Archive for March 14th, 2011

March 14, 2011

Segovia, the Castilian of Spain

As I am with Spain,lets continue should we? Yes. Thank you.

Segovia is the cradle of Castile and Leon, worth a kingdom and a very nice day trip from Madrid. It is UNESCO heritage site and for good reason.  Here was the seat of the kings of  Trastamara ,and one of them the queen Isabel I the Catholic was crowned here at the church of San Miguel  queen of Castile in 1474! , and one of my favorites Spanish cities.

From Madrid you can come by car as I do, on the AP6 or AP61.  Parking is by the avenue Fernandez Ladreda near the aqueduct) There are buses La Sepulvedana  that runs daily from Madrid, webpage . There is also Cercanias trains on RENFE from Madrid at ,and a high speed train station just outside the city at about 300 meters from the road A61 at Segovia-Guiomar.

Some of the sights to see and not missed are the Aqueduct (Acueducto)  from the 1C or early IIC  AD, it has 818 meters long ( 2699 ft)with more than 170 arches and its highest point is at Azoguejo with 29 meters (95.7 ft) , also, the most visited. The Alcazar de Segovia, a fortress castle records show it from 1122 AD but probably it was there before,and was a favorite home of the kings/queens of Castilla/Castile.  The official webpage is here . The monasterio de San Antonio el Real, old hunting lodge of king Enrique IV before becoming a monastery, the rooftiles dates from 1455AD all of them!  you can see it at the regional tourist office webpage here  The Catedral de Santa Maria, the last gothic church built in Spain and it is known as “the lady of the Cathedrals” , the chapel to Saint Barbara is of my devotion. The walls or murallas of Segovia, they used to be  3 kms long ( about 1.8 miles); today it is still visible the doors (archway towers) of San Cebrián, of  Santiago,and the San Andrés, as well as three doorways such as Consuelo, de San Juan, del Sol, and de la Luna.

There are many other wonders here but the above are my favorites in town. Plenty of churches and civil buildings including the Casa de la Moneda, the oldest industrial building in Europe.  The best garden in town is Los Jardines del alcazar forming just where the old cathedral was and started due to the wedding of king Felipe II with Anne of Austria in 1750 however it was not finished until the reign of king Fernando VII in the 19C.

You,also,have some nice museums such as the Museo de la Academia de la Artilleria inside the Alcazar castle, Museo de Segovia, with a history of the city and surrounding areas, and the Casa Museo Antonio Machado ,the great Spanish poet who lived here from 1919 to 1932 before been killed in the Spanish civil war.

Nearby do not miss the Granja de San Idelfonso, about 11 kms or 6,8 miles from Segovia and bus from bus station in town will take you there. This is the palace king Felipe V built in 1731 as he was used to Versailles whre he was born as grandson of king Louis XIV,and needed something similar but smaller.

There are many hostals, ventas, and hotels in Segovia, however over the years I always go to my old reliable at Venta Magullo, lodging and restaurant on site for road travelers that is what a venta is. webpage

As far as eating if not at the above Venta Magullo, then we head for the famous Meson de Candido for its cochinillos, at the foot of the aqueduct, very touristic but still very good. webpage  For a good tapas, light meals and drinks we stop by Meson Mayor at Plaza Mayor very near the Cathedral,

The official tourism webpage for Segovia is at  and the webpage for the region of Castilla y Leon area is at

Hope you enjoy this beautiful part of Spain,Cheers!


March 14, 2011

Some news from France XXVII

Well trying to get by in another lonely slow Monday in the office by La Defense. La vie est belle en France mes amis oui oui et oui. The temps are back to spring like weather with high of 16°C today and sunny. Wildly fluctuating between 3 and 18°C until the 22 March, couple days of rain otherwise between cloudy and sunny. per Meteo France of course.

As the price of gasoline is going up everywhere its time to remind myself that saving is needed , a few tips not to stop me from putting the pedal to the metal of course ::) The EU site tells you in English and all the languages of the European Union here

Another wonderful event down the line but just be prepare for it is the Semaine du Goût or the the week of tasting, tasting galore all over France and into the region of Navarra in Spain, many restos come up with the Les Tables du Goût ,proposing formule menus with great pricing!  As well as shops for teaching the latest cooking recipes. The official webpage is at the page for locating restaurants in French,

The national museum of antiquities located at the Chateau Saint Germain en Laye (Yvelines dept 78) is showing now the 13 ed of spring of poets or printemps des Poétes ,here and the coming events for April are here

Due to the terrible earthquake affecting Japan, Air France is putting together some special rates for one way travel there. Taking time for my condolences to the victims of this terrible incident.

At the musée des Beaux-Arts at Tours you can see the expo ” Richelieu à Richelieu” , showcasing the grandeur of the castle decorated, and enlarge by the Cardinal of muskeeteers fame and power of France at the time.  The expo will run until June 13 2011, and the webpage for the centre region museums showing more is here

a bit of history on the above it was in 1633AD that Richelieu made bring from all over Europe and Turkey wonders to France to be put in his castle at Richelieu, really the precursor of  Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Versailles. Unfortunately after the French revolution the castle was left in abandoned, items stolens and decayed and by 1835 stones sold by piece to merchants. It is left to museums such as those at Tours,Orleans, the local one at  Richelieu ,and the Louvre, for bring about the encounter with this beauty of the past. Where is Richelieu ? well its in the Loire of course just past Tours on the A10 direction Bordeaux exit sortie no 22 then the road N10 for cheaper tolls, then D960 following Chinon, Richelieu , viamichelin will get you there. By train to the gare de Chinon the bus TE for 20 mins to Richelieu or from gare de Tours take the bus H2 of the touraine network here

My favorite newspaper in France, Le Figaro is coming up with a restaurant guide as well, of course after so many years me following their recommendations, and my writing on resto/bars in Cityvox (link) they are now coming up with the follow up and bigger  guide 2011 already in bookstores in France. Online here but anywhere in France you can buy it when in town webpage—723.html

And if the Grand Palais expo was not enough or no time or were not here, the American inspired Mona Bismarck Foundation is showing  Gustave Courbet (master of realism), Location  Mona Bismarck Foundation, 34, avenue de New-York (75016) Tél. +33  01 47 23 38 88. open everyday except Sundays and Mondays from 12h to 18h30,until June 4th, webpage

And last, we had a blast this past Saturday at SQY south of Versailles to celebrate at the bowling center my  oldest son birthday 19. We had a blast with plenty of good drinks, great game of bowling, and many goodies in food and gifts with his brothers and friends.

Have a great week everyone Cheers !!!

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