Posts tagged ‘Spain’

June 22, 2022

Curiosities of Spain !!

Looking at my vault, found some older pictures on paper and took my electronic camera to take picture of the pictures and use them in my blog. This allows me to show in my blog places not shown or pics with new angles of places shown in the blog. Nostalgia sets in and here I go on the curiosities of Spain !!

The Prado Museum has the most complete collection of Spanish painting in the world. The visit can begin with the 11th century, with the Mozarabic frescoes in the San Baudelio church in Berlanga The Golden Age is largely represented by works by Ribera, Zurbarán and Murillo helping us to understand the context in which the painting appeared by Velásquez, which culminates in the paintings Las Meninas and The Spinners, also on display at the museum. Italian painting, essential for understanding the passage from medieval art to the Renaissance, also shows a very strong influence on Spanish Baroque art. The Flemish school is very well represented, due to the political links between the Spanish monarchy and Flanders. The old Villanueva building houses a large part of the painting, sculpture and decorative arts collections. Adjoining the rear facade, around the cloister of Los Jerónimos, built several rooms dedicated to temporary exhibitions and restoration workshops, as well as an auditorium, cafeteria, restaurant and offices. Another of the museum buildings is El Casón: this was the former ballroom of the now defunct Buen Retiro Palace. Nowadays, this space houses the library and the reading room reserved for researchers. Early on my twins on pic below.

Madrid Prado mus Velazquez statue et twins

The official Prado Museum

The Palacio de Cristal del Retiro park is an emblematic example of what is known as iron architecture in Madrid. Originally designed as a gigantic greenhouse to house tropical plants for the Philippine Islands Exposition of 1887, the building is now one of the headquarters of the Reina Sofía Museum hosting temporary exhibitions.

Madrid Retiro palacio de cristal over pond

The official Reina Sofia Museum on Palacio de Cristal

The Palace of Velázquez was built in Retiro Park between 1881 and 1883 on the occasion of the National Mining Exhibition, which took place in the city from May to November 1883 It is a building covered with a glass roof supported by iron vaults which allow the rooms to be lit naturally. it was built with bricks of two colors, as well as with earthenware from the Royal Factory of La Moncloa. Currently, it belongs to the Ministry of Culture, which uses it as a temporary exhibition hall for the Reina Sofía Museum. Early on my twins below pic.

Madrid Retiro palacio de Velazquez twins

The official Reina Sofia Museum on the Velazquez

There you go folks, a walk of nostalgia from my very earlier trips to and within Spain. The wonders of Spain, everything under the sun, that still rings many nice memories to my mind on each stretch of meter I take on it. Hope you enjoy the post as I reviving these old pictures into the life of my blog.

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

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June 21, 2022

Curiosities of Europe !!

Looking at my vault, found some older pictures on paper and took my digital camera to take picture of the pictures and use them in my blog. This allows me to show in my blog places not shown or pics with new angles of places shown in the blog. Nostalgia sets in and here I go on the curiosities of Europe !!

On some of these, I have already done newer picture posts in my blog,fyi

The Metropolitan Basilica Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia of Barcelona,or ​​often nicknamed Seu in Catalan, the current cathedral, in Gothic style, was built between the 13C and 15C on the old Romanesque cathedral, itself built on a church dating from the Visigoth period in the same place as an earlier early Christian basilica, some remains of which are still visible in the basement, at the Barcelona History Museum.

Barcelona Cathedral Metropolitan Basilica of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia

The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert in Brussels form a complex of three shopping passages covered along their entire length by glazing in arcades. They consist of: the Galerie de la Reine (from rue du Marché aux Herbes to rue des Bouchers), the Galerie du Roi (from rue des Bouchers to rue d’Arenberg), and the Galerie des Princes (from the King’s Gallery at rue des Dominicains).

Brussels galerie st hubert 1999

Rue des Bouchers is a street in Brussels, located right in the center, in the Grand-Place district. it concentrates a large number of restaurants such as the famous Chez Léon, specialist in “mussels and fries”, which occupies four adjoining houses (n° 18-20-22-24). It starts from rue Grétry and goes up, parallel to rue du Marché aux Herbes and rue de l’Écuyer, until it intersects the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert before joining rue de la Montagne. Rue des Bouchers is home to many buildings worthy of interest, including Baroque or Neo-Baroque houses.

Brussels rue Bouchers 1999

The Grand-Place of Brussels, world famous for its ornamental richness, it is bordered by the houses of the guilds, the town hall and the Maison du Roi. Victor Hugo considered it one of the most beautiful squares in the world The 19th century facades of the current square are not always an exact reflection of the constructions after 1695. Sometimes the restorers lack information Sometimes the original does not corresponds more to the ideas or the needs of the 19th century.

Brussels grand place tapis des fleurs hotel de ville 1999

The Palais de Justice of Brussels or courthouse is an imposing Greco-Roman-inspired eclectic-style building located in Brussels’ largest square, Place Poelaert. With a floor area of ​​26,000 m2, it is larger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome! The first Palace of Justice was established on the site of the former Jesuit church, Place de la Justice. Built in 1818-1823. The new courthouse first stone was laid on October 31, 1866 during the reign of Leopold II, and  was inaugurated on October 15, 1883 after the death of the architect Joseph Poelaert in the presence of King Leopold II.

Brussels palais de justice 1999

The Royal Palace of Brussels is located on Place des Palais. Born from the combination of four mansions built in the 18th century, Walckiers, Bender, Belgiojoso and Belle-Vue, it now houses the office of the King of the Belgians, who grants audiences and carries out his official activities there, as well as some Richly decorated reception rooms used for various annual events such as visits by Heads of State and Christmas concerts.

Brussels Royal palace 1999

Buckingham Palace is the official residence of British sovereigns. Located in London, the palace is both the venue for events relating to the royal family, the home of many visiting heads of state, and a major tourist attraction. Here Queen Guards parade!  

London buckingham palace queen guards parade

St. Paul’s Cathedral of London is the cathedral of the Church of England, Diocese of London. It was built after the old building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. It crowns Ludgate Hill, the site of four sanctuaries before the present cathedral and is located in the City of London, the historic heart of the city that has become now London’s main business district.

London St Paul s cathedral

The Tower Bridge is a tilting bridge in London and notably allowing the passage of the Thames to motorized vehicles. It belongs to the class of suspension bridges and is made of granite for its facade, steel for its structure and concrete for its foundations. At the time of its construction, the Tower Bridge was the largest (246 meters in length and 65 meters in height) and the most sophisticated of the drawbridges ever built. The bridge is famous all over the world thanks to its very particular architecture, in neogothic style.

London tower bridge

Frankfurt’s Old Opera House is one of its most prestigious concert halls and the home of the Old Opera House in Frankfurt am Main.  The Old Opera House was almost completely destroyed by bombing in 1944 .A citizens’ initiative campaigned to collect funds from reconstruction after 1953 ,and the Opera was reopened on August 28, 1981, Today the Opera or Alte Oper consists of the Grosser Saal Hall (Great Hall), the Mozart-Saal, and other smaller halls , used for conventions. Because the new Frankfurt Opera House had already been built in 1951, the old opera house was designed for use as a concert hall from the start of its reconstruction. Today, it regularly hosts concerts and plays.

Frankfort opera house 2004

There you go folks, a walk of nostalgia from my very earlier trips to and within Europe. The wonders of Europe that still rings many nice memories to my mind on each stretch of meter I take on it. Hope you enjoy the post as I reviving these old pictures into the life of my blog.

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

Tags: ,
June 20, 2022

Curiosities of the Americas !!

Looking at my vault, found some older pictures on paper and took my electronic camera to take picture of the pictures and use them in my blog. This allows me to show in my blog places not shown or pics with new angles of places shown in the blog. Nostalgia sets in and here I go on the curiosities of the Americas !!

The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception  of Havana is an 18C Baroque-style cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary, located in the Plaza de la Catedral on Calle Empedrado, between San Ignacio y Mercaderes streets in Old Havana.

Havana cathedral

The Church of San Francisco de Paula is located at the intersection of the streets Desamparados (Avenida del Puerto), San Ignacio and Paula (Leonor Pérez), just where the Alameda de Paula ends. This church is an example of Cuban Baroque from the first half of the 18C. In the year 2000 the church was restored, and since then it hosts concerts of ancient music and functions as an exhibition hall for the best works of outstanding contemporary Cuban artists, In the place that occupied the church that existed since 1664, a hospital for women and a hermitage under the invocation of St Francis of Paola.

Havana ch of paula

The Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro or simply Morro castle was built between 1589 and 1630 to protect the entrance to the port of Havana, The Morro castle protected the mouth of the port with the help of a hanging chain connecting it to the San Salvador de la Punta fortress placed on the other side of the bay. The fort has walls almost 3 meters thick. Inside the fortress is an exhibit on Cuba’s lighthouses,Also, restaurants. Pic is from Morro to old Havana and harbor. Far left is Casablanca old arsenal.

Havana Morro castle to old havana

The Monumento de los Niños Heroes or the Monument of the Children Heroes serves as a tribute to the cadets of the Military College who gave their lives to defend Chapultepec Castle from the North American invasion on September 13, 1847. It is a mausoleum located in the Chapultepec Forest, right at the beginning of the road that leads to the Castle of Chapultepec.

Mexico mon ninos and chapultepec castle

Holy city located about 50 km from Mexico City, built between the 1C and 7C, Teotihuacan, the place where the gods are created, is characterized by the very large dimensions of its monuments, the most famous of which are the temple of Quetzalcoatl and the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, and by their geometric and symbolic arrangement.

Mexico Teotihuacan pyramids calzada de los muertos

Xochimilco ,Mexico;  this simple working-class neighborhood features the famous Xochimilco Canals, which are the last remnants of a vast maritime transportation network built by the Aztecs. Colorful boats reminiscent of gondolas take visitors on cruises past food vendors, artisans and mariachi bands. The atmosphere is festive, especially on weekends. Go there by heading to Tasqueña metro station, which is at the very end of Blue Line 2. From Tasqueña, there is a special train called Tren Ligero that departs from Tasqueña and arrives at Xochimilco.

Mexico Xochimilco

The Palacio de la Moneda, or simply La Moneda, in Santiago de Chile, is one of the most remarkable buildings ever built by the Spaniards in their colonies in Latin America. The palace stands in the center of Santiago, in Plaza de la Constitucion or Constitution square and Avenida del Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins. Currently, Moneda is the seat of the Presidency of the Republic and of three ministries, including that of the Interior, as well as the General Secretariat of the Presidency and that of the Government.

santiago de chile palace of the moneda

The Plaza Sotomayor is a square in Valparaíso, It is named after Rafael Sotomayor. The Plaza Sotomayor originally called Plaza de la Aduana (Customs Square), then Plaza del Palacio (Palace Square) and later Plaza Intendencia (Intendancy Square), is the most important civic square in Valparaíso , The square is lined by buildings occupying full block-fronts of the streets that flank it. The focus of the square is the monument that honors the Chilean sailors who fell during the Battle of Iquique and the Battle of Punta Gruesa, In 2004, the design of the square extends to the Prat Wharf, turning it into a touristic walkway from which was possible to embark in order to cross the roadstead of Valparaíso from the sea. At the Prat wharf is possible to see a replica of the Santiaguillo, (little Santiago) a small sailing boat which was the first Spaniard vessel to dock in this bay called Quintil ,The first wharf completed in 1883 corresponds to the passengers’ wharf, made of wood and metal with hexagonal shape.

valparaiso plaza sotomayor

The Port of Valparaiso is the maritime terminal, It is the port with the highest passenger arrivals in the country and the second one with the highest container movement,  The Port of Valparaiso can be divided into the commercial port (mainly containerized cargo), the passenger port (cruises). Each of these activities has its own space, separated from the others, with facilities and specialized personnel. Most cruises depart and visit Valparaiso from fall to spring when the weather is typically very mild, Like most modern cruise ship terminals, Valparaiso Terminal de Pasajeros also serves as a public events venue during no-ship days / times. The passenger terminal is adjacent to a container dock, and features a convenient railway station.

Valparaiso port cruises

The Caminito is a street museum and a traditional alley, located in La Boca, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires. The place acquired cultural significance because it inspired the music for the famous tango “Caminito” of 1926, music by Juan de Dios Filiberto. lyrics by Gabino Coria Peñaloza. Sang by the mayor tango singers of all time including Carlos Gardel, Hugo del Carril, Libertad Lamarque etc.

Buenos aires caminito la boca

There you go folks, a walk of nostalgia from my very earlier trips to Latin America. The wonders of the Americas that still rings a bell to my ears on each stretch of meter I take on this world. Hope you enjoy the post as I reviving these old pictures into the life of my blog.

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

June 20, 2022

Some news from Spain CXXVI

And back at you with my series of some news from Spain !!! thanks to you all. There is lots of things going on in my beloved Spain, and it seems we will have a wonderful hot summer season. I am eagerly looking forward to that!! Let me tell you the latest tidbits of news chosen by yours truly, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

According to an analysis by Rastreator, traveling for a week in August this year is 24% more expensive than the previous summer and 56% more than in 2020. The latest ranking of the online comparator places Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Sevilla as the three cheapest cities in Spain to travel to this summer ! On the other hand, Cádiz, Gijón and Palma de Mallorca are among the most expensive cities, with prices up to 63% above the average !. As explains by the El Mundo Viajes, renting a car in the destination this vacation will be one of the main higher expenses that we face. In fact, the average price in Spain of renting a mid-range vehicle for a week in August costs an approximate average of 422 euros.

Spain is one of the best countries in the world to travel with children. But within our geography there are some cities where it is more comfortable, cheaper and fun to do so. And the first of all is Alicante. Reasons? It has good communications, the average annual temperature is pleasant, it has a good handful of attractions for the little ones, the price of its hotels is the most varied… These are just some of the points analyzed by the company Bounce, specialized in slogans of baggage and author of elaborate rankings linked to international tourism. Alicante is number one, followed by Benidorm, Valencia, Malaga, Granada, Palma de Mallorca, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Santiago de Compostela and Toledo.

An hour and a half by car is enough to escape from the bustling city of Madrid and enter Belmonte, a small town located to the southwest of Cuenca, which the vertigo of the passage of time seems not to have affected. There are many ways to marvel at this town, that in 1361 Pedro I of Castilla, El Cruel, made it independent from Alarcón to incorporate it into the crown and create the state of Belmonte, You should get lost in its urban area, admire its stately buildings or walk among its important monumental heritage with the Collegiate Church of San Bartolomé and its castle as banners. Both built in the 15C, The castle in the Gothic-Mudejar style, has even been the setting for the filming of all kinds of film and television productions. Multiple feature films, as well as series and spots, have been filmed within its walls. But this emblematic fortress has made its way into celluloid history thanks to the epic film El Cid, starring Charlton Heston and Sofía Loren (1961). The Palace of the Infante Don Juan Manuel, which was ordered to be built in the 14C by this famous writer and prince of Villena. The construction was built as a passing fortress for his travels. In the same way, today it intends to welcome travelers who want to discover these lands. It has 39 rooms equipped with all the comforts. In its restaurant, open to the public, you can taste the most varied dishes, prepared with a personal touch, Belmonte tourist office:

In the interior of Tarragona, isolated between gentle hills and surrounded by lush forests, is El Fonoll, an ancient town, whose origins would be between the 10C and 12C, which today is an acclaimed destination in Spain for lovers of naturism. A private farm of 200 hectares, in the town of Pasanant, returns to normality and to receive tourists. The owners of the farm, ittle by little ,turn it into a naturist destination to which those interested would expressly go, since it is not a place of passage and getting to it is not easy either. Currently, in addition to the owners, another 30 people live there all year round. From June to October is when more people congregate in this place and the camping area. Anyone can visit El Fonoll, but to do so it is necessary to meet certain requirements: first, pay the entrance fee , and the second, to live completely naked from the moment you enter until you leave the town. In addition to nudism , other established norms are: be respectful of the political, social, and religious beliefs and ideologies of others; you can only smoke in private spaces; No photographs can be taken without permission from the management or respecting the environment, fauna and flora. Those who visit El Fonoll will find an ecological and sustainable town, where chickens, goats and donkeys roam freely. The electrical cables do not reach them, so the light and everything related to it is obtained through the solar panels.

The water is obtained from a natural source, which fills the pool, ideal for bathing in summer, and irrigates the many orchards and fruit trees that are planted on the premises. Mobile coverage is minimal, to get it you have to move away from the town, and there is also no Wi-Fi (only available on demand in a small area in the center of the town and a maximum of five minutes). Yes there is a public telephone. A wide range of fresh and packaged goods, including locally produced wines and artisan foods, are available at the store, but the store is open on request. The wonderful natural environment of El Fonoll is also perfect for excursions. The farm has about 20 km of tracks (not marked) between forests and valleys that are worth discovering, Those who want to get to know the region a little more simply have to put on their clothes again, take the car and go to the beautiful and historic neighboring towns, such as Guimerà, a beautiful medieval town just 7 km of El Fonoll, the Vallfogona Spa, built around the river Corb in the 19C with springs of mineral-medicinal water, Forés, on top of a hill crowned by a castle and a viewpoint with panoramic views of the Conca de Barberà, or Vallbona de les Monges and its large monastic complex, a female Cistercian monastery founded in the 12C. Official El Fonoll webpage :

Barcelona, ​​New York, San Sebastián or Brussels were some of the cities in the world that saw the imprint of an artist who stood out greatly in the field of murals: Josep Maria Sert. But, without a doubt, no other defines his excellence better than Vic, given the commitment he made to this town in Barcelona province as a result of a commission from his friend Bishop Josep Torras i Bages in 1900, and which he carried out for a good part of his life. We are referring to the decoration of the neoclassical Cathedral of Sant Pere de Vic, his crowning work, completed in 1945 ,Today, the capital of the Osona comarca, (sort of county) pays tribute to him through the Sert Route, which allows you to delve into the career of this painter who is buried in the same cathedral. The cathedral has undergcone different transformations and additions: the original Romanesque temple dates back to the 11C, and the crypt and the bell tower, seven stories high and 46 meters high, remain from that time. In addition, very close by are other buildings of great historical interest, such as the Episcopal Palace, from the 17C, or the old Notary’s Office, which was rebuilt in the 18C, and, if you want to investigate in this field, the Episcopal Museum, which has a remarkable collection of medieval painting and sculptures, The Roman temple, with free access, built in the 2C, was part of the castle of the Montcada lineage and is made up, among other elements, of a portico with eight columns and Corinthian capitals on an Ionic base. Later on, by the way, Vic would be occupied by the Muslims, in the year 718, and finally repopulated by Guifré el Pilós in the 10C. Also, see the Monastery of Sant Pere de Casserres, erected by a viscountess at the beginning of the 11C, after buying this allodial domain from Count Ramon Borrell of Barcelona. It carefully cares for its customs through other events such as the Ram Market, an agricultural and livestock fair with exhibitions and livestock and machinery competitions, which have been held since 875 !. But also artistic events, with another drawing, painting and sculpture market in the Plaza Mayor, on the second Saturday of each month, and since 1989 , the Mercat de la Música Viva (its 34th edition is held from September 14 to 17 2022), where many bands coincide with the presentation of their new albums, plus the Jazz Festival, which is held in May. Vic tourist office webpage :

One of my favorite neighborhood of Madrid. This is the Barrio de las Letras. There are places that do not lose their essence, although time passes and fashions change. The Barrio de las Letras is one of them. Its streets of buildings with balconies and Fernandino lanterns where great authors lived, from Cervantes to Lope de Vega, are today the lure of modern business ideas. It is conceivable that it is a neighborhood with a captivating spell. Calle de Huertas, is the endless avenue of bronze literary quotes on the cobblestones that articulates the neighborhood and gave it a popular name, (see my post for more).

From the Italian to the Japanese tradition, passing through the ‘made in Spain’, the quintessential summer sweet experiences moments of splendor in Madrid. Ice creams anyone?

Heladeria Los Alpes, a historic house in the city, founded in 1950, dedicated to the manufacture and sale of ice cream (Italian style), sorbets, cakes, horchata with DO Chufa de Valencia… Raw material of national and international quality (pistachios from Bronte, pine nuts from Valladolid, Talavera cheese…) and craftsmanship, from start to finish, are the keys to this family business, In the Moncloa district not far from El Faro, store has 65 flavors, Location: Los Alpes, Calle Arcipreste de Hita, 6 just off Calle de la Princesa, webpage:

Maison Glacée next to the Moulin Chocolat (same owner). Set up, in 2019, this charming place, whose ice creams are a cult object. They are made with organic milk and a slow ice cream process. Smoothies, croissants, biscuits… complete the experience. Locations at Calle Ibiza, 42 and calle de Alcalá, 77. webpage:

Panda Patisserie, this place, close to Gran Vía, dresses up for summer with its delicate kakigori, ice creams that were born in Japan in the 11C for the unique enjoyment of Japanese emperors and nobles, The Japanese cuisine and ideologue Hattori Hanzo , izakaya that houses this pastry shop. This frozen mountain that is the kakigori is the result of an arduous elaboration, whose starting point is ethereal layers of ice soaked with flavors and syrups, “all natural” , Location Calle de Mesoneros Romano, 17. webpage:

La Pecera, In just five years the brand has become a phenomenon and already has eight stores, one in Valencia and seven in Madrid (including a foodtruck). The last one openned near the Royal Palace at Calle de Bailén, 13, and in style The menu changes often The offer is completed with taiyakitos and batiyakis. Webpage:

And , we will have the Galerias de las Colecciones Reales or the Royal Collections Gallery will open in June 2023, 25 years later , A quarter of a century will take the hitherto called the Royal Collections Museum to open to the public. The project was born within the Government of José María Aznar in 1998, during his first legislature. The idea was to show all citizens and tourists the vast heritage that the Spanish monarchs, since the Catholic Monarchs, have treasured throughout history and that now belongs to the citizens. Up to 160,000 works, ranging from painting to sculpture, floats, clocks, photographs or engravings, and consisting of the work of artists such as Goya, Velázquez, Tiziano and Caravaggio, among others. The building, which is located in the Jardines del Moro, between the Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace.

The new Royal Collections Gallery will have a chronological layout that will begin on floor -1 with the Catholic Monarchs, the tapestry collections and the Royal Armory will dialogue with works by El Bosco, Tiziano, El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez and Caravaggio, among others. The Royal Monasteries as spaces for women and for power and patronage will also have their leading role. From this floor you can see the 9C wall discovered during the construction of the building, which is also explained through an audiovisual. Floor -2 begins with the plans for the new Royal Palace of Madrid, built by order of Felipe V after the fire in the Alcázar, and will end with the model of the Gallery. Musical instruments, furniture and decorative arts will speak of this first period of the Bourbons along with paintings by Mengs, Goya, Tiepolo, Paret and Maella. In the last section, photography is included and it is explained how the State assumed, through the National Heritage, a body created in the Second Republic, the conservation of the Royal Collections and the opening of the Royal Sites to the public. Finally, on the -3 floor, an immersive cube has been installed where the images of the architectural and natural spaces of the various Royal Sites will be projected in 360 degrees. The temporary exhibition hall will be located on this floor. National Heritage webpage :

And why not tell you about some fine wines from my dear Spain, enjoy them in Summer, and all year long, Salud !

Finca Moncloa Tintilla de Rota Edicion Limitada, González Byass launches the first vintage of this unique and very scarce red wine (just over 2,000 units have been bottled). Produced in Arcos de la Frontera, the winery and vineyard are located there where, after 50 years of research and work, Tintilla de Rota has been recovered, a native grape that has almost disappeared and with which González Byass made wines in the 19C. . Aged for 12 months in eight new American oak barrels, this reference reflects the terroir of Tierra de Cádiz and displays aromas of red and black fruit, oak, cocoa and spices, as well as light floral and balsamic notes. On the palate it is a soft, balanced wine, with body and a slight acidity characteristic of this vinifera, webpage :

Finca Rio Negro Nº 5, The most exclusive reference of this winery that is committed to high-altitude wines (at 1,000 meters, next to the Sierra Norte de Guadalajara Natural Park). Made using artisanal methods with the Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties, it is a wine for aging with a long and careful process of at least five years, destined to continue improving in the bottle for many more years. The result is a red wine with an intense, elegant and complex aroma, where notes of ripe black fruit predominate, combined with notes of new wood, spices and balsamic. On the palate it is fleshy, persistent and balanced. webpage :

Habla Nº 28, From Bodegas Habla, located in Trujillo, comes this Tempranillo grape monovarietal, which last year’s edition (Habla Nª22) was awarded at the London Wine Competition, held in London. Habla Nº28 is the fifth that the brand has launched this variety on the market -after Nº2, Nº15, Nº19 and Nº22- since its ‘Limited Edition’ series began in 2007. It is aged for 13 months in new barrels of French oak and one year of rest in the bottle. It also comes from a 100% organic viticulture. In the mouth it is balanced and fresh and persistent at the end. Webpage :

This Martín Códax Arousa 2019 is made at the emblematic Martín Códax. The particularity of this label is that it comes from Albariño vineyards located at the foot of the sea in Cambados (Pontevedra), in the San Tomé area. They are vineyards that grow at the mouth of the Umia, under the influence of the Arousa estuary and on granite soil. Conditions that give it a clear saline, iodized, marine character. After 18 months in stainless steel tanks , the result is a balsamic wine, with aromas of citrus, stone fruit, iodized and hints of seaweed. Great liveliness in the mouth, with a juicy citric acidity and a finish in which the saline note encourages you to continue drinking. A different albariño. Webpage :

And last but never least, something from my grandparents and descendant (see posts), Walking through prehistoric forests, discovering endless beaches or contemplating an infinite sky of stars are just some of the innumerable experiences for those who want to embark on enjoying Tenerife from a different perspective this summer. In the north, the traveler can go deep to discover prehistoric forests, endless beaches of golden or black sand and picturesque towns with small pastel houses and church steeples scattered amidst green hillsides where the locals still greet you with a welcoming smile. . Tenerife’s cookbook stands out for its traditional dishes rich in vegetables, fish and meat. Recipes such as wrinkled potatoes, gofio or mojo picón (later the Cuban mojito! To accompany it) have become popular on the peninsula and internationalized in recent years. Special mention deserves the Tenerife wines. The island has five denominations of origin for wines made with different autochthonous varieties of pre-phylloxera vine, among which the malvasia stands out, with which white wines of exceptional quality are made. A private webpage on tourist info on Tenerife :

The official Tenerife tourist office :

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! Summer is practically here with all that heat wave, even if officially is June 21st. Time to enjoy sunny Spain once again, and we are gear up for it! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

Tags: , ,
June 19, 2022

Curiosities of Cuba, Brazil and Spain !!

Looking at my vault, found some older pictures on paper and took my electronic camera to take picture of the pictures and use them in my blog. This allows me to show in my blog places not shown or pics with new angles of places shown in the blog. Nostalgia sets in and here I go on the curiosities of Cuba, Brazil, and Spain !!

The Coliseo de la Ciudad Deportiva is an indoor sporting arena located in Havana. Built in 1957, the Sports City Coliseum is one of the most important works of Cuban Civil Engineering. The capacity of the arena is for 15,000 spectators , and its construction began on November 1952. It is a 20,000 m² circular concrete building with an outside diameter of 103.2 meters and is located at the confluence of the Vía Blanca and Avenida de Rancho Boyeros roads (the latter takes you to the airport) . Did went once as a boy here for a volleyball game I believe…


The Monument to Antonio Maceo in Havana is located between El Malecón and the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital ,put here in 1916. In front of the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital, at 701 Calle San Lázaro . It is a bronze representation of the heroe of the First War of Independence (known as the war of 1868) , one of the most important Cuban general, known as the Bronze Titan and buried outside my native town of Punta Brava.  It sits in an important neighborhood of San Lázaro with importantas things to see such as Caleta de San Lázaro, Calle Belascoáin,(one of my family’s favorite), Calle San Lázaro, Torreón de San Lázaro, Hospital San Lázaro (today  Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital. ) On March 3, 1901, the Basques Jai Alai frontón was built, but today in ruins as much there now . The Cuban Grand Prix was a sports car motor race was run here until 1959.  Arrested at the age of 16, José Martí (Cuba’s independence heroe) was sentenced to six years of imprisonment of hard labor in the San Lazaro Quarry in the western part of the neighborhood, where he was sent to cut coral rock. It is now a memorial called Fragua Martiana . The Santa Clara Battery was built on top of a hill that was home to one of the most historic caves on the island. The hill of Taganana, located in the coastal outcrop of Punta Brava (also in Tenerife and name of my native town) near the cove of San Lázaro took its name from a cavern in the Canary Islands where the princess Guanche Cathaysa took refuge. She was captured and sold by the Spaniards as a slave in 1494. The Spaniards finally took over the island of Tenerife in 1496 from last Guanche king Bencomo!

Havana mon antonio maceo malecon

The Morro Castle or Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro named after the three biblical Magi, is a fortress guarding the entrance to the Havana harbor. Originally under the control of Spain, the fortress was captured by the British in 1762, returned to Spain under the Treaty of Paris of 1763. Although the castle is an irregular polygon, the stonecutting works on its walls are very attractive. The castle houses a beautiful lighthouse, an exhibition on the lighthouses of Cuba, a small underwater archaeology exhibition, a 20-meter-deep (66 feet) moat, central barracks, old cannons, guns and batteries, dungeons, a church, the office of the current harbormaster, wells, and very old bathrooms. A cannon is fired at 21h (9pm) nightly, the “El Cañonazo de las 9” is a leftover custom kept from colonial times signaling the closure of the city gates and port.

Havana morro castle inside moats

Niterói is a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The city is located on the eastern side of the entrance to Guanabara Bay, facing Rio de Janeiro, 13 km distant, to which it is connected by the Rio-Niterói bridge and a catamaran service. Niteroi is ultimately a miniature Rio, between its beaches, its hills and its lagoons, the resemblance is disturbing. The beaches of the Atlantic facade, Piratininga and Camboinhas / Itaipu stare insistently at the famous Copacabana and Ipanema. the Parque da Cidade with its view of the entire bay, it feels like having a huge 3D map unfolding at our feet! From the park, 2 launching ramps allow the practice of paragliding or hang-gliding, (see photo)

Niteroi me and back copacabana rio de janeiro

The Palacio Vistalegre is a multi-spectacle complex located in Madrid. The building is built on an old bullring called La Chata, dating from 1908 and then destroyed in 1995 to make way for the current building. The latter was inaugurated in 2000. In the lower part are located a shopping center and two thousand parking spaces. There is also a covered and air-conditioned arena with a capacity of 15,000 seats. In addition to its bullfighting function, the new facility allows regular hosting of musical and sporting events. From 2004 to 2010 , it hosted the Real Madrid basketball team (see photo).

Madrid palacio vista alegre RM basketball

There you go folks, a walk of nostalgia from my very earlier trips to Cuba, Brazil, and Spain. The wonders of a great combination of Europe and the Americas that still rings a bell to my ears on each stretch of meter I take on this world. Hope you enjoy the post as I reviving these old pictures into the life of my blog.

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

June 14, 2022

Some news from Spain CXXV

And back at you with my series of some news from Spain !!! thanks to you all. There is lots of things going on in my beloved Spain, and it seems we will have a wonderful summer season. I am eagerly looking forward to that!! Let me tell you the latest tidbits of news chosen by yours truly, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

The Feria del Libro or Madrid Book Fair closed earlier this past Saturday due to the red heat alert, as announced by the organization of the Fair, after receiving an official notification from the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) according to which, due to adverse meteorological phenomena in the Jardines del Buen Retiro in Madrid, the red alert will be activated from 21h to 24h Saturday, Too much heat in Madrid ! High of 37C that is about 99F,,,fyi

And since it is hot in Summers in my Madrid you have places to cool off outside, My favorites are the Madrid Rio Beach, Three oval aquatic enclosures with water jets ideal for cooling off in summer, surrounded by a large rest area with hammocks. Fountains in operation from 11h to 21h The Madrid tourist office info :

Also , two other sports complexes I know well and have a great pool are the Centro Deportivo Municipal Casa de Campo at Paseo Puerta del Angel,7 and the Centro Deportivo Municipal La Elipa (see post played baseball here ! ) at Calle Alcalde Garrido Juaristi 17 Keep cool even visiting….

And I continue to warn you ahead for the Summers in Spain ; see too many fall like a red tomato from the heat, in Spain ,everything is under the Sun ! Therefore, some drinks to have cold on a terrace in Madrid are : A pitcher of ice-cold beer is one of the drinks that go down best in summer The typical brands that are ordered in Madrid are San Miguel, Cruz Blanca, Águila, Cruzcampo and Mahou (the traditional from Madrid and my meau!). Although you can also drink craft beers. Sangría is one of the most requested drinks in Madrid in summer, The kalimotxo is a fashionable drink and very popular among young people. It is made mainly with red wine and coke, which makes it go down wonderfully at any time. Coffee is a universal drink and practically everyone likes it. In addition, it can be enjoyed in many ways but it always feels great if it is with ice. The popular horchata (super, divine we love it) , made with rice, sesame, melon, morro, etc. horchata is it, In addition, other ingredients such as lime, vanilla, sugar, etc. can be added. The summer tinto de verano with a young red wine, a bottle of soda or lemon and some ice will suffice, we love it in Summer, Stay cool and enjoy them.

El Chorro de Navafria in the province of Segovia, Castilla y Léon region, In the heart of Sierra de Guadarrama, 34 km from Segovia and an hour and a half from Madrid, this paradise is located nestled in a forest with one of the largest extensions of Scots pine in Europe. 4 km from the town of Navafría is the El Chorro Recreational Area, which has beautiful natural pools, picnic tables, barbecues, a beach bar and a green esplanade for sunbathing. After about 15 minutes walking you will reach El Chorro, a spectacular waterfall with more than 20 meters high. Access to the recreational area is free, but parking is paid. More info in Guadarrama park webpage :

The Paulaner Biergarten (beer of Munich Germany) opens in Madrid, and one of the most typical plans in summer is to sit on an outdoor terrace, In September you have an appointment at Príncipe Pío, especially from Thursday to Sunday, days when you can enjoy live music shows. Take advantage of these hot nights, order a Paulaner while you listen to live music and eat something. You will be able to taste different typical dishes of German gastronomy such as col-slow salad, different types of sausages (Bockwurst, Bratwurst, Moruna, Vegi), knuckle, bretzels or Apfelstrudel. On June 11 the concerts will begin, which will take place at 21h on this outdoor terrace. Bonaparte Terrace (on the Principe Pío esplanade, in Madrid Río), Info webpage

After the success of Jardín Cervezas Alhambra in previous years, this urban oasis will land again in Madrid from June 21 to August 7 2022 to become the meeting point to enjoy a leisurely beer afternoon this summer. A space that will have an urban terrace, a restaurant area and a bar. The perfect setting to enjoy cultural and gastronomic activities and the acoustic concerts of Momentos Alhambra (of course a beer from Granada) in the emblematic Palacio Santa Bárbara palace in the Chueca neighbourhood. The Palace of the Count of Villagonzalo will become the Alhambra Beer Garden. A space dedicated to transmitting a lifestyle that defends the need to stop, listen to ourselves and reflect on what we really want to feel. Palace of Santa Bárbara ,Calle Hortaleza, 87, webpage :

The Cine de Verano in La Bombilla park or Summer Cinema. By Plaza San Antonio de la Florida 1 , It will open its doors from June 29, 2022 with the film “Canallas” by Daniel Guzmán and will be open until September. This is an open-air summer cinema with two giant screens facing each other, each of them broadcasts a different film at the same time, so that when you buy your ticket you can choose one of the two options. They open every day of the week during the summer. If you go by car, I as many others advise you to arrive early and look for a space in the car park just behind the Hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida,(see post) or look for a space in the street. In this car park there are folks guarding and ask for money small coins but, from my own experience, they take good care of your car and being somewhat dark areas is even appreciated. More info webpage :

One of the off the beaten path spots in my Madrid that should be visited, The visit to the Palacio de Liria palace (see post) is a sensory experience, different from the set of cultural visits to other palaces and museums. Surrounded by gardens, this 18C palace recently opened its doors to the public to display the artistic legacy of the Casa de Alba, one of the most traditional dynasties of the Spanish aristocracy. The historical-artistic collection was incorporated thanks to the patronage and collecting work of the Dukes of Berwick and Alba for more than five hundred years. Painting, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, engravings, documents and books, in addition to a wide range of porcelain and decorative arts, are distributed in the different rooms to be admired by their owners and visitors, allowing them to enjoy a unique collection. Of the complete set, great masters of painting such as Goya, Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán, Greco, Ribera, Rubens, Titian, Palma the Elder, Brueghel de Velours, Madrazo and Winterhalter stand out. Great personalities from culture, the arts and politics have visited this palace, such as Cole Porter, Arthur Rubinstein, Howard Carter, Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Oscar Wilde, Igor Stravinski, Ortega y Gasset or Charlie Chaplin. The visits will be made in groups, starting every 30 min. The visit lasts 65 min. Each entry will be assigned one hour of visit. Once the visit begins, you will not be able to access the Palace. It is essential to be 10 minutes in advance. The official Palacio de Liria webpage :

80 works make up the monographic exhibition that the Prado Museum has organized around the figure of Luis Paret . A contemporary of Francisco de Goya, he is considered the representative of French Rococo in Spain and his work is a true reflection of the society of the time. At the Museo Nacional del Prado, the exhibition is divided into nine sections to show an exhaustive journey through the career of this artist and discover his artistic conception and the keys to his technique that, without a doubt, place him alongside his great contemporary Francisco de Goya, Prado museum webpage :

EULEN Art, a brand of the EULEN Group, organizes from June 10 to December 31 2022 at the Palacio de las Alhajas , Madrid, the first and largest exhibition that is held exclusively around women in ancient Egypt in Spain, bringing together almost 300 pieces from 12 countries. The gallery is divided into four large areas and a final section: Women in ancient Egypt, Real women, Goddesses and temples, From death to eternity and Egyptomania. Through its sections, the assistant can verify the relevant role that women had in ancient Egypt, enjoying an independence unknown in other contemporary or even later cultures. Likewise, this equality covers a long period of time of more than 3500 years, during which the social, economic and religious structure was evolving, and of a vast territory, for which there were notable differences according to the geographical area. In the Palacio de las Alhajas, Plaza de San Martín, 1, info webpage :

The town of Mundaka,is among the 100 best places in the world to surf, The small Basque town nestled in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve is internationally famous for having the longest left-hand wave in Europe, and one of the most challenging, according to those in the know. The wave forms precisely at the mouth of the estuary and rolls up on itself in a tube with a length that reaches 400 meters, which makes it a desired candy for expert surfers. The local surf scene is considered among the best in the world. This is confirmed in the specialized book that has just been published Surf. The 100 best waves in the world (Lunwerg Editores; 24.95 euros), made by the editors and photographers (experienced surfers) of the bible of this sport, the world-renowned specialized magazine TransWorld SURF. The town of Mundaka is located very close to Bermeo,a typical small town that is worth visiting to stroll through its charming narrow cobbled streets and enjoy the beautiful views. You to see the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (city hall square), and the magnificent Church of Santa María (16C), located on a watchtower, with its back to the sea. About five minutes walking on the outskirts of the town is the Hermitage of Santa Catalina, on a promontory in a privileged place with spectacular views from where you can enjoy the onslaught of the sea and control the entry and exit of the estuary. Towards the other side of the town, there is the quiet and tiny beach of Laidatxu. To enjoy some of the best beaches in Vizcaya, you have to cross the estuary, where the beautiful and extensive sandbanks of Laida are found and, a little further east, in the town of Ibarrangelu, the spectacular Laga, between forests and far from buildings. The Euskadi tourist office on Mundaka :

The town of Brihuega, the land of lavender, province of Guadalajara, region of Castilla la Mancha is a garden that, when it is most flowery, is in summer. In July, the lavender fields burst with color, more than a thousand hectares of purple flowers that attract swarms of tourists. In August the flowers are harvested, but their aroma, far from fading, multiplies: the distilleries then produce industrial quantities of essential oil and the local shops replenish their stocks of soaps, creams, candles, honeys, mikados, scented sachets, etc. A walk in the town is marvelous, go to the Plaza del Coso, the largest in the town, is the tourist office, which occupies what was the Royal Jail of Carlos III. They weren’t very tall in the 18C, judging by the bathroom door. In the opposite corner of the square, the Arab Caves hide 700 meters of underground galleries, built in the 10-11C, where wine was kept cool at a constant temperature of 11 degrees, In the Middle Ages the town conserves a good part of its kilometer-long wall and its main gates: La Cadena and Cozagón. And it preserves its Castle of Peña Bermeja. In the parade ground there is one of the most beautiful and romantic cemeteries in Spain, full of broken tombstones and tender epitaphs. And in the highest tower, a viewpoint to see it as those who go to heaven see it and, at the top, the Royal Cloth Factory from the 18C. Attached to the castle is the Church of Santa María de la Peña, the main church in Brihuega, from the early 13C. Its beautiful door stands out, in a transition style from Romanesque to Gothic,, You go to Plaza de Manu Leguineche, stands the old convent of San José, from the 16C, now home to the Brihuega History Museum. It has an interesting section dedicated to the battle of Guadalajara, which was fought in these fields in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The convent also houses the Professor Max Museum of Miniatures, which treasures and exhibits (with the help of magnifying glasses) the more than 30,000 tiny pieces that Juan Elegido Millán, alias Max, a hypnotist by profession, gathered during his hectic and artistic life. Take a break at the shady, cozy María Cristina park, ideal for taking a nap, The 14 fountains in the town, fountains with thick jets and water so cold that, even in the heat of summer, they anesthetize , Among all of them, the so-called Blanquina stands out, which has 12 beautiful pipes, not including those that, from the back, lead to the old laundry room, On july 16 2022 at 21h or 9pm, the 2022 Lavender Festival will be held in the fields of Brihuega. The Brihuega tourist office webpage :

The Lavender Festival of Brihuega:

UPDATE: Madrid will have its own Central Park. The new Central Park will be visible in a few years (you heard it here first !). The pharaonic project of Madrid Nuevo Norte, which extends over more than 3.3 million square meters (2.4 million if the part that will be occupied by the train tracks of the Chamartín train station is discounted) in one of the edges of the city, will have a green area of ​​more than 14.5 hectares (145,000 square meters). Or said in a more hackneyed way: about 14 football fields. El Retiro has 118 hectares and Madrid Río, 121. The park will have an iconic element, which will become a new benchmark for Madrid: the Jardín del Viento (wind garden). It is a singular green structure in the form of a spiral that will be erected in the middle of the park and will be covered by vegetation, producing its own microclimate. It will have different areas and environments with kiosks, restaurant terraces, service pavilions, food trucks and sports areas. The new park will surround the four towers and will also connect with the Bosque Metropolitano ( Metropolitan Forest) and the Arco Verde (Green Arch) , all around the Chamartín train station with works on the new station hall and the widening of the tracks, etc..

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! Summer is practically even if officially is June 21st. Time to enjoy sunny Spain once again, and we are gear up for it! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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June 9, 2022

Centro Comercial La Vaguada of Madrid !

Well the city is very well known having even lived there for 4 years and visited almost every year since 1990. 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 am updating this older post with fresh text, links and old same pictures. (see newer post on la Vaguada) .Hope you enjoy it as I.

I have come here practically since it opened, and then came back to bring my girlfriend from France,and later my dear wife Martine (RIP),and my boys, and 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. I did!

However, let me go into happier themes, and tell you about the Centro Comercial La Vaguada (mall). 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! Many bus lines passed by here or close, I know of 83.  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!


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.  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 commercial area, 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.


Inside La Vaguada 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 (Auchan in France) ,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 Soul Park enabled to delight the little ones.  Indeed a wholesome family affair and for the visiting families as well; recommended.  My Dad below in Cañas y Tapas resto now resto gone, memories!!!


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).

The official La Vaguada shopping

The Madrid tourist office on La Vaguada shopping

There you go folks, a little shopping in 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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June 9, 2022

Again, the Royal Palace of Spain !!

Let me take you back to my Madrid , and Spain, always memories and wonderful times of old and new. When I lived in the city going to the Royal Palace was a treat, we had no money to go in back then in the old regime.  It took me to leave Madrid and Spain , spent some years in  the USA; and finally come back to it in 1990 to see it inside. It was a treat I will always cherished for me and for the fact that I was there with my girlfriend , later wife of 28 years, my Frenchie Martine !!! and 3 wonderful young men !!! 

The Royal Palace is used for protocol functions, and they are own and maintain by the Spanish government. The palace is bordered on the east by the Plaza de Oriente, from which it is separated by the Calle de Bailén It is the official resident of the king of Spain even if only uses it for protocole functions and the rest is open to the public as a museum. I have other posts on the Royal Palace but this entry is using old pictures from my vaults taken from paper pictures and shot with my digital camera; hope you enjoy it as I.

Madrid palacio real from plaza de oriente

The architecture and history is huge here of all my dear Spain. I like to just touch base on the main things to see as much of the history is on the other posts.  The current palace was built on the ruins of an old castle which dated from the emir Mohamed I (i.e. 9C). At that time, Madrid was not yet the capital of Spain. This construction served to protect Toledo against the advance of the Christians. It was not until the 14C that the first kings of Castile began to use this building, then called Antigua Alcazar.  But in 1734, a fire destroyed the building. King Philip V asks for a new palace to be built.  Construction began in 1738 and lasted 7 years. King Charles III was the first monarch to reside there in 1764. He was also the first to take charge of the interior decoration.

Madrid palacio real side calle bailen

The current Palacio Real or Royal Palace has more than 3000 rooms. Some places deserve special attention such as:  The majestic main staircase with its 70 steps, created by Sabatini; the royal chapel and its collection of stringed instruments that we owe to the famous Italian, Antonio Stradivari!. The Salon de Trono and its fresco by Tiepolo on the ceiling; the Royal Chapel is accessed through the Palace Gallery. In 1742 it was decided to place it on the first floor, instead of in the space initially planned and which is now occupied by the Halberdiers’ Hall. In 1748 it was built just as it has remained for posterity  ; the royal kitchen, open to the public since 2017 after a long restoration. This place is one of the finest examples of royal kitchens. Vast and including exceptionally well-preserved utensils, the kitchen is in the first basement of the palace; the Royal Pharmacy in which there are medicinal plants, prescriptions prescribed to the royal family, ceramic containers etc. The Alabarderos room or Halberdiers hall, this ballroom which was transformed into a guard room by Charles III; the Royal Armory in which one finds one of the finest collections of its kind in the world, including weapons and armor used by the kings of Spain and other members of Spanish royalty since the 12C; the Salita Gasparini and its magnificent plant decor; the painting gallery alone is worth the detour. Comprising around 70 works by masters, most of them Spanish, such as Velázquez, Goya, Federico Madrazo Rubens, Greco, Caravaggio and Sorolla, it has been arranged in 9 rooms of the palace, which includes dozens of them spread over 6 floors.



Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, visitors will rush to watch the changing of the Royal Guard in front of the monument around noon. Every first Wednesday of the month, a special changing takes place: the majestic Solemn Changing of the Guard.

The National Heritage of Spain on the Royal Palace

The Royal Family of the Kingdom of Spain

The Madrid tourist office on the Royal Palace

Needless but worth repeating, this is a very popular monument and lines are long, so need to prepare for it and come early. If you like the freebies there is free admission from 16h to 18h from Mondays to Thursdays and from October to March, and from 18h to 20h  from April to September for citizens of the European Union. However, do come anyway, it is worth the admission and an opportunity to see the architecture and history of the kingdom of Spain in Madrid! 

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

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June 9, 2022

The former Centro Cubano of Madrid !!

I seldom write about restaurant although I should do more. And never a whole post on one no longer in existance, but with so much history and beautiful moments. Again in my nostalgic run on Madrid! This is a city that pulls you, attract you , trapped you, and won’t let go. Its a vibrant open funny, lively, friendly city for all. Oh well can’t say enough of it, you have read me you know it. The pictures of the restaurant Centro Cubano are from their old site and public pages.

As my roots are all over with many years in different countries as citizen of Spain, USA, France,and working time living in Brazil and Nigeria, the one I was born long ago in another era was Cuba. When i came over to lived in Madrid in 1970, the place was humming with Cuban exiles from the communist dictatorship existing there, and still unfortunately.  We had our little huddle, talks, souvenirs, nostalgia in itself by coming to this place for lunch or dinner. The poorer Cubans were given free meals by the owners! 

I like to tell you about an institution in Madrid as the oldest Cuban restaurant in Europe, founded in 1967. It finanly closed its doors somewhere in 2011 due to the family line not willing to continue. I heard a nephew or in law did open another one not far from it at Calle Ortega y Gasset, 69 , call Gasset Habana,but has since closed as well. The one I went with my dear late mom Gladys was the Centro Cubano or Cuban center restaurant at Calle Claudio Coello, 41, almost corner to Calle Goya, Salamanca district,metro Serrano line 4. When I took my dear late wife Martine it was at the old Centro Cubano and later with my sons visit the Gasset Habana, not the same…


The old Centro Cubano founded in 1967 was the oldest Cuban restaurant in Europe. Since then it has been a faithful ambassador of Cuban food and cocktails in Madrid. It had two rooms with capacity for more than 200 people, a private room for celebrations and events and an art gallery. In its specialties it had the Ropa Vieja (old clothes)  with rice and beans and the fried cow(vaca frita) with congrí (black beans colored rice) and tostones (green plantains). Among its entrees were well known its tostones stuffed, tamales(corn tamales)  and ladybugs of plantain. It had a wide variety of Cuban desserts like the guava shells,  and the sweets of coconut, milk and grapefruit. In its ample bar were prepared those that are considered by many the best mojitos, besides flavor daiquiris , Cuba libre, and other cocktails like the piña colada. At noon, from Monday to Friday there were, also a menu of the day Mediterranean style in addition to the Cuban food. Sublime and lots of talking memories of our old land.


I used to come sometimes with local friends for lunch as well and introduce them to the food. Those were the days of my nostalgic Madrid early 70’s. Of course, things have change today. Many of the old places are no longer, and the city is with more people, but the aura of its air just been there is enormous and always ready looking forward to go. In a sense, Madrid is my Spain, even if by blood I am from Candelaria and Pajarà in Tenerife, Canary islands.

 Now my fav reviews site Yelp has a listing of Cuban restos in Madrid, which only tried the La Negra Tomasa, very good too. webpage:

Another good site RestaurantGuru on Cuban restos in Madrid

This post, of course, its just for the memories,the nostalgia of my Madrid to record in my blog. As said, the resto is no longer there. Enjoy Madrid !! anyway anywhere anyhow!  Memories forever !!! For my curiosity, there is now El Bar 41 which of course not been and folks do not even notice what it was there before, the famous Centro Cubano! 

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

June 7, 2022

The Château de Fontainebleau exteriors!!!

I like to have memories and nowdays even more. I remember Fontainebleau castle as it was in the Seine et Marne dept 77 that my dear late wife Martine, took me first to show me her department/region back in 1990. We have come here ever since,and it is one of my favorite castles been friend of the association that helps protect its heritage. Their office is on your left once entering the main entrance to the castle fyi. I have written many posts on it before, however, I like to do a condense post on the exterior elements of the Château de Fontainebleau. As this is a monumental task of memory, most of the material here is from my personal library and the help of online sources such as wikipedia. Therefore, the text is new with older pictures, and see my many posts on Fontainebleau in my blog!

Briefly, the city of Fontainebleau is in the Seine et Marne dept 77 , part of the region of Ïle de France, and only about 57 km (about 35 miles) from Paris. It is the most extensive city of the region and mostly covered by a forest; the city itself not counting the castle is 232 hectares or about 573 acres. The best way here is by car from the porte d’Italie take the road A6b , and connect with the N37 or D637, passing by the forest of Fontainebleau becomes the road D607, these are actually straight line just the road number change, Entering Fontainebleau by the road N417 or the Bd André Maginot, which same road becomes the Rue Royale into the roundabout in front of castle turn left into rue de Ferrare for the parking Château !

Fontainebleau main entrance PF nov08

The exteriors of the Fontainebleau castle includes 3 gardens: the garden of Diane, the English garden and the Grand Parterre. On 130 hectares, one can observe the evolution of the art of gardens, illustrated by the Grand Parterre, the French garden designed by Le Nôtre, the carp pond, the English garden, created under the first Empire, the Diana’s garden and the 84 ha park with straight paths, the 1200 meters long canal built under Henri IV and exotic species. Deploying its various bodies of buildings between four main courtyards and three gardens, the Château de Fontainebleau aligns its long facades of various architectures and periods against gardens whose general design was revised during the 19C.  Of the feudal castle, only the keep and traces of curtain walls remain. The two towers which defended the gate as well as the hovel buildings which formed the square have disappeared. The keep, comprising part of the royal apartments from the 16C, is a large square tower without buttresses, topped with a pavilion and supporting two large side chimneys. Originally, the exterior masonry was made of rubble stone ,and the roof was covered with tiles. Traces of curtain walls from the 12C remain on the ground floor of the main building. There are also traces of buildings from the 15C on the ground floor of the facades of the Cour Ovale, where parts of freestone are visible. Thus, all medieval traces have not been destroyed and an estimate from 1528 even specified to the architect to “use the old walls when possible”, hence the preservation of traces of the 15C building in the Oval courtyard.

The Pavillon des Armes or arms pavilion was originally intended to contain the king’s armory. It presents in its architecture a mixed system of freestone and rubble, the carved woodwork was done in 1559. The second floor was redone in the 18C. The Arms Pavilion was located at the end of the galerie des Chevreuils or deer gallery, destroyed in 1833.  L’aile des Ministres or the Ministers’ wing, also known as the low wing, was built from 1530 and closes the Cour du Cheval-Blanc. Built in the same brick and stone structure as the body of the building facing it, this northern wing has a long one-story facade, sitting on a base of sandstone cut stone. the ground floor is topped by a roof adorned with large dormers with curvilinear pediments, and is divided by a central two-story pavilion itself crowned by a monumental dormer window with three bays comprising a bay between two niches, surmounted a narrower upper body itself of a salamander, royal emblem of king Francis I, this body being flanked by volutes and surmounted by a triangular pediment. The chimneys also bear the figure of this king , This wing now houses the administrative services of the castle, The so-called  appartements royaux  or royal apartments wing was built in the 16C in the footsteps of the old medieval castle, from which it takes up the ovoid layout, around the Oval courtyard. In 1565, Catherine de Medici doubled the body of the building adjoining the garden of Diana and thus multiplied the number of apartments.

Serlio’s portico overlooks the oval courtyard. Its construction, in freestone and sandstone, is the result of the same work campaign as the upper and lower chapels of Saint-Saturnin. The portico was probably built in 1531, so it predates Serlio’s arrival in Fontainebleau. It was moved by Henry IV and was rebuilt in 1893. Today it stands as a two-tiered triumphal arch with three arcades each. Two are semi-circular and the third is basket-handle The Belle Cheminée wing, also known as the Old Comédie wing, built between 1565 and 1570 in Saint-Leu stone to the designs of the Primaticcio The exterior monumental staircase has two riser ramps (straight and opposite ramps); it makes the link with the Cour de la Fontaine. (This was my meeting room when coming for Friends of the Castle meetings and get together),


The Pavillon de la porte Dorée or pavilion of the golden gate dates from 1528. It was the main entrance to the castle until the opening of the Baptistery gate under Henry IV. The walls are of rubble stone coated with roughcast and the architecture is underlined by the gray sandstone cut stone which traces the lines of force and composes the crowned dormers like the windows of triangular pediments, among the first of this type in a castle of France in the Renaissance century, while the pavilion roof retains the imprint of the Gothic tradition The tympanum is decorated with the salamander of king François I, The Hôtel des Secretaires d’Etat was built during the reign of king Louis XIV to house the administration during important trips. The Jeu de Paume is a building located north of the castle. This type of construction, reserved for the royal entertainment of the tennis court (ancestor of tennis) was common in the royal residences of the 17C. The Fontainebleau tennis court was mainly used by King Henry IV. Built by him around 1600, the tennis court fell victim to a fire in the 18C which completely destroyed it. It was immediately rebuilt in the same place.



The Porte du Baptisterie, or Porte Dauphine, owes its name to the baptism of Louis XIII and his sisters, Élisabeth and Chrétienne, which took place on September 14, 1606, at the site of the platform. Located on the site of an old door, with rustic sandstone bosses, built in 1565 by Primaticcio and which today constitutes the ground floor of the building, The current triumphal door has a floor in the form of a arcade surmounted by a dome with sides whose triangular pediment is decorated with sculptures representing two victories supporting the arms of Henry IV. Busts, copies of antiques, adorn the niches of the interior facade. The Louis XV wing is the south wing of the chateau, one story higher, circa 1545-1546. Originally built by Francis I, it housed the famous gallery of Ulysses which included nearly 58 paintings (known today by the preparatory drawings of Primaticcio preserved in the Louvre Museum, and especially thanks to the 58 engravings that Theodoor van Thulden made in the 17C). Louis XV, anxious to find new spaces transformed it from 1738 to 1741, then from 1773 to 1774, depending on the availability offered by the royal treasury. The Gros pavilion is a corner pavilion which replaces the Poesles pavilion, so called because of the German-style stoves that were installed there. It was built by Jacques-Ange Gabriel in 1750, with a mansard slate roof and pierced with several bull’s eye windows.

The Théâtre de Napoléon III as well as the Emperor’s foyer and the adjoining salons, were set up at the western end of the Louis XV wing from 1857, With approximately four hundred seats (including around one hundred standing ) on a surface of 45 meters by 15, the theater is inspired by the decorations of the royal opera of Versailles. Napoleon III had it built for Empress Eugenie and entertained in good company at private parties (it was never a public theatre); for cost reasons , only about fifteen performances were given there under his reign , A restoration began in 2007, thanks to the patronage of Abu Dhabi, in return for which the hall is renamed the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Theatre (still in controversy by the locals), it has allowed the original fabrics, decorations and objects to be preserved as much as possible. The inauguration took place on April 30, 2014. The theater has since been open to visitors but will not be intended for plays to take place there, in particular for security reasons and because the stage was not, for its part, not included in the restoration project.

The Cour du Cheval Blanc, also known as the Cour des Adieux » or « Cour d’honneur » of rectangular shape, is a former barnyard and then service courtyard, which very soon became a parade courtyard. The ensemble was built over five centuries, which explains its great architectural diversity. This courtyard acquires its name thanks to a plaster cast of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in the Capitol, made by Vignole for Catherine de Medici, installed between 1560 and 1570, disappeared in 1626, and of which a small slab, in the central aisle , recalls the location. The statue was covered in 1580 with a roof to protect it from the weather. The famous escalier du Fer-à-cheval or horseshoe staircase was built in 1550 by Philibert Delorme, then redone between 1632 and 1634 by Jean Androuet du Cerceau. Composed of two monumental parallel fretted flights of 46 steps with an intermediate landing, it breaks with the medieval spiral staircase and presents an appearance comparable to that of the Château d’Anet, (see post) also created by Delorme, The Oval courtyard, in the center of the castle, takes its singular shape from the layout of the old fortified castle, which delimits an octagonal courtyard with rounded corners. It is partly delimited by sandstone facades over which runs a continuous gallery supported by a row of columns. It was considerably modified under king Henry IV as he had it enlarged to be closed by the Baptistery gate.


The Cour de la Fontaine is my favorite courtyard between the wings of the Queens-mothers , Gros pavilion, François I gallery, and the wing of the Belle Cheminée. The fountain, located opposite the carp pond, at the end of the courtyard, gave very pure water, reserved for the king, hence the assignment of two sentries to guard the fountain day and night, to avoid poisoning. The fountain, raised in 1543 by Primaticcio, was adorned with a statue of Hercules by Michelangelo. The current monument was built in 1812, and is surmounted by a statue representing Ulysses, executed by Petitot in 1819 and installed at the top of the fountain in 1824, The Cour des Mathurins is located to the north of the Château de Fontainebleau, and has served as a service courtyard since the 16C. Its name comes from the first inhabitants of the place, the Trinitarian monks, also called Mathurins. It is now converted into an administrative car park. The Cour des Princes or cour de la Conciergerie received its rectangular and narrow shape during the gradual elevation of the wings of the Galerie de Diane, the apartments of the Chasseurs and the conciergerie ,The cour des Offices or cour des Cuisines , built by Henry IV between 1606 and 1609, is accessible by an entrance guarded by two sandstone hermes made in 1640. Rectangular in shape, it is closed by three wings of buildings in sandstone, brick and rubble in a sober style.



Some webpages to support the above and for better planning your visit are:

The official Château de Fontainebleau

The Friends of Fontainebleau if you want to help preserve this wonder of our world as I since 2004 :

The city of Fontainebleau and its castle: 

The Fontainebleau tourist office on its castle: 

The Seine et Marne dept 77 tourist office on the castle:

The Ïle de France regional tourist office on Fontainebleau castle :

There you go folks, yes a bit long post ,but worth it me think, The Fontainebleau castle or Château de Fontainebleau ,is one of the wonders of our world ! The history of France, Europe, and the World was written from here, Hope you enjoy the post on the exteriors of it and look forward to seeing you visiting as I ,again,

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

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