Tag Archives: Madrid

Mercadillo de Tetuan – Madrid’s Other Sunday Street Market

2017_073014_4623_061I had been to El Rastro a few times, like twice or thrice, roaaming Plaza de Cascorro and Rivera de Curtidores, among other important streets of the market. And every time, it never failed to fascinate it. It is not just a market, but more of a huge, open-air art and novelty gallery. This street market is situated within the boisterous neighborhood of La Latina, probably one of Madrid’s most eccentric barrio, together with Lavapies.

Rastro is popular for being one of the few Madrid street flea markets, and like the rest, here is where you could find almost anything that want and need, sold at dirt-cheap prices. Open full-blast on Sundays, it is a major go-to Madrid destination, and a must-see for both locals and tourists alike.

Mercadillo de Tetuan — Another must-visit market in Madrid

Of course, El Rastro is not only the weekend market in the city where you can enjoy some budget shopping. There is the Mercadillo de Tetuan, located in the neighborhood that bears the same name  – a place the attracts throngs of excited, would-be buyers every Sunday.

I am much nearer to the Tetuan Market, my apartment being just a few blocks away from it. Yet ironically, I had been there only twice, including this latest visit of mine.

While El Rastro appears as a labyrinth (hence, there’s a great chance that you will lose your way with one wrong turn), where you’d be surprised that even the narrow inner streets have a lot to offer, Mercado de Tetuan is much easier to check out as everything is conveniently laid out along the length of Avenida de Asturias. In less than half an hour, you would have traversed its whole length, starting at Plaza de Castilla (near Via Castellana Hotel) to its other end, which is within walking distance to La Vaguada mall.

What to buy

The market boasts of a wide variety of goodies, and a large percentage of them are clothing, shoes, and home accessories. The market offers affordable necessities, which makes it one of Madrid’s weekend center of attraction. Needless to say, all roads lead to the Mercado de Tetuan during Sundays, where people enjoy only the best buys.

2017_073012_2354_756Take the metro line 1 or line 10 and get off at Plaza de Castilla station. Seen partially in the photo is the Gates of Europe or Puerta Europa

2017_073012_2326_733Shirts and blouses for women and camisas for women are sold at 3 euros for 2 pieces. Similar stalls are aplenty so you do have a lot of choices. You you need to do is have the patience to rummage through piles of clothing
2017_073012_2247_901Football shirts, scarves, flags, key chains and other accessories, anyone?
2017_073013_4401_937One look at the fruits and vegetables and you’d say they are of the freshest quality. Those who need goodies to fill up their refs and kitchens can check these stalls found at the far end of Avenida de Asturias
2017_073014_4201_763I encountered a stall that sells bird cages, pet food and accessories2017_073014_4428_934A number of stalls entices more customers than the others because of the attractive wares that they offer, like the one above displaying psychedelically designed and colored bags.

How to go there:

Remember that the market opens only on Sunday, from 10AM to 3PM. But, as early as 7AM, vans containing loads of goods are everywhere, and stall owners are rushing to prepare their wares for the expected influx of prospective buyers.

Going to Mercadillo de Tetuan is easy. Plaza de Castilla Metro Station is nearby, and accommodates Lineas 10, 9, and 1. Numerous EMT buses use the plaza as their parada, including 27, 42, 49, 67, 107, 70, 129. Autobuses such as 147 and 5 passes through the area as well.

Museo Thyssen Bornemisza of Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art

2017_072317_5139_496After Prado and Reina Sofia, what else is next? Of course, it’s the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum along Paseo del Prado, another famous art museum in Madrid, Spain. It’s definitely one museum that I mustn’t miss since it is considered as one of the major ones in the city. For one thing, it holds a gargantuan collection of valuable art pieces, with over 1600 paintings and similar items on display.

I was simply awed by its current artwork, many of which are available for viewing by the public. Thyssen affords art connoisseurs and lovers the chance to experience and revel at the variety of outstanding artwork that come from different periods of time — these include the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and up to the modern popular art.

The Thyssen Museum boasts of unique paintings from major worldwide artistic movements such as the Fauvism, German Expressionism, together with the experimental movements that sprouted in the twentieth century.

You will find on its top floor a number of religious art work, most of which are from the  17th and 18th centuries, while on the lower floor are found a variety of modern art pieces. Clearly, there is something for every visitor to enjoy.

Likewise, Thyssen is known for its great massive collection of 19th-century American paintings, many of which cannot be found in other European museums. Because of its rich collections of artwork, it is understandable that the museum is packed with visitors every day of the year, attracting close to a million visitors a year. The presence of Thyssen, plus other major museums, renders the city of Madrid as a major player in the art world.

Where is the museum located?

What I love about Thyssen is that you can find it right in the midst of the city, together with the two other major Madrid museums, such as The Reina Sofia and The Prado Museums. These three popular museums, found in the area of Paseo del Prado and Atocha, form the so-called Golden Triangle of Art of Spain.

When it comes to the other nearby tourist sites and attractions, you can troop to the Puerta del Sol, Cibeles Palace, and The Temple of Debod, places that are just a few minute walk from the museum. Such sites are must-visits by anyone who is in town for the first time.

Another recommended place to visit after seeing Thyssen and getting hungry from all that art viewing is the Plaza Mayor, the ideal spot in Madrid. It is the most famous square of Spain, and one that I go to if I want to have a bocadillo or paella.

It’s an ever busy square that offer local events, and even a perfect place if you enjoy watching people walking and bustling by. Of course, there’s the Terrazas de Thyssen right inside the museum’s premises to satisfy your hunger.

2017_072317_5046_898The Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday starting at 10AM up until  6:30PM. On December 24 and 31,  the museum is open until 3PM.  It is closed on December 25 and January 1.

Individual access tickets are available to all visitors; such a ticket allows full access to the Thyssen for one day. Access includes all temporary exhibitions on viewing during that day.

How much are the tickets to the Museo Thyssen?

The cost of the regular ticket is around  €12.00, but if you are a student, a fine arts teacher, or a senior, that give you the chance to avail of discounts.  The ticket prize is also reduced to 10 euro if you belong to a group of seven. But, you want to take advantage of free entrances, Thyssen offers free entry to the museum’s permanent collection during Mondays, from 12PM to 4PM.

Las Terrazas del Thyssen and the gardens compliments the museum

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2017_072317_5115_526In front of the museum’s gardens is the Las Terrazas del Thyssen, a 3-floor food establishment that offers a variety of casual and easy-to-dine food. This makes the  restaurant one of the top dining choices this part of Madrid. In fact, the Las Terrazas is place to be by those who prefer to spend their night on an amazing u4ban dining club.

An exhilarating experience

2017_072317_5209_279I must say that my Thyssen visit is truly unforgettable. For one thing, I had the chance to view and experience immense amount of valuable artwork. Also, the place itself is inviting — it was easy for me to lose myself in the spacious rooms as I enjoy breathtaking art items on display.

The hours seem so short as I focused on immersing myself at the amazing collections; but still, I took time to also visit the gift shop and drink some bebida (refreshment) on the Terrazas. Needless to say, my visit to Thyssen is one to cherish forever, one that has enriched my life in a profound way.

How to go:

Autobus: Go for EMT 1, 5, 9, 14, 20, 34, 37, 41, 51, 53, 52, 146, 150

Metro: Take Line 2 and get off at Banco de España

Via RENFE, Atocha and Recoletos are the nearest stations to the museum

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7 Must-try Spanish Restaurants In and Around Madrid Centro

Centro Madrid, needless to say, is one of the Spanish meccas for tourists because it covers the districts and neighborhoods where found are some of the country’s most engaging sites and attractions. In the south, you’ll find Latina and Embajadores neighborhoods, while situated in the East are Recoletos and Colon. The Northern portion is bounded by Chamberi, among others, while Moncloa-Aravaca is located in the West. Within its confines are innumerable must-see attractions like museums, churches, plazas and monuments scattered around popular touristy areas such as Puerta del Sol, Gran Via, Atocha, to name a few.

Likewise, Centro Madrid is touted as a hot spot as far as iconic bars and restaurants are concerned. This is exactly what I love about this part of the city– it easily boasts of a great number of food establishments that serve all types of food imaginable. Of course, if you are a tourist, try as many of the typical Spanish fares as possible.

Below are 7 popular restaurants in and around Centro Madrid that you must dine at. Note that for every restaurant, I also recommend a top dish that you should try.

1. Museo del Jamon (Gran Via)

Museo del Jamon, Calle Mayor is one of the most popular in Sol, MadridFor great Spanish eats, a top choice is Museo del Jamon of Gran Via, Calle Mayor and other various locations. It is popular for serving a great variety of Spanish food fare at affordable prices. Traditional Spanish comida are found in menu here, and available in both tapas and raciones. Quick and cheap servings of tapas can be had on the bar on the ground floor. For instance, bocadillos of lacon, chorizo, queso, and jamon sell for 1 euro apiece. On the second floor is where sit-down dinners and multi-courses are served.

I recommend its mouth-watering Callos de Madrileno

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2. Cafe Melo’s Bar (Barrio of Lavapies)

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For those looking to savor zapatillas, check out what I personally think is the best in Madrid, the ones served at Café Melo’s Bar. Located at Lavapies, along Calle Ave Maria, it serves some of the tastiest and chunkiest zapatillas in town. It’s not only a huge delicacy, both in size and taste, but also reasonable in price.  One can relish its heaping lacon-and-cheese sandwich for only 11 euros. That’s for one whole order, and a bit over 6 euros for a half. Another must-dine at Melos is its croquetas — a delightful, crunchy ball with hot gooey cheese and ham bits in its inside.

Even a half-order of Zapatilla more than satisfies

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3. Bar Santurce (Plaza General Vara El Rey, La Latina)

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You must have visited El Rastro for its variety of inexpensive knick knacks and various other items, which are sold on shops and its network of streets. But I must say that your visit to this barrio is not complete if you have not dined at Bar Santurce and tasted its grilled sardines. Located along General Vara del Rey, customers, old and first-timers, would not mind the cramped, no-frills dining area as they are simply after its main offering, which is its tasty grilled fare. The dish is eaten best with pimiento de padron, a piece of bread, and ice-cold beer.

Opt for a tapa of Pimiento de Padron

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and of course, its grilled sardines

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4. El Brillantes (Plaza Emperador Carlos V, Atocha)

El Brillante at Plaza Emperador Carlos V MadridAtocha is known for being the site of one of Spain’s premier museums, Museo Reina Sofia. Within the barrio, you can also find Atocha Metro and RENFE stations, transport systems that will bring  from you anywhere in the city and all around Spain.

If you find yourself in Atocha, a good choice to pacify your hunger is at El Brillante, an iconic Spanish restaurant that takes pride in serving what according to it are the most delicious calamares sandwiches. In fact, it is not shy to post a sign that says Brillante’s bocadillo de calamar is the best in the whole of Madrid.

Where its Bocadillo de Calamares is a must-eat

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5. Casa Labra (Calle Tetuan, Plaza del Sol)

2017_050120_2843_549Casa Labra used to be a Tavern that right from the start had been serving unique cod croquettes to residents in this part of Madrid. With its location within the area of Puerta del Sol, and in front of the El Corte Department Store, the restaurant is proud of serving its highly in-demand cod croquette.

Savor its croquetas de Bacalao

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6. Chocolateria San Gines (Calle Arenal)

Especially if you’re a sweet tooth, your tour of Madrid is never complete without dropping by San Gines. Suffice it to say that this cafe bar has some of the most popular churros in town. Although I was misheard by the lady at the counter and got me some borras instead, which were too much for me to finish. Had a hot cup of choco, which surprisingly wasn’t that sweet like I thought it .
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While others like churros, i love its porras more

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7. Mercado San Miguel (Plaza de Sn Miguel, near Plaza Mayor)

The most popular market of its kind, where hundreds of food kiosks are lumped under one roof selling various fares such as mariscos, dulces, vinos y cervesas, chicharrones, and even paellas. If you’re one big tapa lover, you must head to this market of hundred tapa bars just outside Plaza Mayor. You will be bewildered by the seemingly endless tapa choices, each of which is sure to satisfy your craving.
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Have a taste of chicharrones, among numerous other delightful tapas

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Museo Nacional de Antropologia: Madrid´s Museum of Anthropology (and Curiosities)

received_1415553321845939The National Museum of Anthropology (Spanish: Museo Nacional de Antropología) is a national museum of Spain located in the middle of Madrid near the Parque del Buen Retiro and opposite Atocha railway and metro station. Formally inaugurated on 29 of April in 1875 during the reign of King Alfonso XII, it is considered the oldest anthropology museum in Spain. Many historians, thus, consider the museum as a major historical jewel.

First floor devoted to a former colony

Called the Asia hall, this floor is found in the ground level of the edifice, where presented are cultural and anthropological artifacts and relics from the Philippines. Many of the items are known to be derived from the 1885 exposition held at Parque del Retiro.

Incidentally, in relation to the 1885 exposition, I was fortunate to have been invited to the latest exhibit about this Spanish colony, known as the “Imagenes de Una Exposicion Filipinas e El Parque del Retiro, En 1887.”

Attended by no less than the Philippine Ambassador to Madrid, His Excellency Philippe J. Lhuillier, the exbihit  a rich display of photos, artwork, and other museum items on old Philippines.

The said event were also attended by the members of the Filipino community in Spain, as well as the officers and staff members of the Embassy. Indeed, Philippines is in an enviable position for having been allotted a premier spot at one of Madrid’s most prestigious museums.

received_1415554145179190Shelves in which are displayed some of the Old Philippines’ ancient wares such as clay jars, pots, pans, and miniature huts

received_1415553658512572Visitors marvel at a variety of photographs that tells about the Philippines of yesteryears. Much of the photo’s themes are set in the country’s olden era

received_1415554015179203His Excellency Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier was there to grace the exhibit and gave a speech to an appreciative crowd.

received_1415553745179230The exhibit on the Philippines was organized by the Museo and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain. It also featured photographs on the Philippine Exposition 1887 held at the Parque del Retiro.

received_1415554418512496My colleagues and I attended the affair dressed to the nines, donned in our best traditional Philippine clothing – the Barong Tagalog

Anthropological and Cultural Displays from all over

What else can we see at the Anthropology Museum of Madrid? Currently, the museum boasts of a variety of items, not just from the Philippines and Asia but also from other parts of the world, like the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. Everyone is invited to visit the museum and see for themselves the rich historical and anthropological items that come from all over the world.

How to Go:

Metro: Atocha, Atocha Renfe (Line 1)
Autobus: 27, 10, 32, 10, Circular

Price of Entry

3 euros0

Discounted Price:

1.50 euros

Free entry

There are certain times and days visitors don’t need to pay to enter, such as the evening of Saturdays, Sundays, April 18, May 18, October 18

Times Open

Tue – Sat 9:30AM-8:00PM

Days the Museum is Closed

January 1 & 6; May 1; December 24, 25 & 31

Museo Antrofologia de Madrid

Parque Europa – Little Europe of Madrid

Parque Europa might not be even a bit comparable to world-famous theme parks such as Euro-Disney of Paris or the Ocean World of California USA, but definitely it is well worth your time going there. For one thing, you can stay inside without having to spend a single dime. Entrance to the park is free. Found within Torrejón de Ardoz, one of the Community of Madrid, the parque is quite sizable and there is adequate space for any activity that you and family or friends might want to engage in. Likewise, you can bring your own food and drinks inside. In fact, there is a portion of the park filled with tables and benches for visitors to eat and rest.

You can stay inside the park, seat on a bench, and be in touch with nature all day long. Varieties of well-manicured plants, bushes, and trees abound, while roads and pathways are well-paved to allow easy access from one place to another.

But beautiful flora is not only what Parque Europe has to offer, but attractions and rides as well. The most popular rides are zip-line, pony riding, and boating along the lagoon. Food stands, restaurants, and vending machines are found in strategic places throughout the park.

But its best attractions are the replicas of the premier landmarks and monuments of major European countries. There are at least 17 of these impressive structures, with the Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, and the Trevi Fountain as three of the most popular ones. Visit Parque Europa and experience all the fun things that it has to offer.

Have a taste of Europe via these Exciting Mini-European Landmarks

Torre de Belem of Lisboa, Portugal

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Puerta de Alcalá of Madrid, Spain

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Garden Pathway

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The Little Mermaid of Copenhagen

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Ayuntamiento de Madrid at Puerta del Sol

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Dutch Windmills of Holland

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London Bridge (As seen from C/ Antonio de Solis)2017_052918_1656_946

London Bridge (Side)

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Plaza de Europa

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El Atomium of Brussels

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Biblical King David by Michaelangelo

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Eiffel Tower of Paris, France

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Trevi Fountain of Rome

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Puerta de Brandeburgo of Berlín

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Activities to do inside

Boat ride at the Lagoon

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Biking

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Pony ride

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Picnic with family and friends

2017_052922_4909_399We enjoyed our lunch on one of the picnic tables found near the Puerta de Brandeburgo

Dine at Restaurante El Mirador de Europa

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How you can get to Parque Europa:

Parque Europa is a major attraction of Torrejón de Ardoz, a nearby Madrid town. You can reach this recreational park from Madrid proper by taking Cercanías train C-7. As soon as you reach Torrejon, you will have to take autobus C2 to arrive at Parque Europa. You will reach your destination in under 1 hour, or approximately 45 minutes. The cheapest way to get to the park from Torrejón De Ardoz is by autobus 224A

Gates/Entrances to the park:

2017_052918_1535_151Most visitors enter by the front of the Brandenburg Gate, along Paseo de los Cipreses. Another gate is by the Puerta de Alcala replica, found at Calle Hilados. Another means of access to the park is via Calle Compass, at the corner of Alamo Street.

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7 Places Where I Get My Paella Fast and Cheap

I love paella! It tops my list of favorite traditional Spanish delicacies. It’s a dish fit for the gods and that I can claim to be as my ultimate comfort food. I swear I could eat this divinely palatable rice concoction all day, every day.

Paella swept me off my feet immediately after I had it as my primera cena de la tarde at Restaurante Museo de Jamon, in Puerta del Sol Madrid almost three years ago. It goes without saying that I savored my first ever paella to the fullest.

I can attribute my great fondness to the dish to the aromatic saffron, the Middle Eastern Mediterranean spice that caused the rice to turn yellow, and the rich mix of a variety of sea foods such as clams, squid, prawns among others, without which paella would not be the delicious food that it is.  It is Spain’s version of the Italian risotto, and so, so much more.

I must say, however, that the dish isn’t cheap since restaurants typically require diners to order at least two raciones, the combination of which is equivalent to one filled-up large, wide and shallow pan. A racion ranges from 15 euros to as high as 50 euros. It’s surely quite an amount, and so it is ideal that you come with a friend or two with whom you can split the bill to avoid serious dent on the pocket.

Paella Tapa, anyone?

Spain is the land of tapas, and so I was almost certain that there are also places that serve this dish on a plate. And indeed, there are restaurants that do offer them. It must be that these establishments make paella available to those who are on the go, and needed a quick fix.

So, why go for tapas?

Fast

It takes arroceria restaurants some 30 minutes to serve an order. On the other hand, you can have and relish your tapa in no time at all.

Cheap

Can you imagine dining on a 5-euro plate, and chances are, it’s a heaping one? Never mind if it’s reheated, for especially if you’re a shoestring traveler like me, paella tapas are a great option to keep your hunger satisfied and yet be able to spend within your budget.

While clearly, the paellas from the establishments in this list may not be straight fire like those from genuine paella restaurants, and connoisseurs might frown or even be appalled by the existence of a tapa version of Spain’s beloved classic dish. But in my case, but they do satisfy nonetheless. Whether it is cooked upon order or reheated, I’ll take it gladly anytime.

While there must be quite a number of restaurants and food joints around Madrid that serve these tapas, the following are my most frequented ones:

1. PAELLA Y OLE (Mercado de San Miguel, Plaza de San Miguel, cerca Plaza Mayor)

17474080_10155154154059605_1650055860_o2017_040120_0019_347Make a quick stop at Mercado San Miguel and pass by Paella y Ole, a food kiosk that boasts of the  main varieties — mixta (with rabbit and chicken) and sea foods. I always opt for the latter as it tastes great albeit the dish is a bit less in quantity and wanting of ingredients. A small plate can be had for only 4 euros

2. BAR POSTAS CERVECERIA, Calle Postas 13

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2017_052111_1258_159Bocadillo de callamares is Bar Postas’ main fare, but it also serves arroz tapas, among others. For just 4 euros, you get a plate of heaping rice delight, made more delectable by its generous sea food and vegetable bits ingredients

3. RAYPI, Mercado de Maravillas

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2017_052111_0148_075Raypi’s paella excites me to no end, extremely amused that it is served on a mini paella pan. The food bar complements it with a small plate of tapa that consists of bits of potato, chorizo, and bread. I ordered media racion, which costs me 4 euros

4. DP TAPAS, Mercado de San Ildefonso

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2017_052111_1835_809According to DP Tapas, it serves only “100 percent Spanish food;” this is surely why paella tapa is included in its menu. Most food kiosks in Mercado San Ildefonso sell tapas, and DP is one of only two that serve paella. A bit soupy and mushy for others (this is how I like mine), but a plus is that the shrimp is aplenty. An order sells for 7 euros.

5. EL SABROSO, Calle de San Joaquin 16, near Tribunal Metro

C360_2017-05-23-23-08-30-212Its logo says comida para llevar, but a few of its shops, including that in Tribunal, have tables and side bars to offer a dine-in option. I shell out 3.80 euros for an order

6 ABANDA, Plaza Mayor

2017_052100_2604_452The restaurant got its name from paella abanda,  a seafood variety that originated from Valencia. Here, the tapa is 7 euros
2017_052100_2612_047Paella negra’s rice turns black because of the ink of the squid. The waitstaff advised us to visit Abanda during lunch time, when all paellas are freshly cooked

7. CARDEÑO,Calle Alfonso Rodríguez Santamaría
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Thursday’s paella day at Cardeno, the only day of the week when the restaurant includes the dish in its menu del dia. Ingredients are various sea food, chicken and rabbit. Lunch can be as early as 1pm, when the piping hot rice dish is ready to be served. Menu del dia costs 13 euros

Valladolid: Lenten Town of Spain

2017_051321_5954_018Having learned that we are looking for something new to go to on Good Friday, someone in our group  gushed about the Castile town of Valladolid, assuring us that if only for its processions, the place is a must-see during the Holy Week. Bonus treats are the centuries-old churches and museums kept well-preserved within the city boundaries, as well as the strong Castillian vibe that the place is known for. Quite convinced, we signed into joining a small group that will travel to this town early Friday morning.

During the trip itself, I felt how time  seemed to have passed so slowly despite the fact that the distance between Madrid Valladolid is but all of two and a half hours. Perhaps I got used to the many quick 1-hour-or-so day trip destinations I had before, such as Toledo, Colmenares Viejo, Alcala de Henares and Manzanares el Real.

Did you know that Valladolid is not only famous for its religious processions, museums, and churches, but it is likewise associated with a number of popular historical figures? Popular names who were born or have stayed in Valladolid are Christopher Columbus, the world conqueror; Phillip II and Phillip III, former rulers of Spain; and Miguel Cervantes, the iconic Spanish writer.

First stop: Tordesillas

If you’re bound for Valladolid, it is a must that you stop by the town where the treaty between Spain and Portugal was signed. We only had 30 minutes more to Valladolid when we took a lull at this quiet town, made historic because of the 1494 treaty signed by the two most powerful countries during that time. The treaty divided the New World between the two countries.

It was just frustrating because we stayed in Tordesillas for all of 40 minutes, and not two hours like what was earlier planned. I decided by make the most of our stay there by rushing to the Treaty Houses, and the town’s Plaza Mayor to take some pictures.

Seeing Valladolid

Finally, we reached our destination after 25 or so minutes of travel from Tordesillas. One thing unique about this famous Castile town is the absence of mountains and hills, a topographic feature common in other Spanish towns and cities. It has no mountains to speak of — the only one in all of Spain. Another distinction is that it is completely surrounded by all other provinces belonging to the Castile and Leon community — these are Palencia, Zamora, León, Segovia, Burgos, Salamanca, and Ávila .

Holy Week in Val

Brotherhoods and groups of Catholic leanings are known to hold their own celebration of the Lent, interpreting the passion of the Christ through processions. Streets are filled with observers intent in watching the long procession that tells the story of the Passion and Death of Jesus. Most of the important processions are during the Easter Week itself.

If you want to experience the best that the town offers, visit it during Easter, since it is the time when religious processions happen, where spectacular and breathtaking religious displays and icons depicting Christ’s suffering and death are paraded. Religious fraternities that consist of members and leaders are garbed in robes of different designs and colors.

They carry beautiful, life-sized statues of Jesus and other religious personalities atop carriages to be witnessed and appreciated by devotees. Processions are usually accompanied by a band that plays somber religious hymns.

Stunning Photos

2017_051322_0449_702Santa Maria de la Antigua Church is a Catholic Church of  combined Roman and Gothic-style architecture, patterned after that of the Burgos Cathedral. In English, it is the Church of St. Mary the Ancient. It is so-called because it was built way back in the 12th century. As early as 1897, it was declared a national monument, a Bien de Interes Cultural.

2017_051322_1050_835The Iglesia Conventual de San Pablo, more popularly known as the  Iglesia San Pablo de Valladolid, is one of the iconic churches of the town and all of the community of Castile and León. It took builders more than 23 years to built, from 1445 to 1468. The church is the place where King Philip II and King Philip IV were baptized. It was said to have been visited by  French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte.

2017_051522_4509_741Plaza Mayor of Valladolid have originated all the way from the Hasburg monarcy, and is recognized as a true Spanish Square. It is also is touted as the very first plaza of Spain. The grounds are vast and wide, intended to be so in order  to hold shows and sports events. This vital spot in the town hosts most of Valladolid’s public events, including the Holy Week’s presentations and processions

2017_051321_4926_531Ayuntamiento de Valladolid is the stately edifice lording over the town’s Plaza Mayor, and serves as the office of the town administration

2017_051522_3132_897Palacio Real de Valladolid is located at Plaza de San Pablo, in front of the Iglesia de San Pablo. It served as the official residence of the Kings in the early part of the 1600’s, the era when the town acted as the seat of the Spanish courts

2017_051522_3122_683Iglesia Penitencial de la Vera Cruz, or the Penitential Church of Santa Vera Cruz in English, is a church located in the middle of the town, right within the  Calle Platerías. The church is associated with the Brotherhood or Fraternity of the Holy Cross Vera, recognized as the the oldest Lenten Brotherhood in the City. It houses one of the most important icons in Spain, the Lignum Crucis

2017_051522_3737_717Mercado del Val strongly reminds me of Mercado de San Miguel mainly because of its glass and iron architecture. Built in the late 19th century, it is found in the Plaza del Val, and a stone’s throw away from the San Benito el Real Church

2017_051322_2305_684 Iglesia del Monasterio de San Benito, or the Saint Benedict church — flaunts old Gothic church architecture. Its site was the former location of the Alcazar Real de Valladolid, an imposing edifice masterfully built with its gate tower-shaped, Rennaissance-inspired facade giving the church a uniquely beautiful appearance

2017_051322_2946_785Processions in Valladolid are often joined in by Spanish ladies of the town wearing mantillas, or traditional shawl or lace worn over their head using a special comb known as peineta.

2017_051323_0552_721After an hour of waiting , the long procession finally started at 8PM, passing through vital streets to end at the Plaza Mayor2017_051323_0801_596Valladolid processions, as in other processions on most Spanish towns, are dominated by men wearing capirote, point cone-shaped hat. These men belong to fraternities or brotherhoods assigned to reenact vital scenes from the suffering and death of Jesus Christ

2017_051322_2653_284Monasterio Real de San Joaquin y Santa Ana is the official monastery of the Congregation of Monasteries of Cistercian nuns of San Bernardo. Its exhibits a neoclassical design created by Francesco Sabatini. Adjacent to the monastery is a museum that displays baroque pieces. The Monasterio Real itself boasts of valuable art pieces such as a number of paintings by Goya,  which incidentally are the only ones by the artist that exists within the Castile Leon community.

How to go:

Via Train: Available is RENFE, Spain’s railway system, which offers AVE high speed train service. The cost of the ticket depends on the schedule and availability of ride, with the price ranging from as low as 12 euros to as high as 30. The town has its own station called the Estacion del Norte, but it is located outside the center of the capital. You will have to walk some 25 minutes to reach the city proper.

Bus: If you want to take the autobus, go to the ALSA station at Estacion Sur. The company offers regular rides throughout the day, with tickets selling from 12 to 15 euros one way. Travel time ranges from 2 and a half hours to 3.

Map:

Puerto Jose Banus of Malaga — Luxurious Spanish Marina-Paradise

2017_051022_3255_733Puerto Jose Banus of Malaga, a premier Spanish marina that’s a mere 10 minutes away from the city of Marbella, is considered as one of the richest spots in Spain. The name of this spot strategically located in New Andalucia is synonymous to luxury, style and glamour.

Banus is a veritable haven for the moneyed and the powerful; easily it is the prime destination of choice of the rich and famous who are in search of pleasure brought about by the vast Andalucian seas. In fact, the port is considered to be one of the most sought after premier destinations in the whole of Spain.

I guess everything that you can think of and even discover in terms of luxury, you can find it in this  port. And especially during summer months, the roads (that are literally filled with top cars like Bentley, Maserati, and ferrari) lead to Banus.

You will never have a hard time looking for the you top brands as they are sold in upscale boutiques. Top brand names like Polo, Versace, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and the likes and other designer name. As the saying goes, you name it, Banus has it.

High-class restaurants is not wanting in Banus as well. In fact, those who frequently dine out will fall in love with this place if only because of the presence of numerous upscale bars, restaurants, and other food establishments. Some of the favorite spots here are Belvedere Restaurant and Pizzeria, Restaurante Los Bandidos, Serafina.

Again, let us not forget that Puerto Banus is a top marina and port, hence, you can expect to see a world-class port boat and yacht facility that seems only to be seen and experienced in Spain. Boat lovers will consider the place a luxurious and dreamy paradise after witnessing all sorts of first class boats, yachts, and recreational fishing vessels navigating the marina’s beautiful, glimmering waters.

How to go to Puerto Banus

2017_051022_3215_602The port is just some 11 kilometers away from the City of Marbella. The fastest and most convenient way to reach it is via plane —  you can reach the port within 37 minutes from the Malaga airport. I suggest to take a taxi from the airport, but if you want to maximize your savings, it’s best to hire a car for a week or the duration that you will stay in the puerto. There are also mini buses for hire that will bring you around the area, especially if you belong to a traveling group.

Photos that will make you want to visit Puerto Banus in a heartbeat

To be frank, only the well-heeled and big spenders are able to afford what the place has to offer, and so it is not surprising that A-list personalities, movie actors, top athletes and even politician are a common sight here.
2017_051022_3442_178Vacationers have a great time relishing the beautiful sights at Puerto Jose Banus2017_051022_3430_783Rows of beautiful power sailboats and yachts are found afloat along the marina2017_051022_3414_136Shops of high-end and luxury brands such as Bulgari line up the front of the marina2017_051022_3359_109For Sports car fanatics, Banus is the place to go as most brands of Luxurious sports can be found and are for sale here.2017_051022_3343_214Seemingly lording over the Marina and the whole port area is the 1,200-meter tall
La Concha of the Sierra Blanca mountain ranges. Perfect choice for those who want to enjoy quality hiking, it got its name because of its unique shell-like shape2017_051022_3333_6472017_051022_3238_542People enjoy dining at La Bocana, a top-notch restaurant at Paseo Benabola that offers a magnificent view of the seas, particularly their sunset. The restaurant offers sea foods, European, and Mediterranean cuisine.

Map

Madrid Churches: Iglesia de San Francisco de Sales

San Francisco de Sales, MadridAlong Calle Francos Rodríguez, just off the busy main street of Bravo Murillo is where you can see one of Madrid‘s beautiful churches — the grand St Francis Church. If only for its copper-hued brick facade, the La iglesia de San Francisco de Sales is a edifice-masterpiece, a creation of renowned Spanish artist Joaquin Saldana.

Another  popular city church, the Parroquia de San Antonio, is nearby and strategically located since it is right along the street and just a stone’s throw way from the Maravilla Market, but still, the Iglesia of San Francisco boasts of a high number of regular church goers. I guess the main reason for this is because it is dedicated to one of Roman Catholicism’s more important Saint, to whom many faithful are strongly devoted.

2017_050116_1634_297In my case, Sn Francisco serves as my place of worship from time to time, together with San Fernando Church at Alcocer. Both these churches are where I thought the mass is said in a more solemn and traditional manner.

San Fransisco was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural or a Monument of cultural interest way back in October of 1996.

Schedule of Masses:

2017_050116_1624_997Winter (Sept 1 to June 30)
Ordinary Days: 8:30, 9:30, 11:30, 19:00, 20:00
Sundays and Holidays: 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 19:00, 20:00

Summer (July 1 to August 31)
Ordinary Days: 8:30, 9:30, 11:30, 19:00, 20:00
Sundays and Holidays: 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 19:00, 20:00

How to go:

It is easy to visit the church whether by bus or Metro. Take Linea 1 if you intend to use the Madrid Metro. If you want to go there via bus, take Line 124, 66, or 3.

Its address is C/ Francos Rodríguez 5 28039 Madrid.

Map:

Passing Thru Historic Tordesillas

Last year, we stayed the whole length of the Holy Week in Madrid. In my case, I resolved to be a recluse, to confine myself at home even if just for a few days, to no avail.  This, upon learning that most of the establishments in Puerta del Sol was open for business, and got me tempted into visiting this popular part of the city centre.

This time, however, everyone decided to spend Good Friday out of town in far off Valladolid, which is some two and a hours away from the city. One of the major towns outside Madrid and within the the community of Castilla y Leon, I got interested in seeing the place having learned about the varied religious processions held there during the Lenten season.

But first, our group had to pass thru Tordesillas, a small, quiet town some 25 kilometers on the Southwestern portion of the provincial capital.

The organizer of the group insisted that we see Tordesillas if only for the great history behind it, the town being the site of the signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas between Spain and Portugal. The treaty was an agreement between them specifying how they would divide the ownership of the newly discovered Americas.

He mentioned the local event called the Toro de la Vega festival, which the town is known for. Year after year, the festival is being prevented by animal rights group from being held as it features a bull which was to slaughtered by toreros on horseback.

What to see in Tordesillas

Iglesia Museo de San Antolín de Tordesillas

2017_041617_2933_342The Museum of San Antolín was built during the first half of the 17th century under the helm of Gil de Reynaltos. Found within the old San Antolin church, it is known to house numerous valuable art pieces that originated from other Churches. Such collection of art workwas initiated by Ismael Rodríguez Paniagua. Most of the important art works are undergoing continuous restoration to ensure their preservation.

2017_041618_0000_275
2017_041617_2849_976Alley and outside stairway, rustic parts of the town leading to the Casa de Tratado
2017_041618_0028_838This particular road is lined with bare, lifeless-looking trees on its sides, with their  branches, totally without leaves, reaching out to touch and intertwine. 2017_041618_0000_275Not a soul in sight for most streets and alleys of Tordesillas last Holy Friday, like the one seen above
2017_041617_5943_688The Plaza Mayor of Tordesillas resembles most other Spanish square. It has four sides as its boundary and is surrounded by old houses, bars and other establishments. The upper floors of the edifices are supported by strong porticoes. While looking simple and rustic, it is considered by the town folks as their meeting place, with locals enjoying their afternoons and late nights having dinners and copas of vinos on the terraces of bars and restaurants found within.

Casas de Tratado de Tordesillas

2017_041617_2859_375 Relief that represents the historic treaty stands in front of the Cases de Tratado de Tordesillas. Houses of Treaty in English, these two edifices are actually merged palaces, and are said to be the site where the then world powers Spain and Portugal held vital negotiations. Here was also the place where the two countries signed the treaty that involved the New World.

Plaza Mayor

2017_041618_1158_191The plaza mayor opens its four doors, its gateways to the outside town particularly to the important neighborhoods, such as Santa Maria and San Pedro. Old-type homes of bricks or wood are noticeably dominant as you wander about the immediate areas — an indication that Tordesillas is one of those ancient Spanish towns.

How to go:

2017_041617_2944_634The Avanza bus in Estacion Sur at Mendez Alvaro is the easiest and most popular means to reach Tordesillas. Travel time is a little over 2 hours, with one way bus tickets costing around 13 euros.

Map: