May 7, 2021

The Fortress of Our Lady of the Assumption, Fortalezal!

And lets stay in wonderful Brazil shall we! There are usually the big cities known to all but the country has a lot more to offer and I went into my road warrior trip into Fortaleza from Natal. Let me update this older post for you and me on the Fortress of Our Lady of the Assumption in Fortalezal!

So I bring you now over the Atlantic ocean to my old world and a wonderful country of Brazil. I have written several posts on Brazil, and been all over the country for years as well as lived there for an extended period. It has so much to offer in history and architecture often overlook by visitors.  I like in my small way, try to change that, and show you other parts of Brazil, the one from a historical, architectural point of view that are off the beaten path trips all worth the detour. This is the case of the Fortress of Our Lady of the Assumption in Fortaleza, State of Ceara of Brazil. Hope you enjoy it.

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For this part it merits to tell you a bit about the city of Fortaleza as it is the State capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. The city has developed on the banks of the creek Pajeú, and its name is an allusion to Fort Schoonenborch, which gave rise to the city, built by the Dutch during their second stay in the area between 1649 and 1654. The motto of Fortaleza, present in its coat of arms is the Latin word Fortitudine, which means “with strength/courage”.

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Fortaleza’s history began on February 2, 1500, when Spaniard Vicente Pinzón landed in Mucuripe’s cove and named the new land Santa Maria de la Consolación. Because of the Treaty of Tordesillas, (split discovered world between Portugal and Spain) , the discovery was never officially sanctioned. Colonisation began in 1603, when the Portuguese Pedro Coelho de Souza constructed the Fort of São Tiago and founded the settlement of Nova Lisboa (New Lisbon).After a victory over the French in 1612, Martins Soares Moreno expanded the Fort of São Tiago and changed its name to Forte de São Sebastião. In 1630 the Dutch invaded the Brazilian Northeast and in 1637 they took the Fort of São Sebastião and ruled over Ceará. In battles with the Portuguese and natives in 1644 the fort was destroyed. In 1654, the Dutch handed over this fortress to the Portuguese, who renamed it Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora de Assunção (Fort of Our Lady of the Assumption), after which the city of Fortaleza takes its name. Fortaleza was officially founded as a city in 1726, becoming the capital of Ceará State in 1799.

The fortress (Fortaleza) of Our Lady of the Assumption is located on the left bank of the mouth of the Pajeú Creek, on Mount Marajaitiba. It currently houses the headquarters of the 10th Military Region of the Brazilian Army. The construction was launched in 1812, in honor of the anniversary of the Serene Lord Prince of Beira, Mr. Pedro de Alcântara.  It presents the shape of a square with 90 meters on the side, with bulks at the vertices, under the invocation, respectively, of Our Lady of the Assumption (northeast), São José (southeast), Dom João (northwest) and Príncipe da Beira (southwest). Initially with five pieces, it was funded with public funds and private donations, aside from donations of materials and services, from volunteers and slaves. In 1816, the fortress was armed with twenty-seven gun pieces.

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Between 1846 and 1857, new buildings were erected, which hosted several military units such as the 11th and 15th Infantry battalions, the Military School of Ceará, the 22nd and 23rd battalions of Hunters, among others. Also known as the Turtle Fort, it was well preserved in 1906, and disarmed in 1910. At the time of WWI it was used as a barracks, between 1917 and 1918, by the 1st Independent Battery of the 3rd District of Costal Artillery. The Fortaleza of Our Lady of the Assumption, currently functioning as the headquarters of the command of the 10th Military Region, is one of the most famous sights of the capital of Ceará, having as highlights the history of the fortress, the museum and Phanteon of General Sampaio ( Patron of the Infantry divisions), the prison where was Bárbara de Alencar and also the statue of Martim Soares Moreno are located. The fort can be visited by prior appointment with the social communication of the military region HQ. The visit is made in the company of a military officer who addresses topics of interest on the monument, namely the Plaza de Armas (Arms square), the cell where Bárbara de Alencar was detained and the Chapel of the fort.

The 10th Battalion oficial site, more info in Portuguese. It will tell you how to contact the military for a tour visit of the Fortress of Our Lady of the Assumption

The official 10th Battalion post in Fortaleza:  https://www.10rm.eb.mil.br/index.php/component/content/article?id=473

The beaches of Fortaleza has more on the Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assuncao: https://www.praiasdefortaleza.net/fortaleza-de-nossa-senhora-da-assuncao/

Hope you enjoy the tour and when coming for the beaches take your time to walk in the city and see this marvel of architecture and history of Fortaleza, Cearà, Brazil.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 7, 2021

Lagoinha beach at Paraipaba,Cearà, Brazil !

And let me brings out to what I considered an off the beaten path trip to lovely Brazil. I was with my usual road warrior head and took a trip to the State of Cearà in northeast Brazil and saw this beautiful beach; one of the natural wonders of wonderful Brazil. Let me tell you a bit more on Lagoinha beach at Paraipaba, Cearà State, Brazil ! This is again updating an older post in my blog, plenty more on Brazil here!

So I am bringing you down back to South America again. Needless to say been all over the continent and plenty in Brazil ,even lived in Curitiba (see post) for a few months. The choices are endless, and will take me or any plenty of time to see them all. However, I am trying lol!  One of the highlights of any trip to Brazil are the beaches, and this one is gorgeous near the bigger city of Fortaleza (see posts).In Portuguese, Praia da Lagoinha!

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Paraipaba is a town in the State of Ceará. On the banks of the Curu River, it has one of the largest irrigated projects in the world, where several varieties of fruit are found, and among these, the cultivation of coconut is the main agricultural activity of the region. The town has an exuberance of approximately 14 km of beach that extends from the mouth of the river Curu to the Barra, formed by the tranquil waters of the lagoon of Almécegas the unparalleled beauty of the beaches, dunes and lagoons that exist along the entire coast.

At 11 km from the town lies the Lagoinha beach,precisely at main road Avenida Beira Mar,  which is well known for its dunes and coconut trees. In the format of half-moon, a cove of weak waves, surrounded by yellow dunes, reefs and coconut trees with fresh water, next to Morro do Cascudo where is the port of rafts.  Formed by a cliff of about 50 meters high, Lagoinha beach still retains a primitive natural landscape consisting of golden dunes and a vast and verdant coconut trees that go to meet a sea of calm waters and a stunning green. Lying at a distance of aprox 120 km from bigger city Fortaleza.

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To better enjoy the trip to Lagoinha beach, the indication is to make a delicious and adventurous ride in a vehicle known as Pau-de-Arara (an irregular flatbed truck). Soon make the crossing of the lagoon on a raft and buggy ride through the beach, make it more exciting to stay on one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. One of the most sought-after tours is for the Almécegas lagoon, also known as Lagoa da Barra, which has boats that cross its clear and clean waters. The final stop is in front of the many tents located both in the lagoon and on the beach, which offer a good service, highlighting the famous fried fish and seafood, plus delicious coconut water well chilled. The village is at the top of the hill and has a gazebo that allows a panoramic and magnificent view of the beach.

The Brazil tourist board on a video of Cearà Statehttps://www.visitbrasil.com/states/ceara.html

The Fortaleza tourist office on the beacheshttps://www.visitfortaleza.com/beaches/

The Cearà State beaches on Lagoinha beachhttps://www.praias-360.com.br/ceara/paraipaba/praia-da-lagoinha

Very nice beach worth the detour . Hope you like the tour of another nice beach of Brazil.  I highly recommend to stay in the Vivamar Hotel right on the beach. The Praia da Lagoinha was a very nice experience and always looking forward for a repeat.

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And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 7, 2021

Monastery of Sao Bento, Vinhedo,Brazil!

Another of my off the beaten path trails in Brazil, and an update of an older post to enjoy by  you and me. This is one great opportunity visiting a friend native of the town of Vinhedo, in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Coming inland into Sao Paulo State, better known for the big city is awesome. You feel the real people, the real country of Brazil. I have a friend here and when visit there is a funny story.  Oh yes the main attraction for me was the Monastery of Sao Bento or St Benedict and the Wine Festival! However, my friend had the in-laws visiting and I was put in a hotel nearby. He was so busy, I went out to seek a place to eat. I found one very nice superb meal, as I speak Portuguese. When back together with him and the family I mentioned the restaurant was very good and he never been there! A while after, maybe a few months, he called me and told me had a gathering of friends and took them there to eat and were all impressed with the food, prices ,and services. The end story is I can tell you where to go even in your own town lol!!!

Now let’s get back to the sights of history, architecture I like so much and tell you a bit more on Vinhedo. Where?

Vinhedo is a town in the State of São Paulo. It is located in the mesoregion of Campinas, 75 km from the capital of São Paulo. The region of the São Paulo Plateau was inhabited by several indigenous groups, some from the coast, which sought refuge from the wars and slavery moved by the Iberian colonizers. Others, lived in the region since before colonization. With the arrival of Europeans to the South American continent, the region was traveled by the Bandeiras, which occupied land considered unexplored and hunted Indians for slave labor, as well as seeking natural resources such as noble woods, gold and precious stones, during the 17C. For this, the indigenous tribes were decimated or expelled from the region. African slaves were introduced to forcefully assist in the Bandeiras or work in the newly created subsistence crops that were forming. At the end of the 19C coffee growers settled in the northern region of the municipality of Jundiaí . Many of them taking advantage of old farms that since the 18C produced sugar and brandy.

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From 1948 onwards begins to be officially held the Grape Festival of Vinhedo, at the Piazza Sant’Anna. In 2009, the Grape Festival held the Wine Festival, which in 2019 will be in its 57th edition and which was currently incorporated into the calendar of events of the town of Vinhedo. The festivities takes place in Jayme Ferragut Municipal Park and receive thousands of people, both local and tourists. It has several attractions such as exhibition and sale and auction of fruits, crafts, amusement park, concerts with national renowned artists, dance performances, regional bands in various musical styles, varied performances, food court, parade of horse riders, motorbike rides, among other activities. It has become the main attraction of the town of Vinhedo.

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The other nice thing to see here on a hill overlooking the city of Vinhedo very nice indeed. The Monastery of St Benedict (Sao Bento).

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In the year 1649 on the site of the village of Santos, on the Paulista coast, and sensitive to the needs of those who passed through this bustling Port village, the Benedictine Frei Gregório de Magalhães, Superior of the Brazilian province of the Portuguese Benedictine congregation, decided to establish a small monastery that served both shelter for monks who use the port, and spiritual stronghold for those who wish to recover from the day-to-day assignments. In 1650, the monks of Sao Bento (Saint Benedict) receive, in donation, the Hermitage of Our Lady of Desterro, with the lands attached to it. As soon as they are established in Santos, the monks take charge of another Hermitage of Our Lady of Monte Serrate, received in 1652 the ownership of the same. For three centuries, the monastery of St. Benedict was a small monastery, being affectionately called by the Benedictines the  “Mosteirinho de Santos “ or monastery of Saints.

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In the 19C, the Benedictine Order of Brazil was almost eliminated due to the anticlerical laws that closed the novitiates of the order. With the advent of the Republic and the separation of the Church and State, German monks from the congregation of Beuron arrived in Brazil and repopulated the monasteries, accepting novices. In 1905 the Monastery of Sao Bento de Santos became independent Priory and began a re-flowering of monastic life. However, the story took a new course when Brazil entered WWII. Due to the presence of Germans among their monks the monastery was closed and the monks forced to leave Santos in 24 hours. A Benedictine monk from São Paulo took over the monastery for several years, not interrupting the Benedictine presence in Santos, especially in the shrine of Our Lady of Monte Serrate. The monks, expelled from Santos, spent a year in the capital, and two more years in Jundiaí, Sao Paulo State, buying the Bela Vista Farm, in the city of Vinhedo,  settling in the year 1948. Unfortunately, the community didn’t bloom in vineyard , and after the war, the few monks  divided themselves between the care of Santos and the administration of the enormous farm in Vinhedo. The new name was that of the Monastery of São Bento de Santos in Vinhedo.

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In 1963, then the prior of the Monastery of St. Benedict of Santos in Vinhedo and its small community, decided to ask for help to the Archabbey of Saint Vicent in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The hope and faith of the vineyard community were rewarded when, in 1964, the then Archabbot of Saint Vincent, sent the four first monks to Brazil. The community then became part of the American Cassinense Benedictine Congregation.  At the beginning of the 1970’s, the community built and inaugurated a new monastery, settling definitively in Vinhedo. Then the American monks, along with the surviving Germans  reduced the large farm, built a house of ecumenical retirement such as the Casa Siloé, and began an ardent work in the communities of the region, founding Parishes such as the São Sebastião (St Sebastian) and Nossa Senhora de Lourdes ( Our Lady of Lourdes), and several communities, in addition to developing an intense training program for religious, young people and couples in the Casa Siloé (house of Siloé).

Official site of the Monastery of Sao Bento in Portuguese

The city of Vinhedo and things to seehttps://www.vinhedo.sp.gov.br/cultura-e-turismo/pontos-turisticos/

The city of Vinhedo on its last wine festival news: https://www.vinhedo.sp.gov.br/2019/02/27/57a-festa-da-uva-e-9a-festa-do-vinho-de-vinhedo-ultrapassa-a-marca-de-100-toneladas-de-frutas-vendidas/

The official Monastery of Sao Bento: http://mosteirosaobento.org.br/

There you go the whole story on Vinhedo ::) a nice town in inland Sao Paulo State of Brazil. If you ever around this around do come for the Wine Festival and the Monastery of St Benedict, it will be worth your time and money, me think. Hope you enjoy the tour.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 6, 2021

Church Notre Dame de Victoire/St Louis of Lorient!!

This is sort of an odd post, as it can be call an update on the texts, but the pictures are all new from May 2021. It is one of our fav areas for walks in Lorient and the Church Notre Dame de Victoire/St Louis cannot be missed at the Place Alsace Lorraine. It is call Church Notre Dame de Victoire but the locals still call it Church de Saint Louis. Let me tell you a bit on it ok, and hope you enjoy it as I.

Lorient is about 35 km by car from my house, and visited several times if only a couple been inside the church. It really needs a post of its own and tell you more about the Church of Notre Dame de Victoire or St Louis of Lorient. Of course, this is in beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne!

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Let me go from the back forward on the nice sea town of Lorient. The town was created in 1666 and developed in the 18C following two axes from the paddock, one in the direction of Ploemeur, via the rue du Port, an another one towards Hennebont via the Rue Maréchal Foch. It is around the Church of St. Louis, which was in the extension of the Rue Maréchal Foch, that all the administrative, educational, social and commercial spots are concentrated today.

The Church of St. Louis escapes the rule by being built along a north-west – southeast axis. The Church is elevated in the axis of old Rue du Morbihan (current Rue Maréchal Foch). Revamped several times, the Church is truly completed in 1830, with the construction of the Bell Tower. which also served as a flashing light.

The new Church of Notre-Dame-de-Victoire, the seat of the parish of Saint-Louis, is a church located by the place Alsace Lorraine. It was completed in 1955 after the bombing that had destroyed in 1943 the Church of St. Louis b.1810-30. It is the most important parish in the country of Lorient. The dedication to Notre-Dame-de-Victoire refers to the city’s English siége in 1746.  Made of concrete, the steeple culminates at 54 meters high, and is the highest point of Lorient. The access to its summit is done by means of a staircase of 270 steps.

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Let me tell you a bit of history and details on the Church Notre Dame de Victoire or Saint Louis as I like

The former St. Louis Church  was built between 1810 and 1830. A neo-classical style, it had a bell tower that dominated the city. In 1940, the Nazis occupiers created a very vulnerable submarine base in the Atlantic. Curiously, the Royal Air Force will only start bombing once the base is finished from 1943. Under the influence of the bombs, the Church of St. Louis will be so damaged that it was abandoned to restore it.

In 1953, the request was given to rebuild a church, 400 meters from the site of the old one. It will be inspired by neo-Byzantine art by creating a large dome above the nave. The development of the place Alsace-Lorraine, who’s Church occupies one side. The construction of the Church will span three years from 1953-1955, and use materials and finishes in honor at the time, in other words the concrete left unsheathing.  The Church is placed under the patronage of Notre Dame de Victoire or Our Lady of Victory, but also, as the one she replaces, under that of Saint Louis. Our Lady of Victory, very honored by the locals since the failure of the English siege of 1746, owes to her statue in the Chapel of the Virgin.

Poor in ornamentation, this Church of Notre Dame de Victoire nevertheless possesses some interesting frescoes, works of Parisian and Breton artists. One will notice the great fresco of the apse illustrating the coronation of Virgin. The exterior of the Church also offers three stone statues ; Madonna and Child, Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens and Saint-Louis. The stained glass windows, are very succinct. The monumental porch, in the middle of the façade, is 12 meters high, it is adorned with a statue of Notre Dame.

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As soon as the visitor enters the Church of Notre Dame de Victoire/St Louis , their gaze is struck by the chromatic contrast between the grey, almost uniform, of the nave and the rather yellow clarity of the choir. This was the will of the architects, to create a nave without many stained glass and which must remain in the shadows so that the attention of the faithful is sucked by the light of the choir. To this end, a series of glazed screen walls borders the north and south sides of the sanctuary, almost from the ground to the vault.  The Entombment,  and the Annunciation show the chromatic dominance of the two frescoes is grey, as if it were not necessary at any price to detach themselves on the concrete elevation in the background, grey too. Admittedly, it is necessary to ensure the contrast with the choir, but a distracted visitor may very well not see them by doing the round of the nave.

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The high Altar of the Church of Notre Dame de Victoire/St Louis is associated with the famous word of Christ, read in the Gospel according to Luke: “advance offshore, and throw your nets for fishing.” These words addressed to Simon-Peter are the prelude to the miraculous fishery. “Forward offshore” also appears on a banner clearly visible on the western façade of the Church. The side chapels are  two chapels each decorated with a large fresco. That of the Chapel of the Virgin traces elements of the life of Saint Louis, while that of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel  is rich with a biblical symbolism very moving.

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In the Chapel of the Virgin throne the statue of Our Lady of Victory, (Notre Dame de Victoire) from 1850. The city of Lorient is meant to be under the protection of Saint Mary and this statue is the illustration. In 1746, during the war of the Austrian succession, when the city was besieged by the English, the inhabitants made a vow to the Virgin. A silver statue of Notre Dame was created. It will disappear in the French revolution and be replaced in 1850. In 1943, the statue was removed intact from the rubble of the Church of St. Louis, which was interpreted as a sign of the protection of Our Lady of Victory over the city. The Virgin sits on the city walls. From her scepter, she made depart the British leopard.

The previous Church of Saint Louis had in 1838 the first instrument built by the young factor prodigy Aristide Cavaillé–Coll, recently installed in Paris, rue Notre-Dame de Lorette.  Bretagne was the breeding ground for Aristide since if Lorient is his first organ delivered in France, Pontivy is the third , after Notre-Dame de Lorette Church in Paris, and Dinan the fourth ,and so on.  In 1959, a new large organ with 48 stops on three keyboards and pedals was built and installed by the Roethinger company in Schiltigheim (Bas-Rhin). In 1965, the Roethinger house installed the 12-stop choir organ with mechanical transmission. It was not until 2001 that a complete restoration of the instrument was carried out as of today.

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I keep writing the double name of Notre Dame de Victoire and Saint Louis because as the new Church was really given the name of ND de Victoire, the locals still refers to it as Saint Louis therefore ,the title of my post! ok It is worth the detour for the contrast of a modern Church to many old ones we have around here.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Lorient heritage on the churchhttps://patrimoine.lorient.bzh/histoire/architecture/architecture-religieuse/eglise-notre-dame-de-victoire/

The Bretagne region tourist board on Lorienthttps://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/lorient/

The Morbihan dept 56 Tourist Board on Lorienthttp://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/home/discover/morbihan/the-main-destinations/lorient

And there you go folks, now come and see the nice Church of Notre Dame de Victoire or Saint Louis ,and lovely city of Lorient. It is worth a detour me think.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 6, 2021

A return visit to Lorient!

Well this is just about 35 km from my house and is the sub préfecture of my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 and my lovely Bretagne. I have come here several times but taking advantage of the new freedom to ride more than 10 km we re visit Lorient. The things will be same but the pictures are from today May 2021! Hope you enjoy it as we did.

We set out as usual by car on the N165 get off at Lorient and follow panels Lorient Centre.  Then we park by a side street to the palais de Congres close to the pleasure marina more or less facing the shopping center Nayel. I have to say in order to change driving habits and making roads one way and reducing city center parking it is indeed a scare off tactics to come by car here. Before, was difficult now it is a laberinth of roads and hardly any parking close to the old center. So much for urban planning!

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We set up on foot to go around the big area around the old town which is not old as WWII did destroyed it all. The place Aristide Briand where the FNAC store (which my boys shop enormously!) is where the gare d’échanges for the bus terminal and the narrow streets full of shops and restos are vibrant always especially on Saturdays. The whole town is there it seems. We took a look of our usual spots.

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We could not bypassed the favorite store of my dear late wife Martine,  Damart , where not only she purchase clothings and shoes but always pick up the gifts from the purchase such as more clothing, small cooking pressure pan in ceramics , towels, socks, table cloths you name it. Many nice souvenirs for us coming to shop , and of course now looking at it were very sentimental; it goes with the times of our lives now. For info the webpage: https://www.damart.fr/magasins/lorient

lorient Damart store souvenirs 7 rue Vauban may21

Then, right around the above we came over the city center where we just walk around, so again the wonderful Church Saint Louis (see post) at place Alsace Lorraine, near the wonderful shopping of the Galeries Lafayette.

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On the way back , we passed one of our favorites libraries librarie au vents des mots at 7 rue du Port. The deco of the building is superb as the service inside. Gladly given the webpage here: https://www.auventdesmots.fr/

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We got to see the nice carrousel in Place Alsace Lorraine with a second big bus depot terminal and on the other side the beforementioned Church Saint Louis.

lorient pl alsace lorraine carrousel bus depot may21

Coming around the nice shopping mall Centre Commerciale Nayel we saw the nice big square where across we parked as well as a new resto O Tacos! as from 2007 the first French chain of tacos lol! They were showcasing a challenge to eat a tacos 2,5 kgs and if you do its free! Mind you this is about 5,5 lbs! pounds as in weight! I am talking now with my Mexican friend and want me to try it and send them a picture so will have to gain strenght to do it soon lol!! O Tacos webpage: https://o-tacos.com/en/menu

lorient Nayel cc front ent may21

lorient o tacos resto 2 ,5 kg giant nayel rue paul bert may21

There is always something in my lovely Bretagne and my beautiful Morbihan, the above place was packed as was lunch time and the high school students were out in force! Lorient is spread out big but newer buildings and parking is terrible will have to see when again to try that taco lol!!

The city of Lorient on its history: https://www.lorient.bzh/en/discover-lorient/

The Lorient south Bretagne tourist office on Lorienthttps://www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr/fr/?lng=en

The Morbihan dept 56 Tourist Board on Lorienthttp://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/home/discover/morbihan/the-main-destinations/lorient

Well there you go folks, a short nice ride out and stretching our wings for more in the coming days. Not bad after all Lorient for the first go, stay tune for more. Hope you enjoy this bit of extra and the newer pictures.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 6, 2021

Porta Nigra in Trier!!!

And continuing in my update of older posts saga ,which have been enormously uplifting for me to review these wonderful travel experiences again! Thanks again to all of you for your following and encouragement over the years since 2010. I have to go out into something off the beaten path, I mean, Trier is very popular in Germany. I like to update for you and me something that strikes you as you enter Trier, the Porta Nigra!!

Sticking around lovely Germany , not a huge tourist destination probably for the lack of language translation in many places but nevertheless beautiful monuments to see. I have come here several times over the years business and pleasure. One of our favorite towns with the family has been Trier.  Let me tell you a bit more on the Porta Nigra of Trier or Black Gate! It is awesome sight indeed! Not to be surprise as Trier is considered the oldest town in Germany! and a huge University town now! For the Francophiles Trier is Tréves in French.

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The Porta Nigra (Black Gate) is a Roman-era fortified gate located in Trier. This gate is built in concrete blocks that are assembled without concrete. An emblematic monument of the city of Trier, it is one of the oldest city gates of Germany. And it leads you right into city center with all shops and restos galore!!!

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A bit of history I like

This monumental gate was built during the winter of 169-170 ,as the northern entrance door of the town of Augusta Treverorum, capital of the Celtic tribe of the Treveri, which became Trier. Its name comes from the dark color of the stone, due to the patina of centuries; this color is attested from the Middle Ages.

The Greek monk Simeon came to settle as a hermit in the monument around the year 1028 and was probably cloistered there. After his death in 1035, he went down to the ground floor and canonized. A sanctuary is built in his honour and the Porta Nigra was used as a two-level church, whose apse is still visible on the eastern part of the monument.

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In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte destroyed the church and the sanctuary (as usual by him) . In 1804, during his visit in Trier, he decided to eliminate also the other additions, which allows to restore the aspect of the Roman construction.

The Porta Nigra is impressive to see its beauty and this old right in the middle of town. Some of the stone blocks weights 6 tons , and admission to the top is 3€ last check.

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The Trier tourist office on the Porta Nigrahttps://www.trier-info.de/en/places-of-interest/porta-nigra

The Arts Heritage of the Rheinland Pfalz region on the Porta Nigrahttp://www.zentrum-der-antike.de/monumente/porta-nigra/die-porta-nigra.html

Hope you enjoy it, one of the nice sights of lovely Trier as said , great town worth a visit. Enjoy the Porta Nigra!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 6, 2021

Electoral Palace or Kurfürstlichen palais in Trier!!

And continuing in my update of older posts saga ,which have been enormously uplifting for me to review these wonderful travel experiences again! Thanks again to all of you for your following and encouragement over the years since 2010. I have to go out into something off the beaten path, I mean, Trier is very popular in Germany but this Electoral Palace is seldom seen by visitors, and we walked the beat all over Trier on several occasions. Hope you enjoy it as I.

I have written several posts over the years in my blog on Trier and spoke to you of many sights, many times briefly. I believe this monument deserves more on its history and architecture and two wars. I will be telling you a lot of history on the Electoral Palace or Kurfürstlichen Palais of Trier. Bear with me please!

The Electoral Palace or Kurfürstlichen Palais in the city of Trier was the residence of the Trier electors from the 17C to 1794, that is, the Trier archbishops. The Renaissance and Rococo cobalt had been partly built on the floor of the Roman Constantine Basilica. In the 19C, the west wing of the palace was laid down in order to rebuild the Basilica (see post on Basilica).  After the expropriation of the electors under Napoleon I, the Electoral Palace was used as a barracks by French and Prussian troops in the 19C early 20C. During WWII, the building was severely damaged. Subsequently, the farm buildings, the so-called low-rise, were completely demolished, with the exception of the Red Tower and a portal. Today, the building houses various government authorities. Parts of the north wing are used by the Protestant congregation; parts of the south wing serve representative purposes. The palace garden in the south of the palace has been available to the public as a park since the beginning of the 20C.

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A bit of history I like

From about the year 1000, the Trier bishops used the iconic palace hood of the Roman emperors (Constantine Basilica) as a castle. A  few centuries later, the building no longer met changing needs and current tastes. Elector Johann VII of Schönenberg planned a Renaissance-style castle. To do so, he had houses demolished around the Basilica in order to gain space for the new building.

In the period from 1615 to 1676, was first built under his successor, Elector Lothar von Metternich  a late Renaissance castle, named St. Petersburg after Peter, the patron Saint of Trier. The plan was on a complex of high and low altitude, in which the four-winged high castle with residential and representative rooms was to be laid out around an almost square courtyard. To the north, the lower castle was to connect with the economic areas and a second courtyard.  It was built on and in the Constantine Basilica, which was partially laid down for this purpose. As a result, it was decided to leave the west side and the northern apse of the basilica standing and to integrate it into the castle building as external walls. Since the floor of the ancient building was lower than the ground of the 17C, the east and south walls did not need to be completely removed.

In 1756,  it was to redevelop and expand the south wing of the Electoral Palace according to the taste of the Rococo style. The new, pink south wing was to rise beyond the previous castle on both sides. Some axes of the old building remained unchanged, this part was demolished in the 19C during the reconstruction of the basilica. The pink south wing was also designed in Rococo style inside. Upstairs, a hall was set up centrally to which a representative staircase leads up on the west side of the main entrance.Until 1794, the Electoral Palace occasionally served as a residence for the electors, although only a few rooms were fully furnished. In 1794, French revolutionary troops occupied Trier. From 1803, the French occupation used the Electoral Palace as a barracks. When the Protestant Prussia conquered Trier, this did not change. They, too, used the Electoral Palace as a barracks for their troops until 1918.

Around 1830, the Red Tower was increased by one floor.  The West Wing had to be completely laid down, reducing the size of the courtyard and losing its symmetrical architecture in the west, since then, it has suddenly risen in reddish, Roman bricks.  The Rococo South Wing was also impaired and shortened to the west.  The Electoral Palace was shortened by several meters, but the staircase was preserved. The south wing was originally shortened in a smooth cut, so its west side ended in an unadorned triangle gable, further differentiating from the east side with its forest gable. This disparity was only lifted at the beginning of the 20C, when the upper floors of the west side were further shortened and a forest gable was used here as well.   From 1871, the 7th Rheinische Infantry Regiment No. 69 was located in the so-called Palace Barracks.

During WWI, the Electoral Palace housed the Reserve Areton III.  After the war, the barracks were briefly occupied by the US army, followed in 1919 by the French, who named the barracks Quartier de la Marne,(the Marne district) in reference to the Battle of the Marne. Until the end of the occupation in 1930, the Electoral Palace remained a barracks.  The interiors were greatly altered by the use as barracks and multiple conversions, apart from the staircase had hardly survived any of the original equipment. In the 1930s, there were plans to establish the princely palace as a grand museum, bringing together the modern holdings of the Trier museums. In the course of these measures, some interiors were restored, but the plans were eventually not continued by the beginning of the WWII.

During WWII, the Electoral Palace was severely damaged: The roofs burned down, in addition to grenade and bomb hits. Due to the urgent weather, the last remains of ceiling paintings and stucco decorations in the garden wing, which had been recovered a few years before, were destroyed, and the magnificent rococo staircase also had serious damage. The two wings of the Lower Castle were almost completely demolished during the reconstruction. Only the Red Tower and the St. Petersburg Portal were preserved. Behind the portal and sideways to the Red Tower, a new building was built, but it extends wider than the floor area of the lower castle west wing, which was formerly located there, and thus partly into the former courtyard. The remaining floor area of the Lower Castle remained undeveloped and today forms Willy Brandt Square with a modern fountain that symbolizes the historical phases of Trier.

Since the dissolution of the district governments in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2000, it has been the headquarters of the Supervisory and Services Directorate. Of the old interiors, only the rococo staircase and the associated vestibule are preserved. The new ceiling of the originally higher staircase and the hall on the first floor, which followed the staircase, were painted in the 1970s with a painting based on the style of the construction period.  Guided tours of parts of the building, which belongs to the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and its courtyard are possible. Parts of the south wing are also used for events. Accessible via the preserved staircase, the rococo hall on the first floor covers up to 190 persons, and sometimes serves chamber concerts and representative events with smaller audiences. It can also be rented. The inner courtyard sometimes hosts open-air concerts and once a year the Trier Short Film Festival. Part of the north wing, accessible through a small portal in eclectic style, is available to the Evangelical Church congregation. Inside the north wing, the Caspar Olevian Hall serves as a community hall for the Evangelical Church. In it, Sunday services are often held in winter to save on heating costs for the huge hall of the Basilica. In addition, in the north wing there is access to the organ of the basilica. The building with the St. Petersburg Portal, on the floor of the former Lower Castle, and the Red Tower are also used by the authorities. The Red Tower has served as a bell tower for the Basilica since 1968, when it was again given a baroque roof hood.

In the south of the Electoral Palace there was a park in the time of the Electors, although it is very unlikely that the original plans for its design were actually implemented. In 1761, the Ferdinand Tietz Fountain was mentioned here for the first time, which today stands again in the park.  When Trier was occupied by French troops in 1794, the park was converted into a public square. During the use of the Electoral Palace as a barracks, the site in the south was used as a retreat place up to the Imperial Baths.  At the beginning of the 20C, the city of Trier tried to make the area a public park. It was only through the donations of the  Franz Weißebach foundation of Trier that the city received funds in the early 1930s to create the park, which still bears the name Palace Garden. Over time, numerous sculptures were purchased from private property, which may once have been part of the park’s furnishing, but also from other Trier gardens. In its present form, the park is therefore the ideal of a baroque garden, even if it was probably more simply designed in the 18C.

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Adjacent to the Electoral Palace in the immediate south, there is now a section of the park with an unaccessible lawn, flower discounts in front of the main entrance of the south wing and a water surface in front of the eastern south wing. The lawn is bordered on both sides by a hedge and trees and thus visually separated from the water basin. The most famous view of the Electoral Palace are from the south, with the basilica behind it, therefore shows only the former central part of the south wing, which largely obscures the modern asymmetry of the building. In the park there are replicas of the Tietz sculptures; the originals can be seen at the Simeonstift Municipal Museum next to the Porta Nigra (see post). Since the Tietz Fountain was found again in 1940, it too has been inserted into the northern park.  To the west of the lawn there is a monument of two high-standing concrete slabs on one path, which will be awarded to cities for their 2,000th anniversary.

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The Trier tourist office on sights to seehttps://www.trier-info.de/en/trier-in-hours

The Trier art heritage local page in English: http://www.zentrum-der-antike.de/en.html

The Trier tourist office on the electoral palace in German: https://www.trier-info.de/sehenswuerdigkeiten/kurfuerstliches-palais

Indeed a wonderful place to visit and the area is just awesome with the Basilica next  door. Do visit at least the garden of the Electoral Palace  or in German, the Kurfürstlichen Palais of Trier!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 5, 2021

St Castor’s Basilica of Koblenz!!!

So here I am  in lovely Koblenz, Germany on my road warrior trips in Europe! Coming all the way by car from the Morbihan breton of my belle France! I love to update this older post for you and me of the St Castor Basilica of Koblenz! Hope you enjoy the tour as I!

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So let me moved on in my travels east to the neighboring Germany and to a wonderful town call Koblenz. I have written on it before in my blog , however, I need to do justice to a wonderful basilica there.  Do not know why more is not written on it but this is an impressive Basilica on an equally impressive corner of two rivers, Rhine and Moselle. The Basilica is intact and a wonderful place to visit for its history and architecture alone. Again, more should be written about it and visits too, I am on the list to go back.  Let me tell you a bit more on the St Castor’s Basilica of Koblenz.

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The Saint Castor Basilica is the oldest church in Koblenz. It is located behind the Deutsches Eck, the name of a headland in Koblenz, where the Moselle joins the Rhine rivers. On the forecourt of the Basilica is the Beaver Fountain of the Napoleonic era. The Church stems from the sanctuary where the conclusion of the Treaty of Verdun was celebrated, establishing the sharing of the Empire of Charlemagne. On July 30, 1991, Pope John Paul II raised the basilica to the rank of minor Basilica. This Church is a rather rare Romanesque church because it is completely preserved, and it should be visited, it is awesome!

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Saint Castor of Karden 5C, evangelist of the Moselle Valley, patron of Koblenz, celebrated on 13 February. Born probably from Aquitaine (France), Castor became disciple of Maximinus of Trier who ordained him a priest. He was buried in Karden and built on his tomb one of the first churches of the countryside of the region. On November 12, 837, his relics were transferred to Koblenz, where he became the patron Saint.

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The St Castor’s Church was built between 817 and 836 by Hetto, the Archbishop of Trier with the support of Emperor Louis the Pious, just outside the city of Koblenz and dedicated on 12 November 836. In the 12C the Church was significantly enlarged, with the addition of the 2 spires, a choir and a miniature gallery, flanked by 2 smaller spires, all in the Romanesque style.

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The St Castor’s Basilica is a three-aisled vaulted basilica with two towers , transept , choir and apse , flanked by two smaller towers. The free-standing Church of pale tuff is surrounded by greenery. The steep gables with the pilasters articulated towers consist of diamond roofs. The choir, which was built around 1160, with a round, three-story apse flanked on both sides by a five-story tower. The third floor of the apse is a dwarf gallery with 21 arches. Some of the columns around the windows carry a lion as a symbol of Christ. The Church is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture on the Middle Rhine.

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The official St Castor’s Basilica of Koblenz: http://www.sankt-kastor-koblenz.de/

The Koblenz tourist office on the Basilica: https://www.koblenz-tourism.com/culture/churches-in-koblenz/st-castor-basilica.html

Another stunning sight to see in beautiful Koblenz.  The area is wonderful to walk and plenty to eat just along the two rivers point. As for the St Castor’s Basilica is one of the sights to see while visiting the city for sure.

And remember , happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 5, 2021

Ecological park and Divine Chapel in Mexico DF!

And bringing back this old post, also brings back many nice friendly encounters in the city of Mexico or CDMEX or DF (Distrito Federal) of many friends who are still in touch and always looking back to visit again. Let me take you to an off the beaten path seldom seen by visitors , to see more of the city. The Ecological park with its Divine Chapel is a pleasant time away from the buzz of the city to enjoy it.

Doing my tour of the world and having visited Mexico on many occassions over the years , driving and walking the city and country! I have seen a lot of interestings places but it seems the small quant picturesques places are the ones that reminds me of how much there is to see and enjoy in our world.  This is the case of a small Chapel in the Ecological park of Peña Pobre, this is the Chapel of the Divine Providence!

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The Capilla de la Divina Providencia  was built in the 19C and early 20C in what was the old paper factory of Peña Pobre. The factory had its chapel dedicated to the Divine Providence (Capilla de la Divina Providencia) , although it is also known as St. Peter the Apostle (San Pedro el Apostol).

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It is now in the middle of the ecological park of Loreto and Peña Pobre located at the corner of Insurgentes Sur and San Fernando, near the center of Tlalpan and the archeological site of Cuicuilco, a place with a very old history where there was a civilization prior to Tenochtitlan and was buried under the lava of the Xitle volcano.

At the beginning of the 20C the Lenz family, of German origin, was established in the place, who inaugurated the first paper producer in the Valley of Mexico, the factory of Loreto and Peña Pobre. The factory remained operating from 1928 to 1987, when it was closed as a result of the protests of environmental groups, which denounced the heavy pollution that the factory produce. Currently, in addition to the Peña Pobre Ecological Park, Plaza Cuicuilco Mall (Plaza Inbursa) is also a vestige of what was the factory, as some of the original parts of it are preserved.

This park belonged to the paper factory Loreto and Peña Pobre, hence its name, and now have taken advantage of the terrain, not only as a green area, but also as a place to develop the creativity of children and make them aware of the importance of environmental care. For this there are workshops with different activities, located where the workers of the factory had their homes before.  The Chapel and park are at Avenida San Fernando 765, corner with Insurgentes Sur, open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 8h to 18h. You can get there on the metro line 1 and then microbus station monumento and short walk to Peña Pobre, free admission. I came by car of course!

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The shopping of plaza Inbusa on the site of the above the map let you see it capilla is chapel: http://www.plazainbursa.com/mapa.php

My fav reviews page YELP on the Plaza Cuicuilco to see the old paper factory and picture 11 is the Chapel: https://www.yelp.com/biz/plaza-cuicuilco-m%C3%A9xico

I have to say that in combination with the above I met some friends of over 20 years here and we had a great time at the Sanborns restaurant (nice chain) which is across from the Chapel. Avenida San Fernando 649 right on the park. webpage: http://www.gsanborns.com.mx/

Hope you enjoy this off the beaten path site of Mexico city and a lovely place to eat as there I ate in the restaurants of the Mall! At Sanborns!!! The routine lol! Enjoy Peña Pobre and the Chapel of the Divine Providence or San Pedro el Apostol

 And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 5, 2021

Galerie de Diane at Fontainebleau!!!

And here I am back at one my all time favorite in my belle France! Yes again the first castle I visited with my then girlfriend as she was from the region, and it has been a blast since then, one for the memories of always now. Let me update this older post and tell you about a wonderful gallery call the galerie de Diane at the Château de Fontainebleau!

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Just not to be biased I am friends of these castles Versailles, Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Chantilly. I  have written many posts on my souvenir favorite Fontainebleau, for the record, the first castle I ever visited in France in 1990 with my now late dear wife Martine. Again Fontainebleau is in department 77 Seine-et-Marne in the ïle de France region east of Paris.  I like, however, to show you some of its jewels inside and one of them is the Galerie de Diane or Diane’s Gallery! This is my contribution to its fame!

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Rebuilt on the orders of Napoleon I, the Galerie de Diane or Diane’s gallery is the longest room in the castle. Its decor replaces the compositions relating the myth of Diane that had been carried out under Henri IV after the construction of the gallery, located above the gallery of the deer. The ceiling painted under the restoration replaces the decor of the second school of Fontainebleau. As for its development in the library, it dates from Napoleon III.

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The library of the Château de Fontainebleau, is located in the Galerie de Diane. This golden gallery, formerly known as the Queen’s Gallery, connecting the Queen’s apartments and the Aviary’s office, 80 meters long and about 10 meters wide, was first decorated with scenes illustrating the myth of Diane, that of Apollo , and the king’s victories, on the wooden attics of the walls and the ceiling of the broken vault. Its former decor is particularly known to us thanks to a rich album watercolour of percussion, and fragments of paintings and panelling, preserved today in the castle.

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During the French revolution, Diane’s gallery became a prison in which, among other things, Trinitarian clerics were incarcerated. Damaged, it was restored first under Napoleon I who abolished the decorations of the 17C, then during the Restoration period, when its vault was adorned in the style of the painter David such as Diane on her chariot going to Endymion. These decorations are complemented by 24 historical scenes in the troubadour style , notably Charlemagne passes the Alps , 8 of which have come as donations. Used as a banquet hall by king Louis-Philippe, it was transformed into a library under the Second Empire, in 1858, as above by Napoleon III.

The official Château de Fpntainebleau on its galleries including Diane:  https://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/explore-the-castle-and-gardens/fontainebleau-rooms/the-grands-apartments/nineteenth-century-galleries/

The Friends of the Château de Fontainebleau on the Diane’s galleryhttps://www.amischateaufontainebleau.org/la-galerie-de-diane-01032017/

The Friends of the Château de Fontainebleau on the restoration of the globe in the library: https://www.amischateaufontainebleau.org/restauration-du-globe-terrestre-de-la-galerie-de-diane/

Hope you enjoy the post and do look out for the Galerie de Diane when visiting the Château de Fontainebleau, it is gorgeous!

And remember , happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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