Archive for ‘Spain’

August 26, 2014

Monasterio San Juan de la Peña, Aragon.

As it goes driving around Jaca got a pamphlet from the tourist office about this monastery. So decided to give it a go. What a pleasant surprise and great road warrior ride up the mountains to it. The Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña.

This is their official webpage, http://www.monasteriosanjuan.com/monasterio-san-juan-de-la-pena.php?L=en

We drove from Jaca after coming back from Sabiñanigo, on the N330a. We took going the mountaneous ride (about 1280 meters high)  along the A1205 road that change into A1603 that goes to the monastery head on. We arrive about 10H30 in time to go the new monastery and take the mini bus by 11h30 to the old monastery. We left the place by 18h going the way towards Santa Cruz de los Seros on the A1603 that connects with the N240 that brought us back to Jaca.

This is a monumental place that must be seen advertise spread the word more, can’t believe it is not more known. I take office of the tourist guide who gave an excellent recount of the events here, she was good. Here in the mount of Oroel you find San Juan de la Peña, the monastery is covered by a huge mountain rock and its done since 920AD and known for maintenance of the Christian faith in the Pyrénées at the time of the Muslim occupation, this monastery was chosen as pantheon by the Kings and nobles of Aragón-Navarra. The land was before occupy by hermits who had withdrawn in this hidden corner of the Pyrénées, following the Muslim invasion, around the year 720.  In the 11C, the monastery adopted the Cluniac reform.

The low church or early church who subsequently made office crypt, is one of few Mozarabic buildings remaining in the region. The courts and Pantheon of the Aragonese nobles of the 11C to 14C. Aligned along the left wall décor billets and pearls, burial niches are minted badge, a chrismon or cross in four Escutcheons, emblem of lñigo Arista, one of the founders of the Kingdom of Navarre. On a niche you can see an Angel carrying the soul of the deceased. Opposite a door gives access to the Museum, products of excavations in the monastery. The high Church of the end of the 11C. Part of its single nave in the rock for vault and three apse chapels decorated with arches are engaged in the wall.

The royal Pantheon opens in the left wall. For five centuries the Kings of Aragon and Navarre there were buried. Its current appearance dates from the 18C a la renaissance style. The cloister from the 12C and  it is reached by a Mozarabic door. Inside you can see the paintings of San Cosme and San Dàmian from the 12C, the Superior Church done in 1094AD, and gothic chapel of San Victoriàn.

After fires and hesitudes a construction of the new monastery was begun in the year 1676. Throughout its works that extended until the first years of the 19C the monks counted on the advice of numerous professionals,you can see several Windows on the floor covered with glass floors that shows the work been done in the lower floor off from visitors only can be seen thru the glass. The trace of the building constitutes one of the most perfect and evolved examples of the monastic architecture in the Modern Age, because of its symmetry, because of the multiplication of its cloisters and because of the rational organization that possessed the original project, the one that, regrettably, was never totally carried out.

The facade of the new monastery building is impressive of a barroque style. It was abandoned in 1835 and after much needed renovation it houses Inside the center for interpretation of the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, and a hospederia four stars (lodging hotel), a rest area, cafeteria’restaurant, Spa, salons and free parking. You can contact at gestora.sanjuandelapena@aragon.es or tel +34 974 355 119 fax +34 974 355 089.

Enjoy the pictures and sure its Worth the detour. A magical place indeed.Cheers San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña  San Juan de la Peña

 

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August 25, 2014

Jaca in Aragon Spain, we I come again!!!!

Here I come again but this time up close and personal. This is another town in my life that passed by so many times on my route to Madrid of my youth, and really never explored it. Well, its never too late in life ,and to have the opportunity to be closed tented me for the ride with the family to see it up close and personal. It will once again deepens my appreciation for my Spain and closer to a new region of Aragon. This is Jaca, or Jacetania and the road to St James,  and the tourist office ishttp://www.aspejacetania.com/oficina_turismo.php?idio=fr&Id=5  and the tourist section on the city page is   http://www.jaca.es/oficina.html

Most of the best information is in Spanish of course, but rather give you the most coverage on the place, you can later translated online or other places, but the one I give you are the official Spanish sites. Good info.

We got into town by the road N330 coming from France by car, you hit immediately the boulevard facing the Ciudadela or citadel or castle of San Pedro on your right hand side, impressive fortified castle and what a way to enter a city! wow!!! I parked by car by the parking Turismo on Plaza Ripa across is the bus station and to the right is the Cathedral right in city center secured underground parking all day for 6€.

We moved on first by the Citadel like I said its a must to visit, there is a minituare museum of military pièces Inside very nice admission is 7€ adults. Here is the city page on it in Spanish, http://www.jaca.es/turismo/monumentosymuseos/la-ciudadela-de-jaca.html  and a video presentation in English of the museum and ciudadela here http://ciudadelajaca.s3.amazonaws.com/scb/CiudadelaJacaEN.html  (just drag the computer mouse and go in virtually !)

Next you should see the Cathedral of San Pedro or St Peter’s huge richly decorated a marvel and UNESCO heritage site, an absolute must to see, i can’t describe not good for that, but its a must tant pis. 11C jewel of a Cathedral ,construction from 1077AD , as the site says its an open book of architecture from romanesque to renaissance. See my pictures it tells it all.

We had our lunch right across it while seeing the world go by at Plaza de la Catedral,3 at Casa Fau, very nice folks , fast service, good food, veal pork chops, fries, roast beef, sodas, coffees, and a bottle of Enate Crianza red 2008 Somontano local wine delicious. All for 16€ per person ::) nice Spain. no web but the commerce assn of Jaca has their listing ,http://www.acomseja.com/asociado_ficha.php?id_asoc=293

We continue wandering to the side Streets having cheese breads from the local bakeries and did went shopping for sweets to take home at Confiteria/Pasteleria Etcheto , right next to the restaurant above, site, http://www.confiteriaecheto.com/lapasteleria.shtml

We had some goodies for later and wines from Somontano like the Enate again at Bodegas Langa, lots of canned gourmet goodies like ham Teruel, cheeses of Roncal, and wines of Lalanne as well. Great, happy ::) Also, in the same area behind back door of the Cathedral, http://www.bodegaslanga.es/venta-de-vinos-a-granel-jaca-74/

We were ready and charge for more sightseeing, we walked past the episcopal palace or Palacio Episcopal , a site for those seeking the way of Santiago, http://www.jaca.es/turismo/monumentosymuseos/palacio-episcopal.html  We enjoyed the old ruins of the ermita de Sarsa or chapel right at a corner with great views over the mountains , it is the abandon Church of a nearby town moved to Jaca in 1970, http://www.jaca.es/turismo/romanico/ermita-de-sarsa.html

Monasterio de Santa Cruz, where the daughter of a king of Aragon Ramiro I, Sancha was brough over from Santa Cruz de los Seros in 1622, (the best preserve romanesque tomb in Spain) the monastery itself was built from 1555.  The order of Benitas of sisters were in charge of the place. http://www.jaca.es/turismo/romanico/monasterio-de-santa-cruz-monjas-benedictinas.html

The Seminario Diocesano built in 1926 follow a great tradition in the city of diocese life for teaching the gospel since 1610. A great architecture building on the old walls of the citadel, that passes behind it.http://www.jaca.es/turismo/monumentosymuseos/seminario-diocesano.html

There is a street of the old jewish quarters such as Calle de Ferrenal and Calle de Cambras panels show you the history as you walked. The old coins and money of Aragon is shown on the pavement of Calle Mayor with a plaque to explained it in Spanish. There is a beautiful Paseo de la Constitucion with nice children playground, and music kiosk , many libraries or book stores are here and an open air book market with stands as well, http://www.jaca.es/turismo/naturaleza/el-paseo-de-la-constitucion.html . This is the area that takes you to the Puente (bridge) de San Miguel in the back , http://www.jaca.com/puentesanmiguel.htm#.U_sIncIcTmI

In the Paseo you have the Seminario Diocesano on the side and behind it the Ciudadela. You ,also, can see the quaint Torre del Reloj or clock tower built in 1445, it was once used as a prison. Now its a work office of the region of Aragon, but it can be seen Inside too by Calle(street)  Sancho Ramirez, http://www.jaca.com/torredelreloj.htm#.U_sJLsIcTmI

With all there is to see you will have a full day or more, we rather like the wandering of the old Streets and the foods lol! its a state of mind, and so much to be back in Spain.  From here we went to the side at Sabiñanigo on the new A23 and back on the N330a to Jaca, just for the ride on this side, and take a look at city center and breath a bit more of Aragon, Spain. We remain in Spain see next post ::)

Enjoy the pictures. Cheers.

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July 9, 2014

A different part of Mexico.

Well this time the travels took me to a new area of Mexico, this is way down by State of Quintana Roo ,and around the city of Chetumal. This is some tourist info on them

http://www.grandcostamaya.com/

http://www.zonaturistica.com/en/tourist-attractions-in/427/chetumal-quintana-roo.html

http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/chetumal.html

http://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/laguna-de-bacalar-y-cenote-azul-quintana-roo.html  ( in Spanish)

 

I took a flight on interjet Airlines from Mexico city to Chetumal airport, a small country strip with two flights per day. Here we rented a car and drove around to Bacalar,Calderitas, and Chetumal.  Funny thing is there is a casino but closed because of some irregularities so no go Inside.  http://flyto.mx/en/flyto/Aeropuerto_Internacional_de_Chetumal/_rid/64?language=en&lng_act=lng_step2

In Chetumal you have a wonderful museum of Maya culture right in town, and a great shopping mall ,Centro Comercial Las Americas,located at the area of El Encanto on Avenida Constituyentes and avenida Maxuxac with 48 stores including a big hypermarket Chedraui, Liverpool dept store ,and out has a McDonalds , Burger King, Applebee”s, and Inside a great VIPS we use for lunch. Go bottom Restaurantes to find them hit Quintana Roo, http://www.vips.com.mx/

The highlight is here is leisure relax in the Mayan riviera, the Bacalar lagoon  is located 38 km (24 miles) from the city, also known as the 7-color lagoon, and colonial monuments.http://www.zonaturistica.com/en/tourist-attraction/339/bacalar-lagoon-chetumal.html

We,also, visited the Cenote Azul, a wonderful place with a lake of 90 meters deep water with swimming possibilities and a great restaurant, boutique. this is at Bacalar, and just climb up from the marina Los Mulatos and see the nice fortress museum San Felipe, built in the 17C, then part of the war of the Castes,and now a museum Cost:$5 and times are Tuesdays to Thursdays ,and Sundays from9h to19H

http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/Bacalar.html

 

http://www.bacalarmosaico.com/pages/activities/fort_s.htm

We had our lunch as well in Las Tortugas resto in Calderitas just next to Bacalar, along the Bay of Chetumal, wonderful fresh fried fish, fries, sweet bananas, yellow rice, and beers Modelo Especial, nice. http://www.guiacalderitas.com/restaurants/index2.php

We had our drinks here at Hotel La Laguna in Bacalar gorgeous place and we were allowed to roam free afterward, the site picture tells it all !! http://www.hotellagunabacalar.com/

Once the night arrive we use friends points to stay at the City Express hotel in Chutemal city center or downtown. Nice clean rooms ,AC ,breakfast resto, lobby with TV, and free parking, view of the city. http://cityexpress.hotelescity.com/es/hoteles/city-express-chetumal/informacion-general.aspx?hoteldatos=0CECECTM

Enjoy the pictures and another hot spot for retirement especially around Bacalar. Cheers.

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July 8, 2014

Way over at Belize life is beautiful!

Yes way down over across Belize life is beautiful. I heard a lot about it as diving and fishing and retirement place for years. I have the chance to visited it for  a week, and I agree. However, it is catchy and sublime, one begin to think about why not a retirement there…. Belize.

The tourist board is here http://www.travelbelize.org/  and my best area Placencia, http://placencia.com/ , and again some others http://www.sanpedroscoop.com/2014/01/independence-mango-creek-hokey-pokey-ferry-big-creek-port-cardies.html

I had a different approach than most; coming from Chetumal ,Mexico, by car crossing the border (paying 306 BDollars) with my French passport, glorious trip. We started at the top of the country on the road from Corozal, on the corozal-progresso road downward bypassing Belize City, then on the western road to Belmopan (the official Capital city), continuing to Dandriga, then Independance/Mango Creek, to Placencia.

I saw picturesque colorful buses zigzagging the small country and in Belize city horse wagon and mini bus ride like a little train ride. Wonderful architecture, some gloriously rich, and above all , gorgeous beaches like the one at Placencia.

We went by the craftmarket in Belize City, nice with many souvenirs and all in USDollars. The Casino still imposing and the hôtels and restos we went.

The Ramada Princess hotel Calypso restaurant right on the bay. This is a great complex with hotel casino, and restaurants just near city center and the craftmarket, we ate here at the Calypso Beach Restaurant. wonderful fried fish whole from the catch of the day, and the local beer Belikin;  http://www.ramada.com/hotels/belize/belize-city/ramada_belize_city_princess/hotel-overview

We stopped by for the great WiFi at Rose’s bar restaurant in Placencia, and did some groceries at Ming Supermarket  near the post office in Placencia. The best area was by Barefoot bar and we stop at the funky Tupsy Tuna bar in Placencia by the beach, great ambiance. We stayed at the Paradise Resort ,wonderful accommodation, great hosts, funny people,and super views of the ocean not to mention the drinks at the bar and the Karaoke. Here is the website , http://www.belize123.com/

On the way back to Mexico, we entered Belize City, a bit more of  a little town with a nice beachwall along the ocean. We continue north on the Western road towards Chetumal Mexico to take our plane to Mexico City. The excuse for another post later.

Belize will be remember ,and will keep an eye for that retirement spot… Cheers.

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May 25, 2014

Real Madrid 10th Champions!!! The greatest!!!

well indeed with all the travel I have overlook a bit my passion of football/soccer, just notice my last entry on the subject was back on July 28, 2013!

The team this year had a marvelous season , if they missed the LIga of Spain finishing third , it was the first with a new coach and new philosophy. It all we have won the most LIgas in history with 32. Atlético de Madrid won the Liga this year for the 10th time with a team playing together for as much as four years.

However, in the Spanish King’s cup, we won again beating archrivals Barcelona (second in the Liga) 1X2 with the winning goal from Welsh international Gareth Bale. It was our 19th King’s Cup in history.

The big one came in the top European competition the Champions’s Cup. We had to start winning against teams like Juventus of Italy a former winner, and on our way to the final beat teams like the last two Champions winners, Borussia Dormund and Bayern Munich by big scores. This was to be our 10th Champions, the most of any team by far.

We reach the final against the Cinderella team this year, Atlético de Madrid. Playing for their second final in their history (againts 13 for us) they have done an excellent year wining the Spanish LIga and knocking off Barcelona in the Liga and the Champions semifinals. The momentum was on their side.

However, this is the CHAMPIONS, and the history, class, of Real Madrid came thru. After controlling the first part of the game and only falling behind by an unusual mistake of goalie Iker Casillas coming out too early to clear a ball, giving Godin, the Atlético defender the goal ,they came back roaring.

First, the papa Sergio Ramos, another central defender came thru in time to tie the game on a brilliant header. 1X1 after the regular time of 90 minutes plus 5 minutes referee addition for wasting time in stop, injuries, etc, normal in a football.soccer game.

The extra time started what seems to be a game header for deciding on penalty kicks. two 15 minutes half to decide or go into penalties.

This is where the class, shirt, history of this team came out . Coach Carlo Ancelotti of Italy make some good changes bringing in marcelo and Isco, and the team took off with extra lung capacity. They were all over pressuring constantly until the inevitable came in.

In the 110th minutes came in the Welsh stallion Gareth Bale again to score, what turn out to be the decisive goal of victory. the team was running still like the first minute and the Atlético was broken hardly could run. then came the expected, Marcelo scoring in the 118th minute ,one for Brazil. The 10th was ours no matter what we were in total control.

And ,if not enough, Cristiano Ronaldo score on a penalty kick, after a foul by Godin, the scorer for Atlético and after protesting, was send off from the field by the referee. The Atlético was humbling, could not run anymore, and CR7 score in the 123rd minutes the final 4X1 score. Cristiano Ronald has now a record 17 goals in a Champions, of all history, one for Portugal.

The team came back to Madrid in addition to all of us who followed on the TV and bars all over the world, there were 80000 fans watching on a giant screen in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The celebration continues from there down to Cibeles fountain, the symbol of Madrid and Real Madrid in Alcala street (my street living there and to note also played for the team alavin division to start a dream that grows with time!!).

The celebration continues until past 6AM with an estimâted over 500 000 fans filling the Streets where Madrid became a one city huge party. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS were sung by all, and indeed we are the best ever ever that played this sport. Hala Madrid!!!

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May 15, 2014

Barcelona revisited!

Well here it is, one more time passing by Barcelona, Spain. With all what is going on it was an eyeopener to come back here since 2011. For the tourist here is their webpage,  that you can see in English.  http://www.barcelonaturisme.com

I did my usual flight pattern from Nantes to Paris CDG to then Barcelona prats airport; nice modern airport in the outskirts actually in the town of El Prat de Llobregat . webpage here http://www.barcelona-airport.com/

I head it out listening to friends who ask me to try the public transport as I am always there by taxi. Well took the Aérobus from the airport to Plaça de Espanya, purchase the round trip for 10,20€ payable to the bus driver. webpage http://www.aerobusbcn.com/index.php/en.html

From here I went over to the metro line 3 to get to my hotel near Maria Cristina stop. The metro was sweaty very hot day and it shows, I thought I was going to be on a fast diet from the sweat. However, it is clean nice ride for a Sunday! The organism that handles the metro or bus is TMB, webpage at http://www.tmb.cat/en/home

I ,then ,walk to my hotel the Princesa Sofia (old Intercontinental hotel) ,now this was great. A heaven to come to every day and see the city in style. webpage http://www.princesasofia.com/en/index.jsp

I took a room in the 3rd floor, nice clean, good views of the front entrance and Ave Diagonal, just what the doctor ordered when you arrive from going around this public transportation trip! There is a nice pool, and Biergarten bar for a cold beer when needed. Also,a Spa and gym that is nice but little time to use it. The breakfast were great and plentyful, and the restaurant nice and friendly staff.

While there , did not wanted to eat at a hotel restaurant thus, so we had a discussion with the concierge, and finally decided to go to the La Fonda del Port, http://www.lafondadelport.com/  ;which of course is at the harbor of Barcelona, and plenty of seafood and tapas. We had a great time there. However, we finish early and not about to end the night, so we went to the Casino de Barcelona, for a look at slots machines that I did go last back in Atlantic City ,New Jersey ,USA!!! The casino is nearby at the Port Olympic, but we took a taxi to get here for about 15 euros. Webpage here http://www.casino-barcelona.com/en/

We went around checking out all the machines, and table games, the restaurant /bar in lower level, and finally went out into our night searching for more thrills and events;;;;; walking around it we cave in to a wonderful place where you go down a stair of tall wooden men like Egyptian or Indian statues into the lower floor , tables and couch awaits you ,where you can take off your shoes and go into a sofa style bedding/table awaits for your drinks and be merry life full ahead, massages available extra.

We stumbled into the Carpe Diem Lounge Club describe above or the CDLC, a wonderful place Worth coming back for it. Portos away and classy beautiful sights and looks. http://www.cdlcbarcelona.com/carpe-diem-lounge-club

We came very late of course, but had a great time and a nice hotel bed to rest on. Next day we set out into town again, this time we walk past Gran Via de Carles III then the Rambla Brasil and turning into Carrer Sants we end up in a nice Basque restaurant call Txalaparta. This is like been back in basque country with great Basque cider and Navarra wine of Monjardin red with a wonderful tuna steak with red peppers and a nice crema catalana dessert.  The resto name is a Basque music instrument that after making cider, the same board was used to pressed the apples later was to call the neighbors. Then, a celebration was held and txalaparta played cheerfully, while cider was drunk. This place had no music but it was definitely nice and loud, good food and plenty of good cheers. webpage http://www.restaurantetxalaparta.com/

In between time was allowed to walk around Montjuic plenty of wonderful buildings and great people watching. At my return, took the same metro line 3 to plaça Espanya and there in a middle bay took the aérobus to the airport at Prats. My flight was great to Paris CDG on AF of course,and then on to Nantes, where my car was waiting at P2 and the ride home arriving by midnight. Another nice short trip but full of memories and old and new friends.

Barcelona will be revisited again if all stays the same. Cheers

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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; http://www.nantes.aeroport.fr/ , 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 http://www.bucharestairports.ro/index.php?lang=en

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, http://bucharestairports.ro/otp/index.php?cat=16&article=55  the taxi company is here where you can even pre book the taxi,but its only in Romanian ,http://www.taxi2000.ro/

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. http://www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/us/en/bucharest/buhrm/hoteldetail?cm_mmc=GoogleMaps-_-cp-_-ROEN-_-buhrm

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. http://www.jerryspizza.ro/#2

http://www.romexpo.ro/home  ; Romexpo, the exhibition hall of Bucharest par excellence. http://www.ro-am.ro/ ; the Romanian-American university, nice place well located , and the agriculture university veterinary campus, great location too, and nice complex , http://en.usamv.ro/campus/veterinary-medicine-cotroceni-campus

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. http://www.vatraneamului.ro/index.php

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

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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. http://www.ayrehoteles.com/hotel-colon/  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, http://www.aena-aeropuertos.es/csee/ContentServer/Aeropuerto-Madrid-Barajas/en/Page/1237554330997//Taxi.html

I had my rounds at the usual Cerveceria Cruz Blanca at calle Dr Esquerdo, very nice folks , prompt nice service and no tourists ::) http://www.cerveceriacruzblanca.es/donde_encontrarnos.php#

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 http://www.esmadrid.com/en/football and of course will only tell you about the Real Madrid FC http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/en/Prehome_ES2.htm

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 !!!

Madrid

January 1, 2014

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

The WordPress.com 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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