Archive for April, 2018

April 30, 2018

In memoriam my sweet Frenchie!

As my blog is part of my life history and all the wonderful travels done with my family and alone throughout the years, I have a very sad news to tell all ,and make part of my blog.

I have no words as this is just been communicated to me by the doctors . My wife of 27,5 wonderful super years have passed away at Chubert Hospital in Vannes. It is a very sad moment for me but writing here is a soothing relief of the great pain I am going thru. We had 3 wonderful young men who are very close to her and me and we are hanging in there and we will survive together. My father still alive at 82 is with us.

The French family has call they are coming  ,and received condolances even from some not heard lately but in these times is when the real friends show up and I am very glad have a bunch.

In just 27,5 years of marriage date was December 26 1990 and her coming birthday was to be September 26 where she would have been 60 yrs old; she died of the lousy sickness of our times pancreatic cancer with intestinal occlusion complications due to the cancer.

In memoriam born in Meaux, dept 77 Seine et Marne, September 26 1958. I had the extreme priviledge of meeting by August 1989 and marrying on December 26 1990 in Daytona Beach Florida USA/ 3 young boys twins of 24 each and older of 26 years old are with me and very supportive. She died  at 19h (7pm) on April 30 2018 in Chubert Hospital (Bretagne Atlantique) in Vannes.

Farewell my Martine ,we will not forget your staunch positive aptitude and so much caring for us . As we had said many times, we take our motto from Alexandre Dumas Three Muskeeteers , ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE. We are together thanks to your example and strenght. God bless you my mamie blue, and may the angels keep you great company as you look after us from your resting place.

We spoked and decided she will be cremated at Plescop, near Vannes and later on the ashes will be deposti in the Atlantic Ocean from Honfleur Normandy. Where my mother was done and where we are all coming.

Thank you all my readers to make it so comfortable to enjoy myself telling you all the good things about travel. I will be back , promise.

 

Pluvigner

My Frenchie mamie blue Martine

 

April 30, 2018

Travels in Rabelaisie; François Rabelais!

So on this long weekend, let me tell you about something personal. I love wines and drinking them, and also ,the French literature like one of my favorites François Rabelais. And now he is so close to me, past by it and stop of course several times, drinking on the road such evangelists tell you is not good, but with a prudent men it is always a tradition worth keeping. In Vino Veritas!!!

Chinon

chateau de Chinon from across the Vienne river

Chinon

view of city from castle of Chinon

A bit on Rabelais I like

It all began near Chinon in the Loire Touraine area in the middle of vineyards and where the waters of the Vienne river meet the Loire river.  It was here in the end of the 15C in a farmhouse called “La Devinière”,(now a museum to his memory) attached to the parish of Seuilly and close by the abbey of Sully that came to our world  a literary genious call François Rabelais.  He offered the world the picturesque and funny stories of Pantagruel that his father Gargantua brought from the women Badebec, daughter of the king of the Amaurotes in Utopia. His books gave a tremendous popular following which was not to please the theologians of the Sorbonne in Paris. François Rabelais was accused of heresy and his book prohibited.  We have to say that François Rabelais was a humanist and his stories accompany the movement of the thinkers born in Italy and that marked the Renaissance. A humanism that the Church denounce as pagan.

Who is this guy? François Rabelais (aka Alcofribas Nasier, an anagram of François Rabelais, or that of  Séraphin Calobarsy) was a French writer of the humanism of the Renaissance period , born in 1483 or 1494 according to the theories and died in Paris on April 9 1553. His infant years was spent in a bourgeois level benefitting of a medieval schooling such as the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialective etc) and Quadrivium (math, geometry, music and astronomy etc) . According to the accounts of history, Rabelais starts as a Franciscan in the convent of the Baumette before joining that of Puy Saint-Martin in Fontenay-le-Comte.  While writing articles not to much to the liking of the Church he gets a waver by Pope Clement VII to have permission to entered the Benedictine order of monks.  At the Abbey of Saint-Pierre-de-Maillezais, he meets the bishop  Geoffroy d’Estissac prelate name by king François I. The bishop d’Estissac takes Rabelais as his secretary and under his protection.  Rabelais takes a trip to Paris in 1528 or 1530 to study medicine as well as his first love relationship with a widower that makes him father of two children in 1540.

Chinon

Francois Rabelais from wikimedia commons

By September 1530 he entered the Medical faculty of Montpellier where he received a bachelor degree in six weeks in the spring of 1532. He then goes to Lyon a great cultural center where the library business is booming. By November 1st he is name doctor of the hospital of Hôtel Dieu de Notre Dame de la Pitié du Pont du Rhône where he works in intervals.

The book of Pantagruel come out in 1533 was an immediate success as well as an almanac Pantagrueline Prognostication that makes fun of the superstitions. The bishop of Paris ordered Rabelais in 1534 as his secretary and doctor while he was on a trip to Rome for serious business of convincing Pope Clement VII not excommunicate king Henri VIII.  The re edition of Pantagruel in 1534 is accompany by various orthographical ,syntax and typographical corrections and very innovating at the times , and shows the fight against the Sorbonne.

By January 1536, on a brief of Pope Paul III authorized Rabelais to reach the Benedictine monastery of his choice and the exercise of medicine so he joined the Abbey of Saint Maur de Saint Maur des Fossées. By 1540, Rabelais departs for Torino Italy while on the same year the Pope Paul III declares legitimes his sons François and Junie born out of wedlock.  By September 1545 , Rabelais is given a privilege for the printing of Tiers Livre (third book) edited in 1546 by Chrestien Wechel that he signed with his own name; the theologies of the Sorbonne condemned him for heresy. By March 1546, Rabelais escapes from France  until 1547 or early 1548 in Metz at the time an imperial free town. He entered at the service of the city as doctor and adviser living by Estienne Lorens in the district of the Old town, the building still has his name. The Quart Livre  (fourth book)  still has souvenirs of this stay in Metz by introducing the language of the town, his costumes, and city stories like the Graoully. By 1551, Cardinal du Bellay bequest on Rabelais the priesthood of Saint Martin de Meudon and of Saint Christophe du Jambet. Rabelais does not lived in Meudon but maybe in Paris or in the castle of Saint Maur.

In 1548, eleven chapters of the Quart Livre are published and by 1550 Rabelais is given by the King the right to print all his works without been copy or reproduce without his approval (sort of the first copyrights ruling ).  At the same time, the printing controls becomes stricter and the law of Chateaubriand gives the rise on one of its clauses that every book printed a copy needs to go to the library of prohibited books by the Sorbonne. And of course, the three novels of Rabelias are on the list.  This prohibition does not stop the circulation of works benefiting of a Royal privilege. The integral version of the Quart Livre out in 1552 has a dedication letter by Odet de Châtillon thanking for his support.

On January 7 1553 , Rabelais  stop his treatment, he died in Paris in a house on the street or rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul (reach on metro line 1 Saint Paul or Line 7 Pont Marie or even line 7 Sully-Morland), there is a commemoration plaque on the street.  His death gives way to several stories and rumors  such as saying like « Je n’ai rien, je dois beaucoup, je donne le reste aux pauvres » something like I have nothing I give a lot, and the rest I give to the poor’s or this other one  « Tirez le rideau, la farce est jouée » something like bring down the curtains the farce is played.  He is buried at the old cemetery of the Church of Saint Paul des Champs in Paris. The Church is now call St Paul St Louis ,however, some parts of the old Church still can be seen, like part of the bell tower you can still see in the house of no 32 rue Neuve Saint Pierre at the corner of rue Saint Paul. The cemetery was closed in 1791 with many bodies in the wells some executed during the French revolution. The body of Rabelais is there below the houses that were built later, and never care to find his and others remains.

You can come and see his museum (farmhouse birth)  in plain Touraine vineyards here: http://www.musee-rabelais.fr/

To recap his most famous works and I love them all!

Pantagruel published in 1532, the publishing under the name of Alcofribas Nasier and some estimates it was published in 1533-34 or even 1535.  The déuxiéme livre or Gargantua is a follow up on the first one. Published in 1546 under his real name with the benefits of king François I and Henri II for the 1552 edition of Tiers Livre. The first edition of Quart Livre came out in 1548 with eleven chapters and many typos, the book printed by Michel Fezandat tells of the trip of Pantagruel and his friends to questioned the sayings of the Dive Bouteille.  By 1562 after his death it came out in the L’Isle Sonnante a partial edition of Cinquiéme livre (fifth book) that had 16 chapters. There was another version of 47 chapters coming out two years later. There is a manusciprt well preserve in the National Library or Bibliothéque Nationale ; since the 17C the authencity of these documents has always been questioned.

The information on the books , publications and history of François Rabelais in French is at the National Library site here: http://classes.bnf.fr/dossitsm/b-rabela.htm

And, of course, been in wine country Touraine, Loire, Rabelais finally comes to mind the title of my post. The information in French is here:  Chinon has the travels of Rabelais: http://www.chinon.com/voyagez-en-rabelaisie/

First, the area I am talking about is one I passed several times and get my wines from, at least most of them. One of the oldest AOC in France that of Chinon from 1937 covering 26 towns, 2400 hectares of vineyards, 2300 of those planted with Cabernet Franc, 74 ha with Chenin Blanc, a total of 173 winemakers producing 13 million bottles of wine each year with about 1,3 million exported of which 50% to the United States (my figures from 2015).

Chinon

map appellation Chinon from the syndicat de vins de Chinon Touraine

The vineyards are about 8 towns of the Rabelais spirit on the left bank of the Vienne river including his birthplace area of Seuilly that are all in the Chinon AOC wine denomination area.  One of the most ardent defender of this Rabelaisiens and Chinon is the Domaine or Château Joguet (my favorite buy a must to buy) own by Anne-Charlotte Genet ,that has the bottles since 1957 decorated with the Rabelais. The humanism in a bottle with 550 hectares of vineyards. Here the Vienne river cuts the appellation in two while the Loire river helps with the climate escaping the clouds…

Here the black grapes do battle even if minorities providing 17% of the red wine in other areas, while at Chinon itself they do 85% of the production, later Rosé and only 3% of whites.  Fruity , gourmand wines simple and well digest and limited keeps. The underground cellars of the Chateau de Chinon are huge and at 12C constant they can be visited. The dominant grape here is the Cabernet Franc fleuron after WWI in the area producing from it wines of fine tannins, ripe as well.  The tradition continues thanks to the amazing fraternity of wine lovers of Rabelais or the Entonneurs Rabelaisiens webpage here: http://www.entonneurs-rabelaisiens.com/

Some biased choices, sorry, but they are good seek them out and tell me what you think.

Domaine Charles Joguet Clos de la Dioterie 2015 32€  here rated 18.5 /20!! absolute a must trust me.Only 2 hectares here but sublime bio cultivation; and les Charmes 2014 is awesome; anecdote Charles Joguet is a painter but seldom does interviews;in the property you can see his paintings which are well known .

Chinon

domaine Charles Joguet and its wines in Chinon

Another one Beatrice and Pascal Lambert ,La Croix Boissée 2014 , 20€ 18.5/20 bio in chalk lands black grape with minty and sweet spices it can be keep as the one above. For all budgets, Jourdan et Pichard , Les 3 Quartiers 2014,from parcels over 50 years old in bio too, mint coffee, muscadet nuts very nice at 15€ 16,5/20. Domaine Eric Hérault, La Poiteviniére 2016 10€ 16/20, high in the quaint town of Panzoult near the castle of Chinon, strawberries, black olives, and liquorice. All good!!

A webpage with properties information in the region, in English, have it on Chinon: http://uk.vignobles-chinonbourgueilazay.com/cellars-wines/chinon

Enjoy the Touraine, a lot more than castles I am telling you ::) Happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all. Life goes on.

 

 

April 29, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXIIII

Well I am back in the routine after my last trip to East Africa (see previous post). I am back to colder grayer days with humidity to boot, this is Brittany. The temps last I read last night was 7C about 45F and no rain,but colder, today was 10C or about 50F right at 11H.. I am at my blog to help me go over the illness of my wife,cancer, so is not good. I will try to bear with it in my posts and go on with life as usual ,but it will be very hard. Thanks in advance for your prayers and best wishes. Yesterday as today or any other day was a day to visit the hospital by noonish time.

We went out to get a new toaster as when back the boys just reported not working the previous ones ho ho  ho; replace a moulinex by another bigger same moulinex at Darty a good chain of appliances here and they had opened a store in Auray closer to us than Vannes. So we did and no pictures but the site has…. webpage: https://magasin.darty.com/692561-darty-auray

We went around to visit Vannes after the hospital, and took a walk around our family favorites areas as well as had lunch at Le Saint Nicolas on rue Francis Decker right next to the tour prison or prison tower on the ramparts of Vannes. The restaurant was great , we needed it, I needed it , two pints of grimbergen blonde beers and a burger espagnol that is Spanish burger, they just put chorizos lol!! it was ok; the boys had their chunk of beef and same beers. For about 26€ per person, average and good service and ambiance was a winner. Facebook webpage: https://www.facebook.com/Le-Saint-Nicolas-Vannes-1123994740984191/

Vannes Vannes Vannes

We continue a bit of walk in Auray as we needed to change my wallet (see my baptism on the Nile in previous post); luckily the store was a hit since coming to this area for all our luggage, wallets, bags needs and still there same service and good quality brands, I had and again purchase a Hexagona cow leather for 45€ same as old,done deal at Sacmania at rue du lait, Auray. The brand webpage here: https://www.hexagona.com/fr/

The store webpage is here: http://www.sacmania.fr/item/auray/

Auray Auray

From our walks in Auray we went by the quaint nice rue du Lait going from Place Notre Dame to Place de la République in town. The St Gildas Church is here on one end Notre Dame square and on the other Republic square is the city hall or mairie of Auray; in between there is a open shopping with plenty of stores. As well as been a very nice historical town in the history of Canada and the USA.

Auray Auray Auray Auray Auray

We, then headed back home but needed groceries so decided to go back to Vannes for E Leclerc hypermarket there to do our groceries, the men’s shopping. They have been wonderful helping in all chores even taking their grandpa out for a spin the day before to have lunch at Burger King! The groceries at Leclerc are always good, and they get their cereals as well as the books, games etc at the cultural center part of Leclerc. Done. webpage: http://www.e-leclerc.com/vannes

Vannes Vannes

Some of the walks in Vannes included passing by our great train station that I used more and more, across the street is the bus terminal, all near Hospital A Chubert. You walk along the ramparts to see our wonderful fortified town with the Constable tower, the walls, the views of the St Peter’s Cathedral, the gate or Porte Prison (because it was once a prison) right at the foot of the Le Saint Nicolas resto we ate lunch; the wonderful garden of the Garenne; the préfécture or regional government building for official events only as the administrative part is elsewhere in city center by Place de la République, Vannes. The great architecture of 1894 on the building across the street rue Alain le Grand for the manufacture of Petits Fers doing the now gone hardware tools, now a line of stores using the building.  Not to overlook the goodies in Pascal Brion antiques on rue Francis Decker right before the Le Saint Nicolas resto! All wonderful medieval untouch Vannes, a city worth coming to visit. Enjoy the photos.

Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes

Then, we came home to start using our new wallets (my oldest also change his), getting all the pictures from the East Africa (Uganda) trip and then the ones for this post sort out. Got all the mail done and now ready to do our French taxes on Sunday (our family Tax Day,,,yikes!). And rest, visit hospital again etc. Lucky will have a rest day on Monday, Tuesday is Labor Day here so off, then  I go to Paris on Wednesday on same day for an opinion of the Hôpital Americain of Neuilly sur Seine (Hauts de Seine 92) even if we can call it the Paris American Hospital. Thursday is rest day again, and will finally work on Friday this coming week. Vive la France!

You stay on, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all. Life is beautiful, just not perfect. Cheers!

April 28, 2018

A bit of Uganda for you!

Ok, so I am back, the blog keeps me going thru these days, it is a way to keep up with the past and tell of the future. So on my last journey ,and my 80th country visited, I came to Uganda. A wonderful place of many friendly people all eager to improve themselves.

My journey as usual took me from Nantes Atlantique airport after getting there with my car. From Nantes I flew again to Paris CDG T2F and then change to Terminal 1 for a fly with Qatar Airways to first Doha and then Entebbe, Uganda. The return was easier on KLM from Entebbe to Amsterdam Schiphol airport and then again on KLM to Nantes Atlantique airport where my car was waiting for the return home. All done well except needed to change from AF to Qatar Airways which made me arrive five hours later to Entebbe.

Amsterdam Amsterdam Paris Paris Paris

Once there, had a friendly transportation ride as it was a business trip ,to Kampala the capital even if has no airport.  Here I stayed first at the bit expensive but just to impressed me Le Petit Village actually of Belgian style and the price to match Europe. It is actually a village with accommodations ,pool, an inside bank, souvenir store, bar and light restaurant as well as a fancy one call le Chateau with again prices to match for visiting businesspeople like me. The overall place is very nice of course, worth it of its name. The webpage is here; Le Petit Village

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

Doha airport is very nice as usual in this part of the world, the airport is the highlight … huge super modern place with all the trimmings and easy to connect flights. The formal name of the airport is Hamad International,and the webpage is here: Doha Hamad International airport

Qatar Qatar Qatar Qatar

From Doha I continue to Entebbe and here you are worlds apart; small, a bit rundown, and dirty and you need to get out of your car so they check on it , walk by and the driver will pick you up on the other side after you going thru a security check point. Once at the airport no sense in getting earlier as they put you on the side waiting room until your flight is call for departure; then you outside again and come back thru the security check point to get back into the terminal… At least the people are very friendly. The webpage is here: Entebbe airport from official gov source

A better more information place for the airport is found here: Unofficial Entebbe airport

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

While passing by Entebbe saw a bit of the local street scene, and several malls such as Imperial Mall and Victoria Mall, very interesting and some crowded traffic jams as well as rain. The imperial Mall is a recent development for Uganda standards and they have a Facebook page for it here: Facebook Imperial Mall Entebbe

Uganda

The Victoria Mall is the largest in the country and very nice. IT is in Facebook but has its own webpage here: Victoria Mall Entebbe

Uganda

There is a nice multiple store with a shopping mall call Oasis in Kampala. It has several stores and even saw a KFC restaurant here: More from this webpage: https://theeye.co.ug/nakumatt-oasis-mall/

Uganda

I  continue from Kampala and doing some street scenes rides and tasting the local Nile Special beer, just yummy! I went on to Jinja another important city in Uganda,and right by the mouth of the mighty Nile river.

Uganda

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

In Jinja , I stayed at the nice and friendly Two Friends guest house, worth it good value location and services. Here we had dinner at the next door All Friends Restaurant. The webpage is here; 2 Friends guest house Jinya

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

IT is on a street bordered with tourist accommodation as Jinja is a popular place for tours of the Nile river which starts here around Lake Victoria.  A bit more info on the Nile river mouth and cruises here: Nile river safaris

And of course , a bit more on Lake Victoria, simply amazing. Lake Victoria Uganda

While in Jinja, I did my baptism on the Nile river , a bit lake but I was here!!! Well having a jet ski waverunner and driver helps a lot but the views were spectacular and of course on the way back to harbor I fell in the water trying to go from the jet ski to a fishing boat; no big deal it was shallow and had floating jacket on, quickly out, just my clothes were soaked. An experience to remember for life. Wonderful place thought.

Uganda

As my time there covered a week and traveling back and forth from Kampala to Jinya I got me a different hotel for the last day and a half in Kampala, this was the MacKinnon Suites, very centrally located, rather nice building, impressive courtyad only the bedding was a bit well yellow.  The rest was fine with good friendly service and excellent facilities. webpage: Mackinnon Suites hotel Kampala

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

Coming back landing at CDG Terminal 1 been there but is my worse terminal, been the oldest nothing like T2. The pdf map for Terminal 1 is here: CDG Terminal 1 map  You walk into the CDGVAL train connection to get you to Terminal 2 and the connections to Paris.

Coming thru Schiphol Amsterdam allow me for a quicker return and to do some shopping for Gouda cheese, and pepermint candies. The airport is an usual one for me with just one big boulevard Holland to walk by and shop and eat and drink.  I spent most of my time there at the Internet Centre and eating at the Oven pizzeria upper level.  You have the maps here: Schiphol airport maps

Nantes Atlantique is booming with growth and facilities every where already very much in use, it will grow for sure. It is my favorite airport as it is so easy to use and very convenienent covered attach parking garage. The hotels are just across the street for a stayover about 300 meters. Webpage: Nantes Atlantique map

Overall, a very pleasant trip and a new dot in my world map. Uganda know from many years before doing business there but never visit until now, as the saying goes better late than never. And I will be back….

I took many pictures of all things moving, will put a sampler here just to get you to try it go there ,the beer is good the coffee is great, and the people very friendly and safe place to be. Enjoy  the street scenes.

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

Happy long weekend with our Labor Day coming May 1, and other personal duties going to Paris for my wife illness,and then before see the semifinal second game of the Champions league…; Happy travels, good health and many cheers!

 

April 21, 2018

And we do still have eternal Rome!!!

Ok so this is a major tourist destination so one page blog won’t cover it. However, will give you enough wish list items to do visit. I admit when living outside of Europe never visited Italy, but since living in Europe, been there several times and one big summer vacation with the family all over Rome, Lazio region. Flew the family with the frequent miles by air and then public transport or a rental car to visit outside Rome was fantastic.

The public transport in summer was almost empty, and all the attractions were open even with big line did not matter we have seen plenty of old stones already in Europe ::) We did rented an apartment the Nomentano area very residential nice real people living and doing our groceries in the nearby Carrefour market. We were near Bologna metro/subway station but nevertheless we only use a couple times, the rest was on the bus, best way to see a city ,above ground!

So let’s give you an overall view of the Eternal Rome, starting with my previous blog posts on it !

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/08/22/eternal-roma-rome-in-italy-of-course/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/08/24/the-castle-at-rome-sant-angelo/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/08/25/the-piazzas-or-squares-of-rome/

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

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

Rome or in Italian Roma is the capital of Italy since the Italian Republic in 1871 , located in the center west of the Italian Peninsula near the Tyrrheniann sea and also the capital of the region of Lazio; and was of the Roman empire for 357 years. It has the peculiarity to have a State right in the middle of the city, Vatican city where the Pope is the chief of State; it is the only one of its kind in the world. The history of Rome extends for over 28 centuries since the foundation by Romulus in 753 BC to now, been successive the center of the Roman monarchy, Roman republic (509 BC to 27 BC) ;later the Roman empire ( 27BC to 330AD)  ; during all theses periods we came to hear the popular phrase, All roads lead to Rome! . Since the 1C AD it host the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in the  Pontifical States from 752 to 1870 and later the Vatican City.

The city center extends 25 km to the coast by the Tyrrhénien sea forming the district of Ostia later call the Lido of Rome  (as lido means littoral ).  It is why Rome is one of the rare capital city that has a sea front and about 20 km of beaches.  The center is where you hear the phrase the seven hills of Rome with the Aventin, Caelius, Capitole, Esquilin, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal on the south where there is the Tiberian island. The city center ,also, includes the hills of Janicule and Pincio as well as the Vatican and the nearby Mount Testaccio. Outside the walls of the city you can find other hills even higher such as Monte Mario , Monte Parioli and Monte Antenne; as the old city was surrounded by ramparts walls or the Aurelian wall built by Emperor Aurelian in 270AD to protect the neighborhoods developed outside the Servian wall.

As mentioned , and by looking at my previous blog posts above there is lots to cover here. However, as different from many my favorites parts of the city are the parks such as : Villa Doria Pamphili, Villa Ada, Villa Borghése ( a must),  Gardens of the Vatican, Villa Glori, Villa Celimontana, Villa  Torlonia, Villa Medici (another dandy) ,the gardens of Pincio and the botanical garden of Rome.

Roma

Villa Borghese gardens left of palace

There is a lot of old history and monuments here, so you come for the  Roman period, excellent choice. My favorites or everybody’s favorites are the Colisseum ,Panthéon, Roman Forum,  arch of Triomphe of Arch of Constantin, and the Arch of Titus, the Marcellus theater, Via Appia, Thermes of Caracalla, Trojan column , Circus Maximus, Aurelian wall, Pyramid of Caius Cestius, Hercules temple, and Ostia Antica. You have nice fortress castles such as Castle of San Angelo, Fortress of Ostia and House of knights of Rhodes.

Roma

Colosseo di Roma

Roma

Trojan garden domus aurea

Roma

Foro Romano by palatino entrance

Roma

Pantheon di Roma

There are beautiful squares we like such as the Piazza Navone, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza di Capitolio , Piazza de la Rotonda, Piazza de popolo, Campo de Fiori, Piazza de Quirinal, Piazza Farnese. The nicest bridges in my opinion are the Ponte San Angelo ,and the nicest fountains are of Trevi, Four rivers fountain, Neptune fountain, Turtles fountain, Triton fountain in piazza Barberini, and fountain of naides in piazza della Repubblica. Then, you have many many obelisks, gates, columns, catacombs, churches, basilicas, chapels, museums  libraries and the semifinalist in the Champion League 2018 AS Roma!

Roma

Piazza di Spagna climbing

Roma

Piazza Narvonna obelisk

Roma

Piazza Popolo

The webpage to help you plan your trip further is the tourist office of Rome here:  http://www.turismoroma.it/?lang=en

The region of Lazio tourist office: Lazio tourist office

Hope you enjoy it, on a hot Saturday in the Morbihan going to 29C or 84F!!! time to head for the beach. Happy travels, good health and many cheers!

 

Tags: , ,
April 21, 2018

Some news from France CXC

And lets get back to France, it is hot, very hot, today we got to 29C or about 84F, and the locals went to the beach. Not me, need to work but will check it out a bit tomorrow. Full sunshine and no rain of course; lovely France. And gorgeous Morbihan in Brittany on the west coast beaches!

Let me tell you a bit on what is going on of interest to many, not to mention the strikes on SNCF continues and AF is calling for days too, the University students are holding out and been kick out by the police special riots from the Universities, and so on ,that is France ,champions strikers; one way to break from the cold into the hot  spring days!

I have mentioned before of things to do in Versailles, and told you it is more than a castle well here is one update of one place we like when lived there and visit when by the city. You have on the left the Centre Commercial Parly II shopping center par excellence and we like too, on the right you have the Château de Versailles and between these mega places you have a heaven of peace with the sweetness of big trees covering about 250 fields of football/soccer and still not as well visited. The Arboretum de Chévreloup sits between the cities of Rocquencourt (Van Gogh painted on the town) and Versailles in the Yvelines dept 78 and after some renovation is open again! Normally, they had opened about 50 hectares to the public but after this major work, you can walk on 200 hectares or 494 acres! On a land that was the hunting ground of king Louis XIV and part of the Domaine de Versailles until the French revolution. It has over 2500 species of trees in geographical lineup,one of the richest collections in Europe!  The blue cedar trees are one of the biggest in the world with 800 meters on a straight line bringing you back to what the botanists were thinking when they created in the 1920’s. See it! Arboretum de Chévreloup, 30 route de Versailles, (N186) open every day from  April 1 to November 15 (except labor day May 1st) from 10h to 18h admission is 7€ adults more info at  Arboretum de Chévreloup

Major work to renovated the Grand Palais, as it is in a critical state of repairs. The main building in the Universal Exposition of 1900 ,the works planned for it will be the first since opening in a historical work site with a budget of 466 million euros , it will start in December 2020 and finish by Spring 2023 and by the summer of 2024 will be an Olympic site. The public debate on the progress will be held and decision done by May 14 . You can follow the vote and construction updates here.  building debate on the Grand Palais

And the men of the Big wheel or Grande Roue  in the place de la Concorde by the Jardin des Tuileries is at it again with the city of Paris. This time going to the Council of State the highest body to rendered a decision. Marcel Campion wants the wheel to stay here , however if the decision is negative, he will take the wheel to Red Square in Moscow. The decision by the Council of State should be by May 19 next. Marcel Campion is offering two free days to the resident of Paris with proof of domicile, on May 17 and 18. All others still need to pay admission of 12€.  Description of the Big Wheel is here in city of Paris tourist office! Big Wheel Paris tourist office

And the very busy and popular RER C station of Saint Michel is due to open to the public again by April 30. It has been closed for repairs and now there is a tentative opening day according to  SNCF  Réseau .

And as the weather is nice ,and will be for the next few days ,here is my suggestion for a nice weekend brunch in Paris. Claus Saint-Germain. 2, rue Clément (6éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 55 26 95 10. Brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 9h to 17H formule 4 brunchs from 31-34€. More here: Claus Saint Germain

And how about those wonderful Paris terraces, well they are all over and plenty of choices for all. My favorites the last couple years have been.

Marcello. 8, rue Mabillon (6éme). Tél. +33 01 43 26 52 26. open every day carte menu 30-60€ Marcello Paris

Le Drugstore. 133, avenue des Champs-Élysées (8éme). Tél. +33 01 44 43 77 64. Open every day carte menu 40-60€. Le Drugstore Paris

And with the look alone of the Basilica Sainte Clotilde you have the quaint Le Basilic. 2, rue Casimir-Perier (7éme). Tél. +33  01 44 18 94 64. Open every day carte menu 50-70€.  Le Basilic Paris

Maison Maison. Voie Georges-Pompidou, facing  16, quai du Louvre (1éme). Open every day except Mondays and Tuesdays for lunch. carte menu 15-30€

At La Démesure (9éme)  you have your views on the Seine river on the righ bank or rive droite on a boat barge of 120 persons capacity with tables on the quays. La Démesure sur Seine. 69, port de la Rapée (12éme). Open every day except Sundays and Mondays. Carte menu 20-40€.  La Démesures sur Seine Paris

And only steps from the wonderful nice pretty a must parc Monceau,you have a huge terrase for 70 persons capacity hiding behind the gate of the Camondo museum ,see the wonderful gardens . Le Camondo. 61 bis, rue de Monceau (8éme). Tél. +33  01 45 63 40 40. Open every day except Sundays. Carte menu 45-55€. Le Camondo Paris

And of course on these brunch and terrace combination, cannot go away without telling you again my all time favorite in my favorite spots in Paris, the 16éme and quartier Muette. What was an old train station for several years a wonderful place to eat, drink and enjoy the terraces in the back overlooking the Parc Ranelegh. Restaurant Le Gare, 19 chaussée de la Muette, metro La Muette line 9 leaves you facing the restaurant to your left out of station. Open every day menu carte from 24-39€ Enjoy it. Those from my previous life in the travel forums will remember taking you there each time in Paris. Webpage: Restaurant Le Gare

And Mexico is feeling strong in Paris! La Casa Corona , a house of artists and part of Corona France (the Mexican beer people) has open a new ephemeral bar in the 11éme on what was a huge loft with a glass ceiling now has several bars, lots of vegetation, water fresheners sprays, hammocks, swingers and small corners to speak softly between friends. The invited artists will be amongst you and could expose their works in the bar where a display has been installed;nothing told in advance you just show up and see who is showing or playing there. The La Casa Corona, 71 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11éme, Will have the space open from April 19 to May 13, Tuesdays to Thursdays from 17h to midnight and from Fridays to Sundays until 02h . You pay only 5€ for a corona beer and 10€ for cocktails. Really!!! See more in their Facebook page here: La Casa Corona Paris

Well Bio is on, and even I got some stuff bio here ::) Some of the best in my opinion and they are many and more and more coming.

Wild & The Moon has six addresses in Paris (last one at the fondation Lafayette Anticipations), the green cantina of  bio, local,  ethical, in season, vegan, rich in super foods, without lactose or additives or glutens.  Loaded with sweets as well and spices see it at  Wild & The Moon. 55, rue Charlot (3éme). Tél. +33 09 51 80 22 33. Open every day carte menu 15-30€. Wild & Le Moon Paris

A few steps from the Folies Bergére there is a counter, café-restaurant, and cantina.  The first is for take out food with retreats of purchase at the Le Campanier, the second is simple dishes with lots of vegetables and the cantina for fast lunch a la carte like soup of the day, veggie burger, and  cheesecake etc etc.  See at Supernature. 8 (counters), 12 (cantinas) , and 15 (restaurant), rue de Trévise (9éme). Tél. +33 01 42 46 58 04. Open every day except Saturdays and Sundays evening. Carte menu  16-30€. Brunch  on Sundays from 11h30 to 16h, 25€.  Supernature Paris

And for the fresh bio go and done since 1989,when a group got together here to offered all bio and one of the originals of Paris with a large choice of fruits, vegetables , and groceries and take out food.  Heavy on Sundays morning, the Marché bio Raspail. Boulevard Raspail, between rue du Cherche-Midi and rue de Rennes (6éme). Sundays from 9h to 15h. Marché Bio Raspail Paris

From bio to Cognac, well it is natural too ::)

The owner of cognac Remy Martin and liqueur Cointreau and rum Mount Gay just published the financials with cognac sales of 265M euros an increase of 2,6% if exchange rates taken into account ,otherwise it would be 12,8%. The sales of cognac Remy Martin are about 75% of that are 18;3% of the growth alone. The performance is very solid in the United States its first market as well as Russia, and the travelers sales on planes airports etc. The mark is positioning on the luxury segment and expect to have 60% of their sales on products costing more than 50 USDollars per bottle to the 2019-2020 period. The group overall sales are 1,13 billion euros and growth of 7,3% for 2017-2018. The story of Remy Martin here: cognac Rémy Martin

And I close out this edition of Some news from France with something from my earlier youthful days on light airplanes. ….

This weekend today at Cannes there will be the first Red Bull Air Race in France!!! with the participation of five French pilots. More here: Red Bull Air Race Cannes 2018

However, if you like to do this in while visiting France, let me give you some leads !!! The nice aerodrome of my nice Saint-Cyr-l’Ecole  and Dreux , have friendly voltage air rides for about 30-40 minutes and 240€ on a CAP 10 airplane, the most popular plane of  its class in the world. Also, in my old hangouts areas of the L’Isle-Adam, aerodrome Persan-Beaumont  are given rides of 30 minutes on an EXTRA 200 for about 526€, video souvenir included . For the same price in Coulommiers, dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, it is possible to fly for about 25 minutes on a wonderful Pitts Spécial, the mythical plane of voltage from the 1960’s and 265 Horse powers. And on the same club you can do a ride on a Robin R 2160 for 339€. Nearer me now in Ploemeur, near Lorient a ride sensation on a CAP 10 is doable for 120€.  At the Rennes airport they can give you a baptismal flight of about an hour over the Mont-Saint-Michel  for 749€.  You will do this and all along the coast in a Boeing Stearman of WWII vintage.   all of these  aerodromes can be found here. Just put the name of the town in France section. Aerodromes of France

Enjoy my belle France as I do. Have a great weekend you all. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all.

 

 

 

April 20, 2018

How about the history and things in Jerez de la Frontera!

Here we are again with a piece of my beloved Spain. This is deep Spain, in fact when visitors comes to Spain or hear about it, what they really see / hear is Andalucia. Not bad to wandered around Spain, as we say Spain is everything under the sun ::)

I came here to see the history as told abroad with the famous sherry ,horses,  and flamenco all in one, mind you as Spanish these are not my traditions been from Tenerife. However, all refer to Spain with these Andalucian treasures. So, therefore, lets talk about Jerez de la Frontera.

Jerez de la Frontera is in the province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia ; frontera comes from the frontier between moors nazari Granada and the Crown of Castilla. Only about 12 km from the Atlantic ocean and 85 km from the Gibraltar strait. It can describe in four words, wine/sherry ,horse, flamenco and motorcycles. The city is known for centuries as the capital of wine or sherry. Another trait is the horse or cartucian horse or jerezano a line of the andalucian horse from the 15C. The city is also known as the birthplace of Flamenco. The motorcycle Grand Prize of Spain is run here along the neighboring El Puerto de Santa Maria.

The name of Jerez is from the denomination Xera of the Phonecians in the area where the city id found today; later the Roman called it Ceret or Seret and after the  Visigoths it was called Seritium or Xeritium. After the Moorish invasion it was called Sherish and when the kingdom of Castilla took Jerez in 1264 the city came to be known as Xerez, and later added de la Frontera as it was in the frontier with the kingdom of Granada. It is said the origins go back to the city of Asta Regia founded by the Tartessos at about 8 km from the current location and could have been their capital. After the discovery of new world and the conquest of Granada in 1492 Jerez goes thru a tremendous growth period with trade with nearby ports of Sevilla and Cadiz. This made that king Felipe II ordered built a navigable estuary so the ships can reach the port in the city such as El Portal to the city of Guadalete,and that the city was included amongst the 480 cities of the world part of the  Civitates Orbis Terrarum  or panoramic cities of the world. By 1890, Jerez  was the first city to have public electricity at least for the lighting together with Haro in La Rioja . From the 17C, time where Sherry was famous all over the world, many British companies settled here such as Garvey, Gonzalez Byass, William & Humbert as well as Spanish Bearn such as Domecq; the strong close link to the  British remained constant.

I have written a piece in my blog a while back and will remind you to see the more touristic side of it here: My post on Jerez de la Frontera

Then, the city of Jerez has excellent information in Spanish here: Jerez city info on heritage

Tourist office of Jerez de la FronteraTourist office of Jerez de la Frontera

Tourism in the province of Cadiz on Jerez de la Frontera: Cadiz Province tourism

Some of the things to see from a religious standpoint are huge, some of my favorites are:

Convento de San José, now housing Franciscans Clarisas descalzas or no shoes ; Capilla de los Desamparados, Capilla de San Juan de Letràn, Capilla del Calvario, Convento de Madre de Dios, very good pastries here!!! with sisters of the Franciscans Clarisas , Church Madre de Dios (mother of God) Sanctuary San Juan Grande, Church of Santa Ana, and Capilla de Santa Marta.

The city has several castles/palaces some in not so good shape, again many, so my favorites are:

Palacio, Duke of Abrantes, here is the home of the Royal school of Andalucian Equestrian art. By the nice Plaza Benavente you have the Palacio de Camporreal, and Palacio de Bertemati, Palacio de Riquelme, 16C, Palacio Domecq baroque style built in 1778 with Italian red marble and decorated arches. Palacio Dàvial renaissance style, in the Plaza Rafael Rivero come to see the Palacio de Luna (moon palace) baroque style built 1777. Palacio Pemartin, home of the Flamenco Andalucian center. Palacio de Villavicencio inside the Alcàzar, the curious can see now a store but this is the Palacio del Marqués de Villamarta in Calle Larga! At the Calle Pozuelo see the Palacio del Conde de los Andes; Casa Palacio de los Ponce de Léon, now the home of the sisters of the Savior ; in the Plaza de Belén see the Palacio de los Condes de Montegil, and the unique Casa de los Basurto built between the 16C and 19C is now part of the Bodegas Domecq sherry house.  Plenty more I told lots of palatial homes here.

There are several museum spread all over the city, my favorites are:

The Archeological museum or Museo Arqueologico in nice Plaza del Mercado with a corinthian center unique in the western world found near the Cartuja and the Guadalete river. Museos de la Atalaya, includes the mystery of Jerez (wine museum) and the Palacio del Tiempo ( watches museum). Museo Taurino on the bullfights and matadors! The Museum of the Andalucian costumes :dresses or Museo del Traje Andaluz. A unique museum for all is the Museo de la Fundacion Espinosa de los Monteros, with guitars, and musical instruments on strings; interesting indeed.

Some other interesting building in my opinion worth a detour are: City hall or ayuntamiento in Renaissance style. The Zoo and botanical garden, Alcazar old arab fortress and as mentioned inside it has the Palacio de Villavicencio and a hidden camera; as well as the ramparts walls with pieces of it on several streets, open or encrusted in buildings today.

Jerez de la Frontera

walls tower of the Alcazar

And of course other then the horse, the best to come here is the sherry , or Jerez; in many forms. Many houses but in my opinion the best from a historical , architectural and wine perspectives are:

The Gonzalez Byass (visited), Domecq (visited), Grupo Garvey, Williams & Humbert, Sanchez Romate (visited), bodegas Lustau, and Bodegas Tradicion with wine cellars from 1666. Other aspects of a visit to this city is the vineyards festival or Fiestas de la Vendimia, celebrated since 1848, oldest in Spain, the first foot step of the grape is done the first 15 days of September. Another huge event here is Holy Week or Semana Santa, the biggest in Andalucia! with 42 processions averaging six per day, and several nativity scenes in town. The Festival de Flamenco de Jerez is considered the best in the world​ by many and including the prestigious Flamenco magazine, Flamenco magazine

Jerez de la  Frontera

Domecq and the horse Casimiro in the patio of the house

Jerez de la Frontera

Gonzalez Byass bodega los Apostoles barrel aging

There you go a full version on Jerez de la Frontera, Province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia, Kingdom of Spain. Enjoy your visit here, it is all worth it; happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!! and Weekend is here again lol!

April 19, 2018

In Aranjuez there was a Prince, Palacio de Aranjuez!

Reading about palaces, another blogger mentioned liking Aranjuez. It gave me an inspiration to write something about the town which is the palace. I know about Aranjuez since a small enfant, my mother would sing sing to me the concerto of Aranjuez, that has been even turns into operas and zarzuelas in my beloved Spain. The best I heard was played by Paco de Lucia ,the great Flamenco guitarist. This concerto song was composed in Paris (always love) by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo in 1939 on his last year living there. He was inspired by the love to his wife Victoria. Many versions tells of a love between a Prince and a lady that was not possible to be, this one I like it better but both are not proving yet.

Aranjuez is about 44 km from Madrid on the left bank of the Tajo river. Here at the palace were signed many treaties over the years, my two favorite ones were the Treaty of Aranjuez of 1779 between France and Spain where Spain entered the War of Independance of the United States as an ally of France; and the Treaty of Aranjuez of 1793 , a protective defense between Spain and the United Kingdom in face of the defeat and execution of king Louis XVI during the French revolution.

The National Heritage sites of Spain has a bit on it in English : Patrimonio Nacional on Aranjuez

The tourist office of the Comunidad de Madrid, region of Madrid where Aranjuez is located. Turismo Madrid region on Aranjuez

On the city in general and a bit on the Palace I wrote before in my blog here: Aranjuez more than a concerto

Now, let me give you more on the palace. The place is big and right in city center, easy parking up the main street for free was easy to find along Calle de la Florida; we always walk all over town and into the garden and forest. We found the best places to eat away from the center around the palace, less authentic, lot of tourist influences, best to walk away  like by Calle Postas after the covered market, if you want the real taste of Aranjuez.

On my last trip here we just wandered about without going into the Palace. Well seen it before and so many of them; better be more nostalgic next time. However, for all visitors to Spain and especially from Madrid, it is a must to visit me think.  The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is one of the residences of the King of Spain located in the town of Aranjuez, part of the Comunidad de Madrid autonomous region.

Aranjuez

arriving under Arch Calle de la Florida NIV Aranjuez

A bit of history I like.

When Holy Roman Emperor Carlos V or King Carlos III became interested in developing Aranjuez as a Royal site for hunting came to used as in 1501 was already done by Felipe the Beautiful on the old masters palace of Santiago. It eventually was ordered built by king Felipe II to architect Juan Bautista de Toledo ,he died during the construction and it was finished by Juan de Herrera. During the 17C the work was completely stop until the times of king Fernando VI and enlarged during king Carlos III that ordered built the wings on back as you can see today.  a smaller Palace was done called Casa del Labrador or house of the labrador outside the limits of the castle and forming part of the Prince’s gardens or Jardin del Principe. The huge gardens were done to create bigness in the palace and were irrigated with the waters of the Tajo and Jarama rivers, been the most important gardens of the Habsburgs period.

In 1808, the ceremony held in the Royal Chapel of the Palace the Supreme central council and kingdom government was created; been part the deputies from the supremes council of the main capital cities of the old kingdoms. In 1971, the lower level of the palace was created the Historical Court Costume museum. In 1997 ,the museum reopened as the Palace lifestyle museum that included the uniform of the King Juan Carlos I from the date of his proclamation in 1975 as well as the dress of queen Sofia of the same day; you can see her dress as bride as well as those of queen Letizia, infanta Elena and Cristina. From 1977 to 1983 it served as residence of the foreign chief of States visiting Spain by 1983 this function was transfered to the Palacio Real de El Pardo.

The Palace of Aranjuez is exactly located between the avenida del Palacio, and the plaza de las Parejas on the south, garden or jardín del Parterre by the east, stream of water by the north and the plaza del Raso de la Estrella by the west.

Some of the best from inside are:

The dining room  (Comedor) is the center of the Palace and decorated as conversation piece since 1748 under king Fernando VI and later dining room per se under king Carlos IV. You will see lots of decorations here , meaning several dictums such as justice, prudence and charity, faith etc in rococco style, and the four corners of the world . You have several paintings here , as well as huge clocks from the times of Carlos IV, furniture, from Fernando VII and porcelains.

The Arab office or Gabinete Arabe; was inspired by the room of the two sisters in the Alhambra of Granada, and built between 1848 and 1850 by the same architect that restored the  Nazari palace in Granada, Rafael Contreras.  It is decorated in ceramic tiles walls and sculpture chalk polichrome with arabic symbols. The Andalucian decoration is completed by a transparency of the Lions patio of French making done with damascus of silk and candles in bronze and porcelain plaques painted in 1835 created at the manufacture of Sévres , France as a gift of king of the French Louis Philippe of Orléans to the regent queen Maria Cristina de Borbon Dos Sicilias of Spain.  There is a huge neo gothic lamp in golden bronze with 81 lights in two levels gift of infante Don Francisco de Paula to his consort king Francisco de Asis de Borbon.

The Porcelain office or Gabinete de Porcelana (my favorite);  was the first work of the Royal Factory of Porcelain in the Buen Retiro Palace finished in 1765 here. Later it was the inspiration for the homogenous stand on the  Royal Palace of Madrid on a style closer to the neo gothic.  You have around seven big mirrors and other portraits with a oriental figures, dragons, monkeys, fruits, and diverse objects . There is a porcelain lamp resembling a palm tree with open arms and a Chinese holding its edge with a monkey doing the same.  The work is with golden painting on the windows, glass enclosures and doors to match the decoration of the office. There are six chairs in ceramic lacquer on the English model of queen Anne. This office served as a room for the office of king Carlos III and later as a music hall for the queen Isabel II with a piano of Collard & Collard, now in the bedroom of the queen.

And the gardens are wonderful indeed. I think the best.

Next to the facade of the Royal Palace there is the lawn garden or Jardin del Parterre ordered built by king Felipe V to the French gardener Bouteloul in 1727 and done in 1746.  On the northern  part you will see the Tajo river and from the bridge or Puente Barcas you see the arches of the Royal Palace that are divided from view by  jars of  flowers , a well, created in 1762 by king Carlos III.

This garden has several fountains amongst them the Fountain of Hercules and Anteo and Ceres and Nereidas. The fountain of Hércules and Anteo, is the most espectacular ordered built by King Fernando VII in 1827.  On the extreme western of the garden you have a small square facing the Royal Palace and you have there the Statues garden or Jardín de las Estatuas, due to its fourteen busts in marble of roman emperors, kings of Spain, and personages from antiquity place in niches on the wall. It is also, known as Kings garden or Jardín del Rey as it was king Felipe II who ordered it built in the second half of the 16C , the garden is enclosed on the south side of the Royal Palace next to the Clock tower  on the renaissance style.  The garden of islands or jardin de las Islas was called as such for been surrounded on three sides by the Tajo river and on the south by an artificial stream, and it is on the north of the Royal Palace.  Its origins go back to the order of Santiago between 1387 and 1409 that was a masters palace build here before the Royal Palace.  When in 1487, king Fernando the Catholic became Master of the Order, the Queen Isabel the Catholic took it for her and became known as the queens garden or Jardín de la Reina. Later on, kings Carlos I and Felipe II decided to change the area into a natural priviledge forested area.

Aranjuez

Jardin de las Islas

You only need to enter the garden over the ramp bridge and you see the fountain of the pharmacist or Fuente de la Boticaria, a circular glass with children with shells and rocks figures . At the back there is the room of the Catholic Kings or Salon de los Reyes Catolicos, a promenade of 300 meters with plantains trees next to the levy of the Tajo river. The fountain or Fuente de Hercules e Hidra is the first to find here after crossing the stream by a small stairs on a pedestal you see the figure of Hercules killing the Hydra. The fountain was ordered built by king Felipe IV  to replace a former fountain dedicated to Diana in the times of king Felipe II. The sculptures on the pedestal around the fountain were purchase by king Felipe V and originally located in the gardens of La Granja (Segovia).  Later moved to the columns at the entrance to the Jardin del Principe by ordered of king Carlos IV and finally are now resting in the Prado museum of Madrid.

The fountain of Apollo or Fuente de Apolo  from the 16C is just next to that of Hercules on a marble pedestal on which center there is a cup with the figure of Apollo with the foot on a dragon; the small square was called previously Puerta del Sol de Aranjuez next to the street or Calle de la Galeria with water  pumps reaching hip high call the Burladero (sort of the barrier where the torero hides in the arena). This walk takes you to the Fuente del Réloj or Watch fountain also known as hours or rings that is in square flank by six benches in stone and the fountain in the middle. When is working the shadows of the water spouts marks the hours of the day! We moved on to the Spines Children fountain or Fuente del Nino de la Espina also known as the spines or witches ordered created by king Felipe III with a round stone and corinthian column in each corner ;in the center there is  there a personnage in stone trying to take a spine out from his left foot.  In each corner of the fountain there is a column on which top there is a figure of an witch throwing water to the center of the fountain of a witch.  The Fountain of Venus or Fuente de Venus is also known as the Fuente de Don Juan de Austria as it is believed the stone was taken from the battle of Lepanto.  It is located in the center of a square with a figure of Venus in bronce trying to dry its hair with the hands; it was sent to Spain from Florence in 1571.

Deeper into the garden you come to the Fuente de Baco, or Bacchus fountain; located in a hexagonal square with stone benches and at the center you see the god Baco, crown with grape branches sitting on a barrel with a wine cup in his right hand. The main body of this fountain was a gift of king Felipe III to the Duke of Florence and designed in marble by Giambologna. It was originally designed to house the Fountain or Fuente de Sanson el Filibustero giving by king Felipe IV to king Charles I of England in 1623 and today it is at the Victoria and Albert museum of London. Since 1656 it is crown by the figure of Baco done by Jacobo Jonglinck. Continue on the walk with the Fountain or Fuente de Neptuno located far from the entrance to the garden, representing god of Neptune done in a shell type thrown by the right hand on two marine horses, around it in four pedestals you have the goddess of Cibeles, and Ceres each with a crown in the form of a castle and carriages thrown by lions held by children. On the third pedestal you have god Jupiter on an eagle over a globe of the world held by titans with the legend written as ” The king his majesty Felipe II ordered made this fountain while governor Don Francisco Brizuela, year MDCXXI = 1621.”
 This jardin de Narciso garden is the most extensive on the Tajo river and Calle de la Reina, in Aranjuez. A perimeter of 7 km and over 150 hectares of which only about half are to be visited. Great varieties of trees, and a dam of stone call Malecon de Solera. It has a port or fortified embarcadero ordered done by king Carlos IV , and very much used during the kings visit to Aranjuez.  It shows a fountain or Fuente de Narciso next to his dog almost fallen off while holding on are four Hercules. It was damaged during the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt in 1827. Continue to the fountain of the swans or Fuente de los Cisnes inspired by the one at La Granja palace (Segovia). It has a stone with two children figures in marble holding a swan from which the peak water comes out. It was damaged in the War of independance (c 1808) partially destroyed but in 2009 there is a renovation done on the figures of the Children and swan. The Apolo fountain or Fuente de Apolo in carrara marble shows the god on the high of the pedestal, ordered by king Carlos IV was not finished until his son king Fernando VII reign. It has a semicircular shape with six columns crown with guardians ducks; on each side two square columns and the statue of Apollo purchased by king Felipe V and located at La Granja (Segovai), king Carlos IV ordered brought to Aranjuez. The current statue in the Jardin del Principe is a replica as the original was sent back to La Granja in 2000.
Aranjuez

jardin del Principe fuente de Apollo

Aranjuez

jardin del principe Fuente de Narciso

The lake or estanque de los Chinescos or shadow plays is an artificial lake with small fence around it on three isles on which there is a temple or kiosk of greek style, other shadow plays and an Egyptian mausoleum in granite. The Greek pavillion is the work of Juan de Villanueva (escorial) with eight columns of ionic order holding the ceiling crown with an pineapple in bronce painted like marble color.  The shadow plays temple was heavily damaged during the War of independance (C 1808) and rebuilt by king Fernando VII as a kiosk on the Turkish style with colorful greens, red, and golden colors. Nearby there is a rollercoaster or Montana Rusa even if the true name is Swiss mountain crowned by a temple in wood from where you have great views of the garden. Finally, on the extreme western part of the garden you have the Casa del Labrador ordered built by king Carlos IV and a great collection of statues and clocks. In this garden , you have pheasants and royal turkeys as well as squirrels and other animals.

The Isabel II garden or Jardin de Isabel II is the last garden to be built in Aranjuez from the 19C when queen Isabel II was still a girl. It is a square garden located next to the Plaza de San Antonio and the Paseo del Brillante,created in 1830, while four years later it was put in the middle on a marble pedestal a bronce statue of the girl queen; it has eight benches in stone and eight flower pots. It is very nice as a last stop before leaving the city.

Aranjuez

jardin Isabel II and statue

 

There you go a nice castle in a nice town of old Madrid, maybe not a love story for you or me but nevertheless its a very romantic place especially in the gardens. Enjoy the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

Tags: , ,
April 19, 2018

Another bloody dandy square ,Trafalgar in London!

Ok so we went to London, we have been there a few time , couple times with the family on vacation and several other by me on business trips. London is more as like going back over the pond, but a bit more aristocratic. We love the night life and the free museums but walk so wonderful to walk.

In walking nothing tops going over the big squares and my favorite there is Trafalgar ,so therefore, here is a bit of honor on Mr Nelson.

Trafalgar Square in the neighborhood of Westminster in London is name after the battle of Trafalgar by Cape Trafalgar opposing the French-Spanish navy vs the British in 1805. The square is very lively and we like it. Trafalgar Square is at the intersection of Charing Cross where it connects with  Whitehall (in turns connecting to Parliament Square), The Strand, The Mall (connecting to Buckingham Palace via Admiralty Arch), Cockspur Street ,and  Northumberland Avenue, while on the north the square ends on the Pall Mall extension, and  Duncannon Street.

Other than several embassies  there , you have the National Gallery, one of the most important museum in London and the Anglican Church St Martin-in-the-Fields  built in the 18C on the spot of an earlier Church built in the 13C that was in a field between the City and Westminster.  Many famous people have been buried at St Martin’s including Nell Gwynn, mistress of Charles II , the painters William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds and the renowned craftsman Thomas Chippendale. There is a statue of king James II in costume of an emperor. In the center of the square there are two fountains one with LED colors. The fountains reduced the open space available for public gatherings and reduced the risk of riotous assembly.

The site of Trafalgar Square had been a significant landmark since the 13C and originally contained the King’s Mews. After George IV moved the mews to Buckingham Palace, the area was redeveloped by John Nash in 1820 designed, but progress was slow after his death, work started in 1829 and the square did not open until 1844, when the northern terrace of the National Gallery was done.  It was in 1842 when Nelson’s Column was erected at 52 meters high and a pedestal of granite, a chapter in bronze and the statue itself of 4.50 meters high representing Admiral Horatio Nelson that lost his life in the battle of Trafalgar.  Nelson faces south, towards Whitehall, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames. South west is Admiralty Arch, the entrance to the wide ceremonial drive to Buckingham Palace called The Mall. The monument is surrounded by four sculptures of lions protecting the statue that were added in 1867.  Legend says the lions were done from the metal of the French navy that was defeated by Admiral Nelson and on a high that he can see his navy anchored in Portsmouth.

London

Adm Horatio Nelson column in Trafalgar Square side statue of king Charles I ,National Gallery in back

Anecdotes are a few here are my favorites in this square has the smallest police station in London, a cylindrical building in the southeast corner of the square; these days the police phone box is used as a storage room by the cleaners. Norway always sends a huge Christmas tree that stands in the square, as a token of gratitude for Britain’s help during the Second World war. The tree given is between 60-70 feet tall and is decorated with approximately 500 white lights. If you want to see the lights on the tree switched on, this always happens on the first Thursday in December. In 1876 the Imperial Measures were set into the north terrace wall. Surveyors can still check ‘Perches’, ‘Chains’ and other archaic measures against feet and yards. When the central staircase leading to the National Gallery was added, the measures were relocated to the bottom steps.

In the square there are two plinths for sculptures on the north side of the square. A bronze equestrian statue of George IV originally intended to be placed on top of the Marble Arch was installed on the eastern plinth in 1844, while the other remained empty until the late-20C. There are two other statues on plinths, both installed during the 19C that were later removed. The Gift Horse was installed on the fourth plinth in 2015. It is a model of a horse’s skeleton with a live display of the London Stock Exchange. There are three busts of admirals against the north wall of the square. Those of Lord Jellicoe by Sir Charles Wheeler and Lord Beatty, by William MacMillan were installed in 1948 in conjunction with the square’s fountains, which also commemorate them. The third, of the Second World War First Sea Lord Admiral Cunningham was unveiled alongside them in 1967.  On the south side on the site of the original Charing Cross, is a bronze equestrian statue of Charles I ;it was cast in 1633, and placed in its present position in 1678. The two statues on the lawn in front of the National Gallery are the statue of James II to the west of the portico, and of one George Washington, a replica of a work by Jean-Antoine Houdon, to the east  that was a gift from the Commonwealth of Virginia installed in 1921. For over 150 years the plinth in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square, commonly known as the ‘Fourth Plinth’, remained empty. It was intended to hold an equestrian statue of King William IV. A failure to gather sufficient funds for its construction meant it was never realized. In 1999 it was decided to use the plinth for the temporary display of modern sculpture.

Nowdays, the square holds several events some of these were used for two sketch portions from BBC’s comedy series named as ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’. ‘Olympic Hide and Seek’ sketch also starts here. It is featured in ‘V for Vendetta’ comic version as the location where V’s met the army and defeated them, without a single fired shot. The Square was also the location of the successful ‘World’s Largest Coconut Orchestra’ on 23 April 2007.  In May 2007, for the campaign by London authorities to promote “green spaces” in the city, the square was grassed over with the 2,000 square meters of turf for two days. In July 2007, a parade was held on the square and concert was arranged for the 60th independence of Pakistan from the British. Besides all these activities every year the Sea Cadet Corps holds a parade in honor of Admiral Lord Nelson and the British victory on the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October), over the combined fleets of Spain and France at Trafalgar.

London Underground’s  (subway/metro) Charing Cross station on the Northern and Bakerloo lines has an exit in the square. The lines had separate stations, of which the Bakerloo line one was called Trafalgar Square until they were linked and renamed in 1979 as part of the construction of the Jubilee line, which was rerouted to Westminster in 1999. Other nearby tube/metro/subway  stations are Embankment connecting the District, Circle, Northern and Bakerloo lines, and Leicester Square on the Northern and Piccadilly lines. London bus routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453 all pass through Trafalgar Square.

We came by car , parked by Earl’s Court, and take the tube or double decker buses in, and walk walk a lot with a pint you go further lol!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and more on Trafalgar square to follow:

Webcam of Trafalgar Square: http://www.camvista.com/england/london/trafsq.php3

More info on Trafalgar Square in the City of London webpage: https://www.london.gov.uk/about-us/our-building-and-squares/trafalgar-square?source=vanityurl

Tourist office of London : https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/283774-trafalgar-square

And if you still need more of London, then read this London enthusiast site, many interesting facts are here: https://londontopia.net/

Hope you enjoy the ride on Trafalgar, and do count as seeing it on your next visit to London. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

Tags: , ,
April 18, 2018

The Ducal Palace of Luxembourg!

Another of our favorite countries of Europe, small , pretty , quaint, historical and nice Luxembourg. We have come so many times, and each time we leave wanting to come back.  There, the nostalgic walk over of a palace always brings the best in me. The Ducal Palace of Luxembourg even has a non European as Heads of State in Europe! And the country will surprise many.

The quaint small but very nice Ducal Palace of Luxembourg. I have come here often first back in 1991 , and then very often while living in Versailles, even for lunch runs lol! Now out west much less often , missed it. While vacationing in Germany needed to stop by again in 2015. I love it there, and who knows when back but will dare to say would try harder, it is worth the visit. The city, the country and of course the Ducal Palace are all worth it.  The Grand Ducal Palace, excuse me, is done in the renaissance style of the 16C and its the official residence of the duke of Luxembourg ,chief of State since 1890. It is located not far from the Place Guillaume II.

A bit of history I like:

It was in 1572 that the governor of the Netherlands Spanish ordered the construction of the city hall and it was done in 1573. By 1683 and 1684 the palace had damages due to the bombings of the siege of Vauban. In 1713, Luxembourg becomes an Austrian possession, and work of repairs were done in 1728.  The building call the Balance was added in 1741 and the city hall becomes the seat of the Three States. In 1795, Luxembourg is under French control and the city hall becomes the seat of the prefecture or regional government building of the department of the forest or Département des Forêts. By 1814, it had already become a Grand Duchy and was trusted to the king of the Netherlands, by 1817, the city hall becomes the government house where the governor of the king works. Thanks to the purchase of nearby houses  an annex is added to house the chamber of deputies in 1859.

In 1890 the death without male heir of the king of Netherlands give the Grand Duchy to a distant cousin Grand Duke Adolph, he uses the palace as the resident of the ruler or of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg . To our days the Grand Duke uses the palace as a place of work and rarely as a residence.  It is here that he welcomes the heads of governments or receptions of dinners for the national day when it is welcome about 300 persons.  The Nazis occupied the palace during WWII for cultural and concerts as well as a private club called Schlosschenke. The furniture, jewelry ,and other works of arts were sent to Germany. IN April 14 1945, the Grand Duchesse Charlotte was welcome back by the Luxembourgian from a balcony in the palace. From 1992 to 1996 ,the palace went thru a complete renovation to give it the splendor of the original.

Guided visits are carried out between July and early September every day except Wednesdays from 10h to 17h, it last about 45 minutes. Reservations  and information to be found at the tourist office of Luxembourg LCTO in the place Guillaume II.

 Luxembourg

front entrance Ducal Palace

Luxembourg

Ducal Palace back side

Luxembourg

Ducal Palace walking up to it

 

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here , always a must to read before the trip.

The city of Luxembourg on the Ducal Palace: https://www.luxembourg-city.com/en/place/monuments/grand-ducal-palace

The Tourist office of Luxembourg on the Ducal Palace: https://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/place/castle/palace-of-the-grand-dukes

The Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg constitutes the House of Luxembourg-Nassau, headed by the sovereign Grand Duke,  and in which the throne of the Grand Duchy is hereditary. It consists of heirs and descendants of the House of Nassau-Weilburg,  whose sovereign territories passed cognatically from the Nassau dynasty to a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon-Parma itself a branch of the Spanish Royal House which is agnatically a cadet branch of the House of Capet that originated in France. On 28 July 1987, by grand ducal decree, members of the dynasty assumed the surname “de Nassau” and discontinued use of the princely title and in escutcheon of the House of Bourbon-Parma(the Dukes of which had not consented to the marriages to commoners of the dynasty of their Luxembourg  cadet branch, Prince Charles in 1967 and  hereditary Grand Duke Henri in 1981,  while retaining the style  of Royal Highness. Since the grand ducal decree of 21 September 1995, dynasts who are the children of a Grand Duke or Hereditary Grand Duke hold the titles Prince/Princess of Luxembourg and Prince/Princess of Nassau with the style of Royal Highness.

Shortly after his accession to the throne in October 2000, Grand Duke Henri issued a grand ducal decree conferring upon his eldest son and heir, Prince Guillaume, the title of “Hereditary Grand Duke” and restoring to him the title “Prince of Bourbon-Parma”.  Male line descendants of Grand Duchess Charlotte who are not the children of a Grand Duke or Hereditary Grand Duke are Prince/Princess of Nassau with the style of His/Her Royal Highness. The Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg is the current Grand Duke of Luxembourg. He was born on April 16, 1955. He was married on February 14, 1981 to Maria Teresa Mestre (born in Havana , Cuba) and became Grand Duke when his father, Jean, abdicated on October 7, 2000. Their children are: Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Guillaume born in 1981 ,also Prince of Nassau, and Prince of Bourbon-Parma, married Countess Stephanie de Lannoy in 2012.  Prince Félix of Luxembourg Prince of Nassau born in 1984, and married in 2013 to Claire Margareta Lademacher of which they have a daughter (Amalia b 2014) and son Liam b 2016). Prince Louis de Luxembourg born in 1986 married 2006 to Tessy Antony, he renounced before marriage to succession and later divorced in 2017. Their sons was out of wedlock Prince Gabriel born in 2006 and Prince Noah in 2007 . Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg born in 1991 and Prince Sebastian of Luxembourg born in 1992.

Grand Duchy family in French : http://www.monarchie.lu/fr/famille/index.html

Enjoy the Cinderella country dukedom ,duchy of Luxembourg. I have cruise on it north to south ,west to east by car; lovely. Have a great week you all, happy travels, good health and many cheers!!!

 

 

Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: