Tag Archives: Spain

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

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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

Restaurante Casa González — Iconic Cheese and Wine Restaurant in Madrid

2017_081517_3140_396I enjoy passing through Plaza Santa Ana because it is such a historic place, being the site of Teatro Espanol, the oldest theater house in Madrid. Within the plaza, you can find the statue of two of Spain´s foremost writers, and locals of Las Letras, Pedro Calderon de la Barca and Federico Garcia Lorca. I love that the area seems always animated and alive throughout the day. Obviously, such is brought about by the packed bars, cafes, and restaurants situated all over the place.

And just a few blocks from the plaza, along Calle del Leon, is yet another famous restaurant called Restaurante Casa Gonzalez. While online, the buzz is that its popularity is attributed to the fact that it has been the location for a few movies, many have turned to regular diners simply because because they are mesmerized by its picturesque façade.

I in fact, was attracted to it, having encountered a photo of its interior vividly seen through its clear glass walls from the outside. This, with an added romantic element that is a couple seated on a table set near the glass wall and obviously having an intimate conversation.

A bit of history

I learned that it began to serve as early as 1931; and right from the start, it established a reputation of being a cafe restaurant patronized by men of letters, and of the arts. Indeed, I did feel that Casa Gonzalez reeks in proud history — this is what you will immediately experience as you enter the place.

Even then, the restaurant is quite simple in its setting — antiquated enough to warrant some renovations in its designs, perhaps to give off some modern feel.

2017_081517_3252_588The tables are outdated pieces that are wanting of some fresh paint, or replacement altogether. Albeit, I am amused – even impressed – with its framed posters featuring ads of lesser known products

Obviously, the setting is not Casa Gonzalez main selling point, not even a bit. I’m sure it’s proud to offer some the best Spanish comida one could taste. Food blogs would not include the restaurant on their list of finest Madrid tapa bars if this isn’t true. A first timer myself, I am already confident to recommend to any one new in Madrid that they should try the restaurant’s sumptuous food offerings.

What we ordered at Restaurante Casa Gonzalez

We visited the restaurant with the plan to have a taste of its cheeses, which I heard it is famous for. But, then as we arrived, the tostas looked so delectable on the menu board that we ended up ordering them. Anyway, we still had cheese, melted ones atop a plate of tasty racion of lacon.

2017_081517_3421_335Jamon Braseado con Queso (Lacon with melted cheese), 10 euros
2017_081517_3408_336 Pate de Aceituna (Olives Pate), 4.50 euros 2017_081517_3355_804Morcillo de Cebolla (Pate de Aceituna), 4.50 euros 2017_081517_3331_280Arzua Gallego Fundido Con Membrillo (melted Galician Cheese), 4.50 euros Lacon with cheese, 10.50 euros 2017_081517_3229_276In the front part of the restaurant is a small area where to be found are two tables. At the back is a much larger space for dinners, with some 5 to six tables. Casa Gonzales is conspicuously small, and so, it isn’t surprising to learn that the place gets easily filled up even on week nights, like the evening that we visited. 2017_081517_3203_200Only a few could actually match this resto when it comes to cheese, wine, tosta among other things. As you enter, you will be greeted by its glass display filled with cheeses of all kinds and brands. Cheese is one of the products of Casa gonzales.

Location

12 Calle del León Madrid 28014

Opening Hours:

9:30AM to 12:00PM

Nearby landmarks:

Puerta del Sol, Cibeles, Plaza Sta Ana

Reservations:

No

Price:

20 to 30 euros for two diners

Map:

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

Map

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.

Map

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: