Archive for July 14th, 2018

July 14, 2018

Vannes a medieval intact in the Morbihan!

Well let get a pictorial on Vannes, this is a medieval jewel of France really, all intact ,no wars have done damage here ,all original with some repairs needed for upkeeps. There are even people living in these old wooden houses going back to the 14C, where nothing can be change by law of preservation of the heritage. Vannes is my capital city and where I work for the last 7 years!

Looking over my blog, last time wrote on Vannes alone was back on Februay 25 2018!! and bits of it in my series of My Travels in the Morbihan and Some news from France posts. This is needed to have some new photos in so today was the day of errands in the capital.

We got up early and went for the Japanim mangas store in the old town section of Vannes, at 14 bis rue Emilie Burgault; parking for free by Place du Maréchal Lyautey as National Holiday, or National Day July 14 (what visitors still call Bastille Day,no longer use in France). They have a page in Facebook here: Japanim

From there we walk to the market around Place des Lices, Place du Poids Public and rue Saint Vincent, Rue de Le Hellec, one of the best I have seen around France. It is big and has everything, we get our fruits, vegetables, and cheeses here and nice to be recognize by the vendors already.


Then it was time to do my car wash at the automatics at the Leclerc shopping center, had lunch at Flunch , a supermarket chain restaurants typical of the all you can eat phenomenon reminded me always of my Piccadilly’s in Florida way back. The best here is the salads and the sweets , ice cream and wines all at reasonable prices, who said France is expensive! Here is the contact info, great for the families coming over for the beach this time of the year: Flunch Vannes


Of course, we stop by Castorama our home building store and gather more garden and barbecue goodies, at their store in Vannes just around the corner from all the above places. And finally we crossed over to E Leclerc hypermarket to do our groceries with the boys.  And we got back home as now it’s been played the 3rd game match of the World Cup Russia 2018 between Belgium vs England; two dear countries so we are neutral ::) As I write and looking, the final score is 2×0  for Belgium, well done , England was out from minute one.


And here are some pictures I took of beautiful medieval Vannes as we walked its streets just before preparation for their Fêtes Historiques today and getting ready for a wide screen TV to see the France vs Croatia World Cup final tomorrow 17H French time from Moscow. We will be in our town watching it with the locals.

Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes

Again some repeat webpages but for the sake of searching here they are

Tourism Morbihan on Vannes

Tourism Brittany on Vannes

Gulf of Morbihan on tourist trails

Tourist office of Vannes in English

Hope it helps your trip on medieval wonderful Vannes, in dept 56 Morbihan, region of Brittany.

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





July 14, 2018

Bucharest was a nice find in the East!

As I began to crawl myself into the Eastern part of Europe I did with hesitation. I know the history and dreadful devastation of having gone thru nazism and communism and remind me of my enfant /child years; therefore avoided it. Finally, it took my turn to go on business trips and it has been a pleasant surprise on how people can survive and even improve their lives.

Bucharest was a nice find indeed, and I have been lucky to be able to visited and know the city well.  It will certainly stayed as a good souvenir of my travels and of course looking forward for more. I have done several blog entries on Bucharest especially and would like to remind you all of them below

Bucharest a new found backyard :

Bucharest I am back again:

Hey Bucharest I am back :

And yes one more time Bucharest:

This is becoming a routine affairs Bucharest:

We are getting alone fine Bucharest:

One more time Bucharest :

Bucharest is an important transport node, on the way to the European Road 81 from Pitești to Constanţa, the starting point of three highwayss (the A1 towards Pitești, the A2 towards Constanţa and the A3 towards Ploiești) and the new National roads (DN1 to Oradea , DN1A to Braşov, DN2 to Suceava, DN3 to Călărași, DN4 to Oltenița, DN5 to Girgiu, DN6 to Timişoara and Cenad, DN7 to Nădlac and DN71 to Sinaia).   In which I have ridden about 800 kms on the A2 and DN6 alone many times. At the heart of the Romanian railway network, the North station is the main train station. It has several lines of metros, trams, trolleybus and buses operated by the RATB (Regia Autonomă de Transport București). The airport my in and out to the city and country is the Henri-Coanda International Airport. There is a train service but stops at Otopeni the town where the airport is located and then need a shuttle or taxi to Bucharest.


