So yesterday, I rather vedged out (do people still say that?) and just took it easy. Today I am planning to do some walking and try and run down the shop of Jose Ramirez, where I bought my first concert guitar way back in 1974. That was the first reason for coming to Spain back then: to pick up a guitar that I had ordered months before. It is on the Calle de la Paz, which is supposedly just off the Puerta del Sol, though in that part of town the streets are so jammed together it is hard to tell from my map. The music shop Union Musical Española is nearby as well, who published a great deal of Spanish music for guitar.
Yes, I succeeded in finding the Ramirez shop. At first I thought I was going nuts because I didn't recognise anything about the neighbourhood. But, it turns out, when I bought my guitar they were in a different location, on Concepcion Jeronimo and now they are on Calle de la Paz. In any case, here is a photo of the shop:
|Click to enlarge|
I think that Felipe VI, the current King of Spain, is the last Bourbon monarch to still sit on a throne. Yes, Spain is now a constitutional monarchy, but its king, along with Elizabeth II, the Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a few other places, is almost the last of the era of monarchy. So today, I did a little walking tour and visited the Palacio Real, built in the 18th century. The king doesn't actually live there these days, but in a smaller palace nearby. The Palacio Real supposedly has 2800 rooms, but the tour only includes a few. Here are some photos.
|Part of the eastern facade|
|The rest of the eastern facade|
|The courtyard/parade ground looking toward the adjacent cathedral|
|The grand staircase|
|and the ceiling of the staircase|
What we forget is that during the 16th and much of the 17th century, the King of Spain was the most powerful leader in the world.
For our envoi a good choice would be something by Tomás Luis de Victoria, who enjoyed the patronage of Felipe II and was for 17 years chaplain to the dowager empress at the monastery for the nobility in Madrid, the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales. This is his Salve regina: