Posts tagged ‘Madrid’

December 8, 2018

Some news from Spain LXXII

So back for a little nostalgic look at my beloved Spain. And in preparation for my next trip abroad to Asia this Sunday.  Cloudy and about 12C or 54F but no rain, and in my wonderful Madrid is sunny as sun and same temps at mid-day time.

Let me go into my Spain latest news that took my attention

The new local of the Mercado de la Reina (Queen’s Market Group such as Diurno , Mercado de la Reina, Museo Chicote, Terraza de la Reina) , and now the Taberna de la Reina, located at Gran Via, 10, is a different gastronomic space. Castizo, original and Spanish cuisine that recovers the spirit of the old taverns and traditional food houses. The large bar with table area and high chairs where tapas is the perfect place for snack time. The restaurant offers two independent rooms: a large lounge of chairs and colorful tables  ideal for an informal lunch or dinner in a relaxed atmosphere where you enjoy and share classic recipes presented with pleasure , and the room that overlooks the Calle de la Reina, with windows of more than eight meters of height and a roof that is a nod to the Spanish Dehesa, with a family of pigs in real size grazing under a holm oak. Classic stews like the bull’s tail(delicious), the Madrid callos, the Iberian ham 100% Acorn of D. O Guijuelo, etc Grand. More here:

Group Mercado de la Reina here:

Hoyo de Monterrey (something to enjoy in Spain from Cuba, I do not smoke but know how to make them from grandparents teaching) . It presents its first Reserva, in its iconic model: Epicure No. 2, one of the symbols of the brand and one of the most popular Habanos  (cigars) vitolas in the world. It is, without a doubt, one of the robust ones most appreciated by the cigar smoker. The selection of the 2012 harvest leaves for this epicure No. 2 Reserva has been subjected to a long and careful aging process for 3 years. The selected mix has been produced by expert blenders, and has been evaluated in joint tastings organized by the Institute of Tobacco made with more than 50 experts tasters: members of the National Tasting Commission from the most prestigious factories of Cuba, and experts of the Cuban industry and of Habanos S.A., in which evaluate all the organoleptic conditions of the blend  proposals to be selected. It consists of a unique world production of 5,000 numbered boxes, representing the brand’s absolute excellence. Each box contains 20 cigars. They come with a ring that accompanies the traditional ring of the brand with the name of the brand and vitolas.

A bit on the essence of wine and especially that of my beloved Spain. It’s been a long time since the wine stopped being just food. We seek  the experience , a wine that knows how to tell something and transmit its particular history. Everything goes to look for a tipicity, an expression of the origin of where it is born and done. You have to differentiate, because there are no bad wines. The future of wine is not to lose sight of the past, with everything we already know today. The highest degree of differentiation comes from grapes and soil. This is why autochthonous grape varieties are also being chased and rescued. The grape with which a wine is made will be more and more watched. The mark will be the name but the variety will be his surname. Or who knows if vice versa. A new classification of vineyards will also be entered as a result of the intention of rearranging the wine-growing territory of many appellations of origin. In fact, this zoning is already underway in Campo de Borja, in Priorat, La Rioja and Bierzo, to point out those that have more advanced their projects.

Wine tourism has a lot to say in the experience  of wine culture and it will not be rare to finally rescue the wine routes beyond the simple walk through neighboring wineries. The neighborhoods of Bodegas; the underground caves where the wine was made until recently, such as those of La Rioja, Campo de Borja, areas of  Galicia or Castilla y León; The changing landscape during the vine cycle and everything that accompanies the wine from the characters to the gastronomy, contributes to enrich a product with soul that will be exploited by tourism. And they will definitively break the traditional concepts of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva and special attention shall be paid to subtitles relating to the elaboration and viticulture as “grain to grain”, “fermented in cask”, “Teardrop Wine”, “on Lees”, “by Bleeding “… The ratings will become more complex but more accurate. The result will be an even greater increase in brands that, contrary to what can be thought, benefit the  lifelong  by representing a safe value. A vibrant world full of novelties, with a dizzying figure close to the 20,000 references looking for a perhaps smaller audience, but definitely more select. Wine is presented as an increasingly richer, more varied, more complex and much more numerous world. Translation by me from El Confidencial newspaper. And Wine/Food from Spain official webpage here: Food and Wine from Spain

The prestigious Maison de Champagne Louis Roederer announces its alliance with Martín Berasategui, the most Michelin-starred chef in Spain, for which the 3-star Michelin restaurant Martín Berasategui de Lasarte (Guipuzcoa) becomes the official ambassador of Louis Roederer in Spain. Louis Roederer, for many the most prestigious Champagne house that today remains independent. Louis Roederer made history also this 2018 being the first champagne of the world to receive 100 points of the prestigious publication Robert Parker. In addition, Louis Roederer Brut Premier was awarded in 2018 as the best champagne in the world by the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), the most prestigious competition in the sector, known as “the Oscars of champagne and sparkling wines”. The restaurant here:

The Champagne Louis Roederer here:

About 400 years ago came to the world Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, one of the most universal painters of history although his date of birth is not known exactly and only consists in the records that was baptized on January 1 1708 in Sevilla, with the experience of an early orphan and the plague at the gates of the great metropolis of the 17C, became expert in scenes customs as young beggars  or  children eating grapes and melon’.

But it is sure that he did not spend long periods of time away from his hometown. On one of these occasions he traveled to Madrid to meet his countryman Velázquez, already seated as a chamber painter at the service of king Felipe IV. His connection with royalty gave him a status of great Baroque genius. Four centuries later, the art historian Pablo Hereza deserts the idea through his documentary review ‘ Corpus Murillo ‘, which draws the figure of a teacher with enough creative freedom  to reach quotes above his counterparts in the Court. The launch of the book was part of the events with which the city council reinforce the genius of the artist. As a great climax, this past Thursday opened  to the public the first exhibition anthological in the Museum of Fine Arts, composed of almost 70 works of Murillo from the UK, France, Germany, Mexico or the United States that the public can enjoy until March 17, 2019. The exhibition is entitled  ‘ Murillo IV Centenario ‘, with the aim of making the figure of the great Baroque name in Sevilla better known. More here: Fine Arts museum of Sevilla

More in the city of Sevilla on Murillo 400 anniversary are:

This is the exhibition of  Aplicación Murillo: Materialismo, charitas, populismo or  Application Murillo: Materialism, Charites, populism, an exhibition with five spaces that demonstrate the validity of the work of the painter in the 21C. More than 600 works of artists make up a sample in which you can see works by Picasso, Man Ray, David Hockney, Jean Luc Godard, Víctor Erice and Patti Smith, among others. Given the breadth of the exhibition, this can be visited in five permanent spaces in Sevilla such as in the Santa Clara space, the exhibition hall Atín Aya, CICUS, the Hospital de la Caridad and the Hospital de los Venerable de Sevilla. In addition, there will also be specific points of the city dedicated to this exhibition such as the Patio, the Cultural Factory Center or the co-working room of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

The musical innovations that were being lived in the Europe of the 17C. The Turina space is the place chosen for the performances and where the orchestra Capella Cracoviensis will parade with the program ‘ Seven Deadly Sins ‘, the formation  Marco Beasly ‘ which brings to Seville its program ‘ Odi et amo ‘ as well as the grouping Alternative history. That the figure of Murillo again has the relevance of the one that was enjoyed in life, back in the 17C, when he became the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Baroque. More here: Espacio Turina Sevilla

A bit of philosophical thought here as I do try to bring me back to Earth. Franz Kafka: “No escribo como hablo, no hablo como pienso, no pienso como debería pensar…”or in English would be something like “I don’t write as I speak, I don’t speak as I think, I don’t think how I should think… ” Think about it in today’s world.

And now for the season to be merrier , Merry Christmas to all my readers and friends, family that looks at my blog.

From last Friday November 23rd Madrid Lights up for Christmas. The lighting, for which more than 7 million LED lamps have been used, has counted with the creativity of different Spanish architects and designers. Streets like those of Jorge Juan, Marcelo Usero, Pedro Laborde, Boltaña or Gran via (whose luminaries emulate a starry sky, with a cat trying to catch the Stars), premiere design. In addition to the traditional lights and chain, the firs and cherry blossoms will illuminate spaces in the center and in the districts such as the Glorieta Carlos V( roundabout), the Matadero ( slaughterhouse)  or the Plaza de Oriente.

From November 29 to January 6 2019, the bus transports of Madrid (EMT) and the City Council of Madrid make available to the citizens a special service of tourist buses discovered to enjoy the illumination and the Christmas decoration of the capital. The route of the already traditional Naviluz, which lasts 40 minutes approximately, has a unique stop of access and descent in the Plaza de Colón (in front of 30 Calle Serrano) and an optional stop only of descent in the Gran via, to the area of No 49. The traject is done by going to the following streets Calle Serrano, Puerta de Alcalá, Cibeles, Calle de Alcalá, Gran Vía, Callao, Jacometrezo, Santo Domingo, San Bernardo, Gran Vía, Calle de Alcalá, Cibeles, Puerta de Alcalá, Calle Velázquez, Calle Ortega y Gasset y Calle Serrano.This runs are done between 18h to 23h (last trip at 22h) every day except Dec 24,31 and Jan 5. More on the bus ride here:.

And if planning for 2019 in my beloved Spain is not too late, here are some suggestion for something off the beaten path in Spain, everything under the Sun.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is one of the most charming places on the peninsula. Thanks for that , it became the home of the Game of Throne. Its success is due to its composition: An island beaten by the Cantabrian, a narrow bridge and a beautiful hermitage. More info:

The gorge of the Gaitanes is a canyon dug by the river Guadalhorce in the municipality of Alora, famous for the path that runs past it from the heights. This road, in its beginnings, allowed the maintenance of the water channel. The path of the king, inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII, is 400 meters high and requires prior reservation to be able to access it. More info:

Brihuega has been known for a long time with the addition of Jardin de la Alcarria, thanks among other things to the lilac color of those fields in which lavender is cultivated. In the middle of July is celebrated in the city the Festival of the lavender. The rest of the year can also be visited for only 2 euros.More info in Spanish:

More than 300 meters of free fall where the water fades to collide with the rock of the mountain, that is what awaits you in the waterfall of the Nervión. The beauty of the place lies in the impetus of the flow, so it is recommended to visit after a period of heavy rain or thaw. Otherwise we will find a dry gorge, since most of the river Nervión passes through the interior of the mountain.More info:

Considered the Versailles of the Middle Ages, Medina Azahara, this summer, also as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The place is the perfect complement for your visit to Cordóba. Tickets to the place are free for residents of the European Union and 1.50 euros for the rest of the visitors.More info:

To enjoy some salt mines is the Cultural Park of the Mountain of Salt (parque cultural de la montana de sal), in the municipality of Cardona, Barcelona province. After closing the mining site in 1990, it ended up becoming the park that is now since  2003. In it you can see the history of the industrial exploitation of the valley and visit the interior of the galleries of the mountain of salt in a guided tour to 86 meters of depth. The price of the ticket is around 21 euros. More info:

Fervenza do Toxa is a spectacle of water, light and sound, formed by a waterfall of the river Toxa between the parishes of Pazos and Martixe, in Silleda (Pontevedra), considered the highest in Galicia in freefall. The route to this waterfall allows some detour as the one that leads to the Pazo de Oca. An idyllic place in summer (inviting to the bath) and in winter, when the waterfall flows full of water. More info:

Enjoy Spain, everything under the sun. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!


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November 28, 2018

Some news from Spain LXXI

And why not some latest news from my beloved Spain. On another cloudy cool day at 12C in my Breton woods and colder in Madrid at 8C this morning but sunny. Let’s get into the Spanish mood!

We talk about old in some countries, well Spain has some very old buildings and some very famous. Let me give the oldest from youngest to oldest below

The Alhambra of Granada (year 1238): Let’s start with the Alhambra, the military fortress built in Granada since the year 889, although until 1238 would not be remodeled to fix the royal residence. After the reconquest, the Catholic monarchs demolished part of the building to establish the palace of Charles V and the beauty salon of the Queen.

University of Salamanca (year 1218): Let us go to the University of Salamanca, inaugurated in 1218, becoming the oldest university in Spain and one of the longest-lived in Europe. During the Spanish Golden Age it became a national benchmark, being the most prestigious and famous in the country.

Cathedral of Leon (year 1205): The Cathedral of León is one of the great Gothic-style works of our country. The one we know today is raised on a primitive that was built on Roman baths.

Giralda of Sevilla (year 1195):  With 823 years, the Giralda in Seville has become one of the oldest buildings in Spain and for several years was one of the highest in Europe with its 95 meters high. The tower was built by the Muslims during their stay in the city and later, after the conquest of Seville, the highest part of the belfry was modeled making it grow more than 10 meters.

Alcazar de Segovia (year 1155): In 1155, the Alcazar of Segovia is the first time that it appears quoted with the denomination of Alcazar. Its functions were first fortress, then Royal State prison and later College of Artillery and historical military archives. As a curiosity, Walt Disney was inspired by this Alcazar to create the famous Snow White Castle.

Mosque of Cordoba (year 987): And you come to the mosque of Cordoba. Built in the year 987 and with 23,400 square meters inside, it was the second largest mosque in the world after Mecca, only being reached later by the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul. After the Christian reconquest of the city of Córdoba, it was consecrated as a Cathedral.

Santa Maria del Naranco, Asturias (year 848): Now we arrived at Santa María del Naranco, an old palace located four km from Oviedo, on Mount Naranco. It was not originally projected as a church, but was the Royal classroom of King Ramiro I. The building is divided into two floors and completely vaulted, being one of the most significant Romanesque constructions in Europe.

Tower of Hercules, Galicia (1C AD): The Tower of Hercules has become a symbol of La Coruña since its construction in the 1C. The tower has the privilege of being the only Roman lighthouse and the oldest in operation in the world. With 36 meters initially and with 57 today, it is one of the highest lighthouses in Spain.

Castro de Santa Tecla, Galicia (1C BC):  This village, located at 341 meters high in the vicinity of the Galician municipality of a Guarda, came to accomodate some 5,000 people during its epoch of greater splendor, back in the 1C AD year of which one of the Castros remains. In several of the stones of the mountain there are petroglyphs elaborated 2,000 years before the settlement was created.

Naveta des Tudons, Menorca (year 1000 BC): The Naveta des Tudons, located on the island of Menorca, is considered one of the oldest buildings in the world. Erected over the year 1000 BC and belonging to the talayotic culture, it was built as a funerary monument. In its construction no cement was used, only stones fitted together.

Let me tell you some delicious spots to eat rice in many forms in my beloved Spain. This is mine and/or my Spanish family’s favorites there

La Arrocieria de Picon ,Calle Las Sernas, 2. Picón, Ciudad Real. Castilla-La Mancha.  Opened at 2009 and the successor of the Picon Grill , the specialty of its dining rooms-250 squares-is the special mixed paella (17.80 euros), with chicken, prawn, Norway lobster, prawn, cuttlefish, squid, mussels, green bean, pepper and Garrofón More complete than the conventional mixed (14.80 euros). But there are more options, some interesting, like rice with black pudding from Burgos, apple and prawns. In addition, paella of the Labrador or cuttlefish, artichokes and garlic; Black Rice; Of the master with lobster or boletus, prawns and rib. Its menus (20 and 27 euros) incorporate a rice to choose from. When making the reservation, it is necessary to indicate which one will be taken..

El Arrosar Calle Salvador Cuyas, 10. Las Palmas, Gran Canarias. The menu of this Arrocería and seafood restaurant, opened in 1990, includes almost a score of options for all tastes (10 and 16 euros). It is noteworthy the rice of pork and vegetables lean and garlic tender and Choco. In addition, it dispatches several versions of paella (with combinations of rabbit, shellfish and vegetables), sweet rice (poultry and vegetables), broth (clams, prawns and fish of the day; also with lobster, Carabineros or cockle) and to carry although it is necessary to book with a couple of hours in advance.

Las Bairetas Prolongación calle Ramón y Cajar, s/n. Chiva, Valencia.  Owned by the Margós family , their rices are cooked in pine wood in a wide stay full of paella that the client can visit. Its menu adds a score of options (from 12.50 to 17.60 euros), with the Valencian paella as the star. But it is not the only one, also highlights the rice of duck and mushrooms; that of sausages and tender garlic; Boneless rabbit and mushrooms; that of Pollo Campero and red prawn; Crayfish, soft garlic and cuttlefish or cauliflower and dried cod. Another detail: The diner can choose any of the rices in a syrupy, broth or dry version.

La Bomba Bistrot Calle Pedro Muguruza, 5. Madrid.  Christophe Pais, gourmet of French origin who premiered as an innkeeper with the Bomba Rice Bar , plasma his good hand with rice in a section of the menu of his restaurant. They are made with the raw materials supplied by suppliers who select the country itself. Its menu usually contains four recipes (from 23 to 26 euros) and the most successful is the duck rice with leek and artichoke (in season, is added Níscalo). However, you should not forget curiosities like that to prepare the fumet of your vegetable rice are used 36 ingredients or that your rice of Carabineros is based on a recipe validated by the CIAL (Institute of Research in Food sciences, dependent on CSIC).

Paella by Rodrigo de la Calle Plaza de San Miguel, s/n. Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid.  The Arrocería of the chef of the  Greenhouse, open in summer, is a place of the renovated gastronomic market of San Miguel. Under non-stop schedule, a team of three or four people prepares live rice dishes in three fires made by Valencian artisans, as well as paellas. It uses rice Bombita by Torca, which they receive-freshly peeled-weekly: It is a small pump, able to absorb the broth of five times its weight. Its other secrets are a background made with kombu and chickpeas and Salmorreta (ñora with garlic and tomato), according to a recipe of its own. It usually has four dishes: Valencian paella; vegetables; Black rice (ration, 16 euros; tapas, 8 euros and tapas power, 15 euros) and the paella homage to Joël Robuchon, his best seller (ration, 20 euros; tapa, 10 euros and tapa power, 15 euros), which is almost an antichrist, as it adds chorizo!, following the elaboration of the French chef  died in August and worked with the Spaniard.

Samm , Calle Carlos Caamaño, 3. Madrid.  This family business specializes in cooking Levantina-which, in 1973, founded Vicente Asunción and María del Carmen (originally from Manises)-represents one of the great rice destinations of the capital. All are cooked prior to ordering, except the Senyoret, which is always available in this restaurant in the Madrid district of Chamartín and is made according to the recipe Alicante, with chunks of fish, cuttlefish and squid. It is served in a thin layer, in a paella with socarrat. Other rice dishes of the menu (from 22 to 25 euros per person) are black, with the same ingredients as that of the master but with fresh ink from the incorporated cuttlefish; Valencian Paella; vegetables; Baked rice in a clay casserole (only prepared for a minimum of four people) and meat and vegetable or fish broths.

Ventorrillo Murciano Calle de Tres Peces, 20. Madrid.  The Murcian Jose Maria Muñoz and the Cuban Ivette Martínez run this house in a small restaurant in the district of Lavapies (on whose facade, it looks like main name three fishes or tres peces ) ,where they dispatch Murcian cuisine with rice as protagonists of a not very extensive menu. Of course, despite the origin of its owner, the establishment does not serve rice in cauldron. Instead, you opt for the dry ones with good point (17.90 euros per person). Prepared and served in paella, their rices of vegetables are famous-with a choice of one hundred per cent vegetable (the Huertano), with rabbit, with ribs or with cod crumbs (the latter, known as widowed rice, its great specialty)-, apart from its combination of Carabineros with clams or prawns. Other dishes of his menu are the black rice, of Murcian sausage or Abanda.

A bit on the Arts:

It is said that Jaume Sabartés (Barcelona, 1881-Paris, 1968), poet and journalist, was someone submitted by Pablo Picasso, a kind of slave of the artist who assumed the role of Representative from 1935. Now, on the other hand, relationship that flourished among them is recognized as a history “of friendship and work”, embodied in the 700 letters that the painter sent to Sabartés between 1927 and 1967. Sabartés kept in his home a box containing the nearly 700 letters he had received from Picasso’s fist and handwriting. It was found after his death, in February 1968, with explicit instructions: the letters could not transcend until fifty years later. This year the anniversary is fulfilled and finally, Its legacy awakens to  the world. The exhibition ‘ Sabartés per Picasso per Sabartés ‘ sheds light on these unpublished jewels at the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.

Ok not really on Spain , but saw the article in El Mundo newspaper and is one of the great ones of cinema in my opinion; with one movie that stands out for me. RIP

Bernardo Bertolucci (Parma 1941-Rome 2018) marked a time when he knew how to build himself as one of the great spokesmen of a generation destined to change the world until it was trick, without hope. His life had marked direction,and he met Pier Paolo the end of the 1950’s, the poet of the ashes of Gramsci decided to go to the search for another language, passing to the film direction. As Accatone’s assistant, his first adventure behind the scenes, he chose the young Bernardo, who later stated that he felt during those months at the exact point of the refoundation of the seventh art.

He made his debut in 1962 with the Commare Secca , and later  Before the Revolution  (1964), where with the title summarizes its essence through the mythical phrase of Talleyrand “who has not lived the years before the revolution cannot comprehend the sweetness of living “.  He went on to of Sonadores or Dreamers ‘s (2003), minor film that would synthesize his last stage from ‘ Little Buddha ‘ (1993), when the ideas of his films showed a kind of nostalgia for an unrecoverable youth.  The Conformist  (1970). It has been two years of passing the French May68 and Bertolucci dares to narrate, from the sensational novel by Alberto Moravia, the existence of a normal man who wants to be confused between the mass, accept the precepts of society and renounce his individual freedom with such achievement. The Last Tango in Paris (1972) is now a bomb within another bomb with more lethal mechanisms than the crusher of Banksy. This happens because of polemics about butters, consents and answers of Trivial Pursuit that do not lead to generate any kind of consensus between fake news and sporadic ranting about. The truth is that The Last Tango in Paris, always with the last bull, gathers all the ingredients to be immortal from reason other than their intentions. On the other hand, if one observes its development, it is easy to define a masterpiece, and the ego of Bertolucci intended it. The scenario of the facts, the Bridge of Bir Hakeim, that iron bridge towards the orange portal of Jules Verne, passes from being a corner to be of all because the fiction has surpassed the reality, giving new meanings to it. And the reason took me to Paris back then for the first time in 1972! And part of the name of my blog!!!

Bertolucci made  Novecento (1976). Your six hours of footage are in another category. The beginning of that barbarism dazzles and narrows. The Last Emperor (1987) received many statuettes, but he has some of the genius that lowers his standards to fit the majority taste. Sick and in a wheelchair he still had stamina to give in 2012 You and I, adaptation of a novel by Niccolò Ammaniti. The cinema, and more in this drunken speed, is of the arts that can age worse. It will remain to have its ability to thread a recognizable seal by knowing how to pool the knowledge of its environment, to surpass it and to raise immortal subjects, valid then and now, from a background of humanism. While he was faithful to himself the epic was never on the heights.He will be remembered. RIP or QDEP.

And one more very important information. Madrid is going London, congestion fees or heavy fines a la Milan. Be aware of new automobile constraints entering Madrid starting from this Friday November 30th 2018. More info from my translation of El Confidencial newspaper.

The Madrid Central (centro=center) perimeter will group the four current residential priority areas (APR): Letras, Cortéss,Embajadores and Opera, and will add other areas of the center later on. There will be no streets of free movement and the perimeter is determined by the rounds and boulevards: The streets Alberto Aguilera, Glorieta de Bilbao, Plaza de Alonso Martínez, Plaza de Colón, Paseo de Recoletos, Paseo del Prado, ronda de Atocha, Ronda de Toledo, Ronda de Segovia, Calle Bailen , Plaza de España and Calle Princesa.  Access and free movement are restricted throughout the perimeter of Madrid Central with the exception of the following streets: Calle Santa Cruz de Mercenado (from Calle Serrano Jover to Calle Martires de Alcalá), Calle Martires de Alcalá (from Calle Santa Cruz de Marcenado to Calle Alberto Aguilera), Avenida Gran Vía de San Francisco, Bailen, Calle Algeciras, Cuesta Ramón, Calle Ventura Rodríguez (from Calle Princesa to Calle Duque de Liria), Calle Duque de Liria (from Calle Ventura Rodríguez  to Calle Princesa).  During the months of November and December an informative campaign is being developed. From January 2019 there will be  notices send to vehicles that are doing badly and from March 2019 will arrive the fines.

I have guests at home. Can you access and park? Right. Each registered  adult  of 16 years old will have 20 invitations of one day of duration per month to give access to vehicles of guests. The invitation given by the people registered is to reach Madrid Central, without limit of duration of the stay. Once they have access, for which they have permission, they will be able to park where they deem opportune. Any owner of a particular garage located in the area of Madrid Central will have permission to access a vehicle for parking in the same, regardless of the environmental label. The landlord owner of the garage must notify the City Council of the car registration plaque/number that makes use of that space.

Is it obligatory to carry the environmental label?  In fact, it will be obligatory to wear it at the end of April  24th, 2019 because the city Council gives a margin of six months for all cars to catch up. The important thing now will be the label that corresponds to your car. There are four types: B, C, ECO (hybrid) and zero (electrical). The B and C can access  Madrid Central without being registered if they leave their car in a parking garage/ lot. What you cannot do under any circumstances is to cross the perimeter of Madrid Central without entering a  parking garage/lot  nor can you park in the area being (blue or green).

Hotel users/guests, regardless of whether they are registered or not, can travel through Madrid Central and leave the car in the parking of the hotel. Foreign-registered vehicles , as they are not environmentally classified, must certify the potential contaminants of the vehicle. Depending on the category with which these vehicles are equal in Madrid, the corresponding access rules will be applied. If you already have an environmental label from another country, (yes I do for Paris lol!) you should ask the city council or the DGT (general directory of transports) which Spanish label your vehicle is equivalent to and you can know how you can move through the Madrid Central perimeter.

All (resident invitations, registration changes…) must be made via telematics in the profile of the user of Madrid Central that will be enabled in (city/town hall of Madrid). In the coming weeks, it is foreseeable that the consistory will provide more details and there could be some phone and some other way of communication. For the moment, it is best to stay with the  online way  that will be enabled on the Web. More here in Spanish: City of Madrid enviromental labels

There you go another bit of news from my Spain, everything under the Sun. Enjoy it

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




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November 9, 2018

The roads of Cuenca leads to Arcas del Villar!

So I am on a binge on taken you to seldom seen places of my beloved Spain, after all driving is heavens here in Spain ,everything under the Sun! We drove many years around here with wonderful memories of my dear late wife Martine and the boys, always on the road warrior syndrome to find jewels in the arid lands of Don Quijote!

And we arrived in the Province of Cuenca , in the autonomous region of Castilla La Mancha to the nice small town of Arcas del Villar and its wonderful Church. I like to tell you a bit more on this off the beaten path jewel.

It is located 8 km from Cuenca  by the N-420 road  ,very popular indeed ,at an altitude of 959 meters. The maximum level of the municipality is 1,273 meters and corresponds to Mount Talayuelo. It also has a mountain port, the Tórdiga at 1,200 meters. The town is crossed from east to west by the San Martín River and houses several of the lagoons called Lagunar de Arcas complex, declared a Natural Reserve.  The symbol of the town is the Romanesque Church of Our Lady of the Nativity, dated from the 13C.

If dwelling into nature, the Lagunar de Arcas or lagoons are here : Arcas lagoons, Lagunar de Arcas

The port Tordiga in the Mount Talayuelo is even more country and need specially a 4X4 vehicule. It is accessed by car by a dirt road in good condition that leaves from the slopes of the port of Tórdiga, in the south slope, and goes between fallows until entering the zone of the lower mount and woodland before the summit of Mount Talayuelo. Good for mountain walkers and nature lovers.

However, for this road warrior, the best to come and see here is the Church or Iglesia de la Natividad de Nuestra Señora. Church of the Nativity of Our Lady. The style is Roman turning into Gothic from the 13C. The exterior has a flat wall annex to the main building with arches to hold three bells and the front door romanique with five arches; the interior there is a nice Chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Higa (fig) and a Christ.

arcas del villar

arcas del villar

It is a Romanesque transitional temple, from the 13C, from a single nave from which the presbytery is passed through a triumphal arch of half a point. It has a semicircular apse with a Romanesque window in the center and an eave with carved corbels. The entire apse is lined with ashlar stone.

Outside there are the belfry, apart but attached, with arches aimed at sheltering three bells and the Romanesque façade with five archivolts also targeted as it corresponds to the transition of both styles. Its decor is austere with bowel , except for the overall nave that has a very simple geometric decoration. The Capitals have a vegetal decoration.

Inside, both the nave and the presbytery are covered with coffered ceilings. It got a choir at its lower base, wooden. A side chapel covered by a vault was built in 1623. The image of the Christ and that of the Virgin of the Higa are venerated.

This church, a rare Romanesque specimen because of its situation quite south of the area of expansion of this style in the Iberian Peninsula.

arcas del villar

arcas del villar

arcas del villar

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here, and it is a nice off the beaten path way are

City of Arcas on heritage

Tourist office of region of Castilla La Mancha on Arcas

There you go another dandy find in lovely countryside of my beloved Spain, you need a car to see these beauties and well worth the price. Enjoy it

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


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November 8, 2018

Villanueva de la Jara, Cuenca province!

So let’s take you back into the countryside of my beloved Spain. Yes ,I know most go to the big cities and some ventures into the popular following places, but Spain is everything under the Sun! On a sunny cool day in my neck of the woods of Morbihan at 11C or about 54F cloudy, and 8C or about 45F foggy in Paris, I like to take you a bit back in time to my lovely Cuenca province.

I have driven and visited and whats not, all over this fabolous region of Castilla La Mancha, and had great memories of it while with my dear late wife Martine and the boys. Many strong souvenirs that will not fade away with time, I promise. Let me tell you a bit more on the wonderful nice country town of Villanueva de la Jara.

Villanueva de la Jara, or commonly called La Jara, is a town in the province of Cuenca, in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. It belongs to the municipality of Manchuela. It borders of the   Valdemembra river . Besides the main nucleus itself it also comprises the nuclei of houses of Santa Cruz and Ribera de San Benito as villages. It is known for the cultivation of mushrooms which is the main economic activity of the area, as well as different edible fungi.

 Villanueva de la Jara is well connected as it passes through the town the N-320 that goes from Cuenca to Albacete and the N-310 that goes from Villanueva de la Jara to Manzanares, and is 13 kilometers from the. A3 expressway that connects to Madrid and Valencia. All these roads taken several times by yours truly.  By its municipal space, also passes the AVE Madrid-Cuenca-Albacete-Levante.Not taken.

This is a historical town, going back to prehistoric times. However, it is call Villanueva or new town because in 1476 sided with the Queen Isabel I of Castille (The Catholic Queen) in her fight in the war of Succession to the throne she contested with Juana la Beltraneja. She ,Isabel I won, and for allegiance gave the title of City, and built a college of latin ,the first one in the province of Cuenca.

In the Spanish Civil War, it was one of the bases of the leftist Republican Army and of the International Brigades. In Villanueva de la Jara were George Orwell, Willy Brandt and Josip Broz Tito among many others, within the International Brigades, the Comitern and the Lincoln Brigade. On the outskirts of town are some bunkers of what was an aerodrome in wartime.

However, the main thing you should take a detour and visit this town is the Church or Basilica of the Assomption.

The Church or Iglesia Parroquial de la Asuncion holds the title of Basilica . In town it is at Calle Jesùs Casanova s/n. This Church was built with the stones of the old arab castle in the 15C.  Built in ashlar stone, it has a polygonal apse and high-rise buttresses. Built in ashlar stone, it has a polygonal apse and high-rise buttresses.  The high Altar has a beautiful retable on three bodies of golden wood.  You can tell the fortified nature of it from its walled ramparts of arab origin and rebuilt as a wall in the 16C. You see next to it, three slabs with circular towers all that is left of the castle of Villanueva. It was very nice inside with the best Chapels such as Capilla  la de la Inmaculada Concepción, altar style from the gothic to the renaissance, Capilla de la Virgen del Rosario, nice dome, and the Capilla de la Virgen del Pilar, with a retable of the 16C.  Among the works of art that preserves, highlights, in the first chapel of the Epistle, the altarpiece of Saint Martin, outstanding sample of Spanish-Flemish painting. The chapter house features a neoclassical baptismal font.

villanueva de la jara

villanueva de la jara

villanueva de la jara

villanueva de la jara

villanueva de la jara

Bit more on it here in Spanish:  Tourist office of Cuenca on Church Our Lady of the Assomption

City of Villanueva de la Jara on heritage

And I found  nice video on it in youtube that is worth mentioning here as it is truly nice the Church.


There you go another dandy on the roads of Don Quijote in my dream beloved Spain, traditions to hold on to for life. Hope you enjoy it

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


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November 8, 2018

Barrio de las Letras or Huertas, Madrid!

So much on France why not my other love Spain! Yes been around and citizen of both, thanks to wife and grandparents on both sides of the fence lol! I used to lived in Madrid too ,and now visit at least once or more per year since 1982.

Let me tell you a bit about one of the most popular places or neighborhoods there for years. In fact so much fashionable to visit , it may not be considered a local spot by many including me. Nevertheless, it is a must if you visit Madrid.

I like to dwell on the history, as there are too many things to see, and party on it too lol! This is the neighborhood or Barrio de las Letras or oldest known as Huertas.

The neighborhood (Barrio) of Huertas is almost the oldest area of Madrid. Its old route forced in 2006 to initiate a process of pedestrianization of the zone. The neighborhood of the letters(barrio de las Letras or Huertas), also called of the literati and of the muses, is an area without administrative entity of Madrid in the Centro district. The area is bounded to the west by Calle de la Cruz and Plaza de Jacinto Benavente; To the east, by Paseo del Prado; To the north, by the Carrera de San Jéronimo; and, to the south, by Calle Atocha. During the low Middle Ages this area was destined to agricultural uses, the orchards being typical because there was plenty of water. In fact, we know that in the times of Enrique IV (15C) most of them belonged to the Marquis of Castañeda. A large part of these fields were engulfed by the urban plot in the 16C, but the historical memory has made the name of the orchards (Huertas) prevail to the present day. Even thus nowdays it is best known as Letras (Letters).

mapa-barrio letras

The best known of the neighborhood is the Plaza Santa Ana and Calle de las Huertas. The neighborhood runs from Puerta del Sol to Calle Atocha and descends to Paseo del Prado. It is a neighborhood known for its nightlife; It is one of the leisure areas to have a few drinks. The pubs and discotheques abound in the Calle de las Huertas, Plaza Santa Ana, Calle Santa Cruz and the parallel streets. Calle de las Huertas, after which the area has taken its common name, is a pedestrian street which verses the neighborhood and bears modern-day inscriptions in its cobblestones from the famous authors who once resided on or near it. The Street was named as such Huertas meaning orchards or gardens because of those which it once led to.  It is also called Barrio de las Letras because it has great theatrical activity and because its streets are named after the authors of the Golden Age, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Quevedo and Góngora, who lived in these streets (there are commemorative plaques on every street). It is said that Góngora lived in the current Calle Leon and the rest in their respective streets.


The neighborhood was also home to some of the first comedy playsgrounds, in particular the Teatro de la Cruz, which was located in Plaza del Ángel, and the Corral del Principe, which still functions today under the same roof as the Teatro Español.  Although the majority of the properties that are preserved were built in the late 19C and early 20C, from the time of the Golden Age have survived the House-Museum of Lope de Vega, where the writer lived between 1610 and 1635 and open to the public as a house-museum; The Convent of San Ildefonso of the Barefoot Trinitarians, where Cervantes was buried; And the Church of San Sebastián.

In the number 87 of Calle Atocha, one of the roads that limit the neighborhood, was the printing of Juan de la Cuesta, where he made the edition Principe (Prince) of the first part of Don Quixote of La Mancha (1604), considered the masterpiece of Spanish literature.

To the 18C correspond the Palace of the Count of Tepa, the Royal Academy of History and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Madrid. Other constructions of architectural interest are the Teatro Español, the Simeon Building and the Ateneo de Madrid. They are in the neighborhood of the Ateneo (Calle de las Huertas), the Circulo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts), corner with Calle de Alcalá, the Teatro de la Comedia (comedy). Also its on the border with the Congress of the Spanish Deputies, and , also the Palace of the Dukes of Santoña, Convent Saint Iidefonso of the Trinitarians barefoot, where learned the daughters of Lope de Vega and Cervantes, who also was buried here, the old Palace of the Marquises De Hoyos (current headquarters of the Academy of History). The artistic venues such as Caixa Forum and a few minutes on foot are the Thyssen Museum and the Prado Museum.


Due to its location and the large number of hotels which line its streets, Huertas/Letras is popular with both locals and tourists alike; virtually any night of the week is ideal for experiencing what it has to offer. The most important thing to keep in mind when going out for the evening is to be aware is the schedule. Remember that since in Madrid it’s customary to have dinner between 21h-23h (9pm-11pm), the night spots won’t be really going until some time after that, usually staying open until 03h (3am) and in some cases even later until sunrise.

The connection here is done with metro stations Sol, Sevilla, Atocha, Tirso de Molina, Antón Martín , on lines 1, 2, 3. Of course, the best way to get here is to walk from anywhere in central Madrid.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Tourist office of Madrid on heritage

Tourist office of Madrid on nighlife

There you go a wonderful neighborhood to set up while visiting lovely Madrid, the city of Spain.  And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!





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November 7, 2018

Unique RAE, Madrid!

So now I come to you on something not considered touristic for me but rather part of my culture. This is the unique building in an unique spot in my beloved Madrid that one needs special permission to go in, and surely no photos. However, it is worth the tour around and walks in the surrounding area.

The surrounding area is the Prado Museum and the Convent of San Jeronimo el Real which is now part of the Prado. Just next to the Convent and after the main entrance to the Prado on the side patio you go up and see the  Royal Academy of the Spanish Language or la Real Academia de la Lengua Española! The Spanish language in all its forms is directed and enrich from here!

I like to tell you about it from my education and culture to you and the world.

One of the most important buildings in Madrid is at the same time among the most unknown in the city. This is the Palace of the Royal  Academy of the Spanish Language, located next to the Jerónimos Church, and the Prado Museum. The institution has just fulfilled more than three centuries of life. Up to 46 people, seven women among them, dedicate the best of their knowledge and their time to supervise the deployment of the Spanish language in the world, in permanent connection with 20 Iberoamerican academies and that of the Philippines. And I must say anywhere where Spanish is spoken is all validated by the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language here.

It rises on the same spot that in its day housed the missing Royal Fourth of the Kings of Spain, intimate abode where, since the 16C, the monarchs were gathered to pray, rest or to idle, right on the edge of the Church of the Jerónimos. The palace rises in the heart of what was once called the Greek quarter, a rectangular area located between the Real Jardin Botànico (Royal Botanical garden) and the Puerta de Alcalá, which declines towards the Paseo del Prado from Retiro park.

Already mediated in the 19C, in a real estate operation pioneer of those of its kind induced by Queen Isabel II, holder of the crown owner until then of the Royal site, and the collaboration of financiers with few scruples when chopping the Botanical garden or to cut about a third of the surface of the Retiro park. The Retiro park, shortly thereafter, would be suitably expropriated after the Glorious revolution and became the property of the people of Madrid.

The fact is that the site was dedicated to house the Royal Spanish Academy, previously settled in different enclaves in Madrid. The palace was conceived in 1884, projected in 1890 and built over the next two years. The building occupies an exempt volume on a base of about 100 meters of length by about 70 meters of width; The typology of its plant is basilical and consists of four levels/floors, with skylights on the roof. It has a semi-basement, adapted by the administrative needs; A ground floor and a main one, where the offices and the main rooms are located, like the splendid hall of events, illuminated by four Bordeaux stained glass windows, plus a higher floor. The palace culminates a low-covered plant, in a four-month work was managed to earn almost a thousand square meters for administrative and work dependencies.

The building is adjacent to the Church of the Jerónimos, as well as with the Prado museum, in whose facades the brick also predominates, material that in the case of the Academy is of the variety called Recocha, of intense red the neoclassical style. Here it shows a syncretism of ornamentations both Classic, Venetian, Gothic and Etruscan, among others.


my photo of Prado museum right, back is the RAE

The venue is accessed on the days of gala through a small wooded patio, supervised from the nearby Royal Botanical garden, which leads to the stairway of a central portico marking by four high Doric columns , topped by a pediment of sober workmanship. The interior of this building arouses a special emotion, especially if the itinerary begins with the semi-basement: In it are archived, in old wooden furniture with brass fittings, or in more modern metal cabinets, up to 10 million of microchips of many words.

They were known by the Academy since 1713, when they began their tasks in the Plaza de las Descalzas, where the Marquis de Villena, founder of the institution, had his house. By privilege of king Carlos IV, the institution was then established in a two-story mansion of the Calle Valverde, where today is housed the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences. From there it moved to the current palatial residence, after being built in 1894 between the streets of calle Moreto, calle Academia, calle Ruiz de Alarcón and calle Felipe IV.

Between 1726 and 1739 the Academy gave the light of the first dictionary of the Spanish language. It portal webpage of the RAE(Real Academia de la Lengua Española or Royal Academy of the Spanish Language), which will make possible the consultation of three dictionaries: that of the Spanish language, the Essential dictionary and the pan-Hispanic of doubts, besides to facilitate the free access to the Grammar, of 2009 and the Orthography 2010. The study rooms and the abundantly assorted bookstores abound. The so-called academic library is a piece of singular beauty, whose windows look towards the north façade of the Church of San Jerónimo el Real. In the library used to work the heroes of the language and although the location of each is free, everyone knows that such a table is the usual seat of each !


RAE Royal Spanish Academy of the Spanish Language, credit tourist office of Madrid

In total, the palatial building houses 250,000 volumes, of them 30,000 from the Golden Age, all of which make up one of the richest and most valuable libraries in the world. In its collection are among other treasures of the Castilian/Spanish language, manuscripts of Gonzalo de Berceo, the history of the life of the search, Francisco de Quevedo, the Book of Good Love, Juan Ruiz, Archpriest de Hita and others Pablo Neruda. Another donation, by Miguel Herrero, brings together a collection of 5,000 sermons of preaching from the 16-17-18C, unique in its genre. An important legacy of the filmmaker and academician José Luis Borau also belongs to the academy, as well as a collection of 17,000 loose sheets and another reprints of articles on Romanesque philology. Some units of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at 187 calle Serrano , now house the Academy’s Study Center. Since its inauguration in 1894 by the Regent Maria Christina of Habsburg, it counted on electricity supply and central heating, two non-existent advantages then, except in Royal dependencies and in mansions of the nobility.

A wonderful historical and cultural building of immense significant in our world today, been Spanish, the second most spoken language in the world counting only native speakers. About 477 million people have it as their first language. Some more numbers:

Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and of the European Union , Organisation of American States, Union of  South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, The African Union, and many other organisations. According to the Pew Research Centre, in the USA alone the number of speakers has grown by an enormous 233% since 1980 , and looking globally, the Cervantes Institute predicts that the population in officially Spanish-speaking nations is predicted to reach 750 million by 2050. According to the same Cervantes Institute, today in the United States, there are 43 million native Spanish speakers and another 15 million people with some knowledge of Spanish. There you go.

Some webpages to help you understand better and get a passerbys eventually in Madrid

Official RAE Madrid

Tourist office of Madrid on the RAE

Hope you enjoy the cultural trip, podràs hablar Español muy pronto en todo el Mundo! Hasta pronto!

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


November 7, 2018

Some news from Spain LXX

So back to sunny Spain at least most of the time … we are still semi cloudy in my Breton Morbihan, light rain today but stop now, and temps in around last check 11C or about 52F.

So why not bring you up to some wonderful news from my beloved Spain ok

Three hundred record  covers, dozens of lysergic posters and a powerful catalogue with small essays on the time. They are the strong offering of the exhibition ‘ Psychodelia in the visual culture of the beat era  1962-1972 ‘, organized by the Circle of Fine Arts in Madrid and open until January 20, 2019

The book ‘Biografía de la humanidad‘, (human biography by ) José Antonio Marina and Javier Rambaud  We have come to the same conclusion, but with a cautious warning. One of the uncomfortable teachings of history is that advances that seemed safe can disappear. Modern democracy has expanded into three waves. From 1828 to 1926; From 1945 to 1960, and from 1974, with the revolution of the carnations. In this third wave there is the Spanish democracy. The first two stopped with the emergence of dictatorial and authoritarian movements in many countries, and begins to worry about the idea that the same could happen with the third. Many scientists are alarmed and think that the march towards democracy has stopped and we can go back to 1930.

The second book I want to comment on is ‘ Como mueren las Democracias ‘ (How the democracies die ), by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, recently published by Ariel. Their thesis is similar to that of the previous book. Democracies can end in two ways: by military coups or at the hands of elected leaders who subvert the same process that led them to power.

The title of the showing, Después del 68. Arte y prácticas artísticas en el País Vasco (After 68. Art and artistic practices in the Basque Country)’, would already be the obvious if you want to take a tour of the Basque artistic panorama of the last half century. Museum of Fine Arts in Bilbao. In this case, about 150 creations of a hundred artists from different generations say, and much, in their different artistic expressions, be it painting, sculpture, photography, installations, video art and work on paper.

The mythical lands of Galicia;

Teixedal de Casaio . Enter the one that is possibly the oldest forest in Galicia has a deeply spiritual character. It is located in the depths of the already eccentric region of Valdeorras. A land of excellent wines but especially marked by its breathtaking slate mines. It is made up of three hundred yew trees, many of them centenarians, surrounded by rowans, ash and hazel trees.

Fragas do Eume with its 9000 hectares of surface, is not only the great Atlantic Forest of Galicia, but also the most sacred, as still attested by the impressive remains of the monastery of Aveiro, hidden in a meander of the river Eume, in the depths of this Natural Sanctuary. In addition to oaks, strawberries trees, holly and centenary chestnut trees, it includes more than 20 species of ferns and 200 of lichens.

Bosque de Santa Eulalia de Bovéda, between Lugo and Friol, in a very little busy area is hidden a beautiful carballeira or what is the same, a forest of oaks, framed by enigmatic stone walls covered with moss and lichen. Inside it is kept a secret, protected by one of the best preserved villages of Galicia, the sanctuary of Santa Eulalia de Boveda of Roman origin that still nobody has known to decipher but what marvel, with its paintings and engravings in stone, to all that it must be visit.

The World Cheese Awards, recognize every year the best cheeses in the world. The competition, held in Bergen, Norway, has valued 3,472 cheeses from 41 different countries. This year’s winner was the Norwegian Fanaost (Gouda type). This is the Spanish cheeses included in the best 16 list.    Maxorata semicurado con Pimentón, Grupo Ganaderos de Fuerteventura, (semi cured cheese from Canary island of Fuerteventura) ,  La Reserva, Quesería Entrepinares , Formatge Madurat, Formatges Mas El Garet, queso de cabra , a goat cheese from Catalunya.

The chocolate hearts or palms are fashionable. This sweet of French origin, elaborated with puff pastry, a peculiar heart form  and covered only on one side of cocoa is long ago one of the most demanding pieces in the patisseries of Madrid

The secret of the palm tree produced by Ricardo Vélez in this pastry in front of the Retiro Park is chocolate. Instead of the traditional cover bath, we use a chocolate glaze Guanaja 70% that remains flux 12 hours after the coverage. Moulin Chocolat price  2.80 euros.located at calle de  Alcalá, 77.

La Duquesita is one of the oldest patisseries in Madrid. Crunchy puff pastry and black chocolate that melts in the mouth. price 2.95 euros.located at Calle Fernando VI, 2.

The classic El Horno de San Onofre is among the classics and, without a doubt, one of the best patisseries in Madrid. For the chocolate palm, we use chocolate Grand Crus. This tempered coverage is poured on the puff pastry, of first quality, tasty and with its just point of crisp the cocoa used was destined to the elaboration of chocolates candies and with a surplus was used for this sweet. Thus, we can say that this is the authentic palm-candy. Price: 2.50 euros.Located at Calle San Onofre, 3.

his historic Madrid house of the Calle Mayor, founded at the end of the 19C, reopens its doors maintaining its essence of an  illustrated tavern. Classics of the house, like the Pepitoria, had lost much of its luster, with a very aged staff and a routine kitchen, trend accentuated after the death in 2015 of its owner for half a century, the popular Godofredo Chicharro. The resurrection of the Casa Ciriaco is  great news for Madrid because this tavern, existing since the late 19C and renamed in 1929 by its owner then, Ciriaco Muñoz, is part of the history of this city and its modest but endearing form of gastronomy. Refuge of bullfighters, painters and literati, it hosted for many decades the meals with Tertulia of the Friends of Julio Camba, who was one of it loyal clients. The stamp of the dishes is Antonio Mingote, watercolor with the facade of the restaurant is of Grau Santos… An era of Madrid culture decorates the walls. Well, Casa Ciriaco has reopened and we owe it to two well merited partners who know what it is to keep alive the tradition of the Classic tavern of Madrid: Alfonso Delgado, and Daniel Waldburger, manager of the also historic Casa del Abuelo. Good dishes: endive salad, tomato, ajada and ham; The classic scrambled Julio Camba of potato and egg, the above hen and the asparagus Lope de Vega with paprika and egg. The dishes are even better: the mollejitas, the shoulder of lamb and the squid in its ink. It return to a better past than the one we have had before.  Casa Ciriaco, Calle Mayor 84 closed Sundays night and Mondays.

In 2015, the National Dance Company  premiered Don Quixote, the first classical ballet to be staged after 25 years, in the version of its director, José Carlos Martínez, following the classic of Marius Petipa. After his success, which led him to be spared in the next season and to refill the theaters, Martinez now dares with a new traditional ballet, The Nutcracker, which arrives at the Teatro Real with only six functions, after its absolute premiere in Pamplona. The creation and premiere of this piece, in 1892, at the Teatro Mariinsky in St. Petersburg, was due to the sum of authorship of great names of the moment and although it was the face B of a program of two compositions of Tchaikovsky, starring the opera Iolanta , surpassed it in success and transcendence. The story of The Nutcracker, in which its protagonist, the girl Clara, of the German family Stahlbaum, receives as Christmas gift from her mysterious godfather Herr Drosselmeyer a nutcracker doll, who becomes a handsome prince and takes her to a dream country. Starring in the premiere of the first dancers Cristina Casa, as Clara; Alessandro Riga, in the character of The Nutcracker Prince; Ion Aguirretxe, as Drosselmeyer; Haruhi Natoi, in the Sugar Fairy, and Angel Miller, as his knight, the ballet is shown as located in Germany of 1910, transcendental moment before WWI. Go see it at the Teatro Real, Plaza de Isabel II, s/n: until Saturday 10 November,sorry for the short notice.

Some of the cemeteries of Madrid as many of you are into visiting these places lol! I have been to San Isidro and Almudena ok;;; scary places indeed.

Cementerio de San Isidro , it is one of the most important and spectacular cemeteries of Spain, for its artistic value and the high number of elements existing in the funerary monuments. It is located in the district of Carabanchel  at Paseo de la Ermita del Santo, 78 and was built in 1811 (it is the oldest in Madrid). Located behind the hermitage of San Isidro on the so-called Cerro de las Animas, it gathers masterpieces of the most renowned artists of the architecture, of the sculpture and of the painting of Spain of the 19C and 20C.

Cementerio de La Almudena, It is the largest cemetery in Madrid by Avenida  de Daroca, 90, and is divided into three parts: the Necropolis, the original cemetery and the enlargement. The necropolis, surrounded by gardens, is accessed by the impressive portico of entrance, of modernist style with Neo-mudéjar influence. Inside you will find the chapel, a beautiful building with a basilica shape, of a Greek cross. To the east, the primitive cemetery is extended, inaugurated provisionally in 1884 on the occasion of the cholera epidemic, with capacity for 23,808 burials. An enlargement was approved in 1955.

Sacramental de San Justo, San Millán y Santa Cruz : Separated by a wall of the cemetery of San Isidro is located this cemetery , Paseo de la Ermita del Santo, 70, built in 1847 in the Cerro de las Animas. In 1902, the Association of Writers and Artists built the Pantheon where to guard and to gather the ashes of the most illustrious personages in the letters and the arts. There are José de Espronceda, Mariano José de Larra and Eduardo Rosales, among others. In addition, the remains of composers Federico Chueca and Ruperto Chapí and Vicente Palmaroli rest in this necropolis. Highlights are the graves of Ana Maria Delgado Briones, better known as Anita Delgado, who was Maharani of Kapurthala, and Pastora Imperio.

Panteón de los Hombres Ilustres (Pantheon of famous men) , Inside a beautiful building of Byzantine style, built between 1892 and 1899, next to the Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha, are the graves of personalities of Spanish political life from the late 19C and early 20C. They highlight the spectacular mausoleums and funerary monuments-erected by maestros such as Mariano Benlliure and Agustín Querol as well as by José Canalejas, Eduardo Dato, Antonio Cánovas del Castillo… Real works of art I am told. Calle Julián Gayarre, 3. Free admission. Open from 10h to 14h and from 16h to 18h30. Sundays and Public holidays, from 10h  to 15h. Mondays, closed.

Cementerios Civil y Hebreo , (Civil and Hebrew cemetery). A royal order of 1883 obliged all the deceased non-Catholics of the place to be buried in the Civil Cemetery, integrated Cemetery in that of the Almudena, on the other side of the avenue of Daroca. Its entrance is flanked by the graves of Dolores Ibárruri, Pasionaria, and the founder of the PSOE and the UGT, Pablo Iglesias, in a neoclassical and columnist pantheon. In front of them are buried in different mausoleums three presidents of the Ist Republic: Estanislao Figueras, Francisco Pi y Margall and Nicolás Salmerón. The remains of other illustrious people, such as Pío Baroja or Blas de Otero, also lie there. The various epitaphs and symbols that adorn some tombstones are very important. Free admission. Opens from 8h  to 19h30. Separated by a fence is the small Hebrew cemetery, of 1922. It crosses a central corridor covered with trees and on both sides are located the graves adorned with stars of David or the menorah (chandelier or seven-arm oil lamp). This one is also integrated in the Almudena. For visits to both you can call ahead at +34 915 108 464.

Cementerio Británico, (British cemetery).  Also called the English Cemetery, it is owned by the British government since 1854. Located in Carabanchel district at Calle Commander Fontanes, 7, it was built to bury individuals of British nationality who, when frequently belonging to another confession, could not be buried in Catholic cemeteries. It’s beautiful gardens and monuments are sufficient reasons to visit it ,so they tell me. It houses about 600 graves and the enclosure also has a small burial chapel and a Neo-egipcian style pantheon belonging to a family of bankers. Buried there are also famous restaurateurs from Madrid, such as the Boetticher or the Lhardy. Free admission. Open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 10h30 to 13h.

Cementerio de La Florida . Of small dimensions and surrounded by a masonry wall in Toledo rig, this cemetery is located on the Paseo del Rey, 3, southwest of the Parque del Oeste. In a mass grave, in a crypt under a small chapel, are buried the remains of the 43 victims shot in the early morning of May 3, 1808 by the soldiers of the French general Joseph Murat, at the foot of the mountain of Principe Pio. At the side, there is a commemorative column and three tombstones reminiscent of the shootings. In the Florida cemetery, in one of the columns on the tomb of the remains of those shot by the French in 1808, there is a reproduction in tiles of the painting of Goya “The shootings of May 3 “, inaugurated in 1982. The cemetery remains closed all year, except on May 2, the day of the community of Madrid. But you can see it from the outside.

And let’s close on a lighter fresh note, that is wines of Castilla y Léon and Galicia!

At Bierzo the wines without DO but with IGP such as the zone of Barbanza-Iria are coming out good indeed. The main one is the Estaladiña 2016 by Grégory Pérez. This is the winery Mengoba of Gregorio Pérez   ,the  Estaladiña 2016 about 27 euros, Region of Castilla Y Léon, Bierzo, avenida del Parque 7, San Juan de Carracedo, tel  +34 649 940 800 email : , webpage

After starting in El Bierzo in Luna Beberide, the Bordelais Grégory Pérez-attracted to the country of his ancestors by his fellow winemaker Eduardo García, became independent 10 years ago and created his small bodega Mengoba, with old vines in Espanillo. It has developed a great work recovering the native breed, and almost unknown, Estaladiña. Its traditional cut wines and elaborated with minimal manipulation have gained a growing reputation.

And the Adega Entre Os Rios, with its Vulpes Vulpes  2016 for 15.euros; From Galicia, Lugar de Entre os Rios, no 2, A Pobra do Caraminal, A Coruna, tel +34 607 81 78 76 ; email  and webpage:

And the Albaríno (locally call raposo, and in the north of Galicia, branco lexítimo),show another potential that expresses very well in the Vulpes Vulpes of  Adega Entre Os Rios(winery).  The winery is located in the geographic center of the Rías the IGP Viños da Terra do Barbanza e Iria; a very good White albarino wine área indeed.

And there you go another dandy week in Spain, everything under the Sun!! Enjoy it

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

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October 29, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVIIII

And here I am on a cloudy cold Autumn day in the Morbihan Breton and thinking of my Spain, and of course , cannot be too far from it. Already plans to go back!!!

There is always something going on in Spain and their tourism is climbing so much already on the steps of France, the all time no 1 leader according to the UN-WTO. And this is even with the political haggling of usual Spain; if not they will be no 1 long ago.

I like to give you the latest info according to me hehehe! well…..

Valencia is a good choice to take children to gain knowledge. In the City of Arts and Sciences, known for its iconic architecture, children can find a section dedicated to them in which specialized monitors will teach them small scientific concepts in a fun way. The museum also organises the ‘ science on stage ‘ workshops, which children can sign up for. More info:

There stands out the Chocolate Museum, in Barcelona where activities are organized for children between 0 and 7 years ranging from the experimentation with chocolate for the little ones until the blind tastings so that the older ones learn to distinguish the aromas of this product and to differentiate between variants of the same. It also offers workshops for the whole family where you can learn how to make chocolate lollipops. More info:

Almeria has been chosen this past Wednesday as the Spanish Capital of gastronomy in 2019 after its candidacy was left alone in the struggle organized by the Spanish Federation of Hospitality and the Spanish Federation of Journalists and Writers of tourism. More info at Foods and Wines from Spain(official):

Some picturesques towns to visit in my beloved Spain off the beaten track a bit,suggestions ok.

Cadaqués, Girona . Located in the Cape of Creus-Alto Empordà, this fishing village is one of the most beautiful in Catalonia and the easternmost of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1998 it was declared a Natural park. Its peculiar beauty made Salvador Dalí choose it as a summer residence and his house-museum is the most visited of the town. Its white houses in front of small coves, its steep alleys and its walk to the lighthouse of Cala Nans are its hallmarks.

Laguardia, Álava . From the top of a hill and surrounded by a great wall, this medieval-rooted town is the capital of the Rioja Alavesa, on the left bank of the river Ebro. In its old town, considered one of the most beautiful in the Basque Country, highlights its Plaza Mayor arcaded and its Paseo del Collado, which borders the place with the extensive vineyards appropriating of the landscape. I recommend the night visit to the bodegas Solar de Samaniego, converted into the wine cathedral with the impressive murals of the Australian Guido van Helten.

Lastres, Asturias. Located on the top of a cliff over the Cantabrian Sea, this seaside town is one of the most visited in Asturias, especially since it was recorded there the TV series Doctor Mateo (for Spanish viewers). Its urban center, declared a historic complex, leads you to a maze of narrow cobbled streets leading up to the 18C Church of Santa Maria de Sábada.

La Alberca, Salamanca. It was the first town in Spain to be declared a National Historic site in 1940. Its facades, full of colors and flowers, are very popular. This town, integrated in the region of the Sierra de France, is also famous for its cobbled streets and its characteristic arcades. The villa was already constituted in the 13C and associated with the crown.

Villanueva de los Infantes, Ciudad Real.  This village of La Mancha, where Francisco de Quevedo died, and whose streets also crossed Lope de Vega and Miguel de Cervantes, was declared a National Historic site in 1974 by the archaeological sites found there, belonging to the Copper Age and the Bronze Age. Highlights the monumental ensemble around its main square built in the 17C and the more than 250 shields that look on its facades.

Chinchon, Madrid. Perhaps the most picturesque town in Madrid with a medieval square that still preserves its typical 15C houses, with its wooden balconies and arcades and where it was proclaimed King Felipe V in 1706. It’s Castillo de los Condes (Counts) is a must visit, as well as the purchase of anise, garlic, oil and wine.

Aínsa, Huesca declared  National Historic site complex since 1965, this villa located in the Hautes-Pyrenees of Huesca is one of the places that frequent more tourists. It stands out its medieval old town and its stone houses, arranged in a staggered way.(see writing below)

Morella, Castellón .This town, guarded by an enormous military fortress of almost two kilometers and located at 1,000 meters of altitude, possesses sixteen towers and an impressive castle. It has witnessed battles of El Cid Campeador or the war of succession. His undisputed beauty has made it a World heritage site.

And let me take you into the wonderful Pyrénées from where I drive all the time north south ,west east sublime. One of the entrances to the Pyrenees is located in the municipality of Aínsa-Sobrarbe this year has been chosen as the capital of rural tourism in Spain. It is the first municipality in Aragon in number of rural houses (37) and places to stay (262). The Unesco World Geopark of Sobrarbe-Pyrenees, which has a heritage with more than one hundred geological interest sites. Therefore,(I rent from it very much recommended) the digital platform dedicated to the promotion of rural accommodation, had chosen it rural capital. The webpage for rentals is here:

The peculiarities of the old town of the village of Aínsa. Each street has a history to tell, since, in the antiquity, each one stood out for hosting the houses of certain social classes. For example, in the Calle Santa Cruz lived the people who belonged to the lower, like artisans and laborers, whereas in the Calle  Mayor, or Calle Gonzalo I, emphasized the buildings of the nobility. It does not matter which of the two streets you walk, as both lead to the Plaza Mayor and the castle. From the Torre del Homenaje (tower of the homage)  of the fortress to the main entrance, passing through the parish Church of Santa Maria, famous for its crypt and the belfry with spectacular views to the nearby places. Also the old Town treasures a Jewish bath discovered 400 years ago. Also you have to visit the ecomuseum of the Pireneica Fauna. It is not a common cultural space, but an interpretation center open 11 months a year dedicated to the animal world of the Pyrenees. In it it is possible to admire birds of prey incapable of living in freedom for having received  physical damage. From a real owl to a toed eagle, through a kind of bearded vulture. The latter is the only  Osteófaga Bird of the world, i.e. capable of ingesting bones. You can admire from 200 to 400 birds that come down from the mountains when they leave for food, fed twice a week in winter and three in summer. In addition, all those who become partners can enter three times a year in two enclose glass booths to take pictures of the vultures.

Another indispensable museum is the Traditional Crafts and Arts museum, a private collection, preserved in an old manor house, which houses more than 1,500 pieces from the 19-20C. From pottery and ceramic objects to blacksmiths ‘ instruments, such as curious pica-shaped horseshoes, through woodworking tools, knitting utensils and a kitchen of the period with fireplace included.  A few kms from Aínsa, the Latorrecilla rises beyond its architectural peculiarities, there is another reason why it is worth going there: the bees. The beekeeper Paco Parra and his family, in addition to selling artisanal honey, have devised my friends bees, a classroom of nature where they perform guided tours dedicated to the life of drones, worker bees and queen.

Lleida’s AVE train station is just over an hour’s drive from Aínsa. You can also reach Zaragoza or Huesca and then drive. On the website of the city/town hall of Aínsa :

More on local tourism from the municipality Ainsa Sobrarbe here: Tourist office of Ainsa Sobrarbe on heritage

Moving down to my fav region of Spain other than Madrid you have a beauty many times visited and worth the detour.

In the province of Cuenca, in the heart of the Quijote route and an hour and a half drive from Madrid, Belmonte stands out for the unique beauty of its urban center, its stately buildings and its important monumental patrimony, one of the richest in the area , which has earned it the title of good of Cultural interest town. It includes its most recognized enclaves, which crown the two hills that surrounds the beautiful walled village of La Mancha: The Collegiate Church of San Bartolomé and the Castle of Belmonte , both buildings of the 15C. The castle, built in 1465 in the Cerro de San Cristóbal on a previous fortress, by order of Don Juan Pacheco, first Marquis of Villena and authorized by King Enrique IV of Castilla. Privately owned (descendants of the Empress of the French Eugenia wife of Napoleon III), the enclave has become a tourist destination thanks to its exhibitions, museums, theme park, historical recreation days, medieval battles and dramatised sessions, which transport the public to bygone times.

In Gothic-Mudejar style, the castle is a national monument, with a star-shaped structure around the courtyard (plaza de Armas). It was the refuge of Juana la Beltraneja at the end of the 15C, prison of the Napoleonic troops during the War of Independence (1808), residence of the Empress of France Eugenia de Montijo (1857), Convent of the Dominicans (1885) and prison during the Civil War ( 1936).

As the Sun falls, the castle becomes a frightening place and what better time to check it out than the Halloween weekend. Those interested in touring their halls and darker corners can do so from 1 to 3 November (from 20h to 01h.), dates in which the spectacle of terror will take place call Virus. More info here:

For about 45 minutes, the public, distributed in groups of no more than 14 persons will go through the different areas of the fortress in which they have unpleasant encounters. Attendees will also participate in the story, know first-hand some of the characters who inhabited the castle centuries ago and have to follow the instructions that will indicate them during the tour. The dungeons, torture rooms and the most gloomy corners of the castle will be the scenarios of this event, not recommended for pregnant women, people with heart problems or under 12 years. More info at the Castle site here:

To complete the tour, it is obligatory to take a walk around the newly opened theme park Trebuchet Park, located at the foothills of the fortress and inside its walls. The enclosure houses 40 real-size, perfectly operational siege machines, rebuilt with the utmost historical rigor based on existing documentation. The sample explains the importance of such weapons during the Middle Ages, in which the sieges were much more numerous than the open-field battles. More info :

Of this neo-tasca, put with modesty but with luminosity in a small side of Calle Edgar Neville ,for those who have not yet learned the new street, is the old Calle General Moscardó, have opted for the fixed menus, changing every day according to market.

They serve as total surprises that the diner will see arriving at your table without prior description, and only with a question about possible allergies. This fashion, which certainly saves work and avoids wasting time, can be somewhat irritating, or at least puzzling, for the traditional customer who prefers to study a menu card and choose between their offerings. But the surprise menu is here to stay, and you have to get used to it. Ignorance of what you are going to eat turns the choice of a wine into a Russian roulette game. White, red, sparkling? Light, powerful? The portions are small, and on occasion the Iberian ham found it even less. But the good level of each dish leads you to accept it in good measure, in addition, announce until December 2018  an interesting promotion for its second anniversary: a 30% reduction on the bill. It’s going to be something to take advantage of…!!!

Something to taste different in Madrid. Lúbora, Calle Edgar Neville, 39  .Webpage:

And finish with the arts , sublime romantic, wonderful for the senses in my Madrid.

Legend of the transgression, icon of the modernity, precursor in the naturalness and declaration of its bisexuality, the Reina del  Art Deco (art deco queen) Tamara de Lempicka is the protagonist of the new exhibition of Arthemisia, that will be seen in the Palacio Gaviria until the next  February 24 2019. 200 works, from more than 40 private collections, museums and lenders reveal, in this first retrospective dedicated to Lempicka in Madrid, an unknown dimension of the creator, besides, of course, to illustrate magnificently her artistic trajectory. The work of Tamara de Lempicka, a journey that reveals the aesthetics of the 1920s, the geometry of Cubism, elements inherited from Futurism and a powerful influence of the Bauhaus coexist in the exhibition with photographs (with Dalí, with Otto Preminger…), Lamps, furniture, vases, screens… and other Art Deco objects, and with dresses, hats and delicate shoes (designs by Salvatore Ferragano), proposes an immersion in the environment in which she developed her art as a the painter. Where:  Palacio de Gaviria, Calle Arenal , 9. More info here:

There you go for my Spain, worth a detour I say lol! Spain , everything under the sun.

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

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October 15, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVIII

And on a cloudy rainy day in my neck of the woods and heavy rains flooding from Portugal over to Spain and into southern France , I like to give you an update on things of my beloved Spain.

Just recently back from another wonderful trip into Spain, specifically Barcelona. This is the time to tell you a bit about the latest from the land of the Sun.

It was in 1957 when the Winter Theater of Broadway saw the birth of a New York version of the classic of William Shakespeare with stroke of dance, blood, passion and colorful dresses of the fifties. There was a total of 732 functions and was the starting point for an ambitious tour of the United States until 1960. During its sixty years of life, the eternal musical has been able to be seen uninterruptedly in scenarios from all over the world. In 1961 ‘ West Side Story ‘ became a film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, a hurricane that swept the popular culture and broke Oscars ‘ records for a musical film. Now ‘ West Side story ‘ rises proudly back on the charts, because the story of Tony and Mary has passed generations and hearts. At the Teatro Calderón in Madrid, the protagonists of the musical are beaten to death and are madly wanted. The Sharks and Jets have landed in our country, for the first time in a Spanish version, and the urban Romeo and Juliet continue to die of love 61 years later. Teatro Caldéron Madrid

One sad news:

The painter Eduardo Arroyo has died this past Sunday in Madrid at 81 years. Besides being a painter, he was a draughtsman, engraver, sculptor and scenographer, as well as one of the most outstanding members of the ‘ Nouvelle figuration ‘ (narrative figuration). Arroyo represents the continuity of an artist identity that generated the avant-garde in the 1930s, and whose configuration is contributed by Spanish artists like Picasso and Miró. Born in Madrid in 1937, he was educated in the Spanish capital during the postwar period and lived in exile in France during the Franco dictatorship until he decided to return to Spain in 1976, with the advent of democracy, which meant that his work could only be seen with normality in Spain from 1980. It has received a good number of distinctions, among which one can highlight the National Prize of Plastic Arts of the Ministry of Culture, in 1982, or the Gold Medal of Merit in the fine arts, in 2000. He was also appointed in 1983 ;Knight of the Arts and letters by the Government of France. More on him hereBiography and works of Eduardo Arroyo

One of the great one opera classical singers of all time. Montserrat Caballé, with its full name María de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé i Folch, is a Spanish soprano born on 12 April 1933 in Barcelona and died on 6 October 2018 in the same city. Dubbed La Superba (the superb) because of her technique, her length of breath, the amplitude and nuances of her voice (especially her pianissimi), she is famous for her interpretations of the bel canto repertoire, including the roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Montserrat Caballé, claimed increasingly excited his cosmopolitanism and loaded hard against the Catalan independence:  “I need to say this, I am from the United Nations since 1988 and we have been taught the coexistence. The peoples of the world have to be united. We can’t make chains, chains are for slavery. Human chains are for separating. Chains can be iron, gold, silver, but they have to be good chains. They don’t have to be chains that separate and humiliate. It has been said that there have been a million and a half people in the streets, where were the 7 million remaining?. When you are lucky enough to travel around the world, as it has happened to me, and you know so many people and so many different peoples you realize that hostilities do not work. I have been an ambassador of Spain as all singers. And as I was taught in the United Nations, by the Union of people and Peoples. Whoever puts chains hurts me, removes all the rest, sends them out. I am very happy to be born in Barcelona, to have married a Aragonese, that my mother was from Valencia and that my children have studied in Spain. ” Amen RIP Grande de Espana!!! A bit more on Caballé: Billboard magazine on Caballé

The farewell of torero Juan José Padilla Bernal contained a barbaric emotion. He was born at Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) May 23 1973. The farewell in the ring where he lost his eye and was born again, where the legend was hatched, had become an event. The popular hero of the Buccaneer flags, the bullfighter of the seven lives and forty of them, the man of steel reconstructed with titanium replacements, put the end to 25 years of wars with blood and fire. The storm unleashed on the Plaza de la Misericordia (square of mercy) at the time of the bullfight was added to the climate of overflowing expectation. The thunderous storm seemed to be muted before the deafening ovation that caused its appearance. The closed deck amplified the rumble. Unbraided the Paseíllo, the cyclone ascended as an exhalation to the box  his fans to give them a cloak of stroll. Thank you, thank you, and a thousand times. God then wanted to reward Juan José Padilla with a bull for eternity. Tortolito was called the Cuvillo of farewell. The joy, the fixity, the son, the rhythm, the category and the quality of the supreme bravery. What a way to ram. Padilla flag pole rushing his faculties to the train that was coming to him. Excitement above the marksmanship. And he gave his children, his wife, his family, the beam and the engine of the resurrection. Tortolito responded to all the proposals. The ecstasies seized the tenders. Waving the flags of the skull and the tibias; The pirate passed his badge savoring the moment. And he kissed kneeling the sand that saw him die and resurface.It was his farewell,  Sunday, October 14, 2018 at the Plaza de la Misericordia during the Virgin of Pilar Fair in  Zaragoza. Farewell warrior! More in Spanish here: ABC newspaper on Padilla

A new show specially designed for the Florida Retiro , in which actor and comedian Alex O’Dogherty will be the master of ceremonies. In Dinner Show format, other artists will succeed the main star during the following months so that the evening in which one day was the most popular party room in Madrid do not stop surprising. Beyond the stage, the gastronomic proposal created by Michelin star chef Iván Sardinia will consist of this new stage in a composition of dishes full of souvenirs and nuances with the dessert , and the show The earring lost by Lola Flores”  as a golden touch. Located inside Retiro park at calle Republic of Panama S/N. Timetables: from 20h30 to 0h2. Pandora Party on Thursday from 01h30 to 06h . Prices: Dinner and Show: 85€.My old stumping ground in another era came here for youthful dances lol!!!More info here: Florida Retiro

And now let me give you some insight into the Madrid I love and some off the beaten path ideas. Remember I used to lived in the city and visit every year for upteens times. From Madrid to heaven in a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!

With the calle Rompelanzas, this one is one of the shortest street  in the historic quarter. It is, rather, of a passage, which Roman innkeeper described as a “petty alley “ that with the pompous name of Calle de Madrid runs behind the backs of the city hall house. Now we see it much more picturesque, by the renovations of the area and the elevated passageway with which connected the houses of Cisneros and the Villa by the Plaza de la Villa. Once here, do not miss the opportunity to walk the quiet alleys, squares and gardens hidden around. From the square the street comes out , plaza de la Villa: Tourist office of Madrid on Plaza de la Villa

Calle de la Escalerilla de Piedra (Street of the stone ladder). You can see in the Plaza Mayor, in the upper part of the stairs of the Arco de Cuchilleros, has been protagonist of stories, legends and novels. Here the pulpit came to the tavern, where bandits and conspirators were allegedly gathering. By this place began one of the great fires of the square in August of 1790. The stories said that from this outgoing Friar Antonio, from the Convent of San Gil, encouraged the locals to the uprising in May 1808, against the French invading forces, originating the war of independence. And, in case all this was not enough, around here you enter the house where Benito Pérez Galdós located the home of Fortunata! The square from where it comes from Plaza Mayor: Tourist office of Madrid on Plaza Mayor

As a curiosity, you can go to see the famous ahuehuete tree of the Parterre (Taxodium mucronatum), protected as a singular tree and considered the longest in the city, with an approximate age of more than 360 years.  Located in a French-style garden in the western part of Retiro Park, very close to the Puerta of Felipe IV that leads to Calle Alfonso XII, this specimen-25 meters high and 5.50 meters of perimeter in its trunk-may have been the first to be planted when built the palace of Buen Retiro (that gave the name to the park/gardens), although some say it was later. A description of Retiro Park: Tourist office of Madrid on Retiro park

The various shields (escudos) that Madrid has had over the course of different eras can be seen by numerous buildings, streets or fountains of the city. The oldest that is preserved in stone is the one that is at the height of the number 21 of the Calle Segovia. It is a reconstruction of one of the 16C made in the 17C. The bear perhaps, the tree-which some say is not a strawberry, and the Royal Crown appear here in a part of the façade that was preserved from the old house of the Pastor demolished in 1988, which became the headquarters of the Transhumane Council of Madrid and Toledo , and that today is integrated into the side of a modern building. As an anecdote, you may recognize the place in the scenes of some films, such as “Los Amantes Pasajeros “(Lovers Passengers) 2012, by Pedro Almodóvar. Once here, go up the stairs and reach the Castiza statue of the Violet, in the gardens of Las Vistillas, a pleasant place to contemplate, as its name suggests, the excellent views towards the Manzanares River, the country house and the Cathedral. Now, see when you go, because its usual tranquility gives way to multitudinous concerts and dances during the Fiestas de La Paloma, in August, or San Isidro, May 15..My favorite Verbena of Madrid , Fiestas de La Paloma virgin. More on the fairs here: Fairs verbenas zarzuelas of August in Madrid

Madrid is one of the few cities in the world that has two twin monuments. To see them you have to go to the district of Moncloa-Aravaca, at the height of the Puente de la Reina (Queen’s bridge). The hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida was built between 1792 and 1798 following the order of king Carlos V. The temple, one of those dedicated to San Antonio de Padua, is very simple, neoclassical, with a Greek cross plant and a dome with lanterns. Inside, surprise the frescoes painted by Francisco de Goya, where characters are dressed as Majos (nice looking boys) and Chisperos (low class boys). To preserve the paintings, between 1925 and 1928 rose an identical Church next to serve for the cult, leaving the first as a memorial museum and Pantheon, because there rest the remains of the Aragonese painter since its transfered in 1919. A tradition: In its surroundings, by La Bombilla, it is celebrated, every 13th of June, the verbena of San Antonio, with the collection of muffins of the saint so that ‘ do not miss bread during the year ‘ and the ritual of the pins with which the  potentially marriage age girls  continue the custom of the Modistillas (dressmaker) of the 19C. More on the hermitage here: Tourist office of Madrid on San Antonio de la Florida

At present, the water of Madrid is the responsibility of the Canal of Isabel II, but years ago, this was facilitated through public sources, like that of Fuente del Berro although it belonged to the Crown-, born with the Vera of the Abroñigal Brook. Protagonist of Zarzuelas, this pipe is one of the aquifers with greater tradition and fame in the city. If you come to the district of Salamanca, go through the historic garden of the Quinta de la Fuente del Berro and, among great specimens of trees, you can still find a sewer cover that leads to the galleries of your watersource, closed in 1977. Head to the Park and you will see the source of the Fuente del Berro outside, next to one of the entrances, on Calle Peñascales , an old mansion, a Becquer’s monument, a statue of Pushkin, a couple of small ponds and a waterfall.! More on the Berro fountain here: Tourist office of Madrid on Fuente del Berro

Traditionally it is considered ‘ patron of the people of Madrid ‘ (and the firefighters) to the Virgen de la Paloma. Its festivities, around August 15th, are the most traditional and were reflected in the zarzuela la verbena de la Paloma. (Again see above my favorite of all times) .Its parish, with a curious baptismal font of immersion, is of mudejar style with Gothic elements, and is located in the small and collected square of the same name, next to the Puerta de Toledo, in the district of La Latina. Very close, by Calle Toledo , we arrived at the Collegiate Church of San  Isidro, in number 37, a temple representative of the religious architecture of the 17C in Madrid built according to the design of the architect Pedro Sánchez. In which it was a provisional Cathedral, from 1885 to 1993(when Almudena was completed), the mortal remains of the patron Saint of Madrid, San Isidro, and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza, are guarded. From there, you can also explore the squares and gardens of the center and visit some of the city’s oldest churches: St. Nicholas with a 12C Mudejar tower, San Pedro el Viejo and San Andrés. As more in the fiestas of August link above you find here on the Collegiate Church of San Isidro: Tourist office of Madrid on the Collegiate Church of San Isidro

And to finish the tour, with an ecological gem. A place outside the walls that opened its doors to the public in November 2016. The chosen point is the Holm oak with more than 300 years in the Quinta de Torres Arias,(an old farm of aride towers) where it is possible to forget the world under the huge shade of its great cup. With access from Calle Alcalá, no. 551, almost next to the impressive Quinta de los Molinos and relatively close to Capricho Park, this 17 hectare estate belonged to the Madrid aristocracy since 1600. Inside, you can find numerous and exceptional species of trees, a palace for now, not visitable, accompanied by blocks, a cow ranch and a slaughterhouse, as well as two greenhouses that stand out for its antiquity and a small orchard. All this constitutes an excellent centennial wall agricultural area of extraordinary ecological richness. More on Torres Arias: Tourist office of Madrid on Quinta Torres Arias

See  also , los Molinos here: Tourist office of Madrid on Quinta de los Molilnos

And Capricho park:  Tourist office of Madrid on Capricho park

Hope you enjoy the post as much as I did in my beloved Madrid. Always Madrid, and now fondly memories of my mother and I there, and lucky to be able to come back often and walk all theses spots of yesterday , today, and tomorrow.

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


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September 20, 2018

Teatro Real or Royal Theater of Madrid!

I am finishing up the week ,and why not give you a jewel of my Madrid. This is a must to visit and yet many sidestepped it because of the other buildings nearby of perhaps more notoriaty or press. However, you should come to the Teatro Real or Royal Theater of Madrid if only to see it.

I admit unless with good company I find it hard to visit the theaters but do delve into them once in a while and this one is a souvenir of younger curious days that glad has been maintained finally in good shape. Let me give some ramblings on it, sorry for the monotomy.

The Teatro Real is the Teatro de la Opera in Madrid. It is located in the Plaza de Oriente, opposite the Royal Palace. Its construction began in 1818, and was inaugurated in 1850. It remained uninterrupted as an opera house until 1925, when it had to close because of structural problems in the building. It did not open its doors again until 1966, as symphonic concert hall. Between 1988 and 1997, it underwent a major remodeling that turned it into an operatic coliseum again.


A bit of history I like

King Fernando VII promoted the construction in Madrid of an opera house included in the project of remodeling of the Plaza of Oriente, for this he ordered the demolition of the old theater of the Caños del Peral. With irregular hexagonal shape, whose main façade would look to the Plaza de Oriente and the other, of smaller packaging, would fall on the current Plaza of Isabel II the construction of the new Teatro de Oriente began in April 1818, but the scarcity of funds of the royal house stop the work until 1830.

After the ascent to the throne of Queen Isabel II, numerous political and bureaucratic events paralyzed the execution of the project, until on May 7, 1850, by means of a royal order, the works of the theater were promoted, demanding its completion in a period of six months, as it was done. The theater was inaugurated on November 19, 1850, coinciding with the onomastics of the sovereign. The work chosen for the premiere was the opera La Favorita by Gaetano Donizetti and performed by renowned artists. In these first seasons, the operas of Donizetti and Bellini dominated, with the presence of Rossini and Verdi, who soon became the favourite composer of the Madrid public. In the early years attended the theater some of the greatest lyrical figures of the moment.

In the years of splendor of the Teatro Real were started in the last quarter of the 19C. The most prestigious voices of the European panorama were presented in the theatre. In 1876 it was represented for the first time in the Teatro Real one opera of Wagner, Rienzi, still far from the great success that their compositions would have in this theater fifteen years later. At this stage, great Spanish composers were able to see their works shown here.


In the first quarter of the 20C highlighted the presence in the Teatro Real of great Spanish singers. The international prestige of the theatre took off. The repertoire was dominated by Puccini’s operas (Tosca, La Bohème) and Wagner (Lohengrin or the Valkyrie). The Berlin Philharmonic gave concerts at the theater, directed by Arthur Nikisch, in 1901 and Richard Strauss, in 1908. Thereafter, the theater suffered little by little a huge decline, because despite the representation of great operas and the direction of skillful directors, the economic-political crises and various factors (fire of the theater in 1867) caused its ruined.

Despite the closing of the theater in 1925, the government always floated the possibility of remodeling and reopening, creating numerous projects. An ambitious project of remodeling and modernization that included the increase in height and depth of the scenic box and the rebuilding of its entire structure, using reinforced concrete. In addition, it was decided to lift one more floor around the entire perimeter of the building, which gave the theater its present-day solid-block appearance. However, economic and planning difficulties were delaying the completion of the project. The consolidation and reconstruction part was implemented, but the interior remodeling was not started. The works were stopped in 1936, with the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, during which the building was damaged, mainly after the explosion of a magazine that had been installed inside. In 1940, they try to finish the project, which fails to advance significantly, before, at the end of the 1950’s, the works were definitively stopped.


At the beginning of the 1960’s a project finally ended as a great concert hall, to serve as headquarters to the National Orchestra, and of lodging to all the symphonic activity of the capital the reopening occurred in 1966. From that date until 1988 (with the opening of the National Auditorium) was the only concert hall in Madrid, where they developed their seasons both the National Orchestra and the newly created RTVE Symphony Orchestra. In addition, during this period, the main symphonic orchestras of the world performed on their stage. In 1969 it hosted the 14th Eurovision Festival, the only time this event was held in Spain. After ceasing its symphonic activity in the summer of 1988, in January of 1991 began the works of remodeling for the conversion of the theater in an opera house; the building was finished at the end of the year 1995;   then began the process of technical organization , administrative, artistic and functional, which resulted in the inauguration in 1997 with a theateer at full capacity. The Teatro Real or Royal Theater was back.


Design and architecture now

The Royal Theater or Teatro Real maintained the original, Italian-style structure, and regained original décor from the time of the 1880’s . Despite the small size of the patio of seats, the total capacity reaches the 1746 seats maximum, thanks to the 15 rows that houses the area called Paradise. Above the fourth floor, which takes advantage of the increase in the height of the roof achieved in the works of the 1920’s, outside the room, the foyer of entry was decorated with an elliptical colonnade lined with tropical wood. The second floor, accessible to all the audience, allows to circulate around the perimeter of the building, communicating the lobby with the restaurant, located in the Old Royal Ballroom, on the back facade. A superior lobby, which opens with large windows to the top of the facade above the Plaza de Oriente, completes the public areas of the theater.

In 2007, the Sala Gayarre was inaugurated, with 190 seats, which is used for various complementary activities, such as concerts and chamber opera representations, recitals, pedagogical activities, conferences, colloquiums, courses and projections.   The scenic space available for the scenery exceeds 600 square meters at zero level, and reaches 1,430 if you add the mounting areas to 16 meters below the stage and the patio seats. The floor of the stage is composed of 9 platforms that allow to move the scenery between both levels. The wide scenic mouth has 18 meters wide and 14 high, and the scenic Tower places the grill that hangs all the platform (motorized, and electronically controlled) to 37 meters high on the floor of the stage. The entrance of material located in the hallway of the Plaza de Isabel II communicates directly with the stage box and allows to deposit the load directly from the trailers of the trucks on the same floor of the stage. Practically all the spaces involved in the work of making an operatic spectacle are housed in the theater’s own building, from the administrative offices to the material warehouses or the machinery workshops.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and a trip you should are

Official Teatro Real webpage

tourist office of Madrid on the Teatro Real

And a wonderful page in 360° that you need to just click on “saltar” or skip and then “entrar” or enter to see the magic of the theater before you!  From RTVE or Radio ,Television of Spain. RTVE on the Teatro Real

Hope you enjoyed the post on the artsy part of Madrid. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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