And as I have covered many angles let me tell you a bit about the history I like

The city is mentioned for the first time in 1459 as a fortified market at the crossroads of trade routes between Târgoviște, then the capital of Wallachia, Braşov in Transylvania, and the port of San Giorgio founded by the Genoese on the Danube. This market quickly developed and, in the 17C, became the capital of the Principality of Wallachia, then, in 1859, of Romania.

According to the legend attested in the 19C, Bucharest (București) would come from Bucur , a shepherd who would have established the first settlement on the present site. Like, in Romanian, bucur means “joy”, many Romanian writers name Bucharest “The City of Joy” Indeed, the city was founded in the 14C by Mircea the Elder (Mircea cel Bătrân), after his victory over the Turks, as “Fortress of Bucharest” (and It is then possible that Bucur could have been the first military governor) in the 19C, while Romania served as a theatre of operations in the wars of the neighboring empires and that the Romanians took part in the Revolutions of 1821 and 1848. Bucharest was frequently occupied and looted by the Ottomans, the Austrians and the Russians. It was occupied at length twice by the latter, in 1828-1833 and in 1853-1854, then by an Austrian garrison in 1854-1857. In 1861, in the Union of Wallachia and Moldova, Bucharest became the capital of the new Principality of Romania.

Between December 6, 1916 and November 1918, the city was occupied by the Germans and the capital was transferred to Iaşi. After WWI, Bucharest became the capital of the Kingdom of Unified Romania, which now includes Transylvania and Bukovina until then Austro-Hungarian, and eastern Moldova (annexed by the Russian Empire in 1812). Between the two wars, the city had the nickname of Petit Paris, as the French are numerous (Romania forms, with Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, the “small agreement” allied with France) like all of Romania, Bucharest had to undergo dictatorial regimes Carlist, fascist and communist from February 1938 to December 1989. During WWII, Bucharest suffered from both Anglo-American bombardments (during the Antonescu regime, allied with the third Reich) and Nazi (after Romania joined the Allies).

In power  from March 6, 1945 to December 22, 1989, the Communists develop a deliberate urbanism, disconnected from the realities and needs of the population, which translates into the field by a series of historical monument destructions (including statues and of churches, judged to bear the memories of the past).  Since 1990, with the restoration of democracy and the opening of borders, the city evolves rapidly.

The Dâmbovița river crosses the city in the west  at the level of Chiajna, and  east, at the level of Glina. The Dâmbovița river flows into the Argeş, a tributary of the Danube.  The Colentina flows into the northern part of Bucharest, throwing itself further downstream from the city in the Dâmbovița.  The two rivers are the subject of many natural or artificial lakes within the city, particularly for Colentina  at Lake Herastrau, Lake Floreasca, Tei Lake or Colentina Lake.  A lake is located in the centre of the city, Lake Cișmigiu, which is located in the park with the same name. This lake, which was used for baths in medieval times, is surrounded by the Cișmigiu Park, inaugurated in 1847.

Of the medieval city architecture , most of the buildings that survived until the modern era were destroyed under the Communist regime with the process of systematization committed to the aftermath of the 1977 earthquake. Some medieval and Renaissance buildings have been preserved, the most notable are in the Lipscani district. This district contains remarkable buildings such as Hanul him Manuc and the ruins of Curtea Veche. The city center has retained the architecture of the late 19C and early 20C, and in particular the period between the two wars, which is often considered the “golden Age” of Bucharest architecture. At that time, the city was greatly enlarged and enriched, competing with other major European capitals such as Paris.

Some streets are lined with sumptuous néobaroques palaces such as:

Curtea Veche: Ancient princely court dating from the 15C built under the orders of Vlad III the Impaler.  Hanul him Manuc:  the Inn was built in 1808. The hostel is located Strada Franceză not far from the Curtea Veche (eating here very nice indeed). Villa Monteoru or writers ‘ house; Casa Lenș-Vernescu: Built in 1820 on the Avenue de la Victoire.


Palazzo Kantakouzenos ,located on the Avenue de la Victoire, the Palatul Cantacuzino , whose construction ended in 1902, in a Baroque style of the Louis XVI era. It was intended for Prince Georges Grégoire Kantakouzenos, former prime Minister of Romania. In 1956, he welcomed the George-Enescu Memorial Museum, named after the great Romanian composer, who had become the National Museum since 1990.
Palais Suțu, located in Sector 3, the Palatul Suțu is a classified Gothic-style building erected in 1835. It hosts the Municipal Museum of Bucharest.  Palazzo Crețulescu, located along the Cișmigiu Park, the Palatul Crețulescu French Renaissance style. It was ceded in 1972 to UNESCO for its European Center for higher education.  Palazzo Cotroceni , at the base of a monastery erected by Șerban I Kantakouzenos on Cotroceni Hill, the Cotroceni Palace became the main residence of King Carol I in a classical Venetian style. It later became the seat of the Presidency of the Republic of Romania. CEC Palace, also on the base of a monastery already restored by Constantine II Brâncoveanu.  Palazzo Ghica, Still named Ghika Tei Palace, it is a palace erected according to the will of Grigore IV Ghica.

The Arc de Triomphe, the present Arc de Triomphe was erected in 1936 on the ruins of a first and a second arch.  Romanian Athenaeum: The Ateneul Român is a concert hall located on the Avenue de la Victoire built in 1888.  National Theater ,still called Teatrul Național Ion Luca Caragiale is a building in 1982, on the bases of the reconstructed theater it is also located on the Avenue of Victory. Renaissance Memorial, the Memorialul Renașterii is a memorial that commemorates the victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989 (free from Communism). It consists of a sharp 25 meters high marble column where a metal column is attached.


Courthouse of Bucharest; the courthouse was completed in 1895. It is located on the Splaiul Independenței, (independence square) along the Dâmbovița river . Palace of parliament or Palace of the people; this gigantic construction was built between 1984 and 1989. The original project was aimed at consolidating all the state institutions and the residence of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Piața Revoluției (Revolution Square), was at the heart of the fighting during the Romanian Revolution of 1989 which overthrew the regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Union Boulevard built on the orders of Ceaușescu, it is 30 centimeters wider than the avenue des Champs-Elysées of Paris . And, is also the longest boulevard (or avenue) of Europe with 3 500 meters.  There are nice museums amongst my favorites are the National Museum of Art of Romania, the National Museum of History of Romania, the National Natural History Museums «Grigore Antipa».


The Churches ,I like the Cathedral of Saint-Basile-the Great of Bucharest (Greek-Romanian Catholic), the first Roman Catholic rites Church in Bucharest.  Church of the monastery Stavropoleos, and the theater Odeon, located on the Avenue of Victory, (before 1989, Teatrul Muncitoresc CFR Giulești), founded in 1946, the troupe being welcomed From 1911 to 1946 in the National Theater of Bucharest. It is composed mainly of two halls (Majestic and Giulești).

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Romania on Bucharest :

Bucharest tourist page :

There you go hope you like it, it is a city to detour in Europe. Hope it helps your decision.

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

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July 14, 2018

Why not Prague, Old world charm!

This is another dandy in Europe, well done and rebuilt but very nice after all. I have been by here several times, and even on business trips. The city is ok for the part of the world is in, it has been kept very nicely with a quaint old world charm.

I like to tell you about Prague,and first give you my previous blog posts on it.

Made it to Prague

Back to Prague and it was nice

Prague ,third time is a charm

And to continue now with a bit of history I like.

Prague is the capital and the largest city in the Czech Republic. It is at the same time one of the fourteen regions of the country, the capital of the administrative region of Central Bohemia and the capitol of the historical region of Bohemia. It is crossed by the Vltava river.  Prague is located 250 km north-west of Vienna, 280 km south of Berlin and 300 km northeast of Munich as well as 1038 km from Paris.

For transports , I have come by air at Prague International Airport, also called Praha-Václav-Havel, located to the west of the city. Prague, which is at the center of the Czech railway network, has four main stations: the Central station Praha hlavní nádraží; station Praha Masarykovo nádraží; Praha-hole Holešovice and Smíchov Station. The main one is at Hlavni. The main highways that radiate from Prague are the D1, which leads to Jihlava and via Brno, to Bratislava, the D5 which leads to Pilsen and, via Rozvadov, to Nuremberg, the D8, which goes to Ústí nad Labem; And the D11, which leads to Hradec Králové. The main European roads passing through Prague are the European Road 50 which connects Brest (France) to Makhachkala (Russia), and on the books to one day try it. The European route 55 connecting Helsingborg (Sweden) to Kalamata (Greece), the European route 65 from Malmö (Sweden) to Chania (Greece) and the European Road 67 connecting Helsinki to Prague. Prague has a network of three metro lines, about twenty tram lines of day and a dozen of nights. In parallel, a bus network covers the city. Bus lines make the shuttle between Prague International Airport and the subway’s A and B lines.

A bit of location and districts info for the savvy traveler.  In the past the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Empire and Czechoslovakia . In modern Czech, práh means “threshold”, the name comes from an old Slavic root, Praga, which means “Fort” according to the legend, the city was founded under the order of Libuše, prophetess and mythical founder of the reigning lineage of the Přemyslid, where a man named Přemysl, a mere laborer who became her husband and the first king of Bohemia. Others, fascinated by the magical character of the city, claim that it is the threshold, the gateway to other worlds or other dimensions. The history of Prague is very rich and associates the Duchy of Bohemia with the great moments of European medieval history.

Some of the most Important areas of Prague from a tourist point of view in my opinion are Malá Strana (“small Side” in Czech) is a baroque district, entirely rebuilt in the early 17C following major fires. Situated on a slope that rises towards the Royal and Imperial Castle, it is the district of the Great Imperial nobility (Lobkowicz, Sternberg, Thun…) that has built wonderful mansions after the Battle of the White Mountain, in a baroque style.

Hradčany, the Castle District situated on the left bank of the Vltava River, it dominates the lower town by the complex structure of the Imperial Castle of Habsburg and that of the kings of Bohemia, as well as the bell tower of the Cathedral of Saint-Guy. This district is composed of countless palaces of great lords, convents, monasteries, Renaissance houses, parks and gardens.

The Old Town is one of the Prague districts characteristic of its harmonious accumulation of all the architectural styles of Europe. Its main point is the old place (Staroměstské náměstí), its town hall, the astronomical clock of Prague, its many narrowed-themed houses, its baroque and neo-Baroque palaces, and the famous Cubist house with the Black Madonna.

Vyšehrad, the first castle in Prague this term literally means in Czech “the castle from Above”. This was the place of the first Prague castle in the time of the Dukes of Bohemia. This is also where we find the first religious building in Romanesque style. It is a romantic place turned into a barracks under Marie-Therese, then a nationalist memory in the 19C.

Now a bit of history I like

The first written record mentioning Prague dates from 965. It is the result of a Jewish merchant from Andalusia, Ibrahim ibn Ya’qub. The town became a bishopric in 973. In 1170, Vladislav II built, the first stone Bridge on the Vltava River, the Judith Bridge, which, collapsed in 1342, will be replaced by a stone bridge, the famous Charles Bridge. Otakar II founded Malá Strana in 1257, which then received a municipal charter and hosted the German community, which was administered under the rights of Magdeburg. On the other side of the Vltava river, the old town of Prague grows around its historic core of Týn and is populated by Czechs and a Jewish community in what will become Josefov. The city is experiencing its apogee with the King of Bohemia and future Germanic Emperor Charles IV (son of John of Luxembourg) who built the Charles Bridge (1357), the Cathedral of St. Guy of Prague (1344), founded in April 1348 Charles University, the first German university , and extends the city to the east and south to create the new city (1347) which doubles the area of the old town. In 1355, Charles IV made Prague the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

