Posts tagged ‘Madrid’

February 22, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXV

So coming back at you at my beloved Spain , everything under the sun. Well it is sunny now with temps of 64F or about 18C, just fine , I have similar in my neck of the woods !!!

It is time tell you the latest and traditions of my Spain, this time with an emphasis on gastronomy and wines, what else, the country is loaded; I say the best component. And enough conversation topics to heal the troubles of my today’s Spain.

Do we say Pizzas? yes the cuisine of the world, and Spain is nothing to be left behind. My lovely Madrid has plenty, and will give you some good ones of my own.

Grosso Napoletano. The Neapolitan pizzas in this house are already spread over five sites in Madrid. In the menu, classic creations such as the Margherita or the piquant Diavola share protagonism with the Borghese (with truffle and speck) or the Cantabrian (with anchovies and sauce with San Marzano, cherry, olive oil and garlic).  My take was at Paseo de La Habana, 27, the original: more here: Grosso Napoletano Madrid

Luna Rossa , visited at Calle San Bernardo 24. Opened a quarter of a century ago, it has been in the hands of Ana Zucchini (daughter of the founder) for two decades. Its raison d’être is Neapolitan cuisine, especially pizzas made in a wood-fired oven (such as Arrabiata, with hot sobrasada and fennel seeds, or Tonno, with tuna, olives, basil and onions). The space, recently restored, preserves the rustic charm of yesteryear. More here: Luna Rossa MadridLuna Rossa Madrid

Of course, if you want your regular eat in take out delivery place then no one better in Madrid than TelePizza, doing it for years!!! Several locations all over the city, I have in my old neighborhood of Quintana (Ciudad Lineal): Telepizza Quintana Madrid

And why not alone,no way, we need to have a good beer with them and Madrid has plenty of this too. My favorites amongt many are

Cervecería Santa Bárbara .Although it has several branches in Madrid, the one that occupies us in these lines is the original (opened in the year 1815). It is a reference to the time of the appetizer: for its beautiful bar of marble rods fly  and the doubles, with cream instead of foam, of soft bitter taste and uniform. Do not leave without tasting the prawns of Huelva, the canned cockle and the anchovies in vinegar with french fries of Churrería . The original at Plaza de Santa Barbara 8:More here: Cerveceria Santa Barbara

La Ardosa. Although it started as a wine tavern where it was sold in the region of Toledo from which it takes the name, when Gregorio Monge (father of Angel, current owner) was made with the business transformed it into a brewery, a pioneer in outside brands such as Guinness or Pilsner. Now, this passion is preserved (European labels are always served in double glass) and is complemented by a good vermouth of Reus. To accompany, salmorejo, potato tortilla, salted and pickled. As a curiosity to add that in this address you will find the first tap of Guinness of Madrid . Calle  Colon 13.More here; La Ardosa Madrid

Bar Martín. Martín Jiménez is the third generation that directs this bar devoted to the appetizer first opened in 1940. Besides calluses, Banderillas and Russian steaks, to drink the rods triumph, pulled with a lot of grace from Madrid (not in vain, our host is Master marksman of Mahou, the beer that is very local ). At Avenida de Menendez Pelayo 17. No webpage but a reference in my favorite YELP: Yelp on Bar Martin Madrid

La Dolores. Inaugurated in 1908, this centennial house is one of the most traditional bars in Madrid. Easily recognizable by its beautiful tile façade, inside an army of duly uniformed waiters is struggling to serve the reeds, doubles and muds (earthenware jars) of beer served as ordered by the canons of Madrid: Up to half, blow to up and up. They always go with a snack of bucket, but if you want something more it has an incredible collection of canapés and rations to match (boquerones and anchovies) served with olives, piparra and french fries .At Plaza de Jesus 4. A wonderful bar and great area for walks before or after: no webpage but my favorite YELP here: Yelp on La Dolores Madrid

Cerveceria Cruz Blanca, Calle Doctor Esquerdo, 157  or Ave Menendez Pelayo, 47 both locations are great and my hangout in Madrid for the last few years. Great service, good food, prices to match and great cold beers, the terraces are superb! These are setup as franchises so are you up for it? try them you will love them. More here: Cerveceria Cruz Blanca Madrid

Then I take you to something typical of Galicia and Madrid, hard to tell I like them both even if grew up eating the Madrid style; talking about the stews or Cocidos. Here are some where to eat them well in both places. No carnival without stew. At least in Galicia. With just similarities with the Spaniard (coincide in being a mix of meat, vegetables and carbohydrate and to have the soup as an entrée), the Galician is a hearty recipe that is enjoyed in Galicia, but also in cities like Madrid. In Madrid, Casa Gallega, where it is served with cabbage (instead of grelos or Nabizas), and Sanxenxo.  Meanwhile, Sal Negra dispatches both Madrid and Galician stew styles

At Coruña or Puxigo (as Pontes), which incorporates Grelos de Villalba, and Cabana (Bergondo), classic overlooking the estuary that prefers cured and non-smoked pieces. Sarria is Roma, restaurant-hotel of the Fontal family with 44 years where they serve the stew or also only the horn. And the recipe includes that piece almost wild as a star: the head of the pig (Cacheira, or hat), tasty and cartilaginous that, if you like, derives in a real enjoyment and can be of Celtic pork (salted and cured before their cooking, they sell it in Carnicas and Teijeiro) or Galician pork without this marking. More on hotel restaurant Roma here: Hotel Restaurant Rome in Sarrià

Time for Carnivals in Orense province,Galicia and more celebrations!!

The carnivals (from March 1 to 6), many of the municipalities of the province of Orense have been celebrating one of the most festive and expected moments of the year for several days. The Entroidos, popular name for which in Galician lands are known the carnivals, of the oldest in Spain, are characterized by the presence of picturesque masked characters of ancestral origin, denominated in different way according to the locality ( cigars, barbers, screens…), which take over the streets forming part of lively and colorful parades and troupes. This tradition is a special claim for the towns of Laza, Manzaneda, Verín, Viana do Bolo and Ginzo de Limia,  which lasts up to five weeks in some cases. Putting Orense capital as a starting point, I propose a route to live three of these most popular carnivals in Galicia: Ginzo de Limia, Verín and Laza, to the south of the province, make up the “magic triangle” of the Entroidos.

Ginzo de Limia. The most durable, since it takes place over five weekends, in which charangas, parades and musical acts do not cease. The main protagonists are the screens, some characters in white suit, a peculiar mask and red cloak with colorful ribbons and bells chasing, cow bladder in hand, to those who are not disguised. Once reached, they take them in twinkling to a bar, where they will have to pay glass of white wine and gather in the Plaza Mayor and then start their characteristic dances and jumps through the streets of the town. See program here: https://www.paxinasgalegas.es/fiestas/entroido-2019-xinzo-de-limia-0686.html

Verín.  At 35 km, this town next to the Portuguese border, protected from the top by the castle of Monterrey ,a fortress of the 10C perfectly preserved. It starts its carnival on February 21 with the traditional Thursday of Compadres, a parade predominantly Male that runs through the streets of the village to the Plaza Mayor. Sunday 24 February by 11h is the day for the cigars, which flood the streets with their characteristic wooden masks, their colorful costumes, which hang the legendary clashes of cowbells and a crop called Zamarra, the rhythm of brass bands and the clink of their bells. On Saturday and Sunday March 2-3 are the big days of the carnival, in which the whole city turns over. Plaza de la Merced welcomes the baptism of the Cigarrón on Saturday,16h30, while at Av. de Castilla is the place for the Grand Parade ,Sunday at 12h, with the participation of cigars, floats and troupes that parody politicians and society in general. More info here: http://www.visitchavesverin.com/es

Laza. It is obligatory to move to the central Plaza de la Picota and to the adjoining bars of this town  60 km from Orense. Although it will officially begin on February 28th, with the thursday of Comadres, the carnival has already several weeks of celebration, with the four Fridays of Folión ,street party from 23h. The main protagonists of this celebration are the Peliqueiros, characters armed with their officer sheepskin coats, their clashes at the waist and their demonic animal masks that roam the streets imposing their law. These accompany the leaflets, groups of 30 to 40 people with different instruments, whose mission is to scare away evil spirits. This ancestral celebration continues until Tuesday of Carnival ,March 5, the farewell day with the Peliqueiros, the parade of floats, the will of the donkey and the Queima do Arangaño. More here: http://www.entroidodelaza.com/dias-de-entroido/

Orense. It is also worth the festivities that mainly fill the historic center of Orense, the city bathed by the Miño river. The celebrations in the capital start on Thursday of Comadres ,February 28, a night traditionally reserved for women. From there, there are five days of uninterrupted festivities in which everyone goes out into the street in disguise or with a mask. More information and program in  http://turismodeourense.gal/

Let’s talk about wine stores; sure we like to go to the source, but sometimes little time so what to do to grab the beauty of Spanish wines? Well heads for these wonderful wine stores of my trail.  You know the best known ones are all based in Madrid and Barcelona, where abound, and those reference addresses that are for offer and service. Asking in Madrid, there are many that I will recommend Lavinia, Santa Cecilia, Viuda de Cuenllas, or Mantequerías Bravo come to mind.  And there, in Barcelona, as many others as Celler de Gelida, Lafuente,  La Carta de Vinos, or Enoteca Divins. But the wine stores continues beyond these big cities and it is in those other wine stores in which today I will take you with my favorites over the years.

La Vinatería Yáñez ,calle Padre Sacramento 11. Zaragoza. They have since 1953 focused on the sale of wines apart from those dedicated to the diffusion of their culture. It gathers several thousand references among which the representation of foreign labels stands out. Good offer of malts, Armagnacs, brandies… Conditioned rooms for tastings and conferences, and good library of consultation. More here: La Vinateria Yanez Zaragoza

Vinoteca El Lagar, Calle San Lesmes 14 bajo. Burgos . A small space that houses labels of very different nationalities, since they have great relevance the foreign, especially those of French origin. It has a part destined to distillates and various gadgets useful for wine. More here: Vinoteca El Lagar Burgos

Vino Cutanda La Bolsa de los Licores, Avenida Ramón y Cajal 14, Albacete. Family business located in the center of the city, opened since 1982, and with more than 2,500 references; Wines from all the processing areas of the world as they gather a thousand foreign labels. They complete the wine offer, with spirits, accessories, gourmet foods, and various activities.   More here: Vinos Cutanda Albacete

Valentín Moreno e Hijos ,Calle Méjico 8, Guadalajara. Dedicated to wine since it opened in the mid-sixties, it responds to the name of its founder. Now the third generation owns it and among its more than 700 references there are wines from all over the world, although the protagonists have the patriotic, with special attention to the Manchegos. They include distillates and miscellaneous wine accessories.  More here: Valentin Moreno e Hijos Guadalajara

The Palacio de los Licores, Calle Correhuela 24, Salamanca. A neighbor of the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, this large wine market brings together more than 1,500 selected wines, liquors that surpass the five hundred brands, specialized publications and accessories. More here: Palacio de los Licores Salamanca

Casa Claudio , Rúa San Andrés,  A Coruña. With two points of sale in the city, this was the first, inaugurated in 1889 and therefore emblematic store in terms of the sale of oenological and gastronomic products: wines (on 3,500 references), liquors, distillates, canned, sausages, spices, etc. They also schedule tastings.   More here: Casa Claudio A Coruna

La Licoreria De Cuenca,  Avenida de la cruz roja Española, S/N,warehouse and store open to the public where we purchased last in Spain, at Cuenca of course. This last address is off the A-40 ,Autovia de Castilla La Mancha. A place to visit. They have a store in city center at Calle Doctor Alonso Chirino, 9-Bajo ,where you can make your purchases as well. In it you can find a great variety of wines, liquors and delicatessen products. They have 21 years of experience. The webpage is here: http://www.lalicoreria.es/

Hope you enjoy the ride in my beloved Spain, the second most visited country in the world by UN WTO standards.

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

 

February 17, 2019

The Monatery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial!

So I am back south to my beloved Spain again. What can I say , so many posts on this wonderful country that I can call mine, the land of my grandparents maternal and paternal. The No 2 most visited country in the world by WTO UN standards, and the beauty not even yet seen completely. Yes transports will take you to many ,but the car is king to bring you to the most beautiful places on earth. I like to tell you a bit about one wonder of our world; the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Been here since a child and never tired of coming back for more, its an absolut must to see!

The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a complex that includes a royal palace, a basilica, a pantheon, a library, a school and a monastery. It is located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in the community of Madrid region, on the southern slope of Mount Abantos, at 1028 meters altitude, in the Sierra de Guadarrama and was built between 1563 and 1584.

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The palace was the residence of the Spanish Royal family, the basilica is the burial place of the kings of Spain and the monastery; founded by monks of the Order of St. Jerome is currently occupied by friars of the Order of Saint Augustine.   It was considered, since the late 16C, the eighth wonder of the world, both for its size and functional complexity and for its enormous symbolic value. Its architecture marked the passage of the Renaissance Plateresque to the unadorned Classicism. It’s paintings, sculptures, cantonal, parchments, liturgical ornaments and other luxury objects, sacred and audios make the Escorial also a museum.

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A bit of brief history I like

In 1557, there was the victory over the French at the Battle of San Quentin.(Aisne 02). In 1558 , the emperor Carlos V dies in Yuste, changing in his will his desire to be buried in Granada by the request to his son to create an ex Novo building for his tomb, in a place different from his parents and grandparents. In November of 1560, the current site is chosen, just 50 km from Madrid, in the vicinity of the source of Blasco Sancho, next to El Escorial — then a small village of the community of Villa and Tierra de Segovia, to build the Monastery complex.

This year, 1561,  was the key to the history of El Escorial; because the monarch moved the capital of Spain from Toledo to Madrid. He entrusted the monastery of El Escorial to the Jeronimos monks . Traditionally, the Hispanic monarchy had been closely linked to this religious order. In April 23rd 1563, the Feast of St. George (San Jorge), the first stone of the monastery was placed, on the foundations of the convent’s refectory, under the Prior’s chair, on the southern facade. In 1584, the statues of David and Solomon are placed on the cover of the basilica. By September 13th,1584 the works were officially finalized, despite the fact that the Royal Basilica was not completed. This culminated in 1586 after eleven years of construction.

In 1814, once surpassed the avatars of the war of the independence, which meant for the monastery the plundering and the secularization, the monks of the order Jerónimos return. With the reestablishment of the 1812 Constitution and the start of the Liberal three-fold, the monastery is again abandoned by the majority of the monks between 1820 and 1824. On December 1, 1837, the 150 Jeronimos monks depart after entering into force the laws of the disentailment of ecclesiastical property. Later, after a failed restoration attempt, a patronage of secular chaplains was created. In 1885, after two intervals in which the Escolapios parents occupied it (since 1869 the school, and between 1872 and 1875 the complete custody of the monastery) and again the secular chaplains, the king Alfonso XII makes delivery of the monastery to the Order of Saint Augustine. The Augustinians live in the monastery until today.

What was this huge complex in the middle of a mountain small town, behold beauty, architecture, history, and fairy tails to make story telling a habit of continuous family talks. Like mines!

The monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial was promoted by king Felipe II, among other reasons, to commemorate his victory in the Battle of San Quentin, on August 10th, 1557, the Feast of St. Lawrence (San Lorenzo). The building arises from the need to create a monastery that ensures the cult around a family pantheon of new creation, in order to comply with the last testament of Carlos V of 1558. The emperor wanted to bury himself with his wife Isabel of Portugal and with his new dynasty away from the usual burial places of the Trastámara. The final floor of the building, with only four towers in the corners and the royal palace making a handle, recalls the shape of a grill, so traditionally it has been claimed that this trace was chosen in honor of St. Lawrence, martyred in Rome on a grill , since on August 10th, 1557, the day of the saint’s festivity, the Battle of San Quentin took place. Hence the name of the whole and the locality created around it.

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In reality the architectural origin of its plant is very controversial. Leaving aside the merry chance of the grate, which did not appear until closed the main façade with the false façade of the library and eliminated six of the towers, the plant seems to be based rather on descriptions of Solomon’s Temple of the Bible And the Judeo-Roman historian Flavio Josephus. The theory most accepted today is that the similarity with the Temple of Jerusalem and the presence of the statues of David and Solomon on its facade sought to underline the real presence of God in the Eucharist, an idea denied by the Protestants and defended in the Council of Trento. Let us remember that for reform this presence is purely symbolic, because they deny that God is present in the consecrated hosts. It is also very possible that, at the end of the 16C, it was sought to endow a biblical background with the ideas of humanism about the recovery of pagan architecture and ideas about the modulation of Vitruvius, since the Temple of Jerusalem that was described by Flavio Josephus was built during the Roman domination of Judea . It should , also highlight its impressive style unit and have been made in the short term for then twenty-one years. The values of the project are the order, the hierarchy and the perfect relation between all the parts of the composition, integrating monarchy, religion, science and culture in the main axis: the main façade with the statue of Saint Lawrence, the Library, the Kings of Judah, the Basilica and the King’s private palace. The theatricality of this journey through this great central axis to finally show the Tabernacle with the Eucharist anticipates the arrival of the Baroque. A work of art like none other , I say!

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The main sections in which the Real (royal) site can be divided , and to keep them brief are:

King Felipe II gave to the library of the monastery the rich codices he possessed and for whose enrichment he commissioned the acquisition of the most exemplary libraries and works from Spain and abroad.

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The Palacio de Felipe II, also known as the Palace of the Austrias, occupies the entire handle of El Escorial grill and part of the north courtyard, built on two floors around the presbytery of the basilica and around the courtyard of figureheads. It follows the same architectural scheme of the palace of Carlos V in the monastery of Yuste. Currently you can only visit the Royal rooms and the battle room.

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In stark contrast to the austere monumentality of the palace of the Habsburgs, stands the Palace of the Bourbons. Built north of the basilica, around the courtyard of the palace, the complex of rooms has its origin in the time of king Felipe II, when in that area were installed the chambers of the infants , the gallery of battles, and kitchens and service areas.

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The Basilica, preceded by the courtyard of the Kings, is the true nucleus of the whole, around which the other dependencies are articulated.

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The Crypt by order of king Felipe III, the small funerary chapel from under the altar to house there twenty-six marble sepulchres where rest the remains of the kings and queens of the Houses of Austria and Bourbon, with only a few exceptions.

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The Reliquaries were done following one of the precepts approved by the Council of Trento concerning the veneration of the Saints, king Felipe II endowed the monastery with one of the largest collections of relics of the Catholic world. The collection consists of some 7500 relics, which are stored in 507 boxes or sculptural reliquary.

The Convent; the monastery itself occupies the entire south third of the building. It was originally occupied by Jeronimos monks in 1567, although since 1885 is inhabited by the Augustinian Fathers. The enclosure is organized around the great main cloister, the courtyard of the Evangelists, and is one of the best architectural pages of the monastery. Its two floors are connected by the spectacular main staircase, with the vaults decorated by frescoes. Next to the Chapter Halls( Capitulares), It also emphasizes the low cell priory in the old church or of Lent the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence of Titian is preserved, one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, which king Felipe II commissioned for the main altarpiece of the basilica but which ruled out by its dark colorful, little visible at some distance.

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The main staircase; follows the typical Spanish tradition of imperial staircase with a main section divided in two to the sides from the first plateau, maintaining the axis of symmetry of the convent and combining the three floors of the courtyard of the Evangelists with the three of the Convent by means of discreet doors that allow the passage to the most collected and domestic area.

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Chapter rooms (Salas Capitulares), currently destined for paintings, were the halls where the monks celebrated their chapters, a kind of mutual confessions to maintain the purity of the congregation. Since the time of Velázquez, who intervened in its decoration, they housed important paintings.

Hall of Battles is a gallery of 60 x 6 meters, 8 meters high, located in the area of the Royal apartments. In its walls are depicted frescoed some battles won by the Spanish armies.

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Museum of Architecture; It was located in the basement of the building, vaults plant, and was created in the year 1963 as part of the exhibitions of the fourth centenary of the placement of the first stone.

Friars’ Garden or Jardines de los Frailes; were ordered built by king Felipe II, who was a lover of nature, constitute an ideal place for rest and meditation. To the southwest of the garden is the Convalescent gallery or corridor of the sun, a spacious, airy and light-filled space designed for the rest of the sick. It is supported by an architectural articulation little achieved in the Torre de la Botica, perhaps due to the need to guarantee the closure of the monks. Its sober facade to the west market contrasts with the most open to the gardens, where the Arquitrabada solution with arches on Ionic colonnades is unique in the monastery.

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It’s a work of art, indeed a wonder of our world, a must to see by all. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

National Heritage of Spain on the El Escorial

Tourist office of Madrid on the El Escorial

Tourist office of San Lorenzo on the El Escorial

Again, you must come, the books, travel sites even my blog are not done duty to this wonder of our world. Never tired of riding out to see it when in Madrid. The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, wow! In my beloved Spain of course!

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

 

February 14, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXIIII

Ok so need to get back to my beloved Spain, it has been a while on news of my Spain. Weather-wise we are in heaven here at 53F same as Madrid and sunny; this is about 11C.

There is lots of things always going on in Spain ,everything under the sun. However, I will pick some with historical values and great off the beaten paths ways to discovered the beautiful country.

This is a wonderful trip by car . Perched on the Sierra de Ayllón, these Segovian villages of black architecture, by the abundance of slate, and red, by the use of clay, trace a perfect route for a weekend in nature, mountain flavors and absolute disconnection. Everything, an hour from Madrid.

The medieval village of Riaza is one of the most beautiful villages in Segovia province. Its arcaded square which also exerts the bullring, its ancestral houses with emblazoned facades and the Church of Nuestra Senora del Manto (Our Lady of the mantle) are the main traveler’s claim. The construction of the houses has given Villacorta that characteristic reddish color. In addition to the Church of Our Lady of the Mantle, we can visit the hermitages of San Roque and the Eternal Father, whose pilgrimage, which is celebrated the Sunday following Pentecost, constitutes one of the most popular festivities in the region. Of blacks, the blackest, this is the Muyo, a hamlet where time seems to have stopped. The most characteristic is that the walls and roofs of all their houses are built with black slate. Also the pavement of the streets. The only touch of color is provided by his church, with red tiles. Becerril, we now come to a town that has built its brownstone houses with slate roofs. Its most emblematic building is the Romanesque Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Asunción or Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, renovated in the 16C. In the visit you cannot miss a walk through its magnificent Acebeda where there are also yew, rowans and Ash. At Martin Munoz de Ayllon; its slate quarries served to make the roofs of the Palacio de La Granja and for the floor of the Cathedral of Segovia. Also to cover their roofs that contrast with the reddish of the land of the place and the gilding of quartzite. Thus colorful is this small and picturesque village located in the foothills of the Sierra de Ayllón whose parish church, San Martín de Tours, is the most outstanding building. At Ayllon proper, this villa hides important jewels in its medieval lattice. From the Contreras Palace to the lively Plaza Mayor arcaded, passing through the Church of San Miguel or the Convent of San Francisco. Everything can be discovered through dramatised visits. A wonderful ride by car is a must to see deep Castilla y Léon autonomous region!

And fantasy in Spain can be real, as said everything under the sun. Well there is more! see Astroland, the newly created Spanish interplanetary agency, has chosen a cave in Cantabria to develop the technology needed to inhabit the red planet. It is a cave of Arredondo with similarities to the Martian environment: low temperatures, strong winds and high stellar radiation that make it very hostile. If the forecasts are fulfilled, this innovative project will begin with a mission of ten expedition members on June 15th 2019. And all of this, of course, with a view to making the arrival of manned missions to Mars a reality, a feat that, at least, is expected for the year 2030. Of course, each of the ten crew members will have to demonstrate a number of skills to know the role assigned to them: leadership, expeditionary, biologist, psychologist… And they will receive a previous training program of about 90 days, which includes knowledge of coaching and leadership, climbing and caving, skill in emergency plans or hydroponic crops. These are the methodologies that space agencies follow to train their astronauts. At the moment, emulating this experience in Cantabria is a possible proposal at a reasonable price of about 10,000 euros. For those who want to sign up, the registration process is already open through the Astroland website.: www.astrolandagency.com

February is the month of lovers, of the Saint Valentine and it is no coincidence that it is also the time when Teruel, the true city of Spanish love, revive its most beautiful story ever told, occurred eight centuries ago. A romantic getaway to the walled Aragonese village is worthwhile to admire one of the most important and best preserved mudejar constructions in the world, but also to participate in the weddings of Isabel de Segura, the celebration that commemorates the annual legendary tragedy of lovers of Teruel. This goes back to 1217, when Diego de Marcilla, after five years in the war, returns to marry his beloved, Isabel de Segura, not knowing that this, pressured by her father, has not waited as promised and committed to another. Diego dies of grief, like Isabel, after learning the news.

For four days (from Thursday February 14th to Sunday February 17th ), the city immerses its inhabitants and visitors in the 13C: In the streets the medieval atmosphere is recreated, the locals are dressed in the period, the camps and artisan markets are held, dances are celebrated , tournaments, parades… and concerts, exhibitions, entertainment and many activities are held for all ages. But the real tourist attraction is that, in addition, some 400 actors recreate the drama of the lovers with many theatrical performances. The majority takes place in the Plaza de la Catedral, where the temple of Santa Maria de Mediavilla was erected, of Mudejar construction, with the tower, the dome and the roof as more important elements, and in the Plaza del Torico, surrounded by modernist buildings On whose porches there are shops, bars and restaurants with terrace. More info here:   http://www.bodasdeisabel.com/W3/Bodas/Index_Bodas.aspx

Those interested in learning more about this tragic love story cannot fail to visit the Mausoleum of Lovers, where rest their remains under magnificent sculptures with the hands clasped by Juan de Avalos. The Pantheon, attached to the Church of San Pedro (14C, its belfry, the Torre de San Pedro, is the oldest example of Mudejar), has different exhibition halls that seek to bring to the visitor everything related to these characters, from the social, political and cultural characteristics that surrounded the events in the Teruel of the beginning of the 13C until the influence of the lovers in the world of the Arts (literature, theatre, music, painting, sculpture…) Throughout the history and how It carried out the finding of the mummies (it was in 1555 in the subsoil of one of the side chapels of the mentioned Church of San Pedro), as well as its location for years: The Mudejar cloister of San Pedro, next to the temple of the same name, built in the second half of the 14C, Gothic-Mudejar style (entrance to the mausoleum: 4 euros; Mudejar and mausoleum: 8 euros). More info here: http://www.amantesdeteruel.es/

Literature lovers have another original option to learn more about this medieval story, thanks to the initiative Leer Aragón (read Aragon by the regional government), which proposes 11 literary routes (one or two days and with the option of including meals and accommodation) to know first hand of Aragonese writers and visit with them the scenarios that inspired some of their novels, set in Aragon. The tour will include a walk along the Calle Amantes (lovers), which goes from the Plaza del Torico to the Plaza de Pérez Prado, where stands the tower of San Martín (Mudejar style of 1316), and where they spent their childhood Diego and Isabel, as it is near the house where she grew up, next to the city/town wall. You will also visit the Plaza del Mercado (place of furtive encounters of the lovers), the Monasterio de los Hospitalarios ,and the corner in which begins the slope that leads to the Church of San Pedro, where this love drama ends. More info here: https://www.leeraragon.es/

And yes Paris and Madrid has a lot in common going back way back; intellectually too.

Paris, at the end of World War II, became the largest artists ‘ refuge town in the world. Painters, sculptors and writers of half the world (also Spaniards) settled there willing to soak up the bohemian atmosphere, the artistic independence and the freedom that many denied them in their countries. In Paris, Kandinsky became master of abstraction, Picasso turned to the conventions of painting, Chillida met his friend Pablo Palazuelo… All are protagonists of the show Paris despite everything. Foreign artists, 1944-1968, with whom the Reina Sofía Museum reveals the importance of foreign creators in that city during the postwar period. It is a sample that gathers works of more than 100 artists, among which are, in addition to those mentioned, Herrera, Kelly, Tinguely, Tamayo, Asger Jorn, Arroyo or Alfred Manessier.  More at the Reina Sofia museum webpage:   https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/exhibitions/paris-without-regret

There enjoy my Spain, and remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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February 6, 2019

Palacio de Cristal, Madrid!

So why not tell of the other palace in the Retiro park of my beloved Madrid! There is so much on this park alone to make a couple days in my Madrid! We love it, family love it ,and I am in love since teen years living there; a must for me to visit and of course will be yours too if see it.

I have written a lot of posts on my Madrid here, but seldom a single post on this Crystal Palace (the Spanish translated to Glass palace!) but it was done similar to the one in London. It deserves a single entry on its owns merits. Therefore, here is my contribution to the Palacio de Cristal of Madrid!

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The Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace)  is a metal and crystal structure located in the Parque del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park) of Madrid. It was built in 1887 on the occasion of the exhibition of the Philippine Islands, held that same year. The majestic structure of 22 meters high opened its doors!. It was the first non industrial building of its genre that saw the day in Spain. Nowdays, contemporary art exhibitions are currently held.

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It was built inspired by the Crystal Palace, erected in London in 1851.  The structure is metal, and is completely covered by glass plates, hence its name. The ceramic decoration used in small friezes and finials highlight the figures of grotesques with heads of mallards. The Palacio de Cristal, in the shape of a Greek cross, is made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework on a brick base, which is decorated with ceramics. Its domed roofs makes the structure over 22 meters high.

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At its feet is an artificial lake and there is a staircase that is immersed inside it, where you can find several specimens of Cypress marsh trees, whose main characteristic is that part of its trunk and its roots are under water. The building is surrounded by  chestnuts trees. The Lake contains ducks. geese, black swans and terrapins, who will swim close to the steps, or you can hire boats on the lake for a closer view.

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On May 10, 1936, the Palacio de Cristal at the Retiro park was the scene in which Manuel Azaña was elected as President of the Republic. The courts had remained small to host the mixed assembly of Deputies and Commissioners and the Crystal Palace was chosen for voting and inauguration of  Azaña, the only candidate!.

Nowadays, it is part of the Reina Sofía Museum, and in its interior there are exhibitions of contemporary art.

Located at the Paseo Républica de Cuba ,inside the Retiro park. Go there by Metro lines 1 Atocha, Line 9 Ibiza, and line 2 Retiro. Also , Renfe-Atocha trains and bus lines  2, 15, 19, 20, 26, 28, 51, 52, 61, 74, 146, and 152.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here ,which is a must, are

City of Madrid on the Palacio de Cristal

Tourist office of Madrid on the Crystal Palace

Official Reina Sofia museum on venues such as the Crystal palace

There you, covered the two wonderful palaces in the enormous beautiful Retiro park of my beloved Madrid. Again, I like to repeat this famous old phrase; “From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!” Enjoy the Palacio de Cristal!

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

 

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February 5, 2019

Palacio Velazquez, Madrid!

So let me bring you down again to my immense Madrid, the city of my youth, teens and first loves, well enough talk I have said a lot on it in my blog before. I went thru my posts and many of a general overview , so decided to go back and pick some of the influential sites in my life there and after visits.

I like to tell you a bit more on the special Palacio Velazquez a palace in the middle of the Retiro Park of Madrid. In my earlier days living there it was just a school trip and hanging around it with the friends, a good place for a first kiss. Later, on been to the exhibitions there ,and eventually brought the family along; many nice memories indeed.

The Velázquez Palace or Palacio Velazquez  is located in the Retiro Park or Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid. It was built between the years 1881 and 1883 on the occasion of the celebration of the National Mining exhibition carried out in the city between the months of May and November of 1883. Along with the Palacio de Cristal (see entry in blog), the Palace of Velázquez  is one of the two exhibition venues of the museum Reina Sofia in the middle of the Retiro Park.

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It is a building covered with iron vaults accompanied by glass that allow to illuminate the rooms naturally, and is inspired by the Crystal Palace of London. With dimensions of 73.80 by 28.75 meters was built in two-tone bricks as well as tiles from the Royal factory of the Moncloa.

The building was conceived in 1883 with a visit of King Alfonso XII accompanied by the sovereign of Portugal Luis I  to inaugurate an exhibition on mining. In 1887 it was used for the exhibition of the Philippines held at the retreat, and after the exhibition, that same year, the Government assigned it to the Museum of Ultramar (overseas). It is dedicated to temporary exhibition hall of the National Museum Reina Sofía Art Center, thereafter.

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The building is structured in three quadrangular bodies united by a gallery. The central body is posed as an entrance portico, preceded by a large staircase of marble between sphinxes and covered by a large vault of zinc cannon and glass. On both sides of the gallery are two quadrangular bodies with zinc sliding roofs. At the sides of the entrance portico there are two discrete bas-reliefs, on the left one dedicated to the fine arts and the other right dedicated to mining. In the center a staircase of delicate white marble of 15 meters of length leads to the entrance, then a portico with three arches of half point on Ionic columns. However, the interior of the rectangular floor is practically a single space without divisions, only those that correspond to the four towers.  In the 18 meters high central gallery, the roofs and iron columns are the only protagonists.

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The entire exterior enclosure of the building was made in red brick of Zaragoza, brick that has been overcooked and is slightly deformed and its color is not uniform. It complements the decoration with ceramic cladding of the porcelain factory of the Moncloa, reopened a few months before. All the constructive materials of the 19C are reflected here. The granite stone for the basement, the brick of various shades for the walls of enclosure, the multicolored ceramics for the adornments of bows and spandrels, the stucco for the corbels of the cornice, the iron for the bearing structure, the zinc for the curved deck surfaces and glass for interior lighting.

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Located at the Paseo Venezuela, Retiro park, free admission, and you arrive by Metro line 2 Retiro, Line 9 Ibiza, and Line 1 Atocha, or bus lines 2, 20, 26, and 61 ,or even trains at Atocha-Renfe.

Some webpages as usual for me to help you plan your visit here are

City of Madrid on the Palacio Velazquez

Tourist office of Madrid on the Palacio Velazquez

Reina Sofia Museum on its venues and Palacio Velazquez

The Palacio Velazquez is an art center, but it means more to me ,as my life goings and comings by my Madrid. It is as everything in the park, a must visit by all ,and by me obligatory stop. I have several posts on the Retiro Park in my blog and speaks volumens on it, enjoy it as I do.

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

 

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February 5, 2019

The other Churches of Toledo!

So I am back settled down in my beloved Spain, and I come to you for a world historical city ,very popular and many times visited by me and many over the years. This is known to all me think. However, Toledo has in such a small space treasure throves of jewels to be seen. Time is still here ,and me think must go to the best known touristic wise. I have family in a small town just north of it towards Madrid, so makes it easy for me stopping y often.

There are so many wonderful places to see here, and written briefly on many already. However, I feel need to tell you a bit more on the Churches of Toledo in my beloved Spain. I will be brief, just an introduction as they are all needed to be seen while in town!

The Church of the Savior or Iglesia del Salvador was at the time of the Muslim presence, a mosque, whose date is to be determined, although some researchers date it in 1041 or possibly earlier. Previous remains of Visigoth ecclesial occupation and even a late Roman period of the 2C have been found.  It is one of the Churches named in the guide of Tormes and in it were baptized Juana I de Castilla (“La Loca”=crazy) and the playwright Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla.  The present Church is built on an old Muslim mosque, so it is oriented towards the southeast, towards Mecca. For whose construction, as usual, different architectural elements were reused Visigoths, thanks to which has retained a horseshoe arches supported on Visigoths pilasters with sculpted decoration of figurative themes. The Pilaster of El Salvador presents in one of its faces various miraculous scenes of the life of Jesus, in overlapping records: The healing of the blind, the resurrection of Lazarus, the Samaritan and the Hemorroísa, as well as other themes of Eucharistic nuance that allude to Christ  as a salvation and whose iconography seems to be taken from some Paleo-Christian sarcophagus that  served as a model. The conversion to Christian worship in 1159 made it undergo various modifications, especially the construction of the Gothic Chapel of Santa Catalina, at the end of the 15C. The minaret, converted into a tower, would later be added to a brick steeple. Again in 1822 a new fire had it badly destroyed and only the Chapel of Santa Catalina was saved.

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Church

Toledo

The Church (Iglesia) of San Ildefonso is a baroque-style Church located in the center of the historical city of Toledo, is also known as the Church of the Jesuits and is consecrated to San Ildefonso of Toledo, patron of the city and father of the Church. Its construction, which lasted for more than a hundred years, began in the year 1629, on a land acquired by the Jesuits of Toledo in 1569 where were the houses of Juan Hurtado de Mendoza Rojas and Guzmán, Conde de Orgaz,  and that had also been the birthplace of San Ildefonso. Located between the Calle San Román and Calle Alfonso XII , the Church has a northwest-southwest orientation, so that its frontal facade is directed towards the Cathedral of Toledo. The interior of the Church, with its main nave in the form of a Latin cross plant, is large and white in color. On this nave stands the high dome over the transept. In the transept there are two large baroque altarpieces. The Chapels on the northeast side of the building, in order from the transept, are dedicated to the Virgin of Fatima, to San Francisco Javier, to the Blessed Christ Crucified and to San Francisco de Borja. On the southwest side are those dedicated to the Immaculate, Dolorosa or painful, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Christ of the Martyrs. In one corner of the Church lies the Chapel of the Ochavada in which the relics of the Church are kept and venerated. The outside of the dome, due to its dimensions and the location of the Church, is one of the highest points of Toledo, next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Alcázar, to which has notable views, just like the towers, which can be visited.

Tourist office of Toledo on the Church

 Toledo

The Church (Iglesia) of San Román  was built in Mudejar style in the 13C in the place where once there was an ancient Visigoth basilica and probably an ancient Roman building. Nowadays it is the seat of the Museum of the Councils and the Visigoth Culture. It is located in one of the highest and privileged places of the city, in the second of the Twelve Hills that form it. There is already news of the parish in the 12C and the Church would be consecrated in 1221 by Archbishop Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada. The tradition points out that here  was crowned king Alfonso VIII of Castile in  1166. The Church has a basilica plant with three naves, separated by horseshoe arches with alfas that support on pillars with Visigoth and Roman columns attached with capitals reused of Visigoth origin in some cases, distinguishing by its Corinthian leaves. The frescoes are divided into two areas separated by inscriptions. The four winged evangelists and the representations of Archbishops, the Saints Esteban and Lorenzo, angels or the Final judgement stand out. In the 16C, Alonso de Covarrubias designed the plateresque domed apse of coffers in the main chapel; And the paintings were subsequently covered, thus losing their trail until the first third of the 20C in which they were rediscovered. It was not until the  1940’s when they were recovered as much as possible.

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Church

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The Church (Igleisa) of Sao Tome or Saint Thomas the Apostle is located in the historical center of Toledo, and was founded after the reconquest of this city by King Alfonso VI of León. as quoted in the 12C , as built on the site of an old 11C mosque. This mosque along with others of the city were used as Christian churches without major changes, since in the making of the city there was no destruction of buildings. However, at the beginning of the 14C, being in a dilapidated state was completely rebuilt by Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, Lord of Orgaz and transformed the old minaret of the mosque into a belfry in Mudéjar style. Its fame is mainly due to house inside, the painting the Burial of the Count de Orgaz by El Greco, (El entierro del Conde de Orgaz de El Greco) which can be seen by accessing the back of the Church. The Church consists of three naves with transept, covered by barrel vaults and polygonal apse. It has the Church in its chapels, two Baroque altarpieces, one plateresque and a baptismal font from the 16C. They include an image of the Virgin Mary of marble from the 12C, and the altarpiece with ionic elements of the main chapel of the 19C.

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Church

Toledo

The Convent of San Pedro Martyr, through its successive extensions and modifications, became one of the richest and most important convents of the city. The convent, large, is organized around three courtyards: the closest to the entrance is called Real or Royal; The smallest is called Silencio or silence/quiet, and the Naranjos or Orangery  or Procesiones or processions  is located on the side of the epistle of the Church. The cloister called the Silence  is the oldest of all and possibly corresponds to a civil construction that, later, was included in the convent ensemble. It consists of three floors. The low with half-point arches resting on columns. In the north band there are pointed arcs. Marble columns and capitals, of great invoice, point to an Italian origin. The second floor is made up of lowered arches resting on columns very similar to the lower ones. The cloister of the silence contrasts with the Real, of much larger size, which began to be built with traces of Covarrubias, in 1541, by his disciple Hernán González de Lara. It consists of three floors entirely built in stone. The low floor is composed of half-point arches resting on columns. The new church and the sacristy. It began to be built in 1587 and consists of two spaces: the largest, rectangular, is the one that really serves as a sacristy, and another, square, houses a small Chapel. The walls of the two spaces are formed by arches with niches, which achieves a greater unity between them. Among the arches are erected Doric pilasters with its corresponding entablature run, which also serves as an element of union between the two spaces. The main space is covered with a flat Cistercian vault, bands and with eyelids. The most direct access from the Church to the sacristy is made by a door located at one end of the main side. There is the Chapel of Santa Inés, whose architecture is Gothic, with vault of edges, which contains several interesting graves. The works of the current church began in 1605. As a curiosity, in this monastery, was a member, the Dominican friar Juan Bautista Maíno in 1613. It is a renowned painter whose works include the “Adoration of the Shepherds ” of the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Since 1991 the building serves as university headquarters of the Faculty of Juridical and Social Sciences of Toledo, belonging to the University of Castilla-La Mancha.

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Convent

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And last ,but not least, the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Star (Ermita Nuestra Senora  de la  Estrella)  was founded by the Brotherhood of the same name, which was based in the neighboring Church of Santiago del Arrabal (see my previous post on it). Its construction was carried out in 1611, it presents a plant close to a Greek cross. However, in extending the nave and presbytery, with respect to the arms of the broad transept, the axially of the building is strengthened, in the direction of the longitudinal axis of the bedhead. This makes it possible to lose the idea of a centralized plant, especially in addition, after the presbytery and the aforementioned axis, the dressing room of the Virgin. The present cover of the Hermitage is of late realization than the building; It was built around the middle of the 17C.  A bit isolated description on it but best here in Spanish:

Site Adventures of Madrid on the Hermitage

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These are some of my favorite curiosity in the city of Toledo. There are plenty more to browse while in town. I have several entries on Toledo in my blog for more information on visiting here. Well already well known no need to tell you further, is a must. I have come often as have cousins not far on the road to Madrid.

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

 

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February 3, 2019

The other Churches of Segovia!

Ok so I am back in this wonderful Castilian town of my love. I heard about since birth, but finally came to see it in 1990 and has been an everlasting love affairs since. Hard to visit my beloved Spain without passing stopping here; I need to see its silhouettes! Of course, I am talking about Segovia ,in the Province of Segovia, and the autonomous region of Castilla y Léon!

So much to see in such a reduce space ,worth coming back over and over again. However, some minor monuments don’t get the recognition they deserve even in my previous posts touch only by word. It is time I tell you a bit more on the other Churches of Segovia!

The Church or Iglesia de San Andrés is located in the city of Segovia, in the Plaza of La Merced. The Convent of Our Lady of Merced, founded in 1367, existed in this same square. The Church is located on the west side of the square and, although subjected to alterations, still preserves its primitive Romanesque style two apses, with half-point windows, columns, capitals, corbels and Byzantine moldings. It has a three-body tower, plastered and with spire, sharp and slated. The north cover is the primitive. The south cover has a statue of the holy titular, San Andrews. The interior has three naves. The main altarpiece consists of two bodies, occupying the center statues and the side paintings. It would also contain the altar of the demolished convent adjoining. Sculptures of Our Lady of the Mercedes, San Ramón and San Pedro Nolasco.

romanesque Segovia on the Church of San Andrés

Tourist office of Castilla y Leon on San Andrés

Segovia

The Church or Iglesia de San Martin, erected in the 12C, it already existed in 1117, because in the testament of Domingo Petit the abbot that appears as a witness. It is located in the current Plaza de Juan Bravo, midway between the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Roman aqueduct. It is a temple of Mozarabic origin with Romanesque style. The Church differs in part from the original, as some parts have been reconstructed or eliminated, as is the case of the central apse, which was replaced. It has three naves, transept with brick dome and tripartite headboard.  Of the Church are notable the belfry, which is Romanesque-mudejar style, and has arches of brick on stone columns. It is also noteworthy its arcaded gallery, which surrounds the whole Church except the front. This portico has half-point arches resting on columns with Romanesque capitals.  The cover of the western façade is one of the largest doors of Spanish Romanesque. It is a cover of five arch vaults, decorated with vegetal motifs. It is sheltered by a portico, as a narthex, whose opening is a large set of arch vaults supported by human statues representing characters from the Old Testament.

Segovia

The Church or Iglesia de San Millán  is located next to Avenida Fernández Ladreda, in the neighborhood of San Millán. The Romanesque tower forms the oldest remains of the Church, since it corresponds to the 11C being Mudejar style, the rest of the Church is the product of the reform made between 1111 and 1126 by king Alfonso I the Battler (Batallador) during his government in Castile for his marriage with Doña Urraca, so it is one of the oldest Churches in the city. Its construction reflects the influence of Aragonese architecture, reproducing the plant of the Cathedral of Jaca on a smaller scale. It is composed of four apses, of which three correspond to the naves and the fourth, a later addition, to the sacristy. It has three covers, one on each side, and two galleries of porticoes arches, so common in the Romanesque Segoviano. Inside we can find three large naves with a simple roof, replacing the initial Mudéjar roof. The columns and capitals are large in comparison to the size of the Church. Among the most notable capitals we find one that is thematic the magicians path of Bethlehem and another that has as a theme the flight of Egypt. Among the ornaments destined to the cult stands out its main altar of Romanesque style, composed of a crucified surrounded by ten blinded arcades, as well as several pieces of the processional imagery that participates in the Holy Week of Segovia, as are the carvings of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad or Our Lady of Solitude at the foot of the Cross and the Blessed Christ in his last Word, which were donated by the Segoviano sculptor Aniceto Marinas and correspond to his homonymous brotherhood, which has its canonical headquarters in the Church.

Segovia

The Church or Iglesia de San Clemente, the Church, which stands between the Calle del  Marquis de Mondéjar, Calle Gobernador Fernandez Jiméneza and Calle Doctor Sancho, is characterized by a semicircular apse with three paired arches, with columns that would have inside windows of half point, pedestals and capitals. It would preserve from its primitive Romanesque construction the portico, and two covers: the one that corresponds to the main nave, and the lateral one, which gives entrance to the Church. The tower is of low elevation and was eliminated in the 18C. Altars would be baroque and Churrigueresque in style. At the beginning of the 20C, the congregation was added to the parent parish of San Millán.

Romanesque Segovia on the Church of San Clemente

Segovia

The Church or Iglesia San Sebastiàn,  is located in the Plaza de San Sebastiàn  at the end of the aqueduct, in the upper part of the city, next to the Plazuela de Avendaño.  It was told in history that in 1906  it was closed to the cult, by threatening ruin the vaults of plaster and brick, which served only to hide the primitives. It  became an independent parish. Its exterior is Romanesque-Byzantine and has apses, doorways and windows with the typical character of the Segovia’s Churches of the 13C or earlier. The tower is reduced and lost its primitive style after several renovations. The interior has three naves.

Romanesque Segovia on the Church of San Sebastiàn

Segovia

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The Convent or Convento de San José at Calle Tomasa de la Iglesia,4  It’s a cloistered convent of the Barefoot Carmelite nuns.  Convent founded by Saint Teresa of Jesus in 1574. Initially it was located in a building a few meters higher than its posterior and definitive location to which they moved in 1579, for having a greater need for space.  On the outside we find a wall of masonry revoked with two doors, one that gives to the convent, with two jambs decorated with remains of what was undoubtedly the house of Diego de Porres ( another Saint) and another larger that gives way to the Church.  The Church is a single nave with three sections and a chorus at the feet. Originally had a wooden roof that was replaced between the 17C and 18C by vault of plasterwork.

Segovia

Of course the above are my favorites, there are more! and will put some general webpages to help you enjoy fully Segovia and its monuments.

Tourist office of Segovia on monasteries and churches

Tourist office of Segovia on the old town heritage monuments

City of Segovia tourism general views

Province of Segovia on tourist spots to see

The quest continues for more, as Spain is everything under the sun! Never amazes me to find wonderful places to see ,no wonder is the no 2 spot on Earth for visitors behind my belle France. And numbers are from WTO-UN or United Nations World Tourism Organisation ,keeping numbers on travelers since 1949! Enjoy Segovia for it’s treasures!

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

 

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February 2, 2019

The squares or Plazas of Aranjuez!

So I am back in my beloved Spain and one of my favorite spots in all the country, province and autonomous region combine. This royal princely Aranjuez, and we like it here.

So many nice places to see in addition to the top Palace here (see previous posts) I like to come back to something more urban and walkable with beautiful sights all around you. We love to walk especially once in the city anywhere, and the squares are the main attraction really. So , therefore, I will tell you a bit more on my favorites squares or Plazas of Aranjuez!

The Plaza de San Antonio, also known as the Plaza of the Mariblanca, is located in  Aranjuez, in the community of Madrid. It is also known as  Mariblanca due to the sculptural ensemble known as the source of the Mariblanca (whose real name is Venus) that decorates the north end of the square. In the square you can see the sites of the Casa de los Caballeros y Oficios ( House of Knights and Crafts), the Church of San Antonio, the Casa de Infantes (house of Infantes in line for the throne), and the garden of Isabel II. Towards 1752, the square had another source called the Fuente del Rey (fountain of the king), with an image of the King Fernando VI looking at the bridge, but in 1760 King Carlos III, ordered it removed, and two years later was placed the current fountain of Venus.

A bit of history and construction I like

The Plaza San Antonio square was designed in the year 1750, during the reign of king Fernando VI , to serve as a connection between the Royal Palace of Aranjuez and the urban fabric that had been formed south of it. This nexus function is especially visible in the arcaded gallery on the western side, being the closest to the palatial enclosure. It is a half-point arch, supported on rectangular pillars carved in stone of Colmenar, which unifies and gives continuity to the facades of the Casa de los Caballeros y Oficios, two buildings emerged in different times. The one started in 1584, although its construction lasted until the 17C. The second was conceived in 1613 but was not completed until century and a half later, between 1762 and 1770.

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On the southern side the flank is presided by the Church of San Antonio, whose baroque silhouette defines and gives personality to the whole. Conceived as the vanishing point of the square, it replaced the oratory that  king Felipe V had founded as reinforcement of the Chapel of the Royal Palace, too small to fully address the religious needs of the court. It was done in the year 1752. The result is a circular plant structure, which is covered by a spherical vault, topped with a large cylindrical lantern. The main facade is protected by a portico of five semicircular arches and Tuscan pilasters, which gives rise, on the upper part, to a terrace, which is closed by means of a stone balustrade and a triangular pediment, at the coronation of the central arch. All this generates a gimmicky set of curves and counter curves, very scenographic, with which the temple puts the counterpoint to the rectilinear distribution of the other architectural elements of the square. During the reign of Carlos III , the Church was enlarged with a rectangular nave, while the closing of the southern face of the square was undertaken, with the construction of two new arcades on both sides of its façade. This work was carried out in 1767.

On the eastern side of the square is porticoes only in its first stretch, in its contact with the Casa de Infantes, whereas, in the second, it opens to the garden of Isabel II. The Casa de Infantes was done in 1772, for lodging of the infants Gabriel and Antonio, sons of king Carlos III, and of their respective families; It is perfectly integrated in the square, thanks to the aforementioned gallery of arcs, which follows the same bill as the one located on the western flank.

The northern side faces the square lacks arcades, which facilitates a direct connection to the Parterre garden, located next to the west façade of the Royal Palace. The feeling of contact between the two areas is reinforced with the location in this part of the fountain of Venus, whose monumental base constitutes a worthy counterpoint to the Church of San Antonio. This fountain was made in 1762 .

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At first, the fountain was known as the Fuente del Rey or  King’s fountain, by the statue of Fernando VI that it had installed on its upper part. With the change of the sculptural auction, it received the official denomination of Fuente de Venus, although everyone began to call it the Mariblanca, due to the color of the figure of the goddess (white). For this reason, the Plaza de San Antonio is also called the Mariblanca.

Plaza de Mariblanca known as well as Plaza de Sant Antonio (see above). The beautiful statue is the image of a Venus sculpted in white stone by the artist of the time Juan Reina, and because of the very similar thing that turned out to be with the statue of the fountain of Puerta del Sol in Madrid, was given the same name as this , since then one of the greatest symbols of this city that has seen it grow from its beginnings until today. The Fuente de  Venus. In 1830 the fountain was ornamented by a ensemble formed by lizards, snails, cupids riding on newts and three Lions, two of them with a ball between their claws and a third holding a castle.

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The goddess Venus , one of the twelve Olympic divinities. According to Greek mythology, it was born by joining the Sea with the foam formed by the sperm of Uranus (the sky) after Saturn cut his testicles. It’s usually depicted in a shell. Usually Venus has been associated with beauty, love and especially with sexual attraction. Her loves with Mars and Adonis highlight the attraction for physical beauty. The evolution of its cult presents many aspects, the Venus Génitrix flattering of the marriage, the Venus Pandemic which veiled by the prostitution, the Venus Pelagia protective of the sailors… In Sparta, she was venerated as a warrior goddess and in the primitive Rome she was represented the spring, guarding and protecting the fields and gardens, which reaffirms her as a perfect guardian of our orchards.

Some webpages to help you enjoy your visit here are

Official city of Aranjuez on its heritage and history

Tourist office of Aranjuez on the Plaza San Antonio aka Mariblanca

Tourist office of Aranjuez on things to see around the Plaza

Moving along on these wonderful squares of Aranjuez we come to the Plaza de Parejas Reales. The main characteristic of the Plaza de Parejas de Aranjuez is its enormous dimension and its semi-open form.  Its name is due to the game of couples that took place in this square and was a kind of dance on horseback in which forty-eight knights were divided into four rows headed by one of the sons of the king and parading disciplined they crossed and  re-crossed in a a kind of dance, tournament and military parade. This square is perpendicular to the Royal Palace flanked by the Casa de los Fogones (house of the kitchens) that closes on one side and limits it on the other the Casa de Caballeros y Oficios (House of Knights and Trades). It belongs to the area of warehouses and dependencies close to the Royal Palace. Its special location, near the Royal Palace and where their facades facing the Plaza de Parejas and Plaza de San Antonio stand above the rest.

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The Plaza de Toros was inaugurated in 1797 by king Carlos IV and his wife Luisa of Parma. It is an open space for the practice of bullfighting, as well as place of musical events. It currently has a capacity of 9500 persons. It is celebrated on the 30th of May of each year an important bullfighting celebration, being the festivity of San Fernando and the Toros Goyesca.

In 1851 and 1881, improvement works were carried out. It was designed in smaller proportions, similar to the old bullring near the Puerta de Alcalá. The period of splendor of the square was from the 18C and, above all, at the beginning of the 19C due to the bullfighting hobby of King Fernando VII.

The halls of the Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino) guard a large number of garments, utensils and billboards of important bullfighting masters. Together with the Maestranza in Sevilla and the Plaza de Ronda is one of the few bullrings of the 18C that still stand and use for bullfighting. The museum is open on  Sundays and Mondays at 11h30. and 13h, after prior reservation in the tourist office.

Some webpages to help you come to the Plaza de Toros as the Plaza de Parejas Reales is just next to the Royal Palace , are

Official Plaza de Toros of Aranjuez

Tourist office of Aranjuez on the Plaza de Toros

City of Aranjuez on the Plaza de Toros

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The Prince’s garden built by the Prince of Asturias , the future Carlos IV . It houses a myriad of gardens at the entrance, like the Spanish Garden, the Plaza de Pamplona, garden pavilions, Rollercoaster, spectacular Chinese gardens, Hermit Island, etc.

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For the benefit of those in public transports, the best way to reach here is from Madrid Puerta del Sol you can take Cercanias train C3 o C3A to Aranjuez train station, there walk about 15 minutes to the squares above. Of course, I always come here by car and get off street parking for free.

City of Aranjuez on the very nice train station

There you go another nice walkable city full of wonderful monuments and good inexpensive foods than Madrid city lol! I have done other posts on the city monuments that you can search in my blog. For now enjoy Aranjuez and its squares! The Plazas!

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

 

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January 29, 2019

Centro Comercial La Vaguada, Madrid!

Hello blogging world, here I am again trying to go into new terrain of story telling you about my travels. Well the city is not new and very well known having even lived there for 4 years and visited every year since 2003. However, touristic places abound I will deal with a new subject that can ,also help some visitors as well.

As we all need to shop someday and even browse the goodies of the country/city we visit and many times not having enough time to seek these needed things while indulging in our sightseeing, let me tell you about my favorite shopping center mall in Madrid proper.

I have come here practically since it opened, and then came back to bring my girlfriend from France,and later my wife Martine ,and later my boys now young men. These places are nostalgic and sentimental for us as my dear wife passed away in 2018 and she love to come here as all related to shopping. Oh no she was a good buyer indeed. Hoping to have learned some shopping habits from her.

However, enough, let me tell you about the Shopping center mall La Vaguada. It is located at Avenida Monforte de Lemos,30, metro Barrio del Pilar line 9 is the closest by far but you can do Herrera Oria line 9 as well. Shopping center with all you need in one stop shopping plus great movies! Bus lines passing by here or close by are the lines 42, 49, 67, 83, 124, 126, 127, 128, 132, 133, 134, 135, 137, 147, N18, and N19(the latest two are night lines).  The shopping center entrance is by the Avenida de Monforte de Lemos and Avenida de la Ilustración. The mall is as the metro station in the neighborhood of Barrio del Pilar , district of Fuencarral-El Pardo. The mall was the first shopping center that opened in Madrid!

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A bit of history I like

In 1973, the construction company Banús sold the land where the commercial center would be built to the French company La Henin. Before its construction, the project had a wide rejection of the neighbors of the neighborhood of Barrio del Pilar. The offer of fifty-six jobs to unemployed of the neighborhood and the promise that part of the space was dedicated to the construction of the cultural center, the library, the municipal swimming pool, the health center and the park of the Vaguada resolved to a great extent the conflict. It has integrated natural environments inside the building such as resting areas with waterfalls and fountains and natural light entrance from the ceiling. It was inaugurated on October 24th, 1983.

Until 2005, an area called Plaza of the Artesanos or artisans square was maintained in which during 22 years craftsmen of various guilds offered their articles and worked under the gaze of the pedestrians. As the number of artisans descended the property of the mall decided to give another use to that space.   In 2008, the shopping center La Vaguada went through an important and controversial remodeling in which the new logo was fixed, the name was shortened (which previously was «Centro Comercial Madrid 2 La Vaguada») and the marquee of the main entrance was added, among other changes.

A bit on the construction if I try the inside layout as well ok

It is a rectangular building with 5 floors. Two of them, under ground , configure the parking (for 3600 vehicles), while the other three have the area commercial, in which highlights the vegetation through the use of hanging gardeners with a traditional market, in addition to various anchor stores, such as department stores and hypermarkets. In addition, it has pharmacy, tobacconist, post Office,and on the terrace are the cinemas and most of the catering/restaurant offer.

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The La Vaguada mall appears repeatedly in the work of Fernando San Basilio, both in his novels my great novel about the Vaguada “Mi gran novella sobre La Vaguada” and “El joven vendedor y el estilo de vida fluido” , and the story of “El principio Dios creo La Vaguada” (at first God created the Vaguada).

Inside La Vaguada has more than 85,500 square meters, and you can find around 250 shops spread over three floors. The shopping center is divided into several areas: the commercial, the catering, the leisure, cinemas and the hypermarket. But what really differentiates this mall from others is the feeling of happiness that intoxicates you when you are in it. La Vaguada is one of the most visited shopping centers of Madrid is by the presence of the El Corte Inglés, the hypermarket Alcampo and the cinemas La Vaguada with nine rooms. But this is not the main reason. People view the center thanks to the services it offers, which are unique. For example, each Sunday offers concerts in its facilities. In addition the shopping center is thinking for everyone and after a hard day of shopping with their parents the little ones can enjoy in the playroom or Ludoteca or in the Sould Park enabled to delight the little ones.

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Indeed a wholesome family affair and for the visiting families as well; recommended. Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official La Vaguada shopping Mall on stores

Tourist office of Madrid on La Vaguada Mall

There you a little piece of Madrid off the beaten path, a bit away from the touristic centro/center but well worth the visit if shopping is in your mind and kids alone the ride;mine enjoy it still today. La Vaguada is one of those spots , one is never tired of visiting while in town.

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

 

 

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January 28, 2019

Chocolateria San Ginés, Madrid!

Ok so as I told you was on a nostalgic run , for that, needed to stay in Madrid. We say, from Madrid to heaven, and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! yes! As I told you about my youthful days , teens, in my Madrid and lucky to visit it every year now!

I told you about the metro line and the sports park, nostalgic now closed restaurant, and now the best family eatery for years, including those cousins still there is the chocolateria San Ginés! an institution!! I have many souvenirs of this place coming with my dear late mom Gladys and then my wife and my dear late wife Martine, and our 3 boys (now young men) as recently as 2017. For me is more than that ,I came as a teen ,first to teatro Eslava (now joy eslava) to do community dances for youths, and while leaving late, we hop over to San Ginés to recompose the body and soul; it was a ritual of younger years.

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Today, do not follow the same ritual of late night partying ,but do come still each time in Madrid is a must with the family. You too can make it your own mark stop in Madrid or Madri…. Let me delight you with a bit more on it , as usual done bits of it in my other posts on Madrid in my blog.

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The Chocolatería San Ginés is one of the most famous churrería in Madrid. It is located in Calle del Arenal 11 (Pasadizo de San Ginés) in the heart of the city near the Puerta del Sol. This is one of the most popular places to take a chocolate with churros, and this since it was founded in 1894. Today it is a tourist place where visitors and locals gather to taste the chocolate with churros.

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

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

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

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In 2010, a Chocolatería San Ginés opened in Tokyo, in the Shibuya district, adapting its products to the tastes of the Japanese. Later they opened in 2013 in Bogotá, Colombia and soon is planned for opening in  Mexico city.

In Madrid ,there is already another outlet at the market or Mercado de Prosperidad, in Calle López de Hoyos ,81, it will have 110 square meters distributed on two floors. Unlike the local at San Ginés , it won’t open 24 hours every day of the year, but it will adapt to the timetable of the rest of the market hours from 6h to 22h  uninterrupted.

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

Some webpages to help your full  enjoyment of this place are

Official chocolateria San Ginés

Tourist office of Madrid on San Ginés

YELP reviews on the Chocolateria San Ginés

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

Y allí tienes una institución en Madrid, una parada obligada, vale, ir a los lugares de interés los museos ,los parques pero vienen aquí  para almuerzo o cena tarde mejor otra vez es una parada obligada en Madrid en la chocolateria San Ginés. Espero que tengas la idea, es una necesidad! ¡¡¡Saludos!!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!! Thanks so much for reading my blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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