Archive for March 4th, 2018

March 4, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LX

And we are moving right alone on a sunny cool Sunday day of March temps around 7C in the morning to 12C in the afternoon, rain in the morning now not, typical day in the Morbihan Breton. And are cozy home, my other half walk to get some breads and pain au chocolat yummy with locally homemade sour orange jelly (Seville). And now back to tell you something local.

As I have done on My Travels in the Morbihan and My Home in Pluvigner , trying to tell you our everyday life here away from Eiffel lol! So many of my friends and family ask me for things here, to them , we are always on vacation ! Well ,not really we do work here, still….

Yesterday was a typical Saturday to get things done so we can rest on Sunday as per the French way of life.  We started off in our town of in land Pluvigner, where we got to play the EuroMillion lottery at the tabac sundry store on place du Marché.

 

Then, we set out to visit a wonderful store we used to frequent often while living in the Yvelines dept 78 (Versailles), this is Truffaut. It is a garden store with home deco, gourmet goodies, and animal store where you can buy even puppies! And we are still looking for one. The store is in the Centre Commercial Keryado or K2 in Lorient, the second city in the Morbihan but with more inhabitants than Vannes. Truffaut is here: https://www.truffaut.com/jardineries/lorient/Pages/accueil.aspx

Ok a bit about the puppy hunting. We have been to puppy shows, refuges or SPA as they are call here in Vannes and Lorient and even now contacted one in Carquefou near Nantes. We look at ads in the popular newspaper LeBoncoin or the good corner where you can get anything. However, so far the dogs in the refuges are too old, the puppy shows very expensive, sometimes as much as 1200 euros for a puppy.The ads are somewhat misleading and for all information we check with our local veterinary cabinet who are very friendly and very good! So far nothing. We await for one local one by March 10th and the response from the refuge in Carquefou and will see, the search is on. I like to put the vets of my town here, Clinique Veterinaire du Chêne, because they are really good. http://cliniqueveterinaireduchene.chezmonveto.com/

In going to the shopping center CC K2 at Lorient we found several stores that we like so we did some shopping and ate there!  The shopping center is here on the boutique section: https://www.k2-lorient.fr/boutiques/

 

Well, first we went to Truffaut. No surprises here this is a grand store with all the trimming and very upscale quality. We load on goodies including that sour orange jelly we ate this morning and other goodies green teas, nougat Montpellier, etc. And of course, we saw the puppies for sale there. These were from a farm breeder that was there showcasing their puppies. We look at the cross Teckels with if I remember Yorkshire terrier at 6 months ,and were going for 650 euros. Then ,we had pure breed Labrador at 9 months for 1100 euros.  This is a ongoing big business here and elsewhere. So we just look around the plants and saw many nice things that will make us come back.

Lorient

We went over to GIFI a bazaar of all trinkets and home deco, well all inexpensive here that we have been to the one in Auray and Vannes. So now Lorient lol! We got the habit of picking something always so we got some design glass with New York and London logos on it for 87 cents! other miscellaneous trinkets were added to the basket ! and move on. here is the GiFi of Lorient: https://magasins.gifi.fr/decoration/lorient/0000010649

 

We just have to cross the street in this huge shopping complex with independent stores sort of an open air mall to go over to Boulanger, the electronics, home appliances store that we have been to the one in Vannes. Well here we were on the shopping mood with my gang and we grab a Moulinex robot or do it all machine sort of the things they have now for the kitchen.!!!  The store is here: https://magasins.boulanger.com/385-boulanger-lorient

 

We needed to eat lunch so rather than take a trip to find a restaurant we stayed on the shopping area and got into the cafeteria Flunch (family lunch!) this is a buffet style restaurant chain of inexpensive prices and is like eating on the job cantine but with more choices. We had the steaks, fish, seafood platter with plenty of desserts , wine or beer or soda and coffees all for 17€ per person. This is the restaurant: http://restaurant.flunch.fr/lorient/flunch-lorient/

 

Finally, it was time to head home and on the way do our groceries…lol! do not like doing groceries on weekends but sometimes it falls on the need. We came by our old route home in Auray exit for the beaches and shop at the E Leclerc supermarket there. This is a chain of hyper/supermarkets started from Brittany to most of France and also, Poland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. They are the biggest single supermarket market share group in France. If you included all the internal brands stores then Carrefour is bigger. The one in Auray we shop was a medium size E Leclerc, the one we do shop too in Vannes is a hypermarket ,bigger. Here is the webpage for Auray: http://www.e-leclerc.com/auray

 

Started to rain leaving but stop arriving home. Our routine day is gone. We await for other trips soon; me to Paris on business is a regular every month. Now Sunday is 11C and rainy!!! Enjoy your Sunday, happy travels. Cheers!!!

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March 4, 2018

A magical Duchy of Luxembourg, quaint and romantic!

On this wonderful Sunday in the Morbihan Breton, I am inspired to tell you about one of my favorite countries that have not live in yet. Visited several times always in family trips and many memorable moments, we love to visit more. I am talking about the beautiful country of Luxembourg.

The tourist office is here in English: https://www.visitluxembourg.com/en

Oh yeah, there is the country and then the city….Luxembourg and Luxembourg ville. Well briefly, the country, and I have been up and down on it by car! is really the Grand Duché of Luxembourg , and then you can write in German or Luxembourgeois as well. It is bordered by Belgium on the west and north, Germany on the east, France on the south. It has two regions ,the north or Oesling part of the massif of the Ardennes and the south or Gutland .  The Luxembourg  is a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch which is the Grand Duke as chief of State, making the only country still a Duchy in the world. This little country is founding member of the European Union, the Euro Zone, NATO, OCDE, United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe and Council of Benelux.

A bit of history I like:  The Château fort of Luxembourg, jewel of the future city of Luxembourg and county of same name was founded in 963.  The future county of Luxembourg that could not be before the 11C show the title of Count of Luxembourg, been the first one Giselbert (1047-1059). During the Middle Ages, the counts were often at war with their neighbors especially the Bishop of Metz, that were the bankers and the powerful bishop of Trier that had property in the county and tried to control the valley of the Moselle for its trade and stop the expansion of the counts of Luxembourg.

Count Henri is elected emperor in 1312 and his son John married  the heir of the kingdom of Bohemia, which they ruled until 1437. Already in 1354, Emperor Charles IV of the Holy Empire raised to duchy.   The Duchess of Luxembourg, Elisabeth de Goerlitz sell the Duchy to Duke Philip III of Burgundy in 1441. Later it passes to the House of Hapsburgs in 1482. The emperor Charles V gives in heritage together with the Spanish Low Countries, Franche-Comté and a vast colonial domain to his son Philip II of Spain (Felipe II). The Duchy is annexed by France in king Louis XIV in 1684 but given back to the king of Spain in 1697, and following the war of successions is given in 1714 to tha Austrian branch of the house of Hapsburgs; this becomes in 1736 the House of Hapsburgs-Lorraine.

At the French revolution and after the revolutionaries defeating the Austrian army in 1795 much of this territory is integrated to France as the department of the Fôrets or forests.  Later, after the French defeat of 1815 the treaty of Vienna split the territory into the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the forest dept to  a state called Grand Duchy and given to the same ruler king duke William 1st .  By 1830, another rebellion known as the Belgian revolution and eventually gives independence to Belgium and the Grand Duchy loses more than half its territory gained in 1815 given rise to a complicated union with the kingdom of Netherlands and member of the German confederation with a presence of a Prussian garrison at the castle in Luxembourg city.  By 1890, the king Grand Duke William III that has no male heir died and the Grand Duchy passes to the House of Nassau-Weilburg ,this ending the relation between Luxembourg and the Netherlands. As William IV and Marie Anne de Braganza also had no male heir so the Salic law was abandoned in 1907 and the princess Marie Adelaide ascend as Grand Duchess in 1912.

During WWI , the Luxembourg is occupied by the Germans violating their neutrality until 1918; the Duchesse Marie Adelaide was contested by her people for some political errors and she abdicates to a convent in favor of her sister Charlotte, wife of Prince Félix de Bourbon-Parma. the treat of Versailles 1919 confirm the independence of the Duchy and a referendum confirm the monarchy of the country as well.  During WWII , The country is again invaded violating its neutrality in May 1940 by the Nazis; this time the Duchesse and family are exiled to London to maintain the fight and remain on the allied camp.  The Luxembourg is liberated in 1944 by American troops led by General Patton who is buried at the Cemetery of Hamm. Today the country is led by Grand Duke Henri and his wife Maria Teresa, the Grand Duchess( and must say native of Cuba). They have five children with the oldest heir Guillaume.

Very good road network leading to all corners of the country , and easy ride. Good train travel as it is in the center of it all, and the beautiful train station to see,  tramway and cable car are in the city of Luxembourg. There is a nice airport Luxembourg-Findel  outside of Luxembourg city so at Findel, and we have stayed by it with easy connection by bus to the city center. Public Transports CFL here: http://www.cfl.lu/en/home

The country recognized the national language as Luxembourgeois or Lëtzebuergesch. The German and French are very much in used in all domains. English is well understood and there is a large Portuguese community as well.  Ok ok is a bit long but the country is nice ::)

The city of Luxembourg tourist office in English is here:  https://www.luxembourg-city.com/en

I have criss cross the country but really been into the cities of Mersch , Hamm, Ettelbruck, Echternach, Grevenmacher, Remish, Schengen, Vianden, and of course Luxembourg city.

Echternach

Place du Marche Echternach

Ettelbruck

statue of Gen Patton at museum Patton Ettelbruck

Grevenmacher

rue de treves grapes fountain Grevenmacher

Remich

esplanade cruising river boat Moselle at Remich

Schengen

European Center Schengen

Vianden

down to entrance from Castle at Vianden

Standing at the  union of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers and located centrally to Paris at 372 km (231 mi) and Brussels at 213 km ( 132 mi). Some of my favorite places to see here are the Ducal Palace, Grand Theater, Theater of Capucins, the Luxembourg city history museum, Casino of Luxembourg (art galleries)  , The Notre Dame Cathedral, the fortifications in the Gund and Pétrusse, the little train , the Casemates , and Neumunster Abbey, the wonderful Place d’Armes ,and the romantic Adolphe Bridge.

Luxembourg

Ducal Palace

The WWII American Cemetery and Memorial at Hamm is the final resting place of  5,076 American military dead, including General George S Patton; there is also a memorial to 371 Americans whose remains were never recovered or identified.(RIP).

Luxembourg

Cemetery Chapel at Hamm

My previous blog posts on Luxembourg country are here:

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/04/luxembourg-a-dukedom-of-fairy-tails/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/08/28/luxembourg-more-than-one-city-grevenmacher-and-schengen/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/08/29/echternach-luxembourg-and-its-basilica-museum/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/09/01/fairy-tales-do-happened-in-luxembourg-city/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/08/30/vianden-the-castle-and-world-heritage-site/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/09/03/how-about-ettelbruck-and-gen-patton/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/08/23/luxembourg-keeps-the-braves/

Again, hope it gives you enough to come to see this magical small country of Europe. We love it ,and can’t wait to be back again, hopefully this year. We had many memories of driving there even just for lunch at the Place d’Armes with the family by car and come back to Versailles sometimes on the same day!!! Yeah road warriors of Europe! Enjoy the Sunday ,and happy travels, good health and not too much work lol! Cheers!!

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March 4, 2018

Ah the Italians, well here is my take on Italy!

I am it seems to be nostalgic on weekends, and can think of a better way to reminicents of my previous life than re telling my travel experiences, both business and pleasure over the years. This is the case today of Italy.

I go way back as on my father’s side his family is married to Italians in NJ USA, coming from Como and Bari regions. Playing soccer/football on ethnic leagues in NJ takes you to meet a lot of them too, even recent residents. Then, on the job side needed to travel to Rome ,Carpi and Milan for many years until recently in France continue to these. Not to many photos of those barnstorming job days ,never in my wildest dream, would I had guest the coming of blogging and travel forums. Travel forums can be offensive places, Blogging is heavens.

Let me tell you a bit about Italy on this cloudy rainy cool day in the Morbihan Breton of France. Temps in the 11C mind you, a lot better than last week.

Italy is the Repubblica Italiana in southern Europe with a large peninsula and two big islands Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to many smaller ones. The name of Italy comes in the 5C BC with Italia the part of southern Italy today, many versions but this is how the Romans call it as the others in their empire were Lusitania, Hispania, Gallia, etc. To move to more modern times, during WWI ,Italy is on the Entente side, and on November 4 1918 it signed the peace with the Autro-Hungarian side at the Villa Giusti, the Treaty of Versailles returned the frontiers as before the war to Italy. In WWI dictator Mussolini declares war on England and France after the Nazis invaded Paris in June 10 1940. By 1943 Mussolini loses power thanks to the invasion of the allied armies in Sicily, and he is imprisoned. He is later freed by commando Nazi and resides in the north under support of the Nazi regime . The regime signed the surrender on September 8 1943 but in the south Italy fights on the side of the Allies , and at the same time a civil war against the north. By April 1945 trying to escape to Switzerland he is captured and later executed. On June 2 1946, a referendum puts an end to the Monarchy and the Italian Republic is born, the royals go into exile. The country now begins a reconstruction period as we see today.

It has several airports but the main ones are the Léonardo da Vinci or Fiumicino and Ciampino by Rome. The Milan area with its trio of Malpensa, Linate,and Orio al Serio. The roads are excellent and tasted by yours truly (autoestrada)  as well as the airports, metro, bus networks. The train is very extensive as well and have use it from Rome to Milan and Bologne as well. You have the TAV, fast trains or Alta Velocità/Alta Capacità) that have two major axis such as Torino-Milano-Verona-Venezia ,and Milano-Firenze-Rome-Napoles-Salerno. We can add a third one as Milano-Genoa, and Napoles_Bari. Trenitalia is the network for trains.

The official Italy tourist board in English is here:  http://www.italia.it/en/home.html

On business trips of many years I stayed here, 2nd home ::) Carpi, Modena
https://www.incarpi.info/en/

Bologna

arriving by car to Bologna airport from Carpi

Rome is the city in Italy , I have visited the most overall business and pleasure with the family,  (Carpi, Milan the most on business). It is one of the grand cities of our world and tops on any tourist visitor list. Well this is a loong history just saying , Capital of Italy since 1871, and the Capital of the region of Lazio, and the Roman Empire for 357 years. According to legend the name of Rome is known as the founding of the city in 753 BC by Romulus on the Palatine hill ,having killed his twin brother Remus to keep all for him (now you know why we have so many problems!) These brothers were the descendants of the god Mars and Rhéa Silvia, daughter of Numitor. And so on and on and on.

The driving well many are scare by reading travel books but I have driven on it and is not bad, it all depends where you got your driving license and where have you driven (me in all major cities and got my license in the NY/NJ metro area) ,therefore ,do not find it difficult, and the for me the language is no problems ,understand it ok if not fluent. The main train station in town is the Termini centrale or Roma-Termini, one of the biggest in Europe, opened in 1863 and rebuilt in 1939 and again renovated in 1951, the main Italian train network is Trenitalia. Another important train station is that of Roma Tiburtina working to allow fast trains to dock. Still others to note are the Roma Ostiense, Roma Trastevere, Roma Tuscolana, Roma San Pietro, Roma Nomentana (stayed around here with family),and Roma Casilina. It has six lines of tramway with over 100 stations between all. The metro de Roma opened in 1955 and has 3 lines A B and C with 74 stations. It has a pleasure boat marina with capacity for over 800 boats at Ostie now call Porti di Roma. Not to leave out the wonderful bus network, took extensively with the family and as always, the best to see a city , above ground! This site may help you : http://muovi.roma.it/

Roma

the beach!!!

Roma

going to Lido from Piramide metro

Rome

bus 62 from Nomentano to the Vatican!

Here is the tourist office of Rome in English:  http://www.turismoroma.it/?lang=en

Museums info is here in English:  http://www.museiincomuneroma.it/en/

What to see is huge need a whole blog; so will give you just my favorites over the years. The Colosseum (70–80 BC), biggest in the Roman world, originally done to welcome 60K persons. Other monuments are the Roman Forum, Domus Aurea,Pantheon,Trajan’s Column, Circus Maximus,Baths of Caracalla, Castel Sant’Angelo (castle), Mausoleum of Augustus, and the Arch of Constantine.

Roma

from Domus Aurea to the Colosseo

Roma

Castel San Angelo from ponte San Angelo

Moving right alone in my world, you have the Church Saint Mary Major and Church Saint Paul outside the Walls, Church of Santa Maria of Trastevere, Church of Santi Quattro Coronati (coronation of four saints), some nice towers such as the Torre delle Milizie and the Torre dei Conti, both next the Roman Forum. The palace or Palazzo del Quirinale (now seat of the President of the Italian Republic), Palazzo Venezia,Palazzo Farnese,and the Palazzo Barberini. Great squares such as the Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza Venezia, Piazza Farnese, Piazza della Rotonda and Piazza della Minerva. One of the most emblematic examples of Baroque art is the Fontana di Trevi or Trevi fountains. And for Roman neoclassicism see the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II or “Altar of the Fatherland”. A very nice park we like and parked on the underground parking there is the Villa Borghese, the garden is the best known large green space in Rome, with famous art galleries among its shaded walks. Overlooking Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps are the gardens of Pincio and Villa Medici.The wonderful bridges crossing the Tiber river are Ponte Cestio, Ponte Sant’Angelo (wonderful) and Ponte Milvio. Considering Ponte Nomentano, also built during ancient Rome, which crosses the Aniene river. There are some Villas related to older regime that are worth seeing including Villa Torlonia and Paganini.

OF course, side to all this is the Vatican City, but you know is not in Italy ::)

Roma

Vatican St Peter’s of course

well to tell you about my previous blog posts on Rome, and al.This is it;

Carpi : https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/11534

piazzas de Rome:  https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/7848

San Angelo castle: https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/7827

antique Rome : https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/7814

eternal Rome: https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/7805

Churches of Rome: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/09/05/the-churches-of-rome/

Vatican Rome: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/09/03/the-vatican-and-rome/

street scenes Rome: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/08/26/some-street-scenes-from-roma/

rambling in Carpi:  https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/01/19/my-ramblings-in-europethis-time-carpi-italia/

There you go, I hope it will give you a central place to get all you need for a wonderful visit to Rome, Carpi, Milan, Italy etc.etc. I have just touch the surface in the posts you will have more tourist info, links ,and photos.

Enjoy Italia, Ciao Italia! Happy weekend to all. Cheers!

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