Offerings The statue of Our Lady of the Almudena was brought to Spain by St. James, the apostle. It was hidden for centuries to keep it from being desecrated and destroyed by the arrival of the Moors in Spain in the 8th century. The search for the statue commenced after Spain was reconquered from the Moors in the 11th century. It was miraculously found on November 9, 1085 during a novena and procession held for the purpose of finding her image. Since then Madrid has celebrated annually the feast of Our Lady of the Almudena, the patron saint of the city, on November 9.
Foyer The Cerralbo Museum is a museum palace which belonged to Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo (1845-1922). He was an avid collector of art and antiques which he obtained from his travels and from art auctions in Europe. His acquisitions include paintings, sculptures, drawings, tapestries, ceramics, historical documents, books, photography, objets d'art and furniture. It was one of the finest collections of its time. The palace of the Marquis was built to be both a residence and a gallery. Hall of the Armoury The armoury was the receiving area of this aristocratic residence. The Marquis and his Marquess, Inocencia Serrano y Cerver, greeted their guests in this hall where the suit of armor belonging to the illustrious ancestor of the Marquis, Pablo Fernandez Contreras, the first Earl of Alcudía, (who was the Admiral of the Spanish Squad that defeated the Dutch fleet in 1635) is on display. The Marquis of Cerralbo also inherited the title of
"I hate darkness. Claude Monet once said that painting in general did not have light enough in it. I agree with him. We painters, however, can never reproduce sunlight as it really is. I can only approach the truth of it. " Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida Mother, 1895 Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) was a prolific Spanish painter from Valencia. He has been dubbed "the painter of light". His works include portraits, landscapes, historical and monumental themes. He left behind some 2000 paintings and there is a good representation of his oeuvres at his former home which is now the Museo Sorolla. In the painting, Mother , Sorolla portrays his newly born daughter, Elena, with his wife who looks lovingly at her daughter. It's difficult to use white paint without overwhelming the subject. But Sorolla meticulously works with gradations of white. The white wall is a different shade from the white pillowcases and the white bedcover. He works with the curves of
Enter through this door Years ago I had been to one of the convents in Madrid hoping to buy their pastries but alas, they were closed. It wasn't until recently that I finally had the chance to try one of their delectable cookies. The Monastery of Corpus Christi is on Calle del Codo which is off the popular Plaza del Conde de Miranda. Buzz the nuns at the door to let you in. The second buzzer is for the monks which you can ring if you wish to go to confession. Once you're inside you pass a courtyard to a short corridor before you enter an open door where you can ask the nun in attendance what you'd like from the list posted on the wall. It is possible they may only have one pastry available (as on the day I went). If they have different items available, they will put the boxes of pastries or cookies on the lazy susan and you can put your money on top of the box you wish to purchase. Your change and box of sweets will come around shortly. Put your mo
We are in Madrid during the height of the bicentennial celebrations of the city. Concert stages have been erected in various plazas and we had the chance to listen to rehearsals at Plaza Mayor while dining at an outdoor cafe. There are people everywhere especially at Puerta del Sol where it´s nearly impossible to get around without running into someone. There´s music in the air courtesy of street performers. We´ve listened to mariachi bands and Peruvian groups as well as classical violinists. We´ve stopped to watch human statues that suddenly move when you place money into their pots. A sexy lady will sway her hips and raise her skirt when she receives a little dinero and a cowboy all in black will swing his gun for the ladies. We´ve enjoyed the tapas bars with the array of hors d´ouevres like chorizo, queso de manchego, oliva, croquetas de jamon, torta de patatas and so much more, washed down with sangria or vino dulce while the men drink draft beer. We ate the best paella at La Bar
Just returned from Spain where temperatures were muy bajo and snow blanketed the sierras from Madrid to Granada. And with the perseverance of a Don Quixote, I didn't let anything stand in the way of exploring Madrid, Granada, Segovia and Avila. The bitter cold, the rain, the snow, the wind and jetlag couldn't keep me indoors. What's more I found the family crests of my paternal grandmother and that of my great grandmother. I felt a real connection with Spain after reading the history of my forefathers and the role they played to reconquer Granada. And talk about wardrobe malfunction! Wearing layers of clothes is alien to me blessed as I am to live in the California sunshine year-round. Thank goodness though for long coats, few people saw me pulling my runaway hose back in place. Whew! More on Spain when I've had some sleep and rest. Hasta luego! * * * Photos by Rosario Charie Albar