Posts tagged ‘Spain’

February 25, 2021

Some news from Spain XCIX

And here on a bright sunny cool day in my neck of the woods I come back to you with news of my beloved Spain. It has been difficult periods and not much desire or opportunity to go out and enjoy as we can go out but most is closed. Let me tell you a bit more on what is my 99th post on my series Some news from Spain, Roman numerals XCIX! thanks for reading me over these years, appreciated.

As the world turns so is my Spain. Something in this pandemia governments try to hide but pros are saying loud and clear is the fact tourism is hurting badly and represent large portion of revenue for the regions and country. The number of tourists who arrived in Madrid until December 2020 was around 1.71 million, compared to the 10.4 million visitors the previous year, according to the National Institute of Statistics!!! . So that it stops being a pending subject, and on the occasion of the International Tourist Guide Day, They will tell us a little more about the History of Madrid to learn from it.

Madrid is home to the oldest restaurant in the world certified by the Guinness Book of Records, and legend has it that Francisco de Goya worked in its kitchens as a young man. It was inaugurated in 1725 and is called Restaurante Sobrino de Botín.yeah!

Madrid has the largest Royal Palace in Western Europe, doubling the size of the famous Buckingham, for example. Yeah! The oldest building in the city is the Temple of Debod, brought from Egypt at the end of the 60s. The oldest indigenous building is, however, far from the tourist focus: in the heart of the Carabanchel neighborhood stands the Hermitage of Santa María La Antigua, built in the 13C. Go see it

In Madrid’s Berlin Park you can admire remains of the famous wall that divided the German capital for decades. The shortest street in Madrid is perpendicular to the most famous one: its name is Rompelanzas, it is barely twenty meters long and is located halfway along Calle Preciados between Callao and Sol. Yes indeed!

At the Puerta de la Torre de los Lujanes (15C), the oldest civil building in Madrid, there are stonemason marks, symbols that identified the artisans or workshops that carved the ashlars that were placed in homes or churches and that they facilitated the collection of the work carried out, in addition to publicizing them.

There are rarely seen views, such as those enjoyed from the Cuña de O’Donnell park, similar to those enjoyed from the better-known Cerro del Tío Pío park or the Siete Tetas park, but with a different perspective. You can also visit housing colonies from the end of the 19C and the 20s and 30s of the 20C outside the center. For example, what remains of the Madrid Moderno neighborhood, located in La Guindalera, is an authentic and surprising marvel of style neo-Mudejar and modernism. The Cuña de O’Donnell park is a new extention very nicely done and located at Cemetery Nuestra Señora de La Almudena, bounded by the extension of Calle O’Donnell street to the north, by Calle Doctor García Tapia and Calle José Bergamín to the south, to the east by Calle Fuente Carrantona and to the west by Calle Arroyo de la Media Legua. Enjoy it

The vast majority of the time they look for good, beautiful and cheap places, both for informal meetings and for work meetings or hangouts with friends, now that the afternoon is taking so much, or even an appointment – whichever has one. Now in crisis we look more at our pockets, but we do not resign ourselves to stop going out, because socialization with restrictions has become, more than ever, a moment of evasion where we can forget the coronavirus, always respecting security measures and with the utmost care. Yeah life goes on and these two are great places enjoy it.

To create a gourmet space with a shop, restaurant and cafeteria where quality products reign in Chamberí district of Madrid. You can go to breakfast and go out having bought the bread, tomatoes from the garden, sausage or smoked oil made by them with their own machine, have some incredible wines with mussels and anchovies, which come out of the can to your mouth whole, and finish with a bite of homemade torrijas or Pão de Ló following the traditional Portuguese recipe. D.Origen Calle Gaztambide, 62, Madrid. Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/d.origengourmet/

Various differentiated and minimalist environments to be at ease with interpersonal distance and a renewed Spanish cuisine menu, with starters such as black pudding fritters with honey tears, confit artichokes or grilled foie with caramelised onion and low-temperature egg. To continue, fish, meat and healthy and current dishes such as avocado and tomato tartare. Its winery stands out, with the main Spanish denominations of origin, and the house wine especially, a selection from the Martínez Lacuesta winery, in Rioja. En Recoletos. Calle Recoletos, 13 Madrid.Their webpage: https://www.enrecoletosrestaurante.com/

They are the restaurants with the best wine cellars’s lists in Spain. My favorites are:

ATRIO (Cáceres) . More than 4,000 references, including 42 vintages from Mouton-Rothschild, 27 from Latour, 23 from Petrus … and 80 from the mythical Château d’Yquem, the largest collection in the world outside the winery, which can be visited in a small chapel and which started in 1806. Every year, the restaurant’s updated wine book is published, a bibliophile gem.Yes indeed; have it! Webpage: https://restauranteatrio.com/en/the-wine-cellar/

LAVINIA (Madrid); the favorite still in my Madrid.   In its more than a thousand square meters, the largest wine store in Spain houses more than 4,500 wines from all over the world and from all price ranges. All, absolutely all, can be consumed in the local bistro ,which has a pleasant urban terrace at store prices! webpage: https://www.lavinia.es/es/paginas/tiendas-7

REKONDO (San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa). Unanimously recognized as one of the best wineries in the world, it responds to the passion for wine of Txomin Rekondo, who comments on the restaurant’s website: “In 1964, I decided to turn my hobby into my way of life and that’s how the Rekondo winery was born. Since then we have continued to buy wine from all over the world and improve our offering. ” In that time, it has collected thousands of bottles from more than 20 countries, among which the old vintages of great Rioja classics stand out. Another historical and great town too. Webpage: https://www.rekondo.com/en/the-wine-cellar/

I told you in previous post and the work continues as the Prado Museum reinvents its future with more social painting, more history and more women. The gallery is preparing the rearrangement of a good part of its exhibits. This is ongoing and when re open it will be a new Prado.To be seen a must!

And great news in this mess of the pandemia!  The great dream of the gallery owner Helga de Alvear is finally a reality; she opens her new museum of contemporary art in Cáceres after an investment of 10 million euros, almost half supported by institutional support from the Junta de Extremadura.

Nestled in the heart of the monumental city, with an area of 5,000 m2 (8,000 with a garden and provision for storage), the first exhibition – which will be inaugurated today Thursday by the Kings of Spain. It houses 200 works selected from the nearly 3,000 that the collector of German origin (Rhineland, 1936) since she settled in Spain in 1957. A new building with wide ceilings that houses the most complete private collection of contemporary art that currently exists in Europe. The new building houses a selection of works by artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Pablo Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Wassily Kandinsky, Helena Almeida and Ai Weiwei, among others. Another room has also been designed for Francisco de Goya, through the first edition of Sus Caprichos (whims), to disseminate his influence on modern and contemporary art. A first phase of rehabilitation of the so-called Casa Grande, of 3,000 square meters, where until now the Helga de Alvear Foundation has exhibited. The building of the Museum of Contemporary Art; subsequently, a construction of another 15,000 m2 was projected for this new one. Part of the garden has yet to be completed and a warehouse and offices have been prepared. The building will have three entrances. The idea was to join the old city of Cáceres in a corridor, from Calle Pizarro street, to the extension that represents the access through Calle Camino Llano. The webpage of the Helga de Alvear Foundationhttp://fundacionhelgadealvear.es/en/expositions/helga-de-alvear-collection/

Some drawing from Dali found!! The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955) is one of Dalí’s most popular works. It is in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington. It is a vast representation of the Last Supper in which an ethereal torso with outstretched arms, possibly the risen Christ, hovers over the seated figures of Christ and the apostles. An alleged unpublished sketch of this work has come to light, along with two others related to the artist’s religious-themed works: ‘Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)’, in which he painted Gala as a devotional figure before a crucified Christ, and ‘Calavera de Zurbarán’, his homage to the 17C Spanish master. Yesterday, the Gala-Salvador Dalí de Figueras Foundation did not want to comment on these unpublished items as it had not been able to see them yet. Keep an eye on it as this can be a great find and more reason to visit when possible. The foundation webpage: https://www.salvador-dali.org/en/dali-foundation/

Somthing to keep in mind for when will be possible to travel again in my beloved Spain. Some fortresses and castles of architectural and historical value I like, many with individual posts in my blog. Enjoy it

Most impressive fortresses in Spain, me think are

The Alcazaba of La Alhambra, (Granada) is, together with the Torres Bermejas, the oldest part of the Granada monumental site. Built in the 9C, it was dedicated to the surveillance and control of the city as well as the habitual residence of the elite army. It served not only for defence against enemies but also against internal uprisings. This great wall allowed that, even with the fall of the protected city, the citadel resisted during a long period. In the enclosure you can visit the Quebrada towers, the Homage towers and the famous Torre de la Vela.

The Alcàzar de los Reyes Cristianos (Cordoba). Stands next to the impressive Mosque which Alfonso XI restored this fortress that was part of the Caliphal palace and that, after being destroyed by the troops of Fernando III el Santo, in 1328. It preserves the keep and rooms with Roman mosaics and furniture old, as well as some beautiful gardens with Mudejar pools and fountains.

The Alcàzar de Jerez de la Frontera (Càdiz). Located opposite the cathedral, this 11C Arab fortification preserves seven towers (of the twelve it originally had) as well as two gates, the Ciudad (City) and the Campo (Country). Inside, the Chapel of Santa María stands out, a Christian transformation of an old mosque, as well as some Arab baths and a Renaissance palace.

The Alcazaba de Màlaga.(Màlaga) This defensive citadel is the main Arab monument in Malaga. Of the three original wall canvases ordered to be built by the Abderramán de Córdoba, two remain, set with defensive towers and with several access gates. The fortress is completed with three palaces whose workmanship recalls that of the Alhambra in Granada. Inside is the Archaeological Museum of Malaga.

The Alcàzar de Molina de Aragon (Guadalajara). This town with an intense border history between Castile and Aragon, and sensational natural landscapes preserves as its most representative monument a fortress with a castle, walls and the so-called Tower of Aragon. A spacious and elegant complex built by the Andalusians on an old Celtiberian fort between the 10C and 11C and which served as a bastion for the important Señorío de Molina, almost an independent nation of Castile and Aragon- in the 14C.

The Alcàzar de Segovia (Segovia). Between the Eresma and Clamores rivers, this imposing fortress dates back to pre-Roman times. It was rebuilt in the 13C as a royal palace, expanded in a Gothic style and endowed with a Herrerian air with Central European touches by king Felipe II. Completely restored in 1951 after the fire that ravaged it at the end of the 19C, its imposing location is joined by a spectacular interior: the Patio de Armas, the Throne Room, the Galera room or the Kings room, adorned with a luxurious frieze that recreates the original.

The Alcàzar de Toledo (Toledo). Erected at the wish of king Carlos V on the remains of previous fortresses, it was the architect Alonso de Covarrubias who gave the fortress its current plan in 1537. A quadrangular shape with four powerful towers. Successive fires and an underground charge of dynamite during the Spanish Civil War almost led to its destruction. After successive interventions it regained its splendor and in recent decades it has hosted the Army Museum and, more recently, the Library of Castilla-La Mancha, considered the second most important in the country behind the National Library!

You might have read heard or visit them and should know ,Spain has one of the richest palace heritages in Europe some of my favorites are:

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Madrid). It was practically destroyed after being destroyed by fire in 1748, but this residence of the Spanish royalty remains so spectacular that many guides refer to it as “the Spanish Versailles”. It was king Felipe II who entrusted the task of building the palace (as he did with the El Escorial Monastery) to his trusted architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo. He devised a beautiful French-style complex where its dazzling gardens and fountains stand out.

The Nazari palaces of Granada (Granada). In the list of the most beautiful palaces in Spain, the Nasrid Palaces (Comares and Los Leones) located inside the Alhambra in Granada, one of the wonders not only of Spain but of the whole world, could not be missing. These two Andalusian complexes with patios and gardens so impressed the Catholic Monarchs that they established their residence here after the conquest of the Nasrid kingdom.

The Granja de San Ildefonso of Segovia (Segovia). About 13 km from Segovia is the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, a majestic residence built by order of King Felipe V (born in Versailles). The first Bourbon monarch brought a taste for elegant palaces from France and decided to apply it to this architectural jewel , entrusting the project to the architect Teodoro Ardemans. Often call the Little Versailles.

The Palace of the Infantado (Guadalajara). The Palace of the Dukes of Infantado is a 15C building ordered to be built by Íñigo López de Mendoza y Luna, second Duke of Infantado, in Guadalajara. It is an Elizabethan Gothic style palace with Renaissance elements, such as the diamond points that decorate its façade. The exterior beauty of the palace is sublime, but the interior has nothing to envy. Its rooms are arranged around a splendid patio with a beautiful Gothic balcony.

The Royal Palace of Madrid (Madrid). Located where the Alcázar used to be, the Royal Palace of Madrid was ordered to be built by king Felipe V. The gossip then said that it was the monarch himself who caused the fire that destroyed the old Alcázar, in order to build this elegant palace in the French Baroque style . However, the king never came to live in it, since he died before its construction was completed. On the other hand, the Royal Palace is not only one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain: it is also the largest royal palace in all of Western Europe (double the area of Buckingham Palace and Versailles Palace).

And there you go folks a bit on my beloved Spain, some news and some must visit sights when possible. As you know if read my blog, an advertising campaign from the 80’s read and I like it, Spain , everything under the sun!! Enjoy Spain as we do! And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 24, 2021

The wines of Castilla La Mancha!

And love to come back to update this older post from my several trips to this region. Actually, I came to know the wines here late in life as started with those up north in Spain not to mention them by name here.  When I started coming to this region with the family several years back, the owner of the house we rented gave me a bottle of a local wine and it was not bad. Later checking in the Licoreria of Cuenca liquor store found out the price to my surprise it was a wine costing less than 10 euros!! I have been chasing down wines from this region ever since. I like to tell you a bit more on the wines of Castilla La Mancha!

I like to make my small contribution to the wines of La Mancha, and a bit story on wines of Spain in general.  My first ever taste of wine was by my maternal grandmother at my tender age of 8, and of course , it was Spanish wine from Tenerife. Ever since, my love for the drink has increase exponentially to the point of taken professional courses from the ICEX commercial office of Spain, and SOPEXA Food and Wine from France government entities over the years. I have tasted wines from many countries and even arrive of having my own small cellars averaging 50-100 bottles in the cave or basement cellar of my home as I write.

Wines are part of us, part of our culture ,and accompany with food of any kind they are always sublime, even on a hot day a glass of white or rosé is very good. Studies have repeatedly shown that the anti oxidant in red wines especially is good for your health, of course in moderation.  Spain has a strong old tradition on wines going back especially to the Romans. The wine business developed slowly with small families and the quality shows deficiency. However, as the country move up the ladder and investments came in, and more technically educated families began to get involved the quality has increase exponentially. Now the wines of Spain are all over the world even here in France my wine merchant has Spanish wines! And we buy them too!!!

My recollection of Castilla La Mancha was of very high alcohol content wines, cheaply made and quantity prime. As the years went by ,and my visits to the region increase, my tasting grew to the point that now there are several properties worthy of me buying and can recommend very good to all.  La Mancha is a Denominacion de Origen or DO area , an area designated to be of quality wines and you can see on the bottles the grayish black label on the back.  The areas are Toledo, Albacete, Cuenca, and Ciudad Real.  Going irrigated by the rivers Guadiana, Tajo, and Jucar ,and you have the biggest vineyards in the world with  about 400-600 000 hectares of grapes of which about 170 000 are under the DO La Mancha denomination. This makes it into the biggest vineyard area in Spain ,and it is known as the winery of  Europe or  “La Bodega de Europa”.  There are about 182 towns and more than 250 bodegas in it ,some with huge sizes. It is ,also, the biggest Spanish exporter of wine with 22% of their production exported. Surprise….!

You have them as in Spain in general the reds or Tintos  (we do not say red=rojo, tinto comes from how we name the grape tinto del pais ! that here it is call tempranillo ::)) . You have them jovenes or youngs, 60 days of ageing minimum, and crianza with 6 months ageing minimum, and reserva with 12 months of ageing minimum and gran reserva with 18 months ageing as minimum.  Of course, also, rosé or rosados, white or blancos, sparkling or espumosos, naturalmente dulces or naturally sweets. The region uses many kinds of grapes such as the whites: Airén, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Moscatel, Pedro Ximénez, Parellada, Torrontés, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and Viognier. The Reds or tintos such as Tempranillo, Garnacha, Moravia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Graciano, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. The last few years the harvest have been great and very good wines were produced, such as 2016 (Very Good) , 2017 (Excellent),2018 (Very Good), and 2019 (Very Good). 

The official wine regulation DO for wines of Castilla La Mancha in English : https://lamanchawines.com/en/

We drank the local La Mancha wines that were superb! all purchase in Cuenca at the La Licoreria store. There is a wholesale store just entering Cuenca by the bottle or box, we purchased there, and there is a regular liquor store of them in city center Cuenca. webpage: https://www.lalicoreriadecuenca.es/

Let me give some of the properties I seek and enjoy drinking over the years; of course this is my choices.The prices are from 2017.

Some of the pioneers of this region and the most famous is the Marqués de Griñon ,Carlos Falcó. Here is a brief story:  There is about 43 years ago that he planted the first grape in the area; it was a cabernet sauvignon that he hidden in his apples as at the time it was illegal to bring foreign grapes into Spain. Within the olives and flower trees of Toledo he set up the winery in the farm call  Pagos de Familia Marqués de Griñón, an extension of his family since 1292. The denomination of  Valdepusa, as his wines are label for the first simple wines bottled in Spain and today export to the world. Webpage: https://www.pagosdefamilia.es/html_en/vinos.html

toledo marques de grinon dom valdepusa 2010 red

We went over for a bottle of Finca La Estacada, from the Uclés area year 2014 red tempranillo Crianza 5,57€!  this was great yummy full and crafted in an old farm belonging to the descendants of queen Maria Cristina of Spain and widow of king Fernando VII. Acquired by the current owners in the mid 20C the family Cantarero Rodríguez ,winery from 2001. The complex now has bodega, hotel ,and restaurant. The wine like said is heavy powerful red full with raspberries and vanilla, light fruity tannins in mouth full body , great yummy in the end. Excellent price: quality value to grab by the case! webpage: https://www.fincalaestacada.com/los-vinos.html

cuenca-finca-la-estacada-red-2014-del-ucles-aug17

The Finca Antigua recommended by the rental house owners.  This winery is part of the great Spanish winegrowers Martinez Bujanda, very well known to me. The wines of Finca Antigua were first time tasted and we got several bottles due to the knowledge of the winemaker and the local recommendation. The winery is in the town of Los Hinojosos practically in the border of the provinces of Cuenca and Toledo in Castilla La Mancha of course. We first tried the Finca Antigua Cabernet Sauvignon Crianza 2014 and it was a bit light for our tastes; mineral hints from the cabernet but with nuances of dairy and undergrowth, indicating the freshness we obtain due to the altitude of the estate; grapes from Las Mejias lot. However, only 5,12€! worth it for the price. We moved up to the Finca Antigua Unico Crianza 2011, with cabernet sauvignon ,syrah, tempranillo, and merlot grapes.  This one was much better for our tastes. Highly intense dairy hints of yoghurt, toasty character with woodland hints oak spicy nutmeg clove and tobacco and slight toasted sensation. smooth creamy on the mouth, full bodied and rounded, well integrated acidity/alcohol and very balanced, long creamy finish, very fresh . Just fantastic at only 6,38€ to grab by the case! Finally, we have drank the Finca Antigua Reserva 2010 cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot.  Very intense, delightful sensations of fallen leaves with fresh mint, thyme, eucalyptus to the front. Touches of vanilla and dairy ,oak well integrated with the fruit hints of tobacco, leaf, juniper, aniseed, very elegant complex suggestive. The taste full and powerful great body with backbone very rich and pleasant, great for rich cuisine. We love it, and only 10,24€ to grab by the case!! webpage! https://fincaantigua.com/en/our-wines/

Then, we went for the unique Alejandro Fernandez  (Grupo Pesquera) a winemaker very well known to me and have met him, (now business run by granddaughters) this was again a first time drink on the El Vinculo 2011 Tempranillo red. The winery is near the windmills of Campo de Criptana (of Don Quijote fame) that was purchase a manchego typical house that was modernized into the winery or bodega in 1999.  The name of the wine is to make it close to the original bodega of the family in the Duero region ; El Vinculo= the tie end or link. The wine El Vinculo 2011 red tempranillo was aged for 18 months in American oak barrel and 6 months in the bottle. In the mouth has sweet tannins mark with a mature fruit and an explosion of cherries, blackberries and blueberries. Wonderful and price at 10,16€ is a bargain to grab by the case! webpage: https://familiafernandezrivera.com/fr/el-vinculo-9/

cuenca-el-vinculo-2011-crianza-alejandro-fernandez-mancha-aug17

My sneaky sons already had the  Calzadilla Classic 2010 out for drinking and we did!  This is the property we tried to visit twice in last two years and always closed in August even if we did call ahead to see it. Well , we purchase the bottles at La Licoreria and tried the red wine.  Their site tells us in Spanish and I translated, the Bodega under the name of Bodega Familiar Uribes Madero is born in 1980 and the first bottle under Calzadilla does not come than in 1992. Today at  Pago Calzadilla  you have 26 hectares of which 20 are dedicated to the vineyard with a production of 100K kg of grape to produce the tintos or reds.   The Calzadilla Classic 2010 is done with Tempranillo 60%, Cabernet-Sauvignon 20%,  Syrah 10%, and Garnacha 10%. Harvest from land parcels name Fogón,   Aldehuela, Bildorado, Chocilla del Vinagre, and Viña Olivos.  The taste is of the lighter variety,not our favorite on this bottle but nice nevertheless.  The color is deep red with aromas of prune, raspberries, and white fruits like pear. You see the eucalyptus and tobacco, vanilla, and glycerine. Fruity sensation by the mouth from beginning to end .  Round  , balance with good acidity , long and expressive final. I just need to add was light texture with hints of wood, and high tannins still in it. Price at 12,71€ is ok but can do better cheaper. Webpage: https://www.pagocalzadilla.com/

cuenca-pago-calzadilla-classic-red-2010-frontside-aug17

Other nice bottles we had over the years were from lesser known properties such as the cooperative or Cooperativa Virgen de las Viñas, the biggest in Europe and maybe the world, presided by Rafael Torres.  In the bodega of Tomesollo, (Ciudad Real) built in 1961 with 17 farmers and 300K kg of grape, following year 6M kg and now more than 200M kg of grape!  Managing an area with 3000 farmer associates and about 7000 families in  Castilla-La Mancha. We had tried the Rua tintos. webpage: https://cooperativarua.com/

An anecdote, the wine labels  Oristan Crianza (tried) , and  Marqués de Toledo Reserva  (not tried) from the Bodegas Lozano, were prized with double gold and silver at the  Sakura Wine Awards 2017,the most important wine competition in Japan and Asia with a jury all of women; they tasted almost 5000 wines!! webpage:https://bodegas-lozano.com/en/vinos/

Of course, all these wines were tried on site when possible and brought home !!! and we are waiting patiently to be back for more as these cannot find in my area of Morbihan! But we have still in bottle Dominio de Valdepusa , Marqués de Griñon , and Pago Calzadilla Allegro 2007. Again, all these wines are great to buy and drink, the price/quality ratio is huge, and bargains of gastronomic proportions; La Mancha is it, and Spain is stepping out. Drink with moderation but drink wines is good for you too.

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

February 24, 2021

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

I have truly enjoyed updating these old posts in my blog, and thank you for reading me. This one ranks up there as memories flash back as I write. It was a very moving moment in my life and plenty of anecdotes in my blog on it. For now let me bring back again my dear Madrid, it’s a love affair from childhood and forever!

Ok , as the nostalgic season is continuing and I am on the mood of remembrance, I need to tell you about Madrid. I arrived on December 30 1970 and left on May 10 1974, it was a shocking beautiful experience, still very much in me.

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

So here I am again to speak about the city of Madrid again. I have several posts on it ,but some are older ,from my beginning blogging. This is their story, my story.  I am not going to go into full lenght on what is Madrid to me. It was simply a early teen view of a new surrounding, once told by grandparents and now visually upon me back in 1970.

I grew up there at Calle de Alcalà 331 , 2do A ,Buzon 67, metro Quintana line 5 just out of the metro. Nearby is Plaza Quintana, and our closest park was Parque el Calero. Going to the sports complex Elipa  was fun on the bus P13 now name 113. Docamar the best patatas bravas of Madrid since 1963 are still there! Calzados Victor at 238 Alcalà my mom purchased my first shoes in Spain there, and ever since, I stop by and already got my boys shoes there too. The beltway or first one the M30 was finished by 1974 when I left Madrid. It was nice to walk all the way to the Monumental Ventas bullring.

It was a nice quiet working class neighborhood part of district Ciudad Lineal, and now drastically change, almost beyond recognition even thus I do stop by for memories’s sake.  I still remember the elevator/lift in my piso/apartment you could take it up but not down, it was from the belle epoque era very nice but old and rusty. We were only on the second floor (3rd US).

Anyway, I get very sentimental just talking about the city.  As the saying goes; From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!!! yes!!

There, now do enjoy Madrid to the fullest, as in Spain, everything is under the Sun.  Plenty of pictures on Madrid elsewhere in my blog, I leave you with my passport id photo for arriving in Madrid !!!!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Hope you enjoy the short introduction, there is a lot more on my doings and goings there in my blog. Madrid is more than just a tourist city for me, it is like home! Capital of the kingdom of Spain and everything in Spain can be found there.

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

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February 23, 2021

La Coruña, Galicia in Spain!

And coming back to a wonderful area of my beloved Spain updating/revising my older post from 2017. I have been here several times and many good friends still in touch; also several other posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy this update on La Coruña as I bringing back many nice memories.

As it goes, I did a round trip in reverse really due to airline pricing. La Coruña is a nice place, each time visited it makes you come back already, this time I venture into the city center and it was magical.  I went from Nantes to Porto , and then drove around in Portugal , finally doing the run by car from near Porto to La Coruña and leaving from it on Transavia to Nantes lol!

The airport at La Coruña is smallist and nice easy in and out. webpage: http://www.aena.es/en/a-coruna-airport/airport-guide.html

I was driven there by friends so no public transports this time. And of course I stayed in my usual hotel, Attica21 in Matogrande neighborhood. A great hotel with friendly service, modern facilities, and good breakfast food all you eat as well as a super neighborhood! webpage: https://www.attica21hotels.com/en/hotel-attica21-coruna/

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By car crossing into Spain was marvelous with viaducs, mountains and old castles hanging on cliffs overlooking the road A1 into the A3 and then the A55, A52 to N120, and the corridor CG 2,2 ! great ride! We reach the town of Sarria.

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From Sarria we end up in A Coruña to check into the hotel and then out to eat and walk the Plaza de Bombilla with the great obelisk or Obelisco de los Cantones. More on the story here at the association commercial zone Obelisk in Spanish here:http://www.zonaobelisco.com/Nzona.asp

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Nearby we parked on parking los Cantones , at Canton Grande street, very nice size ,secure and easy walking into the old town area. There is an area around it call Cantones Village, and here it is loaded with brand shops, restaurants, bars, and the biggest discothèque in the city.

We went by the famous La Bombilla restaurant at Rua Galera in old town, this was told is a classic all visitors to La Coruña should come (A Coruña in the local Galician language). We had some tapas with omelette and chorizo here and the local beer Estrella Galicia. Just great and good friendly service. As told in one of my previous posts this had a family feud and new members are trying to open it even at a different address. For now they are still there check before going.

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We moved on to a more sturdy meal at Alma Negra restaurant, where we had a Racion full of cold cuts, cheeses, and cold meats all wash down with a great 2014 Juan Gil red wine from Jumilla.  Just wonderful indeed and friendly service, excellent food and good ambiance one is in Calle Barrera,13. Webpage: https://www.conceptonegra.com/

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We finish the night at Alquimia for some small tapas and red wine from the house, quick and easy nice the way things are done there, easy does it life is beautiful as we say La Vida es Chula!! As web not working need to check before going if still open as the virus change things all over. Here as part of the history of this visit.

And this time was the hour to head to the hotel for some minimum rest ::) before taking off for Lisbon where my flight on TAP by White Airways! was so late missed my flight and had to stay one night in Lisbon ! (see post) ,and come back on TAP next day early.

The La Coruña tourist office in English: https://www.turismocoruna.com/web/

The Galicia tourist board on La Coruña in English: https://www.turismo.gal/que-visitar/cidades/a-coruna?langId=en_US

And there you go another dandy gastronomic delight to wonderful La Coruña Galicia Spain ; looking forward to be back as soon as possible. Again, hope you enjoy the tour of the other green of Galicia!

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

February 15, 2021

Museo Cerralbo , Madrid!!!

Here we all go to the big ones first, then we try the others, and many times the others look feel better. In my beloved Madrid, where I lived did not was into museums been a young men of other persuasions however with time continue visiting grew older and wiser me think and did get to see the museums of Madrid. This one is very nice and recommended and would like to update an older post on the Museo Cerralbo!

And here we have a museum a bit away from the mainstream but worth the detour. I must said the last time here was way back probably in the 1990’s. However, as visited wanted my boys to see it too and continue the family tradition.  We came to the Museo Cerralbo at Calle Ventura Rodriguez 17 right off the Plaza de España! yet on a small street Calle Ferraz. You can get here on the metro Ventura Rodríguez , line 3 or Plaza de España line 3 and 10Príncipe Pío  lines 6 and 10 as well as Cercanais trains at Príncipe Pío, lines C1, C7 , and C10.

Madrid

The Museo Cerralbo is a Spanish national museum and it houses the old private collection of works of art, archaeological objects and other antiques gathered by Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, 17th Marquis de Cerralbo, who practiced politics, but, above all, is remembered for his role as historian and promoter of various archaeological excavations. The Cerralbo is considered an environment museum, that is, it presents the uniqueness of being one of the few 19C palaces of Madrid that still retains its original decoration.  The marquis died in 1922 and, in his will, bequeathed the vast majority of his archeology pieces to the National Archaeological Museum and the National Museum of Natural Sciences, as well as the rest of his collection and the palace built between 1883 and 1893 to the State, which accepted the testamentary legacy. The building, opened as a museum in 1944.

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Inside, more than 50,000 objects are preserved, including antiques, sculptures, furniture, various decorative arts, drawings and prints or paintings, where great names such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Bronzino, Tintoretto or Van Dyck stand out. The garden, based on sketches by the Marquis himself, evokes the romantic English-style gardens. Nowadays, the decoration of the main floor is conserved almost completely which includes, among others, a sumptuous ballroom – while the most private rooms underwent successive changes due to use. They have finally been recovered with their original furniture and other antiques acquired recently.

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Above all the schools, the Spanish painting collection stands out, since of the pictorial ensemble that is preserved in the museum, almost half corresponds to works due to Spanish artists. The Immaculate of Francisco de Zurbarán, La Piedad de Alonso Cano, a copy of an original by Van Dyck, or Jacob with Laban’s herd from the workshop of José de Ribera whose original is preserved in the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, as well as, from the Renaissance, a San Francisco in ecstasy of El Greco.  Within the foreign collections, Italian painting has a special role, with relevant examples ranging from the 16C to the 18C. They highlight a portrait of Alejandro de Médici, revealed as an original by Bronzino or La Resurección de Cristo (resurrection of Christ) , an unpublished piece, to date, of Corrado Giaquinto. One of the most valuable pieces in the collection is precisely the Portrait of a Gentleman from Tintoretto, acquired by the marquis, probably, back in 1884. The other European schools have a practically testimonial presence. However, works such as La Virgen con el Niño, (the Virgin and the Child) the work of the Genoese school by Anton van Dyck stand out and were revealed, after a restoration process, as the painter’s original in December 2017.

The Cerralbo Museum also has a valuable set of drawings, which includes outstanding examples of the Spanish, Italian, Flemish and French schools. This museum houses sculptures from Roman times, Greek ceramics, Meissen porcelains, European and Eastern weapons and armor, numismatics from Greco-Roman times, etc.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Madrid tourist office on the Cerralbo Museumhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/cerralbo-museum

The official Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain on the Cerralbo Museumhttp://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/mcerralbo/home.html

And voilà, you have another dandy monument to visit in Madrid. The city is awesome , always vibrant and plenty of architecture, history and the arts to keep you busy forever. Enjoy this Cerralbo Museum of Madrid

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

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February 15, 2021

Casa de America, Madrid!!

In my continuing saga of updating older posts in my blog I bring you back to my beloved Madrid! Yes culture and history are part of any society and without understand it, you are doom for errors or least more of them. This is a cultural center of the Americas in Madrid where all countries of Latin America can meet and exchange culture, arts, theater, and conditions; it is a must while in Madrid to understand the whole of the American conscience (American is the sense of the continent). Let me tell you a bit on the Casa de America of Madrid!

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A place to visit for the culture and understanding  a lot more than just a tourist sight, even if many things will help you understand the things you see as a tourist/visitor of my Americas. I have touch briefly before, but I like to tell you a bit more on the Casa America.

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The Casa de America is a consortium created in 1990 and integrated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  the community of Madrid and the city of Madrid. It is coordinated through the Governing Council, the upper management body of the Consortium and the delegated commission of that Governing Council formed by a representative of each of the three institutions plus the Director General or General Manager.

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A bit of the history I like

This consortium has the headquarters of the Palacio de Linares in Madrid.  It is located in the district of Salamanca, in the northeast corner of Plaza de Cibeles, on which opens the main entrance, between the Paseo de Recoletos and the Calle de Alcalá (my street!).  The Murga family’s fortune declined after the Marquis ‘ death in 1902, and the palace, damaged during the Spanish Civil war, was about to be demolished when it was classified as a historic monument in 1976.  It escaped destruction but remains abandoned for many years.  This palace built in 1873 for the Murga family is impressive. Baroque style, it was completely renovated in 1992. One of the peculiarities of this palace is the Casa de Muñecas, or the house of dolls; located in the interior patio of the palace, it was built by the Marquis de Linares for his adopted daughter Raimondita.

Casa de America is a public consortium that aims to strengthen ties between Spain and the Americas, especially with Latin America. This approach is encouraged through the organization of seminars, conferences, roundtables, exhibitions, lectures, projections, concerts, symposia, presentations, workshops, etc.

The Casa de America Consortium was founded in 1990, on the occasion of the preparations for the celebrations of the 5th centenary of the discovery of the Americas (by Europeans)  by Columbus.  The headquarters of Casa de America hosted the 2nd Ibero-American Summit in July 1992. S.M. King Don Juan Carlos I and the Heads of State and Government who participated in the summit inaugurated the institution.  The Casa America has since received the most important personalities of the continent: leaders, politicians, economists, authors, sociologists, artists, etc

The activity of the institution is divided into two areas: American Tribune and American Athenaeum.  American Tribune: It focuses on the diplomatic and institutional sphere by emphasizing political-social, economic, scientific, technological and general thinking issues. American Athenaeum: Focuses on the cultural field, and its activities revolve around cinema, literature, music, the visual arts and scenic.

Some webpages to help you enjoy this place fully are:

The official webpage of Casa de Americahttp://www.casamerica.es/

The Madrid tourist office on Casa de Americahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/casa-america

During the visit you can see the different rooms of the palace accompanied by specialists in history and art, and you can, also discover the stories and legends related to the building. Visits can be made in English, Spanish and in mixed groups. Saturdays and Sundays at 11h, 12h ,13h. Buy your tickets directly at Casa de América information point from Monday to Friday from 11h30 to 14h30 and from 16h30 to 19h30.  General admission: 8€. There is now a nice Raimunda restaurant on site.

There you go another jewel in a very nice area of Madrid, not far from my old home when living there. Its a cultural center in a cultural city, enjoy it

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

February 15, 2021

Church of Our Lady of the Assomption, San Clemente!

And this was a wonderful experience and we came back. On my road warrior rides in the Province of Cuenca, Autonomous Community of Castilla La Mancha, Kingdom of Spain i came upon San Clemente! There are other posts on the town in my blog, this one is on one of its monuments from 2017. I like to update/revise text and links; hope you enjoy as I.

And I bring you down to my beloved Spain again, this is going south of Madrid of Don Quijote dreams and stories. The land is arid and long but the views natural and men made are spectacular. The area of San Clemente is sublime; with lots of memories of family visits, always to be remembered.  I like to tell you a bit more on a nice monument there ,that again needs more showing in my opinion. The Church Monastery of Our Lady of the Assomption or Iglesia Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion in San Clemente!

San Clemente is a wonderful back door town ; the ones my grandparents told me and love to see them again all over Spain. Historically the region was known as the Mancha Alta, within the Mancha de Montearagón, a place name that would come from the fact that the Castilians who traveled to Valencia (which had already been conquered by Jaime I of Aragón in 1238) rode more so climbed  towards Aragón, when passing through this territory, located at a higher altitude. It is located at 110 km from Cuenca, and 80 km from Albacete, on the banks of the Rus River and at the convergence of the A-43 and AP-36 highways. You can get here on the A-3 (autovia de Valencia-Madrid) taking the regional road CM-3112 and crossing the villages of El Cañavate and Villar de Cantos until you reach the town. The national road N-310 crosses the urban nucleus, a link between the towns of Manzanares (Ciudad Real) and Villanueva de la Jara.(see post) All lovely country.

A bit of history I like on San Clemente

An important fact in the history of San Clemente lies in the war that the Catholic Monarchs maintained against the followers of Juana La Beltraneja, aspiring to the throne that Queen Isabel (I) la Católica held between the years 1476-1479, among whose followers was Don Diego Pacheco, Marquis de Villena  In this confrontation, the town of San Clemente decided to support Isabel the Catholic and reveals herself against the power of the Marquis of Villena. Once the war ended with victory for the Isabelite’s side, the support that San Clemente gave her helped the Catholic Monarchs to decide to incorporate the town of San Clemente into the crown, making it a kingdom and granting it independence from the town of Alarcón (see post) . It received the visit of the Catholic Monarchs on August 9, 1488, a visit in which, as a symbol of gratitude for the support given, they confirmed the privileges that had previously been granted to them, swearing to save and make order to keep all things and mercies and privileges that said town had .

During the War of Succession, it was the headquarters of General Duke of  Berwich, showing with remarkable armed help to show its loyalty to king Felipe V, who granted the town the title of Very Noble, Very Loyal and Faithful Villa. Already in the 19C, during the War of Independence (1808-1814), it was a town very worked by the French, since here Napoleon ordered the Frère division, with orders to reinforce the Moncey detachments that operated in Valencia and of Dupont, who was in Andalusia.  However, as several mails and offices intercepted by the French testify, the Frére division was unable to carry out its mission due to the magnitude of the routes and the difficulty of communications as well as the suffering inflicted by the inhabitants of San Clemente, among which the local hero Bibiano Hellín, whom  the writer Pérez Galdós cites in the National Episodes. During the Spanish Civil War, an airfield  was built in San Clemente. The 3rd squadron of Bombers group  12 of  Russians Tupolev SB-2 (katiuska) and some biplane fighters Polikarpov I-15, the flat ones were established there by the Republicans faction.

And now on the feature presentation! the Church Monastery of Our Lady of the Assomption.

The Monastery Church of Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion  was founded in 1523 as a convent belonging to the order of Santa Clara. The last Clarisse sisters left it at the beginning of the 21C. It is currently occupied by a small congregation of Carmelite sisters of the Sacred Family (Sagrada Familia). Its interior keeps the most beautiful cloister of all the convents of the town.

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It has an irregular floor building consisting of church and convent around a high quality cloister, of which only two sides remain. The façade is composed of a large masonry factory where four ashlar buttresses are visible. The main doorway is a semicircular arch between pilasters that holds a niche. The most beautiful Cloister inside although only two lateral ones remain. Made in masonry, highlight the ashlars of its buttresses, as well as the cover, whose niche can be seen a carving of San Francisco de Asis.(St Francis of Assisi).

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The Convent Monastery of Our Lady of the Assomption was born of the devotion of a mysterious local  widow, known by Melchora, who was followed in her ministry by two devout women, called the Toledanas (of Toledo). It has been told of this adventure, with the support of the Provincial of the Franciscans, who sent a religious from Villanueva de los Infantes,  Ana Sánchez, to form the trio of the pious in the Franciscan Observance. The decision was wrong. Well because of differences in interests or because of temperament between the Melchora and the religious of Villanueva, the first cohabitation ended with the expulsion of Ana from the house of Melchora, the first place of residence of the Beatas. A new settlement was sought, this time, without the temperamental Melchora, in the houses ceded by Martín Ruiz de Villamediana, a knight who arrived from Tierra de Campos. In spite of this lodging and some income , the relationsjips in the convent was very difficult. The disagreements continued later; perhaps that was the reason for the departure twenty years after of Ana Sánchez to Villanueva de los Infantes. The convent would only be consolidated by the retirement and inheritance provided by Mrs. Isabel de Pedrola, which allowed the construction of the convent church in the last quarter of the 16C. Always a nice story behind these old wonderful monuments.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and its worth the detour are:

The tourist office of San Clemente on its heritage: http://www.turismosanclemente.com/es/edificios-religiosos.zhtm

The tourist board of the region of Castilla La Mancha on the church: http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/iglesia-gotico-renacentista-de-nuestra-senora-de-la-asuncion-89964/descripcion/

There you go ,another dandy in my Castilla La ManchaKingdom of Spain, or Spain everything under the Sun. A nice stop at San Clemente indeed , more written in my blog on nice experiences here. Enjoy the Church Monastery of Our Lady of the Assomption.

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

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February 13, 2021

Some news from Spain XCVIIII

And this is my latest news from my beloved Spain. Still in the unfortunate situation of not traveling, and even if do most will be closed. Hopefully next summer all will be back to some normality everywhere. As for now, some items to help us plan for the future and enjoy Spain, everything under the sun!

The prettiest train stations in Spain me think

The Atocha Station of Madrid. Known as the Estacion del Mediodia ( midday station)  or Estacion del Sur (south station) in the mid-19C, as a result of a fire that ravaged the original building, the current Atocha station was built, made in 1892. It is a large 152 meter long nave with a curved roof and a glass facade. A classic see post.

Estacion del Norte in Bilbao (North station).  Also known as Abando Indalecio Prieto, inside the station stands out the large window with motifs from the life and customs of the town, which summarizes the history of Bilbao: it contains references to the Basilica of Begoña, the bridge of San Antón, the hamlets, the iron and steel industry, fishing, sports etc.

Canfranc Station, Huesca. Like a gigantic Titanic stranded in the mountains, with its more than 241 meters in length, its 365 windows and its 156 double doors, the Canfranc International Station was the second largest in Europe. To build this modernist-style pharaonic work, the workers removed millions of cubic meters of earth and planted thousands of Albares pines. They also channeled the Aragón river and made a tunnel almost six km long: the Somport.(see post) It has been closed for more than half a century. Passed by it crossing into Spain see several mentions of it in my blog.

Cartagena station, Murcia. The Cartagena train station dates back to the beginning of the 20C, when the city experienced a true boom in modernist architecture due to the Indianos (Spaniards coming back from the Americas) who returned with great fortunes from America. In the building as a whole, the columns and decorative ceramics stand out, as well as the large clock on the arch of the main facade. Currently on its four tracks, with three platforms in total, the Talgo and Altaria trains circulate, as well as medium-distance services.

France Station,(França)  Barcelona. Inaugurated in 1929 on the occasion of the Barcelona International Exhibition, the France station is one of the most important exponents of modernist iron architecture in Barcelona. Located in the Born neighborhood. The double metal canopy with stained glass windows that makes possible the spectacular effect of natural light on the twelve routes that compose it stands out. Walked by it but never inside

Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz. Its construction at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the following decade recreate a neo-Renaissance Andalusian mansion, in a combination of Mudejar and Plateresque styles. Was by there but missed going in to see will have on my list.

Toledo station. This beautiful monumental station built at the request of king Alfonso XIII in 1917 on the old station of the city of 1858 stands out for its neo-Mudejar architecture and elements such as the clock tower. Inside, coffered ceilings, plasterwork and baseboards and the chiselled the locksmith, lamps and wall lights. In 2005 the station was restored on the occasion of the arrival of the high-speed train. Wonderful pretty station see post.

Estacion del Norte, (North) Valencia Inaugurated in 1917 after ten years of work, the Valencia station is one of the best examples of our civil architecture. Modernist in style, within the current Vienna Secession. See the numerous handcrafted details: the lobby with a meticulous design of the wooden lockers and wainscoting, mosaic inlays and ceramic decorations with an abundance of Trencadís, tiles … while the roof and the delicate geometric shapes of its façade show the effort so that all objects were a work of art in themselves. Very nice station see post.

Zamora Station. Considered one of the most beautiful stations in Spain, its works began in 1927 but due to successive interruptions it was not inaugurated until 1958, a year after the Medina del Campo-Zamora-Orense-Vigo line was put into service. Its façade hides a caricature of the Catholic Monarchs and is a jewel of Renaissance inspiration, whose arcades and openwork windows are reminiscent of the late Gothic style.

The tourist activities platform Musement has developed a ranking with the most popular towns in each Spanish province. All Spanish towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants were taken into consideration according to the INE and the data from the search volume in Google for the term “what to see in [town’s name]. A good idea to have in mind now for when will be possible to travel again.

For travelers who prefer to visit small towns but with much to offer, Guadalest (Alicante), Pedraza (Segovia), Miravet (Tarragona) and Medinaceli (Soria) are the ideal option, since they do not reach 1,000 inhabitants and have numerous places of interest.

Among the most popular towns, it is worth highlighting Peñíscola, the beautiful coastal town in the province of Castellón. Although it is not the only town by the sea that conquers hearts. Llanes, the beautiful fishing village of Asturias or Hondarribia (Guipúzcoa), with the colorful balconies of its typical houses, also triumph inside and outside its provinces.

Mountain and outdoor lovers will be happy to see on the map Jaca (Huesca), yes! Cervera de Pisuerga (Palencia), Albarracín (Teruel)  yes! or Cazorla (Jaén), destinations that allow combining cultural visits and activities in nature. Following in the footsteps of the ingenious gentleman Don Quijote de La Mancha in Consuegra (Toledo),yes!  discovering the Ruta de los Conquistadores in Trujillo (Cáceres) yes! or savoring the best wines in Cambados (Pontevedra), Haro (La Rioja) and Laguardia (Álava) are just some of the plans and experiences that can be enjoyed in the most popular towns of each Spanish province.

More on the Musement webpage here:https://blog.musement.com/es/50-pueblos-bonitos-en-espana/

Some late wines to recommend and hopefully you can get where you are !

Juan Gil Etiqueta Plata 2018 (Jumilla, about 11 € in Spain). Viñas Familia Gil  in recent decades, it has been one of the main reasons that Jumilla has become a thriving appellation of origin, far from the days of bulk. El Nido is there to prove it, one of the best Mediterranean wines made in this country. And, playing in another league, that of the most affordable prices, Juan Gil Label Plata, an infallible monastrell monovarietal, balsamic and balanced, which is the perfect companion for any type of winter stew.

El Regajal Seleccion Especial 2018 (Vinos de Madrid,14,50 € in Spain) . The finca El Regajal, located in the historic Madrid province town of  Aranjuez, it is unique in the world, since enology and entomology coexist in it. As it sounds: its 14 hectares of vineyards inhabit 77 of the 225 species of butterflies identified in the Iberian Peninsula (hence its label, which represents a lepidopteran). It began to make wines in 1998 and this Special Selection is the crown jewel, with a coupage whose proportion varies depending on each vintage, which includes the five varieties grown on the estate, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot. and Syrah and it is perfect to accompany callos ( tripe) . He has a little brother, Las Retamas, less complex and cheaper (8 euros).

And now the modern version of tasting wines in restaurants. I admit my selection is a blend of the old and the new, taken the best from each in my opinion. Choosing the right wine for lunch or dinner in a restaurant can make the difference between success and failure. If you are in charge of doing it, the Metropolis section of El Mundo newspaper has some suggestions that do not fail and warn you against some very common mistakes to avoid.

Before launching into the wine menu selection, it is convenient to estimate a budget. Neither the cheapest wine is the worst nor the most expensive is the best. You always have to ask the rest of the guests about their tastes. If someone does not like white wine or red wine, as much as it is the one that best goes with the ordered dishes, there is no point in ordering it. The solution is to reach a consensus that each one takes the one they prefer. (yes we do from red to rose).

Don’t get obsessed with harmonies. The white with fish and red with meat is a thing of other times. The recommendation in these cases is to opt for a base wine to accompany the meal. (yes we do). That reds are drunk at room temperature is an outdated urban legend. If a red is too hot (which causes the alcohol to stand out and become unbalanced), there is no qualms about demanding that they be put to cool in an ice bucket. Similarly, an excessively cold white tastes practically nothing. (indeed)

Be careful with the glasses. One wrong glass can spoil a great wine. Refuse to be served in catavinos, flutes, pompadour, and the like. Do not be afraid to talk about prices. If the sommelier proposes a “great wine off the menu”, ask how much it costs. Then , there will be no surprises at the last minute. (we know our wines so no need to ask for the price ..)

Ask that they leave the bottle at hand to regulate consumption. If it could not be for reasons of local protocol, unless it is always in sight, to know how much is left and not be surprised that it has finished in the middle of a meal. Yes indeed anyway if order a bottle it will be in your table.

The experiments are done at home and with soda. Maybe you want to try an exotic wine that you do not know and have not even heard of, but even if your companions (unless they are also irreducible cenotaphs), for one day they go out, they prefer to play it safe. (we do tried by the glass first , and if good we ask for the rest of the bottle!) And most importantly: enjoy, enjoy and enjoy your meals.

There you go folks .something to think about from my beloved Spain; hope you enjoy the post as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 13, 2021

Vuelta a España 2021!! One of cycling’s best!!

And here I give you an ahead news on one of cycling triple courses we enjoy over the years. Due to the fact in my wife’s family they were/are avid followers , and of course, I join in with the family. As said before we usually used to go by Pau to catch the French Tour de France, and by Castilla La Mancha and Cuenca for the Vuelta a España. Lately this has stopped due to losses in the family and the virus.

However, the 76th edition of the tour of Spain or Vuelta a España is back next August if all goes well as our times tells us lately. Here is the planned lineup.

Two time trials, seven mountain stages, six flat … These are the profiles of the 21 stages of the 76th edition of the Vuelta.
The 2021 Vuelta will have 21 stages with profiles for all types of runners and without losing the essence that has been forged in recent years. However, many unfamiliar places and do not know if the effect will be the same. Here are the stages with day of the week, date, itinerary , distance and type of race.

Stage 1 (Sat. 08/14). Burgos-Burgos. 8 km. CRI
The 2021 Vuelta will start with an individual time trial starting and finishing at the Burgos Cathedral.

Stage 2 (Sun 08/15). Caleruega-Burgos Gamonal. 169.5 km. Flat
Stage 3 (Mon. 08/16). S. Domingo Silos-Picón Blanco. 203 km. High end

Picón Blanco from Espinosa de los Monteros finally made his debut in La Vuelta after years in the plannings. First contact with the mountain for the favorites, with a practically one-port stage, although the end is demanding on a 9 km ascent of around 9% and with ramps that reach 17%.

Stage 4 (Tue. 17/08). El Burgo de Osma-. Molina de Aragón. 163.6 km. Flat
Stage 5 (Wed 08/18) Tarancón-Albacete. 184.4 km. Flat
Because the day between Tarancón and Albacete, despite its completely flat profile, could be decisive if a strong wind rises that could cause fans.
Stage 6 (Thu. 08/19). Requena-Alto de Cullera. 159 km. High end
Stage 7 (Fri. 08/20). Gandía-Balcony of Alicante. 152 km. Mountain
Stage 8 (Sat. 08/21). Santa Pola-La Manga del Mar Menor. 163 km. Flat
Stage 9 (Sun 08/22). Puerto Lumbreras-Alto de Velefique. 187.8 km. Mountain
Stage 10 (Tue. 08/24). Roquetas de Mar-Rincón de la Victoria. 190.2 km. Half mountain
Stage 11 (Wed 08/25). Antequera-Valdepeñas de Jaén. 131.6 km. Half mountain
Stage 12 (Thu. 08/26). Jaén-Córdoba. 166.7 km. Half mountain
Stage 13 (Fri. 08/27). Belmez-Villanueva de la Serena. 197.2 km. Flat
Stage 14 (Sat. 08/28). Don Benito-Pico Villuercas. 159.7 km. Mountain
Stage 15 (Sun. 08/29). Navalmoral de la Mata-El Barraco. 193.4 km. Mountain
Stage 16 (Tue. 08/31). Laredo-Santa Cruz de Bezana. 170.8 km. Flat
Stage 17 (Wed 09/01). Unquera-Lakes of Covadonga. 181.6 km mountain.

Lagos de Covadonga, return to the tour as the outcome of a pure mountain day. But the stage will have another novel element: a circuit prior to the final ascent that takes two laps and in which a new pass is climbed in both: La Collada Llomena, with 14% ramps.

Stage 18 (Thu. 02/09). Salas-Alto del Gamoniteiro. 159.2 km. Mountain
Stage 19 (Fri. 09/03). Tapia-Monforte de Lemos. 187.8 km. Half Mountain
Stage 20 (Sat. 04/09). Sanxenxo-Mos (Castro de Herville). 173.6 km. Mountain
Stage 21 (Sun 05/09). Padrón-Santiago. 33.7 km. CRI

Seven years later, La Vuelta returns to live in Santiago de Compostela its last stage in the form of an individual time trial.

The official Vuelta a España webpage in English: https://www.lavuelta.es/en/

Cycling news journal on the Vuelta in English: https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/vuelta-a-espana-2021-sees-return-of-full-length-final-tt-after-20-years/

There you go now be ready plenty of advance notice, this is planning and hopefully we will be able to enjoy in August/September 2021. Maybe see you there, La Vuelta of Spain!

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

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February 12, 2021

Other sights of Barcelona!

So here I am again updating another dandy of my older posts, this one on mediterranean Barcelona. I have several posts on it in my blog so this one was to gather some misc pictures and show you a bit more of Barcelona. Hope you enjoy it as I

As I was  winding down my latest trip to Barcelona , decided to take some miscellaneous pictures as I walked by them. You know the tourist office and the city webpage and all those wonderful transport combinations; (see posts) now let me give you views and sights of Barcelona, and some off the beaten path thing to do.

And this is unique I think, a firemen’s museum !  The Museum highlights the history of the Barcelona Fire Brigade through the exhibition of its heritage and its connection with the city of Barcelona, ​​with more than one hundred and eighty years of history. Training and informative center dedicated to prevention and self-protection. What it does best is to exhibited objects come from the collections of the Barcelona Fire Department, which include more than a thousand pieces of all kinds. Among all these, the Delahaye bomber, better known as Genoveva, stands out, one of the emblematic historical vehicles of the corps. Apart from the utensils on display, the museum includes different elements with audiovisual content that allow visitors to interact. The museum also provides that users can experience the sensations that can be had during a fire, so an audiovisual system has been set up that reproduces all the stages of a real intervention, from the call of the citizen to the final resolution. of the incidence. The center has several classrooms to organize information sessions or courses on safety and prevention, and also includes a meeting center for entities.

The city of Barcelona on the firemen’s museum in Spanish: https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/espaibombers/es

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Do not if interesting but the building has a nice architecture is the Guardia Urbana or urban guard police of Barcelona. This is in appropiately Calle Guàrdia Urbana, 2 near Montjuic. This is the city of Barcelona on them with at the bottom Servicio de Atencion al Turista or tourist service in case of needs: https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/guardiaurbana/es/contacto

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There is a wonderful building that caught my architectural eye, I think is gorgeous. Actually is a school! The Escola Mossèn Jacint Verdague! at Carrer Lleida, 32 street. More in the city of Barcelona info webpage: https://guia.barcelona.cat/es/detall/escola-mossen-jacint-verdaguer_92168165697.html

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I had a nice walk from the Guardia Urbana around this school to Montjuic, (see the MNAC museum tops) this is wonderful to walk and recommended to all. Lots of great architecture and history around here. I would definitively walk again once possible these days.

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And of course, what better view down from Montjuic! MNAC museum on my back looking down to plaça de Josep Puig i Cadafalch to the font Magica to the Torres Venecianes and the plaça de Espanya, superbe I think is my best picture, humbly !

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The Barcelona Tourist officehttps://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/

The city of Barcelona tourist information webpage: https://guia.barcelona.cat/es/

Enjoy Barcelona Spain yes. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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