Ricardo’s Madrid: a detailed map of places to see and eat

by Ricardo Padrón, Guest Contributor

This is a wonderful interactive map contributed by my friend, Prof. Ricardo Padrón, of the different places he has enjoyed while on a year-long sabbatical in Madrid.  Please click on the sites on the map for more details about the place.

Day Trip: Segovia and Day One of Road Trip to Peñafiel

To celebrate my husband’s and brother’s big birthday we decided to throw a huge party in Peñafiel, home to its famed castle and the center of many wonderful Ribera del Duero wines.

Day One: We departed north from Madrid towards Peñafiel. We were traveling with a good friend who had never been to Segovia and decided to stop there for lunch at our favorite place to eat “cochinillo” (suckling pig), Mesón de Cándido.  We got a little bit lost along the way, because my husband took a wrong exit, and it was close to 4:00pm, so I called to inquire if they were still serving lunch.  The man who answered the phone decided to stay on line with us as we drove, giving us detailed directions, precisely predicting each rotonda and marker we would pass, until we would physically reach him, waiting for us, standing below the roman aqueduct. Wearing his white chef smock, he was Cándido, the grandson, of the family of Cándidos who own this famed restaurant with views to the Aqueduct.  Press the link above to read more about the history of this family and the restaurant.  I have taken various family members and friends, at different times to celebrate big birthdays. Cándido conducts a ritual of the cutting of the pig with the edge of the plate, followed by the smashing of the plate.  A video of this ritual from our 2007 visit, celebrating my niece’s 15th bday is below.

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The Roman Aqueduct from the first century A.D. spans 15km of arcs formed by granite blocks. Of special note is the double archway overlooking the Azoguejo plaza.

Post lunch we stopped by the river park, Alameda de Fuencisla, to capture the views of the Alcazar de Segovia. This less visited area of Segovia has the Convent of San Juan de la Cruz and the not to be missed, romanesque Church of Vera Cruz. This church has a very interesting dodectagonal plan, and in its center, it has a small two-level “edículo” or temple.  You can read more about it on the link above.  We were able to peak inside, moments before a wedding.  My little nieces believed the “tale” that the bride was the princess who lived in the castle above.

Of course, Segovia offers much more to see, and it merits a long day trip from Madrid.  I will eventually add more sights to see. The first stop would be the Alcazar or castle which is rumored to be the source of inspiration to Disney’s Cinderella castle.  It offers great guided tours, for more info press on the link. Proceed to walk the city’s core and cathedral.

We proceeded to our final destination of day one of our weekend festivities: Peñafiel.

Madrid

Click on the highlighted words to learn more about Madrid!

Mallorca

by Marian Camps, Guest Contributor

I have never been to Mallorca but is definitely on my list. I have asked my friend, Marian Camps to share with us her local tips. She recommends staying in Palma and renting a car to see the other sites in this very easy to tour island.

PALMA DE MALLORCA (CITY)

 Cultural tours:

  • Cathedral: A must. It’s the only cathedral built in front of the sea. Construction started in XII century. Gaudí and Miquel Barceló contributed in the XX century. http://www.catedraldemallorca.info/principal/
  • You can complete the Cathedral tour walking through the historical district. You can visit the Plaza de Cort (Town Hall), Plaza Santa Eulalia, Plaza de Montesion (this is my school, it was built on XV century) and Plaza San Francisco
  • Casa Estudio de Miró. http://miro.palmademallorca.es/
  • Museum El Baluard. The exhibitions are not very impressing, but the bar and the view it’s totally worthy http://www.esbaluard.org/es/
  • Bellver Castle – Only if you are curious about castles (there is nothing really there more than the building). You also have a very nice view from Palma (it’s the only one in the world with a circular base)

What to do:

  • Ramblas, Borne and Jaime III are the commercial area. You can have an ice cream at Can Miquel, and you must have breakfast (or an early dinner) in Can Joan de S’aigo (http://www.canjoandesaigo.webs-sites.com/ ) Best ensaimadas and ‘cuartos’ from Mallorca. You can order them with hot chocolate or ice cream
  • If you want to walk across the sea line, the place is El Portixol. There are so many nice places to eat there: Hotel Portixol (expensive), Restaurante Club Naútico Es Portixol and Restaurante Club Marítmo Es Molinar (one of my favorites for fish and Paella), Cocco (modern and couzy place)
  • The most typical bar in Palma is Bar Bosch. You should ask for a “Llagosta”, it’s based between Es Born and Jaime III (shopping area)
  • Another great place to eat (breakfast, lunch or brunch) is Es Rebost, they have pretty good products from Mallorca http://www.es-rebost.com/es/
  • If you visit Palma on Saturday, you should go either to Mercat de S’Olivar or Mercat de Santa Catalia. These are permanent markets, and on Saturdays you can have brunch there, a really nice experience.

Where to eat:

Palma has very good restaurants, so it’s very hard to choose without knowing your taste… This will be my first recommendation:

Palma Centro:

Zona Portitxol (Frente al Mar):

REST OF MALLORCA

PLACES TO VISIT

Tramuntana Zone: (one of the most beautiful areas):

You can have a route among this places in 1-2 days. The views and the small villages are amazing.

  • Deià
  • Esporlas
  • Banyalbufar
  • Valldemossa
  • Soller

Zona Nord-Este:

Not as nice as the previous one, closer to the sea.

  • Alcudia
  • Pollença
  • Orient

Another really nice tour could be Cabo Formentor, it’s a very nice road heading to the sea.

What to do

Lunch and Dinner

Beaches

If you feel like, this is a short list (there are dozens of them, it will depend where you are staying)

  • Playa de Es Trenc
  • Playa de Ses casetes des Capellans
  • Cala San Vicenç. Pollença
  • Cala Deià
  • Puerto de Banyalbufar
  • Illetes (very close to Palma)

Only few of them, you can find much more at http://www.platgesdebalears.com/caplaibFront/portada_isla.en.jsp?cIsl=MA

WHERE TO STAY:

PALMA DE MALLORCA

Hotels  in the Historic Center

Expensive:

More affordable: all of them are very well located and they are good value for money

Inexpensive:

  • Hotel Colon http://www.hotelcolonpalma.com/es/. Cheap,comfortable and decent. Even though it is not located in the very center it is very convenient. Near the center, bus and train stations, etc.

Outside of Palma

  • http://es.somhoels.es/ -they have various hotels throughout the island and is well regarded.
  • http://www.fontsantahotel.com/es/hotel -located in the south of the island, closed to one of the best beaches, Trenc, are some ancient thermal baths reconverted into a a hotel and spa. This place is geared more for couples rather than families.

Gallery Hopping on Madrid’s DF

Tucked behind the Reina Sofía Museum, the Doctor Fourquet Street has become a thriving gallery district.  On a recent stroll one afternoon, we were able to visit many interesting spaces, lounge at a cafe, ending at the Reina Sofía during their free visiting hours. The map below shows you the different galleries located in this area.

Click on the underlined titles for a link to the galleries’ websites.

THEREDOOM-With a nice cafe, perfect for cocktails, this gallery is currently showing: Andy Warhol/Todo empezó así.  I was not familiar with these early Warhol’s and I particularly liked his drawing of a boy’s face.

 

Helga de Alvear-Timing is of the essence on this very original installation, currently on view: Karin Sander, Kitchen Pieces.  This new take on the tradition still life, brings vegetable and fruit to life and it’s slow rotting death.

 

NoguerasBlanchard-Loved the quote on the gallery wall entrance.

La Libreria, located in the corner of Doctor Fourquet and Argumosa streets. is a great little stop for coffee, juice or a sandwich, while browsing their used books.

Reina Sofía Museum– The terrace of the Reina Sofía’s Jean Nouvel Wing, is a great place to catch great views of the Atocha Train Station on one end, and the Lavapies neighborhood on the other.  Take advantage of the free admission from 7-9pm to catch one of its many exhibits.

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Art:Fundación Mapfre

Often overshadowed by the neighboring great museums: The Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofia, the exhibition space by the Fundación Mapfre at Paseo Recoletos never disappoints.  This space is the perfect size for enjoying the well curated exhibits it presents.  I have seen wonderful retrospectives in the past years: Giacometti, Kirchner, Henri Cartier-Bresson amongst many others.  I strongly encourage you to visit, it is quick, but worthwhile.

Today, I went to see the work of photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto and was mesmerized by his Seascape photograph series.  Hiroshi Sugimoto, Black Box will run through the 25th of September, 2016.  For more details on the show, press here.

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For hours, location and more info on the Fundación Mapfre press here.

 

 

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