The Café de Gijón in wax
Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida: “We have to regain the
joie de vivre, alegría and spirit of unity which have always
characterized our city. It is part of Madrid’s history and
heritage and we are obliged to protect and
cherish places like the Gijón.”
by Muriel Feiner
Photos: M. Feiner unless stated otherwise
The emblematic Café Gijón in Madrid assembled a very important group of elite sports and social personalities to celebrate three significant events: The first, the tenth anniversary of Spain’s smashing success in the International Soccer Cup held in South Africa in 2010 and honor the beloved trainer of the National Team at the time, Vicente del Bosque. The second was to pay tribute to the very popular and iconic sports journalist Roberto Gómez. And finally, the 140-year-old establishment that has been “home” to the leading intellectuals, writers, painters, poets, artists, philosophers, scientists and popular personalities over the years, received a very special, memorable and moving gift from a renowned Spanish-born painter but long-time resident of Brazil, Manuel de la Mata.
Popular journalist Jesús Álvarez conducted the ceremony, which began with the internationally prominent artist De la Mata presenting the current owners of Gijón, with a magnificent oil painting of their father Gregorio “Goyo” Escamilla, described by many as: “A bohemian entrepreneur able to bring together in perfect harmony the traditional past with the exciting present”. Goyo died in April of 2019 and his children continue to manage this Spanish landmark with the very same devotion. The oldest son José Manuel expressed his gratitude and the fact that De la Mata had managed to capture so well his father’s characteristic warmth and charisma which he shared with everyone who walked into the establishment at Recoletos, 21: “In a way our father has returned to Gijón and is with us again. The maestro Manuel de la Mata’s painting is incredible and it seems as if my father is watching over us and is even about to speak.” The painting was immediately hung in a place of honor directly over the new bar.
Enrique Cerezo, president of the Atletico de Madrid soccer team, declared: “I would like to congratulate Café Gijón and all those who throughout its 140 years of history have kept this institution so alive, so relevant and so symbolic that all Madrilenians carry it in our hearts”. Cerezo, who is also an important film producer, invited Vicente del Bosque to the microphone so that he could express his gratitude for the commemoration of the Spanish team’s historic victory ten years ago and he shared his confidence in the future of the current team.
The very affable sports journalist Roberto Gómez was delighted with his highly deserved recognition and to see his photo placed on the wall directly beside other such illustrious Gijón patrons, as actor Paco Rabal and actor and writer Fernando Fernán Gómez.
Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida also attended the event, which he concluded with the following words: “We have to regain the joie de vivre, alegría and spirit of unity which have always characterized our city. It is part of Madrid’s history and heritage and we are obliged to protect and cherish places like the Gijón.”
Featured image: Cafe Gijon in the Museo de Cera/Tamorlan, CC BY3.0
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