and passed on to the Retiro park in 1880; there is a replica in bronze in the Atocha square in 1986.

The boating in the lake is wonderful and very highly recommended to all visitors, and will have the opportunity to mingle with locals as it is very popular. In my days ,you could rent paddle boats, foot pedals and oar boats, today they are all oar boats for rent. There is a small house on the extreme left facing the lake to rent them; rentals 6€ weekdays,8€ weekends. And, the men do the oars ok ::)

Another wonderful garden inside the Retiro park is that of the Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez (for many years the park’s gardener) ;this is by Paseo Uruguay in the park. You will see here many things including the fuente de las Gaviotas,(seagulls fountain)  and the wonderful figure statue of Venus , and see the colony of Peacocks there.

The entrances by avenida Menendez Pelayo are very nice such as those by the Puerta del Niño Jésus or Puerta de Murillo as well as the Paseo del Duque Fernàn Nunez. The Paseo del Duque Fernàn Nunez is name after the first Duke who had a castle nearby there ,and gave the land for the the park was turn into a Royal grounds and finally made available to the public in 1868.  Right on this paseo or street you will see the before mentioned fountain of the Fallen Angel done in 1874 on request by the duke in turn.

The Puerta del Niño Jésus, is located on the square of the same name where you entered the Paseo de del Duque Fernàn Nunez  that takes you to the  Rosaleda (rosary garden). Before reaching the Rosaleda see an old building from 1850 with a tower that is the Castillete Metereológico (sort of meteorological  small castle) ,inside ,it was installed the first optic telegraph of which depended from the Real  Observatorio Astronómico (Royal Astronomic Observatory).

And ,you have the Puerta de Murillo, by the Calle de Alfonso XII; this is an access gate to the park  with an wrough iron gate that takes you to the municipal sports complex of La Chopera inside the Retiro park. This area is known as chopera for the black poplar trees found around it. At La Chopera sports complex you can practice Handball, Football, Indoor Football, Football 7, gym, paddle, Tennis, and Basketball. I played football. Soccer when a boy and could not find a better park for it.

In all , again, a magical place of my magical Madrid, a great city, great ambiance, very friendly, plenty of choices and great food. Not to mention, darn, the best park around, Retiro park. To many enjoy your Labor Day, May 1st ,off day for the workers. I go back tomorrow, but another 4 day weekend coming up lol!

Cheers y’all. Hasta pronto por Madrid.

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May 1, 2017

Madrid and my Bernabeu and Elipa!

Two memorable parks of my youth one and of always the other, without them Madrid will be just another city in my world map. I grew up there, playing baseball in the Elipa and part of the Real Madrid organization in Benjamin division at casa de Campo, the old training and field grounds ,then became a Madridista for life and Bernabeu is my second home.

Another chance to be by Madrid and of course, could not resist in stopping by even if there were no games just been around these places is special to me. Lucky enough to be able to be back and see them often.

The temperature was nice and sunny around the 23C (73F)  in the afternoons and going down to 10C  (50F) in the evenings. A nice way to walk the city.

I first went to the Elipa park or the Parque Municipal de la Elipa; this is part of my district where I used to lived in the 70’s. It is surrounded in the north by El Carmen (near mine in Quintana) neighborhood , east by the cementary La Almudena (of Cathedral fame)  , to the south by the neighborhood of Moratalaz, and to the west the avenida de la Paz (or the beltway M-30) . It is part of the neighborhood of Ventas (of the bullfight arena monumental fame),and the district is Ciudad Lineal (same as mine), in Madrid.

I always came here by bus in my times it was the P13 and with the new EMT Madrid transport of modern Spain, the numbers were change,and now is the line 113. In 2007, (finally) ,they open a metro line 2 La Elipa , that is at the intersection of the streets avenida del Marqués de Corbera and calle Santa Felicidad.

I played for a team sponsored by the Real Madrid FC organization with the same name in a league of about 8 teams, most of the equipement was provided by the US air force base at Torrejon de Ardoz. Some of the teams I remember other than mine were, the Rayo Vallecano, Atlético de Madrid, Condepols, Piratas, Abraham Lincoln school, and the US air base team. The Spanish were learning the sport of Baseball and it was fun to be able to teach as well as played.

Today the Madrid baseball/softball federation is base there with a training school and the sports field has been enlarged to offer programs in Basketball, Baseball, Football, indoor football, musculation and gym, swimming, padel, tennis, table tenis,and Volleyball. Also, a batting cage for practices batting the baseball,and nudist zone. More info here in Spanish from the city (sorry for the length) :

And the Madrid baseball and softball federation org is here:

And in Spanish what the Real Madrid baseball club won, the best of its time as well !

I walked from my hotel along calle del Pez Volador and calle del Dr Esquerdo along parque de Roma, you see the Spain tower of television and radio RTVE, a sight indeed, and then crossing the passarelle bridge over the beltway M-30 (that was just finished when I left Madrid in 1974 for good), and into the street on the other side turning left you go to a traffic circle and then see the signs for La Elipa ,follow it and you are there in 15 minutes! A memorable trip and photos that now I can show my sons until August which we will be back and can show in person. memories forever of my Madrid!!!

Of course, on the way back with time between flights, left Madrid T4 terminal to go and pay a visit to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and a chance to have lunch by there. The Real Café Bernabéu was closed for lunch already to headed for the restaurant TGIF in the La Esquina del Bernabeu building by the plaza del Sagrado Corazon,and avenida Concha Espina.

Real Café Bernabeu link:

The restaurant was great as usual and I ask to hurry up as needed to get back to the airport and they did it very fast, my burger, bacon and fries and a jarra or pint of Mahou Cinco Estrellas Madrid beer; all with a nice view of the square or plaza Sagrado Corazon.

The TGIF link:

Before,had my walk on the mythical stadium. The link:

The tourist office link in English:

I have been to the stadium several times over my life and never enough. I always dream of living not far from it and just spend my times there , around and inside…. It is what the true fan wish for all our lives.  Did you know that Don Santiago Bernabéu’s  mother was Cuban from Camagüey? And that he had no child from his wife(since 1940 who died in 1987) Maria Valenciano!

Why we name the stadium:

History and description of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu,

When I go , always go for the Fondo Sur (south) bleechers by the avenida Concha Espina, you can have the Fondo norte(north) by the calle Rafael Salgado, lateral Este (East) by calle Pedro Damiàn, and lateral Oeste (West) by Paseo de la Castellana. A quick walk around of the stadium before buying your ticket will give an idea.  There are four towers around the stadium with tower A between fondo sur and lateral este , tower B  between fondo sur and lateral oeste,tower C between lateral oeste and fondo norte and tower D between fondo norte and lateral este. You then have zones, in each section divided in six levels from those in the fondos closest to the field, to tribuna, and antitheater’s or theaters three laterals and four fondo with the fourth fondo the most far away from the field.

To read your ticket see the numbers : you have the puerta or gate to get in, then the color to show the section ,like mine are Red for fondo sur.Green is fondo norte, Purple for laterals and Blue for the tribunes and preferential seating.  Then the ticket show the vomitorios or exit lanes, this is the passage that takes you to the bleacher’s and tribunes, antitheater etc by which you walk to leave the stadium once the game is over.

Then, you go for your sector seating, this is a 3 digit number on your ticket usually with a letter. Once you reach inside passing before reaching the bleacher’s you need to go to your sector; these are divided in lanes or aisles so the even numbers are on your right and the odd numbers on your left; easy up to now ::) The first number means your level up the ladder in the stadium zone you purchase, the second number  and third pinpoint the seat so the first number may means high level, the second number tribune, and the third number a antitheater. If a first time, can be confusing but there is always personnel around to help you find your seat at all times.  Finally, there is your seat number indicated on the ticket and on each chair! easy I said.

Now arriving in Madrid ,how to get to the stadium? again easy all roads lead to Bernabéu! I have use them all and the car is still best ::) Only you need to be there early underground parking available or nearby. Then, you can walk from your hotel -2km is a good walking distance here go ahead! Then ,for the more social transport folks there is the cercanias or suburban trains, where you will reach the station Nuevos Ministerios from C-1, C-3, C-4, C-7  or C-10 trains. Afterward you can walk about 10 minutes or take the metro line 10 to Santiago Bernabéu stop . You have last I counted 7 bus lines passing by the stadium such as No. 14, 27, 40, 43, 120, 147 ,and  150. And of course, the metro/subway/tube on line 10 Santiago Bernabéu go up on the stadium exit (see picture) then once out turn to your right and see the Stadium!!! If you arrive from other city in Spain usually by Atocha then take line 1 metro to stop Tribunal, and the the above mentioned line 10.

Ahh tickets to the game , the official Real Madrid site is the best  and sure; see next game Champions league vs AM is from 80€ and up:

Other reliable ticket places are ticketbureau here:

or ticketmaster here:

I have good experiences with ticketmaster and Real Madrid sites, never use ticketbureau but friends tells me is ok too.

By the way, I was in A Coruña in a bar (see previous post) where saw the Real Madrid winning 2×6! and now they have beaten Valencia 2×1, and tomorrow there is the first game of the Champions league vs Atlético de Madrid!!Hala Madrid!!! for all the glory in football/soccer and basketball we won the derby vs Estudiantes and in Final Four of Europa! Hala Madrid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you are looking for a hotel for a game there, or just to see Madrid away from the tourist hordes, than I recommend the one I have always use when in town for a game; Holiday Inn Plaza de Carlos Trias Bertrán, 4;link here:

sorry again for the long thread but I am not technical lol!!

To eat, there are plenty other than the above mentioned places you have the La Esquina Asador Sidreria and Zen Market in the Real Madrid complex. Also, Alduccio, Jose Luis ,Tony Roma’s, Gelateria La Romana dal 1947, Bar Campanoli, Lateral, and Restaurante L’Albufera to name a few walking distance that I had tried over the years.

In all, near the Nuevos Ministerios transports hub you have an El Corté Inglés department store and an FNAC electronics/books/cd store that is a good spot to be around these two for shopping. Closer to the stadium you have the AZCA  or Moda complex of stores. links here:

In all, this is Madrid, and with the famous Bernabéu in tow and the true local Elipa to see the real living of the locals, you will have the best of both worlds and appreciate Madrid even more. I am enjoying my Labor Day May 1st off at home and now ready to go out for a spin.

Cheers y’all!

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April 30, 2017

And again Madrid, never enough, Madrid to heavens ….

I am lucky enough to come back to Madrid often in the last few years. I used to lived here for 4,and left an image in my mind of good times, never to forget, or as the saying goes Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! I was back in Madrid last week.

I arrived on Iberia from Nantes France very early and took advantage of some time off to walk the city and enjoy it fully; walking brings back many memories of youth, and my mother. You know the esmadrid tourist office so will skip that now.

I am very happy with Iberia, easy flights, good prices and on time, in addition to the Adolfo Suarez airport Madrid-Barajas has been name the best airport in 2017 by a survey of airport users which they proudly post it in the gate areas.  Here is their link:

I had some time before the hotel check in so decided to have lunch on the road. Headed straight for the Atocha area and El Brillante. A wonderful place with great views of the train station Atocha on one side and the Reina Sofia museum on the back. Great chorizo sandwiches and a Mahou 5stars beer and see the world go by you, superb.  More here:

The Atocha was packed as always and so was the Reina Sofia museum with a line down the stairs all the way to the street at the Plaza Emperador Carlos V!  I did walk Paseo del Prado and saw the Caixa Forum which had some renovation done, as well as the Botanical garden with the entrance doing some work but all open.

The Reina Sofia was showing the great Guernica painting exhibition, so that is why was packed. More here:

Atocha train station here:

The Caixa Forum a great exhibition area right around the triangle of great museums is worth a detour; more here:

And the Botanical gardens are one of my favorite spots in Madrid that I have come since a kid…. El Real Jardin Botànico de Madrid.  The official page in English here:

You should take a look at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that conducts tours with the tourist office, this is a great architecture building and gorgeous rooms right around the Atocha train station. El Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca is located in the Palacio de Fomento from the 19C and gone thru many changes in name and uses until the current one. One of your off the beaten path sites in Madrid and worth the detour. More here on the guided visits in Spanish:

Up the road from the above and going by Calle  Dr Velasco, you reach the Real Observatorio Astronomico de Madrid or Royal Astronomic Observatory to see the sky!  This is another off the beaten path trips to Madrid and it should be encouraged more, I have come here since school age in Madrid!!! More here on visits in Spanish:

You can go by the paseo way before the main entrance to the Prado museum and go by the Puerta de Murillo, the south door entrance of the Prado. The building dates from 1786,and you heard it here! And of course, in Spanish you have the information on it at the bottom of page, it disappear when you change to English ::) More here:

Here you will see a statue of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo; from which the square and entrance is name after. Golden age of Spanish painting and he was one of the main one;living in the 17C.

See the great façade of the Chapel of the Children’s Hospital on the Avenida de  Menendez Pelayo facing the Retiro park. The hospital is Hospital de Niño Jésus; more info here in Spanish:

And of course, I was able to check in to my usual hotel the Ayre Gran Hotel Colon on Calle del Pez Volador,1 and corner of Calle del Dr Esquerdo, metro Sainz de Baranda line 6 or 9, couple minutes from hotel. Great service, good prices and central to all my needs, very close to Retiro park. More here:

And just head out for the city on my again usual resto, why change when you found the best ::) Cerveceria Cruz Blanca, on Calle del Dr Esquerdo closer to Conde de Casal metro station but about 10 minutes walking from the hotel. And always the same guys,good service, good food and see the world go by on the inner courtyard facing the street or the terrace tables right on the street! They have another one on the other side of Retiro park on avda Menendez Pelayo that is great too as well as others in different parts of Spain. More info here in Spanish:

I will stop here on the tour, there is more and more personal for me but Madrid is personal up close and wonderful, it really provides some extra to continue back new home.  And just to think about it, I will be back with the family in summer !!!

Enjoy your Sunday wherever you are and happy travels, remember la vida es chula, la vie est belle, la dolce vita, life is beautiful, enjoy it now. Cheers

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April 20, 2017

Some news from Spain XLII

Moving right along, and some sun but still cooler temps even this morning down to 3C and afternoon 14C or 37F to 58F.  However, in my beloved Spain the temps are high, evenings 63F or about 16C and mornings 71F during daytime or about 21C and sunny. La vida es chula ::)

And as I am getting ready to go back to Spain next week, and probably no internet…will be on the road in the countryside… Here are some interesting information me think to make your visit to Spain more enjoyable.

Just to make a nice walk , and yes we walk , you can get ready for that big Feast of San Isidro, the Patron Saint of Madrid with a visit to the Church, and museum/house of his beginnings.

San Isidro or Saint Isidore was a farmer, well maker, Mozarabic peasant and miraculous men. He was from Madrid and canonized in 1622. He was born in 1082AD before the territory came back to Christian hands with king Alfonso VI. San Isidro visited the current site of the Church with his wife, also, a Saint, Santa Maria de la Cabeza; here the roots of moors from the Madrid of the 11C blends in. Next door, is the home of his master, Juan de Vargas, where the Saint and his wife lived and died. It is now a house museum. The Saint is credited with many miracles most of them related to the water,and the city preserves most of the spots.One of the most representative is the Church or Iglesia de San Andrés; in its interiors you have a patio and renaissance well, from the same, he gave a miracle saving his own son according to legend. San Isidro saved his son from been drowned when he made the waters rise only to the mouth. His feast is coming in May ,all about it here:

And the Church here :

Moving right along,  you can stop at the square or plaza de la Paja , here there was the city market on the one called the  plaza del Arrabal; the name given before to the now Plaza Mayor. The Plaza de la Cruz Verde ends at the  Calle de la Villa, Calle del Rollo, and the mounted Calle de Segovia, where it was the scene of public executions of the Holy See. The name  ‘Santa Cruz verde’ or Holy Green Cross was the symbol of the Spanish Inquisition and from that came its name.

Continue meandering along these gorgeous streets full of history and architecture and you come to the street or Calle de San Justo, where the wonderful Basilica Pontifical of Saint Michael or Basilica Pontifica de San Miguel. This is one of the oldest parishes and the one with more history in Madrid. A wonderful example of the Italian Baroque of the 18C ordered built by the queen Isabel de Farnesio. The old temple here was that of San Justo built in 1738 and later damaged by fire on the Parish Church of San Miguel. Today ,most know it by the wonderful market or Mercado de San Miguel here. The Basilica at Calle de San Justo keeps very nice historical persons buried inside, such as the father of Francisco de Quevedo as well as maternal grandparents, and a brother. In the parish archives it is kept the death certificate of  Rodrigo de Cervantes,the father of  Miguel de Cervantes. More here:

You should not miss coming to the convent garden or El Jardín del Convento, a store selling all goodies done in the convents and monasteries from different parts of Spain. More here:

You continue on the Madrid of the Austrias to the Catedral Castrense .  The previous monastery of the Bernadine monks founded in 1615.  Built by  Juan Gómez de Mora, one of the architect of the Plaza Mayor.  The Church belongs to the Armed Forces of Spain since 1980. More here:

You come to one of favorite spots lately. And not many know the underneath the Cathedral of the Almudena you have resting about 1500 souls, all in a gorgeous crypt supported by 558 columns, keeping the soul of many nobles and important families of the time. All at the feet of the Patron of Madrid, the Virgin of the Almudena or La Virgen de la Almudena ( ramparts in Arabic) ,and enclosed in 712AD upon the fall of the city to the moors. It was taken back by the Christians in 1085AD when  San Isidro only was 3 yrs old. The wall or ramparts fell apart and the Virgin was discovered; after many centuries later, She was put in the now gone Church or Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Almudena, the oldest temple in Madrid until it was demolished by 1868. From these ruins, the current Catedral de Santa Maria de la Almudena was built and finally consecrated in 1992. The crypt, that however,was done in 1911. Meanwhile the Almudena was built and consecrated , the Real Colegiata de San Isidro served as the provisional Cathedral of Madrid. More here:

And as we are now getting hungry ,why not stop in one of the classic restaurant of old and new  Madrid. La Bola, serving always the dishes of Madrid such as ropa vieja (old clothes), pisto manchego (ratatouille of the Mancha) , special croquettes, and bunûelos de manzana con helado ( bakers paste with apple and ice cream) ,and of course the cocido madrileño ;more here:

Where are buried the kings of Spain? Well studies have shown that even if they more or less know where the Visigoth, moors, and others are, they have no proof they were put there. However, we do know where the Christian kings are, and they are here:

Royal Pantheon of the Cathedral of Oviedo or Pantéon Real de la Catedral de Oviedo, where most at least 8 and their families are buried in six baroque niches in the new chapel of Our Lady of the King or Capilla de  Nuestra Señora del Rey Casto  that was built early on the 18C.  The great exception was king Pelayo who was buried in the Holy Cave of Covadonga or the  Santa Cueva de Covadonga. More here:

Royal Pantheon of San Juan de la Peña or Pantéon Real de San Juan de la Peña.  They are in the old sacristy of the high Church or Iglesia Alta  in the old monastery , where there is a reformed pantheon ordered by king Carlos III in 1770, lies the remains of some of the Navarrene kings of  Aragon , the first Aragonese counts and the three kings  of the ramirense dynasty such as Ramiro I, Sancho Ramírez, and Pedro I, together with their wives.  Then, in the Iglesia San Pedro el Viejo de Huesca you have the continuation in kings  Alfonso I el Batallador ,and Ramiro II el Monte (in a Roman coffin from the 2C). More here:  ;and the second Church here:

Royal Pantheon of Royal Saint Mary of Nàjera or Pantéon Real de Santa Maria Real de Nàjera. In this Riojan monastery you have the burials of the kings of the kingdom of Nàjera-Pamplona; the predecessors of the Kingdom of Navarra that held power from 918AD to 1135AD. Some of these coffins are in Roman style. More here:

Royal Pantheon of San Isidore of Leon or Pantéon Real de San Isidoro de Léon. This is romance style that keeps the burials of the reign of king Fernando I in the 11C; the remains of the kings of Leon and their families from Alfonso IV  that reigned in the 10C to García, king of  Galicia who died in 1090AD. Nearby in the Cathedral of Léon you have the burial of king Ordoño II that lived until 924AD. More here:  ;and more on the Cathedral here:

The Cathedral of Toledo, also, has burials of six kings of Castille. Three in the old chapel or Capilla Vieja, including kings Alfonso VII El Emperador, and the first three Trastamaran kings in the chapel or Capilla de los Reyes Nuevos:such as kings  Enrique II, Juan I and Enrique III. More here:

The Cathedral of Sevilla, in the Royal Chapel or  Capilla Real  houses the burials of three kings , the most charismatic of Spanish history such as  Fernando III El Santo, his son, Alfonso X El Sabio , and Pedro I El Cruel, as well as consorts and some family members.  On the other Church or Iglesia de San Hipólito de Córdoba , it keeps the burials of the successors kings such as Fernando IV ,and Alfonso XI. More here:  ;and more on the Church here:

The Monastery of Poblet or Monasterio de Poblet. A Cistercian temple in the province of Tarragona, was the Royal Pantheon of the crown of Aragon until the 15C. There you will see the burials of their principal kings; only kings Pedro III, and Jaime II rests on the nearby monastery or Monasterio de Santes Creus. More here:  ; and more here on the Santes Creus:

The Monastery of the Huelgas or Monasterio de las Huelgas. Mostly gothic temple has well preserved burials of the kings  Enrique I ,and Alfonso VIII as well as other members of Castilian Royal family of the 12C, 13C,and 14C.  Nearby, you can visit the chartreuse or  Cartuja de Miraflores , where Queen Isabel Católica, (the Catholic or I) ordered built a wonderful burial pantheon for her parents and brother Alfonso. More here:  ; more on the chartreuse in Spanish here:

The Royal Chapel of Granada or Capilla Real de Granada. It was ordered built by the Catholic Kings (Fernando and Isabel ), and represented a trend in the architecture as well as funerary sculptures.  The burials of the Catholic kings were done by Domenico Fancelli,while those of daughter Juana together with that of Felipe El Hermoso were done by Bartolomé Ordoñez. They are all surrounded by exceptional works of arts of the times. More here:

The Royal Crypt of the El Escorial monastery or la Cripta Real del Monasterio de El Escorial, built in the 17C a,and housing all the kings and many of their family members from king Carlos I  to Juan III (did not reign).  The only exception on this period were kings Fernando VI,and Barbara de Braganza that are in the convent at Madrid or Convento de las Salesas Reales (Iglesia de Santa Barbara); and king José I (Joseph Napoleon) whose remains are in the Les Invalides of París , as well as king  Amadeo I  that is with his wife at the basilica or Basílica de Superga de Turín (Torino, Italy). More here:

More on the convent Salesas Reales here:

Invalides de Paris;

And the basilica of Superga, Turin,

A wonderful event not to missed if in Spain, the 80th anniversary of Guernica by Pablo Ruiz Picasso, and the 25th anniversary of its arrival at the Museum or Museo de la Reina Sofía . It will have a momentous exposition and the exhibition of an interesting documentation that tells us how the portrait was ordered by the II Republic, and the trips the portrait took to raise funds for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War.  It shows the history of this portrait by showing an emblematic interpration of it thru a series of about 180 works by the master Picasso , many on special loans, that will help trace the history and execution of this master piece as we know it today; it will be exposed until September 4, 2017. More here:

I told you, Spain, everything under the Sun, and a lot more. Enjoy the post,and have a great end of week, tomorrow is TGIF ::) Cheers



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April 16, 2017

Why not the Temple of Debod, Egyptian and very much Madrid!

Thinking already on Spain which will be back last week of this month, I thought of something unique and semi hidden in Madrid, but a must to visit. This is the temple of Debod in the parque del Oeste and more precisely in the parque de la montaña (where an old Civil War hq was ).

It dates from the year 200 AD and known also as the temple of Amon a gift from Egypt to Spain for helping in the flooding of the Nile in the 1950’s.  I have written a bit on it way back in my early days of blogging. Here is that post:

The pieces of this temple were brought to Spain by boat over a long period finally reaching Spain by Valencia harbor; coming on the ship “Benisa”, a total of 90 trucks moved the 1356 blocks of stone to the current site but some stone from Villamayor in Salamanca was needed to filled in the missing parts lost on the retrieval of the stones in Egypt. It finally was assembled in its current location in July 18, 1972, while I was still living in Madrid.

From the exterior the best moment to see it is as the sun goes down in the evening, eerie nice silhouettes indeed. The interior is superb and a must see in Madrid like I said.

You must see inside the Capilla de Adijalamani or of the reliefs. It has scenes that represent the king adoring the gods and offering sacrifices.  The motifs are related to the cult of the gods in the area and link to the sacred monarchy. In it’s chapel you have the god Amon de Debod that received the cult with other divinities such as Isis, Hathor, Osiris, Horus, Apset, Mut, Satis, Anukis, and Horajty. Imhotep occupies a priviledge site in the access to the chapel.

You then, come to the room of  Mammisi.  The word Coptic signify “place of birth” and makes the point of the room where the goddess of the temple gave birth and celebrating the mystery of the divine birth.

There are other rooms below, these are:

The Vestibule ,decorated with Augusto and Tiberian today mostly erase due to the last earthquake of the 19C and stealing.

The antechamber de Naos, small room that allows you to wandered in the 3 chapels ,here the only light entered the temple that reach the main Chapel as above and the Naos

The room of Naoi, or central chapel has the only naos preserved. it is in ptolemic style and dedicated to gods Isis and Amon de Debod.

The south hallway on which in it’s wall you see a solar clock.

The Osiris chapel, relics of Osiris, in the terrace . It is a roofed chapel in the terrace of the sanctuary as in Egyptian temples. It was done to stop the rain water to entered the god Osiris that was not beneficial.

The Terrace, this is the place where important ceremonies were held, especially the ritual of the new year. The karma of the god Ra combine with the divine statues of the temple that were taken to the terrace by priests the night before the Egyptian new year.

The headroom Chapels, on each side of the Chapel of Naos you have two Chapels attributed to Osiris and Mahesa.

The Uabet, the purification site of the priests of the temple. Opens its doors to the Vestibule.  this area was damaged when the archeologist that worked here in the 20C saw it.

The Crypts, one of the few ptolemic temples that had crypts open in the Chapels. The main one is the treasure crypt that opens to the chapel of Mahesa , where the statues of the gods were kept. The other was probably a laboratory where the perfumes of the divinities were kept; this one, opens to the inferior chapel of Osiris.

You see several graffiti’s in the temple. Thanks to these graffiti’s we know the temple was visited by Barbarians, nomads or semi nomads that later could have been converted into a Christian Church or refuges of hermits. In the Muslim period it was ,also, occupied and was visited from the West. Amongst the graffiti’s in the Debod , it is found caravans and herds of camels, gazelles, a boat with oars, Coptic crosses, accounting symbols, Greek inscriptions, also Coptic, Arabic (religious characters),and several signatures from travelers!

In the terraces of the Temple of Debod you find several blocks these are:

The blocks of Apedemak, this is a monument that has three horizontal lines with ancient lettering  texts divided by a ankh (symbol of eternal life) entitled Adijalamani. In one of the lines you have the epitaph well like of Apedemak referring to the king been Apedemak the principal god of the temple.

