Archive for August, 2016

August 22, 2016

Cuenca is quaint and an Unesco world heritage site

And following our blazing trails on the road in my beloved Spain, we came down from the mountains of the Serrania de Cuenca to the town of Cuenca, a world heritage site by Unesco.

This is the biggest town near our rental house, so for leisure walks and shopping this is it before going up to the mountain home. The tourist office is here:

We drove into the town with our big car into very narrow and steep Streets but that was the fun of it. Parking was precious so we continue climbing up in town! until finally finding a spot by the Arco de Bezudo in the Castillo or castle now in ruins with ramparts where you can see the whole town and beyond .

The castle dates from the 13C and large parts of its walls are still visible as well as the wonderful Arco de Bezudo that you can climb for wonderful views below; it is now the site of the ministry of culture of the region of Castilla la Mancha where Cuenca is a province and Capital city of same name. You can see a picture from the Arch or Arcoa below to the parking lot where our car was.  I took a picture from both side of the Arch.

Coming downward you first see on your left the Church of San Pedro (St Peter) going down on Calle Trabuco. You come into the Colegio de los Jesuitas from the 16C (jesuit college). Further find the Church of San Nicolas 13/14C. On your left side further down you come to the old cementary , there is a statue sitting there in the middle now, and to the side there is a restaurant!

Taking the bus Line 2 (price is 1,05 euro per person one way) from here we went for a break and into the outside of town on the shopping center or centro comercial El Mirador where there some stores ,an Eroski hypermarket and the cheapest gasoline in the area at 0,9899 euro. We took the bus back into city center, and then wandered into the town hilly Streets and downtown or city center/centre ville shopping districts where our sons loaded up on DVD/CD/Video games on CEX store.

We walked past the nice Diputados provincial building or the regional government where our house owner worked as secretary!  And, right around it there was the Cafeteria Boni with terrace sitting that is set up in the parque/Jardines de San Juliàn by Calle Caballeros.  The service and food was good but it was the most expensive experience in the trip! Only 15.90€ per person for arroz a la Cubana, small  steaks, fries, omelettes, croquettes of ham and cheese, and beers for all.

We continue our walks into the valleys below such as the Hoz de Jucàr very nice views indeed; walking more we came into the Church de Santa Cruz.  Right there is the Theater but just looking above it into the mountains you see a huge Christ statue very nice indeed.

Now we are walking again, heading for the most famous monument in Cuenca, the Casas Colgadas or hanging houses. First, you need to cross the bridge or Puente de San Pablo to get a good look at the best preserve house. As you come back into town you past by the Museo Abstracto de Arte Contemporario or contemporary abstract arts museum. You see the treasury museum of the Cathedral and the Casa del Rey (King’s house); come into the side of the Cathedral into Plaza Mayor see the equestrian statue of king Alphonso VIII of Castile.  Next building is the Episcopal Palace attach to the back of the Cathedral.

Then, you see the next famous building here, the Cathedral of Santa Maria y San Juliàn (St Mary and St Julien) where we walked back up to Castillo parking to get our car and came back to our  mountain house. One day at a time easy does it in Spain, where everything is Under the Sun…..

Enjoy it as we did, wonderful. Some links here:

arco de bezudo and walls:

Church of San Pedro:

Church of Saint Nicolas:

line 2 bus Castillo CC Mirador:

shopping center CC El Mirador:

Diputacion de Cuenca:

Cafeteria BONI: Hoz de Jucàr : jardin San Juliàn no webs

Church Santa Cruz:

Casas Colgadas(hanging houses) and museo abstracto :

Catedral Santa Maria:

Museo Tesoro de la Catedral:

Plaza Mayor:

Palacio Episcopal:

There is more to see in Cuenca and we will be back later on with our blazing trails in Spain. Cheers

Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca

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August 21, 2016

Madrid ,well is more than a word for me, always nostalgic to be back!

As our vacation time in Spain begun, there is no way I would skip Madrid and even arriving the first thought was to come here and visit again. Madrid I never get tired of visiting, long story going back to my early teen years living there. Lucky enough to visited several times even more than once in the year. This time with the entire family was even more memorable.

We drove from Las Majadas ,province of Cuenca , Castilla La Mancha region (see last post) on the A40 connecting at Tarascon with the A3 to Madrid and parking on the Atocha train station Saba parking lot.

Then, we were all over walking at first, from Atocha to calle Atocha to the Plaza Mayor and onwards to Calle Arenal, Preciados, Carmen and back to Calle Bailén and the Royal Palace and Cathedral of Almudena.

By Calle Arenal we past the old archives building of Madrid dating from the 17C. The Palacio Real is always wonderful to see even if been there several times, the Cathedral of Almudena is a wonderful building that was seen again,and onwards along calle Bailén on the other site to the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande.

On Calle Atocha got in finally into the Church parroquia Santa Cruz , a wonderful Church that in the past had been close when passing by , this time it was fully open and wonderful.

I took the kids to my all time favorite since evey younger than they, Chocolateria San Ginés, in my youth used to come here after the dance club next door ; Joy Eslava, which at the time was a community dance hall and theater, later becoming a chic discothéque. I past by it too. San Ginés is the famous churros con chocolate racion for 1,40 euros or the porros a bigger size churro. A must in Madrid.

We did went shopping at El Corte Inglés by calle Preciados 3 and had our lunch in the 7th floor cafeteria ,and later stop by my favorite store, the official Real Madrid store at Calle Carmen off Sol. We did shopping here too and got a nice beer mug ::)

We came back to the Plaza Mayor a must to visit while in Madrid , always a happening ; see the Plaza del Callao and the famous cinema there, and got around the Teatro Real or royal theater, and the Puerta del Sol square.  We passed by the mercado de la Cebada market and the famous theater of La Latina. A visit to the mercado San Miguel is a must and see the beautiful building of the museum of Anthropology and the Ministry of Agriculture. Down to the Puerta de Toledo where we took the C2 bus to get back after a long exhaustive day of walking to all the wonderful Madrid Streets always telling my sons where their Dad had walked before even younger than they! A nice neat family experience.

This is Madrid in one day leaving before it got too dark, but always memorable, I have no words Madrid is more than a city to me, it is part of my life and a happy nice life indeed; always Madrid or From Madrid to Heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day !!!

Some links for the above sites here:

Atocha train station:

Palacio Real:

Catédral de Almudena:

Parroquia Santa Cruz Church:

Chocolateria San Ginés:

Joy Eslava:

El Corte Inglés dept store:

Real Madrid official store:

Plaza Mayor:

Puerta del Sol:

Mercado de la Cebada:

Teatro La Latina:

Mercado San Miguel:

Museo de Antropologia:

Ministerio de Agricultura :

Puerta de Toledo:

Teatro Real :

Plaza de Callao and the famous cinémas:

and the bus network of Madrid is EMT Madrid , and the best way to move quickly and stay above ground to see more here is tourist link with bus info:

And I will be back at the end of my trip for a last look or take a photo of it in my heart. Cheers

Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid Madrid

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August 21, 2016

Our home base Las Majadas, Casa Pitu

Moving along telling you all about my last trip family vacation to Spain. We finally arrive in our home base of Las Majadas ,in the Serrania de Cuenca mountains on a house 1400 meters or 6600 feet high in the mountain, name Casa Pitu. I find it on the rural houses site Top Rural.

The house webpage is here:

Just to say it has been our best vacation ever ,not only because the location was great, the house fanstastic with all the trimming ,and the price right, but the host Luis and Ma Isabel were fantastic beyond the call of duty to make our stay a wonderful one full of great memories and even friendship. You will do well to rent from them in the future as we will definitively look forward to another opportunity.

We arrive on an earlier Saturday so the first thing after the great welcome by the owner hosts, we headed for the big town of Cuenca, UNESCO historical town, in search of………….food! groceries to stock our house. We found our favorite French chain Auchan which in Spain are call AlCampo (literal translation) on a shopping center right in town outskirst.

There we did our groceries and found upon recommendation by the house owners a wonderful bakery call Pasteleria Ruiz which we stock up on sweets, goodies!  Store AlCampo here:

The pasteleria Ruiz has a branch in city center Cuenca and the one at AlCampo we purchase our goodies ,link here:

Once well stock we took a walk in the town, passing to get some fresh bread Sunday morning at bakery Los Gemelos (twins) Calle  Atanasio Lasso,7 ,with friendly local flavor. Took a walk around the Iglesia Senora del Sagrario (Church notre dame of the sanctuary) ; the small park by the avenida de la constitucion where we came in and out each day, and there is the bus stop for connection with Cuenca. For those interested on the bus Schedule is Rubiocars here :

Tourist link in Spanish for the Church here:

We pay a visit to the local bar cafe in plaza mayor, and had our first cold beer Mahou Cinco Estrellas (five stars) real Madrid beer for you; serve with sardines in olive oïl as a tapa. The name escapes me now but it is in front of a stone statue that is to the left of the photo.

Of course, we took some pictures of our home base house for the souvenirs that will last a long time. Indeed ,it was a wonderful mountain experience unique owners,and great all around family vacation, the best so far.

And we rest ready to hit for the first day , my Madrid. Stay tune for more lol!!!

 Cuenca  Cuenca Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas Las Majadas

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August 21, 2016

How about getting to home destination in Spain, Las Majadas

Ok so following my trail from previous posts, I finally made it to Spain over the Col du Portalet mountain peak to my final home base in the Serrania de Cuenca (mountain range) in the town of Las Majadas (elevation 1400 meters).

We left the tunnel Under the Pyrénées and follow the road N330 towards Jaca and then Huesca on the A23 which here is the N330 passing the viaduc of Monrépos and mountain of same name; right into a smaller tunnel Under it. You can see on the pictures a lake this is monrépos lake reservoir on the other side of the tunnel.

We road hard until the outskirst of Zaragoza where from the A23 we took the beltway Z40 direction the airport of Zaragoza/and Madrid.  We continue on this A23 to direction Teruel/Cariñena wine country. On this stretch we stop for lunch at Plaza Mudejar A23 Somport-Sagunto km 215 by Villadoz/Zaragoza; here we had our bocadillos or sandwiches of chorizo and tortilla (omelette) with  a large glass of beer call a tubo, croquettes of ham and cheese, and orange juices all came out to 7,65€ per person.  It was delicious and good festive vacation ambiance with lots of travelers. Plaza Mudejar cafeteria

We took off again after gas up at the nearby BP station on the A23 passing the mountain town of Albarracin and its Church Cathedral of Santa Maria (St Mary) a historical monument: (photos).  Albarracin tourism

This is already on the road A1512 off the A23,and you see on the photo the mountains of Albarracin. Where if you have time you can stop at a rest stop and go down to see remnants of a Roman aqueduct ;the Albarracin Gea Cella aqueduct that is seen for 25 kms or about 13 miles. More in Spanish here: (photos)  Aqueduct Albarracin

We continue on the medieval wonderful town of Albarracin and saw the Castle of Santa Croche high up in the mountain on the same A1512 road. more here in Spanish : (photos) .  Castle at Albarracin

Follow up on the road DE 9111 mountain route we pass by the mountain town of Calomarde which is at 1584 meters high. (photos). We didn’t not have time to see as was not our destination but here there is a great canyon or Barranco de la Hoz; more here in Spanish:  Town of Calomarde barranco de la Hoz

By here we pass by a statue in metal call the guia del cobo, Sierra de Albarracin at the birth of the river Tajo on the CU901 road, until we finally saw the panel for Cuenca/Tragecete on the CU2119 heading our home base. Glorious mountains of the Serrania de Cuenca that can go to almost 1900 meters high, and the panel signaling Las Majadas 24 kms or about 12 miles.

You will see the photo with the road high up and the mountain then the town down Under just arriving to final home base. More of the home base of Las Majadas on later posts. We arrive, we are at home base up 1400 meters and plenty of mountain animals here such as deers, goats, sheeps, wild pigs, and cows and bulls. Spain is ON!

town city hall webpage is here :  Town of Las Majadas

And the national park of serrania de Cuenca where the town of Las Majadas is located is here in Spanish:  Serrania de Cuenca

 Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain  Spain

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August 20, 2016

And just about arriving in Spain by the Col du Portalet mountains

I am back ,taking advantage of the weekend as there is too much to write about my last trip to my beloved Spain.

We got up earlier from hotel in Bordeaux (see prev post), and by about 7h or 7am we were on the road past the beltway of Bordeaux A630 into the expressway A62 towards Pau/Toulouse.  We continue connecting with the A64 road to Pau and then the A65 , connecting on the N134 by Jurançon and Gan, where we got on the D934  all the way past Laruns and to the Col du Portalet passage to Spain.

As we got up earlier we had breakfast on the road on the  mountains by Bielle on the D934 at boulangerie Laloubère , a small outlet they have right on the road and the back on the mountains; very nice and great breads, sweets, coffee and orange juice for 2,30 euros! per person. Their main store is at Bielle.

You see beautiful mountain passages like the dam of Artouste  done with a lake at 1997m and the spa thermes of Eaux Bonnes, the quaint nice town of Laruns, and the final destination in France at the Col du Portalet and the town at 1984 meters high. This is just before taking the tunnel Under it to reach Spain at the other side , going up through some twisting and each time higher élévations and breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys not to mention a great challenge for the driver ::)

A great final ride in France before reaching my beloved Spain, always nice to be back,and glad can do this often in the last few years.

More on Artoustes if with time to see this up close!’Artouste.html

And the Spa at Eaux Bonnes,

How to get to these peaks and valleys here:

Happy motoring and you can’t have a better 1-2 combination than France and Spain , cheers ::)

 France to Spain  France to Spain  France to Spain  France to Spain    France to Spain

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August 20, 2016

And vacation time arrived, onwards to Spain

Well a bit tired now just back but will give you a flavor of what’s to come from my last trip to my beloved Spain. We spent two weeks going by car with some metro/subway and bus on major cities. Visited Bordeaux, Cuenca, Las Majadas, Madrid, Toledo, Huerte, Belmonte, Segovia, La Granja de San IIdelfonso, Alcalà de Henares, Aranjuez, Valencia, Ségobriga ,Alarcon, Chinchon, Calatayud, and many smaller towns passing by.

We rented a house in Las Majadas ,Cuenca at 1400 meters high (about 6600 feet) that was absolutively  superb with all the trimmings and fantastic host owners. We passed by goats , sheeps, horses, deers, wild pigs and right on the eyes of cows on the road; all in good expériences. For a similar experience see this site Top Rural:

We left by car by 8h or 8am from home along the path of avoiding as much as possible toll roads. Taken the N165 towards Nantes N249 and then the D763 and D137 towards La Rochelle, and continue connecting with the A10 for a while before at Bordeaux get on the A62,A65 and A64 towards the Col du Portalet passage to  Spain.  On the A roads we did pay a toll of 25,70€ but we quickly move back into the D934 on passage routes at 1390 meters high with great views.

The trip took about 17 hours stopping several times for a break, gas , and eat. It took about 1265 kms or about 784 miles for the whole trip and about 417 kms or 259 miles to Bordeaux in 7 hours.  For those who have traveled by car will note these are longer times but it was done because the only driver was me and taking breaks is a Wise thing to do. I do not know why people talk about traffic as with well planned the trip went smooth with only a slow moving traffic along the rocade of Bordeaux arriving there to our road hotel, the inexpensive F1. Part of the great chain Accor, more here:

We had maps of the area in case we need it to cut corners but it was not needed the GPS of our car was very good indeed. We listen to radio 107.7 FM for traffic and weather conditions as well as good music.

Enjoy these initial photos like I said the best is yet to come. I will get back to work on Monday so will have plenty of time to keep me busy for the next few days on the trip. Cheers!

 Bordeaux Bordeaux  Bordeaux  Bordeaux  Bordeaux  Bordeaux  Bordeaux  Bordeaux Bordeaux  Bordeaux

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August 4, 2016

My travels in the Morbihan XXIV

It is a breezy rainy day today temps in the 15C and cloudy as well. This did not stop the visitors coming to our area, already voted the preferred vacation region by the French, that is Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh. We are in the Morbihan or small sea or petite mer or Mor=sea bihan=small in Breton language. Departément 56, the only one in France that does not have a French name!

We were no different even if on our last day before our summer vacation in the mountains of Spain.  The Morbihan tourist site is here:

We took a ride again to the simple village town of Theix near Vannes along the road N165. Upon entering the town the first thing we head out was the Chapelle Notre Dame la Blanche, built in 1239 and rebuilt in 1536.  Constructed in a rectangular fashion,it has two entrance door one on the southside dates from 1742 and the other one from the 16C with a key door adorn with a figurine in stone. It has a cadran  on top of a bull dating from 1782. A nice back or chevet finished at the same time as the choir in 1698. Inside there are like 18 statues from the 15C and onwards, as it is summer time the Chapelle was closed. The town is about 45 minutes from our house so we should be back ::) More on the city page in French here:

Next , we walked over the Church Sainte Cécile ; dating from the gothic period and gone over many rénovations in the 17C and 18C ; rebuilt between 1852-55 ,and many interior renovation from 1880 to 1900.  Done in the style of a Latin Cross ,the stained glass dates from 1883.  Dedicated to Sainte Cécile the patron Saint of Musicians, it has a statue of Her in the tower niche dating from 1895.  Inside it has many relics from the Sainte, as in August it was closed, but near us so will be back eventually again. More in French in the town’s page here :

We continue our journey on the road D7 along nice country into the picturesque village of Le Gorvello ,part of Sulniac, and a re visit to the Café owns by Americans from Chicago who is also a chambre d’hôte rental hotel.  Here, we first went to take a look at the Church St Jean Baptiste or St John the Baptist.  It is the work of the hospitaliers of St John the Baptist of Jérusalem as the current Church replaces a primitive Chapel in the 16C. Many additions since and for the reason of the chapels that comes out from the main body as seen from the exterior. Inside it has the Statues of St Marc and St Isidore, the patron Saints of laborers;nice again closed in summer vacation crazy France. More in French here from a religious site:  , and from the tourist office in general:

It was time for lunch so we went to visit the Americans at Le Gorvello Café. We had our two rounds of Thor draft beers, platters of cold cuts and cheeses with bread and butter, chocolate cake in a raspberry sauce and expresso coffees all for 15.40€ per person. There is a miniature pool table and we had a couple of rounds, Dad winning of course ::)  This is the tourist office take on it in French:  ; and the cafe official site that can be read in English of course, and Spanish !

Our journey took us to briefly visit the Château Le Plessis-Josso just up the road D7, and then D183.  This is a well preserved castle and still partially inhabited by the descendants.  It tells the history of Brittany in the middle ages and thereafter. Built in the 15C by the Josso family attach to the house of the Dukes of Brittany. The family Rosmadec comes into it in the 17C and enlarged it giving it the current look. It has ,also, serve as the residence of many Bishops of Vannes. You have guided visits only for 6€ from July 14 to August 31st this year and from 14h to 19h. For visits you can contact Mme Salmon-Legagneur at email  More here

And finally, we came home ,all planned ready to go for our long vacation in Spain, so will be out of internet for quite a while and won’t be writing on my blog again until late end August. Enjoy your summer and happy traveling y’all.

 LE Gorvello  LE Gorvello  LE Gorvello  Theix  Theix  Theix  Theix  Theix




August 3, 2016

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton X

Well finishing off the last minute errands and taking care of my father doctors appointments for our return , busy as always even if officially on vacation. Today was no different.

We sat out to get our car look over even if new it’s a long trip so it is with the dealer for a checkup and I have a replacement Fiesta lol!!! very small compare to our Kuga(Escape).

We had last minute shopping at Gamm Vert garden store, and Brico Marché housing Tools, and on Leroy Merlin for bathroom small fixtures before returning home for our local bakery in city center/downtown at Tual festival des pains boulangerie.

As always (any place in France)n when away for several days we stop by our town Gendarmerie police to make our declaration of empty home owners away or Operation tranquillité-Vacances. They will make rounds to your house every couple of days and check on it so ,it’s better than nothing and will help declaration if indeed something happened with our homeowners insurance.

Back at home we had our meal of the day ,and nice Belgian/German beers that I will try to post the photos here.  The Leclerc where we did our last shop and the place V&B where we got our last beers.

The roads on the beach areas are packed with visitors from everywhere, and Bretagne was just name the most visited region of France by the French !!! I know why!!!!!

However on my inland side there is hardly anything already. The temps are 21C about 70F and cloudy breezy but no rain yet. Tomorrow I will get back my car at the Ford Mustiére dealer in Vannes, and they are pretty big here in our region;

At last got my car back all shining new ready for the trip to Spain. On our way back we had our breads at the Boulangerie centre ville in Grand Champ on the road D779 ,nice baguettes for a nice soft landing yesterday. Enjoy your week y’all. Cheers!!Grand Champ

 Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner

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