Monthly Archives: September 2017

Buitrago del Lozoya: Reach this Beautiful Spanish Town in Under Two Hours

2017_092318_0552_939My weekends in Madrid have always been monotonous — and I must say that they have turned doubly so, now that I have taken a new job. In fact, the latter has taken much of my time because workdays almost always include the weekends.  So whenever I am free on a Saturday, I find myself confronted with the dilemma of whether to just use such precious time to rest, or do what I really like, which is to travel outside Madrid.

Traveling outside Madrid meant choosing nearby towns that are preferably 50 kilometers away or even nearer.

This is why I am hesitant in visiting Buitrago del Lozoya, one of the smaller towns within the Community of Madrid, nestled in the Lozoya Valley near the Sierra de Guadarrama — and some 74 kilometers away from the capital.

Such a distance meant more or less 2 hours of travel, causing me to have some second thoughts . But then I realized that my previous trips such as Cuenca and Salamanca were also distant. And I was only too happy to have gone through such travels as these two are veritable goldmines as far as tourist attractions are concerned.

What to see in Buitrago de Lozoya:

2017_092318_0517_604The Arrabal Bridge, or El Fuente Viejo, as it is popularly called, is a strong structure that spans the Lozoya River. It serves as a link between the Andarrio neighborhood and the walled city of Buitrago. From the bridge, you are afforded a beautiful view of the river as well as the walls.
2017_092318_0536_853Fly-fishing days at Buitrago are weekends, like how I observed when I wander by the vicinity of the river last Saturday. I presume the river bank is littered with avid anglers any day of the week
2017_092318_0742_611The Rio Lozoya is the natural geographical feature that gives the town its name. This river almost embraces the town on all parts, which makes it an effective means of defense against enemies.
2017_092318_0454_840Another famous landmark of Buitrago is its Clock Tower, found in one of the walls of the city
2017_092318_0437_527Popular recreational activity in Buitrago is canoeing. with the river turning into a major natural water facility as families troop to the site with their own or rented canoes to enjoy paddling through the waters all day long
2017_092318_0352_901The small town of Buitrago is surrounded by thick, good-conditioned walls built as early as the 11th century. It is said that walls surrounding Spanish towns and cities during the Medieval Ages are commonplace; they are meant to protect  the towns and their people from invaders.
2017_092318_0342_911The crenels on the top edge of the castle walls have seen better days, yet they are obviously an integral part of what once were majestic majestic town walls meant to drive away prospective invaders during the Olden days
2017_092318_0327_958One of the major entrances of the Arab Walls, in front of the Sta Maria Iglesia
2017_092318_0314_199One of the minor gates of the Arab Walls, this one facing the River Lozoya
2017_092318_0305_728Peering through the main entrance to he walled town, you will be greeted by the Iglesia de Santa Maria del Castillo, a church that’s small in size but otherwise impressive in its interior.  Santa Maria Church definitely adds character to the already charming town.

Visitors of the town will also be treated to the works of Spain´s foremost writer as Buitrago maintains a Cervantes Museum, located right in its midst.

How to go to Buitrago:

Take the ALSA autobus 191 stationed at Plaza Castilla Station. The buses park and pick up passengers at Darsena 36. Tickets cost 5.10 euros one way. From Madrid, you will have arrived at the town in approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Map:

Museo del Romanticismo: The Romantic Museum of Madrid

2017_091022_0739_493Another museum that’s worth visiting in Madrid, Spain is the Museo del Romanticismo, also known as the Museum of Romanticism in English. Initially it was called the Romantic Museum, and right from its inception in 1924, it served as another art institution that many wanted to visit and see.

Located right within the heart of the city, its accessibility made it one of the most visited Madrid Museums. The museum occupies an 18th century edifice located near the popular and crowded Calle Fuencarral, within the Justicia neighborhood that also bear an equally popular Museo, the Museum of the history of Madrid.

As early as 1962, it has been cited as a Bien de Interés Cultural. The museum exhibits portions of a dwelling typical during the early Spanish days, the time when houses expressed love and romanticism. Some items are property of romantic personalities such as the writer Mariano José de Larra.

received_1125714104197291See the dining room above that’s typical during the olden Spanish days of the 19th century, bright, intricate and opulent.  The former Romantic Museum experienced a number of changes until it is able to fully expressed the romanticism of the 1800s.

2017_091623_5416_004The concept of a romantic museum started in 1921, as a donation to Madrid by the Marquis de la Vega-Inclán. He entrusted a great number of his art property such as paintings, sculpture and similar art items to the state. They were placed within an 18th century old edifice meant to be developed as a museum. As the years passed, more and more valuable art items were contributed to the collection of the museo such as that of De Larra and Marquis de Cerralbo.

2017_091022_0820_007The museum also features a billiards room, complete with beautiful portrait paintings, elegant chairs, and decors of the times.

Rules when visiting the Museo del Romanticismo:

1. Photographs

What attracts me to the museo is that they allow photos taken, although flash-type camera is not allowed.

2. Bags and stuff

If you must bring bags along, you will have to keep them in lockers available at the reception area.

3. Roaming the museum

The museums must have more or less 20 rooms, each of which is unique and assigned a specific purpose. The museum curator will provide you with a pamphlet complete with descriptions of the rooms. See to it that you have the correct description of the room that you enter.

Visit the Museum

2017_091021_3804_648

Location:

13 Calle de San Mateo, Madrid Centro

Hours

During Summer: Monday-Sunday 9:30AM-20.30PM
Winter time: Monday-Sunday 9.30AM-6.30PM
Closed on the following Dates: Jan 1 and 6, May 1, Dec 31

Entrance Fee:

3 euros

Free entry: Every Saturday starting 2PM, 18 May, 12 October, 16 November, and 6 December

Map

Sevilla and its Spectacular Plaza de España (and Royal Alcazar Palace and Garden)

2017_090323_0544_262Andalucia is one of the regions in Spain that display significant Moorish influence. It is likewise known for having a beautiful capital, Sevilla. And indeed, the latter is known for its grandiose and immense beauty. Luckily, we had the chance to see Sevilla, even if just to stop by at its two most important landmarks — the Plaza de España and Royal Alcazar. No doubt about it, if you’re flying to this city for a short time or you’re a first timer, it is imperative that you see the world-famous square and alcazar (castle or even military fort) In the case of Seville’s Alcazar, there’s no denying that it is one of the most beautiful in all of Spain, and comparable, if not more breathtaking, than the other famous alcazars of the country, including that of Toledo and Segovia. Despite the ending summer season, the sun decided to be searing, and the heat of the day is almost unbearable. Still, we decided see as much as we can. Time and again, it has been utilized as a location for films and TV series, which is understandable as it is just so beautiful. The first movie to feature it was the Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. The more recent one as a film location was the Attack of the Clones of the Star Wars saga. Some scenes of the 2012 movie, the Dictator, were also shot at the Plaza de España. The building exhibits mixed designs of Mudejar and new Mudejar as well as Art Deco, the result of which is the edifice’s total uniqueness.  It was built by Spanish designer Anabal Gonzales, right at the edge of Maria Luisa Park, and was initially intended to be the location where the exhibits of the country would be held. A bird’s eye view of the complex will reveal the place to be a huge half circle in shape on which the central building runs on the edge and over a river. It is accessible mainly by bridges that are said to be representative of the old Spanish kingdoms.  On the walls of the building are tiled alcoves; they are meant to represent the country’s provinces.

Marvel at the beauty of Plaza de Espana:

2017_090323_0638_255From afar, you may marvel at the magnificence of the main bricked-and-tiled building of the square. It is a premier Spanish attraction, and a must-see site by anyone touring  the country 2017_090323_0620_373Surrounding the Plaza Espana building is a wide canal, which is some 515 meters long.

The bridges

2017_090819_2042_038The bridges are not without important history behind its construction; they represent the four ancient Spanish kingdoms — these are Navarra, Leon, Castile, and Aragon.

Towers

2017_090322_3243_216Two tall towers, the south and the north towers, accentuate both ends by a pillared gallery. In front of these impressive edifice, positioned right in the middle of the promenade, is a large fountain.

Columns

2017_090323_0554_617The long facade of the square has tiled semi arcs supported by white columns, exhibiting styles from the Moorish and the Renaissance period. In front is a wide expanse of promenade where people enjoys a close view of the plaza

Royal Alcazar Palace

Another worth seeing in Seville if only for its heavy Moorish influence is the Alcazar Real Palace, which was the official residence of the Moor rulers during the start of the second half of the twentieth century. The alcazar has become all the more famous because it was used in some scenes in the Game of Thrones. 2017_090322_5633_282The gate to the Real Alcazar de Sevilla. Notice the tile with the depiction of the lion 2017_090322_2700_883The pond in front of the Alcazar lends an air of calm and romanticism to the place 2017_090322_5840_557The exterior of the Alcazar is the garden filled with trees, bushes and flowers. Also enhancing the garden are its pools 2017_090322_5831_309The high ceiling, the gigantic carpets plastered on the walls, and the tiled floors will greet you as you enter the Royal Alcazar.

Movies and TV series where Sevilla has been featured:

Plaza de España can only be described as both spectacular and breathtaking. It is no wonder that the place was the site of some of the major US movies such as Star Wars and The Dictator by Sasha Baron Cohen. Real Alcazar Palace, on the other hand, is where you’ll find some of the important scenes in the latest Game of Thrones season. 2017_090322_3336_729Starwars scene with the Plaza de Espana as backdrop 2017_090322_3319_270In the above photo, you can see walking through the promenade are Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, with the robot R2 D2 behind them. 2017_090322_3310_841Skywalker and Amidala at the Garden of Real Alcazar Palace

Let’s tour Plaza de Espana

Originally, Plaza de España was constructed for use in the 1989 Ibero-American Exhibition or the Expo 29. If you happen to visit Seville, you can still see the many pavilions and kiosks meant for the exhibition, particularly in the area of Parque Maria Luisa. Now, the square is touted as one of the best attractions of the province of Seville, together with its equally impressive cathedral. Tourists will love the means of touring the plaza, and these are carriage ride and boat ride.

Horse-drawn carriage tour

2017_090819_1541_961One of the best ways of seeing the Plaza is via a carriage. It’s spacious enough to accommodate around 4 people, albeit if you are in for a romantic experience, you can ride them with your spouse or partner to tour all around the plaza, and even beyond, to the landmarks and important points of interests of Seville. Hiring the carriage for an hour costs around 36 euros. It has a retractable roof for those who are avoiding the blazing rays of the summer sun.

Boat ride

2017_090819_1553_140Plaza España is surrounded by body of water wherein you can rent and ride a boat. The cost of a rowing boat ride is 5 euros for around 45 minutes. A maximum of 4 people can ride the boat — this is a fun and exciting way of seeing the square. If you want a much faster water ride, you can hire the motor boat, or the Enriqueta — this costs some 9 euros.

How to go:

2017_090819_1952_639The popular and fast way to get to Sevilla from Madrid is by train; travel time is from 2 hours and 20 minutes to 2 hours and a half. Go to the Train station in Atocha along Avenida de Barcelona, and you can catch the first ride at 7AM. Departures are every hour, thereafter. The last schedule of train ride to Seville is at 10PM.

Map