Archive for August, 2015

August 28, 2015

Luxembourg more than one city, Grevenmacher and Schengen.

I have come to Luxembourg but always head out north down the center from the city; this time basing ourselves closer , we took the plunge into the southern part. Here we came up to wine towns of the white grapes or bubblies these towns were Grevenmacher and Schengen.

The tourist offices of Schengen, European Center is here http://www.schengen-tourist.lu/index.php?idnavigation=20&fidlanguage=1

And Grevenmacher is here, http://www.grevenmacher.lu/tourisme/patrimoine-a-decouvrir

We rode from Germany on the B51 over the 419 and into Wellen crossing the Moselle into Grevenmacher and then down south on the 10 and 152 to Schengen. Easy beautiful rides along a wonderful river and very nice scenaries.

Once in Grevenmacher, we walk all over the nice streets, wonderful feeling; beautiful fountain statues and a nice Church St Laurent right in city center near the hotel de ville or city hall.

We had our lunch at La Belle Pierre, 15 Route de Thionville, a nice resto of excellent food at greater good prices. menu at 9,90€! and a nice beer Diekirch of Luxembourg.  We had lasagna dishes, and I had the menu of entrée of shrimp and fusilli  bolognaise with dessert of custard, and it was just right. In a very nice bright clean modern ambiance, here is the webpage http://www.labellepierre.lu/

We came afterward to visit the Caves Bernard Massard, of the great Luxembourg white whites and especially the bubblies of the methode traditionelle (not allowed to use the word Champagne). This house is from 1921 and the founder learn the trade in France before coming back to do his cellars and now they are purveyors to the Duke of Luxembourg. Great host Peter , and a wonderful barwomen Nathalie, in the tasting room, wonderful boutique and great welcoming, the wines were good and we purchase both still and bubbly wines.  We had the tour of the cellars in addition to three tasting full glasses for 9€ per person. http://www.bernard-massard.lu/fr/

We then continue a short ride along the Moselle river to Schengen the European Center and old castle and a nice church St Sauveur. The Euro Center was the treaty of free exchange of people in Europe something that is in vogue today in Europe and test this initiative done in 1990. The castle now a hotel and conference center , originally built in 1350 was visited in 1871 by Victor Hugo. The center is like a museum showing the history of the treaty and the different customs houses of Europe;it ,also, shows the different organisms governing Europe today. Educational.

We headed back up to Grevenmacher and cross the bridge to Wellen and Germany to go “home” in the Saar. Stay tune for more, cheers.

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August 26, 2015

The land of Sarre in Germany, Mettlach

Well this was a nice surprise unintended. I was going to Sarrebrucken to see the Ford factory as my car is a Ford all my life. And while getting there met a nice city and a pretty town on the way;the town is Mettlach.

Going all the way on the road B51 from my base south to Mettlach was easy, passing many interesting towns and enjoying the car ride. There is a tourist site but in German, http://www.tourist-info.mettlach.de/de/

From the region tourist office you have more in English, http://www.germany.travel/en/search-results.html?q=mettlach

Mettlach is a nice town, with a history of Saint Luitwinius in a very nice Church. Great river cruising on the Sarre river up river and most of all the home of ceramics wonderland in Villeroy & Boch ,with its many outlet stores and also many others like Land’s End.

For me the hightlight was the visit to the old abbey now the home for 260 years of the ceramic maker Villeroy&Boch, http://www.villeroyboch-group.com/en/visit-villeroy-boch/outlet-shops/mettlach.html

There are many outlet stores there from Land’s End, http://www.landsend.de/de_DE/Mettlach-Outlet-Store/co/ks-outlet-store.html

and many others like Laura Ashley, Bassetti,Silit etc here http://www.mettlachoutletcenter.de/en.html

So it is really a shopper’s paradise with a nice river cruise and picking up some bargain the day trip to Mettlach should be great. And do not forget to go up to the Church of St Liutwinius.

We had a snack there at Eiscafe La Taormina, Sicilian folks and great beers with gelato, Italian ice cream just wonderful like been there,and on the main street just down from the Church on the main street to the river boat terminals and five minutes from the Villeroy & Boch abbey/outlet stores.

the abbey has a great garden with water fountain, and a tower 1000 years old of St Liutwinius and a statue of the Saint in the up the square facing the town; just a nice small town indeed and a wonderful find. Enjoy the pictures;cheers.

 Mettlach  Mettlach  Mettlach  Mettlach  Mettlach

 

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August 24, 2015

We came back to nice quaint Trier ,Germany

Trier was nice the first time I visited in 2005, and continue as I made quick in and outs of it. The family saw it briefly too in 2005 ,and then came back for good this time. We rented and apartment just south and had plenty of time to come in and out of Trier. The oldest city in Germany.

Tourist information is here, http://www.trier-info.de/english/index

We came the first time by the B51 road and park on the first parking available that was the europahalle at the other end of the famous Porta Nigra. This is near the pedestrians street but still a bit away to see the real town.  This is a congress hall but has underground parking very nice, http://www.kongresse-trier.de/english/

We then walk up to the city center. We came upon the first church that of Pfarrkirche St. Antonius at Antoniusstraße 1. We continue pass it to see the Karl Marx house and museum at Brückenstrasse 10 ; curious a simple house for a complex men.  http://www.trier-info.de/english/karl-marx-house-info

Passing many buildings of wonderful architecture such as the Tor des Ayles Schlosses. And again, another nice Church that the name escapes me now, and we arrive at the Konstantin Basilica, and the palace of Kurfurstliches both gorgeous and we move on to the Landes Museum impressive, and the Kaiserthermen spas of roman times! and of course the wonderful Porta Nigra; a roman arch door! right next to it you have the Stadtmuseum.

In all we did a lot of shopping on this day at the Galeria Kauhof, a sort of galleries Lafayette, just great and summer sales lol! we load up on goodies….each time in town. Of course, the Hauptmarkt or central square is gorgeous with many fountains and statues of great architecture beauty not ready to try to explain it, you just need to come and see it.

We did try a new gallery mall the Trier Galeria , good but not as Kauhof. And we had our lunch at Restaurant Pizzeria Fornelli, the real thing witnh 17,9€ per person and pizzas from romana , piedmonte,lombardia, and spa Bolognese all with lots of cold beers trierer lowenbrau and paid bottle water panna.

Then, we hit the Cathedral of Trier, superb , a must to see, the best of them. My explanation will not be enough , need to see it all of it, worth coming here just for it. The lower chapel are just as beautiful as the upper ones. See it.

I will give a sample of pictures on the above, this is a town worth coming back and we had ,and we will again. And we are not over yet , will come back with the second part or third as we came back often in our vacation trip. Enjoy Trier.

Trier Trier Trier Trier Trier Trier Trier

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August 24, 2015

The Saarland of Germany, Konz-Oberemmel

When we sat to decide on our summer vacation, we look at all the places we have been even shortly and those not yet gone. We have stop by Trier(Tréves) ,and like the area so we decided to rent south of it in the Saar region of Germany. With the help of the region tourist office ; http://www.saar-obermosel.de/en.html

We chose an apartment in the winemaker’s house in the town of Konz-Oberemmel where we rented for two weeks as our base; the town is lovely, and the stay was good with excellent quality/price ratio. This is the town page on the tourist office, http://www.saar-obermosel.de/en/citiesandcommunities/konz-oberemmel.html

The rental at Willems & Hofmann was here , http://www.schiefer-trifft-muschelkalk.de/en/kontakt.php ;It was in the 2nd floor of the building,  it had an entry stair a bit tight, then kitchenette, dining/living room combine with two windows in the attic, two bedrooms with two twins beds on each and the sofa bed in the living room; coffeemaker, microwave,medium size fridge, closets, the bathroom with shower and window;cable TV with some English stations for news, plus French, Spanish,Portuguese,etc. no telephone and no wifi/internet. The rent was discounted as we rented two weeks so it will change according to your stay and season. The family daughter and winemaker speaks English, and it is the daughter who handles the initial rental by email.

The town has one grocery store and one bakery, that is it, 1700 inhabitants, one spoked English and two French, the rest German and our few words. The reception in town was very friendly, and all folks try to help us; we did attack that grocery store Edeka-Krumm, http://www.oberemmel.de/dienstleistungen/97-aktiv-markt-krumm.html

The bakery was Baeckerei Baasch, no webpage but here is some info, http://www.innungsbaecker.de/baeckerfinder/baecker/baeckerei-baasch-konz-oberemmel/

We were lucky to arrive at the time of the Wine Festival in town, with live music until the wee hours, and plenty of white/red local wines and bitburg beers as well as sausages of all types and friendly service. The town is full of private wineries so on every street there is one to taste lol! And of course, in the wine festival there were all!!! The town page is here in German but you can see the festival announcement weinfestival, http://www.oberemmel.de/

We walk the town all over, and even into the wine fields, lovely, the homes struck us the difference where all the houses were decorated different; the town has an event hall and one Catholic Church St. Briktius . two restaurants and plenty of walks and bicycle rides tours, other than ours plenty of others for rentals here, http://www.oberemmel.de/ferienwohnungen-an-der-saar.html

As for directions well the best is to come from Trier on the B51 direction Saarburg, and then take it to Kazem, and then Wiltingen on the L138 to Konz-Oberemmel. We coming from France took it from Luxembourg city beltway A1 to No 2 direction Remich and American Cementaries, once at Remich take the B407 up to Saarburg and then theh L138 to Wiltingen and then Oberemmel. Narrow and hilly roads full of winegrown grapes but lovely along the river Saar. We enjoy the ride stopping at many places along the way and from Oberemmel using it as a base to cover all of Luxembourg and western part of Germany as far as Darmstadts/Mainz, Koblenz, and Saarbrucken. Many posts to come, stay tune.

Enjoy our base camp in lovely wine country of Oberemmel (Saarland). Cheers

Oberemmel Oberemmel Oberemmel Oberemmel Oberemmel Oberemmel Oberemmel Oberemmel Oberemmel Oberemmel

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August 23, 2015

Luxembourg keeps the braves!

Well lots to write about and over 1200 pictures from my latest trips to Germany and Luxembourg passing by my France of course. This is an area I have passed by and always left out, so now took the family in and it was great, glad it was done.

By taking the A3 into Luxembourg and then going around the beltway on the A1 ,and get off at N2 you come into signs on Reimech that also tell you of the cementary. The actual town on which the cementary is call Hamm. The American battle monument association keeps it clean and upkeeps it , their webpage is here

https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/luxembourg-american-cemetery#.Vdnwg_3ovIU

this is from Luxembourg tourisme ; http://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/place/misc/american-military-cemetery-luxembourg-hamm

And for the most famous name buried there , General George Patton, US 3rd army , thank you Sir. http://www.pattonhq.com/funeral.html

The entrance is nice and has a wrough iron arch door, with a welcoming house on the left. As you go in, sheer adreline pumps up with so many beautiful crosses. The stone plaque on the floor tells of the debt of gratitude we owe these men. There is a tower with a female angel, and the inscription “Here is enshrined the memory of valor and sacrifice”. There are huge stone walls depicting the battle movement and on the back the names of the fallen.

Inside the tower, there is a nice chapel with flanks US flags and the inscription ” I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish”.

I have not arrive at my lodging destination but already thrill to be here in beautiful Luxembourg. In all I stayed on the German side but criss cross the two countries every day ::) Stay tuned for more in the coming posts.

Enjoy the pictures and remember them, never forget their sacrifice. CheersLuxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg

 

 

 

August 6, 2015

Some news from Spain XIII

It’s been a while on my Spain, but never forgotten ;here I am . As summer is here Spain offers all kinds of interests for the whole family. As one commercial from the 80’s used to said, “Spain ,everything under the Sun”. So here is my sunshine on Spain.

 The Cies Islands are an archipealogo located in the ria of Vigo, consisting of 3 islands; San Marino, O Faro, and Monte Agudo. They are part of the Atlantic Islands National Park, and are the main tourist attraction of Vigo. Less than an hour by boat from the city, in summer and Easter there are daily trips organized by the city only accessable by boat. At San Marino you need to ask permission for anchoring.

There are nine beaches in the islands, and they are all beautiful. Through different hiking trails that crisscross the Islands, you gain access to all of the beaches. You can spent a wonderful day at either Rodas, the Chapel of Areinas or practicing nudism in Figueiras. In the campsite of the Cies Islands you can camp provided you have booked a space as it is inside the park handle by the city of Pontevedra.  You have restaurants ,cafés and shops about 50 meters from the beach. However, there is no electricity, as it is a protected park ,but is not required with the stars of the Moon when they shine on the Cies Islands.

On the islands you have the largest colony of seagulls in Europe with more than 20 thousand pairs of their species. You ,also, will find woodpeckers, and other birds in large numbers such as cormorants, and small communities of gannets, doves, birds, as well as rich sealife in crab, octopus, lobsters,a nd turbot as well as urchins, barnacles, and mussels. If you are lucky you may see dolphins.

You can get more information here  http://www.turismodevigo.org/en/cies-islands

And now go to my ancestors island of Tenerife. The Teide mountain (volcano) or Cheide, as the original inhabitants the Guanches call it is awesome. The Reloj de las Flores or clock of flowers giving by Denmark over 50 years ago,and in the Parque Garcia Sanabria , a cultural center designed by Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron (Tenerife Espacio de las Artes ,TEA) ,the square or Plaza del Principe conquered by skaters, and an auditorium overlooking the sea modeled after the Calatrava. To add, there is great nightlife on the surrounding beaches, with shops, market, and the Church of Nuestra Señora de Africa as well as the Castillo de San Juan.

At San Cristobal de Laguna , the first capital of Tenerife (1723) you see nice architecture still present in the old town with narrow streets that resemble a checkered chess board. You should not missed in the Center, the Casa del Corregidor, Alhondiga, and Palacio Lercaro , amongst other buildings; The beaches, you have the quiet Abama, Duque,and Las Eras or the surfing wild Agua Ducel, La Pelada, and El Cabezo, the emblematic las Teresitas the marine environment of los Cristianos, the volcanic such as las Mujeres,and the to go with children such as the Camison.

We go the North-West of the island (known as Isla Baja or low island) to get to the Walkers paradise of Parque Rural de Teno, great views of the Atlantic ocean, endemic plant species of the area, and come across the Barranco de Masca, one of the most impressive of the island, dotted with charming villages, not easy to reach but that is why the charm. The garden or Jardin del Teide, starts on the slopes of the volcano and reaches the coast at Puerto de la Cruz, peaceful life and great seafood. The top here is the Lago Martiànez with more than 13 000 square meters of artificial lakes of salt water.

The Dragon tree is a national monument since 1917, and the giant and longevity of it is amazing. The millenium dragon by the town of Icod de los Vinos in the north of the island has 18 meters with a trunk of 30 meters diameter and about 300 branches. You reach Garachico ,where a Genovese merchant founded it in 1496 and since then ,began to fill it with palaces, churches, convents and castle fortresses. The castle of San Miguel has the arms of Charles I of Spain and the same Charles V of Germany, and it is still there. See the paradise of Tenerife.

What to do in Madrid in Summer! Well many things like walks in its wonderful parks such as El Retiro and take advantage of the non crowds to visit others like the El Capricho the Jardin de Sabatini, Casa de Campo. The museums in the capital are still open in summer such as The Prado, Reina Sofia, the Archeology museum, National Library or the Thyssen museum all awaiting you.

Then, you have the Parque de Atracciones (Amusement park), and Parque Warner. Other sites includes the Aquopolis parks and in all you can be a child again. Luckily, Madrid has some private beaches too in which to escape ok go to the Reservoir of San Juan in San Martin de Valdeiglesias, a classic for Madrid folks and the natural pool of Las Presillas in Navacerrada, the best ways to cool down with the waters of the Sierra mountains.

Several of the shows are held outdoors near Rio Madrid ,the huge park that runs along the banks fo the Manzanares river. This year you can enjoy the film festival of Fescinal, in Principe Pio, outdoor cinema at Conde Duque, and the stage at Puente del Rey rio Madrid with guests stars Estrella Morente, El Cigala, Jose Mercé and the best of the Zarzuelas in the theater. Also, the Matadero or (slaughterhouse) another essential now in Madrid.

At Alcalà de Henares you can spend a day touring its old streets with something for everyone, and in summer is a wonderful time to see it. The Calle Mayor, Plaza de Cervantes and the House where he was born, Cathedral de los Santos Niños, auditorium all that in historic Alcalà de Henares , and take advantage of visiting Torrejon de Ardoz with its unique Europa Park and some great shopping at Parque Corredor (great took my kids here for toys r us ).

Back to Madrid in the summer the streets are empty and a great time to walks its streets such as Preciados (great store El Corte Inglés) and the awesome Puerta del Sol without appearing the entire world has been given appointment here. Find your way to the El Rastro ,flea market, nothing more local than this. Come Sunday heads for Calle Ribera de Curtidores in the La Latina neighborhood to discover the hidden treasures in the market stalls of a centuries old tradition. Even in the summer the Rastro is open later closing at 16h or 4 pm; if nothing else in Madrid in summer stop by here. The city tourist office has official guided tours program and this August 2015 you have the traditional festivals of Madrid such as the San Cayetano, San Lorenzo ,and my all time favorite the Virgin de le Paloma or Verbena de la Paloma.

Awesome and all is everything under the Sun, Spain , of course.

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August 3, 2015

Some news from France XCXI

So right off the week unusual for me but it’s August and summer is here and my vacation is just next week and onwards. So what is going on in my favorite city and France.

For one ,free parking in Paris during August is gone this year blame on Hidalgo…. and more transport problems with the closing of the metro station Saint Denis-Basilique until August 30th. Nothing new in the city of light.

Then, Paris is more than Paris plage or beach you know.  In the 13éme arrondissement or district of Paris and all over from my favorite paper Le Parisien.

It has become the spot most Parisians in July and August come to, the quai d’Austerlitz (13éme) until the quai François-Mauriac, restaurants, clubs, bars, terraces, boats and floating structures are invaded every evening by crowds eager for an aperitif, dinner or dance partying in by the Seine. At 32, quai d’Austerlitz in the immense walls of the Cité de la mode et du Design or city of fashion and design, http://www.citemodedesign.fr/  the hippest crowd on the very popular terrace Wanderlust ,http://wanderlustparis.com/ ,   on the classiest “rooftop” of the Nuba,http://www.nuba-paris.fr/  or in the club and concert hall Grand RivageA little further, at the foot of the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand, fifteen terraces face boats-restaurants. The most joyful and ephemeral of them, La vie est Belle (10, quai François-Mauriac)  or more here, http://parislanuit.fr/lieux/la-vie-est-belle/ where you can enjoy music, cocktails and small dishes at table or chairs.
boat-restaurant «La Dame de Canton, which has installed a huge semi-covered terrace unrounded just after the bridge or pont de Simone de Beauvoir.http://www.damedecanton.com/

Continuing until the pont de Tolbiac, other terraces such El-Alamein, http://www.bateauelalamein.com/ and the Vagalame ,http://www.lavagalame.com/ ;  alternate lounge bars with DJs and sofas at the water‘s edge or more conventional restaurants with tables and servers. Finally, just before the bridge, the aptly named Batofar (11, quai François-Mauriac), bright red boat with its visible light lighthouse from far away, loving the revelers: both restaurant, bar and club, there is dancing to the end of the nighthttp://www.batofar.org/

It is 9.30 pm and,  the ‘King’s River’ dropped the moorings from the pontoon situated opposite the House of radio (Paris 16éme) to start a cruise that will extend for 30 hour. Every Thursday of the month of August, the floating guinguette vogue for evenings “The Afterwork share cruise” paid and open to all. The program is immutable: installation aboard 19h to 21h30, with bar open bubbles» free, cruise on the Seine from 21h30 to 23h, then back to dock where the feast lasts until 01h0 (1am). On board, you can enjoy, on 450 m2, a dancefloor with DJ and lighting way disco, topped by a giant, semi-covered, terrace where a bar and a barbecue with burgers, sandwiches, kebabs and salad…

The evening really makes sense in the dark, when the River’s King starts its cruise. http://www.riversking.fr/photos_rivers_king.php?photos=bateau  .The glass or the sandwich in hand,  hair in the wind, and folks  massed on the roof, admiring, at low speed, the Eiffel Tower, the Orsay Museum, the Louvre and the Quays of the Seine illuminate progressively, all in music: Magic! Under each bridge, partygoers grow shouting or screaming , enjoying a unique view of the most beautiful city in the world. At the end of the 90 minutes that seem too short, they no longer to be consoled on the lower floor, dancing, eyeful images…More below

The Afterwork part cruise”, every Thursday from 19h. boat ‘River’s King’, facing the 108, avenue du Président-Kennedy (16éme). Price: €20 or €15 with a past available on Internet (bubbles open bar included). Cocktails: €20, Burgers €10. Reservations +33 (0) 6.28.07.06.05.

And also… Other dancing locations on and near the water, including the charming Guinguette Rosa Bonheur (port of the Invalides, 7éme), http://www.rosabonheur.fr/ the huge boat ‘Concorde Atlantique(port de Solférino, 7éme),http://www.bateauconcordeatlantique.com/ La  Javelle (port of Javel down 15éme) ,http://lajavelle.com/  and the Eiffel Tower (port de Suffren 7éme) Guinguette.http://quefaire.paris.fr/fiche/87112_la_guinguette_au_pied_de_la_tour_eiffel

At the Canal de l’Ourcq , it feels like in Cuba; Atmosphere popular dance, Michel Sardou. At the end of the afternoon, not far from the Church of Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis), along the Ourcq canal, several folks gather and  become bobo , disregard the weather. The  Festival of the Ourcq is going on!!!  until August 23rd.  They dance to tunes of Cuban salsa DJ Harold is on hand  warm, sensual.  Having fun from all walks of life.http://www.tourisme93.com/ete-du-canal/programme-festivites.html .  This is Paris.
And of course, in my other love ,Versailles , you have  the fantastic wonderful awesome, Les Grandes Eaux Musicales until November 1st.  Les Jardins Musicaux until October 27th, Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes until September 19, and the
 Compagnie de Danse l’Eventail and the Musiciens de Saint-Julien presents the Sérénade Royales de la Galerie des Glaces until September 19 as well. More here from the city tourist office in English, http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/en/whats-on.html
Summer is awesome; and I can’t wait to start mine lol!! Cheers and happy travels.
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