Posts tagged ‘Madrid’

September 17, 2021

Some news from Spain CX

And back to sunny everything under the sun, and my series of some news from Spain! Things are picking up and my Santiago Bernabeu stadium is almost done already we beat Celta de Vigo there and next is Mallorca. I am looking forward to the official opening and going there for sure! For now, let me tell you about Spain ok

Dabid Muñoz, from Madrid, the chef of DiverXo, has been chosen as the “best chef in the world” by having achieved first place in the world Top 100 of the ‘The Best Chef Awards 2021‘, in a gala that was held this past Wednesday September 8 2021 in Amsterdam, In third place, in addition, the chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of San Sebastián and from the Mugaritz restaurant has been awarded, Yes!

Some nice artsy events coming up and long into next year worth the detour if in Madrid, I will be there soon,,,

La máquina Magritte at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza ,(see post) Retrospective of René Magritte , the great Belgian surrealist painter, whose work is characterized by its repetitive and combinatorial component: when he became obsessed with a theme, he repeated them with innumerable variations. The exhibition brings together more than 90 paintings and includes an installation and a selection of photographs and domestic films made by the author. From September 14 2021.

Sorolla. Tormento y devoción or Sorolla. Torment and Devotion at the Sorolla Museum (see post) until January 9, 2022 you can see a selection of the early years of the Valencian painter’s work, when he entered popular and devout manners, a genre that became fashionable during the last quarter of the 19C. Among his pieces, you can see those with scenes in sacred interiors and Valencian baroque churches, with episodes of folkloric religious devotion.

El Hijo Pródigo de Murillo y el arte de narrar en el barroco andaluz or The Prodigal Son of Murillo and the art of narrating in the Andalusian Baroque in the Prado Museum (see post). Exhibition dedicated to some of the main protagonists of the Andalusian pictorial baroque such as Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Antonio del Castillo, Juan Valdés Leal and Alonso Cano, They carried out their works in the 17C, works that have in common being organized in series, being mostly medium in size and having been commissioned by particular characters for domestic or oratory interiors. Among the selection you can see The Dissipation of the Prodigal Son (1660), by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo , or the series on the history of José, made by Antonio del Castillo. Will be on from September 29 2021.

El Jardín de las delicias or the Garden of Earthly Delights in the Matadero Madrid (see post), About fifteen artists from around the world contribute their multiple views on The Garden of Earthly Delights, Bosco’s masterpiece, in various formats, ranging from artificial intelligence or sound art to 3D animation, painting, sculpture or installation. The exhibition, curated by the SOLO Collection and co-produced by Matadero Madrid, can be seen from October 7 2021.

Another wonderful tour , I have been in sections over a period by car, recommended, The route of the Holy Grail in Spain, which traveled from Huesca to Valencia. The Jubilee Year of the Holy Chalice, which ends on October 28 2021, is an opportunity to visit the Cathedral of Valencia or to travel the route that the historic cup followed. To enter the Cathedral of Valencia, you have to pay 8 euros, not counting the climb to the Miguelete (two euros more). There are usually no queues, even in high season. It takes a few minutes to be in front of the maybe Holy Grail, the cup used at the Last Supper, from which Saint Peter and the first Popes later drank, This year, until the end of October, Valencia celebrates its Jubilee Year, a good reason to approach the cathedral or even to do the complete route that the Holy Chalice could follow since its arrival in Spain, through Huesca, to its current location in Valencia. They are just over 500 km (about 310 miles) in which some pilgrims have already been seen.

It is believed that this story began in the time of Sixtus II, who was executed in 258 in full persecution against the Church. His deacon, Saint Lawrence, then took care to safeguard the Holy Chalice that Saint Peter had brought from the Holy Land to Rome. Saint Lawrence, as is known, was roasted alive on a grill. But the current patron of Huesca would have managed to send the chalice to his hometown before that unbearable martyrdom. They say that in 553 the Grail was transferred to the Church of San Pedro el Viejo in Huesca, built by Bishop Vicencio precisely to contain the sacred relic, and where it could have been until the year 711. During the Muslim invasion, the chalice would have been passed through different refuges such as the Cave-Hermitage of Yebra de Basa, in the Alto Gállego region; the monastery of San Pedro de Siresa, where it is said that he was from 815 to 831; or, already in the 11C, San Pedro de la Sede del Real de Bailo, the Cathedral of Jaca and, of course, the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña, (see posts) where it would have remained until 1399, before being transferred to Zaragoza, Barcelona and Valencia, where it would have arrived in 1424 from the hand of King Alfonso the Magnanimous. The Chapel of the Holy Chalice, (see post) where it can be seen now, has exhibited this piece since 1916. The Valencian Holy Chalice is made up of a glass 7 centimeters high and 9.5 centimeters in diameter, made of agate, which could correspond to the time, the beginning of the Christian era; and a foot with handles added later, A must to see in Valencia.

And bring you some news of my roots and my dear Tenerife (see post). Let’s do some traveling ok,

Tenerife has a surface area is 2,034 square kilometers, its maximum length is 87 kilometers and its maximum width is 45 km. It has two airports: the north and the south. But not only airplanes divide the island, so does its landscape and even the weather. In the north you can breathe a more tropical, leafy climate with black sand beaches. On the other hand, the south stands out for its drier heat and its endless beaches. The first thing is that the proximity to Teide, the visit par excellence, will not define anything, because it is located in the center of the island.

The most typical option, especially if you go with children or as a family is the southern area full of resorts with all-inclusive options, various amenities and many on the beachfront or just a few minutes walk. It is also understood by the climate, hotter and drier than in the north, so you will have guaranteed beach and pool days. In the South, you also have attractions such as Siam Park, the largest water park in Europe and the best in the world.

The northern area offers a quieter vacation. Of course, you must take the weather into account, because it is more likely that you have cold, cloudy and even rainy days. In the north are many of the island’s must-see spots, such as La Laguna (World Heritage Site), La Orotava or Garachico. Nor can you miss the natural pools of Bajamar or the famous Teresitas beach, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife with golden sand (brought from the Sahara in the 60s), turquoise water and usually) calm, it is considered the Caribbean of Tenerife. The gastronomic options of the north are more attractive thanks to its guachinches, simple food houses that are mainly concentrated in the La Corujera area, in the town of Santa Úrsula, these are spaces within farmers’ houses that, to give way to their wine production, they gave it to taste and accompanied it with something to eat. Thus, you will not find great menus or many pretensions, but food typical of the island (grilled meats, stews …) and the best wine. Yes do enjoy it as I!

This is the dam where Doctor Zhivago was filmed, the most spectacular in Spain, The Salto de Aldeadávila, in the province of Salamanca, is 139.5 meters high and is located in the amazing gorge of the Duero River, La Presa de Aldeadávila, (a dam) also known as the Salto de Aldeadávila, is not the highest in Spain, but perhaps the most spectacular. It is located in the amazing gorge of the Duero River, in a granitic canyon, the largest natural canyon on the Iberian Peninsula, which extends for almost a hundred kilometers, with walls of more 400 meters high, and serves as the natural border between Spain and Portugal in the Arribes del Duero Natural Park. It is located 7 km. from the Salamanca province town of Aldeadávila de la Ribera, In 1965 it rose to world fame as it appeared in the opening and ending scenes of David Lean’s film Doctor Zhivago, which received five Oscars. Also, Tim Miller shot some scenes from the sixth installment of Terminator, Dark Fate movie. Impressive!

A long but worthy me think tribute to Francesco Sabatini of Palermo, Sicily Italy! And his contribution to my Madrid!

Three hundred years ago, one of the most contributor to creating the image of Madrid as a great European capital was born in Palermo in 1721 Francesco Sabatini. He was the architect responsible for some of the most representative monuments, palaces and corners of the regeneration of the city during the reign of its great patron, King Carlos III.
I like to start at the Puerta de Alcalá. It may not be the only Sabatini construction to which a song has been dedicated, (very famous in Spain) but it is certainly the best known and most symbolic. And Alcalá’s was not even the only gate that he designed for Madrid. Also his is the one in San Vicente, on the Paseo de la Florida (although the one designed by Sabatini was dismantled at the end of the 19C and the current one is a copy inaugurated in 1995. And we could also add the Royal Gate through which the Botanical Garden was entered, (see posts).


His direct source of inspiration was not the architecture of ancient Rome and ancient Greece, but that of the Italian Renaissance. This can be seen very well in the building of the Real Casa de la Aduana (current headquarters of the Ministry of Finance, almost at the beginning of Calle de Alcalá), with that air of a 16C Italian palace created by its façade of padded granite and brick and the pediments alternating curved and triangular of the first-floor windows.

The Paseo del Prado (then known as the Salón del Prado) was one of the great projects of the reign of Carlos III, a place for walking and recreation for the people of Madrid, with roundabouts and fountains, where several spaces dedicated to science would also be located such as the Astronomical Observatory, the Cabinet of Natural History (today the Prado Museum) and the Royal Botanical Garden. (see posts) Sabatini was commissioned to design the latter, to move from its previous location next to the Manzanares river the more than two thousand plants that the botanist José Quer had collected in his travels through Europe. However, the garden that can be visited today has little to do with Sabatini’s design, since it was finished by Juan de Villanueva, the brain behind most of the Prado project who would modify it by creating the current layout divided into square barracks,


The architectural history of the General and Passion Hospital (which you will know better as the Reina Sofía Museum) is complicated, since delays, financing problems, deaths, invasions and other difficulties caused the project to go through several hands, The current building, has inspiration and work from José de Hermosilla, Sabatini, Ventura Rodríguez, Juan de Villanueva and others such as Jean Nouvel and his famous extension are mixed, without the project ever being fully completed . However, it is to Sabatini that we owe the current image of the building was the Italian who added to the project the monumental facade open towards Atocha.

King Carlos III who, at that time was still Carlos VII of Naples discovered Sabatini when he helped his father-in-law, Luigi Vanvitelli, in the construction of the Royal Palace of Caserta. So it is not surprising that, when Carlos unexpectedly acceded to the Spanish throne after the deaths of his half-brothers Luis I and Fernando VI, he turned to Sabatini to reform Madrid’s Royal Palace to his liking. for example in the Hall of Halberdiers and in the Hall of Columns and projected an extension of which only a part was carried out, the one known as San Gil wing, in the palace complex, which later served as private rooms of Isabel II, Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIII. He also modified, already by order of Carlos IV, the main staircase of the palace, changing its orientation.

And the famous Sabatini Gardens, (see post) next to the palace? Well, curiously, they have very little to do with the Italian architect, since they were created long after his death, during the Second Republic (1931-1939). The name apart from being an appropriate tribute, since it is a neoclassical style garden is mainly due to the fact that they occupy the place where the royal stables designed by him used to be.

The Royal Palace is not the only one where Sabatini worked in Madrid. That of the Marquis de Grimaldi (adjacent to the Senate and which today houses the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies) is less imposing, but is entirely the work of the Sicilian, The Genoese Jerónimo Grimaldi, Secretary of State of Carlos III ; despite the fact that the palace has kept his name, Grimaldi never lived in it, since he resigned from his position even before it began to be built. For this reason, his first tenant was the Count of Floridablanca, Grimaldi’s successor. After him it was occupied by Manuel Godoy, who had it expanded and luxuriously redecorated and who took there his large collection of paintings, including Velázquez’s “The Venus of the Mirror” and the two majas -nude and dressed by ​​Goya. Later it was the residence of the marshal Murat during the French Napeolonic occupation, the Royal Library, headquarters of several ministries, the Admiralty Palace and the Museum of the Spanish People.

The magnificent Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande is known for the spectacular dome, the largest in Spain and only surpassed in the world by those of Saint Peter in the Vatican, the Roman Pantheon and Santa Maria del Fiore , It is not his work, but that of Francisco Cabezas and Antonio Plo. Sabatini’s contribution was the main façade of the basilica, which overlooks the Plaza de San Francisco, at the crossroads of Calle de Bailén, Carrera de San Francisco and Gran Vía de San Francisco. What is unique about Sabatini’s work here is that, instead of joining a straight façade to the basilica’s circular plan, he made the façade itself convex, an ingenious solution that also made him set back the two towers. between which the dome protrudes.

The Convent of the Comendadoras de Santiago, This old convent gives its name to the Plaza de las Comendadoras, where some of the most lively terraces in the University neighborhood are located. Again, Sabatini shares the limelight with other architects, such as Manuel and José del Olmo (who designed the church) and Francisco Moradillo (courtyard and Sacristy of the Knights, among other rooms). In fact, the part designed by Sabatini is the latest, which closes the block and unifies all the rooms of the convent, which until then were divided into different houses.

Proof that Sabatini was not only an architect of palaces and monuments, but that he knew how to give practical solutions to very different spaces are the many works he did in the Casa de Campo, all of them very functional in nature, It was he who restored and completed the wall that closes the enclosure and it was he who (with the help of the engineer José de la Ballina) was in charge of channeling all the waters of the Royal Site, with a set of measures that include the small aqueduct still known as Sabatini or de la Partida and an ingenious set of oscillating bars that allowed the various streams that ran through the place to save the wall, preventing floods. Sabatini also built five bridges over the Meaques stream, a small tributary of the Manzanares river. Of two of them, no remains are preserved and two others are partially blinded and their structure covered with cement. But the most beautiful and original of them can still be seen in good condition, the Culebra Bridge, originally called Narrow Bridge and now known by that name due to the meandering granite parapets that crown its brick arches.

The Convent of San Pascual , Sabatini not only worked for king Carlos III in Madrid, but also in other places linked to the royal court, such as Aranjuez. His most important work there was the facade of the Church of the Convent of San Pascual, in front of the Old Hospital of San Carlos, built at the same time. It is a very classicist facade, although with some touches of Italian Baroque, especially in the two towers. On its main altar there is a painting by Antonio Rafael Mengs, but perhaps the most curious thing was that both on the altar and in other parts of the church there were initially works by Tiepolo, However, after his death his style went out of style and his paintings were badly withdrawn and discarded. Those that survived are now in the Prado Museum.

Hope you enjoy this tour of Sabatini’s Madrid, a great walk idea indeed, I have done on foot on various trips and its wonderful, One reason we say Madrid to Heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day !

There you go folks, plenty of news and this time more tips to enjoy my dear Spain! Hope you find it useful and be prepare, times are improving and travel is back with the health pass and the mask…

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

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September 5, 2021

Some news from Spain CIX

And time again to tell you some news from Spain, and my beloved stories and places of Spain. There are still the sequels of covid19 but things are beginning to move on as life does. However, I must tell all a sad news. Alfredo Gonzalez the owner of over 50 yrs of El Brillante restaurants of Madrid kill himself due to debts over covid19 of his restaurants. I remember fondly his friendly approach while eating my calamares sandwich at the Atocha resto. RIP

Then, we move on as life is for the living.

The 800th birthday of the Gothic cathedral of Burgos and the Jacobean Holy Year, with the Camino de Santiago crossing three towns that host the exhibition Las Edades del Hombre. (the ages of men). And its motto is Lux (light), the light that the Gothic style provided, precisely introduced in Spain through the Camino de Santiago. Here we go folks :

The Cathedral of Burgos, in whose cloisters, high and low, is the main exhibition of the Las Edades del Hombre , is one of those human artifacts that overwhelms you. With the Camino Jacobeo ,although the same would have happened without it, possibly the Gothic style is introduced in Spain, which contributes, among other innovations, to lighten the stone walls with stained glass windows that give way to clarity. Hence also this year’s motto, Lux. Because there are things that must be seen: like the popular papamoscas (Flycatcher), a rather simple automaton-clock in the central nave; the tomb of the Cid and his wife, Dona Jimena, under the dome; the Golden Staircase; the monumental reliefs in the ambulatory; the grandiose chapel of the Constables, with a cornered Magdalene that some people attribute to Leonardo da Vinci… Thanks to the heap of exquisite altarpieces and sculptures, scattered among 14 chapels, one can overcome the feeling of being in a cemetery. Or in a pantheon of illustrious men, For logistical reasons (and prevention of covid), access to the Chapel of Santo Cristo de Burgos is out of the circuit. A miraculous image, with human hair (which grows, according to pious tradition) and animal skin, much loved in the city, and whose devotion even overflowed to the lands of America, The Museo de la Evolución Humana (MEH) or museum of human evolution. The set of 3 buildings was directed so that from the large windows you can see the cathedral, just opposite, on the other side of the Arlanzón river with a desirable sample of paintings and engravings of the cathedral of various artists, some as illustrious as Joaquín Sorolla. Between the Paseo del Espolón and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento a medieval knot of streets and alleys (some with no exit), squares, arcades … It is known as La Senda de los Elefantes or the path of the elephants,

The 90 km from Burgos to Carrión de los Condes can be done comfortably on the Camino de Santiago highway ,A-12. Also along the national road N-120, which strictly adheres to the pilgrims’ path but slower passing by many small towns, From Carrión were the villainous counts who, according to the Cantar de Mio Cid, would have married and then outraged the daughters of Don Rodrigo in the oak grove of Corpes. Apparently, all a fake to bad idea of ​​Castilian against Leonese. The fact is that in Carrión, in the monastery of San Zoilo, is the pantheon of those counts and their family. The monastery, at the entrance to the town, is now a luxurious hotel with a large and well-shaded car park that should be taken advantage of, because in the urban area it is impossible to find a space. On foot, after crossing the Puente Mayor or bridge over the Carrión river, look for the Camino, which is none other than Calle Mayor that crosses the town from end to end. At the start of Calle Mayor-Camino is the Church of Santa María del Camino. And a little further on, on the same road, the Church of Santiago. Between both temples, and in the same street as Santa María, is the birthplace of the Marqués de Santillana, a warrior and writer of the 15C, one of our first humanists, author of some spicy Serranillas that anticipate the erotic lanterns of a Giacomo Casanova.

From Carrión to Sahagún, about 40 km, the landscape changes, softens. the cradle of that unique architecture of our country that is the Mudejar, Next to the Cea river stood the richest and most powerful monastery in late medieval Spain, that of San Facundo (hence the place name Sahagún). King Alfonso VI, who is buried in another nearby convent, made it head of the Castilian Benedictines and the engine of the Cluniac reform, which extended the Gothic style. Today there are barely a few roofed ruins and a large entrance arch, like a meteorite fallen from the sky. Next to it are the two headquarters of Las Edades del Hombre, the Church of San Tirso and the Hermitage of La Peregrina.

Vive el camino or live the way from the Galician newspaper La Voz  in Spanish : https://vivecamino.com/camino-de-santiago-desde/camino-santiago-desde-burgos/

Sagunto is a hodgepodge of Iberian, Roman, Andalusian, Jewish and two towns in one. The town, at the foot of the castle, and the port, which enters the Mediterranean through a very long jetty, The Avenida del Mediterráneo runs parallel to a beach whose dunes and the view of the very long jetty are the main attractions. A 1,652-meter jetty that was once a mineral loading dock. Following its route, inland, you reach the Old Hospital. Construction from the beginning of the 20C whose English heritage architecture, in addition to the hospital services of rigor, housed offices and houses for engineers. The people who reside in the building today do not have to be. The General Workshops Warehouse, dating from 1919. Inside boilermaking work, locomotive repair and foundry and adjustment tasks were carried out. Right in front of it is Horno Alto nº 2, a metallic structure almost 65 meters high whose restoration in 2012, by the architects Carmel Gradolí and Tato Herrero, received the Europa Nostra Award. Steel was produced in its dull guts, and it now houses a museum. Very close to it, on Calle de la Fundicion (foundry), is the Warehouse of Effects and Parts, a huge warehouse that, it is hoped, will house the Museum of Industrial Archeology of Sagunto. The company’s engineers and managers frequented the Recreational Casino, which is still in operation today. Some and others coincided, yes, inside the Church of Nuestra Señora de Begoña, but they did not mix; there were assigned seats for superiors and others for peons. The same thing happened on the beach. A visit to Puerto de Sagunto is not complete if you don’t go to its beach, with fine golden sand and dunes. A Mediterranean canvas as long as the jetty, with which it forms a right angle, and that few dare to see up close while walking on the breakwater that partly protects it. Those rocks are also a peaceful place to bathe. Sagunto tourist office: http://www.saguntoturismo.com/sagunto/web_php/index.php

When it comes to big towns this is one of my favorites in my beloved Spain, San Sebastián is much more than a gastronomic tourist destination. It is a place that combines everything that is sought when traveling in summer: beach, good food and a wide cultural and artistic offer. Along the Paseo de la Bahía de La Concha, with the now famous white railing, you will find some of the most emblematic places of the city. Right in the area that divides the two beaches of the city, La Concha and Ondarreta, is the Miramar Palace, a building built by the Spanish Royal House in the 19C during the reign of Isabel II. Continuing along the promenade leaving the Ondarreta beach behind, you will reach another obligatory stop next to the coast, El Peine del Viento, which marks the end of the San Sebastián promenade The area also has some wind and water that allows pedestrians to connect with the sea in a special way when the waves are strong. Right at this point where Ondarreta beach ends and El Peine del Viento is located, you can access the mountain that offers the best panoramic view of the city, the Igueldo. It is reached by funicular and once there, although the main attraction is the views, you can enjoy the historic Monte Igueldo Amusement Park, with ferris wheels, mountains and old-looking carousels that evoke nostalgia and from which you can appreciate unique sea and mountain landscapes. Art lovers will be able to find in the old area with all the architectural styles that give San Sebastián such a picturesque aspect. On the one hand, the Catedral del Buen Pastor or Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, of neo-Gothic style and whose towers can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Right at the other end of the old town, the Basilica of Santa María del Coro, with a façade that could be framed between the baroque and the rococo. And it is that, although it is obvious, it never hurts to remember that going out for pintxos (tapas) in San Sebastián is another of the things that must be done no matter how brief the visit is. The old part of the city has such a density of bars that you can enjoy a stroll through its streets with all kinds of snacks, from the classic Gilda ( a pintxos of anchovies and veggies concoction) to other more elaborate meat and fish pintxos. And to top it off, a portion of La Viña cheesecake, one of the local recipes that triumphs all over the world. Leave out the film and go for the old town and the beach me think !!! The San Sebastiàn tourist office: https://www.sansebastianturismoa.eus/en/

This is the latest on a movie of a Spanish poet I follow all my life, and have a unique post on him in my blog, I, also, of course, follow Ian Gibson, In his latest Ian Gibson travels to the precipice where memory ends, The Cans festival premieres the film in which the Hispanicist returns to the scene of the murder of Lorca and to the towns of Las Hurdes where Buñuel filmed ‘Tierra sin pan’, The documentary Donde acaba la memoria or where memory ends is directed by the professor of the University of Vigo Pablo Romero-Fresco, has been the premiere that the Cans film festival at O Porriño, province of Pontevedra opened this past Thursday, and if it is not a biographical story, it is a semblance of all that life of the Irish researcher dedicated to unearthing the memory of Spain. A country in which he was not born, but which he feels with “deep love and anger”. In Where memory ends, Gibson reveals the sound recording in which he recorded, in 1978, the explanations of the gravedigger of the poet from Granada at the scene of the execution. He also visits the Residencia de Estudiantes or Student Residence, that European cultural paradise in which the three stars Lorca, Dalí and Buñuel lined up to whom the writer has consecrated his research vocation. In addition, he shows his refuge in the heart of the Lavapiés neighborhood, Madrid, the place where he feels like in the womb and where he ended up with his family after the 19 moves that he carried out in Spain after leaving Dublin, Ireland.

The film premiered in the Cans festival ,which celebrates its 18th edition until Saturday 4 September, today), with a subsequent debate with Gibson and Romero, and will continue to visit some Galician cinemas and festivals until arriving at the Cineteca de Madrid on October 4 2021, Romero-Fresco accompanied Gibson to Granada to present the latest edition of his book on the murder of Lorca, in one more attempt to find the remains of the poet. The film could only end where it all began, the place where Gibson arrived 50 years ago to write his first work, which was banned by the Franco regime. The passion for Federico García Lorca made an almost adolescent Ian Gibson (Dublin, 82 years old) an Irishman with a Spanish soul. In 1978, with his book El asesinato de Lorca or the assassination of Lorca under his arm, he came to Madrid without knowing where to keep the blankets that he brought as basic luggage. For years he has lived in Lavapiés, which for him is the most beautiful capital in the world. In the book he writes what Garcia Lorca felled for his land, as he said « I love the land. I feel linked to her in all my emotions. My most distant memories as a child have a taste of earth ». There is a place, beyond Fuente Vaqueros y Asquerosa (town change name to Valderrubio since 1943), that treasures the first literary inspirations of Federico García Lorca, a flat land, abundant in water, neat in crops and memory where the poet’s childhood passed, where he accepted his link with the landscape, discovered the lysergic power of narratives, the strength of words and the way to convey inspiration. La farmhouse of Daimuz, in the heart of La Vega from Granada, captures the same light of happiness that the poet knew.

The official Cans film festival on Gibson/Garcia Lorca: https://www.festivaldecans.gal/gl/o-historiador-ian-gibson-e-xose-manuel-beiras-protagonizan-mana-a-segunda-xornada-do-festival-de-cans/

The history of Daimuz began a long time ago. Federico García Rodríguez, the poet’s father, had been born in Fuente Vaqueros in 1859. In 1880 he had married Matilde Palacios who died fourteen years later. With the money he had raised, he acquired good estates near Fuente Vaqueros. The most important of all was Daimuz, a kind of fertile land sandwiched between the Genil and Cubillas rivers. Converted into a landowner and one of the wealthiest men in the region, he met the teacher Vicenta Lorca Romero with whom he married in August 1897. Nine months later, on June 5, 1898, the poet was born in the family home of Fuente Vaqueros. One of the first memories that the poet cherished in the Daimuz farmhouse was his mother’s reading of Victor Hugo’s novel « Hernani ».But what forever changed his way of seeing the world was that afternoon his mother arrived from Granada with a puppet theater. He had acquired it that day at La Estrella del Norte, the best toy store in the city, located on Calle Reyes Católicos. It is not surprising, therefore, that, already consecrated as a poet, he maintained: “Andalusia is not a country of joy and tambourines , but the country of sentimental melancholy, of the internal currents of the spirit “. Yes he was the greatest poet of Spain, and still is, follow his trail.

And the end but not really, the best of the gastronomy of Spain! love these, hope you visit them and let me know your thoughts.

La Casa de Campo (see post) is very much in vogue, with interesting openings such as Villa Verbena and now El Taller, the sports house that this green lung full of families and athletes was needed, A mix of brewery and social and sports club with countless activities: from running club to nutrition talks, children’s activities like weekend workshops and summer camps. Its strong point is 20 types of beer from all over the world. In addition, its cuisine around the globe is based on coal and fire, and allows family or friends to celebrate any occasion and achievement after having done sports. Because apart from the gym, there is ñam, which is what it burns for. The terrace has capacity for 400 persons. Location at Paseo de María Teresa, 3. Lago de Casa de Campo. Hours: from 17h45 to 00h00, Average ticket: 25 euros. No webpage yet.

In a short time its name, Berria has become a must for lovers of the world of wine, thanks to its 1,600 references and its 80 wines by the glass that are renewed several times a month. But in this wine bar you also eat, and very well, thanks to a cuisine based on first-class raw materials. Both in the living room and on the terrace -with spectacular views of the Puerta de Alcalá ! Great !! location Plaza de la Independencia, 6. Webpage: https://www.berriawinebar.com/en/berria/

The center of Jerez de la Frontera, the Tío Pepe wineries (González Byass group) are a journey through time in which to discover the origins of Jerez wine. Not to be missed is the Real Bodega de La Concha, whose architecture is attributed to the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the boots signed by celebrities or the small ladder resting on a wineglass on the Bodega La Constancia, all arranged for the mice to taste the fragrant wine. Location Calle Manuel María González, 12 ,Jerez de la Frontera,province of Cádiz Webpage : https://www.tiopepe.com/

The Marqués de Riscal red was my first taste of wine ever over 50 yrs ago , given by my maternal grandmother Amparo of Tenerife!! The oenological complex known as La Ciudad del Vino de Marqués de Riscal is made up of several facilities, including two wineries and a five-star hotel with a spa. It is worth stopping at the original winery from the 19C where the bottling that stores the oldest vintages, some from 1862) ,and at the hotel, the impressive titanium construction by Frank O. Gehry Location at calle Torrea, 1 ,Elciego , province of Álava). Webpage :http://www.masquesderiscal.com/

The Bodega Santiago Ruiz was created in 1984 by Santiago Ruiz, one of the Albariño parents and a pioneer in the renovation of the Galician vineyard, it is a peaceful winery in the O Rosal area. A delicious house-museum of the 17C surrounded by gardens and old vineyards in the traditional style where you can discover how local wine was made (and is made) and Galician hospitality from the hand of Rosa Ruiz, daughter of the founder and continuation of the legacy of her father. Location at Rua do Vinicultor, Santiago Ruiz, s / n, San Miguel de Tabagón,province of Pontevedra). Webpage : https://www.marquesderiscal.com/

There you go folks, a dandy some news from Spain ! Hope you enjoy the reading and do visit these wonderful places, recommended by yours truly, And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all !!!

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September 3, 2021

The Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela of Madrid!

And now taken you closer to the Manzanares river and mostly off the beaten path of my beloved Madrid. It is far from the center and best on foot as we did. Lovely area with many cultural and sporting activities for the whole family. Something different in Madrid. In fact ,came searching for Madrid Rio (see post) and end up finding this gem. There is another crystal palace in Madrid, guest where? However, this one is unique and glad found it!! You never know about Madrid!  Let me tell you a bit about the Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela !

The Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela or Crystal Palace is located on the premises of what was once part of the Municipal Slaughterhouse of Arganzuela and has an area of ​​7,100 m². It was popularly known as the Nave de Patatas or potato warehouse, and its large rectangular structure of steel profiles are preserved, which is used as a botanical museum with plants from various parts of the world. It is located on Paseo de la Chopera, next to the Manzanares River, the municipal slaughterhouse was built between 1908 and 1924 as Slaughterhouse and Municipal Cattle Market.

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This museum greenhouse part has four closed areas creating four microclimates. Two of them house the most characteristic plants of the tropical climate, other those of the subtropical climate and the remaining one houses cacti and all the species related to the desert climate. All this exotic landscape is also surrounded by small fountains. Closed as a slaughterhouse in the early 80s, it currently houses various cultural units of the City of Madrid, as well as the headquarters of the Municipal Board of the District of Arganzuela.

In 1992 the conversion of the Nave de Patatas or potato warehouse was carried out. The Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela opens on December 21, 1992. The palace is free to visit and its exterior is surrounded by gardens and swings.

The Crystal Palace Greenhouse, houses 9 000 species of plants that are presented in four perfectly differentiated biotopes, each with a different microclimate, housing four different kinds of plants: Tropical flora, Subtropical flora, Crass and cacti plants and Plants of cruise and water. But not only can you enjoy its many plants but the Greenhouse also houses fountains and waterfalls populated with fish and birds.

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Next to the greenhouse until 2008 there was a Dalieda (outdoor garden dedicated only to dahlias, and the collection had more than three hundred varieties with about 3,000 copies), this space since 2012 and after the works of reconditioning of the environment with the Manzanares riverbank park (Madrid Rio), it has been reconditioned as an asphalted area for roller skating. Specimens of dahlias that were cultivated were distributed between the Real Jardines Botanico or Royal Botanical  Garden and the Dalieda of San Francisco. A peculiar park is known as “Las vistillas”, as is in the highest area of ​​Madrid of the Austria’s area, near Church San Francisco el Grande (see post) and the views are privileged to the city. Address: Gran Vía de San Francisco, 29).

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The Madrid tourist office on the Arganzuela palace greenhouse: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/invernadero-del-palacio-de-cristal-de-arganzuela

Again my long link sorry of the City of Madrid on the Palacio de Arganzuelahttps://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/El-Ayuntamiento/Parques-y-jardines/Patrimonio-Verde/Parques-en-Madrid/Palacio-de-Cristal-de-la-Arganzuela-Invernadero/?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=7d855cf8438de210VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=38bb1914e7d4e210VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD

There you go folks, another off the beaten path of my dear Madrid. Hope you enjoy this Palacio de Cristal of Arganzuela in my beloved Madrid; nice different and in up and coming popular area of Madrid.

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

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September 3, 2021

Jardines Sabatini and a Moro of Madrid!!

Going back to my beloved Madrid again. Many places of youth still revisited every year. Now let me tell you about a wonderful garden not far from the Palacio Real or Royal Palace.  The Jardines Sabatini are a great place to be not only for the location but also, the silhouette of the slopes in it giving you a wonderful view of the Royal Palace and Madrid afar. And then near is the Campo del Moro or moors’ field! a delicate park to enjoy by the families of always!

The Sabatini Gardens in the classicist style were created in 1933 in the spot that occupied the stables built by Sabatini for the Royal Palace (Palacio Real) , hence the name. Located in front of the Royal Palace’s northern façade, the gardens were completed in 1978. It was king Juan Carlos I who opened the park to the public. Located officially at Calle Bailén, 2 , and the best way other than walking to it is by metro Opera lines 2,5 and Radial and Sol lines 1 ,2 and 3.

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Today, a large, round fountain with tritons is at the intersection of the two major axes that are surrounded on all sides by quadrants and conifers, with trees arranged along the perimeter. The quiet secluded atmosphere of the Jardines Sabatini is in part due to the lowered elevation of the gardens, the gardens are approximately 10 meters (about 33 feet) lower than the main Plaza de Oriente. The gardens are connected to Plaza Oriente by a grand stone staircase, an appropriate entrance to the royal gardens .The Jardines Sabatini are named after the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini who during the 18C designed much of the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), this included royal stables which were demolished to create the gardens named after him.

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Another gem nearby and less visited is the Campo del Moro. The least known and least visited, perhaps because its entrance is on the farthest part from the Royal Palace, a bit far from the tourist itinerary. The adjacent gardens of the Campo del Moro lies behind the palace. You will find beautiful shady paths, fountains and peacocks strolling. It is both romantic style with some English garden features. As for its name, the Campo del Moro (the Moor’s field), it comes from the fact that it was the place where the Moorish army camped before their unsuccessful attempt, at the beginning of the 12C to take over the Alcazar (castle). King Felipe IV was the first to develop this space but the Campo del Moro began to take its form as it is known today that in the 1890’s under regent queen Doña María Cristina of Habsburg.

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Both are doable at the same time, and what a thrill you will have amongst so much natural beauty mingle in with beautiful statues and busts. Great for the whole family and I eventually took my boys here since very young to now. Hope you enjoy this bit of introduction as I.

The Madrid tourist office on the Sabatini gardens: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/jardines-de-sabatini

The Madrid tourist office on the Campo del Moro: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/campo-del-moro

There you go folks, a wonderful gardens that are good for the whole family like mine. I have several entries on them in blog but always link with something else or in my Some News from Spain entries. I believe the Jardines Sabatini and Campo del Moro deserve a post of their own even if to expansive this introduction can get you to come and me again. It is worth the detour in my Madrid. Hope you enjoy the post as I. You will be please to visit them

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

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September 3, 2021

Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madrid!!!

And I am back at you with my Madrid, and updating this post which surprise many folks coming to one of the world’s best museum missed it! One monument that needs to be seen there is the Royal Parish Church of Saint Jerome or the Parroquia Iglésia de San Jeronimo el Real right next to the Prado museum! notice it! Well I have and been in it but seldom took as many pictures than on this trip,(picture below is from the Prado!)  memories forever in my beloved Madrid.

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The old monastery of San Jerónimo el Real, popularly known as “Los Jerónimos”, was one of the most important monasteries in Madrid, originally governed by the Order of San Jerónimo. Next to it there was the so-called Royal Quarter, then expanded as Palace of Buen Retiro in the time of Felipe IV. The church currently remains, converted into a parish Church of San Jeronimo (St. Jerome), and a Renaissance cloister. Church and convent were closely linked to the life of the Court and the Spanish monarchy. The temple was a frequent scene of funerals, oaths of heirs, weddings and royal proclamations, the last of these being that of King Juan Carlos I.

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This is the only gothic building in Madrid!. It is a late Gothic with Renaissance influences and reminiscences of Madrid architecture, which can be seen in its facade in which stone and brick are mixed. Inside you will see its Elizabethan Gothic choir, which you will recognize because it is supported by a carpanel arch. The Jerónimos have undergone several modifications since their original construction in 1502, the church we see today is mostly from the 19C, when the facade and the twin towers that frame the main chapel were rebuilt. However, the Gothic style has been preserved and can be seen in the towers, in the buttresses and in the buttresses finished off pinnacles, among others. On each side we find five chapels, which were the object of the restoration that took place in the 19C. And its great staircase is even more recent, as it was built at the beginning of the 20C. The interior shows us something dark, especially in the area of ​​the main altar. Its greatest artistic attraction is in the decoration of the aforementioned central nave.

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It is found right next to the Prado museum the best way to walk to it is from the Paseo del Prado up to Calle Moreto 4. Metro lines Atocha, Antón Martín, line 1 and Banco de España line 2. See it!

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A bit of history I like

Although king Enrique IV of Castilla had previously ordered to build another monastery of Jeronimos on the banks of the Manzanares River in 1463, and shortly thereafter, in 1470 he had given the congregation of privileges to collect taxes, it is something later, at the end of the 15C, when the Catholic Monarchs ordered the construction in Madrid of a monastery of Jeronimos monks that would serve as a room for the Royal Family during their stays in the town. This Monasterio de San Jeronimo El Real (Royal monastery of St Jerome) was made in late Gothic style with Renaissance influences.  In 1510 Fernando I, the Catholic  has meetings of the Cortes in the temple and in 1528,the courts of Castile convened in Madrid in the monastery of San Jeronimo by Carlos I, Felipe de Habsburg Prince of Asturias was declared there, and was sworn as heir and successor of the kingdom of Castile, a tradition that will remain until that of Isabel II, in 1833.  The monastery and the annexed palace lived its time of greatest splendor during the reign of Felipe IV, which made the complex the center of courtly life. In the temple the oath took place as heir to the kingdom of Castile of the ill-fated Prince Baltasar Carlos of Austria.

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During the Napoleonic invasion of 1808 (known here as the War of Independence of Spain or peninsular war elsewhere), the monastery and the Palace of Buen Retiro were severely damaged by the invading army. As a result of this and in an effort to maintain what was left, Fernando VII turns the monastery into an artillery barracks. Years later, under queen Isabel II, the restoration of the church is ordered and the result of which are the towers of its heading, which flank the apse. The palatial complex of Buen Retiro was worse off: it suffered such damage that it was demolished, with the exception of the Casón del Buen Retiro and the Salon de Reinos (kingdom hall). (see posts).

In San Jerónimo the marriage bond was celebrated between King Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia de Battenberg on May 31, 1906. On November 27, 1975, Cardinal Vicente Enrique y Tarancón presided over the votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, at the beginning of the reign by king Juan Carlos I. In the early 20C, and as a result of the agreement to transfer the cloister of the monastery to the Prado Museum, the church was completely restored, both internally and externally.

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When considering the necessary extension of the neighboring Prado Museum, the Ministry of Culture rejected several options and chose as the most feasible and least traumatic to extend the spaces of the gallery to the Jerónimos. The site of the cloister was recovered, which was connected to the main body of the museum underground. Once the work was finished, the cloister maintains its inner courtyard, with its original arches and columns, and recovers its outer volume in the form of a cube, to which it owes its popular name. Red brick was used for the facades, so that they blend better with the surrounding buildings. Inside, the most innovative element is a skylight that crosses the building, from the cloister to the underground floors dedicated to exhibitions. The bronze doors that connect the cloister building with the Calle Ruiz de Alarcón street have also received praise. In all a wonderful parish Church!

This is one that needs to be seen yet so close and intertwined with the Prado museum often overlook by visitors, it can be even call an off the beaten path site in my Madrid, but a must to see I repeat! San Jéronimo el Real be there!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madridhttps://www.parroquiasanjeronimoelreal.es/

The Madrid tourist office on the Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madridhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/iglesia-parroquial-de-san-jeronimo-el-real

The Comunidad de Madrid tourist office on the Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madridhttps://www.turismomadrid.es/es/descubre/madrid/de-inter%C3%A9s/5107-iglesia-de-los-jeronimos.html

Again, this is a dandy beautiful historical architecturally nice , a must to see in Madrid. Again, so close to the Prado yet so far for most; need to see my Madrid. I recommend seeing the Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madrid!

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

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September 2, 2021

How about the Bolsa de Madrid!

Let me tell you another story of my beloved Madrid. This is not something you go just for tourism but it can be visited and well worth the educational trip. I like to tell you about the Stock Exchange or Bolsa de Madrid. It is a building that when young I do not think about it, but as I grew older and invested, became very much interested in visiting. I remember in my late teens my school in NJ took me to visit the Wall Street stock exchange and it hit me. Therefore, later on my visits to Madrid, decided to pay a brief visit without any guides just walk around it. It has a nice history to it.

The Madrid Stock Exchange or Bolsa de Madrid  is the main stock market in Spain. It is based in the Palacio de la Bolsa. Its reference index is the General index of the Madrid Stock Exchange (IGBM). or Index General de la Bolsa de Madrid.

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A bit of history I like

13C: The Juros (promise debt to pay) were paper emissions of the State by which a debt was guaranteed, being these the first form of public debt. It was in Castilla where the first titles of values that were created were the so-called Royal Juros, a loan contracted by the Kings that granted to different personalities.

14C: The recruitment markets, the first created by king Jaime I of Aragon in Palma de Mallorca, in 1246, although it was not built until 1409. We still have some of these buildings such as the Lonja de Palma de Mallorca, Zaragoza, Valencia and Barcelona, not forgetting Casa Lonja in Sevilla, dependent on the Casa de Contratacion de las Indias (hiring house of the Indies) since 1503, the headquarters of the General Archive of the Indies (new world), which collects company documents related to the commercial monopoly that it maintained with the Hispanic possessions in America for more than two centuries. Since the 16C there were exchange brokers, Lonja, Royal vouchers (Vales Reales) or customs.

In the midst of the War of Independence (peninsula war)  Joseph Bonaparte was appointed King of Spain in 1808 by his brother Napoleon Ier. Joseph I Bonaparte in 1809  made the decision to establish the first stock exchange in Madrid, however, he did not get to started it.

In 1831, reigning king Fernando VII, passed the law that gave origin definitively to the Bolsa de Madrid: The Law of Creation and Organization of the Bolsa de Madrid. The stock exchange had been defined in article 64 of the 1829 trade code as:  “A place of meeting of merchants and mediators where the operations of the hiring of movable assets are conformed or fulfilled “.  It was promoted with the law the creation of a market similar to those existing in other countries, such as that of Paris created in (1734), London in (1804) or New York in (1817). In 1854 begins the publication of the Bulletin of contributions and during the Liberal period  the peseta (Spanish currency) will be born.

On October 20, 1831, the institution of the Madrid Stock Exchange inaugurates its first session at the consulate of the Plaza del Ángel. The Bilbao Stock Exchange was inaugurated in 1890, the Barcelona Stock Exchange in 1915 and in 1930 the Valencia Stock Exchange was created. The hiring system is made in a lively voice, or a system of roll calling. In 1856 the Bank of Spain was born and in 1868, in addition to the Bank of Spain, nine banks or credit companies were listed in it, 17 railway companies and 34 mining and utility companies!

In 1898 there is a great crisis and the trading decline as a result of the loss of CubaPuerto Rico and the Philippines, suffering the prices of stocks a fall of 20%. In 1900, there is a reborn strongly due to the repatriated capitals of Cuba and the Philippines. While in 1900,  61 companies were quoted in the first 20 years the number of companies quoted was multiplied up to 121 with special growth in electrical companies, some bank and industrial companies.

During ,WWI, the Madrid Stock Exchange remains open and the increase in trading and expansion continues. The beginning of the Spanish Civil War obliges to suspend all its activity until March 5, 1940, in which it opens its doors again. It was in December of that same year that the General index of the Madrid Stock Exchange (IGBM) was born. With base 100, it was set to zero every year. Of the 28 companies that formed part of the long index created with base 100 on December 31, 1940, only three survivors remain, excluding the companies integrated or merged in new groups: Banco Espanol de Credito (up to 2014 Banesto), Inmobilaria Metropolitana (real estate, its current name is Metrovacesa) and Telefónica.

In 1989 begins to operate the continuous market for stocks (CATS: Computer assisted trading System). In 1991 the figure of the investor Protector of the Madrid Stock Exchange will be created and the electronic system of fixed income trading will be launched. In 1992 the SCLV is launched, which is a new clearing and compensation service, which initiates the new liquidity system by annotation in account and in 1993 and all fixed income emissions become contracted by an electronic system. In 1995 CATS is replaced by the system of interconnection Spanish Stock Exchange (SIBE). Since January 1, 1999 the stock trading is carried out exclusively in euros and that same year the Latin American securities market was launched in euros under the name of Latibex.

In 2002 the Madrid Stock Exchange will be integrated into the Spanish stock exchanges and markets group. The BME owns 100% of all Spanish stock exchanges, of the private and stock market of fixed income, of the platform of procurement of public debt (SENAF), of the derivative market (MEFF), as well as of the central depositary and the Chamber of Creation and Compensation of Values called Iberclear. On July 14, 2006, BME himself went on the market with a capitalization close to 25 billion euros.

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A bit of a trajectory locations for the Bolsa de Madrid.

Between 1831 and 1850 the Bolsa had six different venues. In the Plaza del Ángel, corner with Calle Carretas was for a year. In 1832 it moved very close, to a narrow courtyard of the Philippine Company House on Calle Carretas. In 1841 it passed to the cloister of the Convent of San Martín and in 1846 to the Church of the Convent of the nuns Bernardas  in Calle de  Alcalá, corner with Calle Peligros. In 1847 he moved to the Monastery de Los Basilios, in Calle Desengaño. In 1850 it passed, to the old customs building, in the Plazuela de la Leña. There, during the First republic a new building was built. Meanwhile, the Stock Exchange sessions were held at the theater and circus Paul, in the centric Calle del Barquillo. In July 1878 the construction of the present Palace of the Stock Exchange was approved in the Plaza de la Lealtad. The works began in January 1886; It was inaugurated on May 7, 1893 by the Regent Maria Cristina.

The Madrid tourist office on the Bolsa de Madrid: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/bolsa-de-comercio-de-madrid

Private trade center firm with lots of history on the Stock Exchange or Bolsa de Madrid in Spanish (most above translated from here): https://esbolsa.com/blog/general/bolsa-de-madrid/

The official Bolsa de Madrid webpage in Spanish: https://www.bolsamadrid.es/ing/BMadrid/Palacio/Visita.aspx

There you go folks, a dandy worth the detour , great visit indeed something on the off the beaten path trails in my Madrid. Hope you enjoy the Bolsa de Madrid as I; it is a nice place to do something different in Madrid!

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

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September 1, 2021

Casa de Campo de Madrid!

And as I am with the parks of Madrid, and already told you my other favorites ,and Retiro, why not the biggest in Madrid, Casa de Campo or Country House Park. Located in the district of Moncloa-Aravaca is the largest in Madrid with 1772 hectares or 80K m2 ; it is ,also the biggest in Europe 6,5 times bigger than Hyde Park in London and 2X bigger than Bois de Boulogne in Paris. It is 2,5 x bigger then Phoenix park in Dublin,  and 5x bigger than Central Park in New York. My many souvenirs of living and visiting my beloved Madrid. It is ,also, next to the forest of Pardo where the Zarzuela castle and residence of the king of Spain

All started briefly with King Felipe II who in 1560 thereabouts purchase the land after he decides to put his court in Madrid. Later king Fernando VI the area is declared a royal forest and served as hunting grounds. It is now managed by the city of Madrid and serves well all residents and visitors alike since 1931. I remember going here back in 1971 with my dear late mom Gladys to see the attraction park and it was awesome memories forever. I was able to take in several times with my dear late wife Martine and my boys; indeed, Madrid is more than a visit to me nowdays. Picture below my wife and boy and others are older, just for the memories of always!

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There are many wonderful things to do and see here. These are ; a Parque de Atracciones or amusement park , easiest to get there is by metro Batán on line 10,in this park you will enjoy three different areas including Nickelodeon Land, Lanzadera (free fall attraction) Tornado and Abismo that are rollercoasters, and the Walking Dead Experience. You ,also, have a ZOO de Madrid , here you will see incredible animals such as giant panda, monocled cobra, Asian elephant, Siberian tigers and even dolphins. In total, you will see more than 6000 animals of 500 different species. There is the famous (my favorite ride lol) cable car or Téléferico linking you to Paseo del Pintor Rosales. During the trip you will hear an explanation (in Spanish) about the history of Madrid and the monuments you will see during this time. Don’t forget your camera because there will be a lot of chances to take amazing pictures of the city and bridges of Madrid. And of course, you have the Aquarium one of the biggest in Spain. All wonderful spots for the whole family!

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There is,also, a youth hostal, exposition park, and the Venta de Batàn (storage for the bullring corridas). There is of course clean air!, soft ground and silence; the perfect combination for jogging and running, and you can choose flat paths or those with different slopes etc. You can ride a bike or rent one for the day in stores located along the Manzanares river. It’s a perfect spot for mountain bikes but there are also areas suitable for regular bikes. There are great areas for picnic under a tree or in one of the tables and benches all around the park. When you need to eat some snacks there is also a cafeteria right in the middle of the park. There ,also, a complex for cultural activities  IFEMA , all along the year with concerts, exhibitions, fairs, sport events all year long. In the park you can find a small lake with many aquatic activities such as Kayaking and boat paddles. During the weekends, many families come to the park for a picnic.

Other things to see here are the primitive palace of the Vargas was property of king Felipe II; you see the gallery of grottos or the Galería de las Grutas  in the gardens or  jardines de El Reservado, next to the palace. These are grottos artificially done from the 16C that were decorated with fountains, sculptures and motifs inspired by nature; from the five trails that was created now only two and part of a third one are open. You see the bridge or  Puente de la Culebra  built in 1782 on orders of king Carlos III by  Francesco Sabatini, the artistic work most representative still there and an example of Italian baroque style work. Sabatini also did four other bridges of which only exist today the Puente de la Agachadiza and Puente del Álamo Negro with its three original blinded eyes and the brick structure covered with cement. The Puente de la Culebra is in an area known as the El Zarzon next to the pathway of Prado Rodajes and the road to Zarzon where there is a small dam with waters of the Meaques creek on the place it is known as the small lake or  “Estanque Chico“, surrounded by thick vegetation. Most of the Casa de Campo is surrounded by a stone wall with 70 cm thick and done with brick and cement and chalk. The upper section is covered with granite stone with some parts rebuilt or reduced; and you can still see the ones given access to the Club de Campo that were the old gates of Aravaca, and Castilla. They had small gates to allow pedestrians to go thru such as the ones of  Agachadiza, Casa Quemada, Los Pinos , and Zarzón, all rebuilt.

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Another element were the wrough iron grills that gave access to the creeks to allow water in with a set of three grills and available to open them in case of flooding. You can see these wall grilles in the creeks of  Meaques, Prado del Rey,  Zorra  and two at  Antequina. The railroad bridge or puente del ferrocarril, was built in 1860; all bricks and granite with a half point arch on the road to Robles, and have several fountains such as  the  triangle or Triángulo  by the lake and the Neveros  nearby crossing the square or Glorieta de Patines; and some older such as the Zarzón, from 1898, even if a bit change; see also the fountain or Fuente de Rodajos even older , and the  potager or Huerta de la Partida dating from the 16C to give service to the palace de los Vargas, for which a canal for irrigation was done named the La Partida, coming from the creek of Meaques, as time went on the potager lost its function from the 20C onwards and by 1928  it was done on the land an experimental potager of medicinal plants.

The harbor for the Lago/lake of Casa de Campo where you will find boats and paddle boats etc up to four persons per boat where they can be rented for a period of times usually 45 minutes but check for the latest on site. It is located at Paseo del Embarcadero, 8 , check the latest for hours due to the pandemic but normally are Mondays to Sundays from 8h30 to sunset , prices are according to the day Mondays to Fridays 6€ and Saturdays and Sundays 8€ again check for latest on site ticket counter or call ahead . The best locations to reach the Casa de Campo are by the metro station Lago, you have the lake, pools and tennis courts, the expo center, and expo fair. Near the metro station Casa de Campo you have the Zoo and Aquarium, and near the station Batàn you have the amusement park.

You can walk or bike to reach the Casa de Campo by eleven entrances such as  Río or  Rey and Moreras , Batán,  Venta,  Dante, Grande and Ángel; also,  Aravaca, Somosaguas, Rodajos ,and Zarzón , and by here entrance to another half dozen small pedestrian gates .  You can do this by bus on lines 25, 31, 33, 36, 39, 55 y 65 on the south ,and 41 and 75 on east;  and 160 and 161 by the north. By metro you can do so on line 5  Casa de Campo, and line 10  Lago, Batán , and Casa de Campo. By auto is only allowed by the Avenida de Portugal, to reach the parkings located next to the amusement park, Zoo, and cable car terminus, lake area and some sports installations; these access are open from 06h to 00H30 or 01h0 at the end of the food kiosks time or the activities at the amusement park.

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The city of Madrid on Casa de Campo (as usual rather long links sorry): https://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/El-Ayuntamiento/Medio-ambiente/Parques-y-jardines/Patrimonio-Verde/Parques-en-Madrid/Parque-de-la-Casa-de-Campo?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=482a315919a9e210VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=38bb1914e7d4e210VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD

The city of Madrid tourist office on Casa de Campo districthttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-neighbourhoods/casa-campo

The city of Madrid tourist office on Casa de Campo lakehttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/lago-de-la-casa-de-campo

There you go folks, another dandy spot in my dear Madrid. Hope you enjoy the ride and history, and see the beauty found in the Casa de Campo. It is a sublime place, love by all who comes here. You will love it too I am sure!

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

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September 1, 2021

The Retiro park, my Retiro, my Madrid!!

Ok so , tjhis is time to update a memorable mythical place in my heart for me. 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 become nostalgic again, and means coming back to my beloved Madrid.  I have several posts in my blog because not only is my Spain ,but lived there in beautiful moments of my life; Retiro park, my Retiro, my Madrid!! Hope you enjoy the detail post and some reference pictures.

I had to come back to the Retiro park, yes it was practically my backyard, not far from my house 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 here 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.

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What’s in the name, well , it is known as the Parque del Buen Retiro,and popularly call simply El Retiro. In its historique life ,it was also known as the Parque de Madrid, as you can still see written in some gates or Puertas coming to the park. . This was used when it was made part of the city of Madrid in the last third of the 19C. It is, also,known as the Jardines del Retiro or Jardines del Buen Retiro, even if this name has a restriction covering only the area created in the end of the 20C where today you have the Palacio de Cibeles on lands that belonged to the Royal Palace.

And, will give you a run down for things to see and do in it. Of course, not exhaustive, heck you can get almost anything there now…  Let me briefly tells you about some of the wonders inside the Parque del Buen Retiro.

The gates or Puertas:

Puerta de Felipe IV (or Mariana de Neoburgo) is the oldest gate today in Madrid done in 1680.

Puerta de la Independencia, 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.

Puerta de España done in 1893 located at Calle Alfonso XII connecting to the Calle Antonio Maura and the big lake or Estanque Grande by the Paseo de la Argentina (before name paseo de las Estatuas or statues)

Puerta de Madrid at the corner of Calle de Alcalà and Calle O’Donnell, it is open to the Paseo de Fernán Núñez (or Paseo de Coches/ carriages), the longest in the Retiro (the Promenade).

Puerta de Hernani, first built in 1888 in metal, 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. My closest entrance to the park!

The monument/buildings:(see posts)

The Ermita de San Pelayo y San Isidoro, built in the 11C outside the gates of Avila and brought to the Retiro park in 1896; now only the abside and a lateral door remains.

Real Observatorio Astronomico, built in 1790 on the height of the hill or cerro de San Blas in the Retiro that today are next to the Prado museum and the Royal Botanical Gardens part of the idea to give Madrid a district of Natural Sciences!

Palacio de Velàzquez while holding events in the Retiro park one of them was done here built between 1881-1883 for the national exposition of mining, metarulogical, ceramics, glass and mineral waters.

Palacio de Cristal (Crystal palace) an architecture of glass and metal to house different species of vegetables coming from the Philippines due to the exposition of 1887 on the country. As well as the Palacio de Velazquez ,the Palacio de Cristal is used for exposition center of the Reina Sofia Museum.

And it has many fountains , such as:

They  have from the 18C, two fountains in the parterre garden that are twin representations . there is also , the Fuente de la Alcachofa built in 1871. From the 19C , we have the Fuente Egipcia located next to the big pond or Estanque Grande as well as smaller fountains such as the Fuente de la Salud y Fuente de la Gruta decorated with corals simulating caves, and the Fuente de los Galapagos with a pedestal like a palm with children figures mount on dolphins on the base; this one was first set up at the street Red de San Luis in the Gran Via in 1831. In 1879 it was transferred to the Retiro park at the Plaza de Nicaragua, near the big pond. The popular Fuente del Angel Caido built in 1885 and some said the only fountain of a devil in Spain . From the 20C we have the Fuente de Cuba done in 1929 as a monument to the nation of Cuba as well as the Fuente de la Gaviota 1962 located in the gardens or Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (garden inside Retiro park ) surrounded by a sculpture group.

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There are walks, trails, promenades inside Retiro park , my favorites are:

The Parterre of course. One of the first gardens on the French style done in Spain; work began in 1716 and finished in 1722.

Paseo de la Argentina (or de las Estatuas (Statues) ) there are parallel to the Parterre. Takes its name because of the statues on its sides belonging to a series of Spanish kings created by the middle of the 18C to decorate the corners and niches of the Royal Palace on orders of king Carlos III ,however, he later figure they were too much and removed them. After several decades in storage, by 1843, they were rescue and put in several spots around Madrid and elsewhere in Spain. In Madrid, you can see them at the Plaza de Oriente and the Jardines de Sabatini gardens (see post), both near the Palacio Real.

Jardín madrileño. Came from reforms pushed by queen Isabel II from 1841 and this garden is located to the south of the Parterre.

Paseo de Fernán Núñez (or de Coches (carriages)).Done in 1874 and vehicules were still permitted on it until 1981. It is a big promenade all along the park. Awesome walks.

La Rosaleda, done in 1915 by famous Spanish gardener Cecilio Rodriguez (1865-1953) similar to the one at the jardin de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris from which the gardener brought 12000 roses of more than 350 species, and created a greenhouse of steel and glass very near the Paseo de Fernàn Nûnez. Upon the Spanish Civil war it was badly damaged and was rebuilt it in 1941.

Jardines del Arquitecto Herrero Palacios (former Casa de Fieras or zoo) ; this was the old zoo of Casa de Fieras created in 1774 by king Carlos III in the street Cuesta de Moyano (where today you have a book stalls fairs each year) In 1830 it was transferred to the Retiro park upon instructions of king Fernando VII. Eventually, transferred to the Casa de Campo in 1972 (where the zoo still is) the place was name after the architect that was the gardener at the time. The place is very nice and it is preserved many parts of the simple old zoo like the pavilions, cages, and sculptures from the original zoo. Some were decorated and the pavilion called La Leonera o( the lioness from the first third of the 19C now it is a library on site!

Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez, the pioneer gardener of Retiro park who built one of his original gardens here as an extention of the Casa de Fieras (old zoo) done in 1918. When the Spanish Civil War destroyed it and the same gardener rebuilt it in 1941. On the rebuilding he change the decoration and laidout of the garden with a rectangular floor flank on three sides by pavilions that are now used for official events. IT houses several elements of gardening, fountains, pergolas, basins, ornamental columns, chess floors and sculptures groups from Hispanic Arabesque look.

Bosque del Recuerdo ( rememberance forest) was done in 2004 at the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V in honor of the victims of the terrorist act of March 11, by 2005 was place at the southwest side of Retiro park very near the Atocha train station. It is an artificial mountain surrounded by a basin on which are planted 170 cypress trees, 22 olive trees in honor of the 192 fallen on the terrorist act.

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The Retiro park also has as we call it Caprichos or whims usually of a king or queen. Two of them ,I have already discussed it above such as the Fuente Egipcia (Egyptian style fountain) and Casa de Fieras (the zoo). Those now still there are

Casita del Pescador. Fisherman’s house is a small house of square shape and two levels with roof in zinc and water spouts.

Montaña Artificial. Also known as the Montaña Rusa de los Gatos (rollercoaster mountain of the cats) because of cat sculptures on it. It is a hill on steps with lots of vegetation and corals on which you see several cascades that falls into a basin . There is a trail on the sides crossing several bridges with towers like a fortress in miniature and inside there is a funerary space from which you can come by three doors .However, check because it was closed for deterioration and do not know if re open.

Casa de Vacas. Or house of cows here it used to milked cows and provide milk. Right now it has been rebuilt due to the storm of 1886 and the fire of 1982, Today it is a cultural center of the city of Madrid.

Casa del Contrabandista. The contraband house, as the previous one it has been rebuilt due to its use as a hostal lodging during the 20C and 21C. It was designed as a water wheel that is why circular and covered like a dome. At the roots of it had a collection of automates with Andalucian motifs such as a priest, and a bandid contraband that is why the name of the house.

Castillete medieval. A small medieval castle originally called the Torre del Retiro or the tower of Retiro with a middle ages aspect with four angle towers, three levels and a flat cover. At the end of the 20C was given to the Meteorological service currently it is without use and in bad shape.

Some of the ponds or estanques in the Retiro park you can see today are

Estanque Ochavado (or de las Campanillas (small bells)) The date of construction is not known but it has to be before the big lake or Estanque Grande. It is done with eight sides and a small isle in the center with a coral decoration today

Estanque Grande or big lake, was ordered built in 1634 done to extract water for the Royal Palace and use for fishing and boating as well as theatrical shows . In 1817 it was built a pavillon with oriental designs and later destroyed tobuilt what you see today the Monument to Alfonso XII. In 1917,it was done a new one located on the north side that caught fire and again was rebuilt in 1926 as the one that has reach our days. Just a must ,gorgeous spot many memories crying just to write on it.

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Ría de Patinar. An skating stream done in 1876 to replace a previous one that is now at the Rosaleda. It was chosen an area shady to keep the water colder frozen even so that the ice skating could be done, it has an oval shape around a garden isle.

Estanque del Palacio de Cristal ; small lake right in front of the palace built in 1887. Done in a rocky cave and a nice water basin.

Rias del Estanque Grande y Ria de La Chopera; on each side of the monument to Alfonso XII the two merge.160 for the Estanque and 200 for Chopera meters long , not known when they were created but probably end of the 19C, shown in maps until 1900. The Ria de La Chopera is from the same time and has 200 meters running.

Estanque Rustico, the gardener Cecilio Rodriguez did this one to provide water to his gardens from 1918 , the lake has a bridge and a masonry factory with brick lines.

There are the statues still left in the Retiro park from the times of king Carlos III, these are kings done in the 18C along the Paseo de la Argentina or de las Estatuas along the paseo from west to east are Fernando IV of Leon and Castilla, Sancho IV of Leon and Castilla, Enrique II of Castilla, Garcia I de Leon, Urraca of Leon and Castilla, Berenguela of Castilla, an empty pedestal follows then, Gundemaro, Visigoth king, Carlos I of Spain, Carlos II of Spain, Ramon Berenguer IV count of Barcelona and prince of Aragon, Chintila, Visigoth king , Alfonso I of Aragon, and Sancho IV el Bravo of Castilla.

There are ornamental monuments such as these:

Monumento General Martinez Campos, done in 1907 at the Plaza de Guatemala behind the monument to Alfonso XII, is an equestrian statue in bronze. He was sent to Cuba to try to pacified the independence rebellion in vain

Monument Benito Pérez Galdos done in a square of the same name next to the Paseo de Fernàn Nùnez. It is made of white stone of Lérida, and with 2,10 meters high ,1,3 meters wide and 2,2 meters deep opened in 1919 with the presence of the actor himself invalid and blind.

Monument Alfonso XII, it was called a national contest to built it upon the request of the regent queen Maria Cristina, the winner finally did it inspired on the monument of William I of Berlin, built this one in 1922 . It is at the west side of the lake or Estanque Grande and has 30 meters high, 86 meters long, and 58 meters wide. Around the king you have statues of representation of peace, progress and liberty . Around the hemicycle you have other statues representing The army and marine, the sciences, agriculture, Arts, industry, and two lions.

Monument Santiago Ramon y Cajal, in the Paseo de Venezuela done in granite stone and bronze. In the center of a basin with Etruscan figures and fountains representing the life and death, done in 1926.

Monument Jacinto Benavente, is in the parterre garden forming an axis with the Puerta de Felipe IV and Cason del Buen Retiro (now part of the Prado museum) . It has a female figure of Greek inspiration with arms rise showing a mask referring to the theatre one of the genre of Jacinto Benavente, it was done by popular donations and finished in 1962.

There is extensive flora and fauna here as well as great sports installations. Did I told you enough? Cheer love and beauty here, a must in Madrid!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to the awesome Retiro Park are:

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

The city of Madrid on the Retiro (long link sorry): https://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/El-Ayuntamiento/Parques-y-jardines/Patrimonio-Verde/Parques-en-Madrid/Jardines-de-El-Buen-Retiro/?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=499561945d9ec210VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=38bb1914e7d4e210VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD

The regional Comunidad de Madrid tourist board on the Retirohttp://turismomadrid.es/es/descubre/madrid/de-inter%C3%A9s/5111-parque-del-retiro.html

There you go folks, I think you get an idea, this is a must, a lingering must in Madrid. Cannot come to the city without visiting day and night. To me ,it is a pilgrimage each time. To Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day: yes, and the Retiro is a big spot looking down!

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

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September 1, 2021

My parks of Madrid !!!

It’s time to talk about my other love, Madrid and it’s parks I share while in my adolescent life and later. Let’s take you on a brief tour of several parks, that I have been to, played in them, chase for my first love, and oh well many other things even introducing them to my then wife and boys. Madrid is invigorating to the soul, active, modern, no taboos, free, open, lively, enthusiastic even in the worst economic situation, so what, its Madrid, all worth it a million times.  As have posts and pictures on many of them in my blog, this would be sort of an introduction to them in my black and white series. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The park closest to my old home in Madrid was the Parque El Calero, on Metro Line 5 Quintana or Carmen, it has nice promenade and an open air auditorium for concerts and cultural events. Also a petanque field and bike paths. You can easily go from the metro Quintana in Calle de Alcalà (where I lived) up avenida del Sagrado Corazon to it. My last trip the area has change but still a good walk into the real Madrid at daytime.

The next park is more for the tourist /visitor, this is the Parque Quinta de la Fuente del Berro. Early on it was a farm or Quinta de Miraflores ordered by king Felipe IV as a new royal site with more than 13 hectares (adding the gardens or Jardines Sancho Davila). It is on the limits of the Calle Enrique D’Almonte, Avenida de Alcalde Saenz de Baranda, and the M-30 (first beltway of Madrid) until reaching the Calle de Alcalà and the bridge or Puente de Ventas parallel to the M-30 to join up with the Jardines Sancho Davila; all total about 53K m2 of green. It is not far from the Monumental Ventas bullring. The main entrance is by Calle Enrique D’Almonte with two small towers in brick; and you can see the old palace remaining of what it was before.  The park is well designed with several slopes with prairies and rustic stairs of stone. One of the things to see here is the Monument to Bécquer ,and the statue to the Russian writer Pushkin, a fountain with a stone jar next to the main entrance, a cascading waterfall, and two small lakes. You can see more on Fuente del Berro in Madrid tourist officehttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-de-la-fuente-del-berro

I walk you to the Parque del Oeste, (see post) ,a gorgeous part of Madrid. This park is by Moncloa between the avenida del Arco de la Victoria, and the Paseo del Pintor Rosales; next is the railroad track and the Avenida de Seneca, traversing the park are the Paseo de Ruperto Chapí, Paseo de Camoens, Calle Francisco and Calle Jacinto Alcàntara.  Worked on the park began in 1893 and the first phase was finished in 1905 with 87 hectares between the streets of today Calle Moret and Calle Seneca in addition to a carriages street ,Paseo de Camoens. IN 1906 the second phase continue the work and the park reached the Cuartel de la Montaña (HQ of army during Franco) and today it is where the Templo de Debod (gift from Egypt) is located.  The park was extended parallel to the Paseo Del Pintor Rosales . In the years 1956 -1973 it was enlarged not only by the Cuartel de la Montaña but also the rosary section of La Rosaleda and the Parque de la Montaña today the Templo of Debod (see post). The northern parts of the park is the nicest as well as the oldest with an artificial creek of 600 meters long.  Special attention to the big oak tree the grandfather or el Abuelo this is a Cedrus atlantica; and two sophora pendulum trees , and a majestic Ginko, etc all really nice.  At the end of the promenade of plaintains or paseo de Plátanos, you can see birds in the fauna center or Centro de Avifauna with informative panels. You can reach here on metro lines 3 and 6 at Moncloa , lines 2,3 and 10 at Plaza de España , and lines 6 and 10 at Príncipe Pío; also, buses 21, 46, 74, 160, 161, and A , as well as Cercanías train at  Príncipe Pío. A real trip recommended. More on the parque del oeste on the Madrid tourist office: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-oeste

Moving right along to a garden nearby ,an extension of the above park too we reach the Jardín de la Rosaleda  with more than 500 variaties of Roses from the world over; perfect for a family walk and beautiful pictures. La Rosaleda del Parque del Oeste exist since 1956.  This was the work of the main gardener here who was inspired  from the great work done in Paris etc at the end of the 19C early 20C as well as the one at Retiro done in 1915.  The central part has small lakes and here you can see the fountain of youth or Fuente de la Juventud, done by Federico Coullant Valera, who, also did the alas of victory that adorn the Metropolis building in the Gran Vía , and the Monument to Cervantes in the  Plaza de España.  On the laterals you will see arches that you can go in, walk by them like if you were in an underground passageway where the walls are decorated with green leaves and colorful roses. Plenty of trails here to walk into the lawns,and find many variaties of roses, their origins and year that participated and won a prize. The best here is the cable car of many rides of youth and now family trips this is the Teleférico de Rosales (see post).  You can climb into the mountain of Principe Pio and visit the Templo de Debod (see post) and its gardens, and see from there wonderful views of the Palacio Real (see post) or Royal Palace and the Cathedral of the Almudena (see post). The hours here are from 10h to 20h every day and in summer to 21h, check always for hours. The entrance is free. The Rosaleda del Parque del Oeste  is located in the Calle Rosaleda s/n, a bit away from Paseo del Pintor Rosales,closer to the Templo de Debod,and a few meters from the cable car /Teleférico. More from the Madrid tourist office: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/rose-garden-oeste-park

This is a bit off the beaten path for most but it is Madrid at it local best. Come to the Parque del Cerro del Tío Pío in the neighborhood of Numancia, district of Puente de Vallecas, and extending over neighborhoods or colonies of residences  Colonia de Fontarrón, Colonia de Santa Ana , and Colonia de los taxistas.  It is locally known as the park of the seven tits or Parque de las Siete Tetas because of its peaks or hills.  You come here to see the city sunset or sunrise and see most of the city. The park is bordered by the Calle Benjamín Palencia, Calle Camino de Valderribas, Calle Sierra de Cuerda Larga , and Calle Maruja García Romero.  It is recommended for a panoramic view of the city from this park as well as the mountains outside of Madrid.  The park has 3 entrances and on the highest there is a lookout , bar, and game zone for children as well as machines to do outdoors sport.  There is ,also, a bike trail. On the lower part of the park you find sports complexes for indoor football/soccer, basketball, and ping pong. You reach here by metro light line 1 stations Portazgo and Buenos Aires as well as buses lines 54 , 141 , and 143 .   More from the Madrid tourist office on Parque del Cerro del Tio Piohttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/cerro-tio-pio-park

We come to one dear to me this is the Parque de El Capricho (see post) on a green zone in the neighborhood of Alameda de Osuna in the district of Barajas ,yes the town of the airport of Madrid.  It was ordered built by the Duchess of Osuna between 1787 and 1839 , and it has now an area of 14 hectares; with the only unique Romanesque garden in Madrid.  It has a labyrinth of shrubs, buildings, small palaces, small chapel and a beautiful dance hall as well as creeks and lakes where you can find swans and ducks. Here, the weekends you find concerts, theater, dance etc in the so call «Tardes de Capricho» or craving afternoons. You can see here a bunker at the Jaca position the password of the general headquarters of the Republican army during the Spanish Civil War 1936-39. More from the Madrid tourist office on the Parque del Capricho: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-capricho

Another park ,known later in life is the Parque Quinta de Torre Arias located in the neighborhood of Salvador, district of  San Blas-Canillejas; the old home of my maternal aunt.  It is located between the Calle de Alcalà, Calle Rodríguez Ayuso,  Calle Eduardo Terán, Calle de Fernando Mijares , and Calle Marquesado de Sta. Marta. This was the old farm of Torre Arias with 17 hectares with very nice garden to find 51 species of trees some of more than 300 years old.  It belongs to the nobility of Madrid from 1600 until our days today.  The park is created after the passing of the last owner. In 1986, the owners signed an agreement to give it to the city as a donation that finally become owned in 2013 by the city of Madrid. You can reach here on metro line 5 Torre Arias, and buses lines 104, 77, 140, and 153. More from the Madrid tourist office on the Parque Quinta de Torre Ariashttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/quinta-torre-arias

And last ,but not least for this post I like to tell you about the Parque de la Bombilla, (see post) on 13 hectares running parallel to the Parque del Oeste by which can communicate with Passarella’s trails. The park is located between the Avenida de Valladolid, Ciudad Universitaria, and the old North Station that is bisected by train of the cercanias lines C7  and C10. Each June 13 the park is host to the festivities of Saint Anthony  as well as the circus in winter and the summer cinema showing in summer.  It has a tracing from the Royal Palace where in the old days royal carriages took the nobility by the Calle Bailén, to the forest of  El Pardo. This tree lined road was given the name of the King’s way or Senda del Rey  and part of it can still be done inside the park.  At the end of the 19C it was changed into municipals garden center and the tramway cars.  In the interior of the park there are benches, prairies, stair terraces where water runs,a lake and a fountain. You can reach it on metro lines 6 and 10  Príncipe Pío ,and buses lines 41, 46, 75,  and N20; also cercanias lines  C1, C7, C10 ,and regional at Principe Pio. More info from Madrid tourist office on parque de la Bombillahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-bombilla

Another mythical park of Madrid for me is the Parque de la Quinta de los Molinos located in the neighborhood of Salvador, district of San Blas-Canillejas .  It is considered a historic park located in between my Calle de Alcalà , Calle Miami, Calle de Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena ,and the Avenida del Veinticinco de Septiembre.  It has 25 hectares and in the park includes great lawns and prairies of trees with lots of olives, pines eucaplyptus, and figs trees, even thus the start of the park of the almond trees that flowered every spring offering a wonderful spectacle.  You can find here at the extreme north of the park a palace from early 20C , gardens and lawns, there is ,also a lake, windmill (why the name of the park) and a building known as the watch house or Casa del Reloj.  The park has trails of dirt and pavement bordered by plantains trees from the main entrance  in my Calle de Alcalà to the palace.  During the summer, there are many activities here with concerts on the Summers of the city activity or Veranos de la Villa. Due to its location by Calle de Alcalà the access is easy from anywhere in the city; next to the main entrance there is the metro Suanzes, for line 5  (mine!!!) and also by Calle de Alcalà you get the buses lines  77  and  104.  By the Calle Juan Ignacio Luca de Tena you can catch buses lines 114  and 146, where there are two entries to the park. Other access to the park are at the Calle Miami on metro line 6  O’Donnell , and buses lines  2, 56, 69, 71, 143, 15, and 28. More ifrom Madrid tourist office on the parque de la Quinta de los Molinos: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/quinta-molinos

There you go folks, a wonderful walks and rides into my Madrid great parks/gardens. Hope you enjoy this ride into the parks of Madrid, my favorites of course , and there are others, but these are my favorite parks of Madrid.  Of course, see my posts on many of them including the unique Casa de Campo, and parque del Buen Retiro park. Glorious awesome not enough words. Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!

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

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August 31, 2021

Puerta del Sol of Madrid!!

And here I present you a real beauty of a square, if it were not for Cibeles, and Mayor, this would be my favorite. No more waiting, this is the gate to the sun ooops meant Puerta del Sol in my beloved Madrid. As have several posts mentioning and pictures will update this one on my black and white series, hope you enjoy it as I.

I spent many childhoods days here first with my dear late mother Gladys and later bringing my family ,and my dear late wife Martine love it with me, especially the churros nearby ! The boys love it too, and it has become a must stop each time in Madrid, that thanks God has been many times in my life time. If you read my blog you know why. I have made several references to it in many of my previous posts on Madrid, so do search in my blog for more. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day. De Madrid al Cielo y un hueco en él para mirarla todos los dias.

This is the place I came to get abanicos (fans) for my mother and umbrellas, the early purchases at Calle Preciados for Galerias Preciados (today part of El Corte Inglés same spot), and the Churros at the Pasadizo de San Ginés street for Chocolateria San Ginés good then and now an institution for locals and visitors alike. The wonderful discothéque (before community theater in my days in the city) Joy Eslava off Puerta del  Sol and Calle Arenal.

Let me tell you a bit more on the magical Puerta del Sol. Some of the emblematic symbols you should look for here are:

Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry tree ( Madroño) under the billboard of Tío Pepe,(sherry fame) at the beginning of Calle de Alcalá, you will find the statue of the symbol of Madrid. It was created in 1967 and is one of the most popular meeting points in Madrid. In front of the building of the old Hotel Paris (no 1, where was the panel of Tio Pepe), later transferred to the beginning of Calle Carmen and relocated in its original place in 2009.  The panel of  Tio Pepe located at no 1 until 2011, when it was retired, and repositioned in no, 11 in 2014.

The Clock of the Post Office House, (Reloj en la Casa de Correos) . The clock was built and donated in the 19C by José Rodríguez de Losada, and whose 12 bells ringing the night of December 31 mark the traditional taking of the twelve grapes by the vast majority of the Spaniards, saying good bye to the Old Year and welcoming the New Year with a wish. It has been televised  since 1962. The Post Office House (Casa de Correos)  was built by the French architect Jaime Marquet between 1766 and 1768; It was subsequently  home to the Ministry of the Interior in 1847 and Directorate General of State Security during the Franco era and, currently, is the seat of the presidency of the community of Madrid.

Kilometer zero: Starting point of the Spanish radial routes. It is indicated on the ground from which all roads in Spain are measure. The Mariblanca located at the Puerta del Sol  between 1630 and 1838 crowned the Fountain of the Mariblanca, (aka Fuente de la Fé, Fuente del Buen Suceso , Fuente de Venus or Diana, Fuente de las Arpias or first ornamental fountain (Fuente)  of the Puerta del Sol). In the last third of the 20C a smaller copy was made that since 1986 has had different emplacements at the Puerta del Sol, while the original moved from the Paseo de Recoletos, in which it was from 1969, to the vestibule of the Casa de la  Villa , after its restoration in 1985.

The last element added, in 1994, is the equestrian statue of king Carlos III. It is a bronze reproduction of Juan Pascual de Mena’s work that is preserved in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. The spiral inscription surrounding the pedestal briefly describes the history of the reign of Carlos III. The monument is nine meters high. As a curiosity, it should be noted that an electronic device was installed in it to keep the pigeons from resting on it continually.

A bit of history I like

The Puerta del Sol was in its origins one of the accesses of the ramparts that surrounded Madrid in the 15C. This wall gathered in its perimeter the medieval suburbs that had grown outside the walls, around the Christian wall of the 12C. The name of the gate comes from a sun that adorned the entrance, placed there to be facing the gate to the Levant. Among the buildings that gave it prestige in the beginnings was the Church del Buen Suceso  and Church of San Felipe el Real (both now gone). The Puerta del Sol is surrounded by fourteen buildings. From the same time dates the measurement of 635.50 meters above the average sea level of Alicante.

In 1986 a new reform came that gave more importance to the pedestrian zone. The streetlights installed on the occasion of this remodeling, were popularly nicknamed as the suppositories and provoked a great controversy due to its modern design. Finally they were replaced by the current style lanterns fernandians or Fernandino, although in the two central posts of the square the suppositories survived some years more, to be unified a few years later with those of the rest of the square.

The Puerta del Sol area corresponding to the Calle Mayor, that occupies the Casa Cordero (now gone) , on its first floor was known the Great Bazaar of the Union (Gran Bazar de la Union) (now gone) ,where objects were sold at fixed prices. This Grand Bazaar was the first large retail establishment that would lead to department stores. At the end of the 20C, establishments such as the El Corte Inglés  were expanding their area of influence from the Calle Preciados to reach the lower levels of the north of the square. At the beginning of the 21C, the traditional shops that were at the Puerta del Sol have been disappearing to give way to franchises, gambling halls, fast food restaurants and other more impersonal and cold establishments. However, the centenary cafeteria-Patiseria La Mallorquina, located in the area between the Calle Mayor and Calle Arenal, just off the Puerta del Sol, and also the area where the lotteries shops traditionally are. Still preserved  today are the  fans and umbrellas shop Casa Diego (founded in the 18C).

I must tell you my dear mom took me as a boy to buy shoes at the old Los Guerrilleros shoes store in Puerta del Sol ; many fond memories here. The family best friend married the manager of the store and so on until it close (Jan 10 2015). Founded here in 1962. We later last 2019 came to shop at a new shoes store there Zapshop!

The 10 streets that come out of the Puerta del Sol in clockwise direction from the Calle de Alcalà are Calle de Alcalá, Carrera de San Jerónimo, Calle Espoz y Mina, Calle de las Carretas, Calle del Correo, Calle Mayor, Calle del Arenal, Calle de Preciados, Calle del Carmen, and Calle de la Montera. The transports here is very good with metro Sol lines 1, and 2. Also local trains Cercanias  C-3 and C-4. The station has been converted by its dimensions in the largest in the World with 28 meters deep, 207 meters in length and 20 meters wide. Its lobby is 7500 m². The entrance to the inter connecting station, similar to an igloo, has changed the physiognomy of the Puerta del Sol again. All around heavens in Madrid!!!

Some events and trivia on this very Madrileña square:

The Puerta del Sol has also experienced some important events for the history of Spain, such as the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931. Some films of note on my taste showing bits of the Puerta del Sol were El misterio de la Puerta del Sol (mystery of the gate of the sun), by Francisco Elías Riquelme in 1929, considered as the first movie with sound of Spanish cinema. Km. 0, a light comedy of love, intrigues and Spanish erotism from 2000. The main line of the story is the  Madroño symbol of Madrid at the Puerta del Sol. In theater you have the play La Celosa (jealous one) of famous Tirso de Molina. Also a Spanish operetta or very Spanish call Zarzuelas, this one El  último tranvía (the last tramway) by Ricardo Blasco.

In Literature, we have Luces de Bohemia (lights of Bohemia) from 1924 of Valle Inclán. The novel by Benito Pérez Galdós, Fortunata y Jacinta of 1886-87, the main carácter Juanito Santacruz lived at the Puerta del Sol and it recounts stories of the Gran Bazar de la Union. The dramaturges Jerónimo López Mozo in his work of El arquitecto y el relojero (the architect and the watchmaker) from 2000 has a story on the Casa de Correos house as well as the surrounding áreas of the Puerta del Sol. Also, the La conquista de la Puerta del Sol (conquest of the gate to the sun) by Emilio Carrere. In music, the scene given on the song Un Ano Màs (one more year) by Mecano. And finally, on my favorites is the painting of the Charge of the Mamalukes or La Carga de los Mamelucos (or 2 de Mayo 1808) by Francisco de Goya.

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

The Comunidad de Madrid region tourist office on the Puerta del Sol: http://turismomadrid.es/es/descubre/madrid/de-inter%C3%A9s/5100-puerta-del-sol.html

There you go folks, you need to be here, if you say you were in Madrid ok. Nothing is enough on Madrid and the Puerta del Sol is where the Sun’s Gate! And as in Spain , everything under the Sun, tourism slogan from the 80’s. Hope you enjoy the post as I!

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

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