Archive for February 4th, 2011

February 4, 2011

Some News about France XIV

Well temps are back like Indian summer up to 11°C cool nice, the weekend looks great.  Temps from 4°C to 11°C with no rain in sight if the Meteo France folks are right.

The great even is beginning tonite the IV Nations of rugby is on, tonite England vs Wales. France plays tom vs Scotland at the STade de France,St Denis-Paris. webpage to follow it http://www.rbs6nations.com/en/news_index.php and in Paris head for the stadium or Au Metro ,the cradle of Rugby in Paris for years, and its great fun ,count on me , webpage http://www.aumetro.com/

While in Madrid ,they are working on a grand project to improve the green areas of the city ,and become more cosmopolitan as such…The Madrid Rio project .Some of the issues are making greens or ecological sound areas by planting more trees with boulevard going to the river Manzanares. Demolished the building of the Mercado de los Mostenses and create more commercial spaces. At the Plaza de España  will try to increase the pedestrian area that connect the  Jardines de Sabatini with the Temple Debod, as well as widening the calle Bailén ,and improve access to Calle Conde Duque.  On the roads of  Arganzuela it will be made underground those that comes from Atocha, remodeled the museum of Railroad and create a green alleyway next to the Vias to park or parque Tierno Galván. The Riviera concert hall will be demolished ,and a big green park left in its place. The army gardens now by Cibeles will be open to the public as well as the Palace of Buenavista seat of the Ministry of Defense as well as encourage commercial activity at the calle Prim. In the AZCA complex will be improved its lower areas left in dispair and beggars area by making open spaces with more clear mark access. In Las Descalzas, it is ask to make pedestrian area around the convent and change the entrance to the parking, improving the commercial look of stores, and open the cloister for the inhabitants and passerbys. At the city garden or Ciudad Jardin, the streets of  Alfonso XIII and Ramón y Cajal can be converted in green trees boulevards and the intersection of  Concha Espina  with the road M 30 can be made underground to gain space. By Moncloa, will try to improve the pedestrian link to Parque del Oeste and Ciudad Universitaria (University city), and open the esplanade in front of the ministry of the air force. For the Salon or hall Felipe II it could be slow the traffic in Salamanca district and make the street  calle Jorge Juan connect with the Plaza de Colón. By the river at Las Vistillas, they are asking to take the cars out ,and create a look out at the viaduct  of  Segovia as well as widening the sidewalks near the Cathedral de la Almudena. At Plaza Mayor, renovated fronts, support columns ,and stores front inside and open the houses of  Panadería(bakery)  and Carnicería (butchery). city of Madrid webpage http://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/El-Ayuntamiento/Urbanismo-e-Infraestructuras/MadridRio?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=5acc7f0917afc110VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=8dba171c30036010VgnVCM100000dc0ca8c0RCRD

This is a youtube video that was made aware to me in Spanish but shows all the above changes in Madrid, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2qcLiifMDM

Real Madrid vs Barcelona for the Kings Cup or Copa del Rey final will be played April 20th at the Valencia stadium Mestalla.  Spain will played a friendly match vs Colombia on February 9th at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium ,Madrid at 21h30

Air Transat will increase flights to Canada and add more cities in France ie Toulouse and NIce in its schedules abroad. Air France will increase long trip travel by 20€ to pay for fuel per roundtrip starting this month.

The actress Maria Schneider, fame for the Last Tango in Paris died yesterday in Paris at age 58 due to a long illness, RIP Paris1972.

The Chinese New Year in the year of the Rabbit began celebration yesterday. At the Paris district or arrondissement 15,17, and 20.  This morning a march was done in the 17éme to the avenue de Clichy. The most important will be in the 13 that houses the largest Chinese community in Paris; it will be held on Sunday   by 13h30 from 44, avenue d’Ivry and continues the routing as follows  avenue de Choisy, place d’Italie, avenue d’Italie, rue de Tolbiac, avenue de Choisy, boulevard Masséna ,and return to avenue d’Ivry .

And tonite I am having a home made Tartiflette , something the Savoyards have taken as their own but it arrives on the ski station many moons ago from visitors coming there, the exact origins are not really known. My house recipe for 6 is with the following ingredients , 2 kg ( about 4.4 lbs)of potatoes , a pot of fresh cream 30% mat gras, a whole Reblochon cheese wheel ,200 grams of lardons or ham bacon bits, 2 onions, and 20cl of white wine or about a 8oz glass. Cook the potatoes for about 20 mins in a pressure pot, let them cool off, and cut them in pieces like cubes and put them in a porcelain or ceramic bowl, at the same time make reduce the lardons in a saucepan without any oil,when the lardons become pinky cook add the onions and cook all until the onions becomes soft , put the oven to start warm up at 180°C, to the saucepan add the white wine , mix so that it wont stick ,lower the temperature and add the salt and pepper to taste as well as the fresh cream 30% mat gras, and let them cook for a couple of minutes ,put all from the saucepan to the porcelain bowl where the potatoes are , and well mix them in, then cut the Reblochon cheese in along the lenght in pieces that will cover the mixture as much as possible having the skin of the cheese up facing you; put all this in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180°C or thermostat 6, this is about 350°F. Have it with white wine of course, and if from the Savoy better ::) Cheers,and have a nice weekend everyone.

February 4, 2011

Luxembourg, a dukedom of fairy tales

One of the smallest but nicest countries in Europe. The fairy tale Duchy of Luxembourg,right smack in between Germany and France. Rule as head of STate by Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Teresa (a native of La Habana, Cuba) with five children including the heir prince Guillaume. I come here often even for just a day!!! its not far from me and the autoroute expressway get me there in four hours legal speed driving time.

The Duchy or dukedom was created in 963 AD by count Siegfried descendant of Charlemagne who purchase a rocky place from the abbey of  Trier (Germany) on that year. This little rock gave four Emperors and five kings to Bohemia!!! Life goes on. Now it is the center of banking and finance in Europe link with the headquarters of the European Union parliament, Council of European Union, European Commission, Court of Justice, court of Auditors, and the European Investement Bank amongst others. Founding member of the European Union as well. Not bad for a little duchy huh!

They have an airport located at Findel just outside the city near the European Union offices; regular flights go from there to several countries in Europe and linked with its neighbors is exhaustive. The national airline is Luxair. airport Webpage http://www.aeroport.public.lu/fr/infotourist/access/index.html  . It has an excellent beautiful train station as well connecting all the major points in Europe, many trains takes you from there to France daily easily. webpage http://www.cfl.lu/CFLInternet/Espaces/01EspaceVoyageurs/02InfosGare/

For me as live close, the best way is the road, hop on the French A4  from Paris direct to Metz, get on the A31 to Luxembourg, there see panels stay on the A3, and as I use the hotels by the airport for better pricing, I take the A1 direction airport. This guide is the local one to tell you the weather, price of gas, any incidents on the roads,and conveniences around such as hotels. webpage http://www.guideroutier.lu/ for ease of language you can use www.viamichelin.com as well.

Once there, I have stay in the center Place d’Armes at Hotel Français or the hotels by the airport Etap and Ibis for better value when with a family. The first one is just in the center of it all and I could park my car either at parking Theatre or Monterey. The other two have free parking, and either I have taken my car into the city at the aforemention parking garages or taken the bus no 16 right outside the hotel walk 5 mins to the airport terminal, take the bus and in about 30 min you are in central Luxembourg for 1,50€ one way for up to two hours   .The webpage for the bus system is this one at bus 16 page http://vdl.lu/Mobilit%C3%A9/Autobus/Horaires_+lignes+et+trajets/Les+25+lignes/Ligne+16.html  If you need specifics you can ask me or contact the bus system customer email at busabo@vdl.lu

These are the webpages for the beforementioned hotels, Hotel Français http://www.hotelfrancais.lu/  For Etap and Ibis both part of the French group ACCOR the webpage is http://www.etaphotel.com/gb/hotel-3579-etap-hotel-luxembourg-aeroport/index.shtml  AND http://www.ibishotel.com/gb/hotel-0974-ibis-luxembourg-aeroport/index.shtml

Even in a small country there is plenty to see, I will hit the highlights as my favorites only. The Palais Ducal or palace of the Grand Duke at rue du Marché-aux-Herbes, very close to the wonderful Place d’Armes, the animated center of town. Bock casements, at montée de Clausen, tunnels built since the Spanish occupation, admission is 3€ adults impressive.  Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin, the main church near the pl d’Armes and the Grund area, by rue Notre Dame, built in 1613, its own webpage http://www.cathedrale.lu/ . I am not into trains but the train station there is impressive to look at, and very modern inside! at Place de la Gare, built in 1859. Petrusse Casements, by Place de la Constitution,tunnels in great shape, admission is 3€. Utopolis, a great entertainment center with cinema going towards the European Union sector at JFKennedy ave, bus 16 leaves you right in front, webpage http://www.utopolis.lu/ . The Adolph Bridge, it was at its time the biggest stone arch in the world ,built between 1900-1903. The big double arch spans more than 85 meters ( 281 ft) across the Pétrusse valley at a height of 42 meters (139 ft) , and a total length of 153 meters ( 505 ft).  Fort Thûngen, built by the Austrians in 1732, at one time 169 meters tunnels brough together the two sectors around ,it was demolished in 1874 and now only the towers and some section of it remain, however, here lies the Museum of modern art grand duke Jean built under IM Pei the same architect of the pyramid of the Louvre in Paris as well as a museum of the forttress. The Grand Duchess Charlotte bridge or the Red Bridge is the one I take into the city when there,  crossing the Pfaffenthal 74 meters ( 244 ft)  above the Alzette river. It is 355 meters long (1172 ft) , the clear span between the pillars is 234 meters ( 772 ft) , the width 25 meters (83 ft)  and the total weight 4,900 tons. Tram and bus museum in Hollerich sector, like a childs dream house, plenty of trains and trams buses, nice, webpage http://www.rail.lu/tramsmusee.html . City history museum right amongs very old properties interconnected to give a flavor of what it was, nice, webpage http://www.musee-hist.lu/en/NEW.html  Bock promontory, the original rocky rock on which the city /country was founded in 963 AD, very impressive and quaint to walk here. For the European Union building sector you need to go to the Kirchberg District pretty much cross over the Grand Duchess Charlotte bridge into ave JF Kennedy and you are it, or bus 16.

For a quick tour of the city to highlight the main event I suggest the Petrusse Express little train rather than the bus. This little fellow takes you up and down many alleys too narrow for the bus, as well as take you to the Grund lower city sector a must to see while here. Family package for 27€ or 8,50€ adults .Webpage http://www.sales-lentz.lu/mobilitaetswelt/sightseeing/pex

The nightime is fast and fun here, not on it for the last few years but it was good and I hear still is. The best areas are the Grund and Clausen for lively bars,pubs galores, there is even a city night bus CN1 CN2 CN3 just to keep you safe.schedule in pdf file here http://www.lcto.lu/public/upload/CNB.pdf  , and for the Clausen area this is it , for nightlife info webpage http://www.rivesdeclausen.eu/ . For an overall site to see whats happening and other ideas, this is a great site to keep an eye on before going there, http://www.agendalux.lu/attraction-40-1.html

Places to eat and have fun alone or with family are plenty, the safe lively good prices in this section is what makes me come back regularly here.  First a general site to know about the gastronomy of Luxembourg and plenty of ideas to go and eat out, webpage http://www.gastronomie.lu/

My favorites over the years are Bananas, av Monterey and coming up to  Pl d’Armes ,an institution ,get down to dirty burgers and pasta, etc food with a great ambiance and of course wonderful tall glasses of beer ! webpage http://www.bananas.lu/

You wont believe but we go to Pizza Hut almost next door for that wonderful Pepperoni lovers pizza and some great Wellen beer, the best pizza hut in Europe, and we go often ::) Place d’Armes. http://www.pizzahut.lu/pre-de-chez-vous/luxembourg-ville.php

For the evening dinner and nice French cuisine as well as Italian ,try L’Atrium restaurant. Place Guillaume II, no web but you can make reservation at email gasparr2@pt.lu.

Restaurant Wenge, rue Lovigny, parallel to ave Monterey ,French cuisine, webpage http://www.wenge.lu/

For seafood in me, go to Restaurant La Lorraine at Pl d’Armes too, webpage http://www.lalorraine-restaurant.lu/

For some jarred porc grill a la luxemburguese and some local stuff try Mousel’s Cantine (mousel was a local brewery that since has closed so cant get this beer anylonger too bad for me), the place is divine wash all down with a good wellen, edinberger beers. webpage http://www.mouselscantine.lu/

Shopping is another pasttime as it seems to be cheaper clothings there, we storm the Shopping Center Auchan in Kirchberg. Auchan for groceries, cds, dvd,games, on two levels of 12 000 sq meters of space ,huge. Then plenty of stores and restaurants to stay all day or night, closing is at 20h, some info on the shopping center here http://www.internationalreview.com/lux/093.htm , then for Auchan webpage here http://www.auchan.lu/fr/page/110/art/128/

For a general shopping guide to Luxembourg to cover all your needs check this out, by name, section, commerce many ways to search your store in the city or country, http://www.cityshopping.lu/newsite/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=64&lang=fr

In Mersch, you have the Topaze shopping center just up the road from the city of Luxembourg and great bargains there too, especially Garcia Jeans store, and the delicious pastries of Schumacher lol! . Webpage http://www.topaze.lu/

In between we stop at Beggen for another Pizza Hut treat, http://www.pizzahut.lu/pre-de-chez-vous/beggen.php

Further north we went to Ettelbruck and the main thing there is the museum to General Patton, US 3 Army 26th Infantry Division European theater WWII. Fantastic little jewel worth the trip for history lovers,and Americans.webpage http://www.patton.lu/index2.html . Tourist information on Ettelbruck and its region here http://www.ettelbruck-info.lu/index.php?article_id=48&clang=3

There I hope you can use some of the information to make your travels in the beautiful Duchy a pleasant one. If need specifics let me know and would gladly help. Enjoy it, Cheers!!!

 

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