Archive for June 5th, 2018

June 5, 2018

Wonderful Lisbon and the Avenida!

And we are in early June all speed ahead. Times going by fast, and memories still lingering; already can’t wait for August (our French big vacation period). However, let me tell you today about a nice area of a nice city I came to like very much in my many trips there.

Too bad after several trips could not make it with the family. It is something now to remember of the fonds memories of coming home, back to my dear late wife Martine. Oh yes, I am talking about Lisbon, Portugal. So close to it,  I learned the language as well. My oldest boy godfather is from Faro, and played on many Portuguese football/soccer community teams both in USA and France.

I have come about four times to Lisbon,and never tired of it; it is so close to home, and so nice. Of the many posts this one is the one that closely shows my taste for this area I am writing again here. Lisbon Portugal

Getting here as always been by airplane and using either public transport in the city, or a friendly car ride and lots of walks in the city, especially around the Avenida area. I have great stories of eating and drinking at by now my friends restaurant Pinoquio at Praça dos Restauradores close to Rossio. The typical Portuguese seafood and vinho verde wine place, love it. Many stories here; like the time gathered all my friends to come here thinking only 7 will come, the rest show up by taxi and we were 22 without reservation. I told the staff ,quick needed to find space, they knew me from many times here, and they move, so fast they created three spaces with extra tables/chairs to accommodate m y friends, they were all impress of my contacts lol! More on the resto here https://www.restaurantepinoquio.pt/

Lisbon

Praça dos Restauradores or Restoration  square is located on the extreme southeast of the Avenida da Liberdade, and not far from the Praça de Dom Pedro IV (better known as Rossio). This square is dedicated to the restoration of Portuguese independence in 1640 after 60 years of Spanish domination .  The Obelisk in the center of the square was done in 1886, with the names and dates of the battles to reach the restoration in 1640. It is about 30 meters high.

The square is in a rectangular shape surrounded by buildings from the 19C and early 20C .You can admire the Palácio Foz, a palace built from the 18C to the 20C with decorated interiors now the  Museu Nacional do Desporto de Portugal (the National sports museum of Portugal) ; the former Eden Cinema which is now a hotel, with its 1930’s facade as well as the former Cinema Condes,built in the 1950’s in a modernist style that now houses the popular restaurant Hard Rock Cafe of Lisbon.

Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon

Coming up to this Restoration square you have the wonderful Avenida da Liberdade  or Liberty avenue that I stayed nearby always . It is a 90 meters wide and  1100 meters  long, with ten lanes divided by pedestrian pavements decorated with gardens. It links the Praça dos Restauradores  with Praça do Marquis of Pombal Square. The avenue was done to modeled after the big Parisian boulevards.

The Avenida da Liberdade, as well as the Praça dos Restauradores, have their origins in a public park (Passeio Público) inaugurated in the area in 1764. The park was initially surrounded by a high wall. It was revamped in the 1830s and 1840s with new arrangement of the flora as well as fountains, a waterfall and statues. The allegoric statues representing the Tagus and Douro rivers still existing in the boulevard of the Avenue date from this time.

Lisbon Lisbon

The Avenida as locally known has several nice hotels and restaurants and it is a prize area to stay in Lisbon as I do …. on my business trips. We were thinking of coming with the family but due to my wife passing now all is on hold.

Several statues adorned the Avenida such as the  Statue to  Simón Bolívar ,done by the Venezuelan community in Portugal in  1978 ; Statue of Oliveira Martins, 1952 ;  Statue of Alexandre Herculano, 1950; Statue of  Almeida Garrett, 1950;  Statue of  António Feliciano de Castilho, 1950;  Monument to Rosa Araújo, 1936;  Monument to the Fallen of WWI , 1931;  and the Monument to Pinheiro Chagas,1908.

Also ,nice building like the jewerler store Prada, and the the one where was born  D. Maria Pia de Saxe-Coburgo Gotha e Bragança,in  1907.  She  was a writer and better known as claiming to be the illegitimate daughter of king  Charles Ier of Portugal and therefore the Duchess of Braganza, and pretender to the throne of Portugal.  She was, also, known as in publishing book under the pseudo name Hilda de Toledano.

There are three metro stations along the avenue such as Restauradores  at the southeast end, served by the blue line. Avenida at about the midpoint of the avenue, served by the blue line. Marquês de Pombal  at the northwest end (close to a giant roundabout with 4 lanes), served by the blue and yellow lines.

At the very nice Praça do Marquês de Pombal square, also known as the round about of the Marquês de Pombal or traffic circle is located between the Avenida da Liberdade and on the other side the Parque Eduardo VII. In the center there is the monument to the Marquês de Pombal, built in 1934. Done with a stone pedestal and 40 meters high ,the statue itself in bronce. The Edward VII park is a very place to unwind with lovely gardens on a 26 hectare park just crossing the Marques of Pombal Square. Its name pays homage to king Edward VII of the United Kingdom who visited Portugal in 1902, to strengthen the relations between the two countries. Until that visit, its name was Liberty Park (Parque da Liberdade).  Inside the park you have the Carlos Lopes Pavilion (the former Portuguese pavilion of the 1922 Rio de Janeiro International Exposition) and the Estufa Fria (a 1.5 hectare greenhouse garden). On the northern top of the park is a flagpole where the present largest Flag of Portugal of the world is usually flown.  The Lisbon Book Fair is annually held in the Parque Eduardo VII.

Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon

If the Praça do Marqués de Pombal is at one end of the Avenida de LIbertade passing by the Praça dos Restauradores, then the Rossio Square  as it is known locally but actually officially is the Pedro IV Square  or  Praça de D. Pedro IV  is located in the other extreme. Being one of the main squares since the Middle Ages. It has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions, and is now a preferred meeting place of Lisbon natives and tourists alike. The current name of the Rossio pays homage to Pedro IV, King of Portugal. The Column of Pedro IV is in the middle of the square. Here you have another metro station Rossio on the Green line as well as the train station by same name (previously called Central) and the nice National Theater of Dona Maria II. It was built on the former landlot of the Estaus Palace built itself in 1450 to house the foreign dignataries and nobles visiting Lisbon . In the 16C the palace was the place of the Portuguese inquisition , save from the earthquake of 1755 it was later destroyed by fire in 1836. The theater was completely redone and opened in 1978. The official webpage is here in English, but in Portuguese it has more coverage. Teatro Maria II

Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon

All up and down the Avenida passing by the glorious Square of the Marques of Pombal, then the Restauradores square and finally reaching the Rossio is chic grand wonderful Lisbon and easy central to all with good local public transportation.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here ,and it is a must in my opinion ,are

City of Lisbon tourist office in English: https://www.visitlisboa.com/

Portugal tourist board on Lisbon in English: https://www.visitportugal.com/en/destinos/lisboa-regiao

City of Lisbon on tourism info in English: http://www.cm-lisboa.pt/en/visit/the-city

There you a nice piece of real estate in lovely quaint Lisbon for you to set your wings on. Hope it helps your plans. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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June 5, 2018

A short stop in Basel, Switzerland!

And another week is beginning, the routine, cloudy rainy cool spring day and they say more rain this week, hope they are wrong. Life goes on sad, but we are hanging in with lots of memories.

One of them was my short visit to Basel Switzerland. It was a business trip, and my dear late wife Martine as usual was all ready with the preparations and always eager for me to return home. Let me tell you a bit about Basel ,even if from me is not much to tell; it remains for the memories and maybe one day an in depth look.

Basel is in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany.

A bit of early history I like

Basel has been the seat of a Prince-Bishopic since the 11C , and joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1501 as its eleventh canton . It was the only canton that had been asked to join, not the other way round. Basel had a strategic location, good relations with Strasbourg and Mulhouse, and control of the corn imports from Alsace, whereas the Swiss lands were becoming overpopulated and had few resources. A provision of the Charter accepting Basel required that in conflicts among the other cantons it was to stay neutral and offer its services for mediation.

The Duchy of Alemannia fell under Frankish rule in the 6C, and by the 7C, the former bishopric of Augusta Raurica was re-established as the Bishopric of Basel. Based on the evidence of a third solidus with the inscription Basilia fit, Basel seems to have minted its own coins in the 7C.  Under bishop Haito the first cathedral was built on the site of the Roman castle, later replaced by a Romanesque structure consecrated in 1019. At the partition of the Carolingian Empire  Basel was first given to West Francia, but passed to East Francia with the treaty of Meerssen of 870AD. The city was plundered and destroyed by a Magyar invasion of 917. The rebuilt city became part of  Upper Burgundy , and as such was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire in 1032.  Since the donation by  Rudolph III of Burgundy of the Moutier-Grandval Abbey and all its possessions to Bishop Adalbero II in 999AD until the Reformation, Basel was ruled by a Prince -Bishops.

Basel has often been the site of peace negotiations and other international meetings. The Treaty of Basel (1499) ended the Swabian war .Two years later Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. The Peace of Basel in 1795 between the French Republic and Prussia and Spain ended the First Coalition against France during the French revolutionary wars. In more recent times, the World Zionist Organisation held its first congress in Basel in 1897, and for several years thereafter. Because of the Balkan Wars  the Socialist Second International  held an extraordinary congress at Basel in 1912. In 1989, the Basel Convention was opened for signature with the aim of preventing the export of Hazardous waste from wealthy to developing Nations for disposal.

How to get to Basel. Well you have the wonderful EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freigurg operated by France and Switzerland and for anecdote the airport is in French territory and how I came here. More on the airport here:  https://www.euroairport.com/en/

There are three train stations ,those of German, French ,and Swiss networks lie within the city.  The  Swiss Basel SBB , and French Bâle SNCF stations are actually in the same complex, separated by Customs and Immigration facilities. Basel Badischer Bahnhof is on the opposite side of the city. Basel is located on the A3 expressway ,and however, has an extensive public transportation network serving the city and connecting to surrounding suburbs, including a large tram network.

Basel Basel

Basel Basel

Things to see

The red sandstone Munster , one of the foremost late-Romanesque/early Gothic buildings in the Upper Rhine, was badly damaged in the great earthquake of 1356, rebuilt in the 14C and 15C, It was  extensively reconstructed in the mid-19C and further restored in the late 20C.  A memorial to Erasmus lies inside the Münster. The City Hall from the 16C is located on the Market Square and is decorated with fine murals on the outer walls and on the walls of the inner court. Several Churches and Museum that had no time to see them. Of course, I had to go see the market at markthalle nice displays.

Basel

The city is known for its many internationally renowned museums, ranging from the Kunstmuseum, the first collection of art accessible to the public in Europe (1661) and the largest museum of art in the whole of Switzerland, to the Fondation Beyeler. The University of Basel founded in 1460, Switzerland’s oldest university and the city’s centuries long commitment to Humanism.

I did stay at the Hilton Basel at center and was very good indeed. webpage here :Hilton Basel Hotel

basel

I had dinner at Da Roberto , an Italian resto, here I was disappointed, the food was not that greeat and the service very slow, but the setting is nice with artist movie stars on the walls and near both the train station and hotel.  Very fancy, but did not live up to my culinary expectations which are high. http://www.da-roberto.ch/start.php

basel-da-roberto-arriving-oct13

This is the pity other than the food and the train station and hotel had little time to see much of Basel. It will have to be another time. If you have been there feel free to post some interesting things to see; I would like to be back on a private visit and maybe the pictures will be better too lol!

Some webpages to help plan a trip to Basel are here

City of Basel tourist info in English: http://www.bs.ch/en/Portrait/tourism.html

Tourist office of Basel in English; https://www.basel.com/en

City life Basel http://basel.cityguide.ch/

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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