You see the stalls in stone of a Lion and a Greek urinerium; it is very damaged but on the laterals you have an urinerium with the feet back of the lion. Difficult to understand today.

The Madrid tourist office here tells you more in English,on how to get there, free admission ,but limited numbers at one time allowed in, something like 60 at one time.  Also, depending on the weather as the temperature below can get really hot and the AC don’t always work. There has been episodes of high humidity as well that have created problems to keep it open. So my recommendation is to contact the tourist office and ask if open when you are there. email:

It tells you of a specialiased site for the Temple here in Spanish:

Another view from the city of Madrid webpage in Spanish:

So enjoy this beauty now, it is old and you never know, but it is wonderful. I remember in my youth going around the park as kids playing and then going inside all sweaty so nothing feld on the heat hehehe! Then, have come back each time with my girlfriend , then wife, then the boys and again this summer always a nice stop in Madrid. Something awesome historical and beautiful in a very nice park as well, right there not far is the cable car to Casa de Campo or teleférico. Enjoy it, and Happy Easter y’all!! Cheers

Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid




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April 14, 2017

And we have to settle for football/soccer at Vannes

It has been sunny and cool around here with temps in the 15C or about 62F; a lot warmer in Madrid!! My troubles with Orange and the internet made me fearful as come to realize the internet is everything or almost today lol!

My telephone cable that links to the house for internet, tv,and telephone service drop off the pole and we were with nothing… calling Orange was nothing, technician will come by April 19 not sooner. Call the Mayor’s office (Mairie)  as there is a cable down on the ground, and was told call the maintenance dept (service techiques) of the city, they in turn send a message to Orange. Call and write complaints to Orange and on the call was told call the firemen on the cable !!! At the end got from Orange a temporary airbus box to connect to the internet but no telephone line nor tv yet, we will have to be patient with the customer service here in boony land lol!

Ok so now settle into nicer things, the Champions of are here on the quarter finals and my all time only team is playing; Real Madrid FC;yep the best ever by all accounts. More here:

They were playing the other historical club  named Bayern Munich at Allianz arena in Munich. Well we ran over them won 1×2 but we could have score more goals.

The best part is since no tv nor internet at home needed to go out and find me a bar showing the game.Not easy when you live in the countryside.

So we headed for Vannes,where I work,and more bars..and found one I have been just once for a drink during daytime, this is Skellig

Here is the area where they are Atlanville and more on them in French :

And the dept 56 Morbihan tourist page :

A bit more on them :  This is an Irish Pub style bar restaurant with lots of animations from live music to karaoke to live sporting events and arrows game. the concerts change every week . The main here for me is the Sports, TV screens on all walls and a big one in the center living room style !  You a simple menu for lunch and dinner of salads, burgers, steaks, etc  The service is nice and friendly and a well behave crowds unless a goal scored ::)

There is a small terrace outside the main entrance and once inside the bar area is to your left. ah the toilet is to your right ….

We are going back Sunday with my sons and friends from work to see the English Premier game Manchester United vs Chelsea; just to say one of my son’s likes MU but the rest are for the Real Madrid lol!!!

And we should be back for the return match at Bernabeu on April 18 20h45 or 8:45 pm French time.

And of course, we start today a long 3 day weekend, Happy Easter, Good Friday,and Monday of Easter to all. Cheers

Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes


April 11, 2017

Some news from Spain XLI

This is the time to get back to Spain, so sunny and beautiful, I will be there end of the month and then again in August at least this year!!! Here in my current neck of the woods is sunny too but cool and temps in the 14C or about 60F a bit warmer during the afternoon.

So let me give some ideas to really enjoy Spain off the beaten path even, you will love it in Spain.

What are the loveliest towns,in my opinion, to see in Asturias! here are some:

You go to the Cudillero to breath the sea and the fish on each corner. Here you will see the tradition of Curadillo  , created by fisherman in years past. Dehydrated fish in the door of their homes. You have wonderful views from the lighthouse and the high point in the hills; ah and do not forget the palace or Palacio Selgas or the Indian houses. Some photos in French here:

and tourism contact for the palace  here:  and the tourist office:

Next, you come to Lastres, one of the most beautiful towns of Spain designation. Very nice streets known for the site of the story Doctor Mateo recorded here. More on the town:

Continue on towards Ribadesella , the world capital of umbrellas with a big event on it every August and see the pre historic cave or Cueva de Tito Bustillo. More here:

The most westerly frontier of the principality of Asturias is at Castropol. With its many castles and shield houses, with great views over the valley on the hill that ends at the river Eo creating the natural frontier between Asturias and Galicia. More here:

Next ,come over to Puerto de Vega, a very romantic town and an inspiration for many artists including the writer Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, passed his last days in the town; you must go around his visited bars and restaurants to find the best fish and seafood.  More here:

And we reach Luarca, known as the white villa at the green coast, famous for its indian houses like the Mesa de Mareantes, where decision to fish are were made. You come to know historic personages such as Severo Ochoa, Nobel prize in medicine. More here:

And why not Llanes with its great bean and clams, strong cheese (similar to Roquefort), and  red sea bream fish. Right on the mountains of the cordillera del Cuera and the Picos de España. Great beaches too and nice old town with palaces and monumental houses. Here there are great festivities for the La Magdalena, San Roque,and La Guia. More here:

We came to Tapia de Casariego, a treasure two Australian brothers discovered in 1960. The surf is big here, and on this Holy Week there is a big tournament ,and of course great fish dishes. More here:

And we end up at Tazones on the river ria de Villaviciosa with a whale tradition for being the first Spanish port where the emperor Charles V landed coming from Flanders. Many colorful houses and fresh fish dishes to go nuts !! more here:

And you come closer to the coast of Alicante and see the beautiful Guadalest and the Valley of Nisperos(loquat). It runs by the river Algar the main affluent of the Guadalest where you see the biggest production of loquat. This tree comes from the family of Rosaceans with green leaves or Eriobotrya Japonica revealing its oriental origins. There in the Orient it was used as an ornamental plant until the end of the 18C when Jesuits missionaries discovered the eating qualities of the plant of which fruit ripens quickest.  They took some to the Maurice island and then France just before the French revolution for later reach the shores of Levante by a Captain Roig, bringing it from Sagunto and reaching by the early 19C the province of Alicante near the Callosa d’En Sarria. Here it is produce about 75% of the Spanish production or nearly 30K tons. The best time is during Spring and the harvest can be extended to June. The writer Gabriel Miro wrote about it from the name of Sigûenza  in his work Años y Leguas published in 1928. There is a museum in Polop Casa Museo Gabriel Miro and free admission. Open April 17: More here:

And let’s get back to the cities and visit wonderful province of Burgos.  The town of Villadiego  has a great concentration of Churches , with its 1500 inhabitants and only 39 km from Burgos, prove the great past of this town founded by the Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos, Sire of  Amaya,in the 9C.  There were five building done and now only stay standing the Church or iglesia of San Lorenzo, Iglesia of  Santa María , and the ermite of the  Santo Cristo. The great city can count on a very nice  monumental enclosure of buildings such as the  Plaza Mayor ;where today the most important events are held still.  Here you will find the city hall or  Ayuntamiento, which its main façade has four arches of stone to hold a support structure. The Torre del Reloj  ,and the statue of  Padre Flórez , a historian from the 18C.  Also, see the arch or Arco de la Cárcel (15C) very nice indeed. It was originally served as the entrance to the city ,and now the only remaining one, you can still see the dungeon (today the museum of pictorals or Museo Pictórico). Other interesting monuments are the palace or  Palacio de los Velasco (16C), that of the  Condestables de Castilla (16C), the bridge or  puente medieval over the river Brullés, and the monastery or Monasterio de San Miguel de los Ángeles.  Next to the beforementioned  Arco de la Cárcel,is where the Jewish quarters were, and the Church with interior from the 15C is where the old synagogue used to be. It has a superheroe in the captain or  Capitán Trueno,  a good interaction with the little ones;and at Villadiego lived Ángel Pardo (1924-1995),the historian storyteller that drawed this superheroe the most. More in Spanish on the author of Capitan Trueno here:

More on tourism interest as above here in Spanish:

You will come into the wonderful Hispanic Society of America, early this year they send to the Museum of el Prado one of its jewels, the portrait of the duchess or Duquesa de Alba dressed in black, painted by Goya in 1797. It has been recently renovated to its founding splendor and the star of the exhibition of treasures of the Hispanic Society of America. Visions of he Hispanic world ceded by the museum-library that created Archer Milton to show a chronological trip on thematic works of art that covers from antiquaty to the medieval Spain passing by the Golden century and the end of the old regime to the modern Spain of today. It includes over 200 works from multiples forms of arts; archeological pieces, ceramics, glass, sculpture, paintings, furniture, knittings, manuscripts, cartographies are all included in the exhibition, where you can see work never before shown to the public such as the map or Mapa de Tequaltiche.

Works of arts including the paintings of Velázquez -Portrait of a Girl , Camillo Astalli  and Gaspar de Guzmán, Conde-Duque de Olivares-, The Piety from El Greco; The prodigy child from  Murillo, or Santa Emerenciana, of Zurbarán. Further, the paintings from the modernism and post impressionism such as those of  Sorolla with José Echegaray, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Pío Baroja or Miguel de Unamuno.  Arriving at the golden century or Siglo de Oro  you will see portraits from those before mentioned as well as utencils of the times, letters, jewerly, and relics; maps also, showing work of America and its relation to Spain amongst important Mexican work in polychrome wood showing St James or Santiago in Santiago Matamoros  in a horse knocking down an infidel . We reach modern Spain with portraits from masters such as Santiago Rusiñol, Joaquín Sorolla, Ramón Casas, Zuloaga, Gutiérrez Solana, Miguel Viladrich or Nonell ,not well liked and showing here his work the portrait of La Roser. Showing until SEptember 10 2017 at the Museo del Prado. More on the Hispanic Society of America here:

And the same at the Museum of Prado site here:

The area between  Valladolid and Segovia is very rich in tradition and a heaven for things to see, some favorite ones over my lifetime and never tired of them.

You can come to the town of  Tierra de Pinares, rich in the cultivation fo cereals and wine. Also, the heritage of the town palace of  Cuéllar, for the dukes of  Alburquerque and its ramparts walls. You will find lots of mudejar style buildings here too from religious to nobles to civils such as the Church or iglesia de San Juan Bautista (roman façade from the 12C and the mudejar from the 13C),at the town of  Fresno el Viejo; see the churches of  San Pedro (13C) ,  Santiago apóstol (14C), at the town of Alcazarén; the facades of the city hall and the Church or  iglesia de San Juan (13C) , Church of Santa María (14C) at the town of Mojados. Moving on to the cradle of mudejar in the town of Olmedo with the remnants of the wall ramparts from the 11C and gate arches of Villa and San Miguel; the palaces or palacios of  Caballero del Olmedo and its churches as well as a thematic park dedicated to the architectonic style of Castilla y León , at street Arco de San Francisco, 1.  You will see scale model of the 21 structures of mudejar style in the community or region of Castilla y Léon such as the Castles  or Castillo de Coca (Coca) and Castillo de La Mota (Medina del Campo). More in Spanish here:

You want to go into wines, and the great whites of Rueda, here are some suggestions: You know since 1980 the DO of Rueda was created and in 2014 the route of wineries was created.  You have about 14 bodegas with great tradition and the opportunity to walk in the vineyards and the barrels cellars is unique. In Rueda itself, you will find the Finca Montepedroso (Camino de la Morejona, s/n), located on a hill of about 750 meters high; the visits are done with tastings ;more here:  Another one is the  Diez Siglos de Verdejo (Ctra. de Valladolid, km 24,5) since 2009 in the outskirts of the town of  Serrada  offering tastings as well ,more info here

Another good one is that of  Javier Sanz Viticultor (San Judas, 2)  a family winery at the town of La Seca (the municipality with the most vineyards of DO Rueda), care after four generations, more here:  At the sunny home from the 18C in this same town houses the winery Campo Eliseo (Nueva, 12), with great underground caves with oval barrels and tanks, more here   And again another one is that of one underground with more than 300 years of history in the town of  Fresno el Viejo (Camino del Atajo, s/n).  It houses a plastiline model collection showing the old processes of making wine ,and you can get a tour by contacting the tourist office at Tel +34 616 240 371.  In the same complex you will see an old pigeon tower house now an interpretation site and nature world classroom.

You can combine the above with tasting of the local cheeses, such as paying a visit to the cheese maker at  Quesería Campoveja (Ctra. Matapozuelos, 62), in the town of Serrada, where you can see the process of making cheese from raw sheep milk ;more info here:  You can taste sweets pastries at the Obrador Artesano La Giralda de Castilla (Ramón y Cajal, 21) in the town of Matapozuelos, with an ample choice of traditional sweets, also tastings etc Another local delicacy are the mantecados al Verdejo de Rueda (crumbly almond sweets); more info here:

We come back to Madrid and take a look at one of the most historical and tradition restaurants that I have tasted on a business trip; this of course is Lhardy with 178 years of history. You can start to see the tipbits of Madrid here other than its wonderful croquettes, and gourmet store.  The restaurant was founded by a Frenchmen Emilio Huguenin opening at the location in Carrera de San Jeronimo. Since then, its armory of glass and mahagony wood give a glimpse of what to expect here. This restaurant was the first in many things such as separate tables, home delivery, and the menu in French . It’s six rooms smell of wood with incredible clients such as the marques of Salamanca, Queen Isabel II, Primo de Rivera, and Niceto Alcalà Zamora; here was named the President of the II Republic. The kings Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIII, bullfighters such as Manolete, the spy Mata Hari, and the literary legends such as Federico García Lorca, Benito Pérez Galdós, Ramón Gómez de la Serna, Ortega y Gasset, Jacinto Benavente ,and Azorín, amongst many more. Lhardy was born when in Madrid you had gas lighting and the Plaza Mayor you have corridas of bulls.

Plaza Mayor ; the 400 anniversary was in 2016 and do you know the floor you step into used to be a lake of Luján  that king  Felipe II ordered dried to give air to the town that later became the Capital of the kingdom of Spain. Four centuries later this dry land now the Plaza Mayor where king Felipe III in its equestrian statue in the middle of the square done in 1617 that finished the work that his father had dream. Its walls were reduced to ashes three times ,in 1631, 1672  and 1790 and it support frame with 114 arches had lived events of all types ,from the beatification of Saint Isidro in 1619 to the cruelty of the Spanish  Inquisition. The same Prado museum has an scene done by Francisco Rizi showing an act of Faith in 1680, where five autos were done of the holy siege given also 162 penitents from which more than 30 burned at the stake; the townpeople saw the execution of 359 prisioners by hanging or gallows the tally from the 17C to 1809. You can come to my favorite hangout here with the family on the anecdote of the intrepid bandit Luis Candelas on the Arco de Cuchilleros now a restaurant by the same name.  At the Puerta Cerrada, where Madrid claims its origins with a Cross and a mural where you can read  “Fui sobre agua edificada, mis muros de fuego son”, or I was built over water my walls of fire are. A legend showing the abundance of streams and water holes that the Arabs found in the city , and the marks on the walls with arrows built on flint. This is my Madrid!

And to close this post, why not remind you of Cervantes in another town.

Last year 2016 was the 400 anniversary of the death of Cervantes or Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra; it was April 22 1616, when the world said goodbye to the genie of the Spanish world after his most wonderful work for eternity  the ‘El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de La Mancha’, by some the most important work of language in the world and we go to Esquivias.

Casa Museo de Cervantes, this a a house of  artists from the 16C where Cervantes and his wife Catalina de Palacios lived during part of their married lives. The owner of the house was Alfonso Quijada. He tried to convince Cervantes to name the principal character in the story as Alfonso  Quijano ,and maybe why Quijote. You will be able to see a olive oil producing house with a windmill crushing the olives and all!  At the  Convento de los Capuchinos,a monastery where the humidity draws on the walls dating from the 18C you will see one of the most intriguing collection of mommies in Spain, and in its crypt  it keeps the incorrupt bodies in perfect state of preservation of five religious persons from between  1732 and 1735.

More on Cervantes here:

Convent of the Capucins here:

There you go enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun. Enjoy your week, Cheers.



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March 29, 2017

Some news from Spain XL

Well here I am again on my Spain…. First Spain beat France on a friendly football/soccer match last night 0X2 played at St Denis stade de France. For the first time a VAR or video action recorder was used and indeed welcome to football. To call this match friendly is a misused of the word, as there was a lot of prestige on the line and Spain clearly dominated the game. Now on to more serious games to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Here in my neck of the woods is a mild quasi sunny day of 15C or about 58F ;Tomorrow more of the same going up to 64F or about 18C. In my Madrid, now is 65F and tomorrow higher to 71F with the sun showing up.

The choices of Spaniards to go out on trips is mostly within Spain at 90,9% and only 9,1% outside. This is from a survey of Turismo de Residentes (ERT/Familitur) done for the INE (sp. statistical institute). On costs 68% was done in Spain while outside expenditures came to 32%; the average expenses were median of 44€ in and 96€ out. No wonder with the beauty of Spain who wants to go outside !

Something outside of Spain near me now in the belle France but was created by a Spaniard, the Castle of Villandry. This transformation of the castle was done by Joaquin Cavballo from Extremadura who in the first half of the 20C created a garden in the castle with tulips, persil, asparagus, ornamental herbs and flowers that now attracts over 400K persons each year. During a century the castle went thru several owners until Joaquin, a brilliant university graduate born in Don Benito, Badajoz arrived. He married Ann Coleman and search for a home far from the crowds until they found this semi abandoned castle. They paid 120K French Francs (about 18K€ ) to a old pharmacist. They study the history of Villandry, read books on gardens, purchase furniture and works of arts from Spanish origins to embellish what others have try to let rot; and this how Villandry was reborn to what we see today, a masterpiece, must see. More on the castle here:

Hilario García made wine to satisfied the national needs hardly any was exported. Then, in 1990, he took the bodega and modernized while keeping the wine tradition like French oak for fermentation and ageing on those same barrels. Then, we need it to find the bottle and was done in gold or silver done by the jewerlers of Prototecnia and numbered each bottle.  The bottle  AurumRed serie oro or gold series produces only 300 bottles per year from the tempranillo grapes of more than 100 years old and been the most expensive Spanish wine at 17 000 €. The same wine on the silver or  serie plata goes for 12000€ and produces 6K bottles per year. And there is the white wine with about 3000 bottles per year of the sauvignon blanc grape. You can’t be more exclusive here. More info on this wine here:

Going now to something close to me as my ancestors family from grandparents back comes from Tenerife.

My Tenerife ,can claim a wonderful astronomic observatory that gave the name to many lunar mountains and a fantastic record , the biggest shadow in the world projected on the ocean !  The island inclination and closeness to the great TEIDE mountains and volcano makes it so that when the sun is rising or goes down the volcanic umbra on the water becomes the biggest triangle of shadow on Earth. More on the observatory and Teide here:

You guys like to walk well this is heavens territory , go see the Acantilado de Los Gigantes , where vertical walls go from 300 meters to 600 meters. From the municipality of Santiago del Teide you have a nice view to the heights of Teide at 3 718 meters. More here:

You can go to the top of the crater in the volcano with a guide. Other goodies in mother nature are the Parque Nacional de las Cañadas del Teide, and visiting the quaint towns of Garachico and Masca  as well as the municipality of Icod de los Vinos.  In this latter one you find the  drago milenario, a tree and a natural attraction on the island.  This tree is almost 20 meters high and is between 800 to 1000 years old. If you are older, you might remember this tree was feature on the corners of the old 1000 pesetas bill (Spain’s money before the Euro). More on them here:

You can’t leave without tasting the local cuisine guanche.  One must is the mojo and the papas arrugás. These are cook potatoes without peeling and a lot of salt serve with the mojo. The mojo is a sauce that can be hot spicy or mojo picon or not and is made from garlic, olive oil and vinager.

And I move to something familiar as well and one will be visiting again this coming summer, this is Guadalajara. Here even after civil wars and succession wars the city still is wonderful. You must see these:

Palacio del infantado, a wonderful palace from the 15C well preserve and wonderful frescos paintings of the renaissance where you will find the museum or Museo Provincial. More here:

Palacio de mendoza , it has been going thru a vast renovation and many uses such as provincial museum, prison, provincial government and schools now still the high school or  Liceo Caracense.  At the same time, it is the convent or  Convento de la Piedad. More here:

Palacio de la Cotilla, this is another palace and from the 16C that houses the museum dedicated to the dramaturgic Buero Vallejo. It has a very interesting salon de thé/tea of El salón de té of the marqueses of  Villamejor, decorated in rice paper and painted in China and Japan in the 18C, indeed unique. More here :

The wonderful Capilla Luis de Lucena. belonging to the now gone church or Iglesia de San Miguel where the painter Romulo Cincinato created a small sixtine chapel or Capilla Sixtina.  The chapel preserve the remaining decoration of the Churches of San Gil. More here:

The magnificent Torreón De Alvar Fáñez  takes its name from a chavalier gentlemen and battle friend of the great El  Cid.  Here a leyend is preserve and currently it houses the Centro de Interpretación del Escudo de Armas; or interpretation center of the coat of arms. From 2004 ; it ,also a center of interpretation of the ramparts of  Guadalajara. More here:

See the Church or co-Cathedral or Iglesia or Co-Catedral de Santa Maria , the origins goes back to the moors or mudéjar period as evidence on the doors and décor that hides underneath the chalk of the baroque period that you can see with permission in advance.  It has a nice retable on the altar from 1624. More here:

Another beauty is the Church or Iglesia de San Francisco. It has been destroyed and rebuilt on many occasions, now on a gothic style you will find the pantheon of the Mendoza family done similar to that in the El  Escorial monastery.  It is connected to the altar of the Church. More here:

You have the beautiful Palacio de la Condesa de la Vega del Pozo, or it’s gorgeous pantheon as well as its foundation  share the same architecture style of the 19C from the same architect( Ricardo Velázquez Bosco) that did the Palacio de Cristal, Casón del Buen Retiro,  Palacio de Velázquez. etc. More here:

Do not forget to try the local sweet delicacy or bizcochos borrachos, (liquor soaked cake) at the pastelería Hernando , Calle Mayor, 32; and especially at pasteleria  Guajardo, calle Miguel Fluiters 35, opened in 1880.   another local specialty is the  albóndigas en dulce, (or meatballs in sweet sauce sugary) done with cottage cheese, eggs and sugar. Direction here:

These are my favorite of a wonderful city in Castilla La Mancha region. Guadalajara.

And as Holy Week or Semana Santa is coming, here are some nice ones outside of Andalucía:

Tamborrada de Calanda, Teruel here hundreds of drums and drumming sound off on Holy Friday and Saturday  to put a tragic note on the Holy Week celebration. It is a sounding off noisy promenade in town of old rites  reaching a climax on the hour that Christ died which according to the bible an earthquake shook Jerusalén.  April 15 at 12h midday. More here in Spanish:

Cofradia de la Santa Vera Cruz de los Disciplinantes, La Rioja. The rite of the Los Picaos is a form of penitence very popular all over.  It consist of an self-flagellation of the back by a group of persons as an act of faith and voluntary known as the disciplinarians  by which a hit with a wooden item is done.  The voluntaries need to fulfill these requirements, adults , male, and that a priest attest the fact that they are Christian and of good faith.  At all moment, the anonymous condition of the voluntary is kept. More in Spanish here:

Danza de la Muerte de Verges, Gerona. the only town that preserves the dance of death as celebrating ancient rites of the dead. This dance tells the passage of time where the skeletons dance to the sound of a kettledrum to remember that nobody is exempt to end its days in this world. More in Spanish here:

Los  empalaos de Valverde de la Vera, Càceres,  This is a promise done to God that means the beginning of the Via Cruxis by the streets of the city in which all penitents are anonymous.  On this route the empalao(stiff numb person) walks without shoes with a plow beam on his/her shoulder tied with a cord around his/her chest.  A white blouse cover him/her from the waist down and on the head there a white veil with a crown of thorns. The main moment comes when the procession passes by the crossing of two empalados and kneel as a symbol of respect. More in Spanish here:

Coming along the Holy Week and its delicacies ,here is some more of my beautiful Spain:

Spanish pastry work reaches its highest moment during this period of lent and the chosen sweets are the torrijas, buñuelos, pestiños ,etc, that mound like armories in the window front of many pastry shops to receive the Holy Week.  One such pastry shop very nice and well known by me and many is the La Duquesita at Calle Fernando VI, 2,open from 8h30 to 20h30 (closed Sundays afternoons) ; this is a century old pastry shop in Madrid that is led today by master chocolatier Oriol Balaguer. The main sweets in this period are the Monas de Pascua.

From its beginnings in the 18C this traditional bread has revolutionize until becoming the complex structures of chocolate that follows the children fashion of our time.  Here, it has created a tree of chocolate of more than 1,5 meters done exclusively with black ,white and milk chocolate that dresses one of the windows of La Duquesita.  In Spain, this is a tradition to go to the pastry shop to see the latest creation of the pastry chef.  A month before Holy Week, most pastry shops had a giant piece in their windows. The sculpture rises on a base of chocolate of more than a square meter ,and from its leaves you see beans of different colors surrounded by some Easter eggs that will be on sale in the form of a rooster, fish or clown. You can, also, find these goodies in the Boutique Oriol Balaguer(also in Barcelona) , calle José Ortega y Gasset, 44 where different sizes are on order with different motifs with the main ingredient the Cacao Grand Cru. Oriol Balaguer has created for the La Duquesita two offerings of  torrijas: traditional anisette (4,50€) ,and toasted pastry cream (5€). Both come from a brioche done on site with English cream and sugar. More here:

and his boutiques here:

Now, there you have it, enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun !!! Cheers





March 20, 2017

Some news from Spain ,XXXVIIII

The week starts and my enthusiasm for the blog grows , here I am again ::)  In Madrid it is about 71F or 20C in evening and tomorrow it is expected sun going up sort of and 66F or about 15C.  You have a nice week ahead .

As usual many things happening in Madrid and other cities; I am so excited to tell you about the movement now Fallas in Valencia and the great painter native of Valencia Joaquin Sorolla.

Joaquín Sorolla  love so much his native land that end up creating a small Valencia on the street Calle Martínez Campos in Madrid, today ,it is his museum. More on that museum here :

By the city hall square or Plaza del Ayuntamiento, is the heart of the Falla festivities and open to all ; the  Fallera Mayor, who is in charge of given order so it begins the Cremà or burnings.  This is the place as well where you see the loud and explosive mascletás; concert of firecrackers! Just to make a point , I am a bit late this year on it as it is over this past weekend. The official page for this event is here in English :

While in the above square see the splendid Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas ; that today is the museum of Museo Nacional de Céramica Gonzalez Martî. More on the museum in Spanish here:

Close by you see the Church or Iglesia de San Martín , where he married Clotilde. You cross the street of calle San Vicente Mártir,and you are by the street calle Mantas. Here at No 8 there is a plaque indicating where he was born. He was baptized in the Church or Iglesia de Santa Catalina, just behind the nice round square or Plaza Redonda.  When his parents died in 1865, he is left orphan and there are folks who took him and his sister ,uncles that lived in street or  calle Don Juan de Austria,20; today it is the house of the region of Aragon or Casa de Aragón ; close by the school or Escuela de Artesanos de Valencia , where he began to paint.  His first studio was closer to the hotel at  calle San Martín, 9. Here he began to paint his city, Valencia.

One of the first to be painted was the Cathedral , discovering inside renaissance paintings that he did not even knew as well as mysterious crypts and underground tunnels that had access by the museum. More on the Cathedral here:

The house of a Saint very closely linked to Vannes in the Morbihan Breton where I live as he evangelise this area by 1419 thereabout and his body lies in the Cathedral St Pierre et St Paul at Vannes , France. Here we talk about the La Casa de San Vicente Ferrer, where it has works by Sorolla such as the  Ex voto y Pouet; you come across the building call Lonja where you will see further paintings of the master at the door, and stairs. He, also painted the Church or Iglesia de los Santos Juanes, whose interior damaged during the Civil War still can be seen ; better faith took the Church of Iglesia de  San Nicolás  that only needed to be clean to show all it’s splendor as we see it today. More on the house of Saint Vicente Ferrer here in Spanish:

You continue tracing his footsteps at the College or Colegio del Arte Mayor de la Seda, one of the most emblematic buildings of Valencia from its golden age. More on it here:

Near the college is worth visiting the center or Centro de la Artesania de la Comunidad Valenciana that is the guardian of old traditions and its personages.  All agree that Sorolla  wanted to teach at the school or Escuela de Bellas Artes where he studied, and today it is the Center or Centro de Exposiciones del Carmen, in a wonderful district that has not change at all.  More of it in Spanish here:

You should not missed the new IVAM or Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno dedicated to the maestro Ignacio Pinazo, in the room where the remains of the medieval ramparts were found. More of it here:

Close by to the above you will find the house or museum of a friend of Sorolla, José Benliure, maybe the best kept secret of Valencia.  Here is a bust that made the friendship of his friend by  Mariano Benliure in the city museum or Museo de la Ciudad  that occupies the old palace or Palacio del Marqués de Campo, or the ninot indultado that represent it on the museum or Museo Fallero that occupies the old convent of the house of  San Vicente de Paül.  To see more of his works you need to cross the river by the bridge or Puente del Mar that you can see in one of his paintings at the museum or Museo de Bellas Artes. Here, it is recreated a museum within a museum showing 57 of his works.

Some links for the above in order here:

It is worth seeing the nice collection of sculptures in the Vale Mariano Benliure.  More here:

A visit to the beach or playa de la Malvarrosa en el Cabanyal is wonderful. More here:

From this beach came out the best works and was the last he saw on this trip after suffering from an attack of apoplexy in 1920.  Close by is the square or Plaza de la Armada Española you have the monument that the city has erected on his honor.  A nice webpage here on Valencia and the bust here:

You won’t be far from the museum of another great friend of Sorolla, this is Vicente Blasco Ibañez, that this year we are celebrating 150 years of his birth; more info here:

At the beach hotel of Hotel Las Arenas  opened in 1838  that he knew very well and it shows one of his original paintings in the main dining room. More here:

And we reach the end of this wonderful trip on Joaquin Sorolla, one of my favorite painters and had visited his museum in Madrid as well as walk and or visit some of the places above on my visits to Valencia; you are encourage to do the same.

Now some tips on bars tabernas to have a glass of Sherry or Jerez in Madrid; of course only my favorites. These are:

Casa Baranda , Calle Colón, 11 , Tel +34  615 374 999 , it does not closed and no credit cards accepted.

Lambuzo  ,Calle Conchas, 9; Calle Ponzano, 8 ,and Calle  Alonso Cano, 10; Tel +34 91 143 48 62, 91 513 80 59/ 810 520 818. Closed Sundays nights and Mondays.

Palo Cortado , Calle Unión, 5; tel +34 91 547 25 00. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

El Quinto Vino , Calle Hernani, 48 ; Tel +34 91 553 66 00. Closed Sunday nights and Mondays.

Zahara de Osborne,  Plaza de Santa Ana, 1. Tel +34 91 522 63 64; does not closed.

La Venencia , Calle Echegaray, 7 . Tel +34 91 429 73 13. Does not closed.  One of the classic taverns of Madrid with a great selection of  fino, amontillado, palo cortado, etc. No web but a nice write up on this site:

Bodega and club Los Generosos , located inside the wine store  Reserva y Cata (Calle Conde de Xiquena, 13), this is an association of 12 persons that are aficionados of Jerez . If you have time contact  Luis Vida ;Tel +34  617 737 967 for a trip. Their blog is here:

And the wine store Reserva y Cata ,one of my favorites in Madrid is here:

You have a family and visiting Madrid then you must visit Parque Warner. Already open for business and celebrating 15 years to have parties with all the family and many nice rides. You will be met by Bugs Bunny and Pato Lucas (duck lucas) with music and dance routines. Here the musical Rock of Ages like a broadway show with rock’n’roll and the wild west awaits you with ballerinas of Can Can show style; and the kiddies will chose the winner of the dance of the Looney tunes. Big dance festival and choreograph routines on the streets of the park. There is the big Hollywood boulevard with the wildest gangsters of the west in the Warner Bros Studios showing 3-D movies such as  «La LEGO film» , and «San Andrés». You will see spectacles such as the Loca Academia de Policia, with new vehicles and acrobats and the Gotham City Streetmosphere Show, that shows a fight between Batman and the Joker.

You will see stars of more than 30 personages where Parque Warner is the only one in Europe where you can get to know them and share moments. The superheroes such as Superman, Batman, green flashlight, Flash ,and Wonder Woman, as the justice league or La liga de la Justicia, and the Joker, Robin ,and Catwoman, that will be in the streets of Gotham City. As well as cartoons such as Bugs and Lola Bunny, Pato Lucas, Piolín,and  Silvestre, Oso Yogui (yogy bear)  Boo-Boo, Coyote,and Correcaminos, Sam Bigotes, Los Picapiedra (flinstones), Scooby Doo, etc etc. The end of the party is with the Celebration Parade 15th Anniversary, an impressive parade to celebrate the 15 anniversary of the park with all its personages, vehicles, and theme carriages on the streets. More here:

The Council of Ministers of the government has named the replacement for the director of the Prado museum. The new director will be Miguel Falomir Faus (Valencia, 1966),is a  doctor of History of Arts and Professor of the University of Valencia was since 1997 department head of the Italian paintings of the renaissance and from 2015 adjoint director of conservation and investigation of the museum. He is internationally recognize as been from 2008 to 2010, as Andrew Mellon Professor of CASVA (Center on Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts de la National Gallery de Washington). He is now finishing the catalog edition of  Tiziano en el Prado ,and for the last two years he directed the conservation areas of the museum located in the Centro de Estudios of the Casón del Buen Retiro. More here in Spanish:

You can see the theatrical musical of the film Dirty Dancing  playing until June 4 2017 at the Nuevo Teatro Alcalà, Sala 1, at Calle Jorge Juan, 62. Playing Fridays , Saturdays, Sundays from 18h to 22h. Mondays at 18hn Wednesdays and Thursdays 20h30; admission 18€. Been played by  Amanda Digón, Christian Sánchez, and Fanny Corral. More here:

Great concert by an up and coming Spanish singer from Malaga that I like a lot. Showcasing her latest release “Munay”, Vanesa Martin will be September 16 2017 at the plaza de Toros Monumental de las Ventas, Calle Alcalà 337; 22h admissions from 20-35€. More here !

You got it , it’s Spain ,everything under the Sun. Have a great week y’all. Cheers


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March 14, 2017

Some news from Spain ,XXXVIII

Ok so far away in Breton lands here is my latest on my beloved Spain, here it is 13C or about 59F while in Madrid it is now about 62F or 14C.  We have cloudy skies and dark days no sun, no rain. Same in Madrid but tomorrow should be better.

Some ideas to get away for Father’s Day in Spain : You go to Consuegra (of Quijote windmill fame) where you have the Casa Rural El Retiro de La Mancha, a great complex for a great weekend. It has many gastronomic offers and guided visits to the castle or Castillo de la Muela. More information here:

Another is the Casa Rural Juliana, province of Cuenca . Here you will learn about the wonderful olive virgin oil and the honey of  Alcarria. You can go on the route of Olives of the Mancha and Colmenas with tasting of olive oils and honeys.  You can do ,also,  a guided visit to the famous monastery or Monasterio de Uclés. Something I will do next summer. I will be in another house nearby but this one is a good one too.

And why not visit a traditional Galician winery in Castro Rei, of the denomination of D.O. Ribeiro, where they will explain the process and processing the wine as well as tastings .  Also, there is a thermal spa in  Termas de Prexigueiro with pools of hot natural water treatment with vinotherapy, partial message. More information here:

And on one we visit last summer and post here in Chinchon you have the Hotel Rural La Graja. It has a thermal circuit of one hour and a message of 30 minutes. At night, you have a gourmet tasting in a nearby restaurant. You can have more information here:

And on the balnearia Parque de Alceda in Cantabria you have a place to relax with great local cuisine. It has outdoor thermal pools with the water coming from a spring at 26C or about 78F. A great getaway place ;more info here:

We continue on the world of Arts and culture by visiting the museum or Museo Guggenheim of  Bilbao; tourist bus to see the city in one shot. See the museum here:

And why not another wonders in a lovely city , visit the Hotel Rural las Treixas in Zamora. It is at the Puebla de Sanabria, a rural hotel to relax in style. They offer anti stress treatment with the best gastronomy of the region. More info here:

More in arts see Faces a showing of more than 50 photographs in black and white of movie director Isabel Coixet done from her 22 movies. This expo is free until June 30th in the Espacio Cultural La Térmica, avenida de los Guindos, 48 Malaga. It has shots from artists like Time Robbins , Juliette Binoche, Rinko Kikuchi or Candela Peña. You can see the passion of the moviemaker for the publicity world, expressive of the human body and the photography. More here :

And we are back in Madrid ,where  Alberto Álvaro  traces the places of Madrid walking and photographing in the Barrio de las Letras, Malasaña or Lavapiés districts. Walking by with the small of freshly baked bread and seafood in all the places of a  bygone era. My Madrid. He once walked by the street Calle de Echegaray and took aim at the small businesses of Madrid  to have them in photos.  Two years and hundreds of instant photos with all label and square format he present it in an expo call Reliquias de Madrid or Madrid relics. He has taken seafood stores,restos, bakeries, chicken fast food ,steakhouses and even videoclubs taken you to the nostalgia and memories . He tells the story of walking by street or calle de los Tres Peces ,and feeling like seeing a scene from a movie. There he found three relics , one printing store, shoe store, and creamery store that are not longer there. More here:

You run to the Círculo de Bellas Artes and see the work of Francis Bacon with more than 100 works on paper by the artist coming from a collection of more than 600 drawings of Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino, partner of the artist for many years that are put together in the Francis Bacon Collection of the Drawings Donated to Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino. They all belong to the last decade of the artist painter, including the parents of  Velázquez, clergy portraits, auto portraits and those of friends ,and images of his eternal obsession, such as cruxifiction, addomens, heads etc to put the figure into a space.  The expo is “En Francis Bacon. La cuestión del dibujo”, there are works in black and white to rend homage to Van Gogh, atelier shops of  Guercino or Leonardo Da Vinci,  more auto portraits, and painting of his friends, etc . Circulo de Bellas Artes, Calle Marqués de Casa Riera 2, showing until May 21 2017. More info here:

One of Madrid best icon cafés closed since last July is making a comeback under new ownership. This is one of my favorite and we discussed with friends there its closing so sad, now I am thrilled to read and tell you that from March 21st it will be open again! Café Comercial part now of the Grupo Escondite who also owns Lady Madonna, El Escondite de Villanueva ,and Bárbara Ann. The Café Comercial in the Glorieta de Bilbao is 130 years old founded in 1887 with the name El Comercial, giving light to the novel “La Colmena”,  of the Nobel prize winner Camilo José Cela, and here many famous came to meet such as the writers  Antonio Machado, Enrique Jardiel Poncela, Rafael Azcona ,and Rafael Sánchez-Ferlosio. Be there from March 21 I will be back in summer.

Flamenco the history of the jonda culture is having a show in the Biblioteca Nacional or national library . You will see 150 works coming from the  Biblioteca Nacional de España ,and Museo Reina Sofía, Museo Picasso de Barcelona, the Fundación Cante de las Minas de la Unión and many private collections.  A trip thru 400 years with books, manuscripts, recordings, drawings and paintings as well as fragments from film, photographs and record label covers as well as posters ! It will show one of the earliest manifestation of flamenco in work like the La Gitanillla of Cervantes or stamp paintings such as El Vito of  Goya, to arrive of the films of Saura, etc. Literature and books , newspapers articles from Chaves Nogales, Gómez de la Serna, Caballero Bonald or Félix Grande, and movies from directors Val Del Omar, Rovira Beleta, Serrano de Osma, Carlos Saura,and Tony Gatlif, capturing artists like Carmen Amaya, Antonio El Bailarín, La Paquera ,and Enrique El Cojo. Until May 2nd, more info here:

The cycle Andalucía Flamenca is in vogue in Madrid.  You can still catch up with Rocio Marquez March 17, Marina Heredia y Dorantes ,April 21st on the camara room and on May 7 in the sinfonia room Arcangel with Miguel Poveda, Estrella Morente and Manolo Sanlùcar. More here:

How about Charles III king Carlos III; in his 300 year anniversary of his birth. In the museum of history you will see over 200 pieces part of the collection of the city of Madrid,  Museo del Prado,National Heritage, National library ,and the museum of natural sciences or Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, this in addition to those already exhibit at the Museo de historia,which is in the former hospice of San Fernando, calle Fuencarral,78 : more info here:

 The XXXIV del Festival de Otoño a Primavera de la Comunidad de Madrid or the fall to spring festival of the Community of Madrid is on. You have the calendar from March onwards here:

Big sporting events coming up such my better ones of Real Madrid FC (my team OK).  Real Madrid vs Barcelona European league game admission from 35€ on March 27 at Wizink Center, more info here:

The Madrid half marathon is back; April 2nd and will be run from Paseo del Prado (between Neptuno and Atocha),and finish line at the Paseo de coches in the parque de El Retiro. More info here:

Then, you have the match between Real Madrid FC and Atlético de Madrid (the derby) on April 9 in the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. A game part of the Liga Santander, 1st division football/soccer in Spain. More here:

And the El Clàsico game of the liga Santander between Real Madrid FC vs Barcelona on April 23rd  at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Another angle from the tourist office of Madrid and more info here:

Then, we have Heroes Manga festival as well lol! At the Feria de Madrid complex will have the XVI edition of the Salón del Manga y la Cultura Oriental; at this edition it change its name to Héroes Manga Madrid (before it was  Expomanga),a must for all lovers of illustrated stories from Japanese origins. On April 22-23 2017 and more info here:

I love the Feria del Libro de Madrid  (book fair of Madrid) and this year is no exception. A must for all readers abound on earth.  From May 26 to June 11, 2017. Since 1933 in the Paseo de Recoletos, and my parking is just off Cibeles lol! Then, it was moved to the bigger Retiro park . The coming one will the 76 edition and will have about 365 chalets and 480 exposing members amongst them, official organisms, distributors, specialist bookman, general libraries, editors from Madrid and beyond. From 1982, the event is call as today the Feria del Libro de Madrid and always opens up with a member of the Royal family walk in the morning. More info here:

And another big event in Madrid as anywhere in Spain is the Holy Week or Semana Santa. This year from April 9 to 16. marching virgins and saints on the streets of Madrid with drums and trumpets with a sacred song. And time to taste those Torrijas! More info from tourist office and official web of the event here:

The next one is wonderful and roots of Madrid, the Fiestas San Isidro from May 12-15, the castizo soul and the spirit of Madrid come together each year to honor the city Patron Saint. Again more here from the tourist office and webpage of official event here:

In my time there I always enjoy these festivities and lucky to be there again in summers and the next. The zarzuelas or operettas or feast of San Cayetano, San Lorenzo, and my favorite the Paloma  are held from August 5-16 this year. This is the history of Madrid by its Verbenas.  This is the theater presentation of la Verbena de la Paloma,

And on the Summer feast here:

And do you know we are celebrating 400 years history of the Plaza Mayor of Madrid all year long!  It is a huge program with its own webpage in Spanish here;

The  above will be huge so much schedule will take a blog of its own to tell you.  The tourist office of Madrid has plenty in English here:

Some in the area of Plaza Mayor even older you ask, well there is. Here are some: the oldest business is not far, just at Calle Mayor ,59, call the Antigua Farmacia de la Reina Madre founded in 1587 by a Venecian chemist with fame as he provided medicines to king François I of France while prisoner in the tower or Torre de los Lujanes in the Plaza de la Villa. The original was in the Calle Sacramento in 1914 when it was translated to the current place with structure, furniture and medicines and all! More here:

While it is call the Posada del Peine ? because it was a gift that offer the proprietor to their guest , a comb=peine and posada a hotel type. It was given tied up to a cord in the bathroom so it will not be taken from the room.  Those that walked by the street Calle de Postas, next to the Plaza Mayor, will have notice the beautiful façade that you see today in the modern hotel of the chain Petit Palace that opened in 2006 at the same spot that one day occupied the Posada del Peine that worked as one from 1610 to 1960! More here:

And we have more, that are from about the same age as the Plaza Mayor. these are the Posada de la Villa in Cava Baja, 9  that opens by 1642 where it was a windmill once of flour,the only one in the city. It welcome all visitors to the city and today serve an excellent roasted lamb in wood oven! More here:

The other place and one of my favorite corners in Madrid is the Libreria San Ginés , attach to the Church of same name next to street Calle Arenal at Pasadizo de San Gines, 2 (and you know what’s on that street too ::). It’s origins go back to 1650 when Diego Logrono worked as a librarian. Here, you will find old books and used, with post cards, posters etc. You can take a picture with its stalls outside; and you too can come up with stories like mine. More here:

And that is all folks, Spain is everything under the Sun! Enjoy your week. Cheers!