Tag Archives: Calle Alcala

Madrid Park: Parque María Eva Duarte Peron

2018_052023_1826_070People might brand it as one of the lesser parks of Madrid, and in a way, because of its miniscule size compared to other parks, all of 3 hectares in area, there is an aorta of truth to it.  Still, I thought that the Parque María Eva Duarte Peron is a park of great significance, if only it boasts of a variety of physical exercise machines primarily for use by older individuals living within and around the park, and of course, by everyone who decides to visit the place.

The Eva Duarte Peron Park is dedicated to and named after the wife of ex-President Juan Peron, and this fact makes it a popular destination to the fans and admirers of the comely yet feisty South American lady. Affectionately called Evita, Peron is perhaps the most popular First Lady of Argentina because of her work with the Argentine women’s suffrage.

A major landmark at Manuel Becerra Park, you will find it along the busy Dr. Gomez Ulla, near Calle Alcala.

Did you know that its current location was a former farmland owned by Francisco Noguera of the Nogueras Estate — it was called the Quinta de los Leones. In 1951, it was converted by the Madrid City Council into a garden/park/recreational area. You’d see people – young and old — visiting the place, day in and day out, enjoying an afternoon stroll, playing with their dogs, letting their kids spend some lull time in the playground, picnicking, playing cards, and using its games and recreational facilities for sports such as basketball and soccer.

While small in size compared to the major parques like the Retiro, it still offers ample areas filled with lush shrubs, tall trees, and all other forms of greeneries, well-maintained dirt pathways, tables and benches, and even fountains. There is even a church nearby. In one of the entrances you can see a stone bust bearing the likeness of Eva de Peron.

Needless to say, if you live near Alcala, and are a nature-loving person looking for a place to spend the day enjoying a bit of fresh air and sunshine, the Parque Eva Duarte Peron is the place to go.
2018_052118_5723_491The water fountain, one of the favorite features found in the middle of the park
2018_052118_5757_393I tried out one of the exercise equipment installed in the midst of the park
2018_052118_5820_865Having a hard time pedaling, until I realized it’s intended for use by the elderly2018_052118_5848_997People playing card games is a common sight inside Eva Peron Parque2018_052118_5833_954Children and toddlers may claim their special spot inside the Eva Peron Park, where they can play to their heart’s content while their parents or guardians watch over them2018_052118_5902_654Dirt roads radiate from the middle of the park onto surrounding major streets2018_052118_5925_331A smaller fountain can be seen near the main gate by the Covadonga Church2018_052118_5938_353Dogs lovers love to bring their pets in the park for an hour or two of canine recreation2018_052118_5948_098Drinking fountain also located near the Church of Covadonga2018_052119_0103_787Took a picture of one of the machines — it is meant to exercise one’s hands, perhaps to maintain the dexterity of the fingers

2018_052119_2127_124Parroquia Covadonga de Madrid

Location:

Dr. Gomez Ulla 9
Barrio Guindalera, Salamanca

How to go:

Metro Station – Manuel Becerra

Map:

Semana Santa 2016 Madrid

As I observe and celebrate my second Holy Week here in Madrid, I decided to be up close and more into it this time.  Especially during the days leading up to Easter, I soaked up the city’s main way of celebrating the Semana Santa, which is the procession, a congregation of a variety of people, or “los gentes” – the devotees and believers, Cofradia officers and members, Nazarenos, Costaleros, tourists, and even the watchers and the curious lot. It’s fascinating to see how everyone wants to participate, whether as one of those parading through the streets and plazas for hours to carry heavy religious statues, or as a mere bystander who’s content to watch from the sidelines. Lent in Madrid is all about things meant to remember Christ – chanting, band playing, reciting oraciones, hearing masses, and even more processions.

Needless to say, my effort to be more involved was greatly rewarded. More than being the learning experience that it is, everything was a total eye-opener, which meant me letting out the boxed-up feeling of my somewhat latent appreciation for the Catholic faith. It’s just one of the many positive things that I gained as I went through the almost-sublime experience that is Madrid’s Semana Santa.

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Nuestra Señora de la Soledad y Desamparo

JUEVES SANTO – Nuestro Padre de Jesus del Gran Poder / Maria Santisima de la Esperanza Macarena at Real Colegiata de San Isidro, Calle Toledo

HOLY THURSDAY – the day when I thought some cosmic forces decided to conspire against me. Just an hour before the procession, I discovered that I left my abono (Metro train/autobus travel pass) while already at the stop, so I went scrambling back to the apartment. Precious time gone to waste. Then later, while already having boarded the bus, I thought I left my ID card as I checked my things. So I hurriedly got off the next stop at Cuzco, only to find out upon rechecking that it was tucked in my passport wallet after all. And to make things worse, when I arrived at Calle Toledo, all I managed was to be within 100 meters, a distance so far I couldn’t even see the facade of the church. These wretched circumstances, they caused me to miss the procession altogether. Despite (or because of?) the frustration, I resolved to be early for Good Friday’s procession.

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I was far, too far from the entrance of Real Colegiata de San Isidro. Worse, the procession turned the opposite way

VIERNES SANTO: Maria Santisima de los Siete Dolores, at Parroquia de Santa Cruz, Calle Atocha, 6

GOOD FRIDAY – I gave up the usual engagement (read: home chores, blogging) to clear my afternoon and make sure that I am off to Santa Cruz early. Leaving home an hour and a half before the procession time, I rushed to the bus station at Paseo de la Castellana and Calle de Rosario Pino, hoping that autobus no. 5 would arrive soon. It did. As soon as I was seated, it somehow put my mind on ease about missing the procession. Arrived at Puerta del Sol at 6.45, now I am too early. I decided to look around to while away time. To my surprise, the sight of a myriad of people greeted me – doing the usual things like shopping, roaming around, and sightseeing, like it’s an ordinary Friday. Yes, I agree that Puerta del Sol is a tourist area, but then again, I presumed that on a Good Friday, activities in the area would be toned-down. As it is, most establishments were doing business that day. El Corte was open, and so were other high-end boutiques, the Mercado de San Miguel, restaurantes like Museo del Jamon, and the souvenir shops in Plaza Major and beyond.

I realized that the Holy Week isn’t quite enough reason for the Spaniards to deviate, even if momentarily, from their normal day-to-day life, which I thought is a demeanor that’s fine and not offensive or even egregious. It is apparent that being observant of the Holy Week, while acting like it’s just another normal one, is a behavior typical of them. It’s their nature, which I wouldn’t dare judge or underrate, in the same degree that I don’t want anyone to judge mine.
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Upon arriving at Parroquia de Santa Cruz, I chanced on the Nazerenos gathering at the front part of the parade, carrying their processional crosses, torches, and banners. They had their faces behind pointy capirotes to hide them from general view. Minutes after 6:30, the crowd livened up and roared with gusto upon seeing that the procession is about to start. The procession moves at last, even if slowly, to cause everyone to applaud in appreciation.

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Maria Santisima de los Siete Dolores stands atop a float exquisitely decorated with flowers and candle lights. Hearty cheers and applause from devotees welcome her as she is brought out of the church to join the procession.

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Cofradia or brotherhood is depicted in this photo, wherein the Costaleros work together to carry the magnificent float of Maria Santisima de los Siete Dolores to its destination. Typical statues chosen for display atop such floats are the major players of the Lent, like Christ or the Virgin Mary, or the barrio’s patron saint. The floats, tronos in Spanish, are themselves an attraction. Many are priceless, being in existence for decades, some even centuries, and have been passed on from one generation to another. They are masterful creations of well-known Spanish artists. 

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At the end of the procession is the marching band playing music in honor of the Maria Santisima de los Siete Dolores

SABADO DE GLORIA – Nuestra Señora de la Soledad y Desamparo, Iglesia de la Concepción Real de Calatrava, Calle Alcalá, 25

According to procession schedule posted online, there is only one religious parade on Black Saturday in Madrid, and it is happening at the Iglesia de la Concepcion Real de Calatrava, along Calle Alcala. I liked that the event was on an afternoon – the photos were clearer as every shot comes with great, natural lighting. The sun was up and the air was cool – I felt comfortably warm even with just a light sweatshirt on. The weather was conducive to holding a great procession.

imageWomen and men don traditional clothes as they await the start of the procession. Elderly officials and members of the Cofradia are dressed appropriately in attune to the occasion. Customary wear for women are black gowns and veils (mantillas). The latter are a beautiful adornment, held high on their heads with the use of a comb called the peineta. Men are also dressed in black attire, either a suit or robe. In contrast, penitents wear a simple garb, with their faces behind a cover and feet bare to emphasize a remorseful mood.

image The statue of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad y Desamparo emerges from the church atop the float carried by costaleros. It’s obviously heavy beyond description, which must be why the pall-bearers do rhythmic swaying motions – they probably help ease the load that pushes hurtfully onto their shoulders.

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Following the statue of the Nuestra Señora de la Soledad y Desamparo is the musical band playing slow-beat music

imageJoining the procession are officials of La Communidad de Madrid and leaders of the Cofradia

imageThe statue passes by the former BBVA building and the current headquarters of the Ministry of Environment and Territorial Planning

image Participants wear purple and black-colored pointy hoods and carry scepters as they trail the float of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad y Desamparo. Nazarenos, who hold crosses and candles during religious parades, are known to walk barefoot as a sign of penance. However, I didn’t notice this group doing so.

DOMINGO DE PASCUA – Plaza Mayor

Happy Easter! It has been the tradition to welcome the Risen Lord via the beating of the drums at Plaza Mayor, in Central Madrid. Called the Tamborada del Domingo de Resureccion, it is the awaited event of the day, where numerous drums are beaten and played to recreate that thunderous sounds and quakes that were said to have happened during the Resurrection of Jesus.

image The Lord is risen! Throngs congregate in the middle of Plaza Mayor to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.
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Drummers beat their instruments loudly to signify the Risen Christ. Each participant’s pounding is  in sync with the rest to create a simple yet melodious booming rhythm, keeping everyone engrossed in their performance.