The daughter of Vladislav IV, Anne Jagiellonian, married Ferdinand of Austria, according to a dynastic agreement arranged by Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire in 1515, and the city soon passed under Habsburg domination after the death without heirs of Louis II Jagiellonian to The Battle of Mohacs against the Ottomans in 1526.  The defeat of the Czech and Protestant armies at the Battle of the White Mountain in November 1620 and decapitation, place of the old Town (still marked today of 27 white crosses on the ground, in commemoration of the event), of the twenty-seven leaders of the revolt mark, for a long time, the end of the hopes of independence of the Bohemian states. At political level, in 1627, Ferdinand II annulled the Charter of Vladislav Jagiellonian (1500) and imposed the new Charter of the States of Bohemia (in German, Verneuerte Landesordnung, in Czech, Obnovené Zřízení Zemské) which imposed the germanization of teaching and of the administration. The peace of Prague was signed in 1635 between the emperor and some Protestant German princes. En 1648, at the end of the Thirty Years ‘ War, the left bank of the city (Hradčany and Malá Strana) was invaded and looted by the Swedish Protestant armies shortly before the Westphalian treaties put an end to the hostilities that had led central Europe to fire and blood.

In 1741, the War of the Austrian Succession saw the arrival of the troops of Frederick II of Prussia, allied with the French army of the Marshal of Belle-Isle who put the siege and took the city.  With the independence of Czechoslovakia, proclaimed on 28 October 1918, Prague became capital and many streets were renamed. Shortly before WWII, Prague welcomed the Czech refugees expelled from the Sudetenland attached to the third Reich following the Munich agreements. On 15 March 1939, Bohemia-Moravia was conquered in its entirety and Adolf Hitler Parade at Prague Castle. On May 5, 1945, an insurrection erupts that will lead to the liberation of the city by a largely improvised resistance around a Czech National Council (Česká Národní Rada or Nazi units), which takes the lead of the insurrection. On 8 May, German troops capitulated and, according to prior agreements, the Red Army took Prague on 9 May 1945 during the Prague Offensive.

In 1968, the Prague spring marked the city in an ephemeral way, it was crushed in August  tanks of the Warsaw Pact armies, mostly  Soviets. The Prague people improvises resistance and fights take place, particularly around the Czechoslovak radio and television and the nearby National Museum. On January 16, 1969, Jan Palach set himself on fire in the Wenceslas Square to protest against the invasion of his country by the Soviet Union. The Velvet Revolution, in 1989, marks for Prague as for the rest of the country a second liberation;  the omnipotence of the single party and its political police are collapsing, democratic freedoms are restored, the symbols of the dictatorship are and the names of certain streets, squares or stations of the Metro are democratized. The writer Vaclav Havel and ex political prisioner was elected President of the Republic and moved to Prague Castle.

Some brief things to see in addition or repeat of what is in my blog posts above.

The Castle District (Hradčany) with the Prague Castle;  Place des Hradčany (Hradčanské Náměstí): Archbishop Palace (Rococo); Palazzo Schwarzenberg (Renaissance) which houses the Museum of Military History; Palazzo Černín, the largest baroque palace in Prague (Ministry of Foreign Affairs); St. Vitus Cathedral; Basilica of St. George; The Golden Alley; The Royal Garden of Prague Castle (with the Queen Anne Belvedere, Renaissance style).


Neighborhood of Malá strana: Church of St. Nicholas of Malá Strana; Convent of Notre-Dame de Lorette; Palais Wallenstein The quarter of the old Town (Stare Město) has the Charles Bridge (Karlův most); Powder Tower; Old Town square there is the Astronomical clock; Old Town City Hall; Church of Notre-Dame of Týn; Kinsky Palace; Clementinum a showcase of the Czech National Library, features a sumptuous Baroque library, inherited from the time it housed Charles University in Prague and which is reminiscent of the Hofburg Library in Vienna; The House of Mozart is home to the Municipal House (1911) in the Smichov district; this is where he composed Don Giovanni. The musician’s first harpsichord and a wick of his hair are exposed. That said, museums offer rich collections that are worth visiting especially for me the National Museum which dominates its imposing mass Wenceslas square and that of pantheon of the Czech nation (with a dome honoring the great men of the country.





Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Prague tourist office :

Czech Republic tourist office on Prague: Czech Republic Tourist office

Tourist office of Prague: Tourist office of Prague

There you go something different from the East and worth a detour in Europe. Hope it helps

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

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