Archive for ‘Spain’

March 16, 2014

It’s becoming routine, Bucharest again looks wonderful.

Ok so this was another trip to Bucharest Romania, this time it was just in Bucharest for four days. Great weather, sunny cool nice about 15-18C all week.

As usual I took the flight from Nantes airport; , on Air France, to Paris (Roissy-en-France) CDG T2F, and there we change to T2E for the connection this time on TAROM, the national airline of Romania, for a nice flight in; Bucharest Henri Coanda, but actually in the city of Otopeni about 16,5 kms from the city

We took a taxi to the hotel, Taxi 2000, where you print a ticket from a machine on the way out from the terminal just before hitting the outside ,and it gives you the name of the taxi company and the number of the car, very nice ride, and for 6 euros!!!  some explanation on rates on taxis at the airport in  English,  the taxi company is here where you can even pre book the taxi,but its only in Romanian ,

There , I headed to the hotel, been there before and its excellent Crown Plaza Hotel, part of the Intercontinental hôtels group.  Each time has been great for me there, wonderful indoor heated pool, sauna, gym room, great Grand Café bar for drinks and news/sports TV, then the Le Brasserie restaurant very nice, the rooms are big and well stocked, the elevator works fine and fast, checkin and checkout is smooth, just another wonderful IHG property.

Even thus, I had four days, it was well stockup with work, so very little time to go out, just some driving around with locals ;passing the by local Universities like the  Romano-American and the agriculture research ,and the Romexpo conference dome building around the World Trade center business park where we had lunch at the cafeteria every day. Except one lunch we ordered pizza from Jerry’s, quickly delivered and good.  ; Romexpo, the exhibition hall of Bucharest par excellence. ; the Romanian-American university, nice place well located , and the agriculture university veterinary campus, great location too, and nice complex ,

I did get one special night to go out with friends, and had a wonderful dinner at a wonderful very traditional Romanian restaurant in the outskirst of Bucharest. Restaurant Vatra Neamului, Balostesti, past Otopeni the airport city, along the DN1 road. This is very much use as well for weddings and anniversaries by the locals, as it is very traditional Romanian in food and decoration. We had dinner in the poets’s  room as you have portraits of Romanian poets/writers going way back. Vatra Neamului, is a mix cuisine between ancient moldavian/romanian food, the food wich was served by our ancestors before us, and a trip to the time of Stefan the Great, Michael the Brave, and the unrivaled writer Mihai Eminescu. Wonderful find, enjoy it when you can.

and the trip back at last, was great as usual, flying back on Tarom Airlines to Paris CDG and then AF to Nantes, where my car was waiting for the 1h30 trip back home along the N165. All very nice, smooth, and pleasant weather, can’t ask for more. Thanks again to my local friends for the great host. Until next time, do come and enjoy Bucharest and Romania. cheers

Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest Bucharest

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February 7, 2014

Madrid is like home!

Well this one was a quick one two days meeting but always nice to take advantage to come to Madrid, my Madrid of childhood memories.

I was there from Tuesday to Thursday and staying at the now usual hotel Ayre Gran Colon was great by Dr Esquerdo.  the location can’t be beaten to be away from tourist central, you are near lines 6 and 9 of metro by Sainz de Baranda or Conde de Casal, and plenty of bus lines stop in the corner of calle pez volador and dr esquerdo. walking distance to the Retiro park.

Coming from the Airport, Barajas at Terminal 4 I try the new law on the flat rate for the taxis, 30 euros and you are at your hotel; very nice and easy, the meter already says 30,00 when you get on. This is the scoop, from official Spain airports site,

I had my rounds at the usual Cerveceria Cruz Blanca at calle Dr Esquerdo, very nice folks , prompt nice service and no tourists ::)

My luck have it was there during the Copa del Rey or King’s Cup game between my Real Madrid and the local rivals Atletico de Madrid, well it was a feast to Watch with good company, we won 3×0!!! almost qualifying us to the semifinals!!! Can’t beat watching a football/soccer game in Madrid and at a bar lol!!!  More of the football/soccer there at the tourist office and of course will only tell you about the Real Madrid FC

Until my next chance in my beloved City, in Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day !!!! Cheers have a great weekend.

Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid

January 5, 2014

Epiphany, the 3 wise kings, and the start of 2014.

All comes together today Sunday 5 January 2014. Tomorrow we head back to work and our normal days of family life and work, and hopefully some spare moment to travel and see the world. I didn’t want to be too far from my blog, already missed you all.

Tomorrow is officially the celebration of the 3 Wise Kings, or Los 3 Reyes Magos or simply the Reyes Magos. From my Spanish Catholic tradition it is the day where we give our gifts to our children, as the Wise Kings gave it in honor of the new born child Jesus. Over the years my travels my nationalities I have mix all tradition where we do follow up with all .

Living now in France, as French, the day is not celebrated even if a Catholic country per se, we just do the galette des rois a frangipane of almond with a figurine Inside that according to leyend was the opportunity for role reversal as a Roman slave took the place of the emperor before he reigned for a day later was send to death. King Louis XIV was the first one in France who push for it, and the tradition flourished, where the person who gets the portion with the figurine in it, gets to be the kind or queen for the day and especially gifts are given. The cakes differed a bit from the north to the South of France, what we do today is usually call the Parisien version of the almond bake frangipane cake.

In my other country of Spain, we have the similar cake of Roscon de Reyes;as a cake to eat on these days, but the celebration is much bigger with parades of the Wise Kings with great beautiful décorations, and the gifts to our children Under the arbol de Navidad or the Christmas tree. Even thus this year due to the economy many cabalgatas or parades will be diminished curtailed from previous year, still even some neighborhoods are creating their own. In my Madrid, the route of the parade will begin at 18h30 at Nuevos Ministerios (corner with plaza San Juan de la Cruz square ) down the Paseo de la Castellana, and passing through the Plaza del Doctor Marañón, Glorieta de Emilio Castelar, Plaza de Colón and the Paseo de Recoletos, with arrival at 20h45  approximately to the Plaza de Cibeles, where King Melchior will read the message on behalf of the three Magi. After this at about  21h, there will be a fireworks show.

Basically the meaning ,and history  in Spain is like this

The Magi from the East (or simply Magi) is the name which according to tradition are the visitors who, after the birth of Jesús from Nazareth, came from foreign countries to pay tribute and give you rich symbolic gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Gospels speak only about «magicians», nowhere lists their names, which were Kings, nor were three (a number that is possibly due to the amount of offered gifts). These beliefs were added centuries later and have remained in the popular tradition.  According to Catholic belief, these Magi were representatives of «pagan» religions of neighbouring villages, which the Gospels come as the first fruits of the Nations that accept the Catholic religion.  In some countries (usually Spanish-speakers) there is the tradition of representing Kings bringing gifts that children have asked in his letters during the night before Epiphany.  The Magi, traditions in some countries, part of the crib next to Joseph, the baby Jesus and Mary.
The Catholic figure of the Magi has its origin in the accounts of the birth of Jesus, some were integrated from the canonical Gospels that now make up the new testament of the Bible. Specifically the Gospel of Matthew is the only biblical source which mentions a few magicians (though not specific names, the number or the title of Kings) who, following a so-called Star, looking for the «King of the Jews has been born» in Jerusalem, guiding them such a star to Jesus born in Bethlehem, and to whom offer offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  In that same apocryphal gospel it is said that they had any family link, and that also came with three legions of soldiers: one of Persia, Babylon and Asia.  According to subsequent interpretations, the wizards were considered to be originating in Europe, Asia, and Africa respectively . However, the last book written by the Pope Benedicto XVI on Nazareth Jesús, «Childhood of Jesus», notes that the Magi probably came from the East, as it has believed traditionally, but Tartessos, an area that historians located between Huelva, Cadiz and Seville (Andalusia, Spain). In this way, the wise men from the East have become Kings, and with them have come into the Manger camels and dromedaries, said  Benedict XVI and continues:”the promise contained in these texts extends the provenance of these men to the far West (Tarshish, Tartessos in Spain), but tradition has further developed this listing of the universality of the kingdoms of those sovereigns«, interpreting them as Kings of the three then-known continents: Africa, Asia and Europe “.

They represented all men seekers of God of all times and all places and that included everyone until then known and whose western boundary was Tartessos, in the Iberian peninsula”, he explains. Mention to Tartessos, Benedict XVI refers to this geographical limit that had the world in the first century  AD, «magicians are East but that God seekers men of God of all places and all times are represented in that concern by search». With regard to the names of Kings (Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar) the first references seem to date back to the 5C through two texts, the first entitled Excerpta latina barbari, which are called Gathaspa, Melichior and Bithisarea, and other apocryphal gospel, the Armenian Gospel of childhood, which are called Balthazar, Melkon and Gaspard.

There so even if I won’t be having my Roscon, I will definitevely eat my galette des rois. Happy Epiphany !!!


January 1, 2014

2013 in review, Thank you all, Best wishes for 2014.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 81,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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December 30, 2013

Some news from France CXXI

ok so this is short and sassy, just to wish all my readers ,friends,and family the very best in 2014. Without fanfare but an honest wish to provide you with all you are seeking in this world, health especially so we can continue to go for glory,gold and the pursue of happiness


So therefore, Happy New Year 2014 to all.


Feliz Año Nuevo 2014 a todos


Bonne Année 2014 à tous

Feliz Ano Novo a todos.


This one is for you all. And thanks again for following my most precious hobby of traveling around this beautiful country and the world. More in 2014.

And from my favorite city to you, Cheers

Versailles Versailles Versailles

December 8, 2013

It’s that time for Champagne!!!

We are approaching the end of the year 2013. Célébrations are already happening,and Christmas, Hanukah , and other are ongoing and coming. New Year’s is the best time to drink Champagne for many, although for me its any special occasion of the year. Today , I am celebrating my twin boys going to their first job and away from home, they will be back on weekends as it is near in the same area department Morbihan.

I guess I am getting old too, but in a nice way. We are all very happy, and what better way then to celebrate with Champagne, Martel of Epernay brut rose Victoire, in celebration of the victory of WWI that the house selected the best,and we are celebrating a victory too!

This is the portal representing the region, ,and one for the big brands too ,

We all have the story on how it became , thanks to a king Henri IV and a monk Dom Pérignon, and the region is irrigated by the big river Marne; with 3 main grapes, pinot noir, pinot meunier ,and chardonnay. The region is divided into 3 zones, the montagne de Reims in the dept of the Marne, the Vallée de la Marne,covering the department of Aisne (2), Marne (51) and Seine-et-Marne (77); and the Côte des blancs (marne). It is a protected brand name worldwide. Only those coming from here should be call Champagne.

I like to tell you the main names, to look out for in any part of the world you might be now or to year’s end. The créme de la créme of Champagne.

Charles Heidseick, Reims, 03 26 84 43 00

Bollinger, Ay 03 26 53 33 66

Boizel, Epernay 03 26 55 21 51

Billecart-Salmon, Mareuil-sur-Ay 03 26 52 60 22

Ruinart, Reims, 03 26 77 51 51

Gosset, Ay,  03 26 56 99 56

Taittinger, Reims, 03 26 85 45 35

Piper-Heidsieck, Reims 03 26 84 43 00

Canard-Duchêne, Ludes 03 26 61 10 96

Drappier, Urville, 04 68 51 10 89

Delamotte, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, 03 26 57 51 65

Lanson, Reims, 03 26 78 50 50

Veuve Clicquot, Reims, 03 26 89 54 40

Pommery, Reims, 03 26 61 62 56

Jacquart, Reims, 03 26 07 88 40

Bruno Paillard, Reims, 03 26 36 20 22

Duval-Leroy, Vertus, 03 26 52 10 75

Deutz, Ay, 03 26 56 94 00

Malard, Ay, 03 26 32 40 11

Vranken, Reims, 03 26 61 62 63

De Saint Gall, Avize, 03 26 57 94 22

Pol Roger, Epernay, 03 26 59 58 00

Louis Roederer, Reims, 03 26 40 42 11

Krug, Reims, 03 26 84 44 20

Thiénot, Taissy, 03 26 77 50 10

Moêt & Chandon, Epernay 03 26 51 22 00

Lênoble, Damery, 03 26 58 42 60

Philipponnat, Mareuil-sur-Ay, 03 26 56 93 00

Pierre Mignon, Le Breuil, 03 26 59 22 03

Laurent Perrier, Tours-sur-Marne, 03 26 58 91 22

Lanson, Reims, 03 26 78 50 89

G.H. Mumm, Reims, 03 26 49 59 69

Henriot, Reims, 03 26 89 53 00

Perrier-Jouêt, Epernay, 03 26 53 38 00

Joseph Perrier, Châlons-en-Champagne, 03 26 68 29 51

Nicolas Feuillatte, Choully, 03 26 59 55 50

Barons de Rothschild, Reims, 03 26 85 80 92

Besserat de Bellefon, Epernay, 03 26 78 52 16

GH Martel, Reims, 03 26 82 70 67

Above are the names I have tried over the years, with the town where they are base, and their direct telephone numbers (from abroad add the 33 and skip the first 0), the webpages are easily found in the internet.

Enjoy the season to be merrier in your homes. Cheers.






December 6, 2013

More of Madrid Spain!

well Madrid was a dream that became a reality several years back, and it has been a virus of love ever since that day on December 30 1971 that I landed at Barajas international airport Madrid. I lived for almost the next four years there ,and then visited often sometimes more than once a year. Its one of those cities you won’t feel tired of coming back for more. This time was business ,but no matter, it was heavens on earth just before the Christmas, Navidad season.

I made a doubre cross journey, first going from Nantes to Paris Orly airport and then Madrid and then coming back from Madrid to Paris CDG and Nantes all on Air France/Air Europa. The trip was excellent as usual..::)

I first seek out friends met over the years and have a tapas and glass of beer of one of my favorites places there  ,the Cerveceria Cruz Blanca. Many branches so I had first at Menendez Pelayo 47 and then at Doctor Esquerdo 157. At first had me rice pilaf with squid in black sauce to kill for, and little fry fish boquerones, all wash down with cruzcampo beer and a nice cup of coffee. Then came back next day for the counter, beers of the same with an order of patatas revolconas or blended potatoes and bacon cornhusker, and torrejas (delicious old bread in cinnamon sauce) as well as that strong cup of expresso coffee. Sublime and nice to be back.

I stayed as usual on business at the Ayre Gran Hotel Colon, pez volador ,1 corner of Dr Esquerdo near metro sainz de baranda lines 6 and 9; easy connection from Barajas airport. The service is always impeccable and clean nice spacious rooms at a great price of 72 euros including breakfast.

I took my scrolls around Retiro park , memories of youth and always supreme, grand beautiful, nostalgic, romantic, daring, just awesome. I used to lived not far from there in Quintana line 5 of Metro of Madrid.

I had the chance to visit my all time favorite store , El Corte Inglés, it has been a tradition of the family for years, back back. This time I visit the nearest one to my beloved Santiago Bernabeu stadium at Paseo de la Castellana, corner of Calle Serrano ;

and to add, the Real Madrid basketball team won again on a roll undefeated,and the football team moving up just 3 points behind the leader, one game, just one game!!! Hala Madrid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like I said, a business trip , quick in and out, but to be Madrid even a minute it is Worth it. Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!!! cheers

Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid



November 22, 2013

Some news from Spain XII

This is time to write about Spain, its been a while but when you are far ,well busy…..

My team the Real Madrid , that have written so much on it here, is now in third place but will have that change at the end of the season ::) They are getting ready for the next Liga BBVA match vs Almeria;in the 14 game of the season in Almeria.  We have 31 points with 13 matches ,10 wins,1 tied,2 losses ,35 goals in favor, and 17 goals against (poor).

We play the first round of the King’s Cup (Copa del Rey) vs Olimpic de Xàtiva, on Dec 7 and the return on Dec 12 2013. And the bigger Champions league of Europe, we are playing the group rounds in Group B, vs Galatarasay of Turkey, Copenhagen of Denmark, and Juventus of Italy. We are in first place with 10 points our seconds only have 4! so we will go thru the next round.

In basketball, we are in first place undefeated 6×0, in the Liga Endesa with our next match Nov 24 vs our derby Estudiantes at home. In the Euroleague or basketball equivalent of the Champions league we are in Group B with Milano Italy, Efes Pilsen Turkey, Zalguiris Lithuania,Brose of Germany, and Strasbourg of France.

The sorting of the groups for the World Cup in Brazil next June 2014 will be held on december 6, and Spain will not be with France for the group ::) See the photo for the bombo or picking group.

In a contest in metropoli of El Mundo newspaper they had chosen as the best souvenir boutiques of the muséums in Spain as the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemizra, both of Madrid, then Alhambra of Granada, Fundacion Joan Miro , Barcelona ,and the Guggenheim of Bilbao.

In Spain we rendered honor to the 50 years of the Pirelli calendar;you know the one with the beautiful women…

And now that its about the time to be Christmas i missed most my times in Spain, Castilla y Leon, Zamora, Leon, Salamanca, Valladolid, Segovia, Soria, Avila y Palencia. memories….

The Centro Cubano, 41-1º Calle Claudio Coello, Madrid, the oldest Cuban restaurant in Europe (open in 1967) closed in 2011. Now I hear that members of the family are trying to open a new one in José Ortega y Gasset street. no name yet. Stay tuned.

I will be back again early December 2013 ::) Have a great weekend.



November 10, 2013

Is time to talk about Madrid.

I am Spanish by grandparents from Tenerife, and have the luck to live in Madrid back in the ’70′s when things were different. I used to visit after long intervals, and then luck have it came to France to live with my French wife. This was 2003, and since then, my trips to Madrid have been often twice a year and every year. Lucky me.

The city has a lot of memories of trying times, living there with my mother, and sharing with strangers that over the years became like family. Nice to know the grandchildren of those even considered you family still. My time there is never enough for the “family” there.

IF you have been reading my blog you know I recently moved again lol!! can’t stop. Now purchase a house and lots of work to make our own, plus my business travels, little time for anything else. I finally got all my pictures cdroms out and arranged in my new bookshelf ,wow! So will be digging these slowly and choosing some to post here.

I will put the one I was able to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Castellana with a friend price so low cannot say it ::)  anyway this is the hotel,

We had a suite for the family there and still nice to my ears. We walk all over, to the Prado museum and the Retiro park visiting the Palacio de Velázquez there.  In the old days they had temporary arts expo and exhibtions, now they are part of the Reina Sofia museum here

We took the boys to the Parque de Atracciones or amusement park in the Casa de Campo taken the cable car or teléferico from parque del oeste(paseo del pintor rosales).  and

Before all that coming by car from France, we stop by Pau and stay on the one night rest at the Atlantic hotel. rue Jean Mermoz. now part of the Citotel chaine,

So its little refresh of my Madrid roots, and put some pictures here in my blog. Enjoy Madrid, or as we said, From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday. Cheers.

Madrid Madrid Madrid Pau Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid

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October 18, 2013

Asia on my mind ,great rides into Indonesia and China

I am back not for long leaving out Sunday again this time in Europe; however, Asia was great and instructive. My trip took me to Surabaya and Jakarta in Indonesia,and Qingdao in China passing by several places.

First,left from Nantes airport to Paris CDG to Singapore Chiangi airport,and finally arrive in Surabaya Indonesia.  Here had the change to eat at a fish:seafood place where you can pick the live fish from the tank and they cook it for you, it is Daun Lada ,original webpage here  I stayed as before in the Somerset hotel résidences,

I,then ,continue to Jakarta, a totally different city ,much more vibrant than Surabaya.  Here, I had the opportunity to see the wonderful TMI park with all the wonderful history and architecture of all Indonesia. It has homes constructed in smaller scale of all the houses style in the country. The museum of Indonesia with the tree of life, and the museum of penangkom for films are good too. The zoo of birds with great species including eagles are wonderful. You can see all about it here

In Jakarta ,I stayed at the wonderful hotel GrandKemang at the vibrant quartier or neighborhood of Kemang, wonderful hotel and location.   The highlight of the trip was to walk just from the hotel to Eastern Promise bar, sports bar, live dance club all in one, just great, you will have a blast here

Well the airports , wow, I spent many on this trip. I have given you before Nantes and Paris, then Chiangi Singapore and Surabaya, and Jakarta but this time there was China.

My next stop was Guangzhou, and I went on to Qingdao, , this is where I stayed at the wonderful friendly and superb service Holiday Inn Parkview here

The stay was wonderful here ,in a city with a German history and the famous beer of Tsing Tao. Here I ate at Anomtoula (not sure on the name), and it was a traditional Chinese place. Then, I had drinks and food at the KR Korean fine dining in the Holiday Inn Parkview, 2fl very nice beef dishes with vegetables in a traditional setting. Refined, authentic Korean cuisine is served in a rustic, yet elegant atmosphere. Exciting table top hot plate cooking is offered in semi private rooms overlooking the lush greenery of the park.


I,then, moved on to Pekin, where I spent several hours in the airport having dinner at the Lei Cafe across from the customs entrance to hallways B where I took m plane to Paris. webpage here

Once at Paris, had my breakfast at the EKKI lounge by gates T2F 29 afterward taken my flight back home to Nantes, driving home in my car.

In the meantime, I flew with Air France most of the way, but I also, try again Garuda Airlines in indonesia from Surabaya t Jakarta, In Singapore, I went to Surabaya in China air at

Then, took China Southern to Guangzhou,  , there took China Eastern to Qingdao and back to Pekin,  . So as you can see, took a wide and long trip around Asia back to my little comfort zone in Brittany.

Some representative photos of the trip to follow. Have a great weekend y’all.

china guangzhou china pekin china qingdao china qingdao china qingdao china qingdao china qingdao jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta jakarta Surabaya surabaya Singapore

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