Posts tagged ‘Spain’

August 17, 2018

The Atomium and Mini Europe of Brussels!

Well the historical architecturally curious in me and my boys daring choices took me a bit out of Brussels to reach Heysel. The area is full of attractions that can keep you for a day or more alone. We came for the Atomium and other goodies such as the Mini Europe park a while back.

Brussels

Of course, I have written before but need to give you more anyway me think. Here is my previous blog post on the atomium. The Atomium of Brussels

And my previous blog post on the Mini Europe park: Mini Europe Park Brussels

Let me tell you a bit more on each shall we, love it.

The Atomium in Brussels was built on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1958 and to represent the conventional mesh of iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times. It is located in Laeken on the plateau of Heysel where this exhibition took place back then.

Brussels

It is a building halfway between sculpture and architecture that culminates at 102 meters. Its steel construction weighs 2 400 tons.It consists of a steel frame with nine interconnected spheres and originally coated with aluminum. The spheres have a diameter of 18 meters and each weigh about 250 tons. Symbolically, the Atomium embodies the audacity of an era that wanted to confront mankind’s destiny with scientific discoveries. Of the nine spheres, six are made accessible to the public, each with two main floors and a lower floor reserved for the service. The central Tube contains the fastest elevator/lift of the time It allows 22 people to reach the top in 23 seconds. The escalators installed in the oblique tubes are among the longest in Europe. The largest measure is 35 m long.

Brussels

The Atomium, designed to last six months, was not destined to survive the 1958 Universal exhibition, but its popularity and success made it a major part of the Brussels landscape. The Atomium, on the threshold of the 21C, had a tarnished aspect, it was strongly degraded by the work of time, its external sealing became inefficient and the interior elements of decoration and furniture to the tune of the 1950’s very outdated. Only the structure could be kept. In 2001, the renovation project was finally launched thanks to a partnership between the Belgian federal state, the Brussels-Capital region and Brussels-City. The renovation was initiated in March 2004 and ended in February 2006.

Brussels

The original aluminum cover has been replaced by a new, more durable stainless steel, which, on the other hand, is suitable for a symbolic iron monument. Each sphere was originally covered by approximately 720 aluminum triangles. All have been replaced, for each sphere, by 48 large stainless steel triangles. In addition, these new plates are more resistant than the old ones.   Of the six spheres accessible to the public, the basic sphere is reserved for the permanent exhibition devoted to the 1950’s, the Universal Exhibition and the construction of the Atomium. Another one hosts temporary exhibitions, a third with a versatile vocation allows the organisation of various animations, films, concerts, festivals or conferences. In the central sphere, a bar and in the upper sphere, in addition to the Panorama, a restaurant and very nice views indeed. The sixth sphere is the children’s ball, intended for the organization of urban pedagogy workshops, allowing children from six to twelve years to spend the night.

Brussels

The restaurant is super , more here on it: The Atomium Restaurant

There is a celebration for the Atomium 60 years; a temporary extension to the permanent exhibition will be of interest to the people who visited Expo 58, which was held from April 17 to October 19 1958 . Many vintage photographs and videos, mostly unpublished, will be offered at this expo “People of 58”. The ADAM Museum, located a few steps from the Atomium, will house two exhibitions that will also return to the Universal exhibition. More on this event here: 60 years celebrations of the Atomium

To get here you the metro line 6 on the last stop is Heysel or the tramway line 7,either ones put you within a short walk of the Atomium.

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip to the Atomium are

Official Atomium webpage

City of Brussels on the Atomium

Tourist office of Brussels on the Atomium

Brussels

from Atomium, kinepolis, heysel stadium and mini Europe!

The Heysel area has many other nice places that could be a whole day or more and an alternative staying base. Other attractions that require a lot of space including the Mini-Europe theme park, the Kinepolis cinema complex (28 screens and IMAX) and a water park with slides and pools are all in the area. Just down the road is also the Chinese Pavilion and Japanese Tower. We went to the Mini Europe park with the boys

Mini-Europe is a miniature park located in Bruparck at the foot of the Atomium in Brussels. The park presents reproductions of the most famous monuments of the European Union at a scale of 1/25. About 80 cities and 350 monuments are exhibited. The park contains many animations (train, windmills, eruption of Vesuvius, Airbus, self guided trucks, etc). At the end of the course an interactive exhibition “Spirit of Europe” presents the European Union in the form of interactivities and games. The park is built on 24 000 m2. Prince Philippe of Belgium inaugurates the park on June 1, 1989. The most popular monuments are  the Monastery of El Escorial, the Westminster palace , the Nyhavn of Nyhavn, the Grand-Place of Brussels, the Arc de Triomphe of Paris, the Tower of Pisa, the Parthenon and the Brandenburg Gate.

BRussels

BRussels

Brussels

Brussels

Most of the monuments are built by casting. The parts are constructed from various materials and then copied by silicone molding. The final copy is made of epoxy resin (at first) and polyester (currently). The models then are enriched with details such as statues. Three monuments were made of stone (the tower of Pisa and the castle of Chenonceau are made of marble). A new computer-milling technique was used for three models. Then comes the painting on the site of Mini-Europe. Finally, the monument is set up on site with decorations and light. Santiago de Compostela requested more than 24 000 hours of work. Many monuments have been financed by countries or regions of Europe. The gardens have hedges , dwarf trees, bonsai and grafted trees are used near miniature monuments, while classic bushes and flowers decorate the promenade.

Brussels

Brussels

Brussels

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this mini Europe park are

Mini Europe Park

Tourist office of Brussels on the Mini Europe park

And a site that covers the Atomium, Mini Europe ,and Kinepolis cinema is Bruparck: Bruparck official site

There you go a nice one day or two visit to Heysel, Brussels has never been more filling. Enjoy it

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

 

 

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August 17, 2018

The old castle of Cuenca!

And let me tell you about a nice old ruins overlooking a wonderful view of the city of Cuenca, in Castilla La Mancha, my beloved Spain. This is the remnants of an old castle that is worth a detour.

In the heat ,they tell you to go high for breezes and cooler air, well not here, high is direct sunshine and hot so you are better off getting here early in the mornint or late in the evening. However, do get here, you will love it.

I am talking about the old ruined castle of Cuenca. We came to love this town after staying nearby for a couple times in our trips down to sunny Spain.

A bit of history I like and tell

The castle is located at the top of the city, between the two gorges, and what remains of it is just two cubic constructions, remnants of the walls   and the Bezudo Arch which retains a shield with fleece. It was an Arab/Moors fortress and conquered by king Alfonso VIII in the 12C, the last reform occurred at the time of king Felipe II.

The ruins of the Castillo de Cuenca are located at the top of Cuenca, between the famous Castillo District and the Calle del Trabuco. It was called Calle del Trabuco because it was installed in the Church of San Pedro a lombard or Trunk to defend the city from the attacks of D. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza.

Cuenca

Its origin goes back to the Arabs/Moors to be conquered by king Alfonso VIII in 1177, changing its structure to that of a medieval Christian fortress. In 1325 king Alfonso XI gave it to Don Juan, son of Don Juan Manuel.

Finally, the Catholic Monarchs ordered the demolition, perhaps to end the defensive places of the feudal lords to end up with their intrigues and disloyalties. But above all, his demolition was a symbol of the fall of the power of the Hurtado de Mendoza. And this does not end here The last demolitions the structure suffered was during the Neapolitan invasion.

Today, the ruins of the castle of Cuenca are equipped with stoney square steps stairs by which you can ascend to the highest part of the wall to access the viewpoint with some of the best views of the city to the gorges of the Jùcar river and the Huécar river at the same time. The part of the Huécar River gives us views of the hanging houses (casas colgadas), the bridge of San Pablo (St. Paul) and the Church of St. Paul (San Pablo). While at the other end of the viewpoint we can contemplate the wonderful and refreshing sickle of the Jùcar river along with its well-known Ojos de la Mora (eyes of the moor).

Cuenca

Cuenca

The Arch entry that makes the gate of the castle was baptized as Arch of the brothers Rodríguez   Bezudo, in memory to the death of these in the taking of the city by king Alfonso VI. According to historical accounts, one of them died in the assault on this fortress while the other was named governor. At present you will see a cobbled plaque with the name Arco de Bezudo.

Cuenca

Very close to the Bezudo Arch , in a privileged position on the sickle of the Huécar, one finds what was the prison of the Inquisition becoming later the Provincial prison. Currently, this building is the Provincial Historical archive of Cuenca. In its entrance there is a statue of Fray Luis de León commemorating the four centenary of his death.

Cuenca

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist Office Castilla La Mancha on castle

Tourist office of Spain on the castle of Cuenca

We had nice souvenirs climbing the steep hilly road the first time to reach this castle to find out there was a parking on top next to it lol! Well we came back ,and parked on top ! Either way is a great walk , again do it on the shade of the day. Enjoy Cuenca as we did and still many nice souvenirs of it.

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

 

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August 16, 2018

Some news from Bretagne, XXIIII

Way back in my initiation to blogging I did a series of entries showcasing my new region of Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh. This went on for a while in fact reviving this thread is no 24, with the last written on April 27 2017! You can search all of them in my blog by typing some news from Bretagne in the search box on the right hand column of my front page.

For reference, this was my last post on some news from Bretagne: some news from Bretagne

It has been amazing ride and later developed into more detail description of the events and towns here. However, today I go back because I have been in two of the regions of Bretagne , my own Morbihan dept 56,  and neighbor Finistére dept 29. So will do another Some news from Bretagne post.

I started my day after our family continental breakfast with painting! yes we painted a room in our basement (our basement has 130 sq meters or 1400 sq feet) on materials already purchase with my dear late wife Martine. We were thinking of doing two rooms in the basement for guests and we have it all done, just the room partitions is left to do! The boys did a good job and were treated with their favorite young people food, Star kebad and a sparkler mousseux from the Loire Vignobles Marchais that was not too bad for 6 euros lol! This was a great family affairs and I love it! The kebad has very friendly husband and wife team and  has a Facebook page here : Star Kebad Pluvigner

From here we went into our neighbor Finistére in the fortified town of Concarneau that we have visited many times and several blog posts on it. This time we were there for something special. FIFA Under 20 Women World Cup is been held in several cities in Brittany and today the quarter finals was SPAIN vs Nigeria!!! The game was played at Stade Guy Piriou with heavy security. We are so closed we could not miss cheering the girls so Spain won 2×1 and has a historical semifinal appearance which turn out will be against France yikes !!!! France beat North Korea 1X0 on a penalty kick. I will be neutral ::)

Concarneau

Concarneau

Concarneau

Concarneau

Concarneau

The game was pretty good, fast and lots of chances, Spain was dominating the first half ,winning 2X0 ,  a bit less the second half when Nigeria came back. They are very happy to be able to reach the semi finals for the first time. We had a blast there. Ah parking was funny, we saw it full around the small stadium and some VIP spaces so we ask a cop and told us go across to the E Leclerc hypermarket , so we did for free and an underground passageway to go from the hypermarket to the stadium to boot! Great!

Concarneau

As we were still about an hour from home decided to come back and celebrate the win closer to us in one of favorite bar and many times mentioned in my blog, the V&B of Auray. This is a nice concept of bar and liquor store where the closing time is 20h (8pm). The folks at the Auray store are very nice and have come to know them. The store is on a crossroads to the beaches south such as Carnac and Quiberon ,and just off the road N165 voie express or freeway here.

Auray

Auray

Auray

Here we had our usual German beers with my favorite Krombacher and wild pig and pepper sausages cut in thin slices.

Auray

After this indulgent we came home to relax and wait for a Paris friend visiting us by tomorrow.

Enjoy your day wherever you are, life is beautiful but short. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

August 15, 2018

Palacio de Fomento, Madrid

Well hold on , this is not your usual palace! It is located very centrally by the Atocha train station and had passed many times for its magnificent architecture. However, this Palacio de Fomento or Public Works Palace is actually the seat of Spain Ministry of Agriculture, Foods, and Environment! And another beauty of my beloved Madrid.

I am sure many has seen it traveling in and out of Madrid by Atocha and marble of the structure on the top center of the building, wondering what it is and if it can be visited. Well not really, only accessable to the general public since 2014 on guided visits.

I think it is worth a detour and even if have touch on it in previous blog posts, think it deserve a single post of its own. Therefore, here is a primer and a first post.

The Palace of Fomento, current headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Madrid , one of the most beautiful and emblematic buildings in Madrid, began to be built in the 1890’s. The project took place, because the former headquarters of the Ministry of Development (Convent of the Trinity in Calle Atocha) ,the current Teatro Calderón was small and decided to create a nice ministerial headquarters. To raise it was chosen some land that once belonged to the botanical garden (Real Jardin Botànico) and to separate them from it, had to open a new street, the current Cuesta de Moyano (where the book fair has been held for several years now).  The new building was inaugurated in the year 1900 by the Queen Maria Cristina and combined the tasks of Ministry of  Agriculture and Public Works.

Madrid

The plot of land in 1886 was originally destined for the Faculty of Sciences and the Central School of Arts and Crafts and Commerce, but the project was dismissed. Although it initially housed the headquarters of the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Education and Fine arts, it is currently the main headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Foods and Environment.

Madrid

A bit on the architecture I like

It has a setback rectangular plant and is organized by two interior courtyards of equal proportions with iron and glass cover. The highlight of the building is the central body of the facade, composed of a central portico of equal height that the ground floor, which serves, at the same time, as a basement  to four pairs of giant columns of Corinthian in order that support a architrave and an attic of notable proportions.

Also noteworthy are the decorations of tiles and enamels of Daniel Zuloaga, the paintings of Ferrant, the caryatids of the entrance portico that represent the industry and commerce, and the colossal sculptures of the front summit that Agustín Querol made in stone, and then they were replaced by identical bronze ones. Once past this staircase of the hall is when the wonderful monumental staircase of the palace comes. Because of the size and beauty of this staircase it is understood that it is truly a palace. Inthe fronts, the stairs, and the balustrades are of Italian polished marble. But then the budget failed short and they were made with stone of Robledo de Chabela. It is surrounded by the Ionic order and is also repeated here the architectural structures of the facade, as will happen in the courtyards, which provides great harmony. The patios of lights are divided into three main bodies: two with galleries of arches and the last sculptures, following the same disposition as in the facade. The interior of the building is greatly changed by its use over time. It maintains however, the staircases with iron shelves and the elliptical plant library, with its green wood shelves and its staircases with cast iron on both sides.

Madrid

Madrid

The building counts on its main façade with a bronze copy of a sculptural ensemble by Agustín Querol, known as the Glory and the Pegasus. A bronze copy, encrusted in the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the original group, in marble, in the Plaza de Legazpi and the Glorieta de Cádiz.  In 2005, on the occasion of the works of the M-30 (beltway of Madrid, the original one I knew when lived in the city that passes under the Plaza de Legazpi) jeopardized its stability, the two groups of the Pegasus were withdrawn. After the end of the underground work, only one of them was re-placed.  The one located to the left of the Glory symbolizes material progress. A female figure (agriculture) carries a plow in the right hand while taking with the other one the reins of the Pegasus (symbol of the speed), which appears resting on its hind legs and in gesture to undertake the flight. In it,  is mounted a male figure (the industry) extending his left arm exhibiting a duce (own attribute of Mercury, a Roman god associated with trade). Under the winged horse, one can appreciate a sheaf of wheat and two sprockets, in clear allusion to Agriculture and the Industry respectively.

Madrid

Many years closed to the general public and it finally opened in 2014 , organizing guided tours and dramatized plays inside the building. Inside it houses works of arts  from National patrimony and from the Prado Museum. I have passed by it many times and been on its grounds but never taken a tour.

Guided tours are free and take place on Saturdays and Sundays, not public holidays, at 12h noon. To book the tickets you have to call the telephone +34 91 347 50 68 from Monday to Friday from 10h to 14h or write email to : entradaspalaciodefomento@magrama.es

The booked tickets must be collected at the entrance of the building from 11h15 to 11h30. Bookings will not be valid after 11h30.  In the case of dramatized visits, these have a cost of 8 euros per person and take place on Fridays and Saturdays, not holidays, at 20h (8pm). To book the tickets you have to call the same telephone above and or email at the same times.

The  Palacio de Fomento is surrounded by emblematic buildings and places as well as important cultural centers.  As said, it is in front of the Atocha train station only a few meters from the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V (emperor Charles V square), in which center there is replica of the Fuente de la Alcachofa (as fountain in the Retiro Park) , and very close to the Paseo del Prado, Real Jardín Botánico (Royal Botanical garden),  Parque del Retiro(Retiro park),  Real Observatorio de Madrid(Royal Observatory of Madrid) , and the museums of Anthropology , Reina Sofia, and Prado.

Madrid

Madrid

Madrid

How to get here is easy , Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente( Palacio de Fomento) at  Paseo Infanta Isabel nº1 Metro: Atocha líne 1 Atocha Cercanías trains C-1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C7, C8, and C10.  Bus lines 26, 32, 37, 10, 14, 19, C1, 27, 34, 45, and 102 . More  Información in Spanish at the above telephone number and from Mondays to Fridays from 10h to 14h info only no purchases, see those days above.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Madrid on the Ministry of Agriculture

Official site of the Ministry of Agriculture on guided visits

Hope you enjoy my Madrid. An immense city with so much to offer the visitor/tourist and for locals as well. You never stop learning on Madrid.

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

 

 

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August 15, 2018

The Prado museum of Madrid!

And lets tackle this huge institution, not an easy task lol! So will be as brief as possible,just for a taste to bring you in to a fascinating world of the arts. This time from the Spanish angle sort of speaking.

I admit while younger my world was without museums, it took  quite later in life ,even after marriage and maturity per se to start enjoying them. Prado museum in Madrid was big then and it is bigger today; however,in my days in the city never in my wildest dream thought of going in.  To me was just a nice facade on Paseo del Prado. My interest was for some reason no part of it, the Cason del Buen Retiro as it was then part of the Retiro park, now part of the Prado museum, and even then was just a way to hang around the area with friends.

The museum came much later , when in 2004, visiting the city with my family, and passing by walking , on a whim , we decided to go in, and lucky tickets were had easily then.  Well, it was an eye opener and have come back later couple times. The Prado encourage me to visit the Louvre later on and also catch up with me.  I am a friend of both museums today.

MAdrid

I had written a small pice on the museum triangle in Madrid in my blog, just a brief introduction and would like to remind all here: Museums triangle in Madrid

Now, let get into the history of it that I like a lot as the portraits description etc will take a book lol!

The Prado Museum ( Museo Nacional del Prado) is one of the largest and most important museums in the world. It presents mainly European paintings (Flemish, Spanish, French, Italian and German) from the 14C to the beginning of the 19C, collected by the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. The museum also holds collections of drawings and prints (some 6 400 drawings and 3 000 prints), a fund of a thousand sculptures (including an important collection of Greco-Roman sculptures) and a large number of decorative objects and historical documents. It permanently exhibits a collection of 1 300 works in its site, plus 3 000 lent to be exhibited in other galleries and official institutions.

The original, neoclassical-style central building, which now serves as a seat at the Prado National Museum, was built on the initiative of José Moñino y Redondo, count de Floridablanca and chief minister of king Carlos III. It is designed by the architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785 as a natural science house. Because of the events of history, however, the construction will only be completed under king Fernando VII, grandson of Carlos III. Driven by his wife, Queen Maria-Isabel of Portugal, the king took the decision to make this building a Royal museum of paintings and sculptures.

The museum initially feeds on Royal collections, hence its first name as a Royal museum. It was soon renamed National Museum of Painting and Sculpture and, subsequently, Museo Nacional del Prado, it opened for the first time to the public in 1819. In 1868, after the fall of Queen Isabel II of Spain, the works of art of the monarchy became the heritage of the Spanish nation. In 1872 , it was closed the Museo de la Trinidad,(Trinity museum) enriched with Works of arts and nationalized due to the laws of Mendizábal 1836, and its treasure was transferred to the Prado.

After this merger, the Prado was renamed the National Museum of Painting and Sculptures, a designation that had hitherto had the Trinity Museum. This denomination remained until 1920, year in which by Royal decree officially received the current name of National Museum of the Prado, which was as it was known habitually already before, for having built the building in grounds of the old meadow(prado) of the Jerónimos. The Museum of Modern Art (M. A. M.)  went to the National museum dedicated to the arts of the 19C and 20C as opened  from 1894 to 1971, the year in which its collections of 19C art  were absorbed by the Prado, while those of the 20C remained in the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Arts (MEAC) , predecessor of the current Reina Sofía Museum.

In addition to the Royal collections, the museum receives many works of art as a result of the interpretation of the before mention law of 1836 which forces the Church to sell a large part of its possessions. In addition, the museum benefits from the very important donations of private collectors, including Francesc  Cambó, Pablo Bosch and Ramón Errazu, as well as the works brought by the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado (The Friends of the Museum Foundation). Spanish webpage here: Fundacion Amigos del Museo del Prado

And it has an American counterpart in English here: Americans Friends of the Prado Museum

Madrid

Its main attraction lies in the wide presence of Velázquez, El Greco, Goya (the most widely represented artist in the museum), Titian, Rubens and Bosco, of which possesses the best and most extensive collections that exist worldwide, to which we must add outstanding ensembles of important authors such as Murillo, Ribera, Zurbarán, Rafael, Veronese, Tintoretto, Van Dyck , and Poussin, to name just a few of the most relevant.

Madrid

The museum has the largest collection of Spanish paintings in the world. It includes works that extend from Romanesque art from the 12C to the end of the 19C. The collection of Italian paintings is the second collection of the museum, although it is relatively poor in works prior to the 16C. But it is from the 16C that the Italian collection of the Prado takes its full dimension. Italian Baroque painting is certainly one of the main points of interest of the Prado collections by the variety of artists and the quality of the works that can be admired.

Madrid

The collection of Flemish paintings is also among the very first in Europe, since Flemish primitives, Flemish painting of the 17C is also particularly well represented with a considerable collection of paintings.  The collection of French paintings consists mainly of works of the 17C and 18C. The ténèbrisme is also represented of the portrait makers of the Court of Spain, also of the Masters of the Rococo the museum presents finally some 19C painters.The collection of German paintings is reduced but of high quality, as well as a small collection of English paintings is also presented most were acquired by the museum in the years 1950.

Even more reduced, hardly testimonial, is the presence of paintings of the rest of the schools: Hispanic-American (more than twenty, but deposited in the Museum of America), Filipino, Swedish, Danish , American, Central European etc. With regard to the Portuguese school, despite the geographical proximity and the close relationship between the Spanish and Portuguese  monarchies, especially in the early Habsburg era, the presence of paintings from that country is negligible, reducing to six works, almost all of the 19C or early 20C.

The museum architecture look that I like, briefly describe.

 Edificio Villanueva , a building designed by Juan de Villanueva, in its original conception, is formed by a central body finished in apse, which flank two elongated galleries that end in square pavilions, one at each end. Representing an allegory of King Fernando VII as protector of the sciences, the arts and the technique. In its posterior facade, the central section ends in a semicircular form or in an apse, in such a way that its plane adopts a basilical form.

Madrid

Edificio Jerónimos (Building). This enlargement did not make substantial changes to the Villanueva building, and it was reflected in an extension to the Jerónimos cloister so that the museum would have enough space for its growing needs. The increase of the available surface was 15 715 square meters, a 50% more . The connection between both buildings is underground (on the side of the Jerónimos building), because it takes advantage and covers the height between the Jerónimos (Calle Ruiz de Alarcón) and the Paseo del Prado. The most visible improvements of this intervention affected the attention to the visitor (vestibule, bar-restaurant, lockers, shop), the extension of the exhibition spaces, with four new rooms for temporary exhibitions on two floors and the habilitation of the Cloister as sculpture display room; a new auditorium and a conference room, as well as other spaces for internal use (restoration, warehouses and the cabinet of drawings and prints.

Madrid

Cason del Buen Retiro is one of the dependencies of the old palace of the Retiro park that have come to our days(my hangouts around as youth nice area ok). Conceived as a ballroom of that palace, it was very much damaged after the war of Independence (1808-1814), after being occupied and partially destroyed by the French troops. The subsisting part, already as an autonomous building and separated from what was the former palace, was the subject of several renovations throughout the 19C. It was then endowed with monumental neoclassical facades, of which the western side with a scenographic colonnade, opposite the Retiro Park in the 20C, was used as an exhibition hall, hosting several of the most important events (what I remember living in Madrid was used). Already decided its museum use, it was attached to the Prado in 1971 (was there for the opening lol!),until 1997 the section corresponding to the art of the 19C, after the reorganization of the State collections of painting and the creation of the Reina Sofía Museum, was thought in as ideal space for the temporary exhibitions of the Prado. Finally, these functions and the painting of the 19C have been transferred to the expansion of Moneo(architect) and the historical building, respectively. After being subjected to a profound reform at the beginning of the 21C, which included the restoration of the vault painted by Luca Giordano in the central hall (allegory of the Golden Fleece ), it is since 2009 the headquarters of the museum’s Study Center, the so-called Prado school , which, following the model of the Ecole du Louvre, is dedicated to research as well as to the training of specialists in the various fields of art history. In this way, the Cason del Buen Retiro currently houses the library of the Prado Museum, with the reading room installed in the main hall under the frescoes of Giordano.

Madrid

Salon de Reinos, (Kingdom’s hall) ,correspond to the main wing (north) of the old Palace of Retiro Park, it receives its name for having originally housed the hall of Kingdoms or of ambassadors, where the king received the foreign dignitaries; This space was conceived as a scenographic  scene of the Spanish monarchy, with large paintings commissioned by king Felipe IV to the principal painters of the time, will endow the Museum of 2500 m² of exhibition space, 16% more, with a total of 5400 m²  of useful space and is expected the works to begin in  2018 .

Madrid

Edificio Aldeasa( building)  located next to the Jerónimos cloister, it is a building of contemporary style in which were the offices of the company Aldeasa, until it was acquired in 1996 by the direction of the patrimony of the State, which was attach to the Prado for to install in it the offices of the museum, until then located in the South attic of the Edificio Villanueva. On the other hand, in the premises of the adjoining building, at no  21 Calle Ruiz de Alarcón, is home to the foundation Friends of the Museum.(Fundacion Amigos del Museo del Prado).  See above.

Sala Prado , the Abulense building known as the House of Miguel del Aguila, by whom it was built in 1546, or, more commonly, as the Palace of the Eagle,(Palacio de las Aguilas)  was bequeathed with all its contents to the state by its last private owner, María Luisa Narváez and Macías,  Duchesse of Valencia, deceased in 1983, for the installation in it of a museum. Initially, in 1992,  was attached to the Museum of Avila, but through a new collaboration agreement between the then Ministry of Education and Culture and the Junta de Castilla y León was changed the assignment, going to the Prado Museum. In this way, this former palace of typical Abulense quarry became the first seat of the Prado outside Madrid, destined to host the center of Deposit Management.

Edificio Calle Pérez Ayuso at no 20  was partially attached to the museum in 2012 by the Ministry of Education, Culture and sport to install in it the new warehouse of frames(portraits).

There is but just a brief description this museum really needs two full days to see at least, you might get hook on it too and stay longer. Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official Prado Museum

Tourist office of Madrid on the Prado Museum

Spanish Culture on the Prado Museum

Hope you enjoy the visit or ride or passing by all there is nice, worth a detour, for a few days lol! Enjoy Madrid and its Prado, and Spain too.

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

 

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August 15, 2018

The Mercados , Markets of Madrid!

So now we got a reprive some quick showers to cool off the heat wave coming thru Europe these last few days. We are still lucky to be mild, spots in my beloved Spain had gone to 45C! 113F! yikes! Oh well , it is Spain, everything under the Sun! Here we got the breezes of the Atlantic ocean!

Talking about markets (mercados or mercadillos) here, arise out of a conversation with an old friend from travel forums VT and we are still very much in contact, even been visited in my house! Now, the person is traveling in Spain and took some pictures of markets. Well it gave me an idea not written much on them, just bits and pieces in previous blog posts.

I needed to say, my dear late wife Martine got me to come to all of them, well most of them, she loves them. Hopefully, this will stay with me for the memories. I like to tell you about some of my favorites and yours too, and my family there too. And of course, Madrid because once lived, and many times visited, my(ours) main piece of Spain always will be.

Let me tell you about the most famous market of Madrid, especially from the tourist point of view but , also from the locals ! And the one I actually have a few photos!

Over the aisles, we marvel at the Spanish specialties (hams, olives, fruits and vegetables, etc). The stands offer for some a counter to taste on the spot. Perfect to take the time to discover Madrid gastronomy in an elegant and lively place. High place of life and going out  of the Spanish capital, the Mercado de San Miguel (St Michael market)  is an essential monument for the visitors but also for the locals who meet with friends around a glass and tapas. A few blocks from the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace, the Mercado de San Miguel  is located with its glass, iron and ceramic structure dating from the last century. It’s some 1200 square meters are home to producers and sellers of fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and local specialties; Bars and other restaurateurs.

Madrid

In the Middle Ages already the place was known as an open air market. Many small shops dedicated to crafts are also located in the periphery of the square. A few centuries later, it is the Church of San Miguel de los Octoes (where was baptized Lope de Vega!) that stands at this location. But following a fire which ravaged it in 1790 and the inability to renovate it despite the attempts, Joseph Bonaparte, the invading king of the time, ordered its demolition in 1809. It is then decided to keep this space open in a spirit of development and aeration of the public space. Later It was decided to restore its primary function to the market.  Therefore, from 1809 , the locals take advantage of the new market  which then specializes in the products of the sea. The covered market is finally built between 1913 and 1916.

Madrid

The commercial activity of the market declines little by little since its facilities cannot be competitive in the face of modern supermarkets and shopping malls. After renovations to restore its original appearance, the market reopens its doors in  2009 with traditional products, quality and seasonal products. A company is created to market and support this new idea, the El Gastrónomo de San Miguel, which becomes the majority shareholder of the market with the aim to revive its traditional activity.

Madrid

This high place of gastronomy offers colorful stalls but also corners with tables and chairs to allow the most gourmets to taste on the spot. Tapas, Iberian ham, paella and other rice dishes, seafood, cheeses and fresh fruit but also local wines and beers find their place on the 33 stalls all more appetizing than the others. Shows are organized regularly to give more life to the Mercado de San Miguel, this place which brings together the cultural, gastronomic and historical aspects of the city. Today the market has made its place among the monuments of Madrid to see is a must.

Madrid

The market is open every day from 10h to midnight and until 02h  from Thursday to Saturday. The Opera metro station is the closest to the San Miguel market. It is served by lines 2, 5 and R. Bus lines 3, 31, 50 and 65 brings you closer too.

More information can be obtained on the official page in English here: Mercado de San Miguel

And the tourist office of Madrid: Tourist office of Madrid on San Miguel

However, there are others, and some of better value and with history too. The decade of the 1870’s when the city Council began to build covered markets, of which at the end of the century there were already four, all with iron structure. These were the markets of the Mostenses (built in 1875), Cebada (1875), Chamberí (1876) and La Paz (1882). Despite the construction of these new markets, there was still not enough to meet the demand for a growing city, so there continued to be open-air markets in public squares. Madrid has a total of 46 municipal markets and others of private ownership.  Of course, I am not in my wildest dream going to tell you all, too many and long….but will tell you briefly the ones my family and my relatives now living there do go often over the years.

As said, some of my favorites are:

The Mercado de la Cebada. It is one of the largest supply markets in Madrid. It is located in the Plaza de la Cebada (Barley) at no 15, in the neighborhood of La Latina. Works began in the year 1868, and ended in 1875, later it was renewed in 1958 and again in the 2009. The current market has two commercial-use levels with an area of more than 6000 square meters. The two levels are added another level  that makes for a warehouse and  parking underground (392spaces).  More here: Mercado de la Cebada

Madrid

The Mercado de San Antón. It is a supply market located in the neighborhood of Chueca in Madrid. The first building was built in 1945. In the first decade of the 21C the renovation takes place, for this the old building is demolished in 2007, and one is built with new market and restauration services five years later. The name is given due to the Parroquia de San Antón (parish Church). The building is divided into three main floors and completes its offer with a small supermarket Supercor and two basements of automated  parking.  The first floor is dedicated to the sale of perishable products and is divided into twelve traditional market stalls. The second one allows the tasting in its eleven stands and also, cultural activity, since it enjoys a large multifunctional space. On the third floor is located the restaurant and the big terrace of the market, with a view of  the roofstops of the district of Chueca. More here: Mercado de San Anton

The Mercado de Antón Martín (officially, Mercado Municipal de Antón Martín). It is a supply market located in the center of Madrid,  between  Calle Atocha  (next to the parish of San Salvador and San Nicolás) and the Calle de Santa Isabel (next to the cinema Doré). Close to the Plaza de Antón Martín. The market became a covered supply square, which includes a passage between Calle Atocha and Calle de Santa Isabel (Pasaje Doré, by the cinema Doré today linked to the Spanish film library). The project was executed after the Spanish Civil War and was inaugurated in 1941. The 1950s,it was remodeled  the area to built the building that is currently shown. The building has three floors, in the first two are dealt almost half a hundred different sales posts: fishmongers, bakeries, butchers, etc. Being the third dedicated to private activities, the exits of the building goes into the Calle de  Santa Isabel and the Doré passageway. Some of the market stalls are distributed along Calle de Santa Isabel. More here: Mercado de Anton Martin

The Mercado Municipal de Chamberí is located in the district of Chamberí. The market dates from 1876, but after a deep reform was inaugurated in 1943. It has a rectangular plant in a single dimension, in which fifty food stands are distributed. During the celebrations of the Virgin of Carmen celebrated in the neighborhood, the market carries out days of open doors with tasting of typical products of the region.  Smaller but quaint and part of the history of the neighborhood. More here: Mercado de Chamberi

The Mercado de Maravillas.  It is a market located in Calle Bravo Murillo,122. In 1942 the market is inaugurated. It was intended to be in the 1950s one of the largest in the city. It was built on the site that left the school of Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of the Wonders) after the fire that suffered in 1931 in the neighborhood of Cuatro Caminos. The market finished  in the post civil-war period has an area of 8700 square meters and more than 250 stands. It is done in the  Rationalist architectural style. At the beginning of the 21C it is one of Tetuan’s district largest markets. It is a building built on two floors; the ground floor dedicated to the collection and service inside the market, while the second is dedicated to the commercial area. The commercial plant is located at 2 meters of elevation on the main entrance in the Calle Bravo Murillo. The main facade in the Calle Bravo Murillo is of brick seen placed with barebone no cement, with an important canopy in cantilever of reinforced concrete, and the ground floor arcaded with pillars veneered with crystal grey granite. It stands out the large built area of the building of approximately 20,000 m2, of which almost half, 8.800 m2, are dedicated to commercial use and on a single floor.  On the first floor the pillars are steel.  The Sierra tooth-shaped roof, with glazed windows facing north, is highlighted, so that the zenith light gives a unique atmosphere to the interior of the big commercial building. More here: Mercado de Maravillas

The Mercado de San Ildefonso . It is a favorite among residents and frequenters of Malasaña and Chueca district, due to its location on Calle de Fuencarral, right between the two neighborhoods. The market is situated just a few meters from the site of the first covered wholesale food market in Madrid, which was demolished in 1970. The stalls mainly offer ready-made dishes, although they also sell raw ingredients which you can take home or ask to be cooked for you there and then. The food can be eaten at the stalls themselves or, if you fancy a stroll in the sun, you can take it with you.  A strategic stop for neighbors, tourists and regulars between Malasaña, Chueca and Tribunal. The Mercado de San Ildefonso distributes its spaces in three differentiated levels where we find different provisions and possibilities. Complementing the gastronomic stands with three bars, one for each floor, the market also has two terraces, both half covered and perfect to enjoy the outdoor facilities. More here: Mercado de San Ildefonso

The Mercado de Las Ventas (we lived not far but it was not built yet!, we came as visitors!) . It was built in 1995 to replace the old Canillas (quill) Market, founded in the 1940s. Located in front of the bullring of Monumental de Las Ventas. The market has a renowned reputation for the excellent value for money offered to the buyer. A special highlight is the wide range of fresh products of high demand, mainly fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. Among the novelties that it presents with respect to other markets is a gastronomic project through which one will be able to taste the most recognized dishes of all the kitchens of the world thanks to several stands specialized in international cuisine, healthy food and a wine bar with numerous wines with denomination of origin.  Currently has 100 commercial stands spread over two floors of more than 2,000 m2, and the market is equipped with underground parking, banks ATMs and total accessibility (impaired mobility folks) to its facilities. All this, completely refurbished and adapted to its two major projects. One of them, a gymnasium  DreamFit of 4,500 m2 facilities, and a supermarket Ahorramas, opened in December 2016. More here: Mercado de Las Ventas

There you go, wonderful places, should see as much as you can. It will give you not only the thrill of Spanish foods and drinks but the real feel of the local people and their colorful ways of mingling with the crowds even if there is a language barrier. We do appreciate a Hola, or Vale or Muy Bueno ::) or Buen Provecho = bon appétit.

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

 

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August 14, 2018

Puerta del Sol, Madrid!

And here I present you a real beauty of a square, if it were not for Cibeles, and Mayor, this would be my favorite. No more waiting, this is the gate to the sun ooops meant Puerta del Sol in my beloved Madrid.

I spent many childhoods days here first with my dear late mother Gladys and later bringing my family ,and my dear late wife Martine love it with me, especially the churros nearby ! The boys love it too, and it has become a must stop each time in Madrid, that thanks God has been many times in my life time. If you read my blog you know why.

I have written a bit on it in the past , mostly on the touristic front, here are those previous blog posts for reference

Puerta del Sol and Cibeles

Puerta del Sol of Madrid

I have made several references to it in many of my previous posts on Madrid, so do search in my blog for more. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day. De Madrid al Cielo y un hueco en él para mirarla todos los dias.

This is the place I came to get abanicos (fans) for my mother and umbrellas, the early purchases at Calle Preciados for Galerias Preciados (today part of El Corte Inglés same spot), and the Churros at the Pasadizo de San Ginés street for Chocolateria San Ginés good then and now an institution for locals and visitors alike. The wonderful discothéque (before community theater in my days in the city) Joy Eslava off Puerta del  Sol and Calle Arenal. The choco San Ginés webpage here: Chocolateria San Ginés

And disco Joy Eslava : Joy Eslava

Let me tell you a bit more on the magical Puerta del Sol. Some of the emblematis symbols you should look for here are

Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry tree ( Madroño) under the billboard of Tío Pepe, at the beginning of Calle Alcalá, you will find the statue of the symbol of Madrid. It was created in 1967 and is one of the most popular meeting points in Madrid. In front of the building of the old Hotel Paris (no 1, where was the panel of Tio Pepe), later transferred to the beginning of Calle Carmen and relocated in its original place in 2009.  The panel of  Tio Pepe located at no 1 until 2011, when it was retired, and repositioned in no, 11 in 2014

Madrid

Madrid

The Clock of the Post Office House, (Relog en la Casa de Correos) . The clock was built and donated in the 19C by José Rodríguez de Losada, and whose 12 bells ringing the night of December 31 mark the traditional taking of the twelve grapes by the vast majority of the Spaniards, saying good bye to the Old Year and welcoming the New Year with a wish. It has been televised  since 1962. The Post Office House (Casa de Correos)  was built by the French architect Jaime Marquet between 1766 and 1768; It was subsequently  home to the Ministry of the Interior in 1847 and Directorate General of State Security during the Franco era and, currently, is the seat of the presidency of the community of Madrid.

Madrid

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Kilometer zero: Starting point of the Spanish radial routes. It is indicated on the ground from which all roads in Spain are measure.

The Mariblanca located at the Puerta del Sol  between 1630 and 1838 crowned the Fountain of the Mariblanca, (aka Fuente de la Fé, Fuente del Buen Suceso , Fuente de Venus or Diana, Fuente de las Arpias or first ornamental fountain (Fuente)  of the Puerta del Sol. In the last third of the 20C a smaller copy was made that since 1986 has had different emplacements at the Puerta del Sol, while the original moved from the Paseo de Recoletos, in which it was from 1969, to the vestibule of the Casa de la  Villa , after its restoration in 1985.

Madrid

The last element added, in 1994, is the equestrian statue of king Carlos III. It is a bronze reproduction of Juan Pascual de Mena’s work that is preserved in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. The spiral inscription surrounding the pedestal briefly describes the history of the reign of Carlos III. The monument is nine meters high. As a curiosity, it should be noted that an electronic device was installed in it to keep the pigeons from resting on it continually.

Madrid

A bit of history I like

The Puerta del Sol was in its origins one of the accesses of the ramparts that surrounded Madrid in the 15C. This wall gathered in its perimeter the medieval suburbs that had grown outside the walls, around the Christian wall of the 12C. The name of the gate comes from a sun that adorned the entrance, placed there to be facing the gate to the Levant. Among the buildings that gave it prestige in the beginnings was the Church del Buen Suceso  and Church of San Felipe el Real (both now gone). The Puerta del Sol is surrounded by fourteen buildings. From the same time dates the measurement of 635.50 meters above the average sea level of Alicante.

In 1986 a new reform came that gave more importance to the pedestrian zone. The streetlights installed on the occasion of this remodeling, were popularly nicknamed as the suppositories and provoked a great controversy due to its modern design. Finally they were replaced by the current style lanterns fernandians or Fernandino, although in the two central posts of the square the suppositories survived some years more, to be unified a few years later with those of the rest of the square.

The Puerta del Sol area corresponding to the Calle Mayor, that occupies the Casa Cordero (no gone) , on its first floor was known the Great Bazaar of the Union (Gran Bazar de la Union) (now gone) ,where objects were sold at fixed prices. This Grand Bazaar was the first large retail establishment that would lead to department stores. At the end of the 20C, establishments such as the El Corte Inglés  were expanding their area of influence from the Calle Preciados to reach the lower levels of the north of the square. At the beginning of the 21C, the traditional shops that were at the Puerta del Sol have been disappearing to give way to franchises, gambling halls, fast food restaurants and other more impersonal and cold establishments. However, the centenary cafeteria-Patiseria La Mallorquina, located in the area between the Calle Mayor and Calle Arenal, just off the Puerta del Sol, and also the area where the lotteries shops traditionally are. Still preserved  today are the  fans and umbrellas shop Casa Diego (founded in the 18C). More on Diego here: Casa Diego

La Mallorquina: La Mallorquina

El Corte Inglés Preciados Callao: El Corte Inglés

The 10 streets that are out of the Puerta del Sol in clockwise direction from the Calle de Alcalà are Calle de Alcalá, Carrera de San Jerónimo, Calle Espoz y Mina, Calle de las Carretas, Calle del Correo, Calle Mayor, Calle del Arenal, Calle de Preciados, Calle del Carmen, and Calle de la Montera. The transports here is very good with metro Sol lines 1, and 2. Also local trains Cercanias  C-3 and C-4. The station has been converted by its dimensions in the largest in the World with 28 meters deep, 207 meters in length and 20 meters wide. Its lobby is 7500 m². The entrance to the inter connecting station, similar to an igloo, has changed the physiognomy of the Puerta del Sol again. All around heavens in Madrid!!!

Madrid

Some events and trivia on this very Madrilena square:

The Puerta del Sol has also experienced some important events for the history of Spain, such as the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931.

Some films of note on my taste showing bits of the Puerta del Sol were El misterio de la Puerta del Sol (mystery of the gate of the sun), by Francisco Elías Riquelme in 1929, considered as the first movie with sound of Spanish cinema. Km. 0, a light comedy of love, intrigues and Spanish erotism from 2000. The main line of the story is the  Madroño symbol of Madrid at the Puerta del Sol. In theater you have the play La Celosa (jealous one) of famous Tirso de Molina. Also a Spanish operetta or very Spanish call Zarzuelas, this one El  último tranvía (the last tramway) by  Ricardo Blasco.

In Literature, we have Luces de Bohemia (lights of Bohemia) from 1924 of Valle Inclán. The novel by Benito Pérez Galdós, Fortunata y Jacinta of 1886-87, the main carácter Juanito Santacruz lived at the Puerta del Sol and it recounts stories of the Gran Bazar de la Union. The dramaturges Jerónimo López Mozo in his work of El arquitecto y el relojero (the architect and the watchmaker) from 2000 has a story on the Casa de Correos house as well as the surrounding áreas of the Puerta del Sol. Also, the La conquista de la Puerta del Sol (conquest of the gate to the sun) by Emilio Carrere. In music, the scene given on the song Un Ano Màs (one more year) by Mecano. And finally, on my favorites is the painting of the Charge of the Mamalukes(mamluks sp?)  La Carga de los Mamelucos (or 2 de Mayo 1808) by  Francisco de Goya.

The tourist office of Madrid has some more on the Puerta del Sol : Madrid on the Puerta del Sol

The Comunidad de Madrid tourism on Puerta del Sol in Spanish: Province of Madrid on Puerta del Sol

And a bit more on Spain ‘s tourist office in English: Spain on the Puerta del Sol

So you get the idea? You need to be here, if you say you were in Madrid ok. And let me know, never mind getting info from my Madrid. I still have cousins in Aluche and niece in on the road to Toledo, but never mind, nothing is enough on Madrid and the Puerta del Sol is where the Sun’s Gate! And as in Spain , everything under the Sun, tourism slogan from the 80’s.

Remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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August 11, 2018

The road warrior ok the M-30 of Madrid!

As you know, love the road and freedom that it provides, and just glancing at my blog realized in a particular way have yet to write about one of my nicest memories on the road and I was there from the beginning of it all!

Well ,you see the title, the M-30 is a beltway road of Madrid, the first one, and it is a 3 because it is actually the third beltway in history see it down below. I was living in Madrid when they started building it and left when they had finished it! It has been a love affairs ever since 1974!

I have included in the narrative below some tidbits of my encounters here, the main arch over it passes near the Monumental bullfight arena of Las Ventas on Calle de Alcalà on the way to my piso (apartment in Quintana). It seems every visit  I need to take somebody by here and tell of all the businesses there,gone and new over the years. Some like where my Mom purchase my first shoes are still there (Victor Calzados) and of course I purchase my boys shoes there too! The restaurant where we spent many evenings and I do concur the best patatas bravas of Madrid, Docamar since 1963 still there!

I remember, going by bus P13 (today 113) to the baseball field of Elipa,now a huge sports complex park and baseball field still there, the Madrid baseball federation is base there etc. Now ,you can even go there from Doctor Esquerdo street and over the passarelle of the M-30! All wonderful memories never to be forgotten. Enough of me, let me tell you about the M-30.

The M-30, also call the Madrid ring road (beltway), is a road done like a highway except in the North of the city on the Avenida de la Ilustracion, this road goes around the city.  It has a length of about  32.5 km with an average radius of 5.17 km with respect to the Puerta del Sol. It is heavily congestion and high traffic volume, and some says the most in Spain. It has a speed limit of 90 KPH on the above sections and 70 KPH below the tunnels. The peculiarity is to be the only Spanish highway of which is own by the City Hall of Madrid.  The construction of the M-30 would  started  in 1970 (while I was living in the city) , in two different sections: the East section, or Avenida de la Paz, between the Carretera de Irún (to France) A-1 and Carretera de Cadiz  A-4, which followed the riverbed of the old Abroñigal, which was to be channeled and buried under the the highway. The West stretch, or the Manzanares highway, between the Puente de los Francéses (bridge of the French) and the Carretera de Cadiz (road), mostly built following the course of the Manzanares River. Both sections were joined in the South junction, and were not completed until 1974. (When I left Madrid after my  1st time there)

The first beltway would be formed by the streets that follow the old plot of the wall of king Felipe IV that formerly circled the city: lower part of the Cuesta de la Vega, Ronda de Segovia, Puerta de Toledo, Ronda de Toledo, Plaza de Embajadores, Ronda de Valencia , Ronda de Atocha, Glorieta de Atocha, exterior wall of Retiro park (currently, Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo, the first section of  Calle O’Donnell and Calle de Alcalá), Paseo de Recoletos up to the current Plaza Colón, and the “boulevards”, (Calle de Genoa, Calle de Sagasta and Calle Carranza ). With the construction of the viaduct, the extension of Calle de Bailen and its union with the Gran Via de San Francisco, at the same time as the construction of the last two boulevards already in the 20C (Calle de Alberto Aguilera and Paseo del Marqués de Urquijo) , the belt was enclosed by the West.

The second beltway  would be formed by the Rondas: Avenida de la Reina Victoria, Calle de Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, Calle de Joaquin Costa, Calle de Francisco Silvela, Calle del Doctor Esquerdo and Calle de Pedro Bosch.  The highway was designated as M-30 because it was the theoretical third beltway of Madrid. And my first encounter with a highway in the city of many nice memories even crossing it on the Passarella later on !  Its construction really was thought out in the 1960s and required the underground canalisation of the Abroñigal river, required to avoid flooding since the road runs through the lowest part of the city. In the 1970s the most important section was open between the junction of Manoteras (cross with the A-1, M-11 and accesses to Sanchinarro) north side of Madrid  and the Nudo Sur (South Junction), that connects to the Avenida de Andalucia (previously N-IV) now A-4.

MAdrid

It usually counts three lanes of traffic in each direction and can align up to 9 lanes, especially east of the city. This is where most of the country’s radial highways go to the various cardinal points of Spain: A-1: North Corridor, A-2: Northeast Corridor, A-3: East Corridor, A-4: South Corridor, A-5: South-West Corridor A-6: Northwest Corridor. A bit technical but will try to give you as much of the history and layout of the M-30

The construction of the tunnel by  the South Pass , that connects it directly with the  A-5  to the southwest of the city and to the A-3, needed the use of the two biggest tunnel grounders of the world. They are the longest urban highway  tunnels in Europe, with sections of more than 6 km in length and 3 to 6 lanes in each direction, between the south entry of the Avenida de Portugal tunnel and the north exit of the M-30 south by-pass there are close to 10 km of continuos tunnels. The M30 tunnels run between a point roughly 700 meters north of the junction with A5 motorway and continue all the way up to the junction between M30 and A3 motorway.  Lately my entry in and out of Madrid.

To tell you a bit of the different sectors of the M30: North sector: Between the A-6 and the A-1 the flow from the northwest via the A-6 connects to the M-30 north-west of the city surrounding the urban center. It runs along the Puerta de Hierro Park before connecting to the M-40 for the first time. It serves all the northern districts of the city (Antonio Machado and Lacoma).   The M-30 loses its highway status to become the Avenida de la Ilustracion while waiting for the tunnel by the North Pass  from which the M-607 is towards  Colmenar Viejo (Segovia etc)  on the extension of the Paseo de la Castellana until the junction with the A-1 and the M-11 to the northeast of the city. Hope I have not lost you , is all well posted!

East sector: Between A-1 (Burgos) and A-3 (Valencia); It is a very busy area because it recovers the flow from the north of Spain from Burgos, Barcelona or Zaragoza. Indeed very busy by me too ! The M-30 serves the eastern part of the city, where the northeast Highway connects to the 2nd largest city in the country: Barcelona.   In this area the road is particularly large and loaded and includes up to 8 traffic lanes, separated according to destination in, each direction. At the Calle de O’Donnell the road crosses the M-23 which allows to reach the radial highway R-3  from the East. Then to the southeast of the city, come the connection to  the A-3 which allows to reach the Spanish Levant. It is at this bifurcation that the tunnel by Pass is detached which directly connects the A-5 to the west of the city.

Sector South: Between the A-3 (Valencia) and the A-42 (Toledo), it is a double stretch of the road, first with the tunnel By Pass on which connects the southeast to the southwest of the city. The A-4 southbound disconnects to the Manzanares River to serve Andalusia (Cordoba, Seville,…). At this bifurcation it is joined by the Embajadores Tunnel which connects the South highway directly to Calle de Embajadores near the Atocha station in Madrid. My way of course, good driving, are you with me?

Sector West: Between A-42 and A-6; The M-30 forks with the A-42 to Toledo  (yeah the old N400) before going along the Manzanares by joining the tunnel by South Pass. It runs under the west stands of the Vicente Calderon Stadium. A kilometer further away is the Avenida de Portugal to serve the south-western suburbs of Madrid (Alcorcon, Mostoles…).

The M-30 crosses the M-500 and loops its turn at the junction with the A-6; there are 31 exits/salidas  in total, last count. The principal exits to big cities are the no 1- A-1 – Alcobendas, Burgos, exit 2, M-11 to A-2 (E-90)/A-3/A-4/Calle de Arturo Soria – Feria de Madrid, Madrid-Barajas Airport, Zaragoza, Exit 4b,  A-2/Calle de Arturo Soria – Zaragoza, Exit 9,  A-3 – Valencia, Exit 18,  A-5/Plaza España – Badajoz, exit 23a , A-6 – Madrid, Moncloa, Exit 23B,  A-6 – a Coruña, exit 23,  Calle de Sinesio Delgado exit 23,  Calle de Arroyofresno, Avenida Ventisquero de la Condesa, M-605/M-40 to M-607/avenue Cardenal Herrera Oria– El Pardo, Colmenar Viejo, M-40 to A-6 –  A Coruña .

MAdrid

map of M30 old beltway and next one around it M40.Credit University of Madrid

We have some nice building running alongside this highway M30, the best for me is the Elipa park where I used to played baseball! In my youth there and not there is a passarelle bridge from calle del Doctor Esquerdo to Calle Pez Volador to the passarelle and over to the park easy walk.  Others are in a clockwise direction from the junction of Manoteras ,north of Madrid up Paseo de la Castellana:   Cámara de Comercio de Madrid(chamber of commerce of Madrid) ,  Centro Cultural Islámico y Mezquita de Madrid, (the mosque of the M30), Plaza de toros de Las Ventas(monumental bullfights arena right off my old neighborhood on Calle de Alcalà), Torrespaña, Centro Comercial Moratalaz (shopping mall) , Matadero Madrid (arts entertainment center today on the old slaughterhouse of Madrid), Estadio Vicente Calderón (old stadium previous of the Atlético de Madrid FC), Ermita de la Virgen del Puerto( a nice Church), Jardines del Palacio Real de Madrid (gardens of the Royal Palace), Estación de Príncipe Pío(train station), Jardines del Palacio de La Moncloa (gardens of the house of government Moncloa),  Real Club Puerta de Hierro ( a private club) , Centro Comercial La Vaguada (shopping mall and one of my favorites in the city), Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Hospital Universitario La Paz(hospitals).

The M-30 appears in numerous films set in Madrid. A very characteristic one is  “Que he hecho yo para merecer esto,?” OR what have I done to deserve this? by Pedro Almodóvar. And in literature, it is the protagonist scene of the work of Esther García Llovet  La M-30, la gran velada or  the M30 the great evening.

There you go, a nice ride in the beehive of roads in Madrid today, from the M-30 you have today all the way around to the M 55 and many R (radials) with tolls to make driving in Madrid a Grand Prix Challenge , good ground for the road warior lol! Actually , folks, it is a lot easier than read, if you have driven in big cities before, of course.

Some webpages to help you understand a bit more this wonderful beltway are

On history here: https://www.mc30.es/index.php/calle-30/sobre-calle-30

On circulation traffic laws here: https://www.mc30.es/index.php/explotacion/circular-por-calle-30

State of traffic in Madrid: http://informo.munimadrid.es/informo/tmadrid/tmadrid.php

City of Madrid maps in pdf files  by main districts: https://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Movilidad-y-transportes/Incidencias-de-Trafico/Principales-incidencias-en-la-ciudad/Planos-por-Distritos-y-Barrios/?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=8ef0f4c41d4dc010VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=cbe0aa2dedcb1610VgnVCM2000001f4a900aRCRD

And remember, easy on the road but enjoy the freedom it provides. As said, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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August 11, 2018

La Vuelta de España 2018! bike race

And another bike spectacle I like and seeing it and would to see it again. As I do locally now, when on vacation by Cuenca last year we saw it coming into the town on the 7th stage. The whole family was with me and it was great. My dear late wife Martine, father’s side family are very much into cycling and do follow the tour de France for years, I actually began following it with them and then it spilled over the Vuelta.

Cuenca Cuenca

The 2018 edition is coming up and would like to tell you about it briefly.

The La Vuelta de España (Spain) or simply La Vuelta (the Lap) is a professional race of road cycling contested throughout the Spanish geography. It is held between the end of August and the beginning of September and belongs to the UCI WorldTour calendar, the highest category of professional racers.

The Vuelta was first disputed in 1935. Since its creation, the race has been suspended four times: from 1937 to 1940 due to the Spanish Civil War, from 1943 to 1944 due to WWII and the bad economic situation of Spain, in 1949 and from 1951 to 1954. It is the last and youngest of the well-known “great laps” of cycling, next to the Tour de France and the Giro d’italia. With four wins (2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005), Roberto Heras is the most prized runner in the race. The Vuelta in the 1970’s begain in 1970 with the triumph of Luis Ocaña, who was already consolidated in the International platoon as one of the great figures of cycling. José Manuel Fuente, with his triumphs in 1972 and 1974, became the third cyclist who managed to win two laps to Spain. A few years later, Bernard Hinault repeated the feat. In 1973 Eddy Merckx managed to win the Vuelta and did so in a sweeping way winning six stages and all the individual ratings except for the mountain, in which he finished second. In the 1980’s the main dominator of the Vuelta was Pedro Delgado with two victories (1985 and 1989), a second place and two thirds. In 2008, the winner was the Spaniard Alberto Contador, winner that same year of the Giro d’italia, and thus became the first Spaniard to win the three great laps. He won again in 2012. and again in 2014.  The first Vuelta was in 1935 with 14 stages and 3431 km ; by country the most wins have been by Spain 32, France 9, Belgium 7, Italy 6, and Switzerland 5.

The 2018 Vuelta will have 21 stages to complete a total of 3,254 km . Beginning in Malaga, on August 25th, and final in Madrid, on September 16th.   There will be six plain and two level stages with a high end, six mountain stages, five half-mountain stages and two individual time-trial stages. 46 Mountain ports and two days rest. The official departure of the Vuelta 2018 will be the 30th visit of the Spanish Vuelta to Malaga city. The first was in 1936, second edition of the Vuelta, with a departure and a goal towards Granada and Sevilla, respectively.

The stages and pictorials photos to follow individually, happy race

Stage 1: Málaga-Málaga, 8 km. CRI level (August 25), just a warm up!

Stage 2: Marbella-Caminito del Rey, 163.5 km. Plain (26 August)

Spain

Stage 3: Mijas-Alahurín de la Torre, 178 km. Half-Mountain (27 August)

Spain

Stage 4: Vélez-Málaga-Alfácar (Sierra de la Alfaguara), 161 km. Half-Mountain (28 August)

Spain

Stage 5: Granada-Roquetas del Mar, 188 km. Half-Mountain (August 29)

Spain

Stage 6: Huércal-Overa-San Javier. Mar Meno, 155 km. Plain (30 August)

Spain

Stage 7: Port-Lumbreras-Pozo Alcón. 185 km. Level (31st August)

Spain

Stage 8: Linares-Almadén, 195 km. Trowel (1 September)

Spain

Stage 9: Talavera de la Reina-la Covatilla, 200 km. Mountain (September 2)

Spain

Etage 10: Salamanca – Fermoselle-Bermillo de Sayago, 177 km. plain (4 September)

Spain

Etage 11: Mombuey – Ribeira Sacra. Luintra, 207 km. Half Mountain (5 September)

Spain

Stage 12: Mondoñedo. Faro de Estaca de Bares. Mañó, 181 kilometers. Half-Mountain (September 6)

Spain

Stage 13: Candás-Carreño-Valle de Knowo. La Campero, 174 km. Mountain. (September 7th)

Spain

Stage 14: Cistierna-Les Praeres. Nava, 171 km. Mountain (September 8)

Spain

Stage 15: Ribera de Arriba-Lagos de Covadonga. 178 km. Mountain (9 September)

Spain

Stage 16: Santillana del Mar-Torrelavega, 32 km. Individual time trial (11 September)

Spain

Stage 17: Getxo-Balcon de Bizkaia, 157 km. Half-Mountain (September 12)

Spain

Stage 18: Ejea de los Caballeros-Lleida, 186 km. Plain (September 13)

Spain

Stage 19: Lleida-Andorra. Naturlandia, 154 km. Level with end in high (September 14)

Spain

Stage 20: Andorra. Escaldes-Engordany-Coll de la Gallina. Sanctuary of Canolich. Mountain (15 September)

Spain

Stage 21: Alcorcón-Madrid, 100 km. Plain (September 16) Final

Spain

There you , enjoy as much as we do and if you are there let me see some pictures please.

The above pictorials was taken from my fav sports magazine in Spain AS, more here: AS on the Vuelta 2018

The official webpage for the Vuelta in English/French/Spanish is here: La Vuelta 2018

The full map of Spain for the Vuelta 2018

Spain

I had to tell you an anecdote on Ejea de los Caballeros in Aragon, back in 1990 I was traveling there with my girlfriend (later wife) and we were on her VW Golf driving, the gas/petrol tank was almost empty and this is in the middle of barren lands almost like a desert nothing in sight, I though well there is always a first to walk the road to find gasoline!!! She told me her VW was very economical on gas/petrol and so it was, we made it alright to get the road back to France. Never again with a not full tank of gasoline to take a trip! Enjoy it , and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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August 10, 2018

Independence, Peninsular War or simply War of 1808?

If you have read my posts, really…. you have noticed that of all the travel the section I like the most is the one dealing with history. I am an amateur history lover!!! It is a heavy subject and complicated and the reason not written a whole post on it ,until now.

The Independence war of Spain, or the Peninsular War of all, or simply call the War of 1808. I like the latest. After all, it was fought in the Iberian Peninsula most of it, but it included parts of Southern France and with the heavy casting of the British. Therefore, War of 1808 is best me think.

Not many have given lots of thought or at least not written about huh! But it is a very important war, that determine the liberalism in Europe from the absolutism, clear the way for imposing invaders/dictators, and gave the light of freedom to many Nations, the Americas included. A bloody war indeed, but don’t they are all? Who is counting bodies! any count is a sad count. As with wars, dictators, etc there is no gold silver and bronze, is either good or bad, and to me they are all bad.

It is a touchy feeling for me because I am Spanish-French as well (citizen that is) and very much close to the Portuguese community from which I learned their language and my oldest son godfather is from there. And of course, the British know it well too one of my girlfriends for years in the University was from Leicester lol!! and a few pints buddies. So will try to be neutral ok ::)

The Spanish War of Independence was a conflict developed between 1808 and 1814 in the context of the Napoleonic Wars, which confronted the Allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal against the first French Empire, whose pretension was that of install in the Spanish throne the brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte, after the abdications of Bayonne.

It confuses with what the Anglo-Saxon historiography calls Peninsular War, begun in 1807 when declaring France and Spain the war with Portugal, traditional allied of the United Kingdom. It also had an important component of civil war at the national level between francized and patriots. Since the bicentennial of the War of independence, some historians have questioned the name of “War of independence ” because it is not a conflict of independence character, depending on the character that has been given to these Conflagrations In particular gains strength the denomination War of 1808 or the more complete Peninsula War (Iberian peninsula).

Initial invasion of Portugal with France and Spain: The Spanish division of Solano, leaving Badajoz, took meantime Elvas and Campo Maior, going to establish its headquarters in Setúbal, occupying also Alcácer do Sal, in the Algarve, Tavira and Lagos. The Division of General Francisco Taranco y Llano, with about 6000 men, entered by Valencia and was to ensure the taking of the city of Porto, where was already the general Juan Carrafa with 4000 men, coming from Tomar and Coimbra. On 9 May 1808, the Prince Regent of Portugal, in Brazil, declared null all the Treaties of Portugal with France, declaring war on the French and friendship with his former ally, Great Britain. In Porto, on 6 June, there will be a period of popular revolts against the French occupation, as a result of which the populations of Chaves, Miranda Do Corvo , Torre de Moncorvo, Ruivães , Vila Real, amongst others responded immediately to the call. The news of the Spanish people’s uprising prompted General Solano to withdraw with his troops to Spain. General Quesnel, a Frenchman who replaced General Taranco   upon his death, is arrested by the Spanish troops of Gen Balestra who, meanwhile, was also ordered to return to Spain. The economic and institutional crisis in mainland Portugal worsened with the permanence of the Portuguese court in Brazil, which strengthened the liberal ideas in the country, leading to the Porto Revolution of 1820 and forcing the return of the king to Europe in 1821.

Lisbon

The British Army, under then Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the 1st Duke of Wellington, guarded Portugal and campaigned against the French in Spain alongside the reformed Portuguese army. The demoralized Portuguese army was reorganized and refitted under the command of Gen. William Beresford, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces by the exiled Portuguese Royal family, and fought as part of the combined Anglo-Portuguese Army under Wellesley.

London

According to the Treaty of Fontainebleau of October 27, 1807, Prime Minister Manuel Godoy foresaw, in the face of a new Spanish-French invasion of Portugal, the logistical support necessary to the transit of the imperial troops, which stipulates the joint military invasion, the cession to the Crown of the new kingdoms of Lusitania and Algarves, as well as the distribution of the colonies, all in favor of Spain in exchange for this transit. Under the command of General Junot, the French troops entered Spain on October 18, 1807 , crossing its territory at full march in winter, and reached the border with Portugal on November 20. However, Napoleon’s plans went beyond, and his troops were taking positions in important cities and strongholds in order to overthrow the dynasty of the Bourbons in Spain ,and supplant it by its own dynasty, convinced of having the popular support. This reach the point that they already control several Spanish towns, such as Burgos, Salamanca, Pamplona, San Sebastián, Barcelona and Figueras. The total number of French soldiers stationed in Spain amounted to about 65 000, which controlled not only the communications with Portugal, but also with Madrid and the French border. In March 1808, fearing the worst, the Royal family withdrew to the Royal Palace of Aranjuez to, if necessary, continue on the way to the south, to Sevilla and embark for America, as had already done Joao VI of Portugal (Brazil).

The dissemination of the news of the brutal repression,and the abdications of Bayonne on 5 and 9 May, 1808. One of the reasons why the Peninsular Wars attained so much infamy is that the depravities committed by all sides were graphically portrayed by one of the greatest artistic geniuses ever, Francisco Goya, who in 1808 had already held the position of official Spanish court-painter for three decades. His numerous etchings (the series known as “The Disasters of War”), drawings, and paintings not only depicted the horrors of this holocaust, but also constituted an unforgettable indictment of all warfare. Among the many scenes pictorially documented by Goya were skeletal children and women desperately begging for food, firing-squad shootings, bare-breasted and terrified women encountering impending rape, impalement of a man on a tree, and disembowelment by sword.   Napoleon forced the transfer of the Spanish crown to his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, as Joseph I  (José) in the abdications of Bayonne. Which extended throughout the Spanish geography the call, initiated in Móstoles (near Madrid), for action, the uprising against the French , coming for the most part from the popular classes and of the notable locals to confront the imperial troops, they decided the war by the way of the popular pressure in spite of the opposite attitude of the Board of government designated by king Fernando VII. Already in April there were riots in cities like León and Burgos, although, after the Madrid uprising, on May 2, 1808, the actions against the French was propagated throughout Spain. The war developed in several phases in which both sides took the initiative successively, and was highlighted by the emergence of the guerrilla phenomenon that, along with the regular Allied armies directed by the Duke of Wellington, caused the progressive wear to the Bonapartist forces.

The first successes of the Spanish forces in the spring and the summer of 1808, with the Battle of el Bruc, the resistance of Zaragoza and Valencia and, in particular, the victory of Bailen, meanwhile the situation in the Basque Country was tensing. Bilbao, the only provincial capital that had not been occupied by the invaders was relieved on the night of August 5 to 6 and proclaimed as King of Spain, Fernando VII. They provoked the evacuation of Portugal and the French withdrawal to the north of the Ebro, followed in the autumn of 1808 by the entrance of the Grande Armée, headed by Napoleon himself, in command of an army of 250 000 men culminated the maximum French deployment until mid-1812. After the entrance of the emperor in Madrid, after the Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros and the Battle of Somosierra (November 30, 1808) and the tremendous defeats of Uclés (January 13, 1809), the second of the sieges of Zaragoza (21 December 1808 to February 21, 1809) and Ocaña (November 1809), the Central Junta in charge of the government of the unoccupied Spain leaves the plateau for refuge, first in Sevilla, and then in Cadiz, which resists a long and brutal siege.

MAdrid

From there, the Central Junta assists defenselessly the capitulation of Andalusia. Napoleon was preparing to start in pursuit of the British expeditionary force of Moore, when it had to leave to France with urgency because the Austrian Empire had declared  war (January 6, 1809). He left the mission to finish the war in the northwest in the hands of Marshal Soult, who occupied Galicia after the Battle of Elviña and then turned south to attack Portugal from the north, leaving the group of Marshal Ney in his rear with the mission to collaborate in the occupation of Asturias. However, the popular resistance, supported by the weapons supplies by the British fleet, made it impossible to pacify Galicia, which had to be evacuated after the defeat of Ney in the Battle of Puentesampayo (June 1809). The popular uprising, directed by Captain Cachamuíña in Vigo, assumed that this was the first town reconquered to the French in Europe (March 28, 1809). Galicia and Valencia remained free of French troops, although Valencia ended up capitulated In January 1812. To this should be added the formal annexation, by decree of January 26, 1812, of Catalonia to the French Empire, with its division in four departments (Ter, Segre, Montserrat and Bocas del Ebro) and the incorporation of the Aragonese municipalities of Fraga and Mequinenza, while the Aran Valley was assigned to the Department of the Haute-Garonne in France.

By the end of 1812, the Grande Armée of Napoléon that had invaded the Russian Empire had ceased to exist. Unable to resist the oncoming Russians, the French had to evacuate East Prussia and the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. With both the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia joining his opponents, Napoleon withdrew more troops from Spain, including some foreign units and three battalions of sailors sent to assist with the Siege of Cadiz. The withdrawal of troops bound for the Russian campaign was exploited by the Allies to resume the initiative from their victory in the Arapiles (22 July 1812) forcing Joseph Bonaparte to flee temporarily from Madrid. And, counteracting the French offensive, advancing along 1813 to the Pyrenees, defeating the French in the Battles of Vitoria (June 21) and San Marcial (August 31). Meanwhile, Russia’s campaign absorbed the bulk of French resources. Therefore, during 1813 the French Army was withdrawing and losing territory. The French abandoned almost all their towns, and after the Battle of Vitoria on June 21, 1813, they were expelled from Spain. The Treaty of Valençay of December 11 ,1813 restored to king Fernando VII and left Spain free of the foreign presence, but did not prevent the invasion of the French territory. In October of 1813 the Allies crossed the Pyrenees. The war continued in the south of France. There were fighting in the Nivelle River, Bayonne, Orthez, Toulouse and again in Bayonne between the Allied army formed by English, Portuguese and Spanish against French. Being the Battle of Toulouse (April 10, 1814) the last confrontation of the war. Finally, Napoleon asked for peace. So paradoxically, the war ended in the same locality where it originated: Bayonne.

St Jean pied du port

Allied troops had entered until Bordeaux, and possibly, if they had not been stopped, they had entered in Paris before the Austrians, Prussians and Russians. King Fernando VII was finally able to return to Spain on March 22nd, 1814. It must be pointed out that Catalonia formally continued to belong to the French Empire until 28 May 1814, with the orderly withdrawal of all its troops under the command of General Pierre Joseph Habert. At that time, even Napoleon had already abdicated (Treaty of Fontainebleau, April 14, 1814). The signing of the Treaty of Valençay, by which king Fernando VII was reconstituted on the throne,as the absolute monarch, was the beginning of a time of disappointment for all those who, like the deputies gathered in the courts of Cadiz, had believed that the fight against the   French was the beginning of the Spanish Revolution and also the beginning of the Latin American War of independence. It was a long and destructive war, most estimations of wartime dead in Spain place the number at over one million, which constituted more than 10% of the total population. In Portugal, the losses were recorded at 5-10%. The episode remains as the bloodiest event in Spain’s modern history, doubling in relative terms the Spanish Civil War.

In all, Spain deprived of its naval power and excluded from the great subjects dealt with in the Congress of Vienna, where it drew the subsequent geopolitical panorama of Europe. On the other side of the Atlantic, the American colonies would gain independence after the Spanish-American Wars of Independence , Spanish colonies (most except Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines) as well as Portuguese Brazil had achieved independence by 1822. At the internal political level, the conflict hatched the Spanish national identity and opened the doors to constitutionalism, concretized in the first Constitutions of the country, the Statute of Bayonne and the creation of Cadiz. However, it also initiated an era of civil wars between the supporters of absolutism and those of liberalism, called Carlist Wars, which would extend to the entire 19C and that would mark the becoming of the Nation. War and revolution against Napoleon’s occupation led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, later a cornerstone of European liberalism. What made the Peninsular Wars so extraordinary and influential, however, is that never before had a guerrilla insurgency fought on such a large scale with such devastating effectiveness while contributing in major ways to the defeat of the most proficient armies the world had ever seen that were commanded nominally by the greatest military genius in history. Yet in less than six years after the Iberian insurrections of May, 1808 he was traveling toward exile on the tiny island of Elba. The Iberian “ulcer” had contributed mightily toward bleeding his empire of all life. Another adverse outcome of the wars for both Spain and Portugal was the deepening rift, chasm, or division in their societies between those favoring the regressive forces of absolute monarchy, aristocracy, and clergy and those favoring the progressive forces of constitutionalism, bourgeoisie, and secularism. Sound familiar!

Madrid

Casa de America

A huge event indeed in my opinion, that allows for independence movements all over the participating countries in this war and for my beloved Spain, lucky to have Russia and Austria and Prussia battling Napoleon on the Central European front otherwise history will be another story. And this is not the last time it will play out as WWI and WWII would tell us. Hope you enjoy the historical reading compiles from British, French ,Portuguese,and Spanish sources.

Some webpages I like to complement the above are

Ministerio de Educacion, Cultura y Deportes:  http://pares.mcu.es/GuerraIndependencia/portal/viaje/cronologia/cronologia.html

Britannica in English: https://www.britannica.com/place/Spain/The-French-invasion-and-the-War-of-Independence-1808-14

Further reading in English, Peninsula War (another name for the Independence war of Spain into into consideration Portugal) : http://www.peninsularwar.org/penwar_e.htm

La Guerre d’Espagne as known in Napoléon’s France: https://www.napoleon.org/histoire-des-2-empires/articles/la-guerre-despagne-de-bayonne-a-baylen/

Hope you enjoy the reading, and it may I am sure help understand these countries today a bit more. I am sure you will know Spain independant drive of today from it.

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

 

 

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