Tag Archives: Calle de 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:

Instituto Cervantes: Prime Promoter of the Spanish Language

2018_050917_5320_801Walk along Calle de Alcala in Centro Madrid, and you’d be amazed how it is lined with so many beautiful buildings scattered along its length. Quite a number of them are concentrate near the start of this history-rich road, which is at the Puerta del Sol. Green and contemporary, art deco, Grecian, Neo-classical, Neo-mudejar — here is where you could find structures built using all sorts of major designs.  The most popular edifices that are sure to capture one’s imagination are the Palacio de Cibeles, Banco de Espana, and Edificio Metropolis.

2018_050917_5253_599Still, another captivating building, standing in the corner of Alcala and Calle Barqillo, is the Instituto Cervantes, or the Cervantes Institute in English. Named after Spain’s foremost literary man, Miguel de Cervantes, the writer of Don Quixote, the Alcala-based institution was built using the caryatids or pillars of stones carved to represent a female figure, with the design done by prominent Spanish architects Antonio Palacios and Joaquin Otamendi. Previously, it was used as the office of the Central bank of Spain.

2018_050917_5238_153It is an organization created for the public by the Spanish government to foster the love and usage of the Spanish language. It started its operation in 1991, and since then it has continued its goal of promoting and disseminating the language of Spain as well as Spanish and Latin American art and culture.

received_1318114028290630The Instituto at Alcala Street is one of the two central headquarters, with the other one located at the nearby Madrid town of Alcalá de Henares. Instituto Cervantes also has branches all over the world. For instance, there is one in my own hometown, in Central Manila. I am proud that the branch in the Philippines is considered a Centro Cervantes, or a full-fledged Centre. The smaller schools are known as Aulas Cervantes, Centros Acreditos, and Centros Asociados.

2018_050917_5303_965Are you serious about learning the Spanish language the right way? The best choice is the Cervantes since it offers diplomas and certificates in behalf the Ministry of Education of Spain, ones meant for non-natives that are officially recognised by the country.

While the institution is focused on a clear mission which is to propagate the use of the Spanish language, it is also engaged in a wide variety of cultural activities for general public such as exhibits and workshops for both adult and children.

Location: Calle de Alcalá 49 28014

Entrance: Free

Official website; Email address: informa@cervantes.es

How to reach:

Autobus– M2, 1, 5, 9, 14, 15, 27, 34, 45, 46, 51, 52, 74, 146, 150

Metro Train: Banco de España (Nearest), Sol, Sevilla

Library is from from Monday to Friday, 9AM to 3PM

For various activities and events, please consult its website.

Map

Great Attractions to Marvel at in Calle de Alcala of Madrid

2018_050219_5203_936Calle de Alcalá of Madrid is known as the longest street in Spain, and if only for this distinction, I had always been fascinated by it, what with all the shops, establishments, cafes and others dotting it, especially around the Goya area. In fact, I already walked a good portion of Alcala a number of times, from as far as Retiro down to my place in El Carmen. Every time, it was a thrill doing so.

Needless to say, this stretch of road, historically important as it is, is filled with some of the most fascinating and breathtaking sights and attractions you can find. You won’t just find shops, but a lot more. There are magnificent edifices, an imposing arch, a church, a huge park, a theater, and even a bull ring stadium.

1. Puerta de Alcala

imageThe Puerta de Alcalá is one of the most important Madrid monuments, and is  often compared to other major European arch structures such as the Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and the Arc de Triomphe of Paris, France. The city under the reign of Phillip IV was said to have been guarded and secured by this gate. The arch is so-called because it served as a gate to the road that extended all the way to Alcala de Henares. As in other Spanish puertas, the Puerta de Alcala exhibits strong Neo-classical design. Just a stone’s throw away, you’ll find the Retiro Park.

Location: Plaza de la Independencia

2. Palacio de Cibeles

imageCibeles Palace, that grayish-white coated building standing in the corner of Calle de Alcalá and Paseo del Prado. It houses the Centro Centro, the Center for the Culture and the Arts of Madrid. It has a public observation deck that, after paying 2 euros for entry, affords you a breathtaking view of the city, especially the nearby neighborhoods like Sol, Colon, and Atocha.

Direccion: Plaza de Cibeles 1

3.Edificio Metropolis

2018_050219_5223_036A Spanish edifice of immense beauty, it is no wonder that the Metropolis building is a much photographed building in Madrid. And like the Grassy Building (one with the famous Rolex clock in its topmost portion), it is one of the most iconic edifices within the Alcala and Gran Via areas.

Direccion: Calle Alcala 39

4. Instituto de Cervantes

received_1312324972202869Another impressive building along Alcala is the headquarters of the Instituto Cervantes, a Spanish-government cultural institution known for fostering the learning of the Spanish language and culture. The institute was named after Miguel Cervantes, one of the greatest literary minds of Spain.
Official Website

5. Nuevo Teatro Alcalá

2018_042921_4830_598Also known as the Alcala Palace and Pardiñas Coliseum, this performance center is a watering hole for avid theater goers in Madrid. The Nuevo Teatro Alcala is a huge favorite, attracting musical show and play lovers, night after night, in droves. Currently being shown is Billy Elliot. I wonder when the Los Miserables musicale will be featured here next.

Where to buy your theatre tickets

6. Casa Arabe

2018_042921_4853_903
If you want to learn anything about the Arab world, its culture, arts, and way of life, the place to visit is the Casa Arabe. The building was formerly used by the Aguirre schools of Don Lucas Aguirre y Juarez until it was turned over to the Arabic institution to be used as its headquarters. Open to the public since 2008, the center maintains its goal of strengthening friendship between Spain and the Arab countries.

Dirrection: Calle de Alcala 62
Website: Casa Arabe

7. Iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito

2018_042921_4902_204Churches abound in Madrid, and so, it isn’t surprising that you can also find them in Alcala Street, like the Church of San Manuel and San Benito, a work of art by Tremanti and Fernando Arbós.

8. Banco de España

2018_042921_4925_105Formerly called the Banco Nacional de San Carlos, it was constructed in 1782 under the reign of Carlos III as the latter’s solution of attaining 18th-century Spain’s financial stabilization. Today, it operates as the country’s Central Bank. This magnificent edifice is a veritable landmark, and together with the Palacio de Cibeles, is a crowd drawer not only because of its outstanding beauty in design but because of its rich history.

9. Plaza de Toros de las Ventas

2018_050214_0105_873The Alcala Street also has the distinction of being the site of the most famous Spanish bullring, the site where Spaniards enjoy their favorite traditional past-time. Las Ventas, for short, is famous for its Neo Mudejar or Moorish design meticulously done by Spanish architect Jose Espeliu. A gargantuan structure, it can accommodate thousands, and activities other than bullfights were held here. It was regularly used as a concert venue, where major artists such as the Beatles and Diana Ross performed. It was also used as a tennis game venue, with the bullfight arena transformed into a clay court so everyone could witness the games of Spain and the US in 2008. The Spanish team led by Rafael Nadal prevailed over their opponents.
Information about the ticket prices

10. Parque del Buen Retiro

2018_050122_3858_518The Park of the Good Retreat, in English, the Retiro Park sprawls in the heart of the city of Madrid, and the Street of Alcala happens to pass by it. It was actually a royal park in the beginning, being a property of the king. Eventually, it was converted into a park for use by Spanish commoners during the 19th century. Filled with varied attractions, a thousand varieties of flora and fauna, rose gardens, palaces, exhibit halls, jogging lanes, fountains, sculptures, and a man-made park lake — you’ll love to roam around and be lost, and stay awhile in Retiro as there is so much to see.

Location: 7 Plaza de la Independencia
Time Open: April to September: 6am to 12am; October to March: 6am to 10PM

11. Puerta del Sol

2018_050122_5841_790The Street of Alcala starts on this busy and boisterous square, one of the most visited in Madrid. Known to be the gate to the old city, the square is so-called because it faces the East, and hence, the rising sun. I intend to walk the length of the street starting at Sol square, at the store facing it which is the Apple store, up to the Plaza Norte at Ciudad Lineal. A mere 6.8 kilometers spans these two points,  and so, estimate I’d be able to do the task in under 1 and a half hours.

Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas: Must-see in Madrid

2018_041707_2147_910It can’t claim to be the largest in the world, being only third to Mexico City’s Plaza del Toro and Plaza de Toro Monumental of Venezuela (first and second, respectively), but Plaza de Toros de las Ventas in Madrid, Barrio Salamanca, is easily the most famous bullring stadium of them all. Many afficionados even consider it to be Madrid, Spain’s and even the world’s seat of bullfighting.

I am indifferent to bullfighting. I’m neither for nor against it. I am aware, however, that debates on the subject are always heated ones. Many label it as a blood sport and a clear act of cruelty to animals. Many others insist that it is a beautiful form of art.

2018_041707_1540_022In recent times, many Latin countries, including those with a rich history of bullfighting, had ceased to play the sport. Even in Spain, notably Catalona’s Barcelona, the game has been banned. Madrid, however, insist that such a tradition must be preserved.

I have yet to see the interior of a bullring, much less watch an actual bullfight. All I have is a recollection of a 1970’s film of a popular Filipino comedian, whose character in the movie went to Spain to search for her lady love, and was mistaken by locals to be a Matador.

When told that Las Ventas (as it is affectionately called) is a must-see Madrid site, and to stand on its grounds is thrilling enough, I was convinced that a visit is in order.

Starting at Columbia Metro Station, I rode line 9 and got off at Nunez de Balboa, after which I transferred to Line 5 en route to Ventas.

Imagine my surprise as I got out of the station and,  Voila! The tall and mighty Plaza de Toros de las Ventas of red-brown shade stands in front of me. It is such a massive structure that I thought it truly deserves to be the home of bullfighting.

It sprawls in a vast land fronting Calle de Alcala, and is surrounded by various displays of bullfighting sculptures in its grounds.

To the right-side area of the site are a few scuptures. his one is a Matador statue seemingly honoring the plaque of ...a
A Matador honoring Dr. Alexander Fleming
Premier Matador ....
Premier Matador making a proud bullfighter stance

My curiosity was immediately piqued upon seeing the edifice’s reddish-hued entirety, made bolder that day since it is set against a sordid background of gray skies. That moment, I developed a great interest in watching a bullfight, even if only a single one, for the sheer experience of it if not for the enjoyment (I hate the thought of seeing a bull possibly getting hurt).

Matodor and bull sculpture in front of the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas

I was advised, however, to wait for the San Isidro Fiesta, which happens in the months of May and June, and so I’m looking forward to the event next year. The fiesta is when Madrid bullfighting is at its best because all the finest fighters in the country (los matadores) and the finest bulls (los toros) will see action.

I plan to tour Las Ventas in my next visit, around April perhaps; to help me learn more about the bullring stadium and gain a better understanding of bullfighting.

2018_041708_3549_575And art piece displayed in front of the bullfight stadium named “El Toreo, El Arte de las Artes” by Enrique Ponce

I’m also excited about the coming San Isidro Fiesta, as I hope to become a spectator to a game. Will my indifference to the sport of bullfighting turn to disgust or appreciation after finally witnessing a bullfight? I will know by then.

Nearby restaurant, also along Calle de Alcala, is matador-themed Los Timbales
Get refreshments after witnessing an exciting bullfight action at matador-themed Los Timbales, just a street from Las Ventas and along Calle de Alcala

Direccion

237 Calle de Alcalá 28028 Madrid

Tour of Plaza de Toros Las Ventas with Audio Guide

Schedule:
Monday to Sunday, 10AM to 5PM

Ticket Cost:

Adult: 12 euros
Child: 7 euros

How to go

1. From Puerta del Sol – Take Vodafone Sol Metro at Line 2. Arrive at Ventas after 7 stations.

2. From Plaza de Castilla – Take Line 9 and alight at Nunez de Balboa station. Tranfer to Line 5 and reach Ventas Station after 2 stops.

3. From San Blas – Take Line 7 and get off at Pueblo Nuevo. Transfer to Line 5 and reach Ventas after 3 stations.

2018_041708_3229_774

Map