Christmas in the Plaza de Colón

I went to a cool, outdoor spectacular last night in the Plaza de Colón. For the Christmas period (2006)in the Plaza they have turned the area into a recreation area for children, complete with covered tents. However, last night I went with my wife and 4 year-old to see an outdoor show just next to the stone monuments of the plaza. It comprised a water fountain show, which played ´in tune´ with some well-known classical music (don´t ask me to name the music!) and an aerial spectacle, where dancers were elevated above the ground on a crane. It lasted over 30 minutes, and boy did my shoulders hurt with my son on them!, but was well worth it. The show starts at 8pm with another at 9.30pm. I believe it will be on every night for the next week.


Madrid Set For Cold Snap

It looks like Madrid is set for some cold weather in the coming days. Temperatures in the capital are expected to drop below -4°C tonight and – 7°C in the mountains surrounding Madrid. The picture below is taken from the Royal residence of La Zarzuela, where snow has already fallen – let’s hope it sticks around for Christmas!

Zarzuela Snow - source EFE

December Suggestions from Metrópoli

15o Planes

Metrópoli has a really good guide to what you can do in Madrid this December – it is in Spanish, though. They have come up with 150 suggestions for what you can do in the coming weeks – eat, drink, be merry and much more. Interestingly, they have broken them down into 15 categories – based on different types of personality. These range from the sportsman (woman), the art lover, the over 65’s, under 18’s, the shopaholics, singles, and a good few more. There are some really cool suggestions here – there is even a category for those who think they’re cool!!

Goya Exhibition Opens in Madrid

goya_costune_1Much like they did when the Capitan Alatriste film was first screened, the Casa de la Panadería is putting on an exhibition to mark the release of a new film. This new exhibition coincides with the premier of the film Goya’s Ghosts, which was filmed in Madrid and is actually in English not Spanish. The stars of the film are Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman.

The exhibition will display costumes from the film, pictures of the filming  and descriptions of the age that Goya lived in – he spent most of his life in Madrid. The exhibition runs from the 9th November to the 5th January, 2007. Opening times are: 10 am to 2pm and 4pm to 8 pm. Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays they are open from 10 am to 2 pm. For those unfamiliar with the Casa de la Panadería it is the colourful (and oldest) building in the Plaza Mayor.

SIMO – Europe’s 2nd Largest IT Show Begins in Madrid

Today, 7th November (and running until 12th November), 2006, sees the start of SIMO – Feria Internacional de Informática, Multimedia y Comunicaciones (no translation required!). Billed as the 2nd largest technology show in Europe it is being held in  Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I and will have over 600 exhibitors there. Needless to say that it will have everything that a business, home user or even a geek could ever want (for this year!). I have been once or twice and really enjoyed – if you’re into IT and new technologies, you’ll enjoy it.

For full details, take a look at the SIMO press release or visit the SIMO web pages on IFEMA.

50% off Theatre Tickets in Madrid

A new initiative in Madrid aims to offer people up to 50% off theatre prices for performances, when bought two hours beforehand. Located in the Plaza del Carmen, the Last Minute Box Office lets you buy tickets at 21 of Madrid’s theatres and this initiative is likely to be extended in the future to include music, dance and circuses. Once purchased, you can go direct to the theatre without having to drop by at the box office.

Here are a list of the 21 theatres:
Teatro Albéniz,  Teatro Alcázar,  Gran Vía,  Fígaro,   Infanta Isabel,  Amaya,  Victoria,   Alfil,  La Latina,   Teatro de Madrid, Muñoz Seca,  Reina Victoria, Arlequín,  El Canto de la Cabra,  Teatro Triángulo, Sala Cuarta Pared,  Pradillo,  Sala Ítaca,  Teatro Lagrada,  Teatro Estudio Liberarte and  Guindalera Escena Abierta.

New Hotel in Plaza Santa Ana

If you’re passed through the Plaza Santa Ana over the past couple of years you will have noticed that the huge Reina Victoria Hotel has been undergoing refurbishment. Well, last week saw the lavish re-opening of this historic hotel by the Sol Meliá group – some 1000 people were invited. Here are some of the hotel’s features, from its latest press release:

ME Madrid Reina Victoria
represents the new daring, bold hotel concept of experience-based personality hotels which is characterized by passion for service, design, international fusion cuisine and world music.

Now here’s the bit I like:

A state-of-the-art home theatre entertainment centre featuring a 32-inch interactive plasma television and CD/DVD, surround sound speakers, WiFi Internet access, an extensive in room library of CD’s and DVD’s as well as iPod adaptors and connectivity docking stations

The hotel also features:

ME Madrid’s MIDNIGHT ROSE, the glamorous ground-floor restaurant and lounge.  With its luxurious finishes and modern, eclectic furniture, MIDNIGHT ROSE will appeal to everyone, whether for impromptu gatherings or late night rendezvous.

This too sounds like it could be fun, and probably worth price:

Whisked up from the ground floor in a private elevator, hotel guests and the public alike can experience THE PENTHOUSE terrace bar where the people are bound to be as dynamic as the unobstructed city panorama over the famous Plaza Santa Ana. Outside guests are called to recline on decadent cushion filled beds, delicately enclosed by floaty fabrics while indoors, guests can sink into the comfortable lounge or immerse themselves in the exclusive VIP Bar.

Incidentally, Rande Gerber who operates ME Madrid’s Midnight Rose and The Penthouse, is the husband of Cindy Crawford. Something tells me that this could be the place to spot celebrities in the future!

The Prado to Open Up At Night

During the months of October, November and December, the Prado Musuem will leave its doors open for a little longer, and for free, for youngsters between the ages of 15 and 25. Well, not every day or every week but the last Fridays of the month!  Starting on the 27th October and continuing on the 24th November and the 29th December it will. And what’s more art experts will be on han to explain the works of art on display.

The Prado Museum website doesn’t have any information on this initiative – which doesn’t surprise as it is such an embarassingly bad website. I just don’t understand how the ministry of culture won’t bring it into the 21st Century.

Changing the Guard at the Royal Palace

On Saturday 21st, October 2006 they will be changing the guard at Madrid’s Royal Palace. However, instead of soldiers dressed in modern, military uniform Madrid will turn the clock back a couple of centuries and military personnel from the three armed services will dress in costumes from the era and will be accompanied by carriages from the Patrimonio Nacional, gun carriages and military marches. The event will be presided over (spot the direct translation!) by the King’s eldest sister, the Infanta Pilar de Borbón.

The event will take place at 12 pm.

Festival de Otoño

The Festival de Otoño bills itself as:

one of the most important theatrical arts events in spain

It goes on for around 5 weeks and features national (Spanish) and international acts from around the world who perform theatre, dance and music. The event kicks off on the 11th October and runs until the 9th November, 2006. There is an English version of the website which is probably better than the Spanish – it uses plain html rather than the damned, annoying Flash!

Feria de Arte Independiente de Madrid Opens

Feria del arte independienteFeria de Arte Independiente de Madrid or (Independent Art Fair of Madrid) opens its doors today 28th September, 2006 and runs until the 1st October. The objective of the fair is quite clear: to support and promote independent artists, whose art is exhibited without an
y intermediaries (sounds like I translated that one directly!!).

The exhibition (fair) takes place in the Pabellón de La Pipa del Recinto Ferial de la casa de Campo de Madrid, where over 200 artists from countries as diverse as Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Portugal, Canada, Israel, China and Argentina and, obviously, Spain will display their art. Each year one country acts as the "invted country" and this year it falls to South Africa, whose ambassador will open the fair.

Opening times
12 p.m to 9 p.m

6 Euros

Casa de Campo
Metro: Casa de Campo