Prado Museum in Madrid is 200 Years Old !

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On November 19, 20149 the Prado Museum celebrated it's official 200 years as a museum open to the public.

The Museo del Prado opened to the public on 19 November 1819 as a Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture. In 2019, we celebrate our Bicentenary a commemoration that will reveal the path covered since 1819 until today. On this special occasion, we wish to reflect on the future and the forthcoming challenges for this and the other great Museums of ancient painting: the need to attract social groups that traditionally are not attracted by the collections, to encourage gender and minority research studies or the challenges caused by overcrowding.

It all began with 300 paintings

The museum was originally called the National Museum of Paintings and Sculptures and opened to the public on November 19, 1819. As the name suggests, paintings and sculptures were the focus in the early years. The original collection was only 300 paintings, primarily by Spanish artists, but over time, the collection grew. In the 1980s, the decision was made to separate "old" from "new" works and modern art pieces such as those by Picasso, Dalí or Antoni Tapies, which were moved to the Museo Reina Sofía. The Old Masters, works created between the 12th and 18th centuries, remained at the Prado.

Read more:The Gruesome World According to Goya

a group of people standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: The Prado Museum opened in 1819 and is now celebrating its 200th anniversary.© picture-alliance/dpa/J. J. Guillen The Prado Museum opened in 1819 and is now celebrating its 200th anniversary. A quickly growing collection

In addition to a multitude of paintings and around 700 sculptures, the Prado Museum's collection now includes drawings, prints, coins and medals as well as around 2,000 other works of art. Highlights for the visitors are, of course the 8,600 paintings, which feature almost all of the big names in art history. Spanish painters are better represented at the Prado than anywhere else in the world, particularly Goya and Velazquez.

Special exhibitions in the anniversary year

A sizeable exhibition of drawings by Goya will run until February 2020, as will one with paintings by Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana. Both lived in the 16th century and disproved of the stereotypes of their time, which questioned the creative and artistic abilities of women. Fontana even had a career as court painter to Pope Clement VIII and Paul V. Another event, the exhibition of sculptures by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), should serve as proof that Prado does not "only" dedicate itself to older art.

a group of people walking in front of Museo del Prado: Provided by Deutsche Welle© picture-alliance/dpa/Ballesteros Provided by Deutsche Welle A new way to look at Old Masters

And like all of the world's largest museums, the Prado Museum is doing its best to attract younger visitors. Collaborating with tech giant Google, the museum has been participating in a project to digitally catalogue its most famous artworks. Fourteen of these pieces can now be viewed from a distance, but with striking accuracy.

Yet, the technology doesn't replace the experience of seeing a Goya masterpiece at close range — especially during the museum's 200th anniversary year.

Author: Jochen Kürten (sh)

reprinted from msn.com

 

Festivals in Spain | Fair of April | Seville Spain

Visit the Fair of Seville

The next Fair of Seville takes place 26 April – 2 May 2020

The Seville Fair (officially and in Spanish: Feria de abril de Sevilla, "Seville April Fair")

... is held in Andalusian capital of Seville, Spain. The fair generally begins two weeks after the Semana Santa, or Easter Holy Week. The fair officially begins at midnight on Saturday, and runs seven days, ending on the following Saturday. Each day the fiesta begins with the parade of carriages and riders, at midday, carrying Seville's leading citizens which make their way to the bullring, La Real Maestranza, where the bullfighters.

For the duration of the fair, the fairgrounds and a vast area on the far bank of the Guadalquivir River are totally covered in rows of casetas (individual decorated marquee tents which are temporarily built on the fairground). These casetas usually belong to prominent families of Seville, groups of friends, clubs, trade associations and political parties. From around nine at night until six or seven the following morning, at first in the streets and later only within each caseta, there are crowds partying and dancing sevillanas, drinking Sherry, manzanilla or rebujito, and eating tapas. This fair also has an amusement park that comes with it and has lots of games to play along with roller coasters to ride. The Fair dates back to 1846 when it was originally organized as a livestock fair. Queen Isabel II agreed to the proposal, and on 18 April 1847 the first fair was held at the Prado de San Sebastian.

Location
Since 1973, the Feria de Abril takes place at the real de la feria, an area of 24 blocks (450,000 m2) which is located between Los Remedios and Tablada. In 2012 there were 1048 casetas. The streets of the Real are named after famous bullfighters such as Juan Belmonte and Pascual Márquez. Next to the Real is the Calle del Infierno (Hell Road), an amusement park which offers many recreational activities; a circus is usually set furthest from the Real on the back of the Parque de los Príncipes. Construction of the portada (the main gate) starts months in advance, and it takes several weeks to clear the place after the end of the Fair.

Pescaíto
Saturday night in the Feria de Abril is referred to as la noche del pescaíto (night of the fish) due to the fact that fish is the traditional dish to have for dinner. Celebrations officially start at midnight between Saturday and Sunday when the lights of the portada are turned on. This event is called the alumbrao. People gather in front of the portada to watch the alumbrao and then go to the casetas to have dinner and spend the whole night at the Real.

Saturday night in the Feria de Abril is referred to as la noche del pescaíto (night of the fish) due to the fact that fish is the traditional dish to have for dinner. Celebrations officially start at midnight between Saturday and Sunday when the lights of the portada are turned on. This event is called the alumbrao. People gather in front of the portada to watch the alumbrao and then go to the casetas to have dinner and spend the whole night at the Real.

Costumes
La Feria de Abril is accompanied by men and women dressed up in their finery, ideally the traditional "traje corto" (short jacket, tight trousers and boots) for men and the "faralaes" or "trajes de flamenca" (flamenco-style dress) for women. The men traditionally wear hats (or sombreros) called "cordobés". Nowadays, standard suits have replaced trajes cortos as men's most common outfit. Source: Wikipedia

High End Shopping in Madrid

Places to visit when in Madrid to shop? There are many places but the highest end boutiques are on Calle Serrano.

When it comes to shopping in Madrid, Calle de Serrano, which runs through the heart of Madrid’s Salamanca district, is high on the list of must-visit destinations. Whether you’re in the city for a day trip, a long weekend or a two-week holiday, you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir at one of its many boutiques.

Here you'll find Luis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik, Adolfo Dominguez, Bulgari, Cartier and Choupard are just six.

Here is a great guide from Global Blue, who will help you get the VAT returned when you leave Spain.

The luxury fashion of Spain
Spanish label Adolfo Dominguez’s store on Calle de Serrano features urban, city-chic fashion with a sports-luxe edge. Loewe, one of Spain’s best-known labels, dominates the street with two boutiques, including one on the corner of Calle Goya. The stores boast ready-to-wear pieces from Paris Fashion Week and pop-up exhibitions, so Loewe enthusiasts are spoilt for choice.

Adolfo Dominguez, Calle de Serrano 5, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 577 4744
Loewe, Calle de Serrano 26, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 577 6056
Loewe, Calle de Serrano 34, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 426 3588

Elsewhere, eclectic fashion label Agatha Ruiz de la Prada lights up Calle de Serrano with its vibrant energy. For a wardrobe full of colour, vibrant patterns and eclectic accessories, stop by the Agatha Ruiz de la Prada store for a new retail experience.

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Calle de Serrano 27, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 319 0501
For luxury shoes, Manolo Blahnik is the Spanish brand of choice. The brand became a worldwide hit after its shoes appeared on the hit HBO series Sex and the City in the late 1990s. Ever since then, Blahniks have been considered among the most desirable shoes in the world.

Manolo Blahnik, Calle de Serrano 58, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 575 9648 (through off-street patio)

The top department store of El Corte Inglés is Spain’s largest department store chain, with more than 40 outlets in Madrid alone, including two along Calle de Serrano. Having opened a new shopping hub in nearby Castellana in 2013, the brand is going from strength to strength and offers customers a wide range of designer goods from local and international brands. Boasting more than just fashion, El Corte Inglés houses modern concessions, homewares, fine jewellery and premium technology goods. International customers also benefit from a dedicated Global Blue tax free shopping area, to help with shopping overseas.

El Corte Inglés, Calle de Serrano 47-52, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 432 5490
The luxury quarter at the top of Calle de Serrano, close to the El Corte Inglés store and Calle de José Ortega y Gasset, sits the luxury watch and jewellery quarter, home to high jewellers such as Cartier, Chopard and Bulgari. Visitors here are spoilt for choice when purchasing their next piece of high jewellery.

Bulgari, Calle de Serrano 49, 28006 Madrid, +34 91 575 0141
Cartier, Calle de Serrano 74, 28006 Madrid, +34 91 578 2823
Chopard, Calle de Serrano 51, 28006 Madrid, +34 91 431 2525

Here are a few International labels you will find:

USA
Carolina Herrera flies the womenswear flag for the US in a large space with a dominant scarlet red façade, while American outfitter Brooks Brothers sets the tone for men with its relaxed and contemporary menswear. For the latest must-have bag, the golden-themed Michael Kors outlet is the perfect place to find a Jet Set shopper or chic Selma tote.

Carolina Herrera, Calle de Serrano 16, 28002 Madrid, +34 91 781 4380
Brooks Brothers, Calle de Serrano 47, 28006 Madrid, +34 91 432 5490
Michael Kors, Calle de Serrano 32, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 781 3157

Italy
Admirers of Italian labels will enjoy the premium boutiques such as Gucci, Prada, Max Mara, Salvatore Ferragamo, Boggi and Emporio Armani’s two-storey store, which opened in 2013.

Gucci, Calle de Serrano 49, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 431 1717
Prada (womenswear), Calle de Serrano 26, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 436 2088
Max Mara, Calle de Serrano 38, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 436 0130
Salvatore Ferragamo, Calle de Serrano 36, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 781 6820
Boggi, Calle de Serrano 8, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 435 4698
Emporio Armani, Calle de Serrano 44, 28001 Madrid

France
For highlights of French design, Yves Saint Laurent’s monochrome store sets the standard with its sharp black and white interior.
Parisian accessories label Longchamp delights Calle de Serrano visitors with its boutique, complete with different versions of its famous Le Pliage handbag collection. This signature bag is often cited as one of the most versatile yet fashionable tote bags around.

Yves Saint Laurent, Calle de Serrano 34, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 575 1145
Longchamp, Calle de Serrano 20, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 426 0113
Whether you’re on the hunt for a Spanish souvenir, a ready-to-wear designer piece, or simply taking a window-shopping stroll through Salamanca, Calle de Serrano is the best place in the heart of Madrid for Global Blue’s top tax free savings.

Read the full list and original article here:

https://www.globalblue.com/destinations/spain/madrid/shopping-in-madrid-calle-de-serrano

Amalia Rodrigues | Legendary Portugal Fado Singer

Our friend Carlos Evaristo had known Amalia Rodrigues during her life time. He’s recently written about her and the memories shared during their time together.

Amália Rebordão Rodrigues GCSE, GCIH (23 July 1920 – 6 October 1999), better known as Amália Rodrigues (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈmaliɐ ʁuˈðɾiɣɨʃ]) or popularly as Amália, was a Portuguese fadista (fado singer) and actress. Known as the ‘Rainha do Fado’ (“Queen of Fado”), Rodrigues was instrumental in popularising fado worldwide and travelled internationally throughout her career.

She became one of the most important figures during the genre’s revival in the twentieth century and was a leading female fadista during her 50-year recording and stage career. Rodrigues remains an iconic figure and inspiration to other fado and popular music artists such as Madredeus, Dulce Pontes, Mariza and Cristina Branco. As of 1999, she had sold over 30 million records worldwide. Amália remains the best-selling Portuguese artist in history

I was so moved to have been asked to give a long interview on my memories of Amália Rodrigues for a special documentary on the 100th Anniversary of her birth and to do it in the living room of her home where so many times we sat with the Queen of Fado and enjoyed a happy evening of music and laughter.

Everything is as it was but how strange that the house seems so empty and silent. Lifeless without Amália, her husband César, her Secretary Lili, her Seamstress Ilda and her guitarists and friends…

Memories…

I could not resist asking permission to go behind the glass barrier of Amália’s bedroom to hold again an image of Our Lady of the Rose that I gave her for her birthday decades ago and which she had told me that she kept on her night table next to her bed.

I also found the various other gifts we had given her over the years hanging on the walls and on tabes including photos I had taken of her in Fatima which she had framed.

Even a sculpture I made for her in 1984 and presented on stage in 1989 at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto still exists and is on display in the centre of a case with many other plaques and trophies that were given her.

Momentos of a long and lasting friendship that for me began at the age of 15.

Happy Birthday D, Amália!

Sentil de las Bodegas, Spain | Spain & Portugal Vacations

About its primitive origins, have been found important archeological sites that take us back to the Neolithic period. About the old period we know that in its surroundings there was Laccipo, the Roman colony. However, the primitive urban settlement dates from the late Middle Ages in the same place it currently is. In the denominated place La Villa, there was the old Almohad at the shelter of the walls of its castle around of which started the urban development.

According to the chronicle of Bernáldez, the conquest of the village was fundamental for the crown in its advance towards Granada and the place from 1407 does not provide the desired results. From that moment on, Setenil is considered almost impregnable and the fundamental key for the conquest of the Nasrid Kingdom. Since the times of John II of Castile until the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, there will be seven places, being the last one -21st September 1484- which leads to the victory over the Nasrid kingdom, leaving Granada and several other places under their control. This would end in 1492.

Under Christian domain, Setenil is declared village dependent upon the King and so, it receives from the Monarchs, the Privileges Chart in 1501, where there are a high number of franchises and benefits comparable to those Sevilla had at that moment.


After the first tries of repopulation and the delivery of houses and lands, Setenil begins a new period in which its neighbors, a great number of whom belonged to the noble social class, lived on the grapevine farming, the cereals, the profit of the mountain hill, the cattle and fishing.

During the Modern Age, Setenil progresses and continues enjoying a privileged situation among the villages of the serranía, just altered occasionally due to the presence of tropes that in diverse circumstances take the village, with economic consequences for its inhabitants. The settlers of Setenil have an important church, a hospital and a seminary preserved until the mid 17th century. In this century they will get, after many disputes, to be free from the city of Ronda, through an action in rem signed in 1630.

The beginning of the 19th Century is marked by guerrilla struggles of its neighbors, who united to the fights of other villages of the mountains of Cádiz will face the French invade that occupies the peninsula. The expropriation process does not affect positively to the inhabitants of Setenil and the peasants keep on looking for solutions which palliate the economic difficulties, so they join the social movements that began to spread in the province of Cádiz.

Currently, and once the processes of emigration have been overcome in the second half of our century, Setenil continues being developed according to its traditional ways, which are, fundamentally agricultural and in addition to the tourist profit of our village, as because of its exceptional urban structure, the beauty of its surroundings and the singular festivities, it is one of the most attractive municipalities of the Sierra.

You can include Sentil de las Bodegas on the private itinerary we’ll arrange for your trip to Spain.

Contact us via www.spainandportugalvacations.com or teleohone our office in the USA, state of Colorado 001-719-639-4325

Portugal Medievel Fair | Obidos | July 18 – August 4, 2019

In July, visit the Obidos Medieval Market, and back in time.

Surrounded by its high town walls, Obidos is the ideal scenario for hundreds of extras and actors, fully dressed in medieval costumes, who animate the town’s streets, as they portray noblemen, beggars, mule-drivers, jugglers, musicians, jesters and dancers. The main site of the entertainment events is located next to the castle, which will be the location of jousting tournaments, on horse and on foot, medieval dinners and the market, where everything is sold from medieval costumes to traditional home-made medical remedies.

Website: http://www.mercadomedievalobidos.pt

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Festivals in Spain | Seville Fair

The Seville Fair (officially and in Spanish: Feria de abril de Sevilla, “Seville April Fair”) is held in Andalusian capital of Seville, Spain. The fair generally begins two weeks after the Semana Santa, or Easter Holy Week.

 

 

The fair officially begins at midnight on Saturday, and runs seven days, ending on the following Saturday. Each day the fiesta begins with the parade of carriages and riders, at midday, carrying Seville’s leading citizens which make their way to the bullring, La Real Maestranza, where the bullfighters and breeders meet.

For the duration of the fair, the fairgrounds and a vast area on the far bank of the Guadalquivir River are totally covered in rows of casetas (individual decorated marquee tents which are temporarily built on the fairground). These casetas usually belong to prominent families of Seville, groups of friends, clubs, trade associations and political parties. From around nine at night until six or seven the following morning, at first in the streets and later only within each caseta, there are crowds partying and dancing sevillanas, drinking Sherry, manzanilla or rebujito, and eating tapas. This fair also has an amusement park that comes with it and has lots of games to play along with roller coasters to ride.

 


Carriage at the Seville’s April Fair

 

The Fair dates back to 1846 when it was originally organized as a livestock fair by two councilors born in Northern Spain, Basque José María Ybarra and Catalan Narciso Bonaplata. Queen Isabel II agreed to the proposal, and on 18 April 1847 the first fair was held at the Prado de San Sebastian, on the outskirts of the city.

Since 1973, the Feria de Abril takes place at the real de la feria, an area of 24 blocks (450,000 m2) which is located between Los Remedios and Tablada. In 2012 there were 1048 casetas. The streets of the Real are named after famous bullfighters such as Juan Belmonte and Pascual Márquez. Next to the Real is the Calle del Infierno (Hell Road), an amusement park which offers many recreational activities; a circus is usually set furthest from the Real on the back of the Parque de los Príncipes. Construction of the portada (the main gate) starts months in advance, and it takes several weeks to clear the place after the end of the Fair.

 

 

Saturday night in the Feria de Abril is referred to as la noche del pescaíto (night of the fish) due to the fact that fish is the traditional dish to have for dinner. Celebrations officially start at midnight between Saturday and Sunday when the lights of the portada are turned on. This event is called the alumbrao. People gather in front of the portada to watch the alumbrao and then go to the casetas to have dinner and spend the whole night at the Real.

 


Costumes

La Feria de Abril is accompanied by men and women dressed up in their finery, ideally the traditional “traje corto” (short jacket, tight trousers and boots) for men and the “faralaes” or “trajes de flamenca” (flamenco-style dress) for women. The men traditionally wear hats (or sombreros) called “cordobés”. Nowadays, standard suits have replaced trajes cortos as men’s most common outfit. Source: Wikipedia

What is an Authentic Travel Experience

Many times were asked this question; What does an Authentic Vacation mean?

Since the late 1990’s we’ve arranged vacations that are tailor-made, which means every trip is created from scratch for every traveler we work with. Authenticity is generally associated with something that is genuine, real, or true.

Authenticity is a pretty complex idea – what one person sees as an authentic experience, another may view as a sham. And if a person believes they are getting an authentic experience, it may not matter whether it’s spontaneous or staged. One can argue that an “authentic tourism experience” is a contradiction in terms. When places or experiences are discovered and populated by tourists, they ultimately change by the demands of tourists themselves and the economic opportunity this presents to providers. The presence of tourism can lead to “Disneyfication” – when a place becomes contrived in order to sell itself to consumers – and can expose local people and cultures to manipulation and exploitation. And so, the tourists’ search for authenticity continues. This is where the following come into play:

Co-creation

The strategy of “co-creation” offers an attractive alternative within the search for authenticity. Under this strategy, value is created as tourists help to construct their own experience by engaging with each other, the tourism provider and also local people. Tourism operators in many countries are now providing different types of tourism products, which co-create an authentic tourism experience. Here, tourists have the opportunity to cook with a local chef using local ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques. This is what we have done from the beginning.

Read more about this way of travel by clicking through to the link below:

https://theconversation.com/why-tourists-thirst-for-authenticity-and-how-they-can-find-it-68108

Get in touch if you want an authentic vacation, co-created with you to make the trip of a lifetime!

Day Trips and Cruise Ship Excursions in Portugal

When in Lisbon or Porto, either during your cruise ship stop or touring Portugal by land, here are two destinations you must visit. Both are easy to access from Porto and Lisbon and both are truly unique places.

When people visit these magical places, everyone is amazed that “little” Portugal has such cool spots.

Aveiro Portugal. Moleiro Boats on the Canal

 

Aveiro was built on a lagoon, probably in the 15/16th centuries, that was filled with a heavy seaweed during a great storm from the Atlantic Ocean, which caused the decline of the fishing industry and began the cultivation of reclaimed land by the inhabitants. These hardy people used the seaweed to fertilize the soul and carved out small plots of land which still exist today. Their is a beauty found in the several canals with the moleiro boats (fisherman’s boats) which in old days gathered the seaweed and today carry persons through the canals, like Venice.

A short drive is the beach town of Costa Nova with small houses painted in colorful stripes. These were the storage buildings of the fishermen on old times; today these are summer homes. Some of the best seafood on the Atlantic coast in restaurants found on the Costa Nova beach… contact us for the name of our favorite one !

 

Castle of Obidos, Portugal

 

Obidos was the town given to the Queens of Portugal on their wedding day (from the King) and for this reason its called the “Queens Village”. The village is encircled by the original walls, streets are all cobblestone, winding their way through the medieval whitewashed houses with beautiful Bougainvillea growing along the walls and geraniums in the window boxes. Try a drink called “ginginha” which is a black cherry liquor served in a shot glass with a cherry inside. And make the trek along the city walls to the back part of town with the huge castle walls !

Want to visit these places? Contact us via www.spainandportugalvacations.com to make sure you visit in private with friends and family when traveling during your luxury private vacation to Portugal

Douro Valley, Castilla y Leon, Aranjuez Palace and Cordoba

Four places not to miss in Portugal and Spain. Include them all into your next vacation!

The #Douro Valley in #Portugal has amazing #wine that is incredibly inexpensive, great views, and very windy roads. Take a river cruise instead of driving! The whole area was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site. Mainly known for port wine production, the region also produced world class red and white table wines. The beauty of the terraced hillsides which seem to reach into the sky, dotted with noble homes called “quintas” makes this landscape something incredible to behold. Pictures don’t do justice !

 

 

The hills towns of Castilla y León like #LaAlberca are easy to miss with all the winding #rural roads. But they’re a great treat and just an hour outside #Salamanca, Spain. #summer #spaintravel

 

 

This pink #palace in #Aranjuez, Spain was the summer retreat of #Spain’s kings and queens of old. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. It is open to the public as one of several Spanish royal sites in the Community of Madrid . #royal #españa

 

 

Why go to Córdoba? Because nearby Medina Azahara has been declared World Heritage Site, making Córdoba the only city in the world with four declarations by the UNESCO. (Arabic: مدينة الزهراءMadīnat az-Zahrā: literal meaning “the shining city”) is the ruins of a vast, fortified Moorish medieval palace-city built by Abd-ar-Rahman III (912–961), the first Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba, and located on the western outskirts of Córdoba, Spain. It was a medieval Moorish town and the de facto capital of al-Andalus, or Muslim Spain, as the heart of the administration and government was within its walls. Built beginning in 936-940, the city included ceremonial reception halls, mosques, administrative and government offices and gardens. Water was supplied through aqueducts

 

#VisitSpain #Córdoba #SpainCulturalHeritage

 

 

Spain Day Trip Avila Segovia Toledo

DAY TRIP – Segovia, Ávila & Toledo from Madrid with professional guide and transportation. Duration:11.5 hours.

When in a Madrid visit in one day three main cities which will transport you five hundreds years through history.

In Avila you’ll be impressed by its medieval defense walls, Segovia will take your breuath away with its amazing fortress and castle and Alcazar and in Toledo will help you understand why they call this the city of three cultures.

Three historic places in Spain, all in one day!

 

Depart early and head for Segovia’s historic center and stroll through the city’s main square – Plaza Mayor – with monuments such as the Roman aqueduct and the cathedral.

 

After you’ll leave for Ávila, visit the historic center and discover the legacy and its fascinating history! The route will continue along a stretch of the famous Walls of Ávila; the thick wall surrounds the city’s entire historic center as we head toward the Roman necropolis.

Taking a rest after the walking tour, stop to savour a delicious picnic lunch. After recovering your energy we will visit Toledo, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

 

 

Toledo has a long-standing Christian, Jewish and Muslim tradition. You’ll enter a monastery of cloistered nuns and taste typical Toledan marzipan, followed by entering the Primate Cathedral of Toledo and climbing the stairs to the top of Los Jesuitas Church tower.

 

What’s included:

 

We will provide picnic lunch and Artisan Marzipan tasting,

 

Entrance fees to Segovia’s Alcázar, the Primate Cathedral of Toledo and the top of Los Jeronimos Church Tower.

Private transpirtation

This guided tour will be lead by a professional guide.

 

Rates start at $350.00 per person. Maximum 6 persons.

Portugal Vacation Sesimbra

On June 28th we arranged a shore excursion for persons from the USA that were on the Norwegian Pearl. They visited Lisbon with private motorist and then had lunch in Sesimbra.

Sesimbra is a fishing village that lies on the Atlantic coast about 30 minutes from Lisbon.

Located on the Setubal Peninsula, Sesimbra is one of those rare gems in Portugal that’s easy to get to from almost anywhere in the Lisbon area. It’s history starts with the Moors who built a castle where once lived the inhabitants (in the very early days of the Portuguese kingdom). The castle was instrumental in the protection of the coast from pirates that once aided with impunity the coastal areas of Portugal and even into the British Isles and northern Europe.

Those days are long gone and the sleep village that was Sesimbra has changed immensely from those times, and indeed in the last 20 years has expanded into a very busy place where people flock to the beaches in the summertime.

It’s also the place with some of the freshest seafood on the coast, which is caught from the crystal blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They even have their own “fishery” located at the harbor of town. You cannot go wrong when visiting Sesimbra if looking for a delicious meal !

If you are arriving on ship or visiting Portugal, we’ll arrange an afternoon in Sesimbra to see for yourself this very special place that almost all visitors to Portugal miss!

Side Note:

from Greg Edward (owner of Spain and Portugal Vacations)

“That’s the first place I lived when I moved to Portugal in 1994. When I lived there, none of those houses were up on the hillside, nor were any of the hotels and big apartment buildings existing on the road that drives around towards the pier. My first memory from Sesimbra was seeing old women dressed completely in black because they were widows.

We used to live very near to Sesimbra, in the town of Almoinha.

In fact our neighbors, who were from South Africa, are still friends to this day on Facebook. Although we have not seen one another in many years, they made it possible for me to feel like I was “at home” with their friendship. Many great memories are cherished from those days.”

Contact us here www.spainandportugalvacations.com

 

#portugal #sesimbra #spainandportugal #portugalvacations #NorwegianCruiseLines #NCL #portugal #discoverportugaltravel #spainandportugalvacations

 

 

Dr. Jose Rizal in Madrid | Traveling to Spain from the Philippines (Filipino Citizens)

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Get to Know Dr. Jose Rizxal's Madrid

Dr. Jose Rizal left an indelible mark on Spain during the time living there. For those interested, this walking tour puts you in Dr. Rizals shoes during you exploration of places he lived and walked in Madrid.

José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Realonda (Spanish pronunciation: [xoˈse riˈsal]; June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896) was a Filipino nationalist and polymath during the tail end of the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. An ophthalmologist by profession, Rizal became a writer and a key member of the Filipino Propaganda Movement which advocated political reforms for the colony under Spain.

He was executed by the Spanish colonial government for the crime of rebellion after the Philippine Revolution, inspired in part by his writings, broke out. Though he was not actively involved in its planning or conduct, he ultimately approved of its goals which eventually led to Philippine independence.  (source: Wikipedia)

He is widely considered one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines and has been recommended to be so honored by an officially empaneled National Heroes Committee. However, no law, executive order or proclamation has been enacted or issued officially proclaiming any Filipino historical figure as a national hero.[8] He was the author of the novels Noli Me Tángere and El filibusterismo, and a number of poems and essays.

The “Rizal’s Madrid” walking tour is available as a booklet and includes a map and itinerary.

(The PDF document is designed to be printed on both sides of landscape A4 paper and folded into an A5 booklet)
A WALKING TOUR OF PLACES ASSOCIATED WITH DR. JOSÉ RIZAL (Click here for the pamphlet)

Excerpt "THE RIZAL MONUMENT (AVENIDA DE LAS ISLAS FILIPINAS CORNER C/ SANTANDER)The last place our tour brings us to is at the junction of Avenida de las Islas Filipinas and C/ Santander where the Rizal monument stands. Built in 1996, it is a replica of the Rizal monument at the Luneta in Manila. The original monument was designed by a Swiss sculptor, Richard Kissling, and was one of the major winners in a contest during the American regime in the Philippines.

During the Rizal birth centennial in 1961, some countries honored Rizal with markers and monuments. Heidelberg, Germany where Rizal spent some time in the 1880s, erected a modest but elegant statue in his honor, for making that city famous through his poem entitled “To the Flowers of Heidelberg.”

Mexico City built a replica of the Rizal monument at the Luneta in their famous boulevard called Paseo de la Reforma. At that time, Spain refused to honor the Philippine hero because of the sentiment then that he was a traitor to the mother country, Spain.But times have changed.

In a new spirit of broadened friendship between Spain and the Philippines, as well as a liberal view of why the latter launched a revolution, Rizal’s position has been elevated. He is not only a Filipino patriot; he is an exemplar of the best in the human race.

And Spain itself is honored by Rizal’s presence here, for it is in this country that he developed his sensitivities and his scientific, artistic and literary skills --in Madrid".

copied from the Embassy of the Philippines in Madrid
- https://www.philembassymadrid.com/rizals-madrid

Spain International Travel Information

Quick Facts for Traveling to Spain

Print this page before traveling to #Spain

PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months recommended, 3 months beyond your date of departure is required

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

1 page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays less than 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 91-5872-200
Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91-587-2200
Fax: (34) 91-587-2303
E-mail: askacs@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
08034 Barcelona, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 93-280-2227
Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91-587-2200
Fax: (34) 93-280-6175
E-mail: BarcelonaACS@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Fuengirola (Málaga)
Avenida Juan Gómez "Juanito", 8
Edificio Lucía 1º-C
29640 Fuengirola (Málaga), Spain
Telephone:
(34) 95-247-4891
Fax: (34) 95-246-5189
E-mail: malagaconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Las Palmas
Edificio Arca
Calle Los Martinez de Escobar 3, Oficina 7
35007 Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 92-827-1259
Fax: (34) 92-822-5863
E-mail: canariasconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Palma de Mallorca
Edificio Reina Constanza
Porto Pi, 8, 9-D
07015 Palma, Islas Baleares, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 97-140-3707
Fax: (34) 97-140-3971
E-mail: pmagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Seville
Plaza Nueva 8-8 duplicado
2nd Floor, Office E-2 No.4
41101 Sevilla, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 95-421-8751
Fax: (34) 95-422-0791
E-mail: sevillaconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Valencia
Doctor Romagosa 1, 2-J
46002 Valencia, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 96-351-6973
Fax: (34) 96-352-9565
E-mail: valenciaconsagency@state.gov

 

Caves and Tunnels: Madrid’s underground restaurants

When designing an itinerary, the first places that come to mind are usually sun-bathed spots to soak up energizing rays of light, at beaches, of course, or strolling through the amazing parks and gardens all over Spain and Portugal, along the many paths in national parks and natural spaces set aside to preserve the local environment, at sidewalk cafés where you can sip on drinks while people-watching, or at one of Spain and Portugal’s countless outdoor restaurants with views of historical plazas or bustling city streets. Not to mention the usual architectural walks outdoors in Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Seville, Granada, Santiago, Porto and other lovely towns to be seen on the Iberian Peninsula.

However, on the outskirts of the Spanish capital, you may flee from the sun to discover some of the finest dining in the most unusual and memorable ambiences…by going underground. Dotting the Spanish landscape in some small, unknown villages around Madrid are the kind of restaurants you only come across after years roaming the region in search of new sensations. It turns out the hard, arid soil in many of the hills where towns like El Molar and Titulcia are located was ideal for digging usable caves.

The ultra-charming Bodega Cueva El Espada

 

The Arabs discovered this during their conquest of Spain between the years of 711 and 1492, when they burrowed in to create granaries and storage spaces for farming and foodstuffs. Later, when the Christians gradually reconquered this territory, they either continued using the caves this way or repurposed them as wine cellars or arsenals, or even cave-dwellers’ homes.

Whatever their former use, enterprising restaurateurs have had the very bright idea of refurbishing some of these unique, labyrinthine caverns to turn them into cozy and romantic yet mysterious eateries, where you can sample Spanish wines while nibbling on the full range of tapas and hearty meats that are typically served in the Spanish countryside.

Bar Las Cuevas in Ontígola near Aranjuez

 

The star of all cave restaurant locales is the unassuming town of El Molar, just a half-hour’s drive north of Madrid, where a whole street along the hillside boasts at least ten different restaurantesmesones and asadores inside the rock itself. Some consist of one large cavernous space, while others are maze-like, creating private caves with just a table or two each, all lit by candles and torches which produce an amazingly romantic atmosphere despite the lack of a view.

To the south of Madrid, another town with a historical cave is Titulcia, where an anonymous looking restaurant called the Cave of the Moon conceals a centuries-old tunnel allegedly built by the Knights Templar as a hideaway. In Ontígola, a small cave bar also has its own small set of passageways in a hillside near Aranjuez Palace, where you can sample their tapasin an intimate whitewashed cave space. And if you can’t find the time to escape the big city itself, the capital of Madrid also boasts several cave restaurants of its own, including the famous Cuevas de Luis Candelas under the Plaza Mayor, and La Bodega de los Secretos, an old cellar with secret passageways leading under Calle Atocha to reach the Reina Sofía Museum.

La Bodega de los Secretos in Madrid

 

Whatever the cave may be, you are certain to have a unique lunch or dinner in a space you will never forget, by taking an underground culinary journey to one of these charming caves.

 

 

Spain and Portugal Vacations has been designing exclusive tours to Spain and Portugal for more than 20 years. Owned and operated by an American expat who now lives between Portugal, Spain and the United States, our firm has a  team that works with you to design vacations all over the Iberian Peninsula. We are known for creating full itineraries that allow travelers to see these countries in a way that cannot normally be experienced when booking regular tours.

Email us via www.spainandportugalvacations or by calling our telephone number in the United States.

During your private tour to Spain, you may even get the chance to meet the author of this blog, a long-term resident of Madrid who knows the country as well as any native born Spaniard.

 www.spainandportugalvacations.com | 719-639-4325 (USA)

#spain #travel #tours #luxurytravel #luxurytours #madrid

Asturias and Llanes: A lot to sea in one small region …

Sometimes planning a European journey stirs up that desire to see ten famous cities in two weeks, to check items off the bucket list and come home with a roster of famous place names to tell friends and family about. But what we truly want is a fulfilling yet varied trip that combines bits and pieces of our favorite travel experiences: pleasant historical city strolls, invigorating hikes with breathtaking scenery, time spent in beautiful restaurants eating unforgettable meals…

fabada, Austurias cuisine

We think we need to travel far and wide to find all this, but sometimes just one region, or even a single township, can provide it all. One of those regions is Asturias in northern Spain, and one of those municipalities is lovely Llanes on its eastern seaboard. Because, when you travel to a place like Llanes in Asturias, you end up checking items off your bucket list, but that list continues to grow in equal measure as you discover that there is so much more in the near vicinity!

Llanes, Spain

Asturias is a unique northern region known for its distinct language, Bable, its culture and its foods, including fabada, a delicious white bean stew with several types of sausage, apple cider and cachopo, a thin steak layered with cheese and ham, then breaded and fried.

Perched above the Cantabrian Sea, as the Spaniards call the Bay of Biscay, the “large small town” of Llanes is not only home to a medieval town center with ancient walls and buildings, traditional bakeries, amazing seafood eateries and the longest lawn-covered seaside walkway in all of Europe (home to the “prettiest park bench in the world”), it also boasts a 35-mile coastline filled with over 30 awe-inspiring beaches of all shapes and sizes.

Some are at the end of long, twisty roads, like Playa Ballota, and others are adjacent to “downtown” Llanes and its port, like rock formation-filled Playa Rodó. Playa Gulpiyuri is a bizarre inland beach, with turquoise-colored waters that seep in from the shoreline a mile away, creating a hidden paradise. And perhaps the star of them all is unknown Playa de la Huelga, where you can walk down a long, remote trail to get the shocking view of a natural arch known as the “Castro de las Gaviotas,” or “Fortress of Seagulls.”

Playa Borazu

If the ocean has not yet provided enough spectacular views, you can head to the Bufones de Arenillas, a natural crevasse into which high-pressured water flows produce mysterious moans and shoot up geysers of foam. Not enough variety for you yet within 30 minutes’ driving time? Well, you can head slightly east to the village of Colombres, where some fortunate Spanish emigrants known here as “Indianos” built an amazing manorial home that now houses a Museum of Emigration, packed with memorabilia from the 1800s and 1900s, collected to remember the experiences of locals forced to cross the ocean in search of a better life in Latin America and the United States.

Museum of Emigration

As a nice final touch to a continent-sized journey within such a small space, you might want to head for the parish church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Barro, nestled upon the tidal sands known as the Ensenada de Niembru, its gravestones hanging over shifting wetlands like Mont Saint Michel, an island of peace at high tide, a bizarre resting place overlooking wet mud during low tide, and a mesmerizing sight at sunset.

You will be hard up to choose between staying here to watch the sun go down or driving over to nearby Playa Borizu, to gaze as the sun sets behind the snowy mountains in the Picos de Europa, or heading for one of Asturias’ three main cities, Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés, all worth spending a day or two, and perhaps the next places you will wish to explore after so many days overdosing on seaweed, seacliffs and sidra.

Picos de Europa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wines of Spain

Rioja [ˈrjoxa] is a wine region in Spain, with Denominación de Origen Calificada (D.O.Ca., "Qualified Designation of Origin"). Rioja wine is made from grapes grown in the autonomous communities of La Rioja and Navarre, and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Oriental and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions, though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines. source: Wikipedia

Learn about Spain

#Regions of Spain

Spain is a diverse country with contrasting regions that have different languages and unique historical, political and cultural traditions. Because of this, Spain is divided into 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas), plus two autonomous cities. Some of the autonomous communities—notably the ones which have other official languages alongside Spanish—have been recognised as "historical nationalities" that have a unique historical identity. These include the #Basque Country, #Catalonia, #Galicia, the #Valencian region, #Andalusia, the #Balearic Islands,#Aragon and the #Canary Islands.

 

Seafood in Spain

Spain and Portugal Food and Wine Tours

Seafood (mariscos): on the coast, fresh seafood is widely available and quite affordable. In the inner regions, frozen (and poor quality) seafood can be frequently encountered outside few highly reputed (and expensive) restaurants. In coastal areas seafood deserves some attention, especially on the north Atlantic coast.

Quality seafood in Spain comes from Spain's northwestern region of Galicia. So restaurants with the words Gallego (Galician) will generally specialize in seafood. If you are feeling adventurous, you might want to try the Galician regional specialty Pulpo a la Gallega, which is boiled octopus served with paprika, rock salt and olive oil. Another adventurous option is Sepia which is cuttlefish, a relative of squid, or the various forms of Calamares (squid) that you can find in most seafood restaurants. If that isn't your style you can always order Gambas Ajillo (garlic shrimp), Pescado Frito (fried fish), Buñuelos de Bacalao (breaded and deep fried cod) or the ever-present Paella dishes.  source: wikitvoyage.org

Visit Portugal and Spain

We know Spain and Portugal

Alhambra in Granada, Spain

There’s always reasons to visit Spain… and Portugal, whether it’s for the glorious sunshine, lazy-day siestas or soaking up those beautiful sights – the whole country is a open book of experiences that are definitely too beautiful to resist.

The best part about visiting Spain is the sheer diversity you can find all across the country – the cultures, food and even languages can change quite dramatically depending on where you find yourself on the Iberian Peninsula.

Despite the diversity, a few rules hold true, no matter where you’re planning on visiting, and it doesn’t matter if this will be your first time or returning, Portugal and Spain always manage to find brilliant ways to surprise and impress you.

Do we know Spain and Portugal?

Yes we do, and we want to make sure that you know Spain and Portugal.

That’s why we work together with you to arrange an exclusive vacation tailor-made to see some of the places that we have visited and just the last two months as shown on the maps on this post.

Visit www.spainandportugalvacations.com and start planning your trip to Spain now.

December 2018 may seem early but the further you plan advance the more opportunities we have to develop some special experiences and ensure accommodations that match your style of travel, sophistication and luxury you’re accustomed to.

www.spainandportugalvacations.com

#PrivateTravel #VIPTravel #Spain #Portugal#LuxuryTravel #SpainVacation#PortugalVacation #travelin2019

Portugal Culinary Classes