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Madrid’s San Isidro Festivities

May is right around the corner, and with it, Madrid’s San Isidro Labrador Festivities. From May 8th to 17th, the Spanish capital dons its festive attire to celebrate the festivity of its patron saint. Fun times and folklore are guaranteed. Fancy soaking up the local culture of Madrid? Well, this is your chance. Come and join the San Isidro Festivities! Madrid’s San Isidro Festivities revolve around the figure of Isidore the Farm Laborer, to whom more than 100 miracles are attributed, all of them related to water. Not surprisingly, he is the patron saint of farmers, and he is rumored to have had the gift of finding water. It is for this reason that Madrid’s proudest and most devout locals make their way down to the Pradera de San Isidro on May 15th, to take part in the traditional procession and to have a drink of the agua del santo (holy water) sprouting from the stream near the San Isidro chapel; and all this in their chulapos and chulapas attire. Such a sight to behold! Midafternoon, the prairie is pretty much lined with rosquillas (typical ring-shaped pastries) and lemonade. If you have a sweet tooth, this is your lucky day, as you’ll be able to choose among rosquillas tontas (with egg), rosquillas listas (with egg and sugar icing), rosquillas de Santa Clara (with meringue frosting) and rosquillas francesas (with almonds). Finger licking good! If folklore and traditional dance is something for you, don’t hesitate to make your way up to Las Vistillas to see the chulapos and chulapas dance chotis, dressed in their typical costumes. This traditional dance, which...

The Best Pubs to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Madrid

St. Patrick’s Day, a day when people around the world wear green, is celebrated on March 17. That means lots of partying, beer, traditional Irish music, leprechauns and shamrocks. Simply follow the famous leprechaun hats and you will find the party. If not, we suggest going to Irish pubs to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Madrid, which is home to the largest Irish colony in Spain. The Irish Rover Located on Avenida de Brasil, the Irish Rover is one of the most famous pubs in the capital and home to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations for many years. On the first floor the décor makes one feel like you’re on an old Irish street. On the second floor you’ll find a small library and terrace. For St. Patrick’s Day, they host pop, rock and Irish folk concerts. Try their Irish dishes accompanied by a Guinness. It’s an atmosphere you won’t want to miss! Av del Brasil, 7, 28020 Madrid Molly Malone’s Molly Malone’s is the first Official Guinness Irish Pub in Madrid. Located on the edge of Malasaña, Molly Malone’s has two floors. On St. Patrick’s Day you can enjoy live music in a variety of styles. They also have several big screens to follow the latest football and rugby matches. Try one of the typical and affordable Irish dishes. Furthermore, in addition to dark beer, they hand out the green leprechaun hats on St. Patrick’s Day. Calle de Manuela Malasaña, 11, 28004 Madrid La Fontana de Oro La Fontana de Oro is an old café located in the center of Madrid. Benito Pérez Galdós was a regular customer and...

The Castle of the Star in Montiel (Ciudad Real)

Although it’s weird to write about myself, I find it especially thrilling to write about Montiel, its majestic castle, and the living history there I´ve learned from my people. Built up by the Arabs in the ninth century, it was later conquered by the Christians in one of the cruelest battles of history between Don Pedro I of Castile (who was nicknamed The Cruel One) and his brother, Don Enrique de Transtamare, who were archrivals. Specifically, the Battle of Montiel was fought there during the Hundred Years War. The history of the Castle of the Star as seen through my eyes My grandparents built their lives in the same place where Don Quixote of La Mancha lived out some of his adventures: the Campos de Montiel. I spent my summers, weekends and sometimes even Christmas there. In all, I have spent many wonderful years there and have good memories related to the surname Pretel. And of course, related to my grandparents´ house in the Plaza del Quinto Centenario. This house deserves an entirely separate post. Several images come to mind: my grandparents (Antonio and Dolores), climbs to the near ruins of the Castle of the Star with my siblings (Aida, Celia and Antonio), my parents who never fail me (Adelaide and Joseph) and Paquita (who has always been like family to me). In fact, many of the mysteries of Montiel I now know I owe to her. She told me that back when she was a still a child, there were dozens of underground tunnels connecting the castle with the hill known as the Cerro de San Polo (which...

Shopping in the Golden Mile of Madrid

On par with Fifth Avenue in New York or London´s Oxford Street, the Golden Mile of Madrid is one of the most chic and luxury areas of the capital and boasts dozens of stores with the leading brands and an elegant ambient. That’s the Salamanca district, in particular the pentagon of the Golden Mile formed by Serrano, Jorge Juan, Juan Bravo, Ortega y Gasset and Principe de Vergara streets. The most important companies in the world are concentrated in this place where fashion is a lifestyle. This is a high class neighborhood, a shopping area that attracts customers from all over the world, tourists and the curious. It is pilgrimage site for lovers of fashion. The heart of Madrid’s Salamanca district is one of the few places that has remained immune to the crisis, where luxury still reigns and its customers are not on the receiving end of the bad economic news in Spain. Its exclusivity has been spared from the recession and that means the Golden Mile is full everyday with sporadic visitors and regular customers. The backbone of the Golden Mile is the street Ortega y Gasset which features world-class companies, including the most expensive, and especially jewelry stores, and shops for fashion and accessories, for which they pay something like 1,900 euros per square meter a year. It is the most expensive commercial area in Spain to start a business. One of the most expensive and extensive shopping streets in the world is the Fifth Avenue in New York, which is over 12 kilometers long. Its square meter price is around 11,500 euros, and you can...

Edward Hopper’s exhibition arrives at Thyssen Museum in Madrid

On the 12th of June 2012 the works of the American painter, will be the protagonists at Thyssen Museum in the Spanish capital. This is the first really important exhibition devoted to the artist at European level and it is also, a unique opportunity to enjoy his most famous and daring paintings. With this exhibit, visitors to the Thyssen will tour Hopper´s life since the moment he traveled for the first time to Paris in 1907, discovering and falling in love with European painting until the end of his days. 70 works by this artist in total, 40 of them created and during his older age as:  “House by the Railroad ” or “Gas”, both part of the permanent collection of the MOMA Museum in New York. Edward Hopper was inspired by the film industry for many years, but after the 50’s, it was the other way around and ended up inspiring even the Hitchcock films. The painting “House by the Railroad”, for example, inspired the film “Psycho”. Also, he was able to inspire several American poets that mentioned his works in their compositions. Edward Hopper was not interested in avant-garde like Matisse or Picasso. He was inspired by artists such as Albert Marquet, Félix Valloton and Walter Sickert” as you will be able to appreciate in this exhibition. He was an almost lyrical painter. However, he didn’t sell any painting before he was 43, so the curators of the exhibition have decided to divide his work into two, and make a comparison of his beginnings to his final success. Let´s get to know the life of Hopper. He...

Movies filmed in Madrid

Madrid is a city that has ideal locations for a movie and has been used repeatedly to shoot internationally famous Hollywood movies.

Happy Rider in Madrid

Happy Rider is a motorcycle rental company in Madrid with affordable prices and different vehicles for all of its clients.

Jedi Mind Tricks in Madrid

When George Lucas invented the concept of Star Wars and all the ideology or philosophy around the Jedi world, perhaps didn’t imagine that his greatest creation; from a fusion of Buddhism, martial arts and Christian mercy, would become the emblematic name of one of the most suggesting bands, the international Hip Hop scene. The question is, how much did Jedi Mind Tricks pay to use the name? Undoubtedly, the Star Wars business continues to grow and has no borders. Its products reach all parts of the world in different languages; the toys are still sold in sets that are renewed almost every year, giving collectors something to spend almost every month. But what exactly is a “Jedi Mind Trick”? Let us define this before you talk about the band. A “Jedi Mind Trick” is the power that Jedi have to persuade others, particularly those with “not so privileged,” or “less developed” minds, to do what the Jedi order. With the simple pass of a hand against the face of the others, a Jedi can convince a person to forget his documents, stop drugs, change your life and thousand doors are opened. Of course, these tricks don’t work with those who have “privileged minds” or are from some other space race, other than human. It seems that the Jedi could be politicians being paid by the hardest right, and convince with their powers of “positive” changes that the world could lead to trying, but of course a conviction through forced hypnosis and conditioning. Would there be a political Jedi? Could it be the strength of the center of Neoliberalism? Those...

Helga de Alvear Madrid

The Helga de Alvear art gallery is a heir of the experienced Juana Mardó and it has the same principles: showing avant-garde art to the public.

Soledad Lorenzo Madrid

Soledad Lorenzo´s gallery is one of the most reputable ones in Madrid. In its installations we can see artists with an international reputation.