Posts tagged ‘Madrid’

February 22, 2018

Madrid is more than a city to me.

So here I am again to speak about the city of Madrid this time. See previous post on the Real Madrid. I have several posts on it ,but some are older ,from my beginning blogging and figure they should be showcase more. This is their story, my story.

There are so many posts already even from this year, I am not going to go into full lenght on what is Madrid to me. It was simply a early teen view of a new surrounding, once told by grandparents and now visually upon me back in 1971.

I grew up there at Calle de Alcalà 331 , 2do A ,Buzon 67, metro Quintana line 5 just out of the metro. Nearby was/is Plaza Quintana, and our closest park was Parque el Calero. Going to the sports complex Elipa (still there!!) was fun on the bus P13 now name 113. Docamar the best patatas bravas de Madrid since 1963 are still there!

Calzados Victor at 238 Alcalà my mom purchased my first shoes in Spain there, and ever since, I stop by and already got my boys shoes there too. The beltway or first one the M30 was finished by 1974 when I left Madrid. It was nice to walk all the way to the Monumental Ventas bullring.

It was a nice quiet working class neighborhood part of Ciudad Lineal, and now drastically change, almost beyond recognition even thus I do stop by for memories’s sake.

I still remember the elevator/lift in my piso/apartment you could take it up but not down, it was from the belle epoque era very nice but old and rusty. We were only on the second floor (3rd US).

Anyway, I get very sentimental just talking about the city. Therefore, here are the old posts just the earlier ones; there are many others in my blog on Madrid. As the saying goes; From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!!! yes!!

Enjoy the posts and just one photo on this post ok. Have a great week everyone. Cheers!

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February 22, 2018

My Real Madrid CF, a love story!

So, yes I love football/soccer/calcio; been playing since early teens in Spain and up to pro level in US and France. My story is here with the help of my previous posts on the subject. I do not want to put to much into the sport as have no time as it is with the travel section but once in a while is good to reminiscent.

My story of football/soccer/calcio, really started while living in Madrid as an early teens playing on the sport club of baseball for a club call, Real Madrid that at the time sponsored a team in the Madrid championship with 8 teams. While playing there and having already knowledge of the sport thru my grandparents from Tenerife (Candelaria and Pajarà) ,I made the switch to football in early 1972. Playing the alavin division with Real Madrid

It has been a wonderful journey with many friends in different parts of the world , just last year finished playing indoor soccer /fooball here in France on a Corporate league. Now just follow the sports on different venues online and on TV.

The moment I entered the casa de campo training site for the Real Madrid CF change my orientation of sports forever. My love for Real Madrid is huge, even my French native wife who was not into it ,is now very lively following it; good for both ::) Now here is the story briefly !

The Real Madrid CF was actually born in 1902, and given the title of Real or Royal by King Alfonso XIII in 1920. Juan Padrós was elected the first ever club President and adopted a white uniform Carlos Padrós, the brother and also future President organized a tournament for the crowning of king Alfonso XIII, sort of the first national tournament called Madrid football association tournament and received popular support that made extends the tournament and later named Copa del Rey as it is still play today!

The initial club takes over the Moderno FC who was the winner of the first regional championship in 1903 and was renamed the Madrid Moderno FC. The team wins all these regional tournaments from 1905-08 as well as the Copa del Rey or King’s Cup. The management leaders of the club participated in the creation of the first Spanish football federation in 1909. At the same time that the club won the regional championships of 1910, 1913, 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1920, as well as the Copa del Rey in 1917.

following the initiative of the English league, a national championship appears in 1926 with the approval of the Spanish federation in 1928; the first championship is held in 1929 with the first division teams of Athletic Bilbao, FC Barcelona ,Atlético de Madrid ,and the Real Madrid3.

The abolition of the monarchy and the establishement of the Second Republic in 1931 enforced the club of retiring the Royal emblems logos and lose the title of Real becoming simply the Madrid Football Club. Finally, in the 1931-1932 season the club wins the national championship and all due to the amazing goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora, recruited in 1930. Later in 1959 his name is chosen to award the best goalkeeper in the Spanish first division. In 1934 and 1936,Real Madrid wins the Copa del Presidente de la República, ( the president of the republic cup) who replaced the Copa del Rey. The year 1936 was the last year playing of Ricardo Zamora with Madrid, and also, the tragic Spanish Civil War begins.

After the defeat of the Republicans by the Nationalist of Gen Francisco Franco,the club is giving back the title of royal or Real and the crown logo on their shirts. The football championship starts again ,and the club wins the 1943 Copa del Generalísimo (the king’s cup change to the general’s cup).

LBy 1943 entered into the club the legendary figure of our new President Santiago Bernabéu ; he was a player in 1909 and played in first division as captain until 1927 (689 games and more than 340 goals), after passing to the technical team. The club lost a lot during the Spanish Civil War comparing to the Atlético Madrid (taken over by the army air force and renamed Athletico Aviación de Madrid). Bernabéu spent several months trying to rebuilt the Real Madrid.

The march to glory begins. The Real Madrid recruits the Argentine forward Alfredo Di Stéfano and wins the Spanish championship in 1953 and Di Stéfano,finished as best goal scorer with 29 goals together with the young Francisco Gento. The Stadium is enlarged in 1954 to 125 000 persons and the team recruits another Argentine Héctor Rial, and again the championship is won with Di Stéfano scoring 25 goals. During the summer of 1955, the Real Madrid wins the Copa Latina that opposed the champions clubs of Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal beating in the final at the Paris Parc des Princes,the French club Stade de Reims.

In the 1955-1956 season was founded the first edition of the Cup of Europe, and the Real Madrid wins its first European championship beating the same Stade de Reims led by Raymond Kopa 4-3. A few weeks later the Real signs Raymond Kopa making a deadly attack with Di Stefano, Rial, and Gento.

In the season 1957-1958,the Real Madrid signed the defender Uruguayan José Santamaría and in 1958 signed the Hungarian Ferenc Puskás that together with Gento, Kopa and Di Stéfano allows the club to win the European championships five times all together during this period.

In 1960, the Real Madrid wins the first Intercontinental Cup beating Peñarol of Uruguay winner of the Copa Libertadores,5×1. In 1966, Real Madrid wins its 6th European Cup!! The era of Santiago Bernabéu comes to an end on June 2,1978 with the passing of Don Santiago at age 82, just before the opening of the World Cup in Argentina . After 35 years as President of the club; the following year the club creates the Trofeo Bernabeu tournament that still is play today.

It begins a drought in European Cups with the Quinta del Buitre group from 1981-1990 with players such as Manolo Sanchís, Martín Vázquez, Míchel, Miguel Pardeza, and Emilio Butragueño (El buitre) and later the Mexicaine Hugo Sánchez blending veterans such as Juanito, Valdano ,and Santillana. The magnificent period includes two Champions of the UEFA Cup,1985-1986, five times the Liga national championship between 1986 and 1990 (a record),and one Cup of Spain in 1989. Only the European Cup escapes them.

The period 1991-2000, saw many dry hands and a period of adjustments to many coaches and presidents. Finally in 1998, under the new name of the competition from European Cup to Champions league (1992) ,and the Real Madrid wins its 7th beating Juventus 1X0 in the final ;later in December they win the Intercontinental Cup beating Vasco da Gama of Brazil.

From 2000 on the new President is Florentino Perez known for his bib checks and gallactic players, such as Luís Figo, Zinédine Zidane,Ronaldo, David Beckham, Michael Owen, and Robinho. Winning again the Champions league of 2000 and 2002 as well as the Intercontinental of 2002, and the UEFA Supercup of 2002. Also, in 2006 Florentino Perez resigns first time.

The era 2006-2009 under President Ramon Calderon, on a disastrous period of not winning that caused his resignation and the retunr of Florentino Perez in June 2009. Cristiano Ronaldo is signed in 2009. Various coaches changes of not so good performances continues

Finally, the era of Zinedine Zidane begins on January 2016. Winning the World Club championship ;also winning the Champions league two years in a row a record never before done. Also, in 2017, later in August it wins the UEFA SuperCup also two times in a row!!! 6/8 titles for Zidane!!!! again in August they win the SuperCup of Spain , and later in December they win the World Club tournament to bring the total of 5 titles in 2017 out a possible 6, a record for the club.

In December 2000, the club is name by FIFA the best club of the 20C and also received the order of merit by FIFA in 2004.

Has won competitions still held: 33 Championships of Spain ; 19 Cups of Spain, 10 Supercup of Spain 3 World Club cups , 12 Champions leagues 2 UEFA Cups, and 4 UEFA Supercup. Simply the best ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On April 1st 2017 the Real Madrid became the first club with 100 millions fans in their Facebook page!!!

Real Madrid

Real Madrid

Champions Real Madrid vs Atletico de Madrid

Real Madrid

My posts on the Real Madrid as of today. Now they are playing the 8th finals with the return game vs Paris-Saint-Germain on March 6th 2018 in Paris.




February 21, 2018

Some news from Spain LXI

Ok so this is time to talk about Spain, and this time on rather serious subjects in our history. The weather in Madrid is nice at 49F or about 9C no rain and it predicted the same for the rest of the week.

Therefore, let me tell you a bit about the history of Spain still lingering.

One of the few women who, at that time, had the honor of entering as an academic of merit for the painting of History at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando. A unique artistic career that the National Library recovers through the exhibition ‘ Drawings of Rosario Weiss (1814-1843) ‘, open to the public until next April 22nd. Rosario Weiss was born in 1814, being the third daughter of Leocadia Zorrilla and Isodoro Weiss, a German Jewish jeweler based in Madrid. But it was not until 1817 when his mother decided to settle down as housekeeper of the Quinta del Sordo or farm of the deaf.” The farm owned by Francisco de Goya at that time on the outskirts of Madrid. Goya loved her as a daughter: in a letter to Leocadia refers to her as “My Rosario”, in another  wrote to his friend Ferrer asks him to treat her as his daughter . ” In the autumn of 1824, following in the footsteps of Goya, Leocadia Zorrilla and his two sons arrived in Bordeaux. Months after settling down with him, Rosario entered the public school of drawing that led by the master Pierre Lacour . The death of Goya in 1828 left Leocadia, who at that time was considered his sentimental partner in a difficult position. Although she recounted in letters after the death that, in her last moments, the Aragonese painter wanted to make a testament in her favor, the hatred that professed to each other with the only surviving son of Goya condemned her to spent some difficult years.  According to friends they were able to sustain themselves thanks to a pension that Leocadia obtained from the French government as  political exiled  and to the support of his circle of friends from exiled Spaniards and of Pierre LaCour, the professor of Weiss in Bordeaux.” The hardships ended in 1833, when amnesty for the exiled liberals allowed Leocadia and his children to returned to Madrid. At that time, Rosario, at the age of 19, began working as a copyist at the Prado museum and  then at the Academy of San Fernando ;after 1840 Rosario Weiss got to be admitted as an professor in San Fernando, an appointment that, provided personal and professional prestige and she used it as collateral in her request to occupy the position of Master drawer of the daughters of  king Fernando VII as he had died seven years earlier. The arrival to the power of the Liberals in March 1841 led to the renovation of the personnel responsible for the education of the heir to the throne and his sister, who sought to keep away from the interference of his mother, exiled in France. Rosario Weiss was selected thanks to “her good training, her liberal profile and also  for the fact of being a woman”.  She did drawings for Queen  Isabel II and Luisa Fernanda of Bourbon  as shown in the exposition in the Biblioteca Nacional or National Library. Delicate health did not allow Weiss to have time to teach the Queen much more, and just a year after she had started practicing  as the “royal teacher”  she died of cholera. However ,as told by many her  legacy has been preserved intact to show, in an exhibition like the National Library, that one day not too long ago an artist as few knew in Spain  was a pupil of one of the greatest masters and teacher of a Queen.  More here:

Malva (Editions Rey Naranjo), the first novel by the Dutch poet Hagar Peeters. It has been 84 years and Peeters shakes the mantle of mystery that for eight decades covered the life of this girl with hydrocephalus, Malva Marina, hidden and repudiated by his own father, one of the greatest poets in history. Malvita, as they treated her in the family, came to the world in Madrid in 1934 and died at the age of eight in Gouda, the Dutch city that gives name to the famous cheese.  She was the daughter of Pablo Neruda, unique and legitimate, the result of his marriage to Maria Hagenaar Vogelzang-ling-, with whom he had married in Java four years earlier. We are on August 18, 1934, two years before the Spanish Civil war erupts. Malva was just born in a hospital in Madrid. And in principle nothing makes you suppose that that big-head creature, to which they have baptized as Malva Marina Trinidad Reyes Basoalto, rather than to unite their parents, will be the beginning of a tragedy. Malva, was born with a disproportionate head, the result of a hydrocephalus that heralded a premature, irremediable death.  But in Neruda, pseudonym under which was hidden the Chilean Ricardo Eliécer Naphtali Reyes Basoalto, the birth of a sick daughter was out of all its calculations. First he hid it is a perfectly ridiculous being, “he said,” a kind of semicolon “-and then he erased the” three kilo vamp “of his life, abandon forever. Not only was she the first wife of the prize-winning writer, she was also the mother of Malva Marina, her only and failed descendant. After meeting in a tennis match held in one of the most refined clubs in Java, Neruda and Ling were married. Probably by then he would maintain some relationship with the Argentinean Delia of the Lane, the ant, for which he would then abandon his wife and daughter. In 1936 the poet definitively leaves his wife and child to go to live with the ant. It leaves them almost without money in Montecarlo, city to which they arrive fleeing the Civil war. Ling crosses all France with her sick girl until arriving in Holland, where it settles in the city of Gouda. Mother and daughter go hungry and hardship. Ling lives in pensions and works on what she finds while her child leaves her in the care of a Christian family. He pleads with Neruda to send him money to feed his daughter: “My last penny will be spent on sending this letter.” Said Neruda. The daughter forgotten by the Nobel Prize of Literature died on March 2, 1943 in Gouda, where it is buried, away from the sea where the flower of the marine mallow grows. She was eight years old. Her mother, through the consulate of Chile in The Hague warns Neruda of the death of the little girl and asks him to meet him. The silence was his response “Malva” (edited by Rey Naranjo), the first novel by the Dutch writer Hagar Peeters, is now on sale. So sad story and so bad for Neruda, change my opinion of him. The editor is here:

More on the book in Spanish here:

Consuelo Ordóñez, president of the Collective of victims of terrorism and sister of Gregorio Ordóñez (murdered in 1995). The “What happened” of his words refers to the history of violence and social exclusion that has been experienced in the Basque Country for the last 50 years. And Patria is obviously the novel by which Fernando Aramburu picked up last Monday the Fundacion Umbral Award for Best book published in Spain in 2017, and promoted by the newspaper El MUNDO, the newspaper that the writer chose for his Years of fulfillment. “For me, the value of the novel is the way we calls each of us, the way we asks us where we were and what we did, whether we look to the other side or not, “explains Gorka Maneiro, former parliamentarian of Union Progreso and democracy in Basque Parliament and victim of an attack of the Kale Borroka in the year 2000. You have to read Patria; really, you have to read it because there are things you will not understand until you read the novel, because it is not the same to be a victim of ETA in Seville than in the Basque Country ‘. And here comes a description of vexations that will sound to any reader of Aramburu: The human pack, the graffiti on the walls, friends who cease to be friends, victims become guilty… and movies? Not much, actually. Only Fuego (fire), of Luis Marias, appears in the memory. The cinema still awaits its Patria (motherland) More here:

What better way to celebrate your 10th anniversary as the first ballerina of the Royal Ballet. And it is that on Monday, Laura Morera (Madrid, 1977) starred in the stage of Covent Garden Giselle, the great romantic title par excellence and a challenging interpretative challenge that took well. But, in addition, on Tuesday, it was Paulina in winter story, a total immersion in the world of Shakespeare, with acclaimed choreography of Christopher Wheeldon, when it had scarcely detached from the previous tutu. With Giselle-“It was only the third time she danced it,” and discovers-she was hailed as soon as she came out to greet at the end and, after a winter story, the applause of the audience was excited. She says “If I could make such a long career, and still continue, it is because of the artistic richness that we live in the Royal Ballet. The dancers do not have the popularity of the actors, but the dance is a very respected art in the United Kingdom and the public is very understood. ” I feel very supported by the public. I have sacrificed a lot to adapt to this style and I am always rewarded with applause. I’m so happy. ” Morera is one of the most solid dancers of the Royal Ballet, company in which she joined as a body of dance in 1995, after having studied in this school since 11 yrs old, and in which she continues, therefore, more than half life will be with the next emission in cinemas of  summer on February 28th, when you can see her play this key character for the outcome of this story of love, jealousy and reconciliation  Winter story is a ballet with a special expressiveness by which her intense history is perfectly understood and, With William Shakespeare’s permission, you don’t miss the words. Lauren Cuthbertson plays Hermione, Ryochi Hirano, is Lionesses, Sarah Lamb, her daughter Perdita and Vadim Muntagirov, the beloved of, Florizel. Awarded in 2016 with the National Dance Award, the most prestigious award given by British critics. More here:

The rumors of a definitive closing were only that, rumors, because the Casa del Libro Gran Via has already communicated to its partners that will make “a temporary closure (six months) to undertake a reform work” starting last Friday. Taking advantage of the works that will be carried out in the building so that Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) can raise his first hotel in Madrid, the bookshop will be reformed to «offer a new model and a new concept the Casa del Libro will be fired up with two days of frantic activity ;Literary starting tomorrow Wednesday afternoon with the visit of the mouse Geronimo Stilton (17h30 ), character protagonist of the series of books homonymous written by Elisabetta Dami. An hour later, the presentation and signature of copies of the book “Make Up” will be held with her author Silvia Quirós, who also teaches a special effects workshop open to the public the turn for poetry will arrive on Thursday from 18h30 pm. , when the bookstore will receive Luis García Piedehierro, Victoria Ash and Carlos Salem to share an evening of recitals. Also on Thursday, from 19h30  on the ground floor will be held one of the activities star of this farewell with the signature of samples  by a large troop of fashion writers such as Lorenzo Silva, Blue Jeans, nurse saturated, Angela Quintas , Sara Herranz or Margarita García. To finish the day, from 21h30, will offer a icing only reserved for the members, a very special surprise literary event before closing the doors of the Casa del Libro until after the summer. The bookshop, the oldest in Madrid occupies the first three floors of the building located at number 29 of Gran Vía. With this reform the third floor will be eliminated to obtain a much more spacious second level. That third floor will be left by the future Cristiano Ronaldo Hotel. In return will yield more space in the second floor. The webpage of Casa del Libro :

There are 101.397 bars in Spain or one for each 458 inhabitants! , according to the  Federación Española de Hostelería y Restauración  (Spanish federation of hotellery and restaurants) . The most expensive city to have a beer is Madrid, at 2,93 euros, while Cádiz  is the cheapest at 1,25 euros. These are the results of a survey by  Cuponation. Taking into account  103 bars in the 51 provincial capitals and two autonomous cities  where it was also found the average price for a glass of beer in Spain is 1,87 euros .  By community, Madrid  once again is leading with the most expensive beer  (even thus I paid 70c for a caña in Alcalà de Henares::)) followed by  País Vasco, 2,29 euros, and Baleares, 2,25 euros. At the other extreme , it was found the cheapest region to be Extremadura with  an average price of 1,38 euros; follow by Murcia 1,60  and  Castilla-La Mancha at 1,75 euros.  And you are thinking of having a free tapa with the glass of beer , well that custom is coming down too as only 58,5% of the 103 bars in the survey claims to offer it Here is the full report in 20Minutos newspaper :

There you go, my beloved dear Spain, or Spain everything under the Sun. Enjoy your week everyone, Cheers!!

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February 15, 2018

Casa de Campo de Madrid!

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

All started briefly with King Felipe II who in 1560 thereabouts purchase the land after he decides to put his court in Madrid. Later king Fernando VI the area is declared a royal forest and served as hunting grounds. It is now managed by the city of Madrid and serves well all residents and visitors alike since 1931.

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

Zoo and Aquarium here:

Attractions park here:

Cable car Rosales here:

A map of the park by the city of Madrid here:

Casa de Campo Madrid

There is,also, a youth hostal, exposition park, and the Venta de Batàn (storage for the bullring corridas). There is of course clean air!, soft ground and silence; the perfect combination for jogging and running, and you can choose flat paths or those with different slopes etc. You can ride a bike or rent one for 5€ per day in stores located along the Manzanares river. It’s a perfect spot for mountain bikes but there are also areas suitable for regular bikes. There are great areas for picnic under a tree or in one of the tables and benches all around the park. When you need to eat some snacks there is also a cafeteria right in the middle of the park. There ,also, a complex for cultural activities  IFEMA , all along the year with concerts, exhibitions, fairs, sport events all year long. In the park you can find a small lake with many aquatic activities such as Kayaking and boat paddles. During the weekends, many families come to the park for a picnic.

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

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

The harbor for the Lago/lake of Casa de Campo where you will find boats and paddle boats etc up to four persons per boat where they can be rented for a period of times usually 45 minutes but check for the latest on site. It is located at Paseo del Embarcadero, 8, Tel. +34 91 464 46 10 , hours are Mondays to Sundays from 8h30 to sunset , prices are according to the day Mondays to Fridays 6€ and Saturdays and Sundays 8€ again check for latest on site ticket counter or call ahead . The best locations to reach the Casa de Campo are by the metro station Lago, you have the lake, pools and tennis courts, the expo center, and expo fair. Near the metro station Casa de Campo you have the Zoo and Aquarium, and near the station Batàn you have the amusement park.

More on the lake here in Spanish is more info:

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

Further information can be had by contacting the park itself here: Parque Casa de Campo ,Avenida de Portugal, s/n; Tel +34 91 479 60 02 Fax: +34 915267708; Guided Tours: +34 91 526 77 03 and email:
The city of Madrid has a webpage in Spanish with more info here:

The tourist office of Madrid has more info here:

Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid

Hope you enjoy the ride and history,and see the beauty found here. It is a sublime place, love by all Madridistas and the lucky visitor who comes here. You will love it too I am sure! Enjoy the Casa de Campo in Madrid, where else! Cheers!!!



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February 14, 2018

The parks of Madrid, my parks!

So on a rainy day and waiting for the big game with my Real Madrid vs PSG in the Champions league on a romantic football /soccer evening of Valentine’s Day in my beautiful Morbihan;;uff long ok sorry. It’s time to talk about my other love , Madrid and it’s parks I share while in my adolescent life and later.

I have written before about the wonderful Parque del Buen Retiro or just Retiro Park.  Let’s take you on a brief tour of several others that I have been to, played in them, chase for my first love, and oh well many other things even introducing them to my now wife.

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

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

And the map of the park here in pdf: Parque Fuente del Berro

I walk you to the Parque del Oeste , a gorgeous part of Madrid. This park is by Moncloa between the avenida del Arco de la Victoria, and the Paseo del Pintor Rosales; next is the railroad track and the Avenida de Seneca, traversing the park are the Paseo de Ruperto Chapí, Paseo de Camoens, Calle Francisco and Calle Jacinto Alcàntara.  Worked on the park began in 1893 and the first phase was finished in 1905 with 87 hectares between the streets of today Calle Moret and Calle Seneca in addition to a carriages street ,Paseo de Camoens. IN 1906 the second phase continue the work and the park reached the Cuartel de la Montaña (HQ of army during Franco) and today it is where the Templo de Debod (gift from Egypt) is located.  The park was extended parallel to the Paseo Del Pintor Rosales . In the years 1956 -1973 it was enlarged not only by the Cuartel de la Montaña but also the rosary place La Rosaleda and the Parque de la Montaña today the Templo of Debod as mentioned. The northern parts of the park is the nicest as well as the oldest with an artificial creek of 600 meters long.

Special attention to the big oak tree the grandfather or el Abuelo this is a Cedrus atlantica; and two sophora pendulum trees , and a majestic Ginko, etc all really nice.  At the end of the promenade of plaintains or paseo de Plátanos, you can see birds in the fauna center or Centro de Avifauna with informative panels. You can reach here on metro lines 3 and 6 at Moncloa , lines 2,3 and 10 at Plaza de España , and lines 6 and 10 at Príncipe Pío; also, buses 21, 46, 74, 160, 161, and A , as well as Cercanías train at  Príncipe Pío. A real trip recommended. More on it from the tourist office here:

And the pdf map here: Parque del Oeste

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

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

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

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

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

And the map of the park in pdf here: Parque de la Bombilla

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

Hope you enjoy this ride into the parks of Madrid, my favorites of course (missing photos and all) , and there are other even call gardens, but these are my favorite parks of Madrid. Well, it remains Casa de Campo stay tuned and the before mentioned done Retiro park. Enjoy your week, me ready for the match. Cheers!







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January 28, 2018

Some news from Spain LX

Well on a cool Sunday  night and already thinking of another work week, my thoughts goes to Spain. My beloved Spain is kicking high on tourism this year ,record breaking year in 2017 and this one starts ok.  In Madrid tonite is 54F or about 12C very cloudy feeling colder with the rest of the week better with more sunshine and no rain.

Some news on my Spain:

A nice town and region known as the city of the three lies because no saint no valley and no sea on the name but is Santillana del Mar (ok Spanish joke maybe lost in translation) , it is very photogenics and ydillic population located only about 30 km from Santander.  The town was called Santa Juliana and became Santillana.  The king Alfonso VIII gave it city status in 1209. The main streets for walks and sightseeing are the Calle de Carrera, Calle Cantón or Calle del Río (they are all the same road but on each section are name different !). The main square is Plaza Pelayo at the center of town  with a triangular shape. Nearby at only 2 km are the famous caves or  Cuevas de Altamira, and inside there is the museum and center of investigations of or Museo Nacional y Centro de Investigación de Altamira. At this moment you can only go in five persons groups per week during 37 minutes for protection. However, you can visit the nearby it’s replica the  Neocueva , and the sixtine chapel of rural art in the museum or Museo de Altamira,a few meters from the original cave. More here:;jsessionid=BD794FF3EF2116D36D86F675AD646181

The whole area town can be check in English here:

Moving right alone, the Aller Mountains is a gorgeous spot in the Cantabrian mountain range; here you have wonderful ski resorts such as the one at Fuentes de Invierno in Valgrande-Pajares in Asturias.  The snow allowed the third oldest ski station in Spain to open 40 days before than last year with 30,9 km with four new trails The one in  Valgrande has a trail  skimo,  while  Fuentes de Invierno  is known for its trails.  Here it has  8,7 km of trails maybe small station but well supplied and the challenge of skiing on the sides and hills around it. You can reach this heaven in a bit over an hour from Oviedo o go with the train AVE from Leon,  those coming from Madrid can be here by car in about 3,5 hours.  More on my skinfo source site here:

and the Valgrande station in Spanish here:

The Fuente de Invierno in Spanish here:

Ski stores in Madrid abound , over the years and I tried my at Navacerrada when I was 10 and boy did I tumble down like a yo yo; oh well; my sons have done better ::)

The one that over two decades have supply Madrid with more than 700 m2 of space divided in three floors with all you need is Ski Market . It does not rentals but has a repair shop. The owner is a former Champion of Spain  Luis Ruiz Muradas,  Calle  Mónaco, 47. (P.I. Európolis, Las Rozas).tel +34 91 626 61 51.  Best by car as public transport takes over an hours on metro line 3 and then bus 661 dir San Lorenzo de El Escorial; More here:

Others pretty good ones, and recommended by folks who does skiing in Spain a lot including my cousins are Tornal Moya est 1985 offering all lines of ski and all types including snowboard. Located at Ronda de Valencia , 8 , Metro: Embajadores line 3 and cercanias C5. Tel +34 91 527 54 40. More here:

And one with other sports in it as well is Deportes Alaska with over 25 years offering all the lines for ski you need in all disciplines. You have brands here like ATomic, Polaroid, Descente, Fischer, and Mammot etc. They offered rental service for a complete set,and a small shop for repairs etc all in one shop. Corner of the very popular neighborhood Prosperidad at Calle Cartagena 174, metro Cruz del Rayo line 9/Prosperidad line 4, and tel +34 91 561 16 33. More here:

Something to fill that empty stomach on a winter day in Madrid, the wonderful dish cocido Madrileño. Where to have it best! My opinion of course.

La Cruzada at Calle Amnistía, 8. In what was the oldest tavern in Madrid founded in 1827 and with the same name you now have this restaurant with the same old good cooking philosophy. Offering a real cocido Madrileño  in three dishes for a price of about 30 €. More here:

 La Bola  at Calle Bola, 5 my all time place in Madrid for a real  cocido Madrileño  and of course reservations are a must.  A family tradition and doing it with individual vases of terracotta and slow fire on wood with three dishes for about 30€. More here:

And why not paired with a wonderful Castilian wine from Marqués de Griñón Graciano  ,Dominio de Valdepusa, Castilla La Mancha of 2012 Tinto/red,  with the grape Graciano , to drink now to 2021 . A very dense black wine with a toasted oaky and vegetal flavors later it comes out with the blueberries and prunes to have in your mouth with warmst maturity all delicious. This is a prefered property for my wines from Spain.  Just out at the property they still show the 2010! More here:

However, at my favorite El Corte Inglés you can find the 2012  at 24,50€  in Spanish:

Estampa has reached agreement to showcase contemporary arts in Spain for 2018. At the Feria de Madrid, on October 18 and 21 . This is again a primer, the webpage only show the 2017 event at Matadero de Madrid. The Estampa webpage is to follow for this artful event here:

And the Feria de Madrid or IFEMA ,how to get there;

A historical fact now to be told. the memory of the basque Blas de Lezo who at Cartagena de Indias, Colombia defended the Spanish main against the biggest naval fleet ever assembled from England in 1741, and kept the whole continent for Spain. He was ordered to return to Spain by King Felipe V but he refused staying at Cartagena until his death in September 7, 1741. The Fundacion Blas de Lezo has prepared an exposition to tell of this marine in various parts of Spain. call the “Blas de Lezo y la Guerra del Asiento” showing with 400 miniatures the English assault on the castle or Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Shown at Casa de las America, plaz de Cibeles Madrid; more in Spanish here:

Something I have always known: “La Nación más fuerte del mundo es sin duda España. Siempre ha intentado autodestruirse, y nunca lo ha conseguido.” El día que dejen de intentarlo, Volverán a ser la vanguardia del mundo. ….cosa que a muchos no interesa. by Otto Von Bismark (simply translated it means the strongest nation on earth is without doubt Spain; always tried to auto destruct herself and never have been able to do it. The day that it stop trying will return to be the vanguard of the world something that many show no interest. Otto Von Bismark chancellor of Germany) .

And another historical fact I like. In the spring of 1877 at the Plaza de la Barceloneta, Barcelona was surprise to assist for the first time a bullfight from Madrid and observed that no music was played unless the matador pin pole flags on the bull banderillas or a cape movement something close that was done by Lagartijo el Grande.  It was here in Barcelona on May 13 1877 where for the first time music was played on a show by Lagartijo. He left the plazas on May 21 1893 with six bulls of Duke of Veragua. All written on the book ” Toros en Barcelona” by Rafael Lopez Chacon. And the story on the Spanish newspaper ABC here:

And with that I leave my Spain for this Sunday. Wishing you a happy week ahead and happy travels. I will be back soon. Cheers!




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January 8, 2018

Some news from Spain LVIIII

I am starting the second week of January 2018 with my beloved Spain news report. There have been lots of problems with the snow falling there and accidents galore along the AP-6 highway but things are beginning to be back to normal. The temps today at 45F or about 8C and cloudy , the rest of the week shows rain in Madrid.

However, the news are many to start:
Let me tell you a bit about the wines of my ancestry in the Canary Islands ; base on studies by Enomaq a fair in Zaragoza on the trade here:

Pushing for helping wines revive on the islands they have come up with a few worth seeing and my favorite will tell you too.

Bodegas Insulares, is one of the best one there if not the best , done at Viña Norte, in Tacoronte-Acentejo,El Ancón, and Ycoden-Daute-Isora. They are ready to launch a new vintage call Tágara Marmajuelo 2017, a white on lies with only 2000 bottles and an aroma of passion fruit, mint, jazmine, and grassy fields. It has 13,5 degrees alcohol and a wide mouth taste. The bodega is already famous for its sweeter wines under the brand Humboldt,in the Icod area. They are a cooperative with the help of the local government and 300 members in Tacoronte and 150 more in Icod. Their Gual 2013, a liquoreux sweet wines of 18 degrees alcohol and 130 grams of sugar with notes of citrics, laurel leaves quoing and good acidic with oxidic notes covering it is very good. More on them here:

You continue with the Bodega Comarcal del Valle de Güímar ,another cooperative with more than 130 members and 160 ha area where they process over 200 000 liters 90% of them white wines on vinyards going from 200 to 1500 meters altitude over sea level. At the highest areas especially at Las Dehesas and Los Pelaos,they do the wine Brumas de Ayosa Blanco on lies 2016, from the grape Listán blanco and aromas of leaves and apple very creamy on the taste; not try myself. More here:

Another one I know is the Bodegas El Drago, located in the area of El Boquerón,in the valley or Valle Guerra, in Tacoronte-Acentejo area. In addition to the bodega they have a wonderful complex for the production of palms as well as 20 ha of vineyards. Not long ago they only produce grapes for sale but coming to the program Enomaq they started winemaking producing about 4000 bottles of white wine and 2000 bottles of red wine. More here:

A newer bodega is the bodegas Buten (since 1998) with the brands Cráter and Magma, the first one from the grape listán negra and negramoll , and the second one with the grapes negramoll and syrah. THe newest one has been the white wine Cráter Blanco, with grapes malvasía and listán blanco, with three month on lies. A goulish wine with note of yellow prunes and peaches, citrics, grassy herbs. they do about 20 000 bottles on 15 Ha of land in the municipality of El Sauzal,where the bodega is and Tacoronte, at altitudes of 400 meters for the growing of the grapes right in the bio farm “El Pino”. Their red wine Cráter tinto 2014 is looking very good by the wine tasters in Spain, silky, ample, volcanic smoky, prune confit, black pepper and some saline overtone from the sea. More of them here:

Continuing with my Canaries, the Bodegas El Sitio de San Juan, with only 3 ha and several associate farms all over the islands is a very modern bodega and a leader on technology in Tacoronte. It provides 100% of the energy needed by itself with photovoltic plaques. It is the new DOP Islas Canarias,(denominacion de origen protegida)and brings the best grapes from the best sites. In its own lands has mostly the grape vijariego negro, at 313 meters above sea level, the Malvasia from the south of Tenerife, baboso negro and vijariego negro from El Pinar, in the nearby island of El Hierro, as well as forastera gomera, from Chipude, Gomera. It has established an export channel to Florida USA and produces around 25 000 bottles with five brands. More here:

Last but not least is another of my favorites from the vinicole group of Cándido Hernández Pío with different properties in different zones like Tacoronte-Acentejo and Valle de Güímar. The first one is the area of La Matanza with 10 Ha at altitude of 150-180 meters above sea level and the second at Candelaria (had to say my paternal grandparents are natives of Candelaria!!!) ,with 9 Ha at only 80-90 meters from the Atlantic ocean!. Amongst the best wines are the Calius Verdello 2015 with menthol notes of green tea and grassy herbs or the Calius Marmajuelo 2015 with 15% malvasia grape a fruity expression of the variety. Another sweeter wine is the Punta del Sol Blanco Dulce 2001, with malvasia and albillo grapes very nice citrical wine , as well as the Riquelas Negramoll 2016, sings to the Atlantic with seaweeds, forest fruits, raspberries and a volcanic identity with notes of minerals. More here

Now moving into the arts in Madrid:
GEt up my friend and come this is the words in the tomb of María Zambrano. The theatrical showing of her work is coming at the sala Francisco Nieva in the teatro Valle-Inclán until February 11 2018. A women who together with Ortega y Gasset,is probably the best of the Spanish philosophy in the 20C . The presentation is entitled La tumba de María Zambrano» full of ideas,philosphical hymns but a work of theatrical dimensions with drama of two worlds. nice to see indeed. The theater is here:

Let’s stay with arts into the La Bohème.Composed in 1896 and shown first at Turin in 1896. The success is on the story of a young bohemians that live day in day out routines with little resources and find themselves the reality of life and maturity. The showing here comes from the Royal Opera House, in London and with some changes here on the scenery with decoration on background even snow falling during the entire presentation. See it at the Teatro Real, Plaza de Isabel II, s/n. Has to show it even if over by the time you read this post, see the lineup at the theater .

The dual expo on Goya and Buñuel. The dreams of reason or Suenos de la Razon, that can be visited until next march 2018 in the museum or Museo Lázaro Galdiano. LAter it will continue its journey to Zaragoza, México ,and the United States. Looking at about 55 Works from portraits engravings, books, postcards, photograms, etc coming from museums like the Lazaro Galdiano ,Prado, Reina Sofía, Thyssen, Filmoteca Española,etc pretend to show the works of these deaf artists, frenchisize and genious. Some of the works showing will be a Virgin and the Child by Goya that will be shown for the first time in public! Also works like the struggles of the war by Buñuel. The celebrated sefl portrait of Goya and a photography showing of Man Ray. Museo Lázaro Galdiano , Calle Serrano, 122.Until March 4 2018. More here:

Now something that we all need to know when driving in the snow and already fallen all over Europe. Winter tires/tyres.
There were tests done by Goodyear, driving at 80 km/h on snow a car with summer tires will need 112 meters to stop while the winter tires only 70 meters or a difference of 42 meters which can be critical in avoiding an accident if need to break suddently on snow. The winter tires are a solution each time the temperature is lower than 7 degrees Celsius ,and they are better than the tire chains typical sold in stores and avoid changing the chains on the highways with littel visibility and cold. The winter tires are better as the chain only goes into the moving edge and not on both as with the tires. Having on both allows for better traction and more security for the controls such as ABS, traction, stability in all advance systems of today. You can tell the winter tires by the symbols “M+S” together with a mountain icon and the snow star in the middle. Another test done with one tire for winter/summer is the Michelin Cross Climate, tested for temperatures up to less than minus 30 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius. Under 25C the breaking time is the same with most summer tires and in cold weather similar to winter tires. Of course, MIchelin are my tires/tyres ::) Here is the site in France:

And to eat good game meals delights in Madrid and we have plenty of goodies, my favorites are:
Restaurante Hortensio Calle Marqués de Riscal, 5, Tel +34 91 002 35 54). An exquisite menu on three servings of Hare. See it here:

Then, you have Arce Calle Augusto Figueroa, 32,tel +34 91 522 04 40 where you will have woodcock or teal duck in armagnac sauce or stag deer cured marinated and roasted accompany by red fruits and chestnut sauce ,superb!!! More here:

Last but not least another dandy Viridiana already 40 years strong. Calle Juan de Mena 14, tel +34 91 531 10 39. Wild pig balls from the Montes de Toledo amontillado with small potatoes and chestnuts to die for it. More here:

And now some historical news about a town of Castilla y Leon, of course Leon. The Cathedral here is awesome, many call it the «Pulchra Leonina» ( Beautiful lioness), a jewel of Gothic art. What many do not know is that next to the Chapel of the white Virgin that you reach by the western façade you arrive at the tomb of Ordoño II. Legends tell of ghosts at night walking all around it . Then the Church Collegiate of San Isidoro, considered by many as the Sistine Chapel of Romanesque art is here too. One of the treasures it keeps since the 11C is the Cup of lady Urraca or de Doña Urraca, call the fear one or la Temeraria. The cup is believe to be used for Jesus Christ in His last supper and has supernatural powers. It has two sides of ceramic type Qumran used in Palestine at the times of Jesus, united in the middle by a golden ball that lady Urraca ordered and gave her jewels to do it.

Another treasure of the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro is the figure of a golden copper rooster that for many years was not notice. It crowned the tower of the Church and legend says his sounds were to alert the town of the arrival of the Moors of Almanzor; it was put to the test of carbon 14 and found that it is from the 6C by Persian jewelers and fit with byzantine stories that the Persian King Kosroes II a contemporary of Mohammed and conqueror of Jerusalem made all the crosses of the rooftops of the Churches ere replace by precious stones encrusted on the eyes with a description that still has not been interpreted.

In front of the gate of San Isidoro there a black bronze statue on a square stone pedastal base. This represent the abbot of the collegiale and the mayor of the town commemorating an event that took place in 1158. Worry after a long dry season they took the remains of San Isidoro in a procession and it rains very heavely according to what was written in the «Chronicon Mundi» of Lucas de Tuy. Since ,then, every year the city offers a candle and two axes of wax to the city council that is shown in the monument. After a dispute all was resolve with bowing of the heads three times or known as the «Las Cabezadas» that are repeated the last Sunday of April.

The Casa Botines is one of threee works done by Gaudi outside Catalunia ; the others are in the El Palacio Episcopal of Astorga, and the El Capricho of Comillas in Cantabria. This is modern building that was used as a knitting fabric warehouse and private residence. Today it houses a museum dedicated to Catalan architecture. In the front of this building there is a bank with a statue of Gaudi sitting taking notes and next a pigeon. The place is known as the square of pigieons or Plaza de las Palomas, even if officially it is the square or Plaza de San Marcelo. Next to the Botines you have a renaissance building call the the Palacio de Los Guzmanes built in the 16C on orders of the bishop of Calahorra. Today is the home of the Provincial government. In its façade there a mysterious shield of the Guzmanes, a Calder pot from which it comes out seven snakes.

You cannot overlook visiting the archeological museum or Museo Arqueológico de León the ivory of 33 cm known as the Carrizo Christ or El Cristo del Carrizo. Romanesque lioness with eyebrows of coal on golden cord It reached the museum in 1874 coming from a monastery Cistercian in Carrizo de la Ribera, where they were guarded by sisters that sold it to help paid for the care of one of them. It is believed that was created at the end of the 11C but not much more is known of it. Above story on Leon taken and translated by me from ABC newspaper here:

And moving closer to me to my old Madrid , I take you to the castle and forest of Riofrio.

Very nice Riofrío by the Granja de San Ildefonso. Segovia. 80 km from Madrid. You take the road A-6 to San Rafael continues on the N-603 and SG-V.7212 road until the entrance to Palace of Riofrio.

It was in 1724 when king Felipe V rented the Dehesa of the Frio river from the Marquis of Paredes with the intention of having a hunting ground near the palace of La Granja (small Versailles where he was born) This way he kept it until his death. The second wife Isabel de Farnesio, decided to buy it in 1751,when the king was Fernando VI. Due to bad relations with the king she was sure to have a castle nearby. It is a perfect copy of the Royal palace in Madrid with a square architecture with three heights in a neo classic style ;before it was completed king Fernando VI died therefore Isabel de Farnesio did not needed to think of her refuge The complex without finishing it as only the palace and the entrance gate were built the officer’s quarters, the stables convent theater and gardens were left forgotten, You can still see the shield of Isabel de Farnesio in the front facade of the Palacio de Riofrío.

Symmetrical on all sides the interior of the palace preserves 18 rooms totally furnished that tell how life was at the times for the kings At the end of the residential area there is the hunting museum or Museo de Caza. Here you can take a tour of the hunting tradition of the kings from the time of the primitives ; even if the most interesting portion is that of the recent times Remarkable to see the natural state of different ecological niches with iberian fauna. The end you see the trophy rooms of hunters with numerous examples of animals horns, skin and skeletons without losing perspective that these were other times.

There is a road lateral to the palace that goes to the end of road in Riofrio and takes the whole of the dehesa or forest. Vehicules are not permitted here to go at more than 40 kph, you cannot stop and cannot abandon the road ; it is ,also prohibited to go on foot or give food to the animals. A simple walk can be done by the lookout road or Senda del Mirador,that allows you to around the palace, and it is worth it , very easy to do with good signage and allows you to see the deers etc at short range. The roundtrip takes about 1.5 km ,and here next to the palace you have an area of picnic with tables and shades, and the walk takes you to see the fountain or Fuente del Rey and a forest house. Takes about 30 minutes to do. The hours of the palace or Palacio Real de Riofrio are tuesdays to Sundays from 10h to 18h and the forest park is open from 8h to sundown. Admission to the palace is 4 euros and the forest with auto or bike is also 4 euros; if you go on foot to the forest or bicycle it is free.
Article taken and translated from El Mundo here:

Information on the Palace of Riofrio here:

And the forest here:

Enjoy Spain, is everything under the Sun and then some. HAve a great week y’all.Cheers!!

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January 3, 2018

The wines of Rioja and Castilla La Mancha

Well how about writing about two distinct wine regions of Spain. One, Rioja is already world famous for it’s red wines; however, they do whites and sparkling/cava wines there too. The other is little known but coming along quite nicely with good efforts.

I have written a long post on the wines of  Rioja here:

Now, will tell you about what the different government organisations in the area are doing to promote the wine tours to these bodegas/wineries.

The regional administrations such as  the areas of La Rioja, Álava, and Navarra as well as local city mayor’s office such as Logroño, Haro, Elciego, Aldeanueva de Ebro, and Laguardia  as well as public and private entities are pushing this wines initiatives now.  On the other hand the regulatory council of the denomination of Rioja or Consejo Regulador Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja  are into the strategic plan for the future or the Plan Estratégico de Rioja 2005-2020, are pushing these initiatives of enotourism so the visitor can enjoy fully the experience.  The official regulatory council here:

The recent interest by consumers to know the world of wines has push for new sites to spread the culture of wine and tourism. One example of this is the case of the Vivanco museum or  Museo Vivanco, an initiative of the family with 9000 m2 of property offering a tour on the culture of wines from antiquity to our days thru their expositions and activities. The thematic center of the  Vino Villa Lucia, opened in 2000 in Laguardia,is also offering a didactic tour with interactive action on the growing of grapes  with seminars and conferences such as the forum of tourism Enogastronomic in the route of the wines of Rioja Alavesa or the Foro de Turismo Enogastronómico de la Ruta del Vino de Rioja Alavesa. More info in Spanish here:

More on museo Vivanco here in English:

Vino Villa lucia here in Spanish:

Rioja offers the possibility of enjoying many events and activities relating to wines such as the tastings on the neighborhood of the Station or Cata del Barrio de la Estación, an initiative of the wineries association of Haro or Asociación de Bodegas del Barrio de la Estación de Haro. It hopes to consolidate this space with other enotourism destinations in the world to enjoy a weekend with wines from seven Spanish wineries.  The municipality of Aldeanueva de Ebro  with Entreviñas, a festival of different activities from professional days to visit to wineries, wine fair, tastings, contests and music.

The Cata Estacion in English here:

Entreviñas 2017 here:

take a look for events in 2018 on the above town of Aldeanueva del Ebro with music and wine here:

the program of the route of wines of Spain or Rutas del Vino de España was established to promote the wine tourism thru vineyards, wineries and places of interest related to them. In the denomination area of Rioja or D.O. Ca. Rioja to create two routes of wines: the Rioja alavesa or Ruta del Vino de Rioja Alavesa  and the Rioja Alta or Ruta del vino de Rioja Alta.  Currently there is work on creating the Rioja Baja or Ruta del Vino de Rioja Baja, already with more than 60 bodegas and the Villa Lucía. At Elciego, with the wine city of Marques de Riscal or  Ciudad del Vino de la bodega Marqués de Riscal, and in Labastida, the birthplace of Rioja are a must visits. The Ruta del Vino de Rioja Alta is found in the autonomous community of La Rioja where historically the culture of wines was developed in this region.  Amongt it’s more remarkable buildings are a rich historical and artistic heritage such as the  Monasterio de San Millán de la Cogolla, Monasterio de Santa María La Real de Nájera, the city of Haro, and the small medieval town of Briones etc.  There is ,also, a wonderful natural surrounding with the vineyards that connects the valley of Ebro or valle del Ebro with the sierra de la Demanda to the south and the Montes Obarenes to the west and going thru the valleys of the rivers Najerilla, Tirón, and Oja.

Many activities such as the battle of the wine or Batalla del Vino held from June 29 in Haro with rival disputes on the city of Miranda, Burgos. The participants dressed in white and on the footsteps of the ermitage or Ermita de San Felices, and twisted streets of Bilibio, they throw red wines at each others on the streets! More in Spanish here:

You can also join in to the festival or Fiesta de San Mateo y de la Vendimia Riojana, that is held in September 21st in Logroño.  Deep countryside roots on the days of thanksgivings, official act stepping on grapes and the must is used as offering to the Virgin of Valvanera, the Patron Saint of the Rioja, finished by carriages with a vineyard theme and plenty of tastings on the streets. More here:

Also, the Fiesta de la Vendimia de Rioja Alavesa a more recent creation held on the second Sunday of September each year around the towns showing the visitor the typical vineyards life of the region.  More info on the 2017 festivities but keep a lookout on the site for 2018 here:

The Wine Routes of Rioja webpage is here:

Some wineries worth going into them are:

Finca Valpiedra with 80 ha of vineyards on a beautiful edges of the Ebro river; bodega founded by the Martinez Bujanda family of deep roots in the area. It is between the towns of Cenicero and Fuenmayor. Right into the Sierra de Cantabria to the north norte and Sierra de la Demanda to the south with gorgeous views. More here:

Bodegas Riojanas founded in 1890 preserves the entry to the bodega a stone door that in 1799 allows entry into the private vineyards of the family. The installations has experiences on the senses to touch and smell the element done there like the material they produce the barrels of oak and the different soils it harvest. More here:

Bodegas Lecea  is a drain of stones that will leave you speechless with underground passages built in the 16C with original goat skins as when wines were preserve in them . The Lecea in San Asensio, has one of the bodegas that focus on the thematic experiences on the world of grapes. They have done it with rides on horse wagons , visit to vineyards, and the festival of the stepping on of the grapes call by ACEVIN, (Asociación Española de Rutas del Vino), the best enotourism experience of 2016. More here:

Màrques de Caceres with modernity and elegance bodega, one of my favorites. Very innovative machinery on the tour of the property on a model founded in 1970 by Enrique Forner. They combine the tastings sessions with Christmas market, yoya sessions, and flamenco shows. The visit is at Cenicero and offers a guided tour of the installations and tasting of four wines such as Antea Blanco Edición Limitada, Gran reserva, MC , and  Gadium). All from 15€ and about two hours. More here:

Bodegas Tritium was created in the 16C but recently restore. The thing to see here is the illuminated cellars on about 10 meters deep and 30 meters long, rather small yes. However, you find the mix of modernity and tradition very nice here. They make Crianza, bottling all their wines, pre and harvest of the Tritium farms. They offered three types of guided visits, the standard for 10€ and 60 minutes, the advance for 15€ and 90 minutes, and the Premium for 39€ and 120 minutes. More here:

Some facts on white wine in the Rioja. In March 1992, the cultivation of white grapes were discontinue in the Rioja; at this time there were 8 227 ha and 90% of it was the grape Viura or the local name for it, Macabeo, making it 18,67% of the total vineyard area of the denomination/DOC. Before that, many wineries had stopped producing white wine and the Marqués de Riscal had opted to do so from Rueda. By 2017 ,the planting has recovered just a part but already over 6 000 ha of white grapes or 9% of the total vineyard area. In the last five years the white grapes of Rioja has increase by volume 50% and pass the 14 millions liters to 21,5 million liters in the last available year as of October 2017. In the last 12 months ,the increase has been by 21% national and international markets according to Nielsen,therefore, from each four bottles of quality wine ,one is white wine or 27% of the commercialization of the region’s wines. Currently, the volume done by Rioja on white wine represent 7,5% from 5% coverage it had in 2010. Information translated from

However, wait a minute folks. I have done my family vacation on the last two years in Castilla La Mancha region, and as a wine aficionado with pro experience in this industry, I can tell you the wines here have improved tremendously and a lot cheaper still.

I have written a long post on my blog about the wines of Castilla La Mancha and photos here:

This I have purchased , drank locally and taken some bottles back with me and still very good deal. Finca Antigua Crianza from Bodega Finca Antigua (part of the Martinez Bujanda company), year 2012, tempranillo grapes 50% , Cabernet Sauvignon 20%, Merlot 20%, and Syrah 10%. It can still hold until 2023, and the price is 7€!!! Very nice tannins peaches, fine leather, cloves, vanilla on American oak in the background reaching complexity very nice flavor fine and long, in one word: Excellent. More here:

You have several others from wineries/bodegas of Guadalajara, Toledo,and Cuenca provinces as well as Albacete and Ciudad Real. Here you see half the total wine production of Spain! There is a lot of cheap industrial wine done by huge cooperatives or private giants companies offering wine from 2,75€. However, when you go up to a Pago Calzadilla, Rio Negro or Finca Antigua you are in heaven, pocketwise too. The tourist page of the region focus on wine is here:

As for tastings, leave you with some of my favorites in addition to the above.

Calzadilla Allegro 2010 100% Syrah for 16€, more here:

Finca Rio Negro  2012 24€ more here:

Illanas Crianza red  16€ of Bodega Gasillana, more here:

Enjoy it , and feel free.. the wines of Spain. In vino veritas ; Cheers!!!

December 31, 2017

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo 2018!!!


One photo from AP Thibault Camus to celebrate the New Year on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe of Paris!!!


A very special brief post on wishing you all a very very Happy New Year and best wishes for 2018. May all your hopes and dreams come true in good health. We stay home as in the last few years, with the kids grown and far from family we do not want to go out into the crowds of end of year.

We decided to cook a nice roast duck  breast in Madeira sauce all home made by the expert French cook in the family, my wife. Then, we added dauphiné potatoes, and dish of cheeses like goat, brie, awe milk ,and comtal , and ice cream log or buché glacé of various flavors. All wash down with Champagne Tsarine Brut for the apéro, and Chateau Patache d’Aux  Médoc 2012, and Chateau Saint Martin red Listrac-Médoc 2012 , both wines from the Bordeaux region.

We started with various amuse buche biscuits, coated peanuts in fruit flavors, potato chips chorizo and cheese, olives in garlic without seeds, and the Wolfberger Gewurztraminer Alsacien white 2016.  A grand total of 6 persons, including my immediate family and my father. We had some wonderful jelly of passion fruit from Guadaloupe as well as the chocolate ice cream log.

All the while we switch TV from the celebration in the Champs-Elysées news flash, as well as the TVE celebration in the Puerta del Sol at Madrid . It was wonderful, I had a cam camera of it and was great indeed! Just for a bit of ambiance as best we can. We constantly stay in touch with family and close friends by Facebook and Skype and this year Whatsapp.

The town was quiet and with police training on avoiding firecrackers in my area. The temps is a bit rough as we are having the storm Carmen passing by temps are at 9C or about 48F but high winds heavey rains at times ,and expecting the high tide to go by coefficient of 100 that can create flooding in coastal towns.

Another year goes by, and I to begin work tomorrow January 2nd after two weeks vacation; it’s going to be tough. Then, by mid month will fly out to Asia for a week as last year! The year will be critical as we will know our retirement options by end year and then can really prepare for it. So far, we think we will remain here in lovely Morbihan Breton.  Too far to figure where we will be going on trips, but me on India and China and maybe Tenerife, Spain looms possibles. Anyway , we are not long range planners but last minute ::)

Will have some personal photos here ,not a fan but for the special day it is worth it, me think. Again happy travels and best wishes for all followers and readers of my blog in 2018. Cheers!!!


December 11, 2017

Madrid, well it’s a love affair from childhood and forever!

Ok , as the nostalgic season is continuing and I am on the mood of remembrance, I need to tell you about Madrid. I arrived on December 30 1971 and left on May 10 1974, it was a shocking beautiful experience.

After years been told by my family that were from Tenerife and speaking to me about Spain that elusive far away country I came to dwell on its customs and food and tradition, finally I was on the land of Cervantes. Lucky enough in life to be able to come back and visit often, and from 2003 every year at least once. Never enough.

I was thinking of writing something and put some photos up for the remembrance post. However, I decided to link all my previous post in my blog on Madrid. Hopefully , I found them all here. You tell me if there is another aspect of Madrid I left out, and will reply.  Enjoy it, or we say, From Madrid to heaven in a hole on the sky to look down on it everyday!! it probably was from Ernest Hemingway but not sure.

Here is all of mine on all or most of Madrid:

 There, now do enjoy Madrid to the fullest, as in Spain, everything is under the Sun.  Plenty of photos above, I leave you with my id photo while living in Madrid ::) Cheers